Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day Cocktail: Love at First Blush



Valentine's Day has always been an exciting holiday for me. Besides the fact that I love a good theme, it's a great opportunity to overindulge my fondness for Valentine's cookies and conversation hearts. Whether coupled up or riding solo, I always find a way to make the most of a day dedicated to showing people how much they're loved. This year I will be clinking glasses with my girlfriends in celebration of our lasting relationship and sipping on blush-hued cocktails to seal the deal. I whipped up this playful and potent cocktail that can be repurposed year round. How will you spend your Valentine's Day?

Love at First Blush

Ingredients
  • 1 tangerine, cut into wedges
  • 2 ripe strawberries
  • sugar
  • 1.5 oz. vodka
  • 1 tbsp. cherry syrup
  • tangerine slice (for garnish)
Recipe
  1.  Place tangerine and strawberries in a highball cup and use muddler to mash together
  2. Add a pinch of sugar to fruit mixture
  3. Strain into another glass and add vodka and cherry syrup
  4. Stir to combine and pour into coupe or old-fashioned glass
  5. Garnish with a slice of tangerine

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Winter Beauty Essentials and a Giveaway!



When I was younger and going through my awkward adolescent years, I stuck to one, singular beauty routine year round. I won't even get into the unfortunate makeup trends I thought looked so cool as a teenager. If I washed my face at night, I used my tried and true St. Ive's Apricot Scrub and didn't bother to moisturize before bed. I never worried about aging, especially because good skin runs in my family, so I had a pretty inconsistent regimen throughout the years. Once I started noticing the fine lines that typically show up one morning when you least expect them, I became more serious about what I put on my face and switched it up seasonally. This philosophy is even more important to stick to in the cooler months, when unpredictable temperatures and harsh conditions can really do damage to your skin. It can even make your daily cosmetic products look different due to your drier skin and paler complexion. Here are a few beauty products that have worked for me this season.

Skin

Toner: L'OCCITANE Immortelle Brightening Water (alcohol free)

Primer: NYX High Definition Studio Photogenic Primer

Face

Foundation: Smashbox Studio Skin 15-Hour Wear Hydrating Foundation

Highlighter: Benefit High Beam

Blush: Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush

Eyes

Shadow: MAC eyeshadow in Naked Lunch

Mascara: L'Oreal Telescopic in Carbon Black; Mary Kay Ultimate Mascara in Black

Lips

Lipstick: Revlon Super Lustrous Creme Lipstick in Black Cherry

Gloss: Smashbox in Tease; NARS in Greek Holiday

Fragrance 

Eau de Parfum: Tocca "Margaux"

~*~GIVEAWAY~*~

In honor of the ever-changing seasons and the release of uber-romantic flick Endless Love starring Alex Pettyfer (swoon) and Gabriella Wilde (gorg) on Valentine's Day, Universal Pictures is helping me give away an awesome gift pack, including a sweet $25 Sephora gift card to get you date-night ready! Enter below using Rafflecopter. Winner will be announced Monday, February 17, 2014. Please read terms and conditions below. 



One (1) winner will receive:
  • $25 Sephora gift card to get date night ready
  • Endless Love EOS Smooth Sphere Lip Balm
  • Endless Love earrings, t-shirt and hair-ties

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
Sponsored by Universal Pictures. Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Up to 15 entries per person. Winner will be chosen at random via Rafflecopter generator. Giveaway ends at 12:00 a.m. [midnight] PST on Monday, February 17, 2014. Winner will be announced in a blog post. Winner must respond within three (3) days of announcement to claim prize. If there is no contact by the 4th day, or the winner did not follow the entry rules (i.e. is not a follower), another winner will be chosen at random. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Rose Water Panna Cotta



When it comes to dessert, I like to keep it simple. A little bit of whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel, or a dash of spice is all I need to cap off a a sweet dish. For me, it's the little things that take it from simple to spectacular. I apply that same philosophy to life -- and love. When thinking of the perfect dessert to whip up for Valentine's Day, I was reminded of the effortless preparation and pure taste of one of my favorites: panna cotta. It means "cooked cream" in Italian and, when joined with an extra special ingredient (in this case, rose water), panna cotta can completely transform from something so basic to a dish that can truly change you. Am I still talking about food? I'm not quite sure anymore, but I do know that the smallest adjustment in the most unexpected of ways can be quite the pleasant surprise.

Rose Water Panna Cotta

Ingredients
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tbs cold water
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tsp rose water
  • 2 drops pink food coloring
Recipe
  1. In a saucepan, bring the cream and sugar to a slight simmer until the sugar has melted.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the gelatin and water and mix until the gelatin has softened.
  3. Add the cream and sugar mixture to the gelatin, constantly stirring.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until smooth.
  5. Strain the mixture into individual ramekins.
  6. Chill in refrigerator for 2-4 hours.

 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Winter Wines...and Drinking Games

Very few things can keep you warm on days when it feels like your insides are chilling on ice. Wine, I have discovered, is one of those things. Though the weather hasn't reached freezing temperatures on the West Coast as it has on the East, I have found it to be a good practice to edit your wine collection to reflect the changing seasons. Most varietals will transition easily from spring and summer to fall and winter, but here are some recommendations based on ones that I've tried myself and others that I have discovered through much research. I don't claim to be an expert in all (or any) things wine, but I hope this short list will help you the next time you reach for a bottle at the end of a long--and cold--day. 


Now that you're familiar with some of the recommended varietals of the season, why not use your new knowledge to test your friends in a party game of wine, wit and wordplay? UNCORKED! challenges players to come up with entertaining tasting notes as they sample new wines. Players will learn a thing or two about wine terminology and have fun coming up with smart, silly and pun-filled descriptions of well-known and obscure varietals. My favorite part of the game is the themed rounds, like "Compare this wine to a celebrity" and "Use sexual innuendo to describe this wine." Support UNCORKED! on Kickstarter!


Monday, February 3, 2014

Current Hair Inspiration: Kylie Jenner


I've been stuck in a style rut lately, mostly because I am so used to my long, brown locks that extend far beyond my shoulders, usually worn with a deep side part. My haircut fear stems from years of unfortunate haircuts mandated by my mother, who thought her awkward, gangly nine-year-old would look cute with a bowl cut/bob combo with blunt bangs.

When I first saw pictures of Kim Kardashian's new, shorter haircut and blonde color, I was floored. I couldn't believe how good it looked and wondered, because we have similar complexions, if it would look as good on me. Though I'm not one to make sudden hair decisions, I sat with the idea for weeks until yesterday, when Kim revealed she had gone back to brown (reportedly for a Vogue cover shoot she is posing for as we speak). In the time it took for me to mull over this big commitment, my hair muse had switched back to her classic hue and has never looked better.

To reignite my hairspiration I investigated other celeb cuts/colors that would work well on me and stumbled upon the recent hair transformation of another Kardashian clan member: Kylie Jenner. The blunt yet shaggy long bob, coupled with a tasteful ombre weave is young, sophisticated and edgy -- just what I've been looking for to bring my style up to date. Can't wait to share my new 'do with you guys soon!

P.S. Have you heard this new Ellie Goulding x Angel Haze cover of James Blake's "Life Round Here?" It has been on repeat all morning and shows no sign of stopping.


 
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