Archive for February 2015

Eye Candy : Daniel Henney for Pespow

February 27, 2015
Daniel Henney

Daniel Henney was chosen as the face of the premium Italian fashion brand Pespow last year and here he is modeling selections from their SS 2015 collection for Luxury magazine. The outfit with the tie is my favorite. This suave Korean American actor always kills it as a model and that hair! He first caught everyone's attention as Dr. Henry Kim in My Lovely Samsoon which is still one of my favorite K-dramas ever. You can catch it on Hulu or Netflix btw. I've honestly never been overly impressed with his acting so he's not one that I go out of my way to watch but I'm still glad when he gets cast in US productions. The Big Hero 6 actor (he voiced Tadashi Hamada) recently joined a new spin-off of the CBS show Criminal Minds along with Gary Sinise, Anna Gunn and Tyler James Williams. I wonder what this might mean for Tyler James Williams' character Noah on The Walking Dead. Daniel has previously appeared on American television in Revolution, NCIS Los Angeles, Three Rivers and Hawaii Five-O. I haven't watched any of those shows. Have you? Go behind the scenes of this shoot in the video below. This is my favorite editorial with him btw. You're welcome ^_~

Daniel Henney

InstaNatural Products Review

February 25, 2015

InstaNatural Dead Sea Mud Mask

I was recently sent a small selection of InstaNatural products to try out and review. They include a Dead Sea Mud Mask, Retinol Moisture Cream and Retinol Serum. InstaNatural is an leading online and global distributor of nature inspired beauty products. Their product line was developed with a focus on premium organic and natural ingredients in their formulations without the use of harmful parabens, sulfates and alcohols. All of InstaNatural's products are produced in small batches and packaged in FDA certified facilities in the US to ensure quality and freshness and they are all backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Onward to the reviews...

InstaNatural Review

J. Crew Fall 2015 Behind The Scenes

February 23, 2015
J. Crew Fall 2015 NYFW, J. Crew NYFW Behind The Scenes

J. Crew's Fall 2015 collection was one of the most buzzed about during NYFW because it was just that good. Their trademark smart tailoring, sophisticated details, luxe textures and cool styling were all present along  with a punchy color palette that included a a brilliant pairing of dusty blush pink and vibrant canary yellow. The collection has been talked about all over the place and you can see it in it's entirety here. I actually loved the brand's own peek behind the scenes of the presentation as well as the styling sessions showing creative director Jenna Lyons and head womenswear designer Tom Mora at work. These effortlessly wearable styles have me looking forward to fall already. This look, this look and this look are just a few of my favorites. What do you think of this collection? Any favorites?

J. Crew Fall 2015 NYFW, J. Crew NYFW Behind The Scenes
J. Crew Fall 2015 NYFW, J. Crew NYFW Behind The Scenes

Chinese New Year & Links À La Mode

February 22, 2015
Chinese New Year Traditions

On our way home from the temple on New Year's Day, we happened upon a Lion dance performance in Chinatown. This traditional dance is an integral element to Lunar New Year celebrations around the world. There are usually two lions that dance along the streets to the sounds of a rhythmic drum beat and clashing cymbals. They will go around to visit local businesses to bless them with good luck and good fortune for the year.

My post on How To Celebrate Chinese New Year was selected for IFB's Links à la Mode. 


Wardrobe Refresh

There's nothing like Fashion Week to get you thinking about your wardrobe. Getting that preview of everything that will hit the streets in six months feels like a little trip to the future. Your present wardrobe? How can you refresh it so it's future proofed? That's where paying attention to fashion month comes in handy. This week we look at what's been happening, and how to give yourself that little treat to keep you from the winter blues.

Links à la Mode: February 19th

SPONSORS: Shopbop Half Off Kobo, Tai, TB Swim, Merz, Prabal Gurung, Jet Set Diaries, Harris Wharf, Simkhai, Apiece Apart, Emerson Thorpe & Studio Pollini

Probiotics For Health

February 20, 2015
Probiotic Supplement

Probiotics are known as the "good bacteria" for a valid reason and they are essential to the health of your skin as well as your digestive system and immune system. These live microorganisms aid in digestion, improve colon health and can even reduce the severity of illnesses like the cold and flu. A plentiful amount of probiotics in your body will help to suppress the growth of harmful bacteria. 

Most people commonly associate probiotics with yogurt and you should look for ones that contain live and active cultures. There are also some dairy free yogurts that contain added probiotics made from coconut milk, rice or soy. Whatever you choose, just make sure it has no added sugar or low sugar. Fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles and miso are also rich in probiotics. Other sources include kefir, kombucha, tempeh and microalgae.

How To Celebrate Chinese New Year

February 18, 2015
Chinese New Year traditions, Chinese New Year customs, Chinese New Year celebration

The Lunar New Year also known as Chinese New Year falls on February 19, 2015 this year. yes that's tomorrow. This holiday which begins with the first new moon of the Lunar New Year and the Spring Festival lasts for 15 days. This happy occasion is celebrated in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam as well as Korea and Japan. Many Chinese communities in major cities around the world also carry out their own festivities. Preparations for the celebration often begins weeks before the big day and there are a number of customs/traditions that people observe in order to usher in the coming year in the most propitious manner. These are some of the most common which we actually observe in our household as well.

1. Clean the house
The entire home should be cleaned before New Year's day. Anything broken should be repaired or discarded and all cleaning implements are to be stored away out of sight. This tradition is founded on the belief that a thorough cleaning of your house will "sweep away" all the stagnant energy that has built up over the past year and prepares you for a fresh start.

2. Decorate the house
People decorate their homes because it is festive and also to encourage good fortune and abundance. Red is widely used because it symbolizes happiness. Gold is used to signify prosperity. People use items like red lanterns (good luck), mystic knots (protection) and plants (good luck). They also commonly place nine oranges or tangerines with the leaves attached to guard against bad luck and attract prosperity.

3. Buy lucky flowers and plants
Decorating the home with flowers is believed to have a positive impact on the family's fortune since it is based on the belief that fruits cannot be beared without flowers and they are thought to be good decorations since they are full of meaning. Fortuitous flowers and plants include pussy willows (growth & prosperity), cherry blossoms (rebirth & new growth), orchids (perfection & purity), peonies (love & romance) and bamboo (luck).

4. Get a haircut
It is considered bad luck to cut anything or handle any sharp objects during the New Year so people typically schedule haircuts the week before.

5. Buy new clothes
Wearing new clothes on New Year's day is a way to start the year off right. Of course red is the preferred color and some will opt to wear new red underwear. Black and white are considered unlucky colors and should be avoided.

6. Get together for dinner with loved ones
Families gather for reunion dinners to feast on a bounty of traditional dishes which are rich in symbolism. Learn more about Chinese New Year Lucky Foods.

7. Give red envelopes
This is a time of sharing and connecting and people give each other gifts of red envelopes (lai see/hong bao) filled with money. The red color of the envelopes symbolizes good luck and the tradition is believed to ward off evil spirits. New notes in even amounts should be given as odd numbers are associated with cash distributed at funerals.

8. Avoid taboos
There are a number of superstitions centered around activities that are considered unlucky and should thus be avoided during the New Year. Since this is a time of happiness and good will, don't fight or quarrel. Don't say anything negative and don't cry because it's bad luck. Avoid washing your hair on the first day because you don't want to wash away any good luck. Same goes for washing clothes. Similarly no cleaning or taking out the trash if you don't want to rid yourself of good fortune.

This is the year of the wooden ram, sheep or goat depending on your interpretation. In Chinese, the word yang 羊 is used interchangeably for all three. In any case, the ram/sheep/goat is the eighth sign of twelve in the Chinese zodiac and is considered an auspicious animal that brings promise and prosperity.

Here's to a happy, healthy and prosperous new year to everyone celebrating! Gong Hei Fat Choy! Gong Xi Fa Cai! 新年快樂! 恭禧发财! My husband and I always visit the Buddhist temple with my mom on New Year's Day. If you're in New York City, here is a list of some of the festivities happening around town.

Chinese New Year traditions, Chinese New Year customs, Chinese New Year celebration

Photos: one//two//three//four//five//six//seven//eight//nine

Long Weekend Sales & Links À La Mode

February 16, 2015

So it's been awhile since I've actually felt like shopping for clothes but since cleaning out my closet and making some money through thredUp in the process, I'm back in the game and taking advantage of some of the President's Day sales happening on this long weekend in the US. With the extra discounts, there are some really great deals. Below are some of the sales I've checked out. I've purchased this topthis top, these gloves, this ring and these pants for myself and this shirt, this sweater, this jacket and these pants for my husband. I actually quite enjoy shopping for him.

Are you shopping any of the President's Day Sales? What have you bought?

For anyone who was interested in the vanilla scented C. Wonder Astrology candles I had bought, they are currently on sale for $6.60 each through Shopbop

Ann Taylor: 30% off full price styles and 50% off sale with code STYLE
Anthropologie: Up to 40% off sale and free shipping on orders $150 up with code FS150
ASOS: 20% off full priced items with code PREZDAY20, extra 10% off clearance with code FINAL10
Banana Republic: 40% off with the code BRLOVEYOU
Barneys Warehouse: Extra 50% off clearance, extra 30% off all outwear and winter accessories
Baublebar: 20% off sitewide with the code PREZ20
Bloomingdales: Shop the Big Brown Bag Sale for savings of 20% - 60%
Bluefly: Up to 80% off in the Presidents' Day Sale
Boden: 20% off all cold weather wear with code BRRR
Club Monaco: Extra 30% off sale, 40% off clearance with code GREATSALE
Cole Haan: 25% off almost everything with the code PRES25
The Dreslyn: 15% off sitewide with the code BECAUSE
French Connection: 60% off sale styles and free shipping with code PRES60
Gap: 40% off with the code WINTER
J. Crew: Extra 40% - 50% off final sale with code WEEKENDMUST
J. Crew Factory: 40% - 50% off everything and an extra 10% with code LOTSTOLOVE
Kate Spade Saturday: Extra 25% off sitewide with code EXTRA25
Loft: 50% off select seasonal styles and extra 60%  all sale
Lord &Taylor: 20% off almost everything with code PRESIDENT
Macys: Extra 20% off with code PRES
Madewell: Extra 30% off sale with code AMOUR
Neiman Marcus Last Call: Up to 30% off everything, extra 10% on top of sale
Nordstrom: Shop the Clearance Sale for savings up to 40%
Nordstrom Rack: Extra 25% off clearance
Old Navy: Entire store up to 50% off
Piperlime: 30% off select spring styles with code WINNING
Rebecca Taylor: Extra 25% off sale with code RTSALE25
Revolve Clothing: Shop the Presidents' Day Sale for up to 65% 
Saks Off Fifth: Extra 40% off sitewide with code PRESIDENT
Shopbop: Up to 70% off sale
Sole Society: Shop the Presidents' Day Sale for savings up to 70%
TopShop: Up to 50% off new season styles
Tory Burch: 25% off sale styles with code SALE25
Urban Outfitters: Shop the In The Bag Sale for savings up to 70%

My post on the Health Benefits of starting your day with a cup of lemon water was selected for IFB's Links à la Mode.

Eye Candy : Li BingBing & Chen Kun for Cosmopolitan

February 13, 2015
Li BingBing and Chen Kun, Li Bing Bing, Chen Kun

Li BingBing and Chen Kun happen to be two of my favorite Chinese artists so I was thrilled when I learned that they were collaborating again on the film Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal ( 鍾馗伏魔:雪妖魔靈) which opens in China on February 19.
The 3D fantasy adventure tells the story of a man with mysterious powers who finds himself drawn into a battle between the realms of heaven, hell, and earth. Li BingBing portrays an ice demon who falls into a forbidden love with Zhong Kui and she may be the most stunning demon ever judging by how she appears in this trailer. I'm not sure if I want to watch this movie but the special effects do look impressive. And they both look gorgeous in this Cosmopolitan China editorial. I can't say that I'm loving Chen Kun's longer hair even though he has a great head of hair. It looked so good in this Van Cleef and Arpels campaign and even better here but he's as handsome as ever. Li BingBing's hair and makeup is just flawless.

Li BingBing and Chen Kun, Li Bing Bing, Chen Kun

My Winter Hats

February 11, 2015
Hats for Warmth

Since winter isn't going away anytime soon, hats will continue being a big part of my daily outfits. Headwear is a must when it's chilly since I feel so much colder when my head and ears aren't covered. I'm aware that the theory that one's body loses most of it's heat through the head has already been disproved but I remain convinced it's true. Most of my winter hats are beanies and I really like ones with pompoms. The only thing is that they don't fit under my hoods which I do actually flip up for extra warmth on those really frigid days. My favorite hat is the Orla Kiely one in the upper right corner which I bought years ago at a Showroom Seven sample sale. The bright colors are a real mood lifter. The black fuzzy Sherlock style one on the lower left is Genie by Eugenia Kim and the only non-beanie in my collection of winter hats. I picked it up on sale for just $10 at Anthropologie last year. It looks much better with the ear flaps tied up and still covers my ears. Warmth definitely trumps concerns of hat hair and sometimes I even use a hat to conceal my hair issues. My husband is also hat person in the winter and he favors slouchy beanies. My other winter must would be my mittens.

Do you feel like hats keep you warmer during the winter? What is your favorite type of hat?

Start The Day Right With Lemon Water

February 9, 2015
Lemon Water, Health Benefits of Lemon Water, Lemon Detox Water, Why you should drink lemon water

My first drink of the day is usually hot water with lemon because it's such an easy way to detox and do something good for my body. Lemons are packed with vitamin C,  B-complex vitamins, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and fiber which all boast numerous health benefits. 

1. Boosts Immunity
Lemons provide a natural boost to the immune system which helps the body protect itself from stress.

2. Aids Digestion
Lemons have been shown to be effective in relieving indigestion, heartburn and bloating.

3. Supports Digestive Health
Lemons soothe the digestive system by neutralizing and flushing stored toxins as well as stimulating and strengthening the liver.

4. Relieves Pain and Inflammation
Lemon water helps to dissolve uric acid buildup in joints and knees to ease inflammation.

5. Enhance Skin Health
Lemons contain a high level of antioxidants which help protect against free radical damage and prevent acne and wrinkles.

6. Balance pH Levels
The alkalizing effect of lemons counterbalance the body's pH levels against acid forming foods like alcohol, sugar and fat.

7. Improves Moods
 The potassium in lemons is a natural mood enhancer that helps to reduce anxiety and depression.

8. Freshens Breath
Lemons contain natural essential oils which clean and freshen your mouth, prevent gingivitis and relieve toothaches.

9. Aids Weight Loss
The pectin fiber in lemons is beneficial for colon health which reduces bloating and also counters hunger cravings.

10. Soothes Colds
 Drinking warm lemon water when you're sick can help soothe a sore throat as well as loosen up congestion and prevent dehydration.

To make, just squeeze the juice of a half a lemon into a cup of hot or warm water. It's best to consume this 15 - 20 minutes before having your breakfast so your body can absorb all the goodness and your metabolism will also get a jumpstart. To protect the enamel on your teeth, be sure to brush them before drinking lemon water. You can also try drinking it through a straw or rinsing your mouth afterwards. I don't happen to drink coffee ever and I find that lemon water is a great energizer in the mornings since lemons have a high concentration of negatively charged ions which improves oxygen uptake and brain function. I also sometimes drink a cup at night if I've had a particularly heavy meal and can vouch for the digestive benefits. It has to be hot though.

Do you drink lemon water? What is your first drink of the day?

Marion Cotillard's Chic Style

February 6, 2015
Marion Cotillard Airport Style, Celebrity Style

Time will tell if Marion Cotillard will win an Oscar for her performance in Two Days, One Night but she wins big for her airport style this week. The lovely French actress is well known for her considerable acting talents and her impeccable fashion sense is quite admirable as well. She frequently makes bold choices that pay off on the red carpet and her off duty style is equally on point so it comes as no surprise how effortlessly chic she appeared while walking through LAX. Fortunately this ensemble that perfectly marries style and practicality can be pretty easily recreated. Her breton stripe top and black skinny jeans invoke a classic gamine style while her leopard print topper adds a dash of glamour. The look is finished off with a pair of elegant oversized sunnies, sleek Chelsea boots and a small ladylike bag. Would you wear this outfit? What do you think of Marion Cotillard's style?

Have you entered the Sephora Favorites giveaway?
Marion Cotillard look for less, Steal her style

Photo: GVK/Bauer Griffin 

Giveaway : Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Lip

February 4, 2015
Giveaway, Beauty Giveaway, Sephora Giveaway

Today I'm giving away a Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Lip Sampler Kit. This limited edition six piece set ($25 retail / $90 value) includes a deluxe sample size assortment of coveted glosses, tints and lacquers and one full size lip gloss. Sets like this are a fun way to experiment with different formulas and play with new shades.
Giveaway, Beauty Giveaway, Sephora Giveaway

1 g  / 0.03 oz  Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Naked
A luxury lipstick with intense color payoff and creamy shine.

4 g / 0.12 oz  NARS Deluxe Lip Gloss in Orgasm
A moisturizing lip gloss that supports anti-aging and imparts long-wearing sophisticated shine and stunning color for subtle, everyday glamour.

2 mL / 0.07 fl oz  Buxom Mini Full-On Lip Cream in White Russian
A creamy, no shimmer lip gloss with a tingling plumping effect.

0.65 g / 0.02 oz  Marc Jacobs Beauty Lust For Lacquer in Kissability
A lightly pigmented champagne-grape infused lip vinyl that delivers plumping antioxidants, essential oils and a hint of effervescence for a perfect pout with unparalleled shine.

1.48 g / 0.05 oz  Bite Beauty Deluxe High Pigment pencil in Meritage
A long lasting matte lip pencil with super antioxidant resveratrol which fights free radicals with potent long term anti-aging benefits.

6 mL / 0.2 fl oz  Smashbox Cosmetics Be Legendary Lip Gloss in Pout
A light and airy gloss with vibrant color and a glassy, non-stick finish for mirror-like shine.

This is an international giveaway that starts February 4, 2015 and ends on February 19, 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 has been a little temperamental so if it doesn't load on this page, just click through here for it. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Second photo courtesy of Sephora

Through My Lens : Recently

February 2, 2015
Nail Polish Top Coat

Before I start this post, I have to mention that Bloglovin' may've eaten my blog at least temporarily. I made a request to have them update my URL since I switched to a custom domain because you can't do it yourself. Well they told me that they moved my page and followers but they didn't tell me where and it seems to be missing. I'm hoping that this issue will be resolved soon but it's been a little distressing to say the least. Update: My blog is back! Thank you Bloglovin'

I may have bought this Paul & Joe Beaute Top Coat because it comes in such a gorgeous bottle but it actually works pretty well and provides a shiny chip free finish to my nail polish.

Diptyque Jasmin Candle, C. Wonder Candles

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