Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas Dinner!

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Let me start this post with a Christmas greeting...

These past few days, I have been very busy preparing a Christmas dinner menu for 3 adults - me, the husband, my mom-in-law. For the past 4 years, every Christmas dinner menu is planned weeks in advance and prepared 2-3 days ahead. Yes, I am that OC. Since the days leading to Christmas eve was pretty busy for me, what with our company's Annual Strategic Planning, Business Review and Christmas Party all happening in one jam packed week, i had less time than the usual in preparing our Christmas dinner. 

Since i cook everything from scratch and am a bit OC when cooking, I personally handle the grocery shopping myself as i tend to scrutinize every ingredient that goes in the food i cook. Guess how stressful grocery shopping is 2 days before Christmas eve? VERY STRESSFUL. So anyhow, here is my final Christmas dinner menu for three: 

Baked Ribs
Roasted Rosemary Lemon Butter Chicken 
Bakes Mussels

No Bake Blueberry Cheescake
Fruit Salad 

I normally don't cook a lot of variety during Christmas, I tend to do this during New Year instead. So two days before Christmas, i had all my ingredients ready, save for the mussels which i wanted to buy on the morning of the 24th to make sure it's really fresh. Unfortunately though, i could not find any mussels AT ALL the morning of the 24th. I went to 2 wet markets and 3 grocery stores, and found NONE. Weird, all the mussels in Cebu must have decided to take a leave on this particular day. So, here's my Christmas dinner, sans the Baked Mussels. 

Here's my lasagna swimming in sauce and cheese. I know it doesn't look appealing, but this is how the husband likes his lasagna- very saucy, creamy and cheesy. 

My baked ribs that i am very proud of. It's so tender and yummy! I marinated the meat 2 days prior, and slow baked it in the oven for 4 hours. yep, that long.

And here's my Roasted Rosemary Lemon Butter Chicken that i marinated in rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper, Kikkoman, and lemon  for 2 days. I then roasted it in the turbo broiler together with lots of whole onions, butter and baby potatoes. Very simple but very delish!

Here's my no bake blueberry cheescake made of crushed graham, cinnamon, nutmeg, cream cheese, all purpose cream, evaporated milk, gelatin and blueberry filling. It took me 3 tries to perfect the overall look of the cake. I am satisfied with the taste, but there's more work to do on the look of the cake though. 

Overall, i am very happy with my Christmas menu and how they all tasted in the end. The husband and mom-in-law loved it so much. The ultimate satisfaction of cooking is seeing your loved ones happily enjoying the food you prepared. Guess what my secret ingredient is in all my cooking? LOVE. lots of it! 

Merry Christmas everyone!  And a Prosperous New Year! 

Here's my tentative menu for New Year's Eve: 

Baked Creamy Carbonara
Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Kebabs
Chilli Prawns
Garlic Butter Crabs

Mango Creme Pie
Oreo Cake
Lecha Flan

What was your Christmas dinner? What's your menu plans for New Year? 

♥ blushbaby

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Getting pretty curls with Babyliss Heated Rollers

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Thanks to Babyliss, i am now able to get the perfect curls i want in an instant. For weeks now i have been seriously contemplating getting a digital perm but have been taken aback for the following reasons: First, it will cost me P4,000 at Tony & Jacky (the only salon i can trust with a digital perm) which is pretty steep. Second, digital perming is sort of permanent (they say it lasts about 8 months - 1 year), which means i cannot just decide to have straight hair anytime i want to. And third, having curly hair is pretty high maintenance, you cannot just shower and leave it on to dry. A digitally permed hair needs to be styled and pampered with a whole lotta products to keep the curls looking pretty. So, in the end, i decided to forgo digital perming for now.

I am so happy to have bought Babyliss because it gives me beautifully curled hair anytime i want to. I searched high and low for this heated rollers because it was sold out in all Watson's branches and in SM Department store. I had to let an employee of ours in Manila buy this for me in Anson's Appliance Center (they only had 2 left). For P2,200.00, you get the following: 

The box contains: 
- 8 large rollers
- 6 medium rollers
- 6 small rollers
- 20 clips & 1 styling comb
- instruction manual
- adaptor

How to use?

1. Plug the device and let it heat up for 30 mins. Make sure all the rollers are in place during heating up. 
2. After 30 mins and once the rollers are hot enough, you can now start using them. 
3. I start by putting on a bit of mousse in my hair. Not too much though because putting on too much product will weigh down your hair and prevent it from holding a curl longer. 
4. After applying mousse, you can now start putting on the heated rollers on your hair section by section. It only takes me 5 minutes to completely put rollers on my hair. 

 6. Leave the rollers on for 15 minutes if you want tighter curls, leave it on for a lesser time if you want looser curls. 

I get this result if i leave the rollers on for 15 minutes. 

I get looser curls if i leave them on for 10 minutes: 

Pretty neat huh? What i love about these rollers is that they give you that perfect hollywood, beach-like curls. And they're so easy to use. This is also great for the multi-taskers because you can use the waiting time to apply makeup while waiting for the curls to set.

- easy to use
- allows you to do other things (like put on makeup), while waiting for the curls to set
- gives pretty curls - beach wave or tight curls
- great for use during special occasions, parties, or just about anytime you feel like getting a curl 

- curls don't stay on as long as i want to. maximum the curls stay on me is 4 hours, even with hairspray. 
- a bit pricey
- this is difficult to find here in the Philippines

- Don't wash your hair the day you'd like to curl them. Wash them the night before. Squeeky clean hair will not hold curls very well. 
- Don't apply too much mousse on your hair prior to putting on the rollers. Too much mousse will weigh down your hair and prevent curls from holding.

I love this! This is so easy to use and produces really pretty curls (than a curling iron). It only takes me 5 minutes to put on the rollers, and 10-15 minutes to wait for the curls to set. I use this waiting time to put on my makeup. 

I need to find a way though to make the curls last longer. Even with hairspray, the curls stay on me only for a maximum of 4 hrs. I've been doing a lot of research and found that there are numerous hairspray and styling mousse specifically made for curls produced from curling irons and hot rollers. Hopefully with constant experimentation, i get to find a curling process that will make my curls last longer. 

What curling products do you use? 

♥ blushbaby

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Review: MAC Satin Blush in Fleur Power

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I was sorting through my traincase last night when I found this blush. Funny, i do not even recall having purchased this. It looks pretty on the pan, but since I've always been partial towards the sheertone shimmer finish of MAC blushes (this is satin), this did not capture much of my attention.

MAC describes this as soft bright pinkish coral. I will say this is more of a warm pink with a slight hint of coral on my NC35 skin tone. Here is what it looks like when swatched :

Looks pretty right? This is the kind of blush that gives you that natural looking flushed look. This blush is so versatile this would look good on almost all skintones. 

- highly pigmented so make sure to apply with a light hand
- staying power is very good
- powder is finely milled and applies smoothly
- this blush gives a natural looking flushed look

- a bit too powdery

Though a pretty color, this is not one of my favorite MAC blushes. As I've mentioned, i tend to be partial towards sheertone shimmer finishes because i love the glow it gives. This being satin, thus almost matte, it lacks that oomph i need in a blush. This is great for a natural everyday look though for office, school, or during casual days. Will i repurchase? Probably no. It will take forever before i hit the pan. 

Do you have Fleur Power? What do you think? 

♥ blushbaby

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Review: Sleek Rose Gold VS. NARS Super Orgasm

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There's been so much talk about Sleek Rose Gold being a very close dupe for NARS Orgasm. As I don't have NARS Orgasm anymore (sold it as the color barely showed up on me), I will instead do a comparison between Sleek Rose Gold and NARS Super Orgasm.

NARS: rubbery matte square case. the rubbery casing easily attracts dirt. case easily looks worn out after continued use.
SLEEK: hard plastic matte case. does not easily attract dirt. 
Sleek is slightly smaller than NARS in terms of packaging. 

NARS: P1,350 for 4.8g of product
SLEEK: P450 for 8g of product
You do the math. 

NARS: Peachy pink with chunky gold sparkles
SLEEK: Peachy pink with gold sheen

From the pan, Super Orgasm looks more pink than peach, while Rose Gold looks more coral than pink. The gold sparkles in Super Orgasm is more visible while Rose Gold has sort of micro shimmers instead.

Left: NARS Super Orgasm/ Right: Sleek Rose Gold
When swatched, both look very similar in color. The golden sheen in Rose Gold is what differentiates it from Super Orgasm. Super Orgasm gives no golden sheen, but tiny shimmers on the face (provided you tap off the chunky glitters). You need to tap off your brush before applying (Super Orgasm) on the face lest you'll end up looking like a disco ball. Rose Gold also looks slightly more darker here because it's a few times more pigmented than Orgasm so one heavy swipe can make a huge difference.

Left: NARS Super Orgasm/ Right: Sleek Rose Gold

Rose Gold is definitely more pigmented than Rose Gold. You will notice this with just one swipe. In one swipe, Super Orgasm comes out a bit sheer, whereas Rose Gold immediately gives full coverage. 

Both blushes are finely milled. They're both not chalky and both don't have fallouts. Super Orgasm is slightly rough to the touch though (on the pan) due to the chunky glitters. 

Rose Gold is surely the runaway winner here. From the price alone (P1,350 vs. P450), Rose Gold hits the home run.

Undoubtedly, NARS makes one of the best blushes in the makeup world, and they've become a cult favorite for a reason. Their infamous blush Orgasm has been duped by almost every makeup brand in the world. As to the quality of NARS blushes, I have no question there. However, due to this brand's steep price, a lot of people are taken aback. This is where dupes come in. You get almost the same color for only a fraction of the price. Sleek Rose Gold is an excellent dupe for Super Orgasm. Probably even the best. The quality of this blush is not sacrificed by it's price so you have a sure winner here. 

If you've been dying to have Super Orgasm, or probably even Orgasm, try out Rose Gold! 

♥ blushbaby

Friday, December 2, 2011

Review: Sleek Blush in Rose Gold is LOVE!

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Sleek Blush in Rose Gold
Sleek Blush in Rose Gold

I have found a gem in Sleek's Rosegold blush! The color is so pretty on the pan, and even more so when swatched. The color is peachy pink with a gold sheen to it. On my NC35 skin, it's more peach than pink. The golden sheen is really pretty and gives a highlighted effect on your cheeks. It's like putting on blush and highlighter at the same time. Super Pretty!

It's great with my NC35 skin tone, and I would assume it would look great with most skin tones too. The color is very universal. I have to warn though that this blush is VERY pigmented so make sure to use a light hand when applying. With a light hand and my ELF Stippling Brush, the result is really good - a pinky peach golden glow on my cheeks. Here's a swatch of how lovely this blush is:  

Sleek Rose Gold (Applied heavily)
Here's how pretty the blush is on the cheeks.

- very pretty peachy pink color with gold sheen
- 8g of product for P400? What a steal!
- powder is finely milled. applies smoothly.
- super pigmented
- staying power is above average
- gives a lovely sheen on your face - no highlighter needed! 
- packaging is sleek and compact (i just love matte cases!)
- some say this is a very close dupe to the cult favorite NARS Orgasm

- due to the sheen, this will tend to highlight large pores on the cheeks (if you have large pores)
- available only online. Sleek has no physical store in the Philippines. 
- i can't think of anything else! 

For only P400 and with such great color and quality, this blush is a steal! The color is really pretty and universally flattering i would highly recommend this to be a staple in every girls makeup stash. If you've been dying to have NARS Orgasm but taken aback by its price, this will be a great replacement. 

- since the blush is crazily pigmented, make sure to apply with a light hand. It is so easy to go overboard with this blush. Start with a light application and just build until you reach your desired color intensity. 

Do you own Rose Gold? How do you find it? 

♥ blushbaby