Thursday, December 26

Persun Mall New Year's Wishlist

Do you still need some inspiration for your night out on December 31st? Check out these frocks to ring in the New Year with!

1. Go Practical
Practicality describes me. I rarely buy dresses for one occasion... but I love it when I can wear one dress to many events. This dress not only looks gorgeous on New Year's Eve, but you can also wear it to work, a wedding or other dressy event.

Monbasa Classic Color Stitching Chiffon Dress, PersunMall

2. Go Trendy
On the other hand, if you really want a dress you'll only wear once, you should definitely try out a trend at the same time. I've seen a ton of dresses and shirts in that windowpane pattern. Maybe NYE is the time to rock it. 

Vintage Long Sleeve Check Pattern Dress, PersunMall

3. Go Luxurious
Velvet is a dated fabric and unless you're very fashionable, it can be hard to pull off. However, the one time of the year when it's pretty widely accepted is during the holidays. Both warm and luxurious, there's really no better time to wear velvet than now!

Moonbasa Luxury Palace Frilly Vest Dress, PersunMall

4. Go with a Little Black Dress
Don't have a LBD? Want another LBD? I have a very plain LBD for work, but I feel like I really want a girlier one with more bells and whistles. I love the full skirt and scalloped edges in the one below. 

5. Go Casual
If a night out isn't your idea of fun, stay home in a comfy and casual dress. Try slipping on this sweater with some leggings and staying warm indoors. This is what I end up doing every year!

6. Go Heavily Armed
No matter where you end up going... or what you end up wearing, make sure to accessorize!

Frosted Heart Shaped Bracelet, PersunMall

If it's not snowing, stun in some killer heels. If it is snowing, flats look better than on your behind in the cold wet snow!

High Street Style Boots with Buckle, PersunMall

Or perhaps... a lovely gold clutch is more your tune. Personally, I can't handle how I always have to hold a clutch, but I can't deny that they're gorgeous. 

Quiet Luxury Clutch with Jewels, PersunMall

You can keep warm in this animal printed scarf. I really like the leopard face in the lower left hand corner, it's hidden so it's not too bold... but when some one notices it, it's fierce! (Well, maybe it would be if it wasn't folded in. As it is now, it's a bit derpy.)

Leopard Patterns Knitting Scarf, PersunMall

Isn't choosing what to wear so much easier when you're not looking at your own closet? 

Monday, December 23

Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes Review

After my less than satisfactory experiences with Neutrogena Makeup Removing Wipes, I decided to try out the Simple Brand. Did you guys ever see those commercials on youtube? They had some celebrity actress that I've never heard of with her "friends". One of the friends represented Simple and the other was telling the celebrity she needed to get a snake to bite and paralyze her face? 

Despite the silliness of that commercial, I'm pretty much in love with these cleansing wipes. I had an entire list of cleansing wipes to try out, but I may stick with this! These wipes fix ALL of the problems that I had with the Neutrogena brand. There's no scent to the wipes! They are very effective in getting all of my makeup off. It doesn't dry out or irritate my face. These wipes also stay wet forever! I just finished using a package I've had for 6 months. This is definitely one of my holy grail products. There's only a handful of things that I truly, truly love (Aussie 3 Min Miracle and ELF Makeup Remove Pen among them)... but this is a new one!

Have you tried these wipes? What do you think?

Monday, December 16

RnR - Oldtown Scottsdale Restaurant Review

It's hard to describe Oldtown Scottsdale to people who don't already have a preconception of it. It's a nicer neighborhood in Phoenix. It's also an older area. (Older, of course, in Arizona terms means 1970s.) Perhaps, to Gatsby fans, describing it as West Egg would be most appropriate. For the college aged, Oldtown is known for their clubs and bars, which I've never been to. What I do see every time I pass by are countless restaurants... all full of awesome.  I've mentioned a few other restaurants from Oldtown Scottsdale (Lolo's Chicken and Waffles is close, Modern Steak is at the mall in Oldtown, Sauce is also adjacent.)

Today, I'll bring you to RNR. RnR is a two story restaurant that's most known for their brunch. I went there for dinner though! One of the items we ordered the Southwest Burger pictured here. I didn't taste the burger but was assured that it was good. Combined with the price, the burger was given a "decent" rating. Definitely tasty, would have again, but no rush to return. I stole several of the sweet potato fries, however and YUM.

I got these ahi tacos which, despite the small serving, was SO GOOD. This had seared ahi tuna, sweet bell peppers, daikon sprouts, Asian peanut soy vinaigrette, guacamole, pico de gallo served on jicama tortillas.  I thought the blend of flavors was really unique and exquisite. From the list of ingredients, it's clear that they blended several flavors together. The jicama tortilla, though, must have been my favorite part. The crunchy texture with the tuna was amazing. 

Best of all, they gave us a 50% off coupon for brunch the next time we went in... as long as we brought the receipt. Which, of course, we lost. I think this means I get to go back for both breakfast and dinner!

Monday, December 2

7 Sins of Beauty Tag

Oh man... this tag just reveals your dirty secrets! I was tagged by Emily of my endless imagination.

1. Link of the person who tagged you. 
2 . Answer the questions on Greed, Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth, Pride, Lust, and Envy.
3. Tag as many people as you wish, and be sure to let them know. 
4. Let the person who tagged you know by linking your post in their comments. 

Greed- What is your most expensive beauty item? Makeup Forever Foundation Powder. It was one of the first makeup items that I purchased, so it's several years old now. I don't use it anymore because the shade doesn't match me and it's really high coverage, which I don't like. When I first started buying makeup, I didn't know about drugstores so I brought a lot of items from Sephora... never again!

Wrath - Which item do you have a love/hate relationship with? Berry Merry ELF Studio Blush. The color of the blush is to die for... but it is so pigmented that I have to use SUCH a light hand with it or it will give me clown cheeks. 

Gluttony - What brand makes up the most of your collection? ELF. If you look through all the makeup reviews... it's pretty clear that I have most of that product. ELF is such a cheap brand. With their constant sales, I probably make 25 dollar purchases twice a year. 

Sloth - Which product do you neglect the most due to laziness? Mascara. I find it so hard to remove that I just don't do it anymore. When I do want to wear it again, I find that the mascara has dried out. 

Pride - Which product gives you the most confidence? Eyeliner makes me feel pretty instantly put together. I think it makes the biggest, most visible difference on me.

Lust - Which item is at the top of your beauty wish list? I think the Estee Lauder Night Repair Serum. I've never tried high end skin care... but now I want to. However, with how unreliable antiaging serums are and how many other natural and drugstore options are out there, I haven't been able to justify this purchase. 

Envy - Which makeup product/look is great on others but not yourself? Brow anything. I already have brows that are dark in color and very thick, so I generally do not need any of the refining that brow pencils offer.

I tag:
Cassykins vs the World

Monday, November 25

Datevitation Love Coupon Book + Giveaway

My boyfriend was right next to me when I received an email from Datevitation, asking me to review one of their books. I've seen Datevitation around before, and I've ALWAYS, not so secretly, wanted to receive one of their booklets as a gift. With my birthday coming up here in December, I asked my boyfriend to make me some coupons... with my supervision, of course. I thought it was great fun! 

What exactly is Datevitation? According to the site, is the web's first online platform to create a custom love coupon book. Unlike the pre-packaged love coupon books on the market, you pick the dates and can customize the text to your liking. Once you are done customizing the text in your book, Datevitation will print it out and ship it to you. They're all about ease, convenience, and customization. Let's see how they did!

The booklet came in a manila envelope, then a nondescript old timey envelope. Even though I knew what was in it... I still loved opening the package.

Here's the title page, which was customizable depending on the occasion. Don't think it's limited to your significant other though! I think a lot of the activities are perfect for siblings, parents, and those who you just don't know what to get! Girls, I also don't think there's any shame in sending your SO a link to this site with a few suggestions. 

My boyfriend really made use of the customization feature on the booklets...This guy fancies himself a comedian.

If you have some extra time on your hands, I highly recommend you to take a peek at all the pictures, especially the R-Rated ones. (They're made with the same adorable drawings and hilarious.) 

Okay, I actually did get a giggle out of this one.

The concept was fairly easy, even for my boyfriend, who's never looked at anything similar, to figure out. 

Step 1: Select who you are (boy/girl/man/woman) and who your recipient is.
Step 2. Choose the occasion (birthday/congrats/Christmas)
Step 3: Choose your activities. From artistic fun, to outdoor adventures, to the usual ideas like dinner and a movie, Datevitation has it all. 

I'd like to offer you the chance to win your very own Datevitation booklet. You can make this as a gift for a friend or loved one... or do as I did and tell them to make one for you!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you don't end up winning the giveaway, here's a coupon code for you to use: 7PERCENTSOLUTION

It's good for 10 dollars off the purchase as well as free shipping for a total value of 13.50! That means, one booklet with 5 coupons is only $15.00... and you don't even have to leave your house! Make sure to order by December 13 so it reaches you by Christmas. 

Thursday, November 21

Essential Makeup Products

After watching way too many timed makeup challenges on Youtube, I realized that they had one of two interpretations.

1. The youtuber tries to put on a full face of makeup as quickly as possible. 
2. The youtuber chooses her most essential products and applies calmly. 

I had my own real life timed makeup challenge a few months ago when I graduated. My graduation was at 5:30. My friend (and her parents!) were picking me up at 5:10. 

My mom calls me at 3:30 to tell me that she locked her keys in her car. I had a good two hours until I had to get ready, so I opted to help her out. At 3:40, I left. Now, the drive should have only taken 20 minutes each way, but on the way there, I got stuck in traffic for ten minutes. Not a big deal. I arrive to help my mom out at 4:10. She ordered a lovely Starbucks drink for me (and since I had an hour to spare) I waited 10 minutes for the drink. I leave at 4:20. 

Let's do a quick calculation here. 20 minutes to get home (4:40) then half an hour to get dressed and do my makeup. So, this time, I'm driving home along a different route and ... lo and behold, there's a car accident. Now, I generally try not to be selfish and think about how an accident's going to make me late when someone's car could be totaled or how they could be hurt, but I really couldn't help myself this time. The worst part of it is that I could have gotten off the freeway before the accident. The time it took me to get from one exit to another tripled and it was 4:40 by the time I was off. Of course, I got on the surface street instead of the newly cleared off highway and that cost me some time too. By 4:50, I wasn't home yet... but my friend had called me saying she was on her way. 

I got home at 5:00 and did the essentials first. Got my clutch ready with my cards and put in my keys. At 5:05, my friend called me again to say she was here. I got dressed faster than I ever had in my life ... and that left me no time for makeup. 

That's right. On my graduation, I didn't have time to put on makeup. So, I grabbed the essentials  and left. That's right, these are the items I choose for my REAL LIFE timed make up challenge. 

1. SPF/Tinted Moisturizer

This helped protect me from the sun... a MUST in Arizona. It also worked to even my complexion.

2. Blush

I have a naturally colorless face. The blush helps make me look alive and awake. 

3. Eyeliner

As the first make up item I ever tried, eyeliner has a special place in my heart. There's nothing else that makes me feel and look pulled together quite as quickly as eyeliner. 

If you were doing the makeup challenge... what would your essential items be? 

Monday, November 11

Featuring... Call of the Styled Coat

It's been a while since a style post, hasn't it? We'll, I've been on a Modcloth kick lately and so when they asked me to join their weekly Polyvore Outfit Challenge, of course I agreed! I love the Modcloth style, especially their dresses. My shopping tip? Stalk the Sale section like crazy!

Today, I'm featuring their Call of the Styled Coat. I'm a really basic kind of girl and I live in Arizona, which means I only need to own one sweatshirt for our "Winter". I had a lot of trouble styling this coat. Yep, it's still high 80s here.  
Featuring... Call of the Styled Coat

If I wore this coat in AZ, it'd definitely be something I throw OVER an outfit, wear for 15 minutes to walk from one place to another, then take off. I paired it with a rather neutral ensemble inside. The mustard yellow works well with the blue coat, the golds and neutrals make cute appearances all over the outfit and the purse ties the outfit in with the coat! There are no real fashion risks happening here... but it's cute and easy!

How many coats do you own? Do you mind what you're wearing inside the coat too?

Thursday, November 7

Beef and Barley Soup

I've stopped taking so many pictures of the food I make because I make some damn unattractive food. In fact, just the other day, I cooked two meals that looked incredibly unappetizing. One was soggy and pink and the other was sticky and green/yellow. They tasted great, of course, but looked awful. 

I don't think that this is a beef and barley soup is one of those dishes. This one actually looks really good. I made  this by referencing Picky Palate and Laura in the Kitchen.

I highly recommend visiting those links up above if you're feeling like a warm hearty soup. I made way too much for one person and ended up eating this for a very, very long time. The surprising thing is, after all that time, I still enjoyed it. 

Monday, October 28

Sebastien Millon - New Favorite Artist

I knew when I went to Phoenix Comic Con, I'd see fun people, great costumes and get lemmings for all the stuff, but I never thought that I would fall in love with an artist. Well, I mean, not in love with him, but his work. 

This artist's work is funny, cute, poignant, eye-catching... I know that I will purchase something for my apartment one day, but I'm not sure what yet. However, it's hard to describe art . Let me show you. 

credit Sebastien Millon
Adorable, no? He has a cast of characters that he draws frequently including bears, ducks, unicorns, owls and rabbits. I think my favorite are the bears. 
credit Sebastien Millon

And I actually think that another character looks like me when I put my hair up in a bun.
credit Sebastien Millon
It's funny that this isn't even the first time I've seen Sebastien Millon's work. I've seen it all over the internet. I can't believe that he's a local artist! 

Do you guys have a suggestion as to where I can display one of his prints? 

Thursday, October 24

Clinque "even better" Foundation in SPF 15 Color Vanilla Review

This is kinda scary guys, but do you ever find makeup?

You're digging in your bathroom cabinet and you find a nail polish. Or in an old purse and you find chapstick? Or in my case, in your drawer and some foundation?

I remember when I was given this foundation though and it wasn't too long ago... thank goodness! 

Generally I think SPF 15 is a bit too low for Arizona, but I'm not really the type to not use makeup when I already have it.  

This product has medium coverage and average staying power. I think it does a pretty good job at evening out my skin tone while staying fairly natural in finish. Original price for this product is $27, which I find a bit too expensive considering I can (and usually do) purchase Asian foundation products for cheaper. 

Thursday, October 17

Modcloth Striped Dress

Things that I suck at: One. 

...Nevermind. The list is too long to even go into. 

So, way back when I ordered from Modcloth, I said I'd do a review on all the items I got. But I never did end up reviewing this dress! This is the Good Feeling dress, which unfortunately, is no longer available. 

All reviews of this dress said that the breast area was way too large and gaping. I remedied this issue by wearing a bandeau bra with the dress. Other than that one issue, I really loved the dress, which you can tell because I have so many pictures this time!

Dress: Modcloth (20.99)
Bandeau: Love Culture (4.90)
Belt: With Dress, Modcloth 
Necklace: Prize from Wild Butterfly Boutique
Shoes: Aldo (49.50, on sale from 70.00)

The dress itself is breezy and comfortable. The shape and fit is perfect (slimming where I need it and curvy where I want it). Lastly, I really love the cute bow belt that came with it. I've already worn it with a ton of items. 

Monday, October 14

My Life is Average Mondays: Musings about Makeup

As some of you may know, for the longest time, I didn't wear makeup. When I started, I started slowly. Eyeliner at first, then I found about about eyeshadows... the interest grew from there. 

Now, I have enough products for what I call "a full face of makeup". Somewhere along this 5 year journey, I've transitioned from calling my no makeup appearance "bare" instead of "normal". When you wear makeup everyday, don't you forget what you really look like? And when the purpose of this make up is to enhance and improve your looks, do you feel uglier without makeup? 

I just did. And it scared me. 

via weheartit
I remember when I was hanging out with a friend. We were walking around our campus in August and it was unbearably hot outside. When we got back to her dorm, she took a shower. We had dinner plans and so I asked her if she could leave right after she showered. This friend insisted that she had to put on her makeup first. Back then, the only time I had put on makeup was for prom so I didn't understand her compulsion. It was just dinner between a few high school friends... what was the deal, right? She confessed that she had not gone outside without makeup since she was 15. 

I didn't understand her then. But as I started wearing makeup more often, I started noticing when women wore makeup and when they didn't. One of the scariest experiences I had was when I saw an acquaintance who usually had on a full face of makeup without a stitch. Can I make a confession? I thought she was very plain. I didn't realize that she covered up her acne, wore heavy eye makeup and contoured her face everyday. In fact, I barely recognized her. I wondered if I ever came off that way to others.

If I skip makeup when I'm tired and feeling down, would I look even worse? What happens if I really need eyeliner to feel complete? 

What happens when you feel "bare" without makeup? 

Thursday, October 10

An Introduction to Spaghetti Squash

I don't think I've had an actual cooking post here in a while. It's not because I'm cooking less... actually, just the opposite. When I started this blog, I had no idea how or what to cook. Now, I have a few recipes that I can reliably go back to... but I'm still introduced to new vegetables all the time. This is one of those times.

The spaghetti squash is just a cool vegetable. I've always thought that squash is a funny looking winter vegetable but I really had no idea how many different types of squash there are.

This is what spaghetti squash looks like when it's just cut open. It's a rather unassuming melon shaped ... thing. 
via cornucopia's tumblr
But, turn it over and scrape it with a god and you get something really really cool. 
via Eat and Greet's tumblr
Now, let's be real here. This isn't the same as spaghetti. You're not going to fool anyone into thinking that this is angel hair pasta. But think about it this way, one cup of pasta is over 200 calories. One cup of spaghetti squash is under 50. Now, I'm not a nutritionist or anything, but you can read here for more information. 

What I can tell you is that spaghetti squash, mixed with traditional pasta ingredients, is delicious. In this dish, I used tomatoes, mushrooms and some cheese. While it was very good, I thought it could have been even better with the addition of some meatballs. 

Thursday, October 3

Crossbody Bags

The other day, I was thinking about work when I realized... I needed a cross body bag. I've shared before how I want a handbag for work. I thought a large bag would fix my problems. But when  I saw the girl I was having lunch with reach into her large purse for a crossbody bag, I realized that what I needed, perhaps more importantly than a large bag, was a small bag. 

Stuff floats around in a large bag. Receipts, tissues, pens, pile up over time. All this junk makes the "essentials" very difficult to find. That's why I decided I need a small purse to go in the big purse. The big purse can carry my laptop and documents. The small purse can carry my keys, wallet and phone. 

It'll be perfect. 
I'm very good at justifying my purchases. 
Let's start with this one. It's nice and simple. I'm not 100% in love with the texture here though. 
Merona Removable Strap Crossbody Bag, Target
In this next one, I really like the buttery feel of this bag. The simple gold detail is also really attractive to me. It has enough structure to stand on its own, but isn't too structured that I'd be worried about it getting mashed in a bag. 
Faux Leather Structured Crossbody Bag, Forever 21
I mean... the trend here is black bag with gold details, right? While I think I prefer straps instead of the chain, there's a certain look to the delicate gold chain that's very pretty! 
Convertible Envelope Crossbody, Forever 21
Not liking the textures of Target bags also seems to be a trend here. I think I prefer smooth over grainy textures. I also don't think I love this type of buckle. But this purse is still representative of the size I want... if not the style. 
Merona Grainy Crossbody, Target
I also go back and forth on buckles. For example, I don't much love the last one... but these decorative buckles are LOVE. This purse has a lovely sporty look. 
This last purse from Forever 21 is probably my favorite. In addition to this cognac color, they also have a burgandy, forest green and black. The price of this was unbeatable (20 bucks or so) but the quality is definitely what you'd expect for the price.... cardboard. 
Envelope Crossbody, Forever 21

Thursday, September 26

Professional Asian Haircut - The Before and After Pictures

This is a continuation of a post I made WAY back in July when I considered getting my hair cut. 

When I went to the hairstylist and showed her my pictures of what I wanted she said to me... nicely... "You know these are opposites, right?" 

I should have figured. I wanted layered hair to wear in waves and not layered hair to wear in buns and straight. But still, she came up with something pretty awesome. Take a look at my before...

And then the after! It's a little bit shorter and a bit more layered. You can kind of tell how the front is a bit shorter than the back. Overall, I quite like it. Neater and sleeker, I think this was exactly what I was looking for!

Monday, September 23

ELF Liquid Luscious Lipstick in Perfect Pink Review

Though ELF describes this as a lipstick, the high shimmer and liquid-y consistency reminds me more of a gloss.

The "lipstick" is rather sheer, but buildable to a degree. The color is decent on me but nothing like the perfect summer color I found from Soap and Glory. The natural color of my lips are a bit dark for this gloss to look flattering, but that's a personal issue. It doesn't seem to last too long on me (an hour tops) and it is super duper sticky. I don't mind sticky glosses when they're sticky for a reason, but this one just gets on my nerves. One aspect that's great about this gloss is that it's super shiny. However, the super shiny look isn't something that I'm always into. If you're looking for that though, this is the gloss to have! 

Ultimately, this was only a filler item from ELF that cost a dollar, so no harm done. 

Monday, September 16

Sugarbowl - Oldtown Scottsdale Restaurant Review

Sugarbowl is the working definition of "cutest ever". It's tucked in oldtown Scottsdale and definitely reminds me of that stereotypical 1950s ice cream shop. Even their napkins were full of whimsy. I didn't take too many pictures of the decor inside, but rest assured, the booths and chairs were pink and adorable. 

I absolutely loved what I ordered! This is the DesireMe Banana Split. The description is: Split whole fresh banana, split on one end by creamy vanilla ice cream and chocolate marshmallow sauce and on the other by strawberry ice cream with sliced strawberries delicious whip and a cherry. I thought it was a great dessert for $6.50. 

I'm definitely waiting to go again! I didn't realize how much I loved decadent banana splits! 

Monday, September 9

Spring/Summer Reading + Opinions on E-Readers?

In addition to my Tao of Pooh book that I dedicated an entire post to, I've read a few other books this spring too. (And then I forgot about them, which is why this post comes to you during not-spring.) 

by Neil Gaiman 

This is a classic fairy tale. Overall, I thought it was such a cute, sweet book! There were a lot of aspects to this book that tied together beautifully. You know that "ahhh, so that's how it all works out" moment you get when reading especially well crafted books? Definitely happened with this book. It was an incredibly quick read so I recommend it for your boring afternoon. 

via tumblr

The Importance of Being Earnest 
by Oscar Wilde

This is a classic play. Now, classics have a bad rep for being boring but I found this play ridiculous and hilarious. I found it so hilarious that I really really want to see it being performed. This play... basically reminds me of Wedding Crashers. 2 bffs and their 2 respective ladies... and lots of lies in between. Throw in a few offbeat characters and this could be the next Hollywood RomCom. But better. Since's it's Oscar Wilde.

In other book related news, I've been toying around with the idea of getting an ipad mini for reading. I know that there are cheaper e-readers, but I think I'd have more versatility with an ipad mini... so I won't be tempted to get an e-reader then another ipad in a few years. Do you guys use any e-readers? Opinions? I'd stick with free books if I could, but I hated carrying a laptop bag, a purse and then a huge book to read on the train. What else do you guys use your ipads for?