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Friday, June 14, 2013

What I'm Watching: Game of Thrones

I've always heard about the awesomeness of 'Game of Thrones'. Since I'm a complete TV junkie, I decided to do a little research. It's based on the novels by George R. R. Martin and considering my lack of interest in anything regarding fantasy, it just seemed like some idiotic HBO show about soldiers with cool accents from the medieval era playing with swords and dragons. My interest wasn't piqued.

Then summer rolled around. School ended. I was bored and every summer I always start a new show. And I couldn't ignore the praises for this show any longer so I decided to make the best decision of my life. I watched the first episode.

Now, this is HBO and I do watch True Blood and am quite familiar with the graphic, animalistic sex scenes present in almost every episode. The same goes with GoT. So children, avert your eyes and do not watch this show! 

Other than the occasional explicit sex scenes and constant nudity, Game of Thrones epitomizes the word 'epic'. It took me a few episodes to truly get hooked onto this show. And once I did, I was addicted. In fact, I finished all three seasons within a week and a half. 

The beginning of the pilot focuses on the Stark family, a noble and powerful family in the North of Westeros, the continent of which the story is set and consists of seven kingdoms. The plot soon splits into multiple storylines (though I still feel as if the Starks are the 'main focus') and each episode centers around the selfish, malevolent Lannisters, who is the family of Queen Cersei; the Targaryens, who are fighting to seize back the throne from King Baratheon, who overthrew their father, the previous king; and the endeavors of the other great houses across the seven kingdoms. Soon after an unforeseeable event, chaos breaks loose and the war known as 'War of the Five Kings' erupts to seize the 'Iron Throne'. Meanwhile, tension at "The Wall", the northern border of the Seven Kingdoms and serves as protection against outsiders known as 'wildlings', intensifies when a seemingly unstoppable species resurrects from extinction. You can find a better summary here.

The amount of ain't-afraid-to-go-there twists, funny quips, and lovable/hateable characters distinguishes this show from others. Martin's creative brilliance is exemplified in each episode. A once hated character can easily turn into a loved character and vice versa. Every episode is 50-60 minutes of greatness. My opinion of this show changed from some nerdy, stupid storyline that only men who play videogames and drink beer all day care to watch to an addictive, mind-blowing, and just plain awesome show.

This isn't one of those shows where you're sort of nonchalant when the episodes come out and you aren't very captivated and could care less about the fate of the characters. No. This show will seriously become addictive, especially if you were like me and had three seasons to speed through. The fact that each season only has 10 episodes and GoT fans must wait one year until the next season doesn't help either. Again since it's HBO, I will warn that some brutality scenes can get quite graphic as well but I wouldn't say it's anything near The Walking Dead. 

 It's nearly impossible to try to articulate how extraordinary this show is in one blog post but all I can say is that if you're into Lost, The Walking Dead, or intense shows like that and can put your mature thinking cap on, you'll definitely love Game of Thrones. Although you may still not be convinced to watch the show, I still recommend at least sticking it out til' the end of season one and then tell me how you like it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

NOTD: Essie Mint Candy Apple

Summer's here so it's time for me to dig up all my bright nail polishes. A color I've been obsessed with lately is mint. I recently purchased Essie's Mint Candy Apple since I remembered hearing so much about it last summer. 

I adore this color and it's a nice mint blue, very reminiscent of the Tiffany & Co. Blue. It's very close to turquoise. I find this color interesting since it looks so different in different lighting. 

Two coats of 'Mint Candy Apple'

I'm always a little apprehensive with Essie since their formulas are always a hassle to work with, at least to me. This polish was a teensy bit runny, like all Essie polishes but I still recommend this color if you're into mint.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Afternoon Tea: Scarlet Tea Room in Pasadena

I never went to a tea room before and I received a voucher to the Scarlet Tea room in Old Town Pasadena for my birthday. So my mom, sister, and I decided to try it. I documented some pictures on my sister's iPod so the photo qualities are mediocre.

The restaurant was very classy inside and I believe it is a Russian themed tea house since there were pictures of Russian mosques on the walls. The service was great and so was the food. I was a little worried the portions would be too small, not leaving me very full but I was more than full by the end. We went into a little side room, where some foreign 1950's-ish themed music was playing over the speakers. There was also a white grand piano in the main entry room but there was no pianist at the time.

Cute tea glass case with a mini buddha
Pretty flower chandelier
Dainty sugar cube container
Our voucher allowed us a 3-tea ceremony meal (at least I believe that's what it was called...3-course I honestly don't remember), for two people. You are able to choose 4 finger sandwiches and one pot of tea with and a scone (each so 8 sandwiches and 2 scones but the tea is shared). We ended up choosing the Fiji tea, a fruity one, which was quite nice but I'm a little picky with teas so I wished we would've stuck with a traditional jasmine or green.
Our tray
Bottom Left Clockwise: Walnut Pesto Chicken, Apple and Cream Cheese(?..some type of cheese), Sundried Tomatoes Puree with Mozzarella, Fig and Goat Cheese (my favorite!)

Orange Cranberry and Lavender White Chocolate Scones (this one tasted like a regular scone to me)
Strawberry preserve, lemon curd, and Scarlet cream (just regular homemade cream) for the scones
Ignore my chipped nail haha
Our meal also came with strawberry romanoff, which was very refreshing after the filling scones.
Since the 3-course tea ceremony is only meant for 2 people, my mom ordered the Lobster Cobb Sandwich (bacon, lobster cobb, avocado, tomato and a spring salad). I had a bite, it was delish!

They even gave us an advertising sticker. And yes, it's on my thigh.
This restaurant did automatically take 18% tips from the original price (which was $72 but luckily with the voucher it turned out to only be $32..whew) since we had a voucher. I really enjoyed the ambiance, service, and food the restaurant had to offer. Now I want to try many more tea rooms! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Dior Shimmerstar: Amber Diamond First Impression

So I recently made a big splurge at Sephora and bought the a very hyped-up product, the Diorskin Shimmerstar in Amber Diamond.

The packaging was super nice (well, duh, it's Christian Dior.) In the box, it came in a cute velvet pouch and inside the actual product.
The product retails for around 45$ or so, which is ridiculously expensive but I needed a highlighter and I never actually bought a Dior product due to the big price tag but I wanted to indulge a little since the reviews were so amazing.
The product comes with several shimmery colors (the picture just doesn't do it justice). As you can see, it goes from a nice shimmery white and darkens while fading to a nice tan brown. 
 I want to apologize for the poor photos of the swatches. I was hesitant to post them since you can't even see them due to my crappy camera and pale skin. For some reason, it was incredibly difficult to get the right lighting and my camera isn't some expensive professional one. I can't even explain to you how how much these photos don't do the product justice. It really is a nice tan shimmer.
Again, I'm so sorry for the bad photo.  The photos don't do the product justice. It looks beautiful in real life.
This product wears nicely on the face by giving it a nice shimmer. I have really dry skin so it's nice to make my complexion glow a little more. I'm not sure how well it would work on oilier skin tones though. I personally don't think it's overly obvious or anything if that helps.

The versatility of the colors is what makes this product great. You can use the lightest shade as a highlight on the inner corner of the eyes or underneath the brow bone, each color as an eyeshadow, maybe even a shimmery bronzer  and of course, a highlighter (each one separately or mix em' all together). 

The steep price tag was the biggest drawback of this product and I haven't had it long enough to say whether it's worth it but I know I'm going to like this a lot and many reviewers seem to say the product lasts long. 

If you are willing to splurge for a good-quality highlighter, I'd do some thorough research but I can say that most (I myself included) reviewers will say the product is absolutely worth it. (I'll update this post if it's not)