Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Red Velvet from scratch!

Finally, a non-beauty related post! Aside from makeup, I also enjoy cooking and baking very much. One of my favourite cakes to eat is the Red Velvet- a moist buttermilk cake with a hint of cocoa and a cream cheese frosting. YUMS!

Having tried many Red Velvets from the usual raved-about spots in KL, I still have yet to find one which I like. My issues with the cakes: too dry, not enough cream cheese, too much cocoa powder, bland.. and the list goes on.

I'm not very picky with my cakes (most of the time a Secret Recipe cheesecake satisfies my cravings) but even I found it rather disappointing that there was not ONE which I wanted a second piece of. None of them tasted like the ones I've had in Melbourne! Little Cupcakes, how I miss you so!! And it's not just the taste, it's also the texture which didn't cut it for me. That said, if anyone in KL or PJ knows of a good Red Velvet bakery, please do share.

So I took matters in my own hand.. imported ingredients are aplenty at B.I.G so I always shop there whenever I want to cook/bake. 

Cake batter
Baked cake, set overnight and filled middle with cream cheese
Attempted to decorate it, looks small but its a 9" cake
Time to eat! Speckled bits are from the vanilla pod I used.
Wonky insides
The Red Velvet I made was a success, I loved it and so did everyone in the family. Even my sister who's a Red Velvet cake aficionado. 

It's relatively easy to make this, I am actually craving for a slice as I look at the pictures. I tweaked the recipes found online and used most of the things I had on hand. The cake was moist but not oily or chewy, the frosting was delicious- vanilla pods all the way; its more expensive compared to vanilla essence but so worth it. And the ratio of cake to frosting was perfect, I was worried initially there might be too much frosting but it worked out.

It's sorta obnoxious to say that I enjoy my own cooking/baking.. but I really do. However, I am still up to trying out Red Velvets sold in restaurants; having to wait a day before I can dig in is a bit tormenting. I like to have my cake and eat it (pronto!). So, any suggestions?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Empties: September 2012

I've been writing way too much about beauty products, but bear with me as I try to clear backdated posts!

In the past week I actually made an inventory of what I had, both opened and unopened to know EXACTLY what the current situation was. You might be interested to know that I have approximately 35 opened skincare products and another 35+  brand new. This does not include makeup, bases, and body care.

The only things I am allowed to even consider buying are lipbalm and neck cream. In like, 3 months. I've finished up quite a few products this month, so I am quite happy and am looking forward to emptying even more before the month ends.

Here's what I finished up in September:
First up, solely French beauty products (total coincidence, I promise..)!

1. CAUDALIE Grape Water Mist
A soothing, moisturising face mist for sensitive skin. This was a skin-saviour for me! It really calmed my irritated, red skin down and the nozzle also dispenses the perfect mist, neither too light nor too heavy. I used it after cleansing, after moisturising, any time my face felt the slightest bit of irritation. I found it to be better than the Beauty Elixir which I emptied rather quickly. Repurchase? Most definitely! However, most SaSa outlets I have been to are sold out and no one seems to know when they would be coming back in. That aside, I have stocked up on quite a few mists so hopefully by the time I am done, they'd reappear on shelves.

2. L'OCCITANE Rose Hydrating Face Mist
This was gifted by my sister, I've had it for a while but only recently finished it up (my face was in constant need of misting). The scent is lovely- if sweet roses are your thing, thought it dissipates after a while. Performance wise, I think it hydrated my skin more than the Caudalie above but it didn't really calm or reduce the redness. Repurchase? No, I do like rose scented mists but am quite particular- the Sukin one is my current favourite.

3. CHANEL Eau Douceur Cleansing Water, Balance + Anti-Pollution [Sample]
A cleansing water for the face and eyes which rids the skin of pollutants, impurities and light makeup. I used this sample on my flights to remove concealer and light eyeliner. It worked very well, did not irritate nor dry my skin out and my face was left smooth. It might not work as well on a full face of makeup though. I found it similar to Darphin's Azahar Cleansing Water. Repurchase? I do like it, but currently there is no need for this in my regime, plus the full-size would be too big to bring on travels. As much as I like this, I have to say No.

4. CAROLE FRANCK Purifying Aromatique Oil
This brand is not found in departmental stores (though they did have a *brief* stint in Isetan years ago), my mother got me this from her usual facial salon but I never got round to finishing it. I remember using it on spots but not loving it completely because I felt it made my skin greasy. However! Once I found the right way to use facial oils- my skin loved it (warm in palms and "press" into skin). I am a big fan of essential oils as I find the scent very therapeutic. Not to mention my skin condition DID improve. Repurchase? No, because I've found a new favourite face oil which gave me even better results- CLARINS Lotus Facial Oil!!

5. CLARINS Chamomile Toning Lotion
I used to think CLARINS was a "old" and "mild" brand which didn't work as well as others such as Clinique, Biotherm, Estee.. but in the past few months I have come to really like it. I mentioned moving into more "natural" skincare and this brand fits the bill. Those non-plant based skincare I was using was actually damaging my skin in the long run and while it showed almost immediate effects, was really harsh on my skin. This toner is great as it is alcohol-free and my face feels soothed using it. Repurchase? Yes, after I finish the others I have on hand.

6. L'OREAL Everstrong Reconstruct Shampoo
On my search for a affordable yet effective "natural" shampoo, I stumbled upon this. Sulfate-free and made with rosemary and juniper.. I really like it! It cleans my hair well, doesn't make it limp/flat/oily and the scent is nice too. My current favourite shampoo!  Repurchase? Already did.

7. BATISTE Dry Shampoo in Diva [Travel Size]
My absolute favourite dry shampoo, I really hope that it would be available in KL. I've raved about this here and this is the 6th can I've gone through in a year. Repurchase? If only they were available here!

8. VASELINE Healthy White Body Lotion  
Am trying to lighten my darker arms and legs, not sure if it works well but the scent is nice and it absorbs quickly. Repurchase? No, results weren't obvious (if any).

(thrown out)

9. ETUDE HOUSE Nail Polish Base 
The BESTTTT nail base I have used (sorry CHANEL!), it dries really quickly and doesn't bubble either. It's really cheap and the formula is amazing, even my sister who previously used Sally Hansen, OPI, and Seche Vite thinks it's the best of the lot. Repurchase? 2 bottles sitting in my stash. Would repurchase even if it was expensive!

10. MARC JACOBS Lip Gloss, 11. JAP BRAND Peach Lipbalm  
A sheer gloss which came with the Marc Jacobs perfume I bought and a peach shaped Japanese brand lipbalm, both have been sitting for way too long in the lippie box- time to get rid of it. Repurchase? No.

12. SHEERCOVER Nourishing Moisturizer with SPF15 [Trial size]  
Received this in my Sheercover mineral foundation purchase years back, only recently got round to using it. It is supposed to be oil-free but I found it not easily absorbed and it always left my skin feeling tacky. It also has a heavy sunscreen scent. Repurchase? No, made my oil-prone skin oilier.

13. ETTUSAIS Patta Patta Compact Powder 
A limited edition touch up compact. The powder is quite finely milled and I used it mainly to set my BB cream. It's a pity its not part of the regular line. Repurchase? No, because I have other compacts to finish up and I prefer to set with loose powder.

Total products emptied: 8
Total thrown out: 5
Total: 12
Total Feb - September: 79

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy 22nd, Kittypops!

Melbourne: September 2012
Not the best picture of us, but you are the best sister anyone could ask for.