beauty · food · good reads · lifestyle

currently loving

You think it I’ll say it-  This collection of short stories was a refreshing read and a great start to the new school year. I didn’t want each of the stories to end and was left wanting more. I wonder if the author will turn any of them into a novel! I also highly recommend Prep as well (same author).

Official Secrets- My husband and I walked into a nearly empty movie theatre on a rainy day not knowing what to expect. I was just happy we made it to the movies ( it’s no surprise I’m in it for the popcorn). This movie though, was really well written, acted and the story itself was very gripping. Not a genre that I usually enjoy, but I really enjoyed this one!

Marc Jacobs foundation- I recently picked this foundation up online at Sephora. From the color match to the coverage, it’s an easily my new favorite. I just wish it was longer wearing but that’s nothing a little powder on top can’t fix! Oh and it’s on sale.

Burrata- We have been loving this pizzeria, known for their wood fired pizza served as personal sized pies. The arancini is incredible too. It’s a great place to go fo lunch or date night, and they happen to be great with babies, thankfully. Here’s the menu. The J. Sexton pie is not to be missed! It’s unlike anything I’ve ever had.

What have you been loving lately?

Sincerely,

Surleen

 

beauty

current skincare routine

I wanted to post an updated skincare routine now that we are in this transitional weather here in New York, and I’ve been really happy with the products I’ve been using lately.

One of the most important things I can do for my skin is to keep my routine consistent. If I try a bunch of new products my skin reacts negatively and then I end up trying to fix my skin for weeks. I do, however, keep products in rotation. This is because I know that switching things up, for example, one night a facial oil and the following night a moisturizer, keeps my skin looking its best.

In other words, I like to keep my routine consistent, but within those products that work well for me, I rotate them daily.

Here is a breakdown of what I use and why it works for me!

Morning:

Cleanserlancome LAIT GALATÉE CONFORT- COMFORTING MAKEUP REMOVER MILK WITH HONEY AND SWEET ALMOND OIL FOR DRY SKIN

I prefer this cleanser over foaming cleansers because those tend to strip my skin of its natural oils. I never use a cleanser that foams or suds up, they are way too harsh for my skin and unnecessary especially since I double cleanse (in the evenings I use a separate makeup removing oil).

TonerFRESH  Vitamin Nectar Antioxidant Face Mist

I give myself a generous spritz of this toning spray and it leaves my skin feeling refreshed and ready for the day. It wakes me up with its lovely citrus scent. No cotton pad needed, which is helpful for mornings- one less step. I just love breathing it in- the scent is intoxicating.

Serum- ANTHELIOS AOX ANTIOXIDANT SERUM SPF 50- Daily Antioxidant Serum with Sunscreen

This is genius! A serum and sunscreen combined. I apply this every morning and don’t have to worry about whether my foundation has SPF in it or not. It sinks right into my skin, leaves no residue at all. In fact, it smooths out my skin as if I applied a primer. New find, but it’s here to stay!

I find this hydrating enough that I don’t need to apply a separate moisturizer in the mornings. If my skin is feeling dehydrated that morning, I will reach for this or this.

Evening:

Remove makeup:

I like to remove my makeup as soon as I get home from work and I usually one of these to do so FARMACY  Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm  

or  AMOREPACIFIC Treatment Cleansing Oil Face & Eyes

These both work brilliantly at removing my makeup, even all my stubborn mascara and eye liner. I reach for whichever one I am in the mood for. I love them both!

Cleanser: I use the same cleanser as in the mornings.

Scrub- Every other night I use this scrub. I love the texture and it leaves my skin super clean and soft.

Toner- I will use one of these two toners. They are both very hydrating which is what my skin needs, especially in the evenings.

KIEHL’S SINCE 1851 Ultra Facial Toner

OR

LANCÔME Tonique Confort Re-Hydrating Comforting Toner with Acacia Honey

Serum- After toner I like to use one of the following serums:

CAUDALIE Vinoperfect Radiance Serum- This is quite hydrating and I find it brightens my complexion as well. 

OR

ESTÉE LAUDER Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II- It’s no wonder this has been a cult favorite for so long. This serum is an anti aging magic potion. My mom uses it. My sister uses it. I use it. Maybe one day my daughter will use it. 

Eye cream-FRESH Rose Hydrating Eye Gel Cream

I am on my third little tub of this stuff and I can’t find a thing I don’t like about it. This is the best eye cream I’ve come across.

Moisturizer/ Night cream– For my night cream I am looking for something that deeply hydrates so I tend to use a facial oil or a cream. I love these:

Tatcha the water cream- see my review here 

Kiehl’s midnight recovery oil- see my review here 

Other moisturizers I love include Kiehl’s ultra facial cream, Fresh Rose cream and Clinique Moisture Surge.

 

What is your current skincare routine or what are some products that are staples in your routine?

Sincerely,

Surleen

 

beauty

tatcha the water cream

I am usually not a sucker for packaging and didn’t even know how nice the packaging was for this product, but oh my goodness!! This is probably the most beautifully packaged beauty product I have ever purchased. Not only is it beautiful to look at, but it applies like a dream and leaves my skin smooth and soft. I enjoy the subtle rose scent and the anti aging ingredients and superfoods make this a staple in my beauty vanity.

This is my first Tatcha purchase but definitely not my last.

What’s the most beautifully packaged item you’ve ever received?

IMG_4395-2.jpg

Sincerely,

Surleen

beauty

best of beauty 2018

It’s that time of the year again! This past year was especially important in terms of skincare and makeup routines. Since I was pregnant, I wasn’t sure which products might break me out so I stuck with a very simple routine, didn’t really try anything new, and was happy to see that my skin balanced itself out and I thankfully did not break out. Pregnancy hormones actually evened out my skin and I am still breakout free. These are all products I swear by and would recommend to anyone to try!

Best in Skincare:

best makeup remover LANCÔME Miel-En-Mousse Foaming Cleansing Makeup Remover with Acacia Honey

best facial scrub– CAUDALIE Deep Cleansing Exfoliator

best facial moisturizer– KIEHL’S SINCE 1851 Ultra Facial Cream

best facial sunscreen– MD solar sciences   

best anti aging product- Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II

best facial oil-KIEHL’S SINCE 1851Midnight Recovery Concentrate

best facial mask – KIEHL’S SINCE 1851Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Mask

best eye cream– FRESH Rose Hydrating Eye Gel Cream

best facial mist- Fresh antioxidant facial mist

Best in Makeup:

best lipstick –NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment in American Woman 

best lip gloss – Mac Lipglass in Best Teddy

best lip balmNivea kiss  of milk and honey

best blush- Nars Orgasm 

best eye shadow paletteTARTE Tarteist™ PRO to go Amazonian Clay Palette

best eyelinerMac modern twist kajal liner 

best mascaraLancome Hypnose 

best concealerNARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

best tinted moisturizer: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30

best foundation– BOBBI BROWN Skin Foundation SPF 15

best makeup brushes- real techniques

Best in Hair:

best shampoo and conditionerTresemme Keratin Smooth shampoo and conditioner 

 favorite body products:

Favorite shower gel: Aveeno Skin Relief Nourishing Body Wash, Coconut

Favorite shower oil: L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil

Favorite body cream: Shea Butter Ultra Rich Body Cream and a recent favorite AERIN Beauty Rose Hand & Body Cream

Favorite hand cream: Almond Delicious Hands and Roses et Reines Hand & Nail Cream

Best fragrance: 

CHANEL COCO MADEMOISELLE Eau de Parfum

What are your beauty favorites? What has made a significant difference in your skincare or makeup routine? Please let me know in the comments!

 

Sincerely,

Surleen

Uncategorized

cream of mushroom soup

I recently had an afternoon to myself and went to this spot for lunch. I ordered the mushroom soup followed by a cappuccino. I thoroughly enjoyed every bite and every sip of my meal. I love this place because not only do their pastries extremely well, but the savory options are delicious! I also find that though they have a few different locations throughout the city, the quality and service is consistently great.

IMG_5531
lunch for one at Maison Kayser

I was so inspired by the soup I had that I couldn’t stop talking about it to my husband, who then suggested that I try to recreate it! I found a recipe which seemed like it would give me a very similar result. I could not be happier with how this turned out. It has lots of flavor (and very little cream). In fact, I used half and half instead!

IMG_5654
dinner for two at home 

Ingredients:

1-1/2 lb of Wild Mushrooms

1 Onion, chopped

3 Cloves of Garlic, diced

3-1/2 cups of vegetable Stock

1/4 cup of half and half

2 Tbsp of Flour
Few Sprigs of Fresh Thyme or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
Splash of Marsala
3 Tbsp of Unsalted Butter
2 Tbsp of Freshly Chopped Parsley
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Preparation:

    • 1) Add the butter in a large pot and preheat it over medium-high heat, add the butter and allow it to melt.
    • 2) Add the mushrooms, onions and garlic and cook for 7 minutes or so or until the veggies begin to cook down and develop some good color.
    • 3) Meanwhile, bring one cup of water to a boil and add it to a small bowl along with the dried porcini, set aside and allow them to steep for about 5 minutes, remove from the liquid and give them a good chop, set aside.
    • 4) Add the flour to the mushrooms and stir in for 30 seconds, deglaze with the sherry (or omit it completely) add the chicken stock, chopped porcini, porcini “stock” (minus the very last tablespoon from the bottom of the bowl) and thyme, bring to a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer the soup for about 45 minutes.
    • 5) Remove the thyme stems, add half of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth, add it back in the large pot with the remaining soup, add the cream, season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer for just a minute.
             6) Stir in the fresh parsley when you’re ready to serve!

Notes- Do not skip blending half of the soup- it makes the soup velvety smooth and the unblended portion of the soup gives it lots of great texture.

The chopped parsley at the very end is a must as it adds the freshness which this soup needs, otherwise the flavor is a bit too rich

I served this alongside some toasted crusty French bread, but some croutons would be very nice here as well. My soup at the restaurant was served with croutons and some bread on the side (like I said, they just do it right).

What is your all time favorite soup?

Sincerely,

Surleen
IMG_5534
food

pumpkin walnut black bean chili

Let’s hear it for Soup Season!!!! Yayyy!!! Nothing says comfort in a bowl like piping hot chili on a cold day. When I saw that this recipe had pumpkin and walnut, I never would have thought it would work- but trust me, this chili is amazing!! The most unexpected ingredient for me here is the walnuts, they add a nice crunch and texture. The longer this cooks in the slow cooker, the better it gets! Go ahead and try this chili the next time you want a hearty bowl of deliciousness- it’s super easy to make.

recipe adapted from pinch of yum 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 28-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • half an onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 can of corn
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 6 cups water or broth (refill the tomato can about 2x)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 14 oz cans black beans
  • 1-2 diced carrots

Add at the end:

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

HOW TO MAKE

To Start: Place all the chili ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for 3-5 hours or until your chilli has reached desired consistency. I checked mine a few times in between and cooked for around 4 hours. The carrots took the longest to soften.

To Finish: Stir in the  walnuts. Serve with avocado, lime wedges, cilantro, tortilla chips, rice, cornbread… whatever you like with your chili!

Note- You can use whatever veggies you like, for example, celery, red or green peppers. Also you can substitute the black beans for chickpeas, kidney beans or cannellini beans or even use a combination!

IMG_4602.jpg

What is your favorite Fall dish?
Sincerely, 
Surleen 
lifestyle

newborn essentials

As a first time mama (to a human baby) I wasn’t sure what we would need for Baby’s arrival and what we’d actually use once she was here. These are the items we use every day and they’ve made our lives a lot easier as parents of a newborn. Most of these were on the baby registry but some we purchased later on, based on her needs. We’ve been using these nonstop for the past several weeks and love them!

Here is a list of my newborn must haves:

peanut changing pad 

swaddle sleep sack 

multi purpose burp cloths 

water wipes 

Dr. Browns bottles 

tub 

boppy pillow

muslin blankets

onesie shirts 

milk snob 

dodo babies bibs

Target clothing

bottle drying rack  

memory book 

milestone blocks 

 

Sincerely, 

Surleen 

 

 

 

good reads

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

41SdL441MFL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

This book caught me by surprise. I started reading it towards the end of my pregnancy and continued reading it the first week we brought baby home. I wasn’t really into it at the beginning but the vulnerability of the protagonist is something that I connected with.   I also enjoyed how each chapter has been set in a different location, based on where his travels take him, from Paris to India to the Sahara desert,  I enjoyed the plot as well, which for me it wasn’t until finishing the book that it is simply a love story. I highly recommend this if you’re looking for something on the lighter side and you can’t commit to a long read. I think this book will always have a special place in my heart because it will always remind me of those first few nights at home with Baby.

What are you currently reading?

 

Sincerely, 

Surleen 

beauty · food · good reads · lifestyle

five ways to take care of yourself- my self care routine

As a (very) new mama, I find it’s even more important to carve out some time each day to take care of myself. Here are some things that I’ve been doing to get in some me time and do the things that I enjoy, now that our daughter is here. Honestly though there are some days when I would rather just stare at her all day and take photos and videos!

  1. I  love making myself an iced coffee every morning, or an iced espresso mixed with a protein shake. I really enjoy starting my day this way and will usually check my emails and write out a plan for the day.
  2. Once I get out of the shower in the mornings I like to use either the bare minerals complexion rescue or the nars velvet matte. I just use a small amount, especially when I know I’m not going out. Each of these has an SPF so it’s the only product I need to use on my face. One step and I’m good to go for the day.
  3. I started going back to the gym for a light workout each morning. I am not there for long and haven’t been doing anything intense yet, but it feels great to move and have that time to myself at the gym.
  4. I love to read so much and can’t imagine not doing that now. So every evening, I give myself a few minutes, even if I only get to read a few pages at a time. I’m currently in the middle of Less by Andrew Sean Greer.
  5. Once in a while I like to do a little pampering, whether it’s a face mask at home or going out to get a manicure pedicure. I think having some time to pamper yourself just helps you to feel more like yourself. I’m currently loving this face mask by Fresh and this nail color by essie.

 

 

good reads

book haul

We recently  found ourselves at one of my favorite bookstores, The Corner Bookstore on the Upper East Side. They have a unique selection, always have great recommendations and a wonderful children’s book selection. Here is what we picked up for ourselves and of course a few for the little one on way! I don’t think it’s possible for us to walk into a bookstore and leave empty handed…there’s nothing like a new book!

My picks:

Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

free food for millionaires by Min Jin Lee

His picks:

why buildings stand up by Mario Salvadori

the arab of the future by Riad Sattouf

For little peanut:

the carrot seed by Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson

the night gardener by Terry Fan and Eric Fan

ocean meets sky by Terry Fan and Eric Fan

 

What are you currently reading?

Sincerely,

Surleen