Memosne: April 2013

Orly's Powder Puff Nail Polish Review and Swatch

I'm usually very tame when I choose to paint my nails. Especially seeing that the only other nail polish I decided to review, i.e. XOX Betsey, was another neutral/blush nude color, and this girly light pink color won my heart immediately. It's an ivory just slightly touched with a pale, baby pink and it seems like the perfect "clean" Spring nail color. Typing at work, I even managed to score several compliments on it.

Although I know Orly is a pretty large nail polish brand, akin with Zoya and OPI, this is the first nail polish I've tried from them; overall, I'm not impressed and this nail polish definitely flat lined on me. The only virtue this nail polish had was its beautiful color, its the application was straight up terrible. You need at least three or four coats to get this color opaque, but in addition to that the polish does not even "cure" well. Even after waiting until the base coat and four coats of polish had dried, even after applying a protective top coat, the polish is still soft and I find that stress marks from daily tasks appear easily and mar my nails.

You also have to be really, really careful about applying each coat evenly, because it becomes quite obvious if you "missed" a spot between coats and there's no going back to fix it. The more coats you utilize to try and get Power Puff opaque, the more the polish gets exponentially "gloop-ier."

Indoor Lighting
My nails go under a lot of stress, but Powder Puff hasn't chipped yet! The only problem is is that it has a lot of minute scratches and dents from daily wear, even with a protective topcoat. Honestly, I probably won't buy this polish again, due to the streakiness and difficulty of application, but I'm still on the hunt for a dupe color. If you guys have any suggestions, I'd be much obliged!

Compared to XOX Betsey, Powder Puff reads more "blushing bride" pink versus the light lavender of Betsey. Given the wear of Powder Puff, XOX Betsey is still my go to "cool nude", although I'm still looking for a warm one.

You can buy Orly Powder Puff: here for $7.19. Too much for a sub-standard polish in my opinion.

- Beautiful Color
- No chips!

- Streaky
- Difficult to apply and get opaque
- Shows marks very easily
- Not really worth the price


Wearing: Prada Sunnies, Camper Sneakers, No Name Lace Shorts, Club Monaco Tank Top, Carlye Moto Jacket, and Headscarf, Michael Kors Bag 
Like the title says, sometimes I just wanna try and be a badass. However, I think this attempt might be a little reminiscent of Michael Jackson's single "Bad", where, contrary to the title, he does not appear to be that hard core. For a reminder of MJ's badassery: 

I think the combination of leather and lace is a pretty classic one, but I wanted to keep the whole outfit casual with some sneakers as opposed to dressing up the outfit with some heels. 

I've been trying to find a way to wear these shorts without being excessively "streetwalker", as they are quite short, and I think keeping the rest of the outfit simple can accentuate the details of the lace without being too over bearing. To add a bit of fun and a "pop of color" I just added a simple "bow" headscarf.

Again, I really love the complex look of the lace contrasted with the smooth chicness of the leather. 

Again a pretty simple outfit, but I had fun wearing it. =)

Purchase Links:
Camper Sneakers: Similar
Club Monaco Leather Jacket: Similar
Club Monaco Scarf
Lace Shorts: Similar
Prada Cat Eye Sunglasses

Schlub Life

Michael Kors Tote, Uniqlo Sweater, Uniqlo Ultra Stretch Jeans, Zara Trench, Club Monaco Beanie, Prada Sunnies
I have exams. And papers. And final projects. Somebody kill me. So what do you do when you have no time to do anything but roll out of bed? Put on some chic casuals and hope for the best!

I really like the idea of the "monochromatic" trend, where you use textures, like colors, and silhouettes to create a chic, "put-together" outfit. Clearly, this outfit is not meant to go out to Michelin-star restaurants or to any job interviews, but I really do love simply wearing a sweater and jean combo and throwing on a jacket on top. The sweater is cute on it's own and it's silhouette is really flattering.

Uniqlo Sweater! 

Sorry about the blurry photo here! I just wanted to try something out with some new technology. Anyway, I also wanted to show you what the sweater looked like without the canvas jacket over the top. It's long enough to be belted and worn as a tunic or, like above, as a sweater. Unfortunately, I feel like you can't really use this as a layering piece, because it actually shows quite a bit of texture through the fabric, but I think it's a quite simple garment that can be worn with skirts, jeans, or pants.

Aren't these flats cute? I recently brought them on a family vacation in Japan. Usually, I'm pretty wary of cheap shoes, but these flats were too cute to resist at $30. I'm trying to stave off my bunions' progression by switching my much loved heels to flats and I think these do the job well.

Anyway, thanks for reading guys. =) 

Uniqlo Jeans
Uniqlo Sweater (Different Color)

Charbonnel et Walker: Pink Marc de Champagne Truffles Review

Recently on a trip to Hawaii, I was exposed to these cute, delicious chocolates at the Neiman Marcus at Ala Moana. Verdict: they are delicious.

Fun fact: these beautiful little truffles were party favors for those that attended Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding. I can see why! Beautifully packaged from the outside all the way in, these little chocolate truffles are a beautiful marriage between the sweetness of the milk chocolate and the lightness of the champagne.

I honestly don't like the taste of alcohol. Honestly, sometimes I think perfectly good desserts are ruined by the addition of alcohol. The bite of it is so strong and terrible that it almost automatically overrides any of the delicate flavor within it, but Charbonnel et Walker is completely different! As said previously, they really marry the flavors of chocolate and champagne together well and champagne, without the alcohol, tastes quite yummy! Very delicate in flavor and very sweet, it blends well with the milk chocolate surrounding it.

When you bite through the hard chocolate shell on the outside, your tongue is met with the creamy milk chocolate mixed with swirls of champagne infused butter. These truffles didn't have the common problem of other types of truffles: a disconnect between the outer shell and the inner filling. Sometimes the shell or the filling is too hard or there's too much of a contradiction between the outer and inner flavors, but again these truffles didn't suffer from those problems. The outer shell was just hard enough to provide a textural element that juxtaposed well with the sweet, soft filling of milk chocolate and champagne. I could eat these one after the other quite easily!

The only criticism that the Neiman Marcus representative told us that the truffles fell under was that they might be "too sweet", my mother and I didn't think so, but for those who don't enjoy sweets generally...these might not be for you. For every other sweet tooth, give these truffles a try!

Get them here!

Laurelhurst Market, Restaurant and Butchershop ~ Portland Oregon

This is the place I originally had dreams about. Why? They fry their french fries in duck fat. End.That's all you need to know. Oh you want more? I guess I can expound on my experience. ;) However, I do have to say that I might have built up my expectations too high in anticipation of my second wasn't that the food was bad. It was simply that I was just so blown away with it the first time and built up such a enormous idea and taste profile in my head, the second visit didn't really stand up to my memory of the first. It was still yummy though! I would still definitely go back. Also, I apologize for the blurry pictures in advance! I've been hoarding these pictures for awhile.

My family has a friend in who lives in Portland, so we always make a point to visit when we're passing through the area. Our Portland friend also happens to be a foodie, and makes a point to take us to his new dives. He was also the one that originally introduced us to Laurelhurst.

Although by no means revolutionary, Laurelhurst combines the best of both worlds: a fully stocked butcher shop, with patties, sausages, and cured meats all made in house, and a fantastic, family style no frills restaurant. The whole restaurant is sort of a shrine to meat, good company, and raucous times. The first time we ate here, our party sat at the long communal table located in the middle of the restaurant.. However, this time we had a smaller, four seat table to ourselves. Both times I've visited, the restaurant has always, always been busy with a boisterous atmosphere. The decor is bare bones, even on the restaurant side, and the whole theme of being a butcher shop runs through both halves of the restaurant. There's a chalkboard with different cuts of meats available hanging above the open kitchen, hardwood tables and chairs filling up every inch of floor space and some candles to add that certain "atmosphere." It's a great place to have a goodbye party or even a first date!

For being so busy, the servers were alright. Food wasn't really delivered in a timely manner, but waters and wine were constantly being poured and refilled. They also knew exactly when to disappear and when they were needed. Their menu was diverse, yet concise and it only filled up one "menu page", but the hard part is just ordering one thing. Literally, everything on the menu looks lovely and delicious. Combine the menu descriptions with the dishes and smells coming out of the kitchen and it's almost impossible to just order an appetizer, main, and dessert. Definitely make plans to share with the rest of your party.

Marrow Bones, Toasted Soft Pretzel and Pickled Mustard Seeds
Given how much meat and bones the market goes through, I really appreciated this sort of attempt to use "all parts of the animal." I'm not sure about what the market necessarily does, but I am a huge fan of nose to tail cooking. Upon a preliminary google search, Laurelhurst Market and its head chefs have quite a lot of articles associating them with nose to tail cooking, you guys can peruse them if you so wish!

Marrow is one of my favourite "secret" bit of the animal, tucked within the the calcium prison of bone, it's an absolute delight to scoop out and eat. Served with soft pretzel and pickled mustard seeds, both accentuate the smokey, rich, and buttery marrow. The toasted pretzel provided a wonderful base to slather the opulent marrow on and the pickled mustard seeds cut right through the oil and added another layer of flavor to the marrow.

Foie Gras Au Torchon 
Tto make a foie with the Torchon technique takes a lot of time and effort. Although I do love my pan seared foie, I really have to appreciate the commitment that chefs put in to create Foie Gras Au Torchon. It takes about an average of four days to create a beautiful torchon and that includes de-veining, curing, boiling, forming and refridgerating the raw foie before it evolves into its final form in the photo.

This torchon was beautifully done and not discolored at all, which is inherent of foie that has been sitting too long and the surface has begun to oxidize. As per usual this foie was served with toasted bread and a fruit accompaniment: a raspberry sauce and some pickled grapes. For those of you who haven't tried a foie torchon, it is like eating the most decadent butter in the world. It melts in your mouth, and since it has already been imbued with all the gentle spices and flavorings of the curing process, imparts just a lovely fatty, protein-y, goodness that is supported by the starchy bread and elevated by the sweet fruit. As paraphrased from Thomas Keller's cookbook, "Foie gras is something that should be minimally garnished. You eat it because you lie the taste and feel of foie gras. Foie gras on toast is perfect. Foie gras with a poached pear, a fig, a truffle --it's almost impossible to go wrong."

Steak Tartare: Vodka, Chives, Shallot, Salt 'Cured Egg Yolk 
As always, I have a strong weakness to steak tartare and when I saw that it was paired with all my favorite things, I just had to order it. The vodka, chives and shallot all cut through the raw beefiness of the tartar with a gentle acidity and the salted yolk was just a wonderful salty binder.

Honestly, it was just a solid, well executed beef tartare. If raw meat doesn't float your boat or if you're not in the mood that day, then don't order it!

Mussels Frites: Dijon Mustard and Creme Fraiche 
This is actually the dish that I dreamed about and was the driving force for me to come back to Laurelhurst Market. The mussels and fries are so lovely and so popular that they actually deserved a whole section of the menu by themselves! So, you have the option of choosing Dijon mustard and creme fraiche, mole sausage, or green curry sauces that your mussels will be steamed in. Honestly though, I do think that dijon mustard and the creme fraiche is the combo that beats out all the rest.

The mussels were cooked to perfection and were allowed to wallow in the juices that they were steamed in. Taking out each succulent rusty, saffron colored mussel from its obsidian prison and dragging it through the Dijon mustard sauce in the bottom of the bowl was absolutely heavenly. The fries were crisp, golden and the perfect starch to absorb the remnants of the mussel juice and the dijon mustard sauce.

However, I must say that this second experience really differed from my first tasting of this dish. Again, maybe I elevated the flavor profile in my mind or maybe Laurelhurst was having an off day, but the powerful well integrated flavor was somewhat lacking in this dish. Not to say that it was flavorless, but where previously the flavor was a solid ten, I would rank this second iteration of the dish at maybe a five or a six.

Warm Red Kale Salad: Marinated House-Made Mozzarella, Fried Cardoons, Pickled Peppers, Pancetta Vinaigrette 
Given that our meal was almost 90% meat and starch, we wanted some veggies to balance out the protein. Out of all the salads, this one looked the most appealing, especially with its combination of mozzarella, pancetta, and kale...three of my many weaknesses. ;)

Honestly, I'm not a huge salad fan, I prefer to have my veggies cooked, and since this was a warm salad it definitely made the dish more palatable to someone that usually rejects salad. Now, it didn't blow my mind or make me crave it long after the meal was over, but it had a simple flavor profile that made it exactly what I needed in the meal to prevent scurvy.

Wagyu Denver Steak -- Cocoa Nib Rub, Red Harissa, Grilled Scallions, Queso Blanco
The Wagyu Denver steak was what our dinner companion ordered and I only got a piece of it, but I wasn't expecting it to be presented pre-cut. I didn't get to eat much of it, but I was impressed by the rub and the sauce. The cocoa nibs gave the meat a deeper, sweeter flavor and the red harissa sauce gave it a nice spicy-kick.

Creekstone Ranch Ribeye -- Cold Smoked; Blue Cheese Butter, Fried Sweet Onion Rings
This is what my sister and I ordered, to share of course, and it was delicious. Something about the combination of blue cheese, a delicious cut of meat and some golden onion rings just made this dish irresistible.

It's a good piece of meat! We ordered it rare, as we usually tend to do, and really loved how the blue cheese  elevated the beefiness of the ribeye. The flavor profile was simple, but packed a punch, while the meat was tender, juicy, and cooked to our liking!

Dulce De Leche Chesecake
Honestly, I think it was a bit unwise of me to order this cheesecake considering that I was already pretty full at the time. It was a sweet, dense cheesecake, and I definitely needed the aid of water to help wash the "body" of the cheesecake down. I really appreciated that Laurelhurst gave it a thick, thick crust. It was good and interesting, but it doesn't make me crave for it after the fact and honestly didn't leave a very strong impression, probably because I was so full. I think if I ever return I'd try some of the other dessert items listed.

Laurelhurst Market is still definitely a lure that makes me want to visit Portland, but I have to say the times that I have visited Laurelhurst were radically different. The first time the meal was incredible and it really made a lasting impression on my mind, and palate, while the second time was not was just simply unmemorable. It didn't really live up to my first visit and the meal I had then. However, I still don't know whether I built up the flavors in my mind or whether Laurelhurst was having an "off-night" that night, but I do know my sister also felt the same way. When it all boils down to revisiting or not, I would still visit it again.

Kid Friendly: 
Yes, I've seen children dine at the long communal tables, but the majority of the crowd were certainly older diners. 
Price:$$$$ out of $$$$$
Repeatability: Yes

View Larger Map

3.5 Ways to Wear Club Monaco's Blossom Top

As I've gotten older and I've honed in on my style a bit more, I've found that the most coveted pieces in my wardrobe, and the ones that get the most wear, are my most versatile pieces. When I saw the Blossom Top in the Club Monaco store, I was drawn to its simple pattern, collar detail, and texture. However, I was a bit turned off by the price, especially with the future costs of dry cleaning a 100% silk item,!! Someone kill me now. I have a problem.

However, I do feel that I've gotten my money's worth for it and I've decided to share with you the ways that I've styled it in order to alleviate my ever-growing guilt and shopper's remorse. I suppose I should put this disclaimer here, I'm not sponsored by Club Monaco or any other company in any way, shape, or form...I'm just addicted to buying things.

So where I could, I've posted links where you can get exact items I have, but a lot of my closet is just an accumulation of stuff over time, so I've tried to find the "closest" matches for you in the links I've included below if the "real thing" isn't available.


H&M Hat, Momo Sweater, Club Monaco Blossom Top, Uniqlo Jeans, Coach Bag
This is a cute, casual ensemble I would wear out as a transition outfit from winter to spring. With a light jacket thrown over this whole thing, it's actually quite warm! I also think it's a really dapper way to welcome spring, especially when you're in denial and dressing like it's spring when it's really late winter. You know, like when the temperature is still really cold, but the sun is still out? The Sun is a lie. It imparts no warmth. NONE.

I wouldn't go so far as to say this outfit was menswear inspired, but I've really come to appreciate structured collars on shirts. Layering a collared shirt with a nicely patterned sweater has quickly become a style that I don almost everyday. It's a good way to add some simple visual interest to a plain outfit.

Also, can I give a shout out to Uniqlo? I love it so freaking much. The jeans fit well, are good quality, and are also so insanely affordable. Uniqlo also offers free hemming and they can have your jeans ready within an hour. Crazy! FREE HEMMING. READY WITHIN AN HOUR. Even at Club Monaco, although they too offer free hemming, you have to wait for at least a couple of days.

I've never purchased a pair of Citizens of Humanity, True Religion, or 7 For All Mankind jeans, simply because I'm a cheapskate. Jeans?! FOR OVER $100 dollars?! WHY. I know that mentality can be applied to all things, especially things like food and makeup, but we all spend our money differently right? =) If you wanna try cheap, good quality jeans though...try Uniqlo.

Hat: I have three options for you! My hat is original from H&M and is wool, but...

"Business Casual"

Prada Sunglasses, Versace Blazer, Top Shop Moto Jeans, Ninewest Shoes, Michael Kors Bag, Club Monaco Blossom Top 
Blazers are the frosting of the fashion world. Throw a structured blazer on anything and it just makes an outfit that much better. For this outfit, I wanted to mix black and navy. *GASP* I know. Black and navy is stereotyped as less than an ideal combo, especially in business suits. I think the general rule of thumb is that you either stick to one color or the other. To marry these two colors best, I thought it would be wise to utilize color blocking. I picked this burgundy, a color that goes with both well, to blend the blazer with the navy collar, while still adding interest to the whole outfit.

Although I say this is "business casual", I just wanted to highlight how you can appear clean cut and sophisticated, without getting in the full office getup. However, looking back on this I'm pretty sure colored jeans won't really be welcomed in a strict office environment. Regardless, I would still wear this out and, perhaps, inside a more lenient office environment.

Blazer: I was lucky to get my Versace blazer on super sale at T.J. Maxx in California, that place is a goldmine, but here's some black fitted blazers for you to try: 

Skirting and Silhouettes 

Cashmere Sweater, Coach Bag, Uniqlo Skirt, Soffft Shoes, CM Blossom Top
So the reason why I say 3.5 ways to wear the Blossom Shirt as opposed to 4 is because I honestly feel that these last two outfits are the same. What I wanted to highlight here is the importance of silhouette and shape. In this first skirted outfit, the navy skirt is in a paper bag style and is puffy and pleated. To me the skirt brings a more flirty, casual element to the Blossom Top, almost reminiscent of a 1950s style A-line dress. With a cute maroon heel and a nice cardigan, it makes for the perfect outfit to enjoy a sunny day.I recently purchased this guy from Uniqlo and again, I'm loving it. It even has pockets! 

Honestly though, I have tried many, many times to get the perfect "paperbag" skirt and shorts, but each time I've had the problem of the material not being right, the quality being poor, or, in the case of shorts, giving me a sort of wicked camel toe. No one wants to see that! This beautiful skirt is made out of a thick cotton, with a lining, for only thirty dollars. For the quality you get?! I'd say it's thicker and more delicately sewn than anything I've seen at Zara, Forever21 or even H&M. 

I raved about Uniqlo jeans in the first outfit section, but, honestly, all their items are super well made and affordable. It's no wonder they have international appeal and an almost cult-like following. I know they just opened one of their stores in San Francisco, but please Uniqlo! Come up a little further north!! We all want your heat tech, cashmere, and super strechy jeans here!! 

Cardigan: Again, I plundered this cardigan from a sale at Nordstrom, so I can't find the exact one...
Shoes: Unfortunately I can't remotely find anything that are similar to my Soffft shoes pictured here. However, I can direct you to their website here! Maybe you'll find something you like. =)

As for this "outfit" I went with a really fitted pencil skirt to match the navy in the collar. As you can tell the silhouette of the skirt gives a completely different vibe from the first. Where the first outfit was casual and Spring-y, this outfit is more formal and can easily be worn into the office. It's well fitted, has clean lines, and a hemline that falls just above the you don't look too scandalous. Taking the blazer from the second outfit and putting it on this one would add polish and finish off the "office appropriate" look.

I purchased this skirt from Zara a while back and I really fell in love with its simplicity. The extremely fitted shape and the "peplum-ish" detailing at the waist made it an easy piece to wear, dressed up or dressed down. However, one thing that I really didn't realize until I wore it this skirt for the first time, was the lack of the slit in the back. Usually with really fitted pencil skirts like this, there's usually a stitched slit at the back you can cut in order to make walking easier for you. Walking in this skirt is not extremely difficult, but certainly tedious. I have to walk with small paced steps and stepping onto high ledges, for example getting into a bus, is extremely difficult. 

Shoes: Similar, but not quite Nine West Shoes
1.) Basic Pencil Skirt Zara
2.) Pencil Skirt With Zip
Shirt: Club Monaco Blossom Shirt

Well, I hope you enjoyed this rather long and image heavy post! Clearly none of these outfit ideas are "brand new", but I hope I've inspired you a little bit. Thanks for reading!