Sunday, March 1, 2015

Restaurant Week | David Burke Kitchen

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I don't know why but I have always had the notion that Restaurant Week would be too fancy for me to experience. When Bestie C asked if I wanted to go to a participating restaurant last week, I was intrigued but a bit hesitant. (But really more the former than the latter.) The $25 price tag pretty much sealed the deal. Still pricey? Yes but when comparing it to the restaurants' usual pricing, $25 for a 3 course pre-fix meal is a darn good deal. When else will I get to try these types of foods right?

David Burke Kitchen was Bestie C's pick. It's located at what seems like the edge of Soho in a quiet area that is a quick walk away if you're already near Soho. The restaurant itself was pretty big with various table sizes to fit big and small parties alike. We were seated at one of the smaller, more intimate tables since it was just the two of us.

Restaurant Week, Restaurant Week 2015, David Burke Kitchen
Grapes & Vinegar-y carrots
Restaurant Week, Restaurant Week 2015, David Burke Kitchen, appetizer, Lobster Dumpling Soup
Lobster Dumpling Soup
Restaurant Week, Restaurant Week 2015, David Burke Kitchen, entree, Hanger Steak Frites
Hanger Steak Frites
Restaurant Week, Restaurant Week 2015, David Burke Kitchen, dessert, Mocha Mousse Bar
Mocha Mousse Bar (& Toasted Coconut Tart in background)
If I am to be honest, I had somewhat high expectations. Restaurant week, fancy place (in my books), and great food were three things that automatically linked in my brain. Question now is did this meal disappoint? Mostly no.

The highlights for me were the appetizer and desserts. The Lobster Dumpling Soup was light but flavorful and both desserts were indulgent and delicious. Bestie C and I both agreed that the Mocha Mousse Bar was the better of the two, but I also really liked the Toasted Coconut Tart if it was sans the pineapple garnish. My entree of Hanger Steak Frites was just alright (additional cost to the $25 for this particular entree). The flavor was definitely there. The steak bit was too tough and chewy for medium cooked beef. Of the entree, the thicker cut fries were my favorite—crispy yet soft and well seasoned. I like the sweets we had so much that I would probably want to visit David Burke Kitchen just for it!


I think this coming week is the last official week of Restaurant Week - Winter 2015 edition. There is an overwhelming number of restaurants throughout NYC that are offering $25 lunch and $38 dinner menus. This may sound crazy but Bestie C and I've already got 2 more places we're planning to go to before the week is over. Hello more consistent workouts for the next bajillion weeks!

Has anyone been to a restaurant week before?
Any gem finds that I should add to my To Try list for the future?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wandering Tales | Snowy Getaway to Camelback Mountain

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Even though NYC didn't get hit quite as hard as predicted by this recent storm Juno, it was enough to make me want to stay inside for a couple days. I was nice and cozy under blankets & got my Doctor Who binge on. (TV watching = great break activity in my books.)

But still, nothing like a winter storm and the start of a new school semester to get me missing this past winter break. I want to say I didn't do much this break but if I listed it out it's probably not true.

One of the more fun events this month was the mini-trip the Besties and I took in the beginning of this new year. It was a pretty last minute getaway but we were able to finally find the time to go snowboarding together.

Camelback Mountain Resort
Disclaimer: None of us knew a thing about snowboarding or skiing prior to the trip.
Since our first ever lesson was in the afternoon, we headed out of NYC later than normal. We arrived at Camelback Mountain just in the nick of time and was instructed by Billy for about an hour on the basics. He was super patient with all of us. But it's safe to say that I was pretty nervous and never wanted to volunteer first out of the four of us during the class.

Camelback Mountain Resort, food, pulled pork sandwich
By the time lessons were over we were all pretty hungry and filled our tummies in the food court like area at the resort. The food wasn't great or anything but it filled the belly.

Camelback Mountain Resort, snowboarding Camelback Mountain Resort, snowboarding, gear, rented
The most fun I had was practicing on the small learning slope at night. There weren't as many people there and was therefore way less hectic—definitely helps with easing the nerves. After a bunch of falls, I somehow got the hang of things and was able to stop without falling down. The main problem I had at the end was not being able to control myself while going downhill. I would begin with my right side in front and end with the left, fully 180° turn and all unintentional. If only Billy could have seen me then! Otherwise, I came home pretty much the same as I went: bruise- and (pretty much) pain-free.

Chateau Resort, moon, trees, night
Chateau Resort, Camelback Mountain view
We ended up booking a room at a (very) nearby hotel via Groupon at the Chateau Resort. There was a nice view of the slopes outside and we got to experience snowfall during the trip, although fake. It will take a few more snowboarding trips before I have the guts to take the chair lifts to the higher slopes.

Camelback Mountain Resort, snowtubing entrance Camelback Mountain Resort, snowtubing ticket
Camelback Mountain Resort, snowtubing slope
I was pretty hesitant at first with the whole snow tubing idea when I saw the hill we would be going down.
Camelback Mountain Resort, snowtubing lift
Camelback Mountain Resort, snowtubes Camelback Mountain Resort, snowtubing
After going down the slope a couple times I wish we were able to stay for even longer. But it doesn't help that the snow tubing area opens late and gets pretty busy just a couple hours after opening.

Otherwise a few tips to anyone else who's never been snowboarding/skiing/snow tubing before & a reminder to myself for future snowboarding trips:
  • layers, layers, layers!
  • waterproof pants and gloves are a must
  • better to have those hand/toe warmers than not

Something a little different from my typical posts...
I've had the GoPro for a while now and haven't even it much love recently. But I made sure to pack it for this trip and managed to get enough footage (with the help of Bestie S) to make a short clip. Hooray for video keepsakes!

Has anyone gone snowboarding before?
If you have, how long did it take for you to get the hang of things?
If not, do you have plans to give it a try?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Declaring Project Make a Dent - 1st Edition

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It's a new year! Happy 2015 everyone ^_^

As usual school got the best of me. But! I was also working on a side project thanks to one of my graphics professors. All-in-all I am glad I decided to agree to the opportunity and not be a scaredy-cat of all the if's, and's, & but's that could have happened.

Now is, well actually yesterday was, really the start of my last winter break of my undergraduate years. Cannot believe it is already here. I really wanted to go somewhere for a long holiday to make the most of this but don't think it'll work out (kinda late for anything but impromptu trips now).

Otherwise...I haven't set resolutions or goals for the year yet. I find that I forget most of them by the time the next week comes around anyways. (Honestly!) Better to come up with them and deal with it as things come up. Life and reality are so dynamic, I'm just going to resolve, for now, to be more open and to figure things out as they come.

Project Make a Dent, Benefit highlight, Nanoce BB Cream, Hada Labo BB Cream, MAC Cream Colour, Etude House blush and bronzer, Esprique Precious palette, Maquillage palette, Lioele lip balm, Clinique chubby stick

I guess my first goal of the year would be to start tackling my much too massive stash of beauty goods. It's always hard for me to keep to the habit of using things but I find that I have it a bit easier with skincare items than makeup. I've seen "Project Make a Dent" on several blogs before and thought it'd be a nice way to give some attention to neglected goodies.

I'm not really sure what the official rules are or anything but these are just a few things that I honestly haven't touched in a while, have just had for way too long, or have too many of that type of product. As others who've done this project have said, I think it's much harder to focus on a set of products if these are the only things that can be used. With that in mind, I am going to keep these are my go-to items but still allow myself to "cheat" on these guys with other products or colors, etc.

Hada Labo BB Moist Emulsion, Nanoce BB Cream, Canmake Cover & Stretch Concealer UV, Benefit Highbeam highlighter
L to R: Hada Labo BB Moist Emulsion SPF50+ PA+++ in Natural Ochre, Nanoce BB Moist Cream in No.2, Canmake Cover & Stretch Concealer UV in Shade 2, Benefit Highbeam
Oyy I can't even remember exactly I bought all of these but I think it must have been before college. They don't have any strange smell or anything so hopefully I be able to empty them.

(I have already rid my drawers of most of the older BB creams I hoarded way back when. Was bored one day and had a fun dumping spree but forgot to snap any pics. Really opened my eyes to how much stuff I wasted...)

Asian makeup, Korean makeup, Japanese makeup, Etude House blush, Etude House bronzer, Maquillage Face Creator, Esprique Precious eye palette, MAC cosmetics cream colour blush
Top going clockwise: MAC Cream Colour Base in Virgin Isle, Maquillage Face Creator, Esprique Precious, Etude House Lovely Cookie Blusher in 5 Lovely  Pink, mark Powder Buff Natural Skin Foundation in Powder Buff, Etude House Model Face Color in 2 Model Shade
Colored products and powdered items like these are so hard to complete! I can't remember the last time I finished a powdered product. Looking forward to see more pan bottoms.

Mark Powder Buff Natural Skin Foundation, Project Make a Dent
mark Powder Buff Natural Skin Foundation in Powder Buff
Something that I don't really like or dislike. It's alright but can be a bit too matte for my liking. I tend to use a fluffy brush so I don't see much coverage effect and can't vouch for that aspect.

Etude House Lovely Cookie Blusher, Korean cosmetics, Project Make a Dent
Etude House Lovely Cookie Blusher in 5 Lovely Pink
These were so popular a few years back! I think Etude House still has these but with new colors and names. It isn't bad for the price but it is a bit difficult to pick up product (at least for this older version).

Etude House Model Face Color contour, Korean cosmetics, Project Make a Dent
Etude House Model Face Color in 2 Model Shade
I really like that this is matte shading color. But it has a pretty strong flowery scent that takes some getting used to. I am not sure if this particular item is still sold by Etude House or not anymore because I received this as a giveaway prize a couple/few years back. If it is and you're a person who likes a more pigmented shading product this isn't what you're looking for. It'd say that it works but either for more subtle/natural look or with much effort and layering.


MAC Cream Colour Base in Virgin Isle
Please please excuse the nasty state of my blush. But surely this is the realty of cream blush pots: dust and brush hair collectors. (No it isn't my facial fuzz or eyebrow hairs.) I love how pigmented this blush is! Don't worry about looking like a clown because a little goes a long way. I prefer to use a denser brush and just dab it on my cheeks.

Maquillage Face Creator palette, Japanese cosmetics, Project Make a Dent
Maquillage Face Creator
I have been really loving this item lately. Don't remember if it was last January or some time before or after that, J from lilladylife passed this on to me to use. I don't have very many powder highlighters and am quite satisfied with these for now. Not too sparkly and chunky while doing it's job. If I can hit pan or finish, I'll think about those Hourglass Ambient highlighters that have been all the rave lately.

Esprique Precious eye palette, Japanese cosmetics, Project Make a Dent
Esprique Precious eye palette
Another goodie that J gave. It is simple and natural enough that I think I'll be able to reach for regularly. If I can even make a dip in these I'll be quite happy.

Project Make a Dent, Clinique Chubby Stick Lip Balm, Lioele Donut Glo-Stick, Livin Nature lipstick, Korean cosmetics
Project Make a Dent before, Clinique Chubby Stick Lip Balm, Lioele Donut Glo-Stick, Living Nature lipstick, Korean cosmetics
L to R: Cinique Chubby Stick in Woppin Watermelon, Lioele Donut Glo-Stick in Milky Pink, Living Nature Lipstick in Sandstone
Oh...lip products and eye products are ultimately always the ones that are left in the dark for me. I can deal with bolder/brighter cheeks and can hide my neck if my face is too light but I am never confident enough to wear colored lip or eye looks. Maybe because these really scream "Makeup wearer!" yet I have a ton of lip balms, stains, and sticks that are unloved. These are just a few subtle colors that I would have a better chance of grabbing in the morning. They practically look untouched!

For the following 2015 year these goodies will sit out near my getting-ready-area for easy access. Let's see what results I can get by this time in 2016! I am not sure if I will update monthly or quarterly yet but an update will come.

Is anyone else embarking on a similar plan? What are your other goals (if you have any now)?