back in the usa/the perfect summer drink

I just came back from a 2-week vacation in Beirut! I can't wait to share some of what I did and saw, but for now I wanted to write about how I spent part of my Tuesday. Monday I was at my parents' then with the bf, so I didn't escape back to my little studio until yesterday.

Nothing is better than coming home to a tidy apartment with the sun shining through the blinds :)

Since I'd been away I just got to open my June Glossybox yesterday, so I'll do a quick overview of that soon. I spent the day relaxing, running a few errands, and whipping up lunch. The latest issue of Bazaar, an iPad with a summery screen saver + Plants vs. Zombies, and my sunglasses (as well as my wallet to pay for the aforementioned errands) were really all I needed to get me through the morning.

For lunch I made cheese and jalepeƱo quesadillas with salsa on the side, which were yummy and just greasy enough to satisfy my constant junk food craving. I also made some plum & thyme iced tea from a recipe I found on Pinterest, which is DELICIOUS. The recipe is from Real Simple (here, reproduced below with my comments), and it's amazing for a nice summer afternoon.

You'll need:
2 tea bags (black or herbal, I used Lipton)
2 tablespoons honey
2 plums, sliced
8 sprigs fresh thyme

1. In a large saucepan, bring 3 cups water to a boil. Remove from heat, add the tea bags, and let steep for 10 minutes (a quick tip: take a chopstick and wrap the string of the tea bags around it several times, then rest it across the saucepan. It prevents the string slipping into the saucepan so you don't have to go around digging for it later or end up with soggy bits of paper floating around). Discard the bags and allow the tea to cool to room temperature.

2. Stir in the honey, plums, and thyme. Transfer to a pitcher and refrigerate until cool, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve over ice.

They also recommend stirring in 1/2 a cup of bourbon right before serving if you want to turn it into a cocktail. I had it sans alcohol, but I'll probably try it as a cocktail soon! I served it (to myself, haha) in a mason jar with a striped paper straw.

If you're entertaining or want to make it a bit fancier, you can cut bite-size bits of plum, stick those in an ice cube tray, and pour some tea over them to make tea-ice cubes. That way the tea won't get watered down by melting ice, especially if you're drinking it outside in the oppressive heat.* I consider a meal that didn't come out of a freezer box a huge accomplishment so I didn't go that far, but I definitely will next time I have a few friends over!

*Can I just say that it was in the 60s and 70s in London when I was there for layovers. Damn you Brits and your amazing weather.


glossybox usa

Glossybox has arrived in the US! This month’s box is labeled “beauty around the world” and features products from South Korea, the UK, Italy, France, and the US. Looking at the card with the included products (they mention a Glossybox blush brush as well) – I love this already! Below is a description of the products and my first impressions :)

Products included:

  1. Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Refreshing Hydra-Gel – I tried a little bit of this on my hand and sadly, I instantly loved the way it felt. I say sadly because the full-size version of this product is $100. It has a really light refreshing smell to it. I’ll enjoy the sample size while I have it.
  2. Burberry Beauty Lip Mist Natural Sheer Lipstick Copper No. 202 – This is obviously the product that hails from the UK and the one I was most excited about when I read the card. The color is really natural, a little on the sheer side. This is the cutest lipstick sample I've ever received – the Burberry packaging is very luxurious and they even have the Burberry check imprinted into the lipstick itself, like for the full-sized product.
  3. Marvis Whitening toothpaste – I know people received toothpastes in Birchbox as well, which I always thought was a little weird, even if it makes sense that nice teeth are an important part of beauty. Haven’t tried this yet, I’ll probably save it for travel at the end of the month. Smells minty. Haha dunno what to say, it’s toothpaste, though an Italian one at that.
  4. Phyto Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Mask for Dry Hair – When I pulled this out of the box the heavens parted and angels sang for a few seconds. My hair has been very dry and the past couple weeks I've all but given up, throwing my hair into a bun pretty much every day. I have high hopes for this product.
  5. Zoya Summer 2012 Beach and Surf Collection, color Wednesday – This is a gorgeous seafoam blue cream, and it’ll fit in perfectly to my summer nail polish palette of bright green, hot pink, coppery rose, and burnt orange.
  6. Glossybox blush brush – It’s just a bit scratchy and has an odd smell to it (though not an overpowering one) that will most likely be washed out. It’s flat and narrow, resembling a smaller MAC 116, which I don’t own to actually compare. Probably not a brush I will reach for often, but I’ll likely end up throwing it into my purse since it’s nice and slim and I won’t mind too much if the bristles get a bit bent.
Overall, I like this box. Glossybox is a European beauty box that just launched in the US (this month’s box is its first) and as far as I've seen from the blogs I read of girls across the pond, subscribers tend to receive worthwhile products that they seem to enjoy. It’s pretty pricey at $21/box, but the samples are deluxe samples or, in the case of the toothpaste and nail polish, full-sized products. What I really want out of these boxes is to try more high-end or new brands that I otherwise wouldn't be exposed to or couldn’t afford/justify buying myself, so I feel like this box does the job (especially since I've been vying to try Burberry beauty for over a year now!). If you’re willing to splurge, I’d recommend giving this box a go!

blog revival

I've been a bad blogger, but summer is back and so is some free time to get back to this thing! As for life in general, year one of school is over, summer classes are here, and I still can't cook worth a damn (though I do own two or three new cookbooks). Hopefully the summer will give me some exciting things to document. I am heading to Beirut at the end of the month, so hopefully it's fun exciting and not my-country-got-caught-up-in-a-neighboring-country's-civil-war kind of exciting. Fingers crossed. Aaand this ended up more depressing than I was hoping for this post. Tl;dr, I was gone but now I'm back, yay!



MAC will forever be one of my top favorite makeup brands, even if they churn out new collections far too often for my wallet's taste. One of my favorite things I've posted to tumblr recently was a photo from the Vivienne Westwood Red Label show during London Fashion Week. Too impractical to recreate in real life sadly, but I'm in love- and MAC has just posted a breakdown of the products used. 

  • Eyes: Cyan Paint Stick, Electric Eel Eye Shadow, Bitter Eye Shadow, Juxt Eye Shadow, and Lime Eye Shadow were blended over eyelids, with High Def Cyan Chromagraphic Pencil used as an eyeliner.
  • Lips: Kissable Lip Colour in Woo Me
  • Cheeks: Well Dressed Powder Blush, Azalea Powder Blush, Salsarose Powder Blush
To see the look and shop for items on the MAC website, click here. Just click on "London" then "Vivienne Westwood Red Label."


ralph lauren goes hipster

I love you Ralph Lauren, but isn't a fashion house touting going after the hipster look a little self-defeating? Especially one known for its preppy, equestrian styles. I mean, even the ad defines the style as "found vintage pieces." Need to expand the target demographic after so many fashionistas have become recessionistas? Hipster for the lazy, perhaps? 'Cause I don't think the intended audience really will be paying $225 for paint-spattered, shredded jeans when the essence of artistic individuality is doing it yourself. I'm all for capturing vintage looks for a little extra $$, but this is pretty ridiculous.

To check out the line, click here.


captain america

Can I say how awesome this movie was? Oh, someone already did it much better than I could? Okay.

And for the nerdy few who enjoy finding the links between Marvel's movies, this article provides a good breakdown.

To try and maintain a shred of the beauty/fashion-ish theme I normally go for (if 12 posts is enough to establish a "normal" theme), let me just say that:
  1. I love the female outfits, hairstyles, and makeup in this movie, and 
  2. Haley Atwell sported the most perfect matte red lips I've ever seen, proving that red lipstick is the perfect complement to a girl's M1928A1 Thompson submachine gun. I will unabashedly admit that I was staring at her lips every close-up we got of her.
 Seriously. Just look at that cupid's bow.

The movie had amazing action scenes, a solid story line, great use of humor, and like the article above explains, did a brilliant job connecting bits and pieces to the rest of the Marvel universe. Sorry Harry Potter, this was my movie of the summer.


friday favorites

I kinda like this type of post. Won't do it every Friday, probably just when there's new stuff to add or as a weekly recap. Anyways, here are some of my favorite things from the week:
  1. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin- This series was in last week's favorites post, so sorry to repeat myself, but I haven't been able to put these books down!
  2. CoverGirl NatureLuxe collection- I have the foundation in the color Maple (mentioned here) and the gloss balm in the color Marble. I use the foundation with my fingers as a light coverage/tinted moisturizer-like product, perfect for summer. The gloss balm is an affordable alternative to high-end "shine" lipsticks that gives the tiniest hint of color and lots of moisture.
  3. MAC Double Feature 4- Available July 29th from the MAC Colorizations collection or now from the Nordstrom Cinematic collection (yeah, confusing), I love the colors in this duo. I haven't been brave enough to use them together yet, but separately this teal-green and ochre brown are unique to my collection and fun to use :)
  4. Homemade Whipped Cream + Strawberries- My last post inspired me to be a bit more "culinary," which to me means whipping cream myself instead of buying a tub of Cool Whip. Hey, everyone has to start somewhere, right? Several pinches of sugar and one sore arm later, I (literally) whipped up a batch of delicious, lightly sweet cream to drizzle over my favorite summer fruit, and I'm never going back!
  5. Apartment Hunting (sorta)- Fingers crossed, I found a place! Apartment hunting isn't a favorite per say- actually, it's kind of a pain in the ass- but I'm loving it for the part that will come after: deciding how I'm to decorate my new home, and a big trip to Ikea. Also, Pottery Barn sent my father a coupon for 10% off his next entire purchase, in a brochure that said "welcome to the neighborhood!" even though we've lived in the same house for 8 or 9 years now. Totally a sign.


website love: gojee

Gojee (www.gojee.com) is a great resource for anyone who stares into the fridge wondering "what the heck can I make out of this stuff?" While some people seem to have a gift for throwing ingredients into bowls and pots seemingly at random and coming up with delicious concoctions, my attempts at being spontaneous in the kitchen usually yield not-so-palatable results.

Enter Gojee. Have some random ingredients on hand and don't know what they can be used for? Just click the "I have" button at the top and enter the contents of your fridge and pantry, and Gojee will bring up recipes that use up what you have. Similarly, enter a food you've been daydreaming about (or you  know, that expires in 2 days)  into "I crave" and Gojee will bring up a bunch of recipes featuring it. I also like the "I dislike" option where you can enter foods you can't stand (*cough* green peppers) or foods you're allergic to, and they'll never be suggested to you. As you start cooking, save your favorite recipes right on the site, or use the "share" button to tweet, facebook, or email your finds.

The interface is simple, the site itself is visually appealing, and the recipes don't fill this amateur with despair. This is definitely a website I'll be turning to often in my new kitchen!


friday favorites

Here are a few things I've been loving lately!

  1. Sony PRS-350 Reader- My e-reader! Barely bigger than the size of my hand, incredible battery life, touch screen, foreign language dictionaries, and best of all, it's pink.
  2. Laura Geller Blush-n'-Brighten in Honey Dipped- From last month's Birchbox, this baked blush is amazing. I've been reaching for it the past month more than anything else in my makeup kit.
  3. Couch to 5K- I'm trying to get into the habit of working out somewhat regularly, and running is becoming, well, not completely awful. The iPhone app is a godsend. I post my progress to twitter.
  4. Glittery Nail Polish- Not Deborah Lippmann necessarily (though the two of hers I have I absolutely adore), I'm just loving anything sparkly on my nails lately.
  5. Game of Thrones- Season one is over, but I got really into the show! After some cajoling from my boyfriend and his friends, I've started reading the series on my Reader. I highly encourage anyone who likes stories of kingdoms and dragons to check them out :)


ruffles & roses

Long time no post! Things have been crazy the past month between vacation and having family over, but hopefully I can get back into the swing of things.
Anywho, it's still wedding season and I thought I'd share this fantastic number. Even better than the gorgeous design? This dress was made entirely out of toilet paper! It won third place (not sure why, I like it much better than the other two) at the Cheap Chic Weddings toilet paper dress contest. Check out the other winners here.