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Gel manicures

19 Jul

Summer sort of calls more attention to nail color.  I usually get a little creative with my mani-pedi’s, but the cracks and chips and color-swaps each week add up, so yesterday I tried my first gel manicure.  The result?  Flawless nails.
This is a Shellac gel, “a UV-cured ‘hybrid’ nail color that brushes on like polish but holds up like a gel so its naturally, glossy ‘wet look’ finish can last up to two weeks without chipping and doesn’t require power tools for removal.”  Calgel and Minx both file and buff for adhesion and removal, therefore damaging the nail.  I was told, to remove Shellac, simply soak my digits in an acetone wrap for 10mins — easy!  And to maintain the gel, apply any ol’ top coat every two, three days.  Its fresh look can actually last three weeks!  Note to self: now is not the time to be capricious.

Etoile Isabel Marant SS 2011. CND Color Shellac Strawberry Smoothie.

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Mini NYC

18 Jul

First adventures — more like experiments — in tilt-shift photography.

Southern hospitality, y’all

17 Jul

I have a pretty sweet spot for the South: the Best Friend is from Tennessee, and I love anything fried or barbecued the Southern way.  So when I heard about Pat and Gina Neely planning to introduce their Memphis-style barbecue to New York I couldn’t help but jump for joy.  The long-awaited opening arrived this past Wednesday at 62nd and 1st, and I was running — literally running — out the door from work.
Chicken fried steak – black pepper cream gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans
This one plate was the epitome of comfort food — comfort food at its finest.  The steak was so perfectly cooked (medium-rare) and juicy in a crispy, fried package with buttery, melt-in-your-mouth gravy, it automatically set off my taste buds.  And as if that weren’t enough of a delectable surprise, the green beans were not only served with thick-cut bacon but also overwhelmingly infused with the flavor itself.  Wow, right?
Memphis style baby back ribs – dry, with sweet potato fries
We chose to try this recipe dry so we may experiment with the different sauces available (barbecues ranging from sweet to spicy).  The meat on the ribs were very well-seasoned, flavorful and tender — could have stayed in the smoker for longer but it was fine.  I finally stuck a pin on the exact flavor: like summer sausage, who could resist.  Then of course I went with the spicy barbecue sauce, and the combination of the Memphis dry rub and sauce was something like fireworks.
Certainly the place to pig out, so to speak.  Oink!

More, please

17 Jun

Sometimes you receive subtle reminders of how much you love someone.  For me, that reminder took the form of a box of four cupcakes hailing from Chicago.  Ever since my disappointment with Sprinkles New York, I’ve found and raved about trying More Cupcakes.  Opportunity presented itself with last week’s Chicago trip but alas I didn’t have enough time!  The Boyfriend arrived home yesterday with a large bag and box in hand and I was so touched by the sweet surprise and thoughtfulness.
So, what drew me to these cupcakes was the variety.  More Cupcakes offers not only sweet treats but also savory, specialty, and cocktail.  Impressive, I know.  I figured if the flavors were that adventurous, the relatively more traditional ones must be damn good…  So far I’ve only had the chocolate hazelnut and loved it!  A dark chocolate cake with creamy but light hazelnut filling and whipped chocolate ganache; it was the right amount of sweet but still decadent.
Conclusion?  I crazy love the Boyfriend!

People person

4 Jun

Arriving at Financier Pâtisserie for morning pain au chocolat, I found myself in line behind an elderly Russian woman.  At the time there was only one associate manning the counter, and combined with this woman’s dire need for perfect, unbroken pastries, they proceeded to take ten minutes of my life.  In the meantime, a few other customers arrived.  One, a Wall-Streeter who stood by, when a second associate stepped in behind the counter and started, “Sir, what can I get for you?”
He physically relocated and cut in front: “Excuse me.”
I loudly muttered under my breath: “Damn right, excuse you.”
He turned and looked quizzically: “Sorry?”
“You heard me.  I was here well before you.”
“I didn’t think you understood [the associate].”
I rolled my eyes and used fingers to mark points: “Okay first, you’re insulting my intelligence.  Second, you’re telling me I wouldn’t understand [the associate], why, ’cause I’m Asian?  You weren’t even respectful enough to mention, ‘Oh, she was here before me.'”
Completely baffled, to the associate: “I’m sorry, she was here before me.”
Damn right.

Flashbacks

3 Jun

Happy June!  I hope everybody had a wonderful, sun-filled Memorial Day weekend, mine was more or less eventful; I simply lazed and ate my way through it — there was really no better way I would’ve preferred.  Though last week I hit flashback mode: This time last year the class of 2010 was graduating!
Last Chance Dance, with the Best Friend
Senior Soirée, with the Roommate (more on her later) and the Boyfriend
We have come quite a ways in one year.

Sprinkles, the May 7th sneak peek

14 May

Last Saturday I attended the sneak peek event for Sprinkles Cupcakes (which officially opened yesterday, by the way), and let’s just say I was very thankful for sending in my RSVP; there was a long line down Lexington, and even those who arrived and were on the guestlist had to wait about half an hour to enter the store.
Once inside, the colorful and playful decor only slightly distracted me from the main attraction: the cupcake display window!  Behind a sheet of glass, wooden shelves were filled with columns and rows of cupcakes — honestly, it reminded me so much of Swirlz Cupcakes in Chicago, I had some high hopes.
I was also super fortunate to meet Sprinkles founder, cupcake-whisperer Candace Nelson.  In fact, I hardly noticed her standing in the corner as everyone clamored around the order counter.  I may have acted like a kid in a candy store (young adult in a cupcake store, same difference) but she was a real sweetheart.  I sampled the strawberry, peanut butter chocolate, cinnamon sugar, and banana cupcakes, tastefully rich and moist but the frostings killed me — too sweet and dense, with the exception of cinnamon sugar, which was coated with cinnamon sugar instead of frosting.  And when I left, I had another four in tow: vanilla, red velvet, black and white, and coconut.  What, they were complimentary!

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