Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Best Perfume Ever! Byredo's Bal D'Afrique

While in NY recently I sniffed the most wonderful perfume in Barneys.  I spritzed it on my wrist and decided to sniff it later in the day and see how it would dry down.  By the end of the day I knew I had to have it!  I introduce to you Byredo's Bal D'Afrique:
Doesn't my pug make a good perfume model?  So dramatic!

Byredo is Swedish and boy do they have fantastic packaging.  The box is encasement is beautiful and textured.
Oh seals!  I love it when things are sealed!  It just feels fancier and old school.
When you take off the encasement the box has a beautiful symbol on the top.  There's also a watermark but I didn't take a photo of that.  (In case you couldn't tell by now, I am a sucker for good packaging.)
Open it up and there's the tightly packaged perfume (seriously, it took me like 5 minutes to get that sucker out), and an enveloped leaflet describing the Byredo perfumes.  I love how the envelope sticks out!
Now my pug is going to help me model the perfume again.
Bal D'Afrique is a perfume of bergamot, lemon neroli, African marigold, bucchu, violet, jasmin petals, and cyclamen.  It's supposedly inspired by Paris in the late 20's and its infatuation with African culture, art, music and dance.  I'm horrible at describing top notes and base notes so the best I can say is this smells interesting and pretty and great all at once.  I'm not a big floral or heavy musky perfume person.  I like light but interesting scents, green or earthy.  If you are interested in Byredo perfumes I definitely recommend doing a spritz and walk test.  This dried down beautifully on me and I loved it even more afterwards!  I also really liked their Gypsy Water, but not as much as this one.  And this perfume is pricey so I chose Bal D'Afrique.  Couldn't be happier!  Sniff, sniff, sniff!

Essie's Go Overboard

Another couple photos I found on my camera recently that I forgot.  Here's Essie's Go Overboard, a beautiful  deep teal.  This applied wonderfully and I got a lot of compliments on it.  I have on a base coat, 2 coats of polish, and a top coat.
I'm a sucker for blue polishes but this is definitely one of my favorites.  Such a unique and beautiful color, with smooth application.  A great polish by Essie - bravo!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Essie's Navigate Her

So these are a bit old photos of Essie's Navigate Her, from their Spring 2012 collection.  I took a few NOTDs on my camera and then kept forgetting to upload them.  Oops.  So anyways, I was excited to try this color out on a weekend.  Such an interesting pistachio green.  It looks much brighter in the photos than in person.  I wasn't expecting to like this but I really love it!  It's very on trend and such a great color for the spring!  I love green polishes, but they can be hit or miss for me (hit - Essie's Sew Psyched; miss - Essie's Da Bush).  But Navigate Her is definitely the brightest and most fun!
Sorry I'm not classy like a lot of the great polish blogs out there.  Behold my roomba in the background.
I love this color!  I only wish I could wear it during the work week too.  I'm glad I finally remembered those photos on my camera.  Reminds me of this great polish and I'm going to put this on for this coming weekend!

Oh, and because I can't do a post without a photo of my pug, here's one of her snoozing on my leg.  I am her favorite bed.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Asiago-Crusted Pork Chops - Yum!

So tonight I decided to be daring and I cooked pork for the first time in a loooong time.  I'm always nervous cooking pork and beef because I have such a hard time figuring out when it's done and I'm all OCD about germs and stuff from the raw meats.  So anyways, I decided to make some asiago-crused pork chops (Cooking Light recipe here).  I didn't use asiago, but used an asiago blend instead because Trader Joe's had it so nicely pre-grated for me (I <3 TJ's).  

Step 1 - Move pug so you can open the fridge.  A substitute for this step is to entice said pug with a baby carrot and lead her away from the fridge and then scurry over and take out all the ingredients as quickly as possible.  Then curse silently to yourself when you realize you left the pork chops in the fridge.  Repeat step as necessary.
So I made the bread mix and breaded my pork chops.  The cheese wasn't finely grated so it didn't stick together as much as I would've liked but good enough.  Then I fried them up!  Now here's where I realized that the recipe grossly underestimates cooking time.   This needed way longer than 3-4 minutes on each side at medium heat!   I agonized over how long to cut the pork and cut into it numerous times trying to check on its doneness.  I then supplemented this with research on trichinosis and feared of parasites (but upon much research I discovered that the cases of trichinosis in the US are only like 12 a year, and usually from wild game.  Modern pork is much better and so the risk of trichinosis is way less.  But you still want to make sure your pork is cooked through but a little bit of pink is ok.  Just make sure the juices run clear and rest the pork a bit after cooking so it can heat through.  Ok enough with my paranoid sidebar).
I'm telling you, the lemon and sprinkled fresh thyme make a huge difference!  I didn't think they would but they really make this recipe.  Such a great finish to the pork.  I supplemented my meal with some baked kale chips (I'm OBSESSED with these) and beer (oooh yeah).  Please don't judge my portion sizes.  I'm a meat fiend.  I decided to forgo any rice or grain because I just wanted more meat!
See how often I had to cut up the pork to check inside?  Ugh.  Next time I'm going to heat up the pan a bit longer and cook about 10 mins on each side.
Please keep in mind also that the entire time I was cooking and then eating, I had to suffer this begging face.
Sorry lil pug.  Only I get the pork chops.  Please don't hate me!  Here, have another baby carrot!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

And Along Came A Wrist...

So after my exciting return from my weekend away, my lil pug was exhausted and she plopped into her favorite napping spot - propped up behind my leg.
So sleepy!  The one downside to her favorite spot is that she has nothing to rest her head on.  Often leading to funny sleeping positions like in the photos in this post.
She looked so cute and funny I couldn't resist petting her.
Waaaaiiiiiiiit fooooor iiiiiiit....
Aw shoot my wrist is now stuck!  She immediately plopped her chin on it, bearing all her head weight and started snoring.
My wrist is trapped!
And in case you think she's faking it and isn't really dead asleep, I give you this close-up.
So, because I am a good pug servant, I stayed in this position for a while to let my sleepy pug rest.  Good thing internet browsing only requires one hand.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Best Welcome Home

There is no better welcome than the one my pug gives me after I've come home after traveling.  She was making her funny seal pup squeals and running tucked butt everywhere.  Look at the smile on her face!
She then started giving me sad pup eyes and demanding that I give her copious belly rubs as she got really sleepy.

I always miss her even if I'm only gone for a weekend!
So relaxed and happy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

YSL Gel Blush and Soft Blush

Ack my Sephora binge didn't stop with just YSL glossy stains.  I also got a few blushes!

I got a couple of their new gel blushes.  On the left is 1 (carmine veil) and on the right is 2 (coral veil).
I always love YSL packaging.
The gel blushes are super light texture-wise and are easy to apply.  I'm happy to say they are not sticky at all.

And I also wanted to try out their soft blush because I always love a good cream blush.  I got 1 (velvety peach), described as a pinky peach.
Ack I forgot to take a photo before I swatched it!  The texture is so smooth and creamy.  And unlike some cream blushes (Tarte for one - although I still like them), it doesn't feel greasy at all.
So here are some swatches.  They don't show up very well in my apartment lighting and all three are very sheer.  I like that they're so sheer, but buildable.

On the left is the soft blush, middle is gel blush #1, and right is gel blush #2.
These are just light swipes so I think if you want a heavier blush you can definitely build up the color.  Sorry my hands are so dry, the weather is actually a bit more like real winter weather today and I was cooking and washing dishes just before this.
I can't wait to try these out on my cheeks!  I'm not sure which I'll try first.  Hmmm...

Now I know I should get up and shower after having run but my lil pug doesn't want me to get up.  She loooooves going in that spot right behind my legs.  Do you like my bright socks?
I love her no nose pics.
Oh no don't fall asleep on me!  I need to get up, but do I dare move her?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bacon Mac - Ooooh yeaaah!

Tonight I made some bacon mac n cheese!  Mmmmmm!
I got the recipe from My Recipes (recipe here) and modified it a bit.  I used whole wheat penne, turkey bacon instead of pig bacon to cut back on calories and fat, added a lot of Tabasco sauce and some red pepper flakes, added broccoli, and added a little bit of pepperjack cheese on top that I had handy.  Some of the reviews said the recipe could use an extra kick of flavor so I was generous with the spice and added a different kind of cheese on top.  One of the reviewers mentioned adding gorgonzola cheese and that sounds yummy!  I liked having the broccoli in there since broccoli and cheese is always a winning combo and it helped add some extra and healthier bulk to the pasta.  I also don't broil things because the broiler frightens me so instead I baked it at 325 for 30 minutes.
Of course I added even more pepper on top because I'm a pepper fiend!  So good!  The pasta is not as cheesy as traditional mac n cheese, but it's much healthier.  And no butter is used in this recipe.

Oh dear.  My lil pug had a pasta binge and licked her bowl clean!  
Was it good?
Now she's looking for some more.
Uh oh, I think she's about to go into a carb and bacon fueled food coma!  So sleepy...
(Note: I did not actually feed my pug the spicy and cheesy mac n cheese.  I just like tormenting her with pictures of my empty food bowls.  Don't worry she gets rewarded with her own treats.  And despite not having a pasta-fueled binge, she is now totally passed out in a kibble- and carrot-fueled food coma on my legs.)