Thursday, May 14, 2015

Chunky Knit...

Is it a sweater? Is it a tunic? Is it poncho? Is it a cape? You be the judge since I'm not exactly sure!
My brother bought me this years ago, and while I always knew it was a super cool piece, I NEVER wore it until now! He must be a visionary because he bought me this sweater-tunic-poncho hybrid at least seven or eight years ago, and now we are seeing the blanket-cape trend all over (well, it seems to be struggling to find a place to fit in Argentina...I've only seen a few girls wearing blanket-capes around Buenos Aires...So, more power to them!)

It was a chilly & humid day in Buenos Aires, and I wanted something cozy and chic to walk around town in. This afternoon out was full of walking and food research so being comfortable was key. But being comfortable doesn't mean you have to look sloppy! Tomas also convinced me to wear my sunglasses he bought me as a gift when we were in States over the holidays. I'm not sure if I ever mentioned my feelings about sunglasses here, but I don't wear them. When I wear sunglasses I feel like I can't see anything and I just feel weird walking around with them on my face. I do, however, like the way they look, and know that it's pretty necessary that I wear them since I am ALWAYS squinting outside (and I have the wrinkles to prove it!). So, I took his suggestion and sported sunglasses for the day.

Since we were walking through the microcentro that afternoon, I didn't even know if it would be possible to find a quiet spot to take some photos until we stumbled upon this side street. When you find tranquility in the middle of chaos, you always appreciate it more.

Sweater/Tunic: Nirvanna (similar here)
Shirt: Pimkie
Bag: Street Level via Gypsy Warrior (similar here)
Boots: Dr. Martens (Style: Dharma; Color: Black; Material: Greenland)
Sunglasses: Dolce & Gabbana (available here, or in red here)

As I mentioned earlier, it was an afternoon full of walking and full of eating. Two donuts, one burger, one baguette sandwich, one cheese & olive bread, and one chocolate croissant later, we headed home. The burger was a sad, sad sight. No taste-test and no photos on my end. The donuts, which I had heard some people rave about, saying they were just like donuts in the United States, were NOT just like donuts from the United States. They were good, but they weren't authentic donuts.

The baguette sandwich, cheese & olive bread and chocolate croissant, however, were AMAZING. And, the girl who was working there (who I assume is the owner) is actually French! What a pleasant, authentic surprise! I can't believe we have such a darling, delicious French bakery so close to home!

Do you ever walk around the town or city where you live and discover things you never knew existed before?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Chrystin's Sunday Fried Rice

Scenario: You're hungry. You want something simple yet filling. You don't want to spend too much money on ingredients.....

Look no further than fried rice.

It was around 2pm on a Sunday afternoon and I was at the bar lapping in the luxury of light and internet (we lost power at our apartment building, so I was forced to seek solace at work...on a Sunday.) I knew that if I didn't come up with a game plan for lunch fast, I would turn "hangry" and who knows what food decisions I would make (probably not very good ones).

The first thing that popped into my head? Fried rice. Recently, fried rice has been a go-to of mine. It's super easy to make, I usually already have most of the ingredients, and its satisfying! I've been making a few different variations, but the fried rice I made on this particular Sunday was the best I have made thus far!

Since I already had the rice, eggs, and a few of the other key ingredients at home, I only had to pick up a few things from the verduleria (vegetable stand) across the street. I was picking up the rest of my ingredients when I noticed this little plastic bag of green bean-like looking things in the refrigerator at the verduleria.

I asked the woman what they were, thinking they were some kind of bean, but as it turns out they were fresh peas! Beautiful, fresh peas.  I've never looked at peas before and thought, "Wow, I need those peas." Had I never seen fresh peas before? I can't remember, but these peas caught my eye and I knew they would bring some beautiful color and flavor to my fried rice. Probably the best decision I made all day (after the decision to make fried rice, of course).

With all my ingredients in hand, I headed home to cook by candlelight.

Want to know how I did it? Let's get down to business....

Chrystin's Sunday Fried Rice

What you'll need:
-Rice (1-1.5 cups)
-Eggs (2)
-Red Bell Pepper (1 small pepper)
-Fresh Peas (a handful)
-Onion (half an onion)
-Garlic (2-3 cloves)
-Fresh Ginger (one small piece)
-Soy Sauce (a splash)
-Hoisin Sauce (a spoonful)
-Olive Oil (enough to coat your frying pan for all of your sautéing needs)
-Red Pepper Seeds (a few sprinkles, or to your liking)

How to make it:
-Fill a medium pot with water, add rice and place over high heat.
-While rice is cooking, chop one small red bell pepper, half an onion, two to three cloves of garlic, and one small piece of ginger.
-Coat a large frying pan with olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add in your chopped red pepper and onion. Sautee until peppers and onions are soft.Once peppers and onions are soft, remove from pan and set aside in a bowl.
-Add a little more olive oil to frying pan (only if needed) and add your chopped garlic and ginger. Also add a sprinkle of red pepper seeds and saute until garlic starts to turn golden. (This should only take about a minute, so remember to keep a close eye on it and remove the garlic-ginger mixture from heat before it burns!) Add the cooked garlic and ginger to your bowl with red pepper and onion. 
-In a tiny pot, add just enough water to boil a handful of peas. (I used a very small pot, almost like a large metal cup). Using a small pot with very little water, the water will come to a boil almost instantly and the peas will cook in a few minutes. Once your peas are floating at the top of the water, remove them and set aside in a small bowl.
-Going back to your large frying pan, add a little more olive oil and fry up two eggs over-easy. Once eggs are cooked, remove eggs from pan and roughly chop them.
-The rice should be done cooking at this point...if it's not, don't rush it, make sure it is cooked before you turn off the one wants to eat undercooked rice!
-Using a straining spoon, start removing the rice from the pot and transferring it to the hot frying pan, making sure to stir the rice before adding more. 
-Once you have added all of your rice, add a splash of soy sauce and stir. You can use as much soy sauce as you'd like. I used just enough to coat all of my rice, without any excess liquid. 
-Add your bowl full of peppers, onions, garlic and ginger to the rice, along with your peas and chopped fried eggs. Stir.
-Finally, stir in a spoonful of hoisin sauce and continue to cook while stirring over low heat for a couple more minutes.
-Remove from heat and plate your delicious fried rice! Top off with a few sprinkles of red pepper seeds for an added kick! ENJOY!
(Serves 2, although I ate the whole thing by myself...whoops!)

So, do I have any takers?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Current Skincare Regimen

I change up my skincare regimen a few times a year, usually depending on how long it takes me to use up my products. When I find something I ABSOLUTELY LOVE, I'll go out and repurchase it, but for the most part I'm always searching for the next best beauty discovery. I also find that my skin responds best to changing things up every once in a while (two to three times a year), but not TOO often, or it has the reverse effect on my skin.

In my current regimen, I have some good products and some GREAT products. I'll be sharing all of them with you today, as well as my thoughts on them. Maybe you'll find something that will suit you as well!
So, here we skincare routine, from start to finish!

1.) Remove that mascara!  

The Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye & Lip Makeup Remover

I bought this makeup remover at the airport in Buenos Aires back in September and I still have half of the bottle left! The price seems a but steep at first, but it last a long time (a little goes a long way!) It's gentle, yet effective and great for people with a sensitive eye area.

2.) Rub a dub dub!

Origins "A Perfect World" Antioxidant cleanser with White Tea
Alba Botanica "Good & Clean" Toxin Release Scrub
The Body Shop "Vitamin E" Cream Exfoliator

I alternate cleansers throughout the week. I'll use a strong exfoliant about twice a week, a mild exfoliant about once or twice a week, and regular liquid cleanser the rest of the week. I use about five different cleansers in total, but here are my three most used cleansers...

The Origins "A Perfect World" Cleanser is ideal for everyday use. It's a creamy liquid cleanser which my skin reacts really well too. It leave my skin feeling clean but not stripped or dry. If you're still not convinced that you need this in your skincare stash, check out all of the rave reviews on

The Alba Botanica "Good & Clean" Toxin Release Scrub blew away any expectations I had for the product. I purchased it at Whole Foods and I didn't have the highest hopes for it (sometimes I can be a snob when it comes to skincare, but I like the idea of using something that's free of parabens, certain sulfates and is not tested on animals). In short, it is AMAZING. Probably one of the best exfoliants I have ever used. The ground walnut in the scrub deep cleans the skin and doesn't leave my skin red or irritated after using it like many exfoliants do. It smells great too, so that's another plus. I will be repurchasing this when I am back in the States.

The Body Shop "Vitamin E" Cream Exfoliator is probably the product I use the least out of the three. That's not to say that I don't like it, I just prefer the other two cleanser more. I went to check the The Body Shop's US site for this product and I didn't see it, so it might be something you can only get in certain countries. (It is available for purchase on the UK site, here.) If you have sensitive & dry skin, I think this is the perfect exfoliator. It's soap-free, super creamy, and with small exfoliating beads scattered throughout the cream. While I don't feel this deep cleans as much as the other two cleansers, my face does feel clean, soft & moisturized after using this. The Vitamin E line by The Body Shop is intriguing to me. I also own a few other products from the line and am interested in checking out more the next time I am at The Body Shop, or anxious at the airport looking to ease my tensions at the Duty Free shop.

3.) Replenish & lock in moisture!

Boscia Cool Blue Hydration Essence
Dr. Dennis Gross Age Erase Moisture for Eyes
E and C Gel Nutritivo y Humectante con Vitaminas E y C

When I first heard about serums and essences about a year ago, I knew that was something I wanted to add to my skincare routine. I've been using the Boscia Cool Blue Hydration Essence for almost a year now before I apply my moisturizer everyday and I have no complaints! I was completely in love with the product after using up my first bottle, and am now on my second. I feel my skin might be getting a little too used it and am looking to change to a different serum or essence in the next couple of months. This essence leaves your face feeling refreshed and lightly moisturized. For me, it was the perfect essence for spring and summer. Now that it's starting to get colder, I feel that I need something a little bit thick, more heavy-duty. I'm looking to buy the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum for Winter time after trying s few samples from Sephora. I'd recommend the Boscia Cool Blue Hydration Essence for all skin-types, especially in warmer months. So for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, this is something to check out for this Summer! Your skin will thank you!

The eye cream from Dr. Dennis Gross was something I decided to purchase on when they were having a 15% off sale. Since I've been using, I'm pretty sure my "crows feet" have diminished a decent amount and the skin around my eyes looks better. For a while I was looking pretty rough. I still have the dark circles, but as long as I can cover them up with concealer I don't mind too much. I am curious to know whether those eye creams that claim to brighten the under-eye area actually work. I'm very satisfied with the eye cream I use now, but I am open to something new if it promises to brighten my under-eye area.

Finally, the moisturizer that looks like it's stuck in the 1980s...maybe not even the 80s, maybe it's still stuck in the 70s. I mean, look at that packaging! Anyway, this was something the dermatologist recommended to me about a year ago when my skin was going through it's "rebellious" stage. It's a light moisturizer with a gel-like consistency, and when you put it on your face, it leaves your skin feeling quenched, but not greasy. I think the vitamins in it have helped with acne scars and the formula isn't something that will clog your pores. I'll be purchasing my third bottle soon. :-)

4.) Pamper!

TONYMOLY Tomatox Brightening Mask
"The Lip Scrub" Peppermint Lip Exfoliator by Sara Happ
LUSH Lip Scrub

I like to put aside some time once a week to really pamper my skin. For me, this means a face mask and a lip scrub. Depending on my mood, I alternate between using sheet masks and conventional creamy face masks. Recently I picked up a few sheet masks from Barrio Chino (which are the sheet masks in the photo above). If I'm looking to use a regular, "slather-on" mask, I reach for my TONYMOLY Tomatox Brightening Mask. I obviously bought it for the packaging, but I love how squeaky clean it makes my face feel! I see more Korean beauty products in my future...

As for lip scrubs, I don't limit using them to just once a week......I try to use a lip scrub two to three times a week to keep my lips soft and smooth. After suffering from chapped lips all my life, it's really amazing how exfoliating your lips a couple of times a week can help so much! I now swear by it! I alternate between The Lip Scrub by Sara Happ and Santa's Lip Scrub by LUSH I prefer the consistency of the Sara Happ scrub because it's more moist than the Lush lip scrub and therefore there's no fallout when you use it. But, what I do like about the Santa's Lip Scrub (which is cola-flavored, and smells like cherries & dates!) is that it leaves your lips with a slight pinky-red tint, and it tastes good, too. (It's only available around the holidays, so stock up when you can!)

I hope you found my reviews of the products helpful, and maybe even discovered something new yourself! Please share your "holy grail" skincare products you use in your beauty regimen in the comments section below!

Stay tuned next week for my Current Haircare Regimen!