This is why Crystal and Lee were top 2. They're both amazing contestants - but I'm glad Lee won.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
I just saw this and fell in love at first sight. It's beautiful and the color looks peachy/tan. So lovely. I want. I have the regular Lancome Tropiques Minerale Bronzer and I love, love, love it. It's my go to. I transfered my bronzer affections from Guerlain Terracotta to Tropiques Minerale. Now, I have to have the Bamboo one. Have. To.
This last weekend HRH took the kids and I to an Eco Resort about 5 hours away. It was amazing. I'm going to break it down for you like this:
The Place: huge property with lake, animal farm, vegetable garden, pools (normal, natural, and heated), sauna, spa, a million activities for the kids, all the courts you can imagine, lounge lawn (for real, there's a gorgeous grassy space with bed type sofas with huge umbrellas or veils that blow in the wind. I would lay there and read and drink - it's right next to the pool bar), several relaxation areas, bars, etc.
The Food: all naturally grown or raised on the property. What they don't have there they buy from the surrounding area. Everything is organic and superbly delish and fresh - so fresh. The food tasted different from anything we get here in the city. We had lamb, boar, pork, you name it. The milk, butter and cheese is all fresh and made there - yummy, so yummy. They had fresh lemongrass tea as well - one of my faves.
The Activities: the kids and HRH did so many things they were exhausted by the time night came along. Hiking to the farm area, tirolesa (I think called tyrolean crossing in English, not sure), 4 wheelers, horse back riding, high rope course, etc, etc, etc. Really fun. Plus there's a spa for us ladies.
We will definitely be going back next year and staying longer. We're thinking that like 5-7 days is good.
Check out these pics:
Check out this video of HRH on the tirolesa (tyrolean crossing?) - Turn the sound down, it's super loud:
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I've been totally obssesed with the flavors of Provence and the simplicity and quality of the food from there, from Sardinia, and the likes, that I have made a few inspired dishes. Today for example I baked potatoes with rosemary, thyme, garlic, onions, olive oil salt and pepper and it was heaven.
On the weekend I had my bother and sister over with their respective partners and we had that risotto I blogged about a while back (apricots and brie). It was wonderful, but the starter was the real star of the show. Inspired by the provence episode of No Reservations where Tony has lunch with a wealthy vineyard owners. Their meal was so chic in its simplicity. They had tomato soufflé with bread and a leafy freen (prolly arougula), whole baked bass with potatoes, cheese platter, and lots and lots of wine. I went online and researched for tomato soufflé recipes and finally found one I thought was similar and would represent. I adapted the flavors a bit (not quantities so much) so as to match what I had in mind it would taste like. I got the recipe from here, and these are the changes I made (flavor-wise only):
-I used Italian tomatoes (instead of 2 med size, I used 5 relatively small Italian tomatoes)
-I cooked the tomatoes with thyme (a bunch tied together), 2 whole cloves of garlic smashed with my knife, but not chopped, rosemary tied to the bunch of thyme, 1 star anise (so good), 1/4 tsp vanilla (trust me on this)
-After everything was thoroughly cooked I took out the rosemary/thyme bundle as well as the star anise and garlic.
-I blended everything in the blender
-chopped a handful of fresh basil and about 150 gr sundried tomatoes (in olive oil preserve).
I did all of this before adding the bechamel, etc.
The recipe came out perfect. I would have liked to cook it in individual ramekins, but I don't have them so I baked it in glass pie dish. It looked beautiful, the flavours were intense and crave-worthy, the consistency was airy but still velvety and a little dense - kind of. It was great. Everyone loved it, and it has won a coveted place in my recipe box.
Please check out the link and try out the recipe for yourself. It's easy, tastes and looks super chic, and is guaranteed to impress anyone you serve this to.
Sorry I have no pictures....I'm such a terrible blogger. I will post a picture update next time I make it - which will be super soon!
Friday, May 14, 2010
The other day I saw an episode of No Reservations (Anthony Bourdain - one of the coolest people on the planet) where he goes to Provence. I have a close friend who's going there for a month long holiday and there are not enough words in any language known to man to describe how jealous I am of her. It kills me. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for her and I want her to go, but I want to go with.
The simplicity of the life there, the quality of ingredients and magnificentness of the food is impressive. I felt like I was there with Tony. For 1 hour I was totally tripping, imagining myself there with him. What a life. I will go in my lifetime, but not just yet. In the meantime I will read Peter Mayle's books and watch shows like No Reservations and drool like a crazy.
If you want to catch the episode I watched you can see it here. Also, the episode where he goes to Sardinia with his beautiful Italian wife and adorable daughter is one of the best episodes yet. I wanted to spirit myself there. While I was watching it I was making plans in my mind and thinking, how does one get to Sardinia? Probably have to fly to Italy first, then get a boat or small plane.... Insane!!! Please watch it. Tony is so stupidly happy it's a joy to watch. If you've been following his show from the very beginning until now, you can see a significant change in him. He's so in love with his wife and child it's almost nauseating to watch. I love it and I suspect if you're reading all the way until here, you will too.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Reading a naughty Jilly Cooper book called Rivals. Her books are like crazy novelas. I know it's not in any way intellectual, but then again, I've never really claimed to be anything remotely resembling an intellectual. I like reading frivolous novels (especially the well written ones) and this is a perfect distraction from the mountains of work and responsibility I have to deal with on a daily basis.
I'm still really addicted to tonic water, but I've started a new ritual at home that I think is quite fun: Cocktail Thursday, Beer Friday and Wine Saturday. Of course Friday and Saturday can change depending on if we're out or home, but in general we've we stick to the plan.
Mushrooms - need I say more?
Modern Family is hillarious!
SL Sa Majeste la Rose, Chanel 5 Eau Premiere, Kenzo Amour le Parfum
Rimmel Sexy Curves Mascara, Laura Mercier Shimmer Brick, Chanel Beige Fellin, MAC Nymphette lipglass
Could not live without product of the moment:
L'Occitane 100% Shea Butter - my lips and cuticles are grateful, Eucerin Intensive Repair Foot Cream 10% Urea (pure laboratory magic)
Glee soundtrack - it makes me happy
What do I work so hard for if not to get someone else to slave away cleaning my house for me?
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
It's a classic work of art. The intensity and purity of the rose mixed with the honeyed notes in the drydown make it effortlessly romantic and chic. While it is classic, it is in no way old fashioned. It has none of the traits we associate with old-fashioned rose grandmother scents (although I do love those as well). It's contemporary without being weird, and classic without being old. A perfect, harmonious balance of all that is beautiful.
The name really says it all. It is a Queen and as such should be worshipped and given due respect. I would like to make it my signature scent. If I were always associated with that scent I would have no complaints. Serge Lutens is a master and if you haven't had the pleasure of trying some of his weird, unique, beautiful and classic fragrances, you're missing out. They take you on a crazy ride and it's wonderful. I presently own two SL fragrances, Fumerie Turque and Sa Majeste la Rose. I plan to own many, many more.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Saturday I taught a makeup class. It was not the first time I gave a makeup class, but it had been a while since I had taught a group of people. There were 5 girls, 3 of which were very much beginners, my Greti which I'm always passing on my knowledge to so she's not exactly a beginner, and another girl called Bianca who has a makeup collection that rivals mine.
The idea was to start with the basics: foundation, concealer, bronzer, blush, etc. Once you know the basic things that make you look more beautiful, and you learn to identify and correct your flaws and work with your strong points, the rest is extra. From there we went to a night look, and you've guessed it, it was the smokey eye.
The look most women request from me is the dark grey, brown or black smokey eye. It's the looks that most radically changes the way you look, and the one the camera loves most. Once you learn to master the smokey eye, the world is your oyster. The black smokey eye is of course the ultimate goal, the one all woman aspire to perfect. Once you perfect the black smokey eye, you can do pretty much anything.
It's all about having the right tools and blend away. And that was the most important lesson of the day. As a follow up, I'll be going out with one of the girls to help her find the right brushes at the best prices.
Sunday was Mother's Day so we went over to my sister's house - for a change - where we had a massive Italian feast for 17 people, and that wasn't even with everyone present. We had a cheese and cold meats platter with the most delicious grapes. Then there were bruschettas for starters (the bread was cut too thick - by me - so it was a bit like one of those prank shows as everyone that tried to bite into it would get tomato all over themselves and the floor - hilarious). For the main course my sister made sundried tomato and arougula orzo pasta, and I make penne al pesto with parma ham and parmesan cheese. We also had medium rare filet mignon cut paper thin (by me - to redeem myself for the bruschetta fiasco) with a garlic olive oil and parsley sauce (made by my sister Mary). For dessert my sister made blondies and I made cream cheese marble brownies. Two other people brought a mandioc cake (traditional here) and flan.
It really was a feast and we had a really good time eating and drinking wine, laughing and enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon.
What about you? How was your Mother's Day celebration?
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Let's talk a bit about this luminous, gorgeous makeup. I know there is a considerable amount of photoshop and lighting involved, but it would be interesting to try to copy this. Making the face luminous this way is not impossible. It involves clean, exfoliated, and well moisturized skin. The idea is to keep the skin looking dewy - not greasy.
So, you have to know your skin well and work with it. If your skin tends to be a bit more oily, work with a bit of translucent powder to control danger areas and stay away from cream illuminators and things. Opt instead for powders. They'll keep your face fresh and bright, but not oily. I've found this is helpful for humid climates as well.
You will need:
Moisturizer/Primer (depending on your skin type)
Translucent powder - if you have oily skin
Copper and pink eye shadow
Dark brown eye liner
Smudge brush or pencil brush to work the eye shadow and eye liner
Warm brown blush/bronzer for that sunkissed look
Illuminator in cream or powder
Warm nude pink gloss
Now, I went on to the Revlon website and was a bit surprised that they suggest using black eye shadow for this look. I don't see it. This look is about being beautiful, luminous, and sunkissed. It's about browns and pinks, and if you keep it that way you will look fresh and super gorgeous. This is a perfect Saturday afternoon with the girls look, or Sunday sun-dress at a bbq. Try it out and let me know how it came out.
- Prep your skin (clean, moisturize/prime)
- If you have all over illuminator like this Revlon one, use it, if not, lightly dust illuminating powder on the high points of your face (stay away from the tip of the nose as it tends to look shiny in a bad way, not glowing in a good way - so, bridge only), don't forget the brow bone
- Take your bronzer and apply on the contour and cheekbone, apply a bit on the bridge of the nose and do that 3 stroke application where you contour in a 3: temples, cheekbones and jaw. Concentrate more on the cheekbones
- Take some light pink shadow and dust the whole eyelid
- Take your brown eye liner and line the water line and lash line, top and bottom, then smudge like you're trying to prove something
- Your copper eye shadow is going to go over the smudged brown eyeliner to help it stay put and to add another layer of color and beautifulness (that's a word)
- Take your powder illuminator or light champagne eye shadow and highlight the inner corner of your eyes (where the tear ducts are)
- Apply mascara (you can use burgundy or brown mascara if you have fair hair, or you happen to love those colors)
- Cover your lips with a good amount of luscious pink gloss (with a bit of shimmer) and you're good to go!
I know I'm a bit late to the game, but how awesome is Laura Mercier's Shimmer Brick? I am blown away at how beautiful it is and the magazine style glow it adds to my skin. I've been using illuminators for years, but this is really the best! I have my dear sister Brunie to thank for this. She's been a huge fan for years and in order to convince me that it's better than the rest, she sent me one.
Her care package (I love, love, love receiving care packages - it's so "brown paper packages tied up with string...") also included Chanel Coco Rouge 01 lipstick called Beige Félin. It is the perfect caramel color. It reminds me of one of my favorite movies of all times, The Thomas Crown Affair with Rene Russo and Pierce Brosnan. She is so elegant and glamorous and amazingly beautiful. There is an air of serious chic surrounding her and she rocks a perfect caramel lip almost the whole movie long. Her hair is crazy gorgeous, too. The movie is pure glamour. I think I'm going to watch it again.
It's been my life's dream, along with winning a Pulitzer for the book I have yet to write, to own that perfect caramel lipstick. A lipstick to rival all other lipsticks. One lipstick to rule them all. A lipstick that has the power to inspire envy from suckers who are too busy planning out their lives and careers to concern themselves with something as "trivial" as the perfect lipstick. A lipstick that says: grace, elegance, class, glamour, "I am Rene Russo in Thomas Crown Affair", power, and "look what I got" all in one impossibly chic tube. Well, the search is over. It has been found. It is Chanel Coco Rouge 01 Beige Félin - just in case I hadn't made that clear.
On an unrelated/related note, I just bought (because it was too good to pass up) the May issue of In Style magazine with Scarlet Johansson on the cover. It is amazing! Please go to your newsstand and take a gander. There is a list of 150 beauty must-haves from makeup, to skincare, to hair products and brushes. There are gorgeous fashion pics and styles, finds and extravegances. Very fun.