Friday, July 25, 2014

July Group Giveaway!!

Happy Friday!! Today I have a fun post for you guys followed by a giveaway. Erin from Two Thirds Hazel hosts Blogmopolitan quizzes once in a while and I love filling these babies out. So catch up with me, find out what I'm afraid of and what I sleep in and then enter the July giveaway for some goodies!

And now for the giveaway!

Here is a photo of the earrings from Hello Felecia:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Esencia Urban Kitchen: Brunch with a Mexican Twist

Well hello there! Are you pumped for the weekend because it's almost here. Recently, my cousin and I went to a new place for brunch after moving the majority of my things out. Our go-to brunch place has been kind of deflating as of late so we decided on a whim to try Esencia. We walked passed it and everything looked amazing so, why not. Before I get to the food, I want to talk about their coffee. It was delicious. We realized immediately that there was a spice to it and it turns out they put a little dash of cinnamon in their grounds before they brew it. Ah-mazing! They also have a ton of pastries that look really great. I'll have to get a photo of those next time.

Guacamole & Chips
(A blend of avocado, tomato, red onions, cilantro and jalapenos)
This was potentially the best chips and guac I've ever had. The guacamole was so fresh and so were the chips. The chips were also dusted with what I think was paprika. They were delicious and tasty and I want more.

Breakfast Tacos
(Three corn tortillas filled with scrambled eggs, spinach, tomatoes and chorizo topped with queso fresco)
This was my cousin's choice of meal. I didn't get to try them because we were so into our own stuff but I did manage to grab a photo of his last taco before he downed it. I can't speak for him but I almost had to be rolled out of this place.

Huevos Con Chorizo Torta
(Scrambled eggs with chorizo, beans, avocado, tomatoes, red onions, Chihuahua cheese and chipotle aioli on bolillo bread)
This was my breakfast, hence my comment above about being rolled out of the restaurant. I've only had a torta once before and it was ordered by my best friend who is Mexican and she ordered it in Spanish. Needless to say, I don't know what I ate that day. This however called my name when I saw it on the menu. I love chorizo and I wanted eggs. I only ate half the sandwich because it was so filling but it was the best breakfast sandwich I've ever had. The chipotle aioli was sweet with a tiny kick and the avocado kept it fresh and summery. The potatoes included on the side were also great. They were very simply seasoned so that it wasn't overpowering in comparison to the torta which I really enjoyed. By the way, this was breakfast Monday morning too...

If you happen to be in Chicago's East Lakeview neighborhood at any time, you should definitely consider Esencia for breakfast, lunch or brunch. We are going to be back to try one of the other amazing things on their menu...and I will get my hands on one of their pastries.

33f1 North Broadway (between Roscoe and Buckingham)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Originals Season Review (SPOILERS)

via google images
The Originals has one of the best premiering seasons I've seen since True Blood started. Ironically, they're both vampire shows. The CW went to another level with this show and I am really happy I decided to add it to my watch list. Spin-offs tend to have bad luck so I didn't have high hopes for this show, especially since I love Vampire Diaries so much. One thing I did know was that I really loved the original family, especially Elijah, so how bad could it really be?

The connection to the past the original family has is where the allure on this show is. There is so much history that can be referenced from their thousand year lives. You never know what old enemy is going to come back with blood on their minds and what makes it constantly surprise you is being dead means nothing on this shown (just like Vampire Diaries). You never know who's going to come back next and you're never prepared for that character to come back from the dead. I don't want to go through the entire season because, let's be honest, we don't have all day, but I will touch on a few points and characters that I find fun to discuss. 

via google images
Marcel: what a mess. I have a love-hate relationship with this vamp. Sometimes he does things that make me go, hell yeah and other times I want to ring his neck...kind of like Klaus so I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I really felt this vendetta between Klaus and Marcel was out of nothing. It was two equally large egos constantly trying to one up the other. The sad part is that in the midst of their war, too many people were killed or hurt pretty bad, especially people they loved. However, in the end they couldn't follow through and kill each other but they did unite for a common get the city back and save their family 

Davina: this is my girl. I just want her to finally get some good luck back in her life. Other than Hayley, no one has dealt with so much bad luck. I think she is one of the strongest characters. She has a lot of growing to do and she is just starting to discover herself which makes following her journey that much more exciting. I feel like she needs to find a way to take down the ancestors without losing her powers. They are seriously awful people. I mean, who says kill a baby? No one good, that's for sure. 
Hayley: remember when she was the bitch on The Secret Circle and then randomly showed up as a werewolf on Vampire Diaries? She's come a long way. She's gone from that annoying girl I just wanted gone to that bad ass who had a baby with Klaus Mikaelson and came back from the dead to save her. I'm really rooting for her relationship with Elijah but I'm interested to see how this new hybrid life of hers changes things.

Esther's Return: my reaction when I realized what was going on...
Well I guess we know who the big bad wolf of season 2 is. I swear, being dead on the CW means absolutely nothing. They always find a way to bring people back. I think what I'm anticipating the most with her return is the mutual return of Mikael. However, unlike Esther he isn't free but instead at the control of Davina. Have I mentioned I love her? This is going to be a family reunion to remember.

And now there's someone special I'd like you all to meet. Her name is Raewyn and she blogs over at Be A Warrior Queen:
Make sure to follow Raewyn on Bloglovin, Twitter, Facebook, Etsy, Instagram and Pinterest!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summertime Talk With Hello Felecia

I can't believe I only have three days left in my apartment guys. I think I'm in denial even though most of my stuff is already gone. I really loved this place and I'm sad to say goodbye. Today I have an interview with one of my lovely sponsors. Her name is Felecia and she blogs over at Hello Felecia. Check it out!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog.
My name is Felecia Efriann, I am named after my mother and great-great grandmother. I am a Florida girl who enjoys traveling and writing. I started my blog to get back in the habit of writing often and as an outlet to share my hobbies and life. 

You've had quite a few book reviews on your blog lately. What are a few left on your summer to-read list?
I read five books at a time, so right now I am currently reading Brain on Fire, Insurgent, Delirium, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, and The Power of a Praying Woman. The two that are hard to put down are Brain on Fire and Delirium.

What are three items you cannot go without in the summertime?
My water bottle, A/C, and summer dresses. Every summer I gain a new appreciation for water bottles, air condition, and dresses. There was one summer where the A/C broke down and it was rough hot summer. I look forward to summer, it is when I wear the most dresses.

Have you gone on any trips this summer or do you have any planned?
I have not gone on any trips this summer. I have planned a couple of different trips that simply did not work out. So, this summer I am enjoying being home and focusing on writing my novel.

What are some of your favorite things to eat in the summertime? Gelato and fruit bars are my fave.
I enjoy smoothies year round, but especially during the summer. I also like cold fresh fruits, and ice cold lemonade. 

What's on your summer playlist?
I could write a whole post about my Summer Playlist, instead of writing something lengthy I will share it with you:

Make sure to follow Felecia on BloglovinTwitterFacebook and Pinterest!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Nights At P.F. Changs

*Disclaimer: Thank you to P.F. Changs for sponsoring this post and paying for dinner!
Last night was such a perfect night to go out to dinner and spend some time walking around the neighborhood. Yeni and I have been best friends for a while now and lately it's been really hard to get together. So last night we went to P.F. Changs for dinner and drinks and then walked around the neighborhood for a little bit. There are so many festivals going on in Chicago right now and the weather was perfect last night. Here's what we had!

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Spring Rolls: Small Plates at P.F. Changs
(Lemongrass chicken, julienne carrots, celery root, peanuts, Thai basil and mint wrapped in cool rice paper, with a sweet chili dipping sauce)
These spring rolls were such a great starter. I'm glad we got to the restaurant when we did because we got the last two! They were so refreshing and the sweet chili sauce was delicious. 

Chiang Mai Curry Noodles
(Sliced chicken breast wok-tossed with egg noodles, Fresno peppers, cilantro and a coconut-curry infused broth, garnished with Brussels sprouts and topped with crispy wontons)
This was Yeni's choice of entree for the night and it was pretty good. It was lighter than lots of other noodle dishes I've had at Asian restaurants which was perfect since it's warmer out. It was filling without giving you that heavy feeling in yours stomach. Yum!

Cantonese Lemon Chicken
(Fresh, crispy whole chicken breast sliced and drizzled with warm lemon sauce and served with chilled broccolini salad)
This was my choice of entree and, may I say, my favorite dish we ordered. The lemon sauce was so delicious. I poured it all over my rice and chicken not caring one bit if Yeni got some or not (sorry!). The broccolini salad was really too, a perfect compliment to the chicken.

Spicy Paloma: P.F. Changs Cocktails
(Tanteo Jalapeno and fresh jalapeno slices, balanced with freshly-squeezed white grapefruit juice)
This was Yeni's drink for dinner. I had a glass of wine instead. I did taste a few sips of this though. I am not a fan of tequila but this was really good. I've never had a spicy cocktail before so this was out of my comfort zone but I think I would have enjoyed a full one all to myself.

Other Options On The P.F. Changs Summer Menu Include:
Heirloom Tomato Salad
Seared Ahi with Wasabi Guacamole
Orange Peel Shrimp
Pink Cherry Cosmo

And now for the fun part! P.F. Chang’s is hosting a contest called “Perfect Pairings.” 
The contest will run from July 11 – August 18. A winner will be chosen by August 29.

Each participant will have the opportunity to win a $100 gift card and become eligible for the grand prize of a trip to Boston for an exclusive Sam Adams Brewery Tour for two, followed by a 4-course pairing dinner at the P.F. Chang’s downtown Boston. 

To enter the contest visit and tell us what two things you think pair perfectly together for the chance to win a trip for two to Boston to tour the Samuel Adams Brewery and dinner at P.F. Chang’s!

“Asian-inspired dishes go with craft beer like _ and ” 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

June Ipsy Bag Review: Pretty In Paradise

Hi there! I hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday. I'm moving 75% of my stuff today and then heading to PF Changes for dinner tonight. Yesterday was really relaxing though so it's ok today is crazy busy. I went for a massage that was much needed. What are you guys up to this weekend?

Be A Bombshell Lash Out Mascara
What Ipsy Says: A rich pigmented mascara with a lengthening formula that offers a multidimensional look. 
What I Say: I was not impressed with this mascara. I was expecting bombshell lashes that were full and thick but instead I basically got a primer for my regular mascara. It didn't matter how many coats I applied, I just couldn't make them look anything more than wet.

NYX Butter Gloss
What Ipsy Says: Buttery soft and silky smooth, the scrumptious new NYX Butter Lip Gloss tastes as sweet as a sugar cookie - and makes your lips look downright luscious. Swipe it on alone or over your favorite lipstick for creamy sheer to medium coverage that melts onto your lips and is never sticky.

What I Say: I love this gloss. I was nervous at first because the color of the brush made it look like the color was going to be a super bright coral. Surprisingly, it was a natural lip color pretty much. It had a touch of pink color but it was perfect and it made my lips look plump which I loved. It didn't taste terrible but it wasn't good either. I'm kind of used to that with lip makeup though.

Dove Pure Care Dry Oil Nourishing Treatment with African Macadamia Oil
What Ipsy Says: Dove Pure Care Oil Nourishing Treatment with African Macadamia Oil delivers 5x silkier hair, without leaving it greasy or heavy.
-- Proven to absorb quickly with a unique blend of natural oils, silicone and mineral oil
-- Scientifically proven to absorb quickly into the hair
-- Protects from the stresses induced by blow-drying and styling
-- For all hair types
-- Infused with Macadamia Oil that is rich in Omega-7, one of the main free fatty acid that naturally conditions and protects hair
-- Leaves hair silky

What I Say: This was alright but I wasn't too impressed. My hair didn't feel too different after using it. It looked a little shinier but nothing dramatic. 

Jesse's Girl Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
What Ipsy Says: This true black liquid liner creates a bold, precise, ultra-fine line that's both waterproof and smudge-proof. The unique caligraphy-style brush allows you to create lines as thing as one millimeter!

What I Say: My first impressions of this product were not good. When I opened the pen, ink went all over my sink. After the initial waterfall of a black mess, the brush still would be slightly dripping. I thought maybe it was just my box but when I went to the product's page on Ipsy, it looks like everyone else had the same problem. I don't think I'll be trying this product because I'm afraid to get eyeliner everywhere and from my experience of scrubbing my sink, it doesn't seem to come off easy. The last think I need is to go to work with two black eyes.

Skinn Olive & Enzyme Cleanser
What Ipsy Says: Olive & Enzyme Cleanser is a natural based and gentle cleansing balm that:
-- Dissolves dirt
-- Removes makeup
-- Removes dead skin cells
-- Softens, smoothes and moisturizes skin

What I Say: This is a good cleanser to use the day or two after you had a really good scrub. It's a very thin formula so it just does a basic cleanse job. If you're looking for a hardcore dirt removal, I would go with something that has texture or at least a thicker formula. This does take off my makeup though.

Friday, July 18, 2014

#ShareBeauty with Regency Beauty Institute and Refinery29: What's Your Beauty Story

*Thank you to Regency Beauty Institute for sponsoring today's post and helping me #ShareBeauty

Growing up I was definitely a tomboy. I wasn't afraid to get dirty and I loved to play with the boys but I've always had an interest in beauty. I remember at nighttime when everyone was watching TV, I'd go in the bathroom, grab as many brushes and accessories as I could hold (sometimes two trips worth), jump on the couch behind everyone and do their hair. I loved doing my aunt's hair (pictured on the left) because hers was long but I loved putting my Mom's hair (pictured below) and my Noni's hair in tiny butterfly clips or headbands. I remember sitting on the counter in the bathroom while my aunt applied her mascara or my Noni put on lipstick. I also remember the experimental phases I went through (glitter gel, blue eye shadow, yikes). 

Once I started getting more into makeup, it became something that hid who I was. I loaded on the eyeliner and mascara and caked on the foundation. I wish I could say it was years back but only about two years ago did I start to become comfortable enough with myself to find a beauty regimen that embraced my beauty rather than hid it. I love playing with bold eyes and fun colors but on a normal day, I'm ok going with just a light coat of mascara and some moisturizer. 

Being beautiful means something different to everyone and it probably means something different every day. I know it does for me. Sometimes to feel beautiful I need lots of makeup and perfect hair. Other times, I just need bed head and a little chap stick. No matter what you're feeling, you should always feel beautiful. Working in the beauty industry isn't something for me but there are hundreds, probably thousands of people out there who would dream to make others feel beautiful every day. 

Regency Beauty Institute is one of the leading cosmetology schools in the nation. They have 88 campuses across the country and have been able to grow over the years by taking an innovative approach to learning and helping students to turn their creativity into beautiful careers. “#ShareBeauty” is a reflection of Regency’s calling and commitment to growing the careers of the people who make beauty. The “#ShareBeauty” campaign celebrates beauty and the people who make it. 

The core element in the campaign is a video called “Beauty Grew All Around.” It celebrates that person that we’ve all known — a friend, sister, nephew or neighbor — that always had a knack for beauty. More than a knack. A gift. A beauty gene. They were the people who did everyone’s hair for prom. The friend who helped you with your wedding day makeup. Or who totally nailed an updo at age 11. Despite this natural talent, oftentimes beauty makers are pressured away from that gift and toward a more traditional career. Regency’s “Beauty Grew All Around” video is the animated tale of a girl who makes the most of her beauty gene and turns it into a beautiful career that impacts the world around her.

Storytellers are encouraged to share Regency and Refinery29’s #ShareBeautyContest, which runs from July 8th-August 13th. One lucky winner will be chosen following the end of the contest. Each person who enters will have the opportunity to win a customized VIP beauty treatment worth $2,000 from Regency and Refinery29.

Entering the contest is easy!

Try one trend (or all of them). Trends will be posted each week at the regency landing page. 
• Try one trend (Or all of them!)
• Take a photo
• Share it on Instagram (Your account must be public.)
• Hashtag each photo with #ShareBeautyContest
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