Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween Ideas

{Puss in Boots, flying cat, & Panda}
{Illuminated carved pumpkins at my doorsteps)
{Skull on bookshelf, back-lit by flickering LED lights}
{The centerpiece on my dinning table+ pumpkin candle
{Baked Acorn Squash--Recipe here}
{Cinderella Pumpkin soup--Recipe here}
Just looking at old photos from my Halloween last year for inspirations since I am gonna go to a pumpkin patch tomorrow.  Hopefully there are still some good pumpkins left for me.
Wishing everyone a Happy Halloween weekend!

P.S: The kids in my neighborhood loved the Puss in Boots.  My friends loved the illuminated skulls.  My family really enjoyed the soup. :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Lip Wear

I can't stand chapped lips and these two products are my current lip saviors: Jack Black intensive therapy lip balm (my favorite is the grapefruit & ginger one) and Befine lip serum.  The former has SPF 25 so I use it during the day, and the latter a bit oily with no sunscreen so I use it at night.  What is your favorite lip balm?
Have a good week, everyone!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Blue & White

There are days that I stand in front of my overflowing closet and just do not know what to wear.  But there are also days that certain objects remind me of certain clothing items stuck tight in the back of my closet that I want to drag out and wear right away (like here and here).  Today, these bird pictures brought me back not only to the nice weekend spent walking on the beach trying different kinds of seafoods and feeding/taking pictures of  the birds on the pier, but also to the above dress I got a long time ago.  I yanked it out among my tightly packed clothes  a little too forcefully that it fell off the hanger and landed on the hard wood floor.  All the crystals cracked!  But it still feels good to wear such a light garment in this lingering summer heat.

Have a good week, everyone!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Summer Skin

 Allure's Sept issue had a good article on skin scare, which inspired me to do this post.  Skin is the largest organ in our body and oftentimes, it's not taken care of properly.  If you're like me who has extremely sensitive skin, you know how frustrating it is to pick the right skin care products out of zillions of products out there which promise a lot but deliver so little.  

In recent years, my skin just stopped responding to all the products I tried.  It became dry, flaky at times, red, and extra oily.  I thought I had tried pretty everything I could think of.  Different products claimed for hypersensitive skin.  Plus no make up.  Plus no hot shower.  Plus...The list went on...Well I did almost everything except for a visit to a dermatologist.  I finally saw one earlier this year when my face started to sting when any kind of moisturizer or sunscreen was applied on.

The verdict from the dermatologist?!  My skin's protective barrier was damaged.  How could it be?  I used good products, I wore sunscreen.  Well to make the story short, I used all the wrong products! :(

I went home with a "prescription" for 1) CeraVe hydrating cleanser,  & 2) CeraVe AM lotion.  I was disappointed at first because I thought I would get some "miracle" formula that would transform my skin, not these products available on any pharmacy's shelves.

Eight months later....

These are the best products I've had my hands on.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE them. My skin LOVES LOVES them.

1) CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser: formulated to avoid soap-related irritation containing all the hydrating all-stars: hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramindes, and cholesterol which designed to remain active on skin after the product is removed.  One thing though, it does not remove make up well with one wash.  Two or three washes would do.

 2) CeraVe AM Moisturizer: fragrance-free,  SPF 30, and light texture with smooth dry-down.  The same ingredients as the cleanser help skin look and feel good.  I use CeraVe PM moisturizer at night for its lighter texture without the sunscreen.  It would be ideal if CeraVe had added some antioxidants to the formula.

Note: CeraVe products do contain parabens.  A lot of people shy away products containing parabens as a result of the controversies in recent years regarding allergic reactions, & possible link to breast cancer due to their estrogen mimicking property.  BUT parabens are only found in levels ranging from 0.01 to 0.3 % in skincare products and the FDA has determined parabens to be safe perservatives in cosmetic products.

I am overdue for a check-up with my dermatologist but my schedule hasn't allowed me so.  I had to cancel my appointment 4 times the last four month and hopefully I can keep the next one in October.  :)

In the meantime, I found this toner called La Vie Celeste Restorative Illuminating Toner.  I think a good toner cleanser is one of the staples for great skin care.  If your skin is sensitive like mine, which is prone to redness,  irritation, and looking dull or worn, this toner really qualifies.  Also, it's loaded with antioxidants that my moisturizer lacks.  I LOVE this toner, my favorite one so far. :)

I love the Toner so much that I also tried their La Vie Celeste Day & Night Face Cream.  The cream works well but is a bit too thick for the summer.  I think it would be a nice cream to alternate with my CeraVe PM in the winter.  I wish it had contained some sunscreen components so that I can wear it out during the day.

For the body, I currently use Jason Natural Cosmetics Satin Shower Body Wash (also sold at Wholefoods).  It's fragrance-free and very gentle.  Once in a while, I use J'adore shower gel/lotion since I love the fragrance and don't want to wear perfume in the summer.  I know fragrance is #1 skin irritants but once-in-a-while indulgence is forgivable. :)

And don't forget to eat a lot of antioxidants. 
Rambutants: my current enjoyment of tropical fruits 
I've found a way to enjoy pineapple with minimal tongue itch--Use a juicer! :)

I want to include Claydry deodorant here since it really works and is very gentle your underarm.  The best deodorant in my opinion so far.  The barely there citrus blossom smell is refreshing without interfering with your scents/or perfumes.  You can also find this at Wholefoods.

I know it's a long post but skincare is big for me.  If you have any other good products, please share. 
                                           Happy Sunday everyone!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tried & Approved

Finding the right shampoo for your hair can be tricky.   The past few visits to my hair dresser, who noticed the continuing and worrisome damaged/ thinning condition of my hair, has put an end to my frequent use of the curling iron and set forth my determination to take better care of my hair. I wash my hair everyday, so avoiding products that are too harsh for my hair, which is straight and fine, is essential.  My favorite product of the moment is CON Argan oil shampoo/conditioner, but I've found that my hair responds best if I rotate among different products. The other products I have good results with are  Max Green Alchemy Scalp Rescue Shampoo/Coinditioner Acure’s Moroccan Argan Stem Cell + Argan Oil Shampoo/Conditioner.  
Once a week or so, I also use this product called Vinegar Rinse Cleanser to neutralize the alkali left by shampoo and condition (not pictured since the bottle I am using is almost out).
If you have any other good recommendations, please share with me.  Have a good week everyone! :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Natural Light Show

I love the warm lighting when the sun is about to set.  What's better is when nature surprises me with an extraordinary light show like the one a few days ago.   The sky's colors changed right before my eyes (as opposed to its normal gradual procession): one minute it showcased a beautiful creation of the double rainbows right after a fleeting summer's sprinkling rain, the next minute warm lights yellow to orange red in colors twirling around in the blue sky.  The time lapse between the first to the last picture was about 15 minutes Spectacular!
Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

{Very} Blueberry Tart

I like blueberry everything but never tried blueberry tarts.  I guess those from the bakeries do not have a strong appeal to me since they're too sweet and contain too few blueberries (Yes, I am one of those who read all the food labels :)).  So today when I saw a whole bunch of blueberries in the fridge, I knew exactly what I wanted to make.  A very very blueberry tart!  
For the crust, I followed this recipe with the reduction of butter and whipping cream.  I made mine really thin.
Tart filling:
Ingredients: 1/4 lb. cream cheese, 2 eggs (only 1 yolk used), 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla extract.
Mix in blend cream cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract.  Then add the desired amount of fresh blueberries to the mixture ( I used approximately 1 lb but I would add more if it could hold more ;)). 
Bake for ~ 30 min at 350 F.  Enjoy the wonderful aroma permeating your kitchen :).  Garnish the tart with powdered sugar.
Hope everyone is having a good week so far :).