Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Best Margarita I've Had in Years - La Risata Classic Margarita

I've been missing my classic margarita days. Back in the Philippines, this is one of the few alcoholic drinks that I really enjoy during those nights with friends. When I arrived in Malaysia, I barely had a chance to grab this cocktail since I got pregnant, became a mother and well, yeah, drinks are quite expensive here. Which is a good thing to control alcohol intake (or so I thought, haha). 

Last month, I had a good chance to meet my classic margarita again after a few years. Our cool, great boss treated us to dinner and drinks at La Risata in Damansara. At RM22 a glass, this margarita is the best I've had in town. The mix of tequila, lime juice and sugar syrup is just perfect with the taste of salt on the rim of the glass. I've actually tried some margaritas around town but somehow those just didn't taste right. But this one by La Risata is just great. So naturally, I ordered for a second glass!

La Risata Classic Margarita (Photo taken with an iPhone5)

I finished my first glass and was already on my second glass when we started choosing our food...yummm...

La Risata's menu needs some time to go thru...all are appetizing, can't choose one...

Here are some of the delicious food served that night. I got distracted by the food, my margarita's melting!



My chosen dinner: Fettucine All Albese (I think, hope I remembered it right, haha) at RM30. The creamy parmesan cheese sauce is captivating...ok, now this is making me crave for it again!



And this Bruschetta is damn good! 


I didn't stay until so late, I still have home duties to accomplish. But my first dinner at La Risata certainly won't be the last...and, yes, I do drink other stuff aside from wine, guys!




Sunday, 28 July 2013

Lovely Nails with Butter London

I recently fell in love with this nail polish brand, Butter London, that I came across with while shopping for a liquid foundation at Sephora Starhill. Aside from the lovely glitter color that got my attention, the product names are also quite clever. 

Well, I've also been searching for a really good top coat that dries fast and makes the nail color last longer so I decided to give these items a try. I don't normally go to a nail salon to do my nails, not that I have time to go as well. I prefer to do my own nails as I've developed this fear from nippers. Some stylists just have this urge to keep nipping the dry skin until they accidentally cut you to bleed (ugh). So since several years back, I just do it myself. And it's quite fun, too, to experiment with different colors myself and save time (and money) to just do it at home. 




My wonderful Butter London collection: Melt Away Cuticle Eliminator, Hardwear Quick Topcoat and 3 Free Nail Lacquer. 

First step is to use the Melt Away Cuticle Eliminator (RM64/ 17.5ml). This is for removing dead skin cells for gentle cuticle removal, eliminating the need to nip (yes!). Since I really hate the nipping part, this item is great for me. It's very easy to use. Shake well, apply to overgrown cuticles using the bottle applicator, wait for 2 minutes, gently push back cuticle then remove debris with a soft brush. Clean excess product from nails after use. 




Apply a clear nail polish as your base coat. Then it's time for the nail color: 3 Free Nail Lacquer in Lovely Jubbly (RM54/ 11ml). At first, I wondered why it's called '3 Free'. It has NO Formaldehyde, NO Toluene, NO DBP --- so it makes this nail color 3 Free. For those who are not familiar, formaldehyde is an organic compound used in a lot of industrial products, disinfectants and more, and is toxic to both animals and humans. Toluene is a clear, insoluble liquid used to dissolve paint, thinners and more, and is also considered toxic. DBP or dibutyl phthalate was used in nail polishes and other items but has been banned in many countries as it poses as a possible risk for abnormalities on physical development. 

So this Butter London Nail Lacquer clarifies that it's free from those toxic ingredients. The color I picked was named Lovely Jubbly and it is truly lovely. It is a glitter-filled purplish hue which is also very easy to apply. Simply put 1 coat then let it dry for at least 2 minutes. If you want a darker shade, you can put another layer. But 1 layer for me is just nice. 




After letting the nail color dry for at least 2 minutes, it's time to apply the Hardwear Quick Topcoat (RM64/ 17.5ml). It's a quick dry, ultra glossy, non-toxic that protects the nail lacquer/ nail color and extends the life of the manicure. Simply apply 1 coat over the nail lacquer. 



As always, I also apply drying oil on top of my nail polish. I found this Sephora Express Drying Oil (RM35/ 7ml) which is a great companion to everyone who loves polishing their nails. Wait at least 2 minutes after applying your top coat then apply 1 drop of the drying oil on each nail. 





My finished manicure...my normal digicam doesn't do justice to the glitter effect, though. Quite hard for me to shoot with one hand if I use my DSLR so this shot was taken with the digicam (need to get a tripod or an assistant photographer, haha!). But the glitter nail polish is more glamorous and pretty in actual sight!



My verdict...in love with this Butter London nail collection! Will get more colors soon! 


Where to buy: Sephora

Price:
Butter London Melt Away and Hardwear - RM64 a piece
Butter London Nail Lacquer in Lovely Jubbly - RM54
Sephora Express Drying Oil - RM54



Starhill Culinary Studio’s Wine Class with David Stephan


Wine never ceases to be an evolving subject with so many different facets. With thousands of different types of grapes used for its production, wines of the exact same grapes will surprisingly have different tastes and aromas depending on a lot of factors in winemaking. Prices of wines using the same type of grape might also have big differences. For those who enjoy wine, it’s still a wonder: is an expensive wine always better than a cheaper one? And this was what Starhill Culinary Studio’s wine class aimed to enlighten guests about.

The Wine Studio, located at the Muse Level of Starhill Gallery, is a warm and welcoming sight. The walls are adorned with shelves of varieties of wines; the tables are beautifully designed together with matching spittoon in between each pair of seats. For each guest, there awaits a Starhill Culinary Studio goodie bag, the wine class tasting notes kit and 6 wine glasses waiting to be filled with delicious beverage.




Themed Low vs. High Priced Wines, the wine class last 25th July was conducted by Wine Talk’s exclusive French sommelier, David Stephan. David introduced the students to three different wines: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Bordeaux. Each type had a sample of low priced and high priced label so there was a total of 6 different wine labels tasted (and enjoyed). David started with the Chardonnay: one priced at around RM50 and another priced more than RM100. This also applied to the Pinot Noir and Bordeaux wherein each type had 2 labels with very different price range. He explained the factors affecting the quality and taste of wine very deeply, even showing different vineyard locations on each country’s map for fuller understanding on how the ‘terroir’ influences the wine produced from each vineyard. Terroir, by the way, “is the set of special characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place, interacting with the plant's genetics, express in agricultural products such as wine, coffee, chocolate, tomatoes, heritage wheat, cannabis, and tea.”(Wikipedia)




There was so much information and knowledge to absorb from David.  Some of which are difference between barrel and steel for storage of wines, weather and climate, some grape disease called botrytis that help produce good, sweet wines, biodynamic agriculture, and so much more (this David is really a walking wine-cyclopedia!). But probably the most interesting part is, of course, actually tasting each type of wine and discovering that the expensive one doesn’t necessarily mean that it suits your taste better. The Chardonnay, for one, received more votes on the lower-priced label.



Oh, and here are some of the canapés served during the class…




What was supposed to be a 3-hour session (6:30pm – 9:30pm) lasted longer than expected. Everybody was having a great time sampling the wines and asking David for more clarification about wine. There are just amazingly so many things to know and talk about this subject…does older mean better, what wines can be aged for years, what vintage is good for this certain type of wine, etc. The guests were very interactive and expressive of their interests and even shared their personal stories about wine.

One of the highlights of the night was a lucky draw for 2 bottles of wine: Monte da Peceguina Rosé (an exclusive label from Wine Talk). There were 2 winners who each bagged a bottle of this wine from David. Hooray for these guests!






Here’s the sommelier, David Stephan, with some of the guests…






And here are the 6 wonderful wines tasted during the class…




This wine class in Starhill Culinary Studio was truly wonderful and memorable. All of us had a great time (if only the night wasn’t so short!) and we all met a bunch of great people who share the same interest with wine. For those who would like to have better understanding and knowledge about this subject, attending a wine class like this at Starhill Culinary Studio will surely take you to a higher level of wine appreciation and experience. Cheers, guys!


For more information about wine class schedule, visit www.starhillculinarystudio.com 
or call +603 2782 3810

For inquiries about wine or about David Stephan, visit www.winetalk.com.my or call 1300 88 9788


Sunday, 21 July 2013

Spanish Sparkling Villa Conchi Cava

Last month, I had a good chance to try a sparkling wine from Spain. It's not very often that I come across a good-looking sparkling wine that's priced under RM100. This bottle was selling at only RM78.30 so it got my attention. Judging by the packaging, it looked like a premium sparkling and, what the heck, I gotta try. 



See the gold labels and engravings? Not bad and I'd say it stands a competitive chance next to the big brands of champagne.

I brought the bottle for our family dinner to celebrate Father's Day last month. Since the men only welcome whiskey, brandy or beer into their drinking glasses, it was up to my sister-in-law and I to get this sparkling wine pouring. I actually enjoyed it! I just kept asking my husband to refill my glass. Feels a bit dry but suited our Chinese food that night which had some fish dishes and other meats. I can feel my face getting red, though, since I'm not (yet) used to having several wine glasses in a session. Wine tastings are fine but tastings normally serve wines at only tasting level, not drinking size up to 3/4 of the glass. Overall, this Villa Conchi Cava is an excellent sparkling wine choice which includes the ceremonial popping of the cork. The bottle presentation is also great which can make it a good celebration gift as well. 

The Villa Conchi Cava Brut Seleccion:
Bottle size - 750ml
Alcohol content - 11.5%

Tasting Notes from a wine expert - The Brut Seleccion is a generous bubbly, with great balance of aromas between fruits and toasted nuances. This is perfect as an aperitif as well as an accompaniment for salads, rice and light fish dishes. Best served at 6-8 degrees Celsius. 

Where to buy: www.winetalk.com.my 





Make your Make-Up Last Longer with Urban Decay's MakeUp Setting Spray

Working women like me, and maybe more ladies out there who are out-of-the-house for more than 8 hours a day, face the challenge of maintaining makeup as long as necessary. Occasional touch-ups for face powder is fine but who has time to retouch full face foundation or keep looking at the mirror to check if the T-zone is getting too shiny? I'm normally busy at work and I only have time to retouch my powder after lunch and that's it. So the quest to lengthen makeup life on my face brought me to Sephora. And I was not disappointed. 

Urban Decay's All Nighter MakeUp Setting Spray was attractive and catchy to my eye with its simple white and purple packaging (I love purple, by the way). The product name says it all and the phrase "All Nighter" is just clever. For RM49/ 30ml, the item seemed worth a try. Oil-free, paraben-free and temperature control technology were the highlighted points on the box. 



The bottle comes in dual cap; I'm not quite sure, though, why. Maybe to give you an option to use the smaller cap if the purple cap makes it big to fit in a small cosmetic bag. But then again why not just make a small purple cap? Or maybe this is to prevent leaking when you put it in your bag on-the-go? Nevertheless, I love the packaging color scheme. The box and bottle are both in matte finish. It feels and looks good now but I foresee that the bottle will have that brownish, dirty look after some time since matte finish tends to absorb dirt more. Anyway, I just simply keep it unexposed to dust and element by placing it inside my makeup kit in a drawer. 

I've been using UD MakeUp Setting Spray for 3 weeks now and I'm delighted by the results. From morning at around 7:30am (this is the time when my makeup's done before I wake my son up for school) until evening at around 8 or 9:00pm, my makeup still looks great. Before, my foundation used to be blotchy and faded out by 3 or 4pm. But with this Makeup Setting Spray, my face makeup is still in place when I get home! 

It's quite easy to use: Simply shake it well, hold the bottle around 8 to 10 inches away and mist your face 2 to 4 times in an 'X' and 'T' formation. And, voila! Your makeup is ready to stay all day and night! Reminder, close your eyes and purse your lips before spraying. 



This product is also very travel-friendly at this size. It's light and slim which can easily fit into a cosmetic bag snugly. 


What the box says:

IN A 7 DAY CLINICAL STUDY OF ALL NIGHTER
  • 78% of participants said ALL NIGHTER helped their makeup last for 16 hours
  • Over 80% said their makeup not only looked better, it stayed on better (even in the T-zone) without settling into fine lines
  • Whether they had combination, oily or dry skin, 88% or more said ALL NIGHTER was the best product to help their makeup last


Where to buy: SEPHORA
Price: RM49
Size: 30ml/ 1.0 fl. oz. 





Sunday, 14 July 2013

TALIKA Photo-Beauty Therapy: Youth through Light Innovation

The first TALIKA product that I fell in love with 2 years back was the Gentle Eye Cleanser. That was also when I started using contact lenses and this Talika product was probably one among few eye care products in the market that specifically address sensitivity of contact lens wearers. It contains rosewater so it also has that lovely scent. This ingredient is actually meant to tighten the skin around the eyes while serving as a mild astringent. Although it doesn't remove waterproof makeup, it is a great 2nd step for eye cleansing. I would normally use cleansing oil then use Talika Gentle Eye Cleanser afterwards. 

Photo from web

A few months ago, Talika launched a skincare collection: Photo-Beauty Therapy. I was introduced to these 3 amazing products: Light Essence Cellular Activator Photo-Beauty Therapy, Anti-Aging Cream Photo-Beauty Therapy and Brightening Serum Photo-Beauty Therapy. 


These 3 look good and elegant together, don't they?

The Light Essence caught my attention immediately...



Talika indicates that THE LIGHT ESSENCE...
acts like a correction curve, an “equalizer”, which takes just a few seconds to reset all “cell counters” to zero! Meanwhile, it boosts the youthfulness process in your epidermis.
The cell recovers its “original” potential, as a result skin is able to receive and transmit the benefits of daily skincare LIKE NEVER BEFORE.

Benefits:
Transforms light into cellular energy for a global anti-ageing action. (Photo-Beauty Enzyme®)
Helps to brighten the complexion and diminish the intensity of dark spots.
Helps regenerate and protect the skin’s DNA. (Photo-Beauty Enzyme®)
Hydrates, relieves discomfort. (hyaluronic acid, gentle fruit acids, rose water and vegetal glycerin)

The new Talika skincare also has an Anti-Aging Cream, a delightfully-surprising addition to the brand as I've known Talika for light-inspired products. Having a Talika anti-aging item is truly a surprise and revolution in its technology. 



Talika indicates that the ANTI-AGING Cream...
gives skin a new youthfulness thanks to the synergy of the PBE and anti-wrinkle, firming, energising and repairing active ingredients with recognised efficacy.

After 14 days, +19,9% collagen*.
After 4 weeks, the signs of ageing are visibly reduced.

Benefits:
Transforms light into cellular energy (Photo-Beauty Enzyme®)
Helps regenerate and protect the skin’s DNA (Photo-Beauty Enzyme®)
Anti-wrinkle and firming action (adenosine, walnut seed, soya beans)
Intensively nourishes, moisturises and repairs the epidermis (shea butter and vegetal glycerin)


I'm sure you've seen so many brightening serums in the market, well, so have I. But what makes this Talika brightening serum interesting is the PBE or Photo-Beauty Enzyme, a unique component in this line of Talika products which has the ability to transform light into derma-repairing energy. 



The Talika Brightening Serum is...
Prodigious, rich in PBE and brightening active ingredients, it targets melanocytes specifically to reduce the intensity of dark spots and brightens the complexion within four weeks.
After 14 days, +79,6% non-pigmented cells*.

Benefits:
Transforms light into cellular energy (Photo-Beauty Enzyme®)
Helps regenerate and protect the skin’s DNA (Photo-Beauty Enzyme®)
Lightens the complexion, anti-dark spot action (niacinamide, zinc)
Moisturizes (vegetal glycerin)

Reduce my dark spots in 14 days?! That's worth a try. I wasn't so concerned with dark spots before. But with a few years of driving around in this hot weather without my usual super-black tint, I guess sunscreen is not enough and I've developed spots on my cheeks!

I think this is a great addition to Talika's line-up of products. I've known Talika as an expert for eye care, lash care and revolutionary skincare devices such as the LIGHT DUO and the CREAM BOOSTER. And now that Talika has launched a skincare line, the devices will have the right Talika products to complement and provide a complete regimen for our skincare requirements, whether it's for anti-aging or brightening or both. 

And look, my Lancome Genifique Eye Cream fits right in with the Talika collection...



Excited to try and test this Talika Photo-Beauty Therapy collection soon!

For more details, visit Talika counters in Parkson Pavilion, KLCC, 1U, Gurney Plaza, Isetan KLCC, 1U, and Metrojaya Mid Valley. Also available in Sephora boutiques and selected Sasa outlets. 

Retail price guide:
The Light Essence, RM349/ 140ml
Anti-Aging Cream, RM299/ 50ml
Brightening Serum, RM229/ 30ml






Friday, 12 July 2013

CITIBANK and WINE TALK treat Citigold clients to wine appreciation

An evening with David Stephan, Wine Talk’s exclusive sommelier



Citibank and Wine Talk teamed up to host a wine appreciation workshop exclusively for Citigold clients at La Bodega Lounge in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur on June 21, 2013.

The workshop was aimed at providing Citigold customers with a hands-on wine tasting experience and an understanding of wine labels under the guidance of Wine Talk’s exclusive wine expert or sommelier, David Stephan.


Wine beginners and enthusiasts were entertained to an evening of amazing wine facts, wine sampling, delicious canapés and interaction with the sommelier.



Kenneth Lim, Branch Head for Sales & Distribution of Citibank Damansara said, “Citibank–Citigold and Wine Talk created this workshop for customers, who are interested in wines but rarely have the opportunity to experience wine tasting with a sommelier, who can offer them guidance on wine selection and wine tasting."

David Stephan said Wine Talk, an online wine ordering and delivery service, offered customers the option to easily choose from over 400 different labels.  For wine enthusiasts who wanted to explore new wines, Wine Talk’s Wine Club also provides home delivery service for a selection of great wines on selected months.

“Wine Talk guarantees selection and prices for all customers. For instance, customers will receive a new bottle of wine if they did not enjoy the wine they bought, provided the product is returned within 30 days of purchase. Customers will also receive a refund if the wine they ordered via Wine Talk was more expensive than that sold in major super and hypermarkets in Peninsular Malaysia. They must, however, return the product within 14 days of purchase,” Stephan added.

Amongst the wines sampled by Citigold customers were Wine Talk’s Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, Chardonnay from Australia, Pinot Gris from France, Pinot Noir from Argentina, Bordeaux from France and a Portuguese red wine.
   
 David Stephan giving CitiGold customers guided tasting for Sauvignon Blanc


 CitiGold customers were taken into guided wine tasting of 6 different wines


L-R
Keith Tham, David Stephan, Kenneth Lim, Mrs TS Tan, Mr TS Tan, Raymond Tan, Josephine Joseph, Lily Khoo
  
  Danny Siew , Lee Soon Fatt, Ong Suat Keng, Kenneth Lim


Mrs. Tan & MR. Tan Kim seong, Mr Hong and Ms. Hong, Kenneth Lim


Rostan Philippe Louis, Chan Yoke Sin , Wong Sow Peng 

  L-R
Ho Chi Kong, Caroline Foo, David Stephan  & Abigail Huang 


For more details regarding wine workshops or wine delivery, you can check Wine Talk's website