April & May 2014 Happenings

5:18:00 PM mandy 0 Comments

This post is very late... But here are a few mini "adventures" I had the last 2 months.

Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University
A friend and I made an overnight trip to Stony Brook University during our Spring Break. We decided to take the LIRR there. Although neither of us were familiar with that train system, we managed to make it in one piece. Hurray!

I was pretty excited as it was going to be my first dorming experience (even if it was just for one night). Since I hardly ever travel, I looked pretty overpacked; now I know better, right?

Even though Stony is infamously known to be a party-school, I thought it was rather calm for a Thursday night. (Not that I went looking to party :P) I love the convenience of the college I go to...but nothing can really compare to an actual campus and all it's openness & culture.

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Cutting Board
53 Bayard St New York, NY 10013
b/t Bowery & Elizabeth St in Chinatown
Cutting Board Chinatown NYC Calamari Sweet Potato Waffle Fries  Cutting Board Chinatown NYC Pancetta Cream Pasta
Fried Calamari w/ 3 sauces, Sweet Potato Waffle Fries, Pancetta Cream Pasta
I rarely go to Chinatown nowadays. There seem to be many new restaurants that aren't the typical Cantonese cuisine-fare. I hear there are also some good ramen places in the area now as well. (Next on my to-try list!)

Cutting Board offers an Asian fusion/Italian selection. I remember seeing many Facebook posts from Cutting Board last summer and they all looked pretty tasty. I can't attest to all their dishes but the ones I had weren't bad. Portions are big for one person but not quite enough to share among two people.


Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
65 Bayard St New York, NY 10013
b/t Mott St & Elizabeth St in Chinatown
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory NYC Red Bean
Red Bean Ice Cream & Waffle Cone
I've heard of this place and walked pass the store many many times before but have never tried their ice cream. The lineup for Chinatown Ice Cream Factory was really no joke. When paired with their narrow store space, it can get pretty overwhelming and fast. I would suggest taking a look through their website and/or Yelp first. As with other ice cream stores they do offer taste testing but it may be a little difficult get the busy employees' attention.

They had many flavors that I wanted to try but ended up playing it safe and getting the red bean flavor. I was a tad disappointed because there wasn't that much red bean flavor. But...if I ever feel like lining up again I would definitely go back to try some of their other unique flavors.


Melt Bakery @ Madison Square Eats
Melt Bakery NYC Mango Sorbet Cardamom Cookies
Mango Sorbet w/ Cardamom Cookie

Spot Dessert @ Food Gallery 32
Spot Dessert Koreatown NYC Smoked Coconut Cheesecake
Smoked Coconut Cheesecake
Bestie C's surprise treat after Finals week. She didn't really like this but I thought it was pretty tasty. Then again I don't think she's a big fan of coconut and I am quite the opposite :P


Sundaes and Cones
95 E 10th St New York, NY 10003
at 3rd Ave in East Village
Sundaes and Cones East Village Soho NYC Thai Ice Hazelnut Waffle Cone
Thai Ice + Hazelnut Ice Cream & Waffle Cone
I think this has to be the best ice cream I have ever had. They had many interest flavors but Thai Ice (tea) and Hazelnut was calling my name this time around. I really should have only gotten one flavor but I don't know when the next visit will be! The ice cream was oh so creamy and full of their namesake flavors. Deelish!

I wish they still had a storefront in Brooklyn...only just found out that they were originally based in the Bay Ridge area ;(

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blue dress Marshalls Chambray Shirt Floral Skirt H&M
Ah I think skirts and dresses are really starting to grow on me. I'm still not very confident in wearing either of them often but that can't stop me from trying them on in store!

Does anyone think the chambray/denim top + floral skirt combo look weird? I showed me Aunt (who's the most 'fashionable' in the family and she thought it was strange and an ugly combo...)

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How could 2 months possibly go buy without me doing something in the kitchen :P

Banana Flax Walnut Muffins
Banana Flax Walnut Muffins
I remember trying this once when I was volunteering with a bakery a few years back. That was also the first time I've ever heard of flaxseeds. After finals were over I took to the internet to find something similar online. After making a couple of batches, I think I have it down! I will try to share the recipe soon (after a few more tries).

Black Sesame Bread
Black Sesame Bread
My first time making bread! It was exceptionally easier since I have the help of a KitchenAid mixer. But a family friend/Auntie wanted to learn (from a newbie) so I had to figure it out via hands as well. It was definitely a fun and stressful process but experience nonetheless. Apparently I cannot replicate the same results because each batch of dough worked out differently each time. Alas I am no bread expert... As long as it is edible, right? Not sure if I want to tackle bread making again anytime soon but it is on my list to master.

Homemade Rice Bowl
Typical Lunch
Rice, Boiled Chicken Breast, Corn, 2 Soft Boiled Eggs, Good Food Tableside Greek Yogurt Guacamole
I had my first taste of Chipotle rice bowls a few months back and loved it. So many textures and flavors... Now I can see why so many people rave about it.

Since I can't buy it too often (pricey & high-calories!) I decided to figure something out at home. I guess this could be considered a "skinny" and "light" version, although the flavors are very much different. It is still very filling and of course you can vary it as you wish. The possibilities are endless in a rice bowl.

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April & May Empties

3:32:00 PM mandy 0 Comments

Ah, I haven't had this many empties before!
april empties otaku masks
April Empties
Of course masks are pretty easy to use up. Throw one on at night and it is used!
But there's always the things like being too tired, too lazy, or just plain forgetting about them altogether. If I do remember about sheet masks, they are a great way to end my night.
I find laying down with a mask on while watching videos or listening to music very relaxing. If I am too tired that night I can set an alarm to remind me to take the mask off before it ends up sucking moisture out  instead of hydrating my face.
Most masks advise to massage the remaining serum into the skin but I tend to just let it soak in by itself. If I could squeeze in a little extra boost, I use my Hitachi Hada Crie to massage my face (with the mask still on).
may empties otaku mask elf studio tone correcting powder josie maran argan oil
May Empties
L to R: Otaku Pomegranate Antioxidant Brightening Mask, Clarisonic Brush Head, e.l.f. Studio Tone Correcting Powder, Josie Maran Argan Oil
The exciting month of empties! I can't even remember the last time I finished a powder. I remember being excited about hitting pan last summer and lilladylife told me that it was just a sign of being halfway through. She couldn't have been more right. I really liked using the e.l.f. powder to set my colored base makeup. It made things look smoother and my makeup lasted pretty long. However, it can look cakey & over-powdered if too much is applied. I probably won't repurchase it any time soon because I would like to try other brands. But for the price there is not much harm to give it a try.

When I bought the mini bottle of argan oil to try, I wasn't too sure how I would use it. Sometimes I would apply a few drops of the oil as a moisturizer. It works well and absorbs quickly. But it was still not really a match for my dry patches, yet I was hesitant to apply more because I can get pretty oily throughout the day. Towards the end of the bottle I decided to add a few drops to my moisturizer at the time. I think I like this method more because it adds a boost to my moisturizer and makes it easier to apply the oil product.

How do you find time to wind down and relax?

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April & May Hauls

6:12:00 PM mandy 0 Comments

Hiiii everyone~~
It's been a while!
But long story short: school.
Now that it is the summer, I have every intention to try to get back into blogging. There is so much I want to share and keep a record of (even if it is just for myself).
I had an exciting announcement to make since March and can't wait to get that up soon. Although completely unintentional, there will be a few hints throughout this post!

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I have been trying my best to not spend on any skincare or makeup items. The things I've gotten lately were mostly bought in anticipation for my upcoming trip (hint hint).

sephora vib bi haul clinique take the day off cleansing balm urban decay sprays
Sephora
Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm, Urban Decay De-Slick Makeup Setting Spray, Urban All-Nighter Makeup Setting Spray
I took advantage of the Sephora VIB BI discount code a few months back to try out the Clinique cleansing balm. I've been interested in it for a while and thought it would be a more travel-friendly makeup removing product.

Lilladylife talked highly of the All-Nighter Spray when we met before. But I was curious about both sprays that Urban Decay offered. Not knowing quite what the difference was I decided to order them both to try out. I hope perhaps at least one of the two will come in handy when in humid weather.


oo33mm haul real techniques powder and blush brushes
oo33mm
Real Techniques Powder Brush & Blush Brush
The impulse buys... But I don't regret it!
I really liked the Real Techniques brushes that I got a while back. Since there are deals for these every now and again, I was waiting out for another sale before adding the other brushes to my collection. When I saw these in a store something in me had me walking with these in my hands towards the cash register.


imomoko mask/skincare haul
imomoko
Top L to R: Otaku Mask Set & Lululun Facial Masks - Brightening (white), High Moisture (purple), Moisture Type (pink), Yuzu (green)

Bottom L to R: Cleanser Foaming Net, Cow Brand Cleansing Oil, Lululun Facial Mask Special Box (Moisture Type & Pomegranate)
Just as my sheet masks stash was running low, I found that imomoko was having their Friends & Family sale.  (Imomoko also regularly has special mask sales so don't feel left out!) At the time the website didn't stock the My Scheming masks that I like. But there were many other brands that I still wanted to try. In order to restrain myself from buying everything that I could, I limited myself to brands I wouldn't be able to get easily in the next few months.

Lululun is a completely new brand to me. There are quite a few reviews that I found and the opinions were pretty mixed. I decided to give it a try anyways given their low price. After trying it a few times myself, I have mixed feelings towards it. I'll try to dedicate a post for it soon!

otaku mask set
Otaku Mask Set
1 Cactus Hydrating Mask (eating rice)
2 Pomegranate Antioxidant Brightening Mask (in sunglasses)
2 Cedar Myogenic Acne Conditioning Mask (taking selfie)
2 Tranexamic Acid Whitening Mask (pink packaging)
1 Chamomile Soothing Mask (green packaging; with flowers)
2 Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Moisturizing Mask (with yellow note)
Otaku is also a new brand to me. I couldn't find many (if any) reviews for it but their concept seemed similar to other Taiwanese mask brands: low price & variety. They have some interesting options that I've never seen before in masks, like cactus and cedar myogenic. This usually isn't a selling point for me since I only buy masks for their instant hydration aspect. But it is interesting to see a variety nonetheless.


b&h haul gopro and accessories
B&H
L to R: GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition & Battery BacPac, SanDisk Class 10 32GB microSDHC
Ever since my summer plans have been set, I contemplated on the idea of recording my trip. This is the first time I am going to be back in Asia in a long time and very first time in this particular country. Even though it is probably better to just live through and keep the memories in my head, I always loved the idea of having something tangible to look back on. Maybe it's because of my (sometimes) bad memory.

Since I already have an DSLR and do plan on bringing it along, I didn't want to purchase a point & shoot, mirror-less, or camcorder. It would be just one too many things to carry around and I probably wouldn't use my DSLR as much as I would like. There are also a few reason why I didn't want to record with my DSLR on the go. One being my lack of sufficient memory cards & space. Another the lack of additional batteries (the battery for my camera model is discontinued). Plus my DSLR doesn't have autofocus. But the main reason is the camera is just too bulky and heavy. I feel that if anything that would deter me from wanting to use it consistently to record + take photos.

The GoPro's small and light features drew me to it but I was really hesitant to commit to the idea since the camera is used more for action recording. With an upcoming getaway the Besties and I planned, I thought it would be a great idea to at least try the camera out. Luckily B&H's return policy allows room for me to give the GoPro a try (& I triple checked with the SA just to be sure). I am so new to the world of videos but just having this new gadget makes me all excited inside. Who knows...maybe if I get really into it, I'll end up using the camera for it's action-recording purpose?...!

sephora travel haul
Sephora
First Aid Beauty Fab Faves To Go Kit, Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover
This purchase was maybe half necessity and half impulse? Although I could pack a full-sized eye-makeup remover in my checked luggage, I think there will be a trip or two where I wouldn't need to have checked-in luggage. Plus it is probably not the best idea to decant a duo-phased cleanser, right? I have never tried Clinique's version but have heard of others who liked it before. Hopefully it will work well!

I am not sure what happened to my skin lately but I have many patches of really rough, dry, and sometimes itchy skin all over my neck, decollete, arms, and even some on parts of my face. My mom thinks it might be an allergic reaction to something but I'm not really sure what it could have been. The current skincare products I have don't really help it and putting body lotion on doesn't seem to work well either. I thought I would give the First Aid Beauty kit a try since it seems to target skin emergencies. (Don't quote me, I could be completely wrong about this...) If not it would still be nice travel-sized items to have.


Have you tried any of these things before?
What or where do you think my announcement is about?
Would you be interested in seeing short travel videos from me?

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