July 21, 2010

Monkey On My Back...Finding the Perfect Eyeliner

There is one makeup item that Middle Eastern and Desi women ubiquitously cannot live without. Eyeliner.
Whether it's kajal, surma, pencil, gel or liquid...all of us brown girls are invariably looking for the perfect liner to make our almond-eyes pop. Personally, I feel like I'm contstantly on the lookout for the BLACKEST eyeliner. Moreover, it has to apply easily and stay in place because as hot as Jack Sparrow is, that's not the look I'm going for.

The following is a list of some of the best black eyeliners I've tried to achieve some seriously smoldering peepers...

Tarte Kohl Eyeliner in Starry Night-This was my HG eyeliner...until it was discontinued. It was an intense black that applied smoothly. It even came with a little smudger on one end. The only drawback was that it did run slightly throughout the I had to be cautious about fallout.

Stila Kajal Eyeliner in Onyx-This is a richly pigmented carbon black pencil. Because it's a kohl pencil, it glides on easily without tugging, is soft enough to smoke out and shouldn't irritate when worn on the water line.

MAC Feline Kohl Power Eye Pencil-Although MAC's Smolder kohl pencil is a staple in most makeup junkies' cosmetic bags, I've never been into it as I find that it breaks and smudges way too easily. The limited-edition Feline Kohl Power Pencil, while just as soft, is not so delicate. It is truly a BLACK eye liner and I love that it does not budge.

L'Oreal Lineur Intense in Carbon Black-For me, a look doesn't look complete without a swipe of liquid liner along the upper lashline. Most girls opt for felt tip applicators when it comes to liquid eyeliner, but this brush tip is uber fine and makes application a cinch. It dries pretty quickly and won't come off until you remove your makeup.

Bobbi Brown Longwear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink-This gel liner is a dream to work with on others. I always use it on clients because once it dries, it does not move. It's jet black and glides on effortlessly without pulling on the skin.

July 14, 2010

Roman Style Pizza

Besides New York City pretzels and bagels, there ain't nothing like a good ol' slice of its iconic pizza. The wide, thin, doughy hand-tossed crust, oozing with sauce and mozarella...munchies perfection, I tell ya! However, some of the most memorable pizzas I've tried were authentic Roman-style ones. On our honeymoon, the hubz and I made Rome the first stop on our European tour. One of the first things we did was wander the streets and grab a quick bite of real Italian food. "Why not start with pizza," we thought. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the pizza was considerably different from NYC pizza. Roman-style pizzas are thin and crunchy and are topped with a more conservative amount of sauce and cheese. They are also usually baked in wood burning ovens, giving them a distinct "old world" taste.

Here is my version of a Roman-style pizza (I had to use my plain old electric oven, but I think it turned out almost as good!)


4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

5 tbsp. wheat flour

1/4 cup semolina flour

1 tsp. yeast

1 3/4 warm water

1 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (plus extra for drizzling)

3/4 cup tomato sauce

3-4 cups mozarella cheese

1/3 cup basil leaves

Preheat oven to 450°F. Dissolve yeast in warm water for 4-5 minutes. Sift together all-purpose, wheat and semolina flour with salt. Slowly add in water and then olive oil. Knead for about 2 minutes and form into a ball. (Take care not to over-knead the dough as it will overwork the gluten network, making it more gooey than an typical Roman-style pizza). Move to another bowl that is coated in olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 1-2 hours until dough has risen. Punch down dough and knead for another 2 minutes. Place in fridge for another 2 hours. Take out dough from refridgerator, spread onto pizza stone (or a baking pan if you don't have a stone) and shape with your hands. The shape doesn't have to be perfect as this adds to the pizza's rustic quality. Top with tomato sauce, cheese and basil leaves. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

July 12, 2010

Ever Had One of Those WTF Moments?

Now, I love me some MAC makeup but I've never been one of those cult followers who stalk the internet kerfuffle surrounding new and much anticipated collections, limited edition products and the like. I do, however, wish I was one of those obsessive-compulsive MAC addicts right about now. After seeing some swatches online of the Stereo Rose Mineralize Skinfinish (a repromote item in the In The Groove collection), I wanted it. I've heard that it's a beautiful coral highlight powder, with more subtle shine than full on shimmer. Sounds nice, but I doubt I'll ever get to see it firsthand since EVERY location is sold out!! I asked my hubz to take me to the mall on Saturday so I could cop this heavily craved product, but decided not to go since he doesn't like shopping or mall crowds and because he seemed tired. Why did I have to be considerate at that moment?! Cue in the Homer Simpson "DOH!" Anyway, cut to today when I rang up one MAC counter and the salesperson notified me that they usually get shipments on Thursdays and most people bought the majority of them that same BULK. I even called up my sister in Atlanta (thinking that maybe this is just a NY area phenomenon) and asked her to scope out the situation there. SAME THING!!!! At this point I just want the MSF just to say I got it LOL. On one hand I want to commend those people who bought them in mass so that they could hawk them on ebay for three times the price because they must have entrepeneurial spirit...on the other I just wanna say WTF. Ya...there is my makeup-related WTF moment.

July 11, 2010

Brownie Addict's Bliss...Best (Easiest) Brownie Recipe

Everyone knows that I'm a big fan of QUICK and EASY but still (almost) from scratch recipes. I had a hankering for brownies yesterday (my pregnancy cravings are showing up at the last minute) I grabbed whatever ingredients I could find from my mum's pantry to whip something up. Surprisingly, this recipe produced some of the yummiest, fudgiest, chocolatiest brownies I've ever tasted, not to mention the prep & cook time was under an hour. That there is awesomeness in my book. If you can't find the particular hot cocoa brands mentioned in this recipe, feel free to use any other kind or just use unsweetened hot cocoa mix and add another 1/2 to 1 cup sugar depending on your sweet-tooth.

1 cup unsalted butter (melted)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2.5 cups sugar
4 eggs
1.5 cups all purpose white flour
1/2 cup Ghirardelli "Double Chocolate" hot cocoa mix (or 2 packets)
1/2 cup Nestle "Rich Chocolate" hot cocoa mix
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cream butter, vanilla extract and sugar together. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after adding each. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, hot cocoa and salt. Gradually stir the flour-cocoa mixture into the butter-sugar mixture until combined. Add in chocolate chips. Spread evenly into a lightly greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool for about 15 to 30 minutes before cutting and serving.

Now if only I had some ice cream to go with this!

July 9, 2010

June Favorites

This really should have been posted a while ago, so I apologize for the delay! At least I got it on here before my July favorites, right? LOL.

1. Ardell Demi-Wispies Lashes...During the hot, humid summer months, I like to keep my makeup as uncomplicated and smudge-proof as possible. These lashes add just the right amount of oomph to an otherwise simple look.

2. NYX Trio Eyeshadow in TS3...If you're looking for a small, versatile pallette of neutrals, then this is a great pick. The colors include a nude which I use as a highlight, taupe for lid color and a dark brown for the crease. I also love that it conventiently fits into my makeup bag and that I can take it on the go.

3. Revlon Colorburst Lipstick in 070 Soft Nude...It seemed as though for a while, every time I was browsing through the makeup at several drugstores this was the particular lipstick that was universally sold out! When I found the last one at a Rite Aid not too long ago, I just had to snatch it up and see what the hoo-ha was all about. It's a nice creamy, pigmented lipstick in a pinky-nude shade. It's a little milky-looking for my lips but when I blend it out with a lipliner like MAC Spice or Stripdown, it works really well.

4. Inglot Lip Gloss in 541...This gloss is so special lol. It's really unique as it's essentially a clear gloss that reflects blue and purple! Err...I don't think my description is doing this iridescent lip gloss justice...but if you live in the NYC area, then I would definitely head to Inglot's Times Square location and check it out in real.

5. Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder in Deep...I bought this matte bronzer specifically as a contour. The reddish undertones work wonders to sculpt my NC42-43 skin tone.