Friday, September 30, 2011


Last week we were blessed with such nice weather in the afternoons - most of the rains came in the morning and the evening but around lunch time there always seemed to be sunshine.  Then, all of a sudden, it got so windy and chilly as if the past couple of days where just a dream.  I wonder if that's what they call the "Indian Summer".

I guess it's finally time to pack away the summer wardrobe and start planning for fall/winter wear, which of course, calls for new makeup shades to go along!  I've already picked up a coral shade called "Irony" in Soft n' Shine Lip Balm from Gosh, which I think will go well with all the oranges and browns that dominate my fall wardrobe.  Are you ready for fall?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

DOMINION approaches!!

In the past few days I was able to experience the new game mode offered by my favorite game - LoL: Dominion when beta testing was available during off-peak hours.  Compared to the regular 5vs5 or 3vs3 games, Dominion is very different - much more fast-paced and much more exciting - and the strategy leans towards capturing the enemy turrets rather than killing enemy champions, although killing them means the other team will have less champions capturing your turrets/defending their turrets.  It's so much fun that I could almost drop anything to play once we find that the limited-time beta testing is happening - I can't wait until it actually comes live!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

nail art stickers

You know how I tend to go overboard on things (remember my gingerbread house compared to Michelle's)... Well, I did it again, this time with sparkly stickers on my nails. I think this nail art could pass for a bridal design, or at least if you are planning to attend a party where you would want to show up with a fancier manicure.

The base color is Nicole by OPI in cocoa a go-go and the stickers were a surprising find at the dollar store. They were quite finicky to peel off and properly position because of the adhesive backing but once you get the hang of it - it's so easy that I had put more than what's classy on my nails.

Also trying for the first time Drying Drops from the same line and I'd have to say although not an indispensable tool, it's something nice to have in case you are in a hurry.

Monday, September 19, 2011

promise ring

Actually, I had bought this promise ring for myself - a set of 3 silver rings from Spinning Jewelry that can be worn separately or together - but it's my promise to myself that no matter what happens, I am going to put myself front and center.  Sounds horrendously selfish, doesn't it?  But who's gonna love me and look out for me if I don't first?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mmmmm... more meats!!!

Soul-satisfying 1/2-lb burger with a generously-portioned small salad from Royal Meats BBQ in Etobicoke after another fruitless shopping trip (this time to downtown Toronto - but come on, if I didn't come away with anything in New York, what was I thinking to hope I'd find something in Toronto?)  Burger plus salad and drink came to just over $15, so it's just a tad more expensive than Hero Burgers, but it's totally worth it to see them grab your piece of meat from the counter and put it on the grill in front of your eyes - and the serving size is definitely more generous than Hero's.  Tastes way better too.

My friends had the shish-kabob sandwich and the steak sandwich, both of which were also very yummy and very filling - we wished we had shared a sandwich instead of getting one each because we were left with no room for the crepes that looked so tempting on the menu.  The cappuccino was also highly recommended - even though I found it weird to be sipping coffee while having burgers - beer would probably have been a better pairing.  Or wine, for that matter, which Royal Meats also serve in small bottles similar to the ones you used to find on airplanes. I can't wait to go back to try some of the other offerings like the chevaps sausages served on a bun.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

NYC in a whirl wind II

Since the forecast called for rain we decided Sunday was to be the day for museums - our CityPass included admission to MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and that's what we had planned for the day.

MoMA had a fun interactive exhibition called "TALK TO ME" - but other than that, there were a lot of "art" we didn't get.  Okay, maybe not the famous Monet or the Starry Night by van Gogh, nor the cool message coded in images of the moon.  But for a lot of the art shown in the galleries, we wondered "that's considered art too?" - like canvas with a simple strip pattern that hung on the wall, or a wooden stick painted red that stood in the middle of the room, or mini "sculptures" made up by wads of gum - yes, chewed gum...

The Metro, which we visited next, was much bigger and so much more fun - we regretted not having spent less time at MoMA so that we could spend more time at the Metro.  There was a huge solarium housing an Egyptian temple and an entrance in the shape of a pyramid.  We saw mummies and were in awe of ancient Egyptian arts and crafts (their elaborate necklaces and gold-plated sandals wouldn't look out of place if worn today).  Then we saw a range of musical instruments from wind instruments like bagpipes and a ceramic French horn to string instruments like harps and early versions of the piano to a full-sized organ.  We also saw full plate armours but alas there were no knights to be found.

It was late when we finally got out of the Metro (we were literally shooed out of the museum), and after a long search for a reasonably-priced restaurant to sit down and eat in the ritzy neighborhood of Upper East Side, we settled for a little bakery-cafe called Corrado Bread.  I wonder if the turkey quiche tasted better than what it actually was because we were starving by then - but the almond macaroons and fudge cup were definitely amazing.

We tried another form of transportation typical in New York (just to complete the experience) and made our way to the south entrance of Central Park in a yellow taxi.  New Yorkers have it good - the taxi is equipped with a machine that allows for payment with credit cards and a touch-screen interactive panel that showed the map, news, and other info.  Whereas the cab I remember from Toronto felt just like any other passenger car... but then again, the cab drivers here don't drive like maniacs.
We tried to look for the "main entrance" of Central Park (if there was such a thing) but didn't see any banners or signs, so we gave up the idea of posing for pictures to say we've been there.  From there we made our pilgrimage to the Apple Store, went aboard its futuristic sci-fi looking cylindrical glass elevator, only to find it comparable to the Apple Stores here in Canada, except maybe it's even more crowded.
We then walked to Rockefeller Center, making stops at whatever stores still open along the way, including A|X where we found out that items below $50 in NYC are not taxed, and Swarovski - where we saw a pendant fashioned after the Statue of Liberty and a Hello Kitty clutch with full-on bling.  Most of the other stores had closed for the day, however, and we could only peek through the windows of Tiffany, LV and Cartier.

When we finally got to Rockerfeller Center it was well after 9 - but the line up was much much better than at the Empire State building.

We passed by Times Square and ate at Patzeria Perfect Pizza, which held the #5 spot of Top NYC Restaurants according to the Trip Advisor website.  Not bad for pizzas but be warned there is no decent place to sit and no service - you pay, you wait then you either eat while standing on the street or if you are lucky like we were, sit at the old dirty table on shaky wooden stools.  My brother's girlfriend was practically falling asleep with pizza in her mouth, but still vowed to return so she could get some shopping done on Fifth Avenue.

- End of Day 2 in NYC

Friday, September 9, 2011


I absolutely adore macarons. And to find miniature ones at Whole Foods, which has now opened in Square One, I was almost overjoyed. Surprisingly, these didn't cost a fortune because they are sold by weight - which is great because macarons, made of nothing but egg whites and sugar (plus the flavoring and cream filling), are usually on the lighter side.

I also picked up a pecan brioche for dessert after lunch but it paled in comparison to the colorful treats.

And of course I picked up something from their expansive cheese counter.
This little beauty is gonna have to wait though because there is no way I can justify eating a round of tripe creme Brie on my own.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

NYC in a whirl wind

We packed a whole lot in the 3 short days we spent in NYC this long weekend and despite being physically exhausted from all the walking and driving it was a great deal of fun!

We left later than planned on Friday (my brother was trapped by obligations at work) and the hotel wasn't exactly easy to locate even with the help of a GPS (which didn't even have the right address to begin with and took us first to some random building in Newark then another hotel of the same name in the other side of town), so by the time we arrived it was past 5 A.M.

Predictably we didn't make it in time to enjoy the free breakfast offered by the hotel, but because we woke up so late we also missed the drop-off time for discounted parking when we finally drove into the city.  We ended up dropping the car off at a parking garage that charged us over $40 for a day's parking - way off from the expected $12+tax parking.  We walked up Wall Street and saw the famous Bull surround by a huge crowd of tourists lining up to take pictures.  It was impossible to snap a shot without somebody else on the other side of the Bull -

We wandered up Wall Street and found the Trinity Church with beautiful stained glass windows and a secret chapel at the back for actual prayers and meditations because the main hall was full of tourists too occupied with sight-seeing to be considerate with their noise level (like me, for one).

We were starving since we skipped breakfast, so we hopped into the closest restaurant we saw, and it turned out really good.

We had a great prosciutto panini sandwich, a juicy burger topped with portobello mushroom and a delicious pasta with loads of sun-dried tomatoes, chicken and vodka sauce.  We then devoured this little critter, which was actually made up of rich and velvety chocolate mousse flavored with Cognac.

As we were coming out of the restaurant which happened to be just blocks away from Ground Zero, we saw cop car after cop car after more cop cars, all speeding towards the site of the tragedy 10 years ago with flashing lights and full-on sirens.  It turned out to be quite a spectacle as tourists start taking photos of the cop cars in action. 

We, on the other hand, figured that we have seen Ground Zero close enough and decided that it's probably best if we moved away from where there might be trouble, so we went towards Battery Park instead.

After skipping the lines with the CityPass (but not escaping the airport-style security check), we boarded the ferry that took us to the Island where the Statue of Liberty stands - but alas, we didn't quite get up close and personal with her because tickets to the crown had been sold out long ago, especially since the Statue was scheduled to close for renovation starting October.

We circumvented the island in about an hour then boarded the ferry towards Ellis Island to get back to Manhattan.  There were 2 Coast Guards speedboats with guns at the ready that followed our ferry all the way to Ellis Island but We still haven't figured out what's so special about it (compared to the Statue of Liberty).

The next destination on the CityPass we wanted to check out was the Empire State Building, and coming out from Battery Park we passed by the NYSE:

We decided to take the infamous subway up to the Empire State Building, just because we have never rode in it before.  

Surprisingly, it was much much cleaner than what we've seen in the movies - but the conductor at the ticket booth was unexpectedly rude.  

We got off at Grand Central Station (which I found amazing but B wasn't impressed because it looked just like Union Station in Toronto) to checked out the ceiling painted with constellations
and the dome-shaped hallway where a conversation could be between opposite corners by talking into the wall - we probably looked like a bunch of crazies while we were at it, but it was still really cool to hear B's voice coming from the wall, knowing that he's standing at least 10 feet behind me facing into the opposite wall.

From Grand Central Station it was only a few blocks to the Empire State building, and we passed by the Central Library where we wondered if we'd get to see Ghost Busters running out.

We thought we could get lucky and skip the line-up again with the CityPass.  It didn't work that way - we still went through spiraling lines in room after room after room - the only line we skipped was the one where other tourists had to buy tickets.

It took an hour and a half to finally get to the last line where we waited for the elevator that took us up.  The breath-taking night view of the city almost made it worth the wait.

The audio tour was included in our CityPass, and it was great to have the audio guide pointing out what's what we were looking at.  Empire State building wasn't the romantic kind of place like I had imagined it to be though - it was way too crowded and we kept getting pushed and bumped into in the narrow walkway between the building and the fence.  Maybe at another time when there are less tourists around it could be romantic, but definitely not when we were there.

We couldn't pass by Times Square as planned because it took so much longer to get up the Empire State - our parking had a time limit that expired at midnight, kind of like Cinderella - so we went to pick up the car and my brother drove around to show us Chinatown.  It was eerily similar to Hong Kong - I don't know if it's the humidity, the tight spaces and tall buildings - but for a moment I had the illusion of being back in Kennedy Town where our grandparents lived.  We were exhausted though and with my brother at the wheel, I fell asleep even before we had a chance to grab dinner - which my brother wasn't quite happy about...

- End of Day 1 in NYC

Friday, September 2, 2011

Rainbow Crackle!!

Six-color gradient as base coat and black crackle (Sally Hansen's Ink Splatter crackle overcoat) to top - took quite a while because I had to wait for one color to dry before painting the next, but well worth the effort!