Archive for March 2015

Spring Beauty Giveaway

March 30, 2015
Beauty Giveaway

I thought it would be nice to celebrate the arrival of Spring so I put together some fun beauty items for a little giveaway for you all. Everything in the photo above is included. Here are the details.

Forever 21 Ooh La La Pouch (retail value: $4.90)
A chic faux leather pouch with scalloped cut sides and whimsical ooh la la type. This item was on one of my wish lists. I also bought one for myself and it's really cute.

Drww Mix & Match Set (retail value: $37)
This all in one color set features lip and cheek products that can be used alone or together. The kit includes a lip balm, three colored lip/cheek tints, concealer and a mixing pot for creating your unique look. 

Mini L'Occitane Cherry Blossom Hand Cream (retail value: $8)
This lightly textured formula is non-greasy and contains shea butter to smooth and moisturize and a cherry extract from the Luberon region of Provence that leaves a delicate floral scent. One of my favorite hand creams and the scent is just lovely.

Tatcha Aburatorigami Japanese Beauty Papers (retail value: $12)
A package of soft absorbent leaflets made of 100 percent natural abaca leaf and gold flake to absorb excess oil without disturbing makeup for petal fresh skin anytime, anywhere. These feel so luxurious and do a great job with eliminating shine.

TonyMoly Bunny Lip Petite Bunny Gloss Bar #3 Juicy Apple (retail value: $8)
A cute bunny face coupled with a fruity scent makes this hydrating lip balm with a hint of color super fun! A number of you commented on the one included in my What's In My Bag post so I just had to include one in this giveaway. It's even more adorable in person!

Josie Maran Bear Naked Nail Wipes (retail value: $9)
Multi-tasking nail wipes formulated to remove nail polish, repair dry cuticles, and promote healthy nails. The portable package contains 20 wipes that are acetone free, grapefruit scented and infused with natural argan oil. I've used these when I travel. They take a little longer to work but the lack of harsh ingredients is worth it.

Mini Deborah Lippman Nail Lacquer Don't Tell Mama (retail value full size: $18)
The shade is described as mood ring blue/green shimmer. This long wearing, highly pigmented nail color is infused with nourishing biotin and green tea. It is also 5 free and cruelty free.

This is an international giveaway that starts March 30, 2015 and ends on April 13, 2015. Entries will be verified for eligibility. One winner will be randomly selected. You can enter through this link or the Rafflecopter widget below. The widget can be a little temperamental so if it doesn't load on this page, just click through here for it. Good luck!

Eye Candy : Ji Chang Wook for Celebrity & SIngles

March 27, 2015
Ji Chang Wook, The Healer

It's been over a month since the drama The Healer ended and Ji Chang Wook remains as popular and busy as ever. If this keeps him appearing in more magazine editorials like these two then I'm not complaining. He looks as handsome as ever in a range of looks befitting a dapper gentleman in the pictorial that was shot at the picturesque Hantaek Botanical Garden by Kim Dowon for The Celebrity and the magazine likened his warmth and beauty to that of Spring. In the accompanying interview, the 29 year old actor revealed that he hasn't owned a computer in about five year and gets all his scripts printed out for him. I can't even imagine what that must be like. He must own a smartphone that enables him to post to Instagram though.

For the Singles editorial which was inspired by the movie Kingsman: The Secret Service, Chang Wook reprises a charming gentleman look while also transforming into a bad boy. He nails each look convincingly and even manages to pull off a yellow Jeremy Scott Adidas Bones Fur track suit with considerable style and swagger. The actor who is currently in Thailand with Marie Claire magazine caused quite a stir when he made a surprise appearance at Seoul Fashion Week at the beginning of this week. He will be returning for some regional performances of the musical The Days and it looks like he may be the lead actor in the revenge thriller film Modified City. I hope he gets in few more projects before he enlists for military duty. Yes he's a favorite around here and you can always see more of him.

Ji Chang Wook, The Healer

Through My Lens : Ranunculus

March 25, 2015
Flower Photography

Besides my dolls, Rena and Ian, flowers are one of my favorite subjects in my personal photography work.  For my floral studies, I like to get up close and treat them almost as if they're abstract objects. The delicate petals fascinate me the most as their arrangement and movement are like visual poetry.  My latest series is a study of ranunculus. I've always thought they were really pretty but this is my first time photographing them and I feel as if I'm seeing their beauty in a new light. I think I may be adding a few of these to my Etsy print shop.

What's your favorite flower? Mine would be peonies.

Flower Photography

Dine Out : All'onda

March 23, 2015
All'onda Review, All'onda New York

All'onda describes itself as a modern Italian restaurant and it's another one that I got to cross off my list recently when we had lunch there during Restaurant Week. Restaurant Week is a discount dining program that usually occurs every winter and summer in New York City in which participating establishments offer three course dining deals at lunch ($25) and dinner ($38). It's a fantastic way to try fine dining spots for less. Because of timing, we only got to go to All'onda for this round but I hope to hit up a few more restaurants during the summer event. The word All'onda means "of the wave" and the decor of the bi-level space is mostly contemporary with some rustic touches. The cuisine is Venetian influenced with some flashes of Japanese fusion. For our appetizers, we went with the kale salad and tuna tartare ($5 supplement). The tuna tartare had good flavor but it was only a few bites. The kale salad was more generously portioned and it was also over-seasoned. Our entrĂ©e choices were the parmesan dashi ramen with porchetta and brussels sprouts and skate with lemon parsley and salted plum. The skate had the better flavors but the portion was minuscule. The ramen was a skimpy portion as well. The broth tasted good but the porchetta lacked flavor and the noodles were lacking as well. This dish is usually $17 and l would've been pissed if I had to pay full price for it.  Dessert was probably the best course and this is coming from someone who doesn't usually eat desserts. The olive oil cake with lemon and basil was moist with a nice subtle flavor. It probably looks bigger in my photo than it actually was. The hazelnut mousse with chocolate crumble and candied orange was probably my favorite dish. The texture was light and creamy and tasty. The service was pleasant enough though quite slow and not particularly attentive. For the standard prices they charge, I would hope that the portions aren't so tiny when it's not Restaurant Week. I can appreciate it when a restaurant offers their usual menu during RW but these serving sizes were ridiculous and we're not even big eaters. I can say that I dined at All'onda but I will not be going there again. For Italian food, Locanda Verde was way more impressive.

Have you dined out for Restaurant Week in New York? Does your city offer such an event?

22 East 13th Street (University &Fifth)
New York City

Exploring New Scents With Scentbird

March 20, 2015

I tend to be the sort who isn't very adventurous when it comes to scents. I fell in love with Stella by Stella McCartney on first whiff and have been wearing it for a number of years. When Scentbird asked if I would be interested in trying out their scent subscription service, I took them up on it since it would be a fun way to step out of my scent safe zone. Scentbird is a luxury subscription service that sends you a 30 day supply of a designer fragrance of your choice for $14.95. You start the process by taking a quiz which will create a scent profile and generate a list of personalized scent recommendations. 

A Tale of Chanel Couture

March 18, 2015

Vogue UK went behind the scenes of the Chanel atelier as the fashion house prepared for their absolutely enchanting Spring/Summer 2015 Haute Couture collection. Almost 5 million sequins were used for the 73 looks that were sent down the catwalk. 100 seamstresses labored tirelessly for a total of 22,000 hours over three months. 2,000 of those hours alone went into the final bridal gown. Karl Lagerfeld created each look in a sketch which was then assigned to a seamstress by his studio directors. One seamstress was responsible for each piece while the bridal gown took three. The results were both exquisite and extravagant as every layer and detail in a couture piece is like art in itself. These dreamy photos by Benoit Peverelli provide just a glimpse of the stunning collection. If you haven't seen it yet, you can view it in it's entirety on the Chanel site. What are your thoughts on this collection?

Make Your Own Home Emergency Kit

March 16, 2015
Make Your Own Home Emergency Kit,  Home Emergency Kit Essentials

Do you ever think about how prepared you would be in case of a possible emergency? We had a real wakeup call when Hurricane Sandy struck NYC in late 2012 and we were left without power for five days and no heat or hot water for ten. I live in downtown Manhattan and we were warned of this possibility so we did our best to prepare ourselves and we managed to get through the outages without having to leave our home. With subsequent weather advisories and snow days, I've kept up with having a home emergency kit in place cause well, you never know and it's always better to be prepared.

1. Flashlight and Candles 
You definitely want to have some sources of illumination handy in case you lose power. LED flashlights are brighter and last 10 times longer than traditional ones. We have one large flashlight and three small ones which we can take on the go like when we had to use the stairs  in the dark when there was no electricity. I kind of hoard pretty scented candles anyway and they come in real handy when there are no lights. If you want to be more practical these 100 hour plus emergency candles might be the way to go.

2. Portable Emergency Radio
e have this exact model which can be powered three ways: hand cranking the rechargeable battery, three AAA alkaline batteries or via USB cord. It also has a flashlight and beacon light and can charge a cell phone if necessary. Our radio really came in handy to provide us with the latest news/weather updates when we were sitting around by candlelight feeling otherwise out of touch with the world. 

3. External Battery for Mobile Devices and Extra Batteries
Batteries provide power when there's no electricity. Enough said.

4. First Aid Kit
It's best to have a first aid kit assembled to address any basic health issues as well as any small emergencies that may come up cause you definitely don't want to be fumbling for medication or health aids in the dark. Everyone should really have a basic first aid kit anyway.

5. Supply of Drinking Water
The Dept. of Health recommends keeping a three day supply on hand which would be one gallon per person per day.

6. Supply of Non-Perishable Food
Again a three day supply is recommended. I always keep some canned soups, beans and fish on hand along with ramen noodles in a cup (they're not the best for you but who cares in an emergency) in my pantry so I don't have to go on a shopping frenzy whenever we're expecting a big snowstorm or hurricane. I also try to have nuts, nutrition bars and dried fruit or apple sauce snack packs around as well.

7. Disposable Dining Ware and Utensils
When you don't have power or hot water, you're not exactly in a position to do dishes so it's best to have some disposables. I save up the plastic utensils that I get from Seamless deliveries for this reason.

8. Personal Hygiene Items
Without water you have to get a little creative with hygiene so it's best to have some emergency items handy like hand sanitizer, facial wipes and body wipes. I don't think I missed my shower or Clarisonic more than when we lost power/water but we were able to make do because we has these.

9. Household Lighter and Matches
We have a gas stove which is actually a wonderful thing because it still works when you don't have power since you can manually light it with a lighter or match with the gas turned on. A stove is really useful to boil water or heat up food. You also want something to light those candles with.

10. Household Cleansing Wipes and Garbage Bags
Cause you don't want your housekeeping to go to crap. Well I don't anyway. Antibacterial wipes are great for cleaning up after eating and you definitely want to something to tuck your accumulating trash into.

11. A Multi-Tool
A tool with multi-functions is handy to have around to address household issues but it is even more essential during an emergency situation.

These are items that I have personally found helpful and this is tested since it saw us through Hurricane Sandy. This list assumes that you have access to blankets, clean clothing and shoes. I will mention that I live on the 10th floor of a high rise building in Manhattan and not a house so if you live in a suburban environment or in a house you may require some additional things. We also lost water along with our electricity because the water tower of our building is on the roof and water has to be pumped down. We filled up a few pots and buckets with water but we went through them quicker than we even expected. Knowing this, I always fill up the tub now in the wake of any emergency warnings so that we have a decent supply of water for brushing our teeth, flushing the toilet, etc. For the kit, be sure to check it every six months just to make sure everything is in working condition and that your food is fresh.

With so many environmental changes impacting our planet, weather related emergencies are becoming more of a reality and other types of emergencies can always come up. The next thing we will need to put together is a go bag.

Do you have a home emergency kit? What items have you included? How prepared are you for emergencies?

NeoStrata Skin Active Intensive Eye Therapy Review

March 13, 2015

Eye Cream Review, Anit-aging Eye Cream

I started using eye cream when I was in college and it's a move that has really paid off. I'm still religious about eye cream and am always on the lookout for the latest anti-aging innovations. After all the eye area is one of the first to show signs of aging. the eye cream I'm currently using is NeoStrata Skin Active Intensive Eye Therapy.

About the Brand: NeoStrata Skin Active is a comprehensive anti-aging system of potent professional products with active benefit ingredients that work synergistically to address the broadest spectrum of visible signs of aging. The NeoStrata Skin Active system is made up of high performance products formulated to deliver outstanding rejuvenating effects.

Product Claims: Contains a unique SynerG Formula 6.0 that employs a multi-mechanistic approach to building and plumping the deep layers of the skin for exceptional results. Apple Stem Cell Extract protects the longevity of skin’s own stem cells so your skin behaves like younger skin. Peptides stimulate matrix components to produce more collagen, and together with patented NeoGlucosamine® reinforce collagen’s surrounding support structure. The eye area appears more lifted, and crow’s feet are smoothed from the inside out. NeoGlucosamine® also inhibits a key enzyme in melanin formation, reducing the appearance of uneven pigmentation. Caffeine helps deflate puffiness under the eye, while hyaluronic acid acts as a natural moisture magnet. Vitamin E provides antioxidant benefits. The result is noticeably younger looking eyes. Ophthalmologist tested.

Key Ingredients: SynerG Formula 6.0, Apple Stem Cell Extract, Peptides, NeoGlucosamine, Caffeine, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E

Packaging: A minimalist metallic bottle with a pump dispenser

Price: $79 for 0.5 oz.

Dine Out : 15 East

March 11, 2015
15 East Review, 15 East New York

15 East has been on my list of restaurants to try for awhile now and I got to check it off after we had lunch there recently. The name of this restaurant which is a favorite among sushi lovers happens to be it's address. We chose to sit in the main dining room where the decor is elegantly low key yet comfortable. The atmosphere was also quite calm in there despite it being half-filled which was quite pleasant. My husband and I shared the Grilled Gindara - koi sake marinated black cod with uni sauce for our appetizer and the delicate mingling of flavors in the dish were excellent. We both had the Sushi Omakase which consisted of the chef's choice of seven pieces and a half roll. Both the quality and freshness of the fish were first rate. The service was also top notch. All this comes at a price as this is a Michelin star establishment. Our bill topped $100 and we were drinking club soda not alcohol. That said, we did leave there with happy bellies.

15 East
15 East 15th Street (Broadway Fifth)
New York City

What's In My Bag

March 9, 2015
Purse Peek, Purse Contents

I shared the contents of my bag in this post a few years ago and thought it would be fun to do an update to see what has changed and what has stayed the same. I would say that more has stayed the same and the items here are pretty much my purse essentials. 

This Lo & Son's Pearl Crossbody Bag has been my go-to purse for a few months now and I just love it. It's both compact and roomy at the same time and has a chic classic look that goes with just about anything I wear. I love that I can tote just my essentials but it can also easily accommodate my umbrella, camera or tablet as needed. This bag rocks!

Supergoop Forever Young Hand Cream: I always have a tube of hand cream in my bag and this is a current favorite since it effectively moisturizes and provides sun protection as well.

Koh Gen Do Refresh Skin Spray: This herbal lotion mist is a wonderful way to refresh and moisturize my skin on the go and I'm a big fan of facial sprays in general.

RESCUE Pastilles: Those of you who've been with me for awhile might remember when I was suffering from vertigo spells and tinnitus. This made me prone to anxiety attacks and I discovered RESCUE pastilles while checking out at Whole Foods one day. These natural and homeopathic pastilles made from flower extracts were developed by a doctor and really work to calm me down when a panic attack hits or when I'm feeling stressed. Since then I always carry a tin with me. They're particularly useful when I'm commuting and get stuck on a train or when traveling as being confined still gives me anxiety. The Black Currant flavor is my favorite and they're sugar-free too!

Song Hye Kyo's Two Tone Moment

March 6, 2015
Song Hye Kyo Laneige Two Tone Moment, Gradient Lips, Ombre Lips

The ever ravishing Song Hye Kyo is having a Two Tone Moment in Laneige's newest campaign promoting the beauty brand's new line of Two Tone Lip Bars. These two in one lip colors make it easy to create that gradient lip look that became really popular in Korea a few years ago. This ombre look is meant to make the lips look as if one has been just been eating a lollipop. This soft wash of color gives off a youthful and innocent vibe while placing focus on the eyes. It can take on either a subtle or dramatic feel depending on the colors used.

Hye Kyo who has long been the face of Laneige reportedly played an active role in the creative direction of the commercial film which highlights just a few of the shades in the line. It's really no surprise that the resulting visuals are stunning. The Red Blossom look is is my favorite because it comes across the most natural and wearable but of course she pulls them all off gorgeously.

These lipsticks were just recently introduced and are available on the brand's Asian website. Target does carry a range of Laneige skincare products and I'm hoping they'll expand it to include makeup as well. A friend was just recommending their Serum Intense lipstick which are supposed to deliver a rich dose of moisture along with color. I wonder if that might be the lipstick that Song Hye Kyo wore in That Winter The Wind Blows which sold out in a day.

What do you think of the gradient lip look? Is this something you've tried or would try?

Here is a tutorial if you'd like to try this out for yourself.

Song Hye Kyo Laneige Two Tone Moment, Gradient Lips, Ombre Lips
Song Hye Kyo Laneige Two Tone Moment, Gradient Lips, Ombre Lips

Currently Coveting

March 4, 2015

A few items currently on my wish list. I'm into the neutrals and gold this month.
What are you coveting lately?

1. Lomo'Instant Camera
{This cool looking camera produces instant Lomo style photos and I need it!}
2. Lustro Face Oil 2 - Jasmine
{I really want to try this luxurious blend of seven radiance boosting botanical oils not to mention that I wouldn't mind  looking at this gorgeous bottle in my bathroom cabinet.}
3. New Balance for J. Crew 620 Sneakers
{I might not need another pair of sneakers but these would be so perfect for the warmer months.}
4. Ooh La La Pouch
{This pouch is so cute and the scalloped edges are just darling!}
5. Aamaya by Priyanka Rose Gold Pearl Bunny Earrings
{My husband calls me bunny and I'm slightly obsessed with bunny shapes. These earrings are so playfully chic.}
6. Crosley Ranchero Radio
{This radio that also connects to MP3 devices has such an elegant vintage look and it's less than $20 now!}

Through My Lens : Recently

March 2, 2015
Chinese New Year at the Buddhist Temple

Some bits and pieces of Chinese New Year are included here since we're technically still celebrating. Visiting the Buddhist Temple on New Year's Day. I love seeing that chandelier juxtaposed with the Guan Yin Goddess of Mercy statue.

After holding out for the longest time, I finally joined Instagram. I have my issues with it but that's a story for another day. I'm @rolalaloves and you can find me here. I'll still be continuing with this Through My Lens series since I take plenty of pics but there may be a slight overlap with my Instagram feed or not. I'm still really trying to get the hang of posting on there. 

Chinese New Year Lion Dance
The red lion making an exit after blessing a restaurant. Everyone wanted to touch it for luck.

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