Sunday, December 29, 2013

I really wanted to like you.

Remember that set of mascaras I bought? Still getting through those things. I could have just tried them all in a row, but I didn't for two reasons: 1) You have to learn to use a mascara, and it changes once you get better at handling each wand; and 2) I knew full well I wasn't going to get through each one in less than three months, and that's the life of a mascara, and it would be really sad if they all went off solely because I'm impatient.

The second mascara up for review is Make Up Forever Smokey Extravagant. I like a lot of MUFE's offerings, but I admit I haven't really delved into the brand. I really wanted to like this mascara, but I just don't. I think my biggest disappointment it that it could have been SO good, but it just isn't.

The formula isn't actually bad. It's very black, thick and coats well and doesn't flake. But that effing brush is worthless. Its stupid Christmas tree shape makes it hard to maneuver, and hard to separate. You end up with potentially a lot of volume, but because you can't get in there because the base of the wand is HUGE, both poofy and long, so you can't really achieve much - at least not across all your lashes. I could not get to the inner and outer edges to save my life, because the giant booty on the brush ended up hitting the middle of my lashes, I ended up putting far too much mascara on the center of my eyes, causing a clump fest.

No liner - middle lashes clumped. 

This stuff does stay put, which is really nice, however, I started to find that irritating as well. Shit does not. come. off. At all. I used remover, face wash, face wipes, everything. I was never truly mascara free unless I was in the shower and had the time to rub my eyes off for an extended period of time.

Liner and makeup.

So, would I repurchase? No. Although, if they ever changed the stupid wand on this mascara, I'd try it out again.

Monday, December 23, 2013

please. no more food.

On Food Blogger's final day, we had one last large meal. We hit up my local burger joint, Dutch Boy Burger. Set up like a non-assuming shake place, Dutch Boy offers one hell of a burger (and connects to a beer garden out back).

I haven't repeated yet, and this time I got the Dutch Boy Burger. I love me some grilled onions and I really love me some mushrooms, and this did not disappoint. It was a thick, juicy burger loaded up with delicious toppings.

My only complaint is that they're so busy that they sometimes don't get your order exactly right - our parmesan garlic fries were normal ones, and my burger was a bit more well than I wanted. BUT the food is that good it really doesn't matter.

After our meal, we waddled into a new cheese shop - but don't worry - didn't buy anything.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

keep on eating...really. eat more.

Our second meal of Saturday was epic in its own right. After perusing her restaurant choices online, Food Blogger settled on Catfish. Rather than the menu promising you one thing and delivering another, much like the eponymous TV show, Catfish offers authentic Cajun fare. Given it was her last night, we went all out, with many a course. The tables at Catfish are half personal and half communal. Don't have a reservation? Looks like you're making new friends. Which we did...

We started with oysters - six, or so we thought. Really, we ended up with seven, because one oyster was the mother of all oysters. This thing was the size of my hand. Seriously. Food Blogger was deemed by me the rightful owner of said gargantuan oyster, as the guest, and had to eat it. After falling apart multiple times with lots of comments (It's so big. How am I going to fit this into my mouth??) that were maturely followed with "That's what she said," our table partner departed, thanking us for the most entertaining round of oysters in recent memory.

We followed up the oysters with Crawfish Mac and Cheese. Which, hello...yum! Cheesy, melty, rich, and topped with Zapp's potato chips. We had identical orders of Jambalaya, complete with chicken, shrimp, andouille, and a healthy dose of seasoning. It was fantastic the first day, and even better the second day. Gotta love leftovers!

Catfish is probably one of my new favorite restaurants, although I admit I haven't been back yet. Food Blogger and I ate so much the thought of restaurants is horrifying. My stomach cringes at the thought.

Monday, December 2, 2013

keep on eating

Day Two with Food Blogger. The eating across the city continued. We started off our day early with a trip to the dreaded Century 21. I cannot stand this place - filled with tourists and crowded to breaking capacity. Thankfully, it was not overly crowded so we were able to browse in relative comfort. I went a little crazy with the socks. Like, super crazy. See Fig. 1.

Fig. 1

Post shopping, we met Food Blogger's Singapore mom. Food Blogger moved a lot growing up, and as a result has a wonderful network of people across the world. Singapore Mom was lovely. I had never met her, but she was filling me in on many a story of Blogger's past. It a brunch filled with good conversation and laughter - the perfect kind. I had a pork belly sandwich at Back Forty West. It was rustic and teeny. The menu was small, but still hard to choose from, but I'm pretty sure I chose the right thing.  The meat was tender and juicy. I was very full, but it was okay. I could cope. We walked it off and readied ourselves for our dinner.

More later. You'll understand why I couldn't move by the end of this visit.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

look at you fancy girls...

Immediately following SkiGirl's departure, another friend from Minnesota came to visit. Food Blogger really, really wanted to hit up Union Square Cafe having read my previous post. Like, second sentence out of her mouth! Who am I to deny her? So, her first night in town, after some incredibly strong drinks, we started eating - eating which would continue the entire weekend.

So, I love this place, and I really should have been back sooner, but no. I have not. I'm really bad at being a regular anywhere.

As always, we were treated with a crisp and soft bread selection to munch on/calm our angry ravenous semi-drunk tummies. Salt, and olives on the side, and then this wonderful other thing. It was green, oily, had pistachios and delicious.

Making short work of the mystery pistachio oil, we moved on to the starter. Food Blogger and I both have a serious weakness for pork belly. It is hands down one of the best foods ever, and a serious argument against ever being a vegetarian. Ours came with watermelon radishes, and pork rind. The pork belly and the radishes (a first for me, and surprisingly tasty) were fine by me, but I do NOT like pork rinds. Conceptually, being deep fried means they should be amazing, but no. This is not the case. Pig skin cannot be saved with frying. It's gross. It tastes like oily styrofoam. But I tried it. Maybe I would like expensive pork rind. I don't.

I got ricotta gnocchi as my mains, which I thought was going to be ricotta over gnocchi and red sauce. Boy was I wrong. The gnocchi was ricotta. Talk about rich. Don't get me wrong, this girl loves cheese and I am more than okay with eating nothing but cheese at a meal, I just wasn't expecting it. Imagine expecting gnocchi and getting the density of potato, but instead, it's cheese. Mind blown, right? So, so, so good.

Food Blogger got pasta, which I cannot remember what it was but, also yum. It was simple - noodles, olive oil, red pepper, garlic, and something green, per the photo. No clue. Sorry, but soooo good. This is one of those things I HAVE to remember that I can make at home.

After all our food, we turned down dessert and waddled back to Brooklyn.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Italia by Nihon

This past week I had two friends in New York. Both visiting from Minnesota. Ski Girl was here on a conference, which so happened to coincide with her birthday, so we went out for dinner and drinks. As she doesn't know much about New York I was directed to choose the restaurant. We went to Basta Pasta - a Japanese run joint, serving Italian food.  I was recommended this place by a girl on a bus to Atlantic City in the summer, and now seemed as good as of time to try it as ever. However, one must stop and ponder the cuisine. Initially, I was fully prepared to have to buy consolation slices of pizza. Japanese Italian just seems conflicting and wrong. But, I got to thinking and was like hey - Japan loves noodles. In fact, Asia gave Mr. Marco Polo noodles, meaning the Italians essentially bogarted Asian food.

So, we walked in and found ourselves immediately standing in an open kitchen. I kid you not. Apparently, the idea is that they want you to see whats being made - Iron Chef style. A little weirded out, we got to our seats, and were served the usual bread, crisp bread sticks and this other strange thing. No folks, that is not a bad Instagram filter choice. #nofilter. bah. hashtags. Those little bread slices were covered in blue. Blue that smelt like nothing. Ski Girl put her brave face on, and immediately rejected it. Fish paste, right? No. It was blue cheese butter. She does not like blue cheese, but I do, so more for me. Nom nom nom.

We also ordered a starter, which I let Ski Girl choose. She opted for the pumpkin gnocchi. It was now my turn to be brave. I hate pumpkin. Pumpkin anything. That shit is gross. I hate when fall rolls around and people freak the eff out about pumpkin and start putting it in, or on, everything. Even clothes. You ever see someone generally rocking a pumpkin colored sweater? NO! Because that shit is ugly and only the seasonal pumpkin insanity that befalls the general population makes it socially acceptable. Then there are pumpkin pastries - why? It tastes like dirt. Then pumpkin coffees...ahh yes barista, I'll take the overpriced and over-sweetened venti cuppa mud water. YUM. So it came. I braced myself. was okay. I wouldn't order it again, but I imagine people succumbing to pumpkin fever would like it. It was very pretty though.

Ski Girl and I opted for the same main course, and I am SO, SO, SO, SO happy that we got it. The Spaghetti con Prosciutto e Parmigiano, which yes, is spaghetti with parmesan and fancy ham. But this dish is the show stopper. They wheel it out to you to serve it. And it comes in...A BIG HALF WHEEL OF PARMESAN. The heat from the pasta melts the cheese, they plop it on a plate, cover it with the prosciutto, and it is delightful. Reading the menu, we thought we were getting little mini wheels. We were pleasantly mistaken. And desperately tried to contain our semi-hysterical giggles during the spectacle.

When debating whether or not to get dessert, the waitress heard us rationalize with "it's your birthday, get dessert." We ordered tiramisu and cheesecake, which were not traditional.  The tiramisu was really strong flavored and delicious, and un-traditionally, very custardy.  The cheesecake was much more cake like, which meant I didn't like it, but the flavor was good.  When they brought out the desserts, there was a candle in one, and two other waitstaff came. They sang happy birthday! The best part was the very tall, wiry Japanese man with a deep baritone. Fantastic and everyone was staring. We were reduced to giggles. Again.

In all, it was a great brief meet up and and we learned the Japan really does have a handle on cooking Italian.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

so much mascara, not enough eyes

There are three things that I am hands down obsessed with. One is nail polish. I love it. I will unabashedly ask strangers what they are wearing or where they got their nails done. The other thing is eyebrows. I am obsessed with mine and what they look like. I know it's unreasonable to want them to match, but they have to be as close as possible. I'm constantly working on them. I'm working on them now. GROOOOWWWWWW. They make or break a face. The final thing is a me thing. Eyelashes. For as long as I can remember, I have been striving to find the perfect mascara. The one that gives volume, lengthens, separates, and neither clumps, nor flakes. I realize this is a tough order, as I pretty much want fake eyelashes in a tube.

The problem with trying a new mascara is you get a lot. You commit to either wasting money or having blah lashes for at least two and half months. I cannot do that. No. In years prior, Sephora has done sets of mascara in mini versions. This year, I bought one! The Lash Stash box comes with ten mascaras and a set of false lashes. Two of the tubes are full sized.  The set goes for $45, which is a damn good deal in my book.

I started my experiment with a mascara I had never heard of - Too Faced Better Than Sex. I knew that Too Faced made mascara, but hadn't ever really heard much about it. They're far more famous for their primers and pallets.

The brush is weird. A sort of hourglass shape. I had never used a wand this shape. The first few times I used it, I stabbed myself in the eye. Seriously. I had to take out my contacts and clean the mascara off them. The formula seemed nice, but not worth blindness. So. Weekend. Time to practice and get better at using this shit, or it was going in the bin. And hey! I figured out the whack wand shape.

The ends are wider so you can get to the corners of your eyes and still the middle lashes. So starting at the base, wiggle, wiggle, and rolling out while going to the end of my lashes, I actually applied it correctly, evenly, and without eye-stabbing. Two or three coats. I typically go for three because I don't know when to stop. I also will say, I use a primer thats supposed to help grow eyelashes, which I think it does...

I took photos on different days with different makeup.  First, we have "naked" face, which is so not even naked. It's lies. On my face.

Aaaand, normal day with my normal shit ton of eyeliner, that I started doing when I fell in love with Mary Quant minis and the 60s in the UK in high school (I don't know. At least I wasn't doing drugs, but instead staying at home, in my bathroom learning how to apply liquid eyeliner.). That blob on my face is because I dropped the mascara when I was putting it on, but was too lazy to get up and fix it pre photo - I had good light! I also generally did a better job applying this day. I don't know. Makes no sense.

Ultimately, I have to say I really like this mascara - far more than I thought I was going to. The formula is thick, and the wand is a strange one, but once you actually figure it out, it's a pretty great means of application.  I will say that my one complaint is that some days it doesn't stay put till the end of the day (8:00 am - 6:00 pm) but that's mostly okay. It gets a little grey under your eyes, but it's pretty easy to clean up. One fault is not the end of the world.

So far, this is a winner, but I have nine others to try...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

go to a show!

Last Friday, I went to an MIA concert with Sweetness. The show was at Terminal 5. I had never been to Terminal 5 before. Pretty much every person I talked to about it does not like it. Sadly, there are only a few mid-sized venues in New York, so this is what you get.


I have to say, I wasn't in love with the venue, but it's definitely not the worst place in the world. I accept that in the city there is limited space, and when you get the space, you do what you can with what you end up with.

So, Terminal 5 is skinny and long. Bar in back, two balconies either side. Depending on how hard you want to fight, you can get closer to the stage, which would be a good choice for me as I'm a shorty, but alas no. Didn't have it in me, so we were further in the back. To be fair, I am well aware that I'm short - this means I tend to only go to shows for artists I know a lot of the songs for. I solve my not being able to see the stage by dancing the show away, and that is alright by me.

I will complain about concert goers as a whole though. I don't really get the whole filming the show thing. You aren't really participating in the moment, and that's what you paid for. What I REALLY don't get is people who film using iPads. Come on...what. the...Not to mention, it makes it hard for other people to see. By all means, snap a few photos. Document it a little. Don't bootleg the damn event.

MIA put on a really good show (from what I could see). She played a good mix of old and new, and updated some of the older stuff so it mixed with the rest of the show, which I personally really liked.


The set design was really cool - lots of lights and a really intricate background. And that's that. Nighter!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mavericks and Empanadas

Sometimes Apple releases updates to their OS. When they make it free is super exciting and you totally must have it. You'd think because it's all the same platform everything would work. Oh no, stupid. We at Apple basically just want to flip Microsoft the double bird, and shit that used to work for you will not. So buy new iPhoto. But Garage Band and iMovie is free. Also, your copy of Office is dunzo. 

I didn't see that fine print in the Terms of Service, so now I just had to buy iPhoto   And I have no Office suite. Thanks, Apple. Fan-fucking-tastic. I get that you're not Microsoft, but you pulled se real shit there and your attempt at being nice was kinda bulsh. The $15 for iPhoto didn't put me out, but seriously with the Office mess. I know there is some techie blah blah behind it, but I really don't care. You done pissed me off. 

Oh, and that download you anticipated taking forever that you did last night, to be safe. That's not going to work. Now you have to do it during the day. And it will take 5-6 hours. Good. Times. Write your blog post on your phone. Oh yeah, that's happening. 

On to things that don't make me seethe with rage. ("Seethe" just corrected to "Seth." Things that make me want to throw things.)

YumYum and I took a trip to get some good cheap food. She picked Empanada Mama (which I will link later because my effing phone won't let me...MAVERICKS!!!!!)

The restaurant is really small. Like insane small. All of the seating is counter seating. Luckily, we got to sit. Together even! YumYum already knew she was getting a soup, and I decided on empanadas. The empanadas are delivered in a little paper envelopes. Like little presents!! They also came with red and green hot sauces. What they were, I don't know, but they were damn fine. 

I got four empanadas, which ranging from $2-3, it was a cheap meal! Roll call, from the top going clockwise: traditional Columbian ground beef in corn-based shell, spicy chicken in flour, cheese in corn, shredded beef in flour. All of these were delightful. I honestly had a hard time not crushing through them. My favorite was the shredded beef, least was the chicken, however it's not like were any bad. I felt that the cheese had bit more complexity in the flavor and texture combination, an the beefs both had such amazing seasoning that it didn't really stand a chance. 

YumYum got the Pollo soup which has no description outside of "chicken" under the soup column, but don't be deceived by such a simple description. This soup packs some serious seasoning, which we amped up with some of the hot sauces. It had carrots, corn, cilantro, noodle-y things and rice. Now, I don't like soup as a rule. I think it's a nothing food. Simply a filler for when you're sick or broke, but this was not the case flavor-wise. I'd definitely order this for myself. And maybe a couple empanadas. 

I am dying to hit this spot up again, but I'm falling into the classic NY problem - so many options that it's hard to justify a repeat. 

Apologies for typos and brevity. Typed on a mobile device. 


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

officially obsessed with my nails

There have been too many nail posts in a row. I'm really sorry. But, really I'm not, because if I were I'd stop buying it and giving myself more of it to write about.

For this experiment, I used a really old nail polish I bought in London - it's some kind of L'Oreal black with blue metallic stuff in it, and I have a lot of it left, so I think it's going to be my testing standard. You can't buy it anymore. I think. Don't know. I don't live in London.

A long while back I bought the Nails, Inc. Matte top coat - the color is Westminster Bridge. I finally used it. And? I hate it. It's matte-ish. Your nails are still mostly shiny, which is not what I wanted at all.  It makes it look like your nails are smeared with lotion and need to be cleaned off. But no. It's just what it looks like. AND it takes forever to dry, which means getting to pee is out of the question and we all know how I feel about that.  I have smudged nails after HOURS. I'm returning it, pronto.

Look at the not matte-ness. How annoying is that?? I will say, this top coat feels interesting. My nails feel think, like I have acrylics or gel polish on, but feeling cool isn't enough to diminish my disappointment. You suck top coat. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Black Nails and Green Eggs

A while back, I decided to purchase Nails, Inc. Leather Effect nail polish in Noho. This stuff goes for $11 a pop, and promises what it name says - a leather effect. It goes on smooth, then hey presto, it goes all bumpy. Two coats, no topcoat, because it's matte and the matte-ness gets ruined with topcoat. Or I guess it would be like really shiny leather?

Anyhow, the reviews of this stuff on Sephora were mixed. People either loved it or they hated it, with more leaning towards the hate side. I have to seriously disagree with the detractors. Their complaints largely were regarding texture and chipping.

Don't get something that is textured, then bitch about how it looks smudged. It's textured, and therefore by definition will NOT look like a smooth perfect manicure. Have you ever really looked at leather? It looks like smudged wrinkles that have been pressed skin. Because that's what leather is. I can see how people would think it's "weird," but again, that's the point. This shit is supposed to be fashion, and not your grandma's cuppa tea. I also found that you could up the shine factor and lessen the harshness of the texture by doing three thick coats. I personally did two thicker layers, which remained quite matte and like a finer grain leather, and bad ass all around.

People complained a lot about the longevity of this stuff. I have no idea what they were doing with their hands, because I had no such problems. I used a base, two (thick) layers, and that was it. I washed my hair, I cleaned our entire kitchen and all the windows, did laundry, unpacked, did dishes on the daily without gloves, and it lasted 5 days. I will say this is less than normal polish, which I'd say normally is about a week, but 5 without a topcoat is pretty good in my book.

Overall, I like this stuff quite a bit. I'd recommend it.

And now for the food surprise...

I have a penchant for Cadbury's Creme Eggs. Yeah, I know they're basically little tiny bombs of diabetes, but I still like them and since I can only get them at Easter, it's okay. Well, now they're doing Halloween ones, and I was gifted one by my friend and coworker, Boxer. I did not realize that they were colored differently. I do not do well with foods that are the wrong color. Some people may remember that colored ketchup crap that came out in the early 00s. I couldn't bring myself to eat it. Anyway, I ate my egg gift. It was green inside. I was not happy. But then I ate the rest of it it anyway. Can't be rude.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

It's Saturday Morning. Go to a bar.

It's football season. More importantly, it's college football season. This time of year always is nostalgic for me. What I'd give to be back in Wisconsin, drinking beer at 8 in the morning, wearing red and white from head to toe, and doing Jump Around at Camp Randall. And also between ages 19 and 21. This = I didn't get hangovers then. But I did get a little fat there, not gonna lie. I blame cheese and beer.

Fun Jump Around Facts 
  • A Wisconsin tradition since 1998, started by the men's swim team, using a megaphone and a diskman.
  • In 2003, officials tried to cancel Jump Around. Pissed off, the student section refused to stand during the game, booed, and started chanting "fuck the sound guy." The next week, officials reinstated Jump Around (This reaction really should have been anticipated, as a favorite chant of the student section is "Eat Shit, Fuck You.").
  • Concerned with damage to Camp Randall, a study was done - the stadium does in fact move during Jump Around, but it was determined it was safe by seismologists.
  • Doing Jump Around is the only time I have been very drunk and had a moment where I thought "I question doing this, I think I might die."
Now that I am in NYC and have no bleachers to bounce around on, I must settle for a bar. Thankfully, there are so many Badgers in this town, there are four Badger Bars.  

So, Review Number One: Libation, located in the Lower East Side at 137 Ludlow, judged with the help of Sweetness, Sconnie Nation, and Mind Scientist. We all went to Wisconsin, but only Mind Scientist and I knew each other then.

Booze Selection
Normal prices for New York, but they do have some local choices, namely Leinenkugels, but not Honey Weiss, which, I mean, is nice, but nobody chooses to drink the original stuff who is under the age of 50. They also have Fish Bowls (random booze concoctions served in a fishbowl) like they did at Wando's. No free bacon with the fishbowl though. 

The crowd was also a little taken aback (read: intimidated) by our taking of shots for each touchdown.    

Wisconsin Food
They have brats! Good as the brats at State Street Brats? No. But, I've only seen the option to order a brat at one other place in New York, so YAY! These weren't too bad though. Probably the best Wisconsin offering at Libation. Also, the waitress kept calling them sausages, which the are not. 

They also have cheese curds, which I was so incredibly excited about, you don't even know. Cheese curds can only be described as pre-cheese, which is then battered and deep fried. These ones were okay. They'd make me happy in a bind, but I have the sneaking suspicion they are mozzarella (granted fresh and good quality) but NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. We are on the East Coast, but these ABSOLUTELY ARE NOT CHEESE CURDS IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM, NOR IN ANY TIME, MANNER, OR PLACE. I question if these people even have set foot in Wisconsin. 

Decent, but not overly enthused. The girls dress too fashion focused for a college game, and half the guys only seem moderately interested. I will give them the benefit of the doubt that this had to do with the fact that we were playing Purdue, but still. Get it together. You're fan enough to come out, you're fan enough to cheer. Maybe this is just New York though. Fans that are too cool. Or maybe they're the New Jersey Coasties. Someone needs to explain. You can sit though, which is nice. As a short person, if I have to stand at a bar I can't see shit. Mind Scientist and I did Jump Around and some people got into it, but not enough. Boo to Note the sitting people below. 

Not a fan. The DJ played either 90s music, or super clubby stuff. He did get it together a little bit and played Sweet Caroline and Jump Around, but there was no On Wisconsin, and no Varsity. These are game day staples. Fuck the Sound Guy?

Overall, I guess this place is okay. I'd go if I had no where else to go, but it's nothing to rave about. I give this place a rating of 5/10. There has to be better.

And now I go back to watching Ohio State. Seriously, stop tolling that damned bell.