Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"El pasaje"

The alleyway located in front of our apartment building, Pasaje Dellepiane, is home to some of the coolest street art in Buenos Aires. Sometimes on the weekends you will see tourists wandering through our not-so-touristy neighborhood specifically to snap some shots of the unique street art that covers most of the building facades on the block.

See for yourself!

(Note about the street art in these photos: Some of these artworks have been there for years, while others have changed recently. For example, some of the designs that were there 3 years ago when I visited Buenos Aires have either been changed to different designs or removed all together. The photos pictured here represent the artwork that is there now: November 2013).

Friday, November 22, 2013

Current Beauty Regimen: Skin & Hair

I tend to change up my beauty regimen quite often. Once I finish a product, it's very rare that I buy the same product again, even if it's very good. For me to purchase the same product more than once, it needs to be LIFE CHANGING. There are so many amazing beauty products to try, and unless I'm sure that I'm using the best of the best, I like to test out all of my options. Here I've included some of the products that I'm currently using on a regular basis. Get ready, there are some LIFE CHANGERS in this mix...

Skin Products---Eyes, Lips, Face

I don't see myself looking any younger using this, but I do have to say that this cream provides an incredible amount of moisture. It has a light, fresh scent and my concealer blends in better (less cakey/wrinkly) when I apply this cream under my eyes first.

I wash my face with this bar soap once every day. I love the silky-smooth lather this soap makes. It leaves my skin feeling clean, but far from dried out. A natural product at a great price point. You can't beat it.

Also known as "Nature's gentle dermabrasion," this exfoliating scrub has been repurchased by me more than once, therefore making it a LIFE CHANGER. This leaves your skin feeling so clean and so smooth that it's hard NOT to use it everyday! (As this is a strong exfoliating scrub, it's recommended to be used 1-2 times a week.)

LIFE CHANGER ALERT: This stuff is amazing. I never really considered using oils on my face. Sometimes when I was sunburnt in the summer I would use a super moisturizing oil or heavy cream, but other than that I always figured an oil moisturizer was only to be used before bed and that even then it would make my skin really greasy. This is not the case at all with this face oil. I've been using it for a few months now and my skin is noticeably brighter and looks like it has more life in it. I swear it is making me look a little bit tan too! And the best thing about this oil is that it has stopped my breakouts. Not that I had major acne problems before, but I would breakout on my chin, constantly. I haven't had a breakout in months. So I will close this paragraph as I started it: This stuff is amazing.

Yes, I'm taking it back to 4th grade. Lip Smacker has got to be one of my favorite brands of lip balms. The scents are so fun & delicious! These balms are great for everyday wear and also layer well under lipstick, keeping your lips from getting dried out throughout the day. I'm currently using Vanilla, but I also love Watermelon, Strawberry & Cotton Candy.  I just discovered a Dulce de Leche flavor on their website, and feel like I should get my hands on that ASAP seeing as I live in the country of dulce de leche. 

Can you tell that I'm drawn to vanilla-scented lip treatments? This lip balm is ULTRA moisturizing. I personally love slathering it on before bed and waking up with baby soft lips. I also own this balm in Cranberry, and had no idea they had more scents such as Mango & Coconut!

Hair Products---

This could be a LIFE CHANGER for you. 
When I bought this, I had no idea what to expect. I wasn't even sure what a "root & scalp stimulator" was. Well, after a few uses I've found out what it gives me some SERIOUS volume. Usually when I leave my hair to air-dry it ends up looking pretty flat. I don't normally use products when I'm not blowing my hair out, but the other day I decided to spray some of this stimulator on my roots & scalp. The whole day I got to enjoy great volume, and my hair looked especially luscious blowing in the hurricane-esque winds on the way to the immigration office. Did I mention I got my permanent residency? Because I did. FINALMENTE.

I like to spray this mist on my hair (especially on my ends) in between washes to keep it looking & smelling fresh. The sweet almond mint is a beautiful scent and reminds me of being at a spa.


Have you gotten the chance to try any of these products? If not, what are your favorite beauty products/ what products are you loving right now?

*Coming next week, my beauty wishlist!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Recipe :: Homemade Artichoke, Roasted Pepper & Ricotta Pizza

We've attempted homemade pizza a handful of times in our house, but we can never seem to get the dough just right. That is until I remembered there was a recipe for pizza dough in the smitten kitchen cookbook, which is part of my ever-growing cookbook library. Deb actually has two recipes for pizza dough in her cookbook: "rushed" and "leisurely". We followed the "rushed" recipe since we didn't decide we wanted pizza until that evening.

As for the AMAZING combination of toppings, that was our very own creation, and an excellent one at that (yes, I just tooted my own horn). Tomas and I finished the pizza and we were still craving more. We used fresh artichokes, which were a little labor-intensive to prepare (boil and pull apart), so if you are not in the mood for that you can use artichokes from the can. But if artichokes are in season by you, it's worth while to use the fresh ones. That goes for the roasted pepper as well--- we bought a fresh pepper and roasted it over the stove, but you could also buy the pre-roasted peppers in the jar.

Let's get down to business!
Rushed Pizza Dough 
(recipe from the smitten kitchen cookbook by Deb Perelman)

Yield: one 12-ounce dough, making 1 thin 12-inch round OR 9-by-13 inch loosely rectangular pizza. (We chose to make the pizza rectangular).

-1/2 cup warm water (about 110 to 116 degrees) *I had nothing to measure the temperature, and it turned out fine.
-1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
-1 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for counter
-1 teaspoon table salt
-Olive oil, for coating bowl

-Turn your oven on to warm (about 200 to 225 degrees) for 5 minutes; then turn it off.

(There are two ways to make the dough: by hand or by mixer. I made my dough by hand, so those are the directions I will include here.)

-Pour 1/2 cup warm water into a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water, and let it stand for 5 minutes. Add the flour, then salt, and mix with a wooden spoon until a rough, craggy mass forms. Turn dough and any loose bits out onto lightly floured counter, and knead for 5 minutes, or until a smooth, elastic dough forms.

-Coat inside of a mixing bowl with olive oil, place dough back in bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Place in previously warmed oven, and let it sit for 30 minutes, or until doubled. (It took my dough about 45 minutes to double in size).

-Remove dough from bowl and roll out on floured countertop. 


After, letting sit for 45 minutes

Ingredients for finishing your pizza:
-Cornmeal, for sprinkling the bottom of the pizza pan
-Tomato sauce
-Fresh or canned artichokes. If using fresh, you'll need 2-3 artichokes. If using canned, one can should be sufficient.
-1 red bell pepper or small jar of pre-roasted peppers
-Mozzarella cheese (about 100g-150g)
-Ricotta cheese (about 100g-150g)
-Juice of 1/2 a lemon
-Oregano, black pepper & red pepper flakes for seasoning

Directions for finishing your pizza:
-Heat: set oven to its highest temperature.(Our oven never reaches its highest temperature, but we cooked our pizza at about 300 degrees Celsius or 570 degrees Fahrenheit). While the oven is heating,you can prepare your fresh artichokes and fresh bell pepper.
-Artichokes: boil until soft (about 20- 25 minutes). You should be able to pierce through the stem with a fork. After removing from water, remove the stems and spiny inside of the artichoke.When you touch it you'll know why you are removing it. You don't want that part of the artichoke poking you in the throat while you are eating. The part of the artichoke that you will use is the "meat" of the artichoke which you will scrape from the insides of the leaves. Once collecting all of your "meat", chop coarsely and squeeze your juice from 1/2 a lemon on top. (The lemon juice does wonders for the flavor of the artichoke).
-Red bell pepper: Place over the flame on a gas stove, and rotate every so often so that all sides blacken. Once all sides of the pepper are blackened, remove from heat, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Once pepper is cool, you can gently peel off the charred skin and rinse. Then, chop in thin slices.
-Cornmeal: Sprinkle surface of pan and place rolled out pizza dough on top.
-Tomato sauce: Spread your sauce on the dough. You'll only need a few tablespoons as this pizza is supposed to be more cheesy/vegetable-y.
-Cheese: Add your cheeses. Put an equal mix of chopped mozzarella and dollops of ricotta throughout the pizza.
-Seasoning:Sprinkle some seasoning on top of the cheese.
-Artichokes, Roasted Pepper & Seasoning: Add your artichokes and then your roasted pepper. Top with a little bit more seasoning.
-Bake:Put your pizza in the oven and bake until the dough is golden & crispy, about 10 minutes (give or take).
-Enjoy every bite!

boil artichokes.
roast pepper.

juice of 1/2 a lemon

prepared artichokes

roasted pepper

rolled-out dough


cubed mozzarella

dollops of ricotta

red pepper flakes & oregano
artichokes, roasted red pepper & ground black pepper
ready for the oven!
finished product

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Springtime in my barrio

Sunshine & clear skies. Jacarandas in bloom. 
I love spring...minus the incessant sneezing that comes with it.

Some cheery photos from around my neighborhood:

Hope you all are having a relaxing Sunday! New recipe coming on the blog tomorrow!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

For the love of nail polish!

My weekend activities usually include painting my nails, but unfortunately since I cannot sit still my nails are usually smudged or chipped by the end of the weekend. This is why I prefer to do my nails myself. Why spend the money on a manicure when I'm only going to ruin it within days or even hours? Also, after getting your nails done at Galaxy Nails in Flemington, NJ, nothing compares. Literally nothing. (BEST PEDICURES EVER! )

I find myself generally gravitating towards colors with orange undertones such as peaches, corals or orangey-reds. I'm not sure why because I'm really not that fond of the color orange, but for some reason I love it on my nails.

My beloved oranges

Last week I painted my nails one of my all-time favorite colors: Tasmanian Devil Made Me Do It by OPI. I've had this color for about 5 or 6 years now, and I still love it just as much as the day I bought it. In my opinion it's the perfect bright, orangey-red and looks great on short nails.

This week I tried out Tart Deco by Essie. In the bottle it appears to be a creamy, pastel peach. When you apply it, it goes on much more pigmented and appears brighter (which isn't always a good thing). Maybe because I was expecting it to be different was why I wasn't really loving it. The first day I had this polish on my nails it looked to me like a chalky neon 80's color. After a few days it's starting to grow on me, but I think I'm going to have to try this one again when I have a tan. 

I swear this nail polish is changing colors on me...
Here it looks neon...

...and here it looks pastel.

Next week I think I'm going to go for a tropical red or purple. Possibly Essie's Lacquered Up or Jamaica Me Crazy.

My deeper hues

What are your all-time favorite nail colors? Do you wear certain colors in certain seasons? Or do you prefer to wear similar colors year-round?