All posts by Shirley

5 Things to Try This Month – July 2017

July is the beginning of the second half of the year. It is also the month for the 4th of July holiday; it’s time for some fun with friends and family.

Below are my top five things to try for this month.


Celebrate the 4th of July

The 4th of July is one of the holidays I love to celebrate with family and friends. To enjoy the special holiday, what can be more fun than donuts with America flag and my favorite Long Shadows wines from the wineries in Walla Walla, Washington?


Classic Sandal for Summer Wedding

I am going to a friend’s wedding in Lake Louise, Canada, this Summer. I am still looking for a dress for the wedding reception, but I just found a simple and classic silver sandal to go with any color and style of silhouette. It’s Casanova Sandal 105 by Aquazzura.


Floral Lace for Brunch

This is a perfect month for outdoor brunch with friends. A floral mini dress with a layer of lace would be perfect for the outing. Try Self-Portrait’s Floral Vine Cape Mini Dress.
Self-Portrait Floral Vine Cape Mini Dress


Read a Book

A re-make movie, “Murder on the Orient Express”, will be released in November, 2017. This is based on a fiction story by the famous author Agatha Christie. It’s about a millionaire being murdered on a stopped train strained by a snowdrift. The movie cast includes some of my favorite actors and actresses, such as Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer. I can’t wait to read the book before the movie is released.
Murder On The Orient Express Book


Visit Special Exhibition

Artist Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition is now available in Seattle Art Museum this Summer. I plan to visit the exhibition, “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors”, in July.


Three Sisley Paris Beauty Products You Need

I change some of my core skin care products from time to time, based on the season and on my mood. But there are three beauty products from the Sisley Paris brand that are not part of my regular core skin care regimen, but yet, I like to keep them in stock and use them occasionally to boost my skin hydration level! (See below for more detail.)


Eye Contour Mask

This Eye Contour Mask is designed to reduce undereye puffiness and add hydrating around the eye. The instructions say to put a thick layer of the eye mask on the eye contour and eyelids, wait for 10 minutes, then wipe away excess without rinsing. But I occasionally use it as an eye cream for hydration purposes at night. When I use it, I put a thin layer (instead of a thick layer) of the eye contour mask around my eyes, as well as the area around my lips. This product is one of my must-haves when I travel to places with drier weather, such as Southern California and Las Vegas.


Botanical Eye & Lip Contour Balm

This Botanical Eye & Lip Contour Balm is designed to smooth and moisturize the eyes contour and lips. This eye and lip balm is a gel. I don’t use the product everyday, but if I use it, I usually put it on right after I apply my SK-II Essence on my eyes and lips.


Hydra-Flash Formula Intensive

This Hydra-Flash Formula Intensive mask is rich in natural plant extracts and essential oils. It helps to hydrate the skin. You are supposed to put a thick layer of this mask on your face and neck as frequently as 2 to 3 times a week. However, I use it as facial moisturizer when I get too lazy to put serum on.


I’ve used the above three Sisley Paris skin care products for years and I am still loving them! Next time when you are looking for additional skin care products to bring on your trip, you may also consider giving them a try!

5 Things to Try This Month – June 2017

June is the beginning of Summer, which is the perfect time for many kinds of outdoor activities (despite the heat and humidity). The activities I am referring to can be anything from hiking to wedding receptions.  I am not a big fan of physical exercise, so hiking is out of question for me. The best I could do in terms of exercise is walking or an indoor exercise class.

Below are some of this things I’d like to try for June, which includes some commitments to keeping myself healthy. 


Indulgent on National Doughnut Day

June 2nd is the National Doughnut Day! My family loves to eat sweets; we used to buy two dozen  doughnuts and finish them in three days (and we were lucky enough to maintain our weights)! We haven’t done this for a while, because this was very unhealthy. But for the National Doughnut Day, I plan to buy a dozen of assorted doughnuts to indulge my sweet tooth.


Get Into Shape for Summer

For years, my family-care physician has been telling me to get into a weekly exercise routine for personal wellness. I’ve been putting it off until now. My goal for this Summer is to try the Pure Barre (small movements to build toned body muscles) classes whenever I can. After my feast on the National Doughnut Day, I think I would really need to work it off!

x-pure-barre


Concert for Reminiscing  the Old Times

This month, the New Kids On The Block, Paula Abdul, and Boyz II Men will be performing in the Key Arena, in Seattle, Washington. My friend is a big fan of the New Kids On the Block group, so she asked me to go with her to watch the concert. It has been a while since I watched any concert. I am looking forward to the performance.
June2017Concert


Picking a New Pair of Shades for This Summer

Sunglasses is a wardrobe essential in the warm seasons. Picking up a perfect one that fits to my face and my style is not an easy thing. For this month, it will be my mission to find a new pair of shades to add to my Summer wardrobe. Chloe – Carlina Round Sunglasses.

Chloe Carlina Round Sunglasses


New Luggage for Domestic Traveling

When I travel domestically within the U.S. I prefer to use the medium size of luggage (about 26 inches in length). Since I fly frequently throughout the year, it takes a toll on my current go-to medium luggage. 

It’s time for me to get a new go-to luggage, and I just ordered the Rimowa Salsa Deluxe Multiwheel in Red. I’ve heard that Rimowa luggages are very durable and I love the red color. I think it will be much easier to spot the luggage on the baggage carousal at the airport. I can’t wait to start to use mine!

Rimowa Salsa Deluxe Multiwheel Luggage


The Picasso Restaurant at the Bellagio Hotel In Las Vegas

The first fine dinning experience I had in Las Vegas was at the Picasso restaurant (French cuisine) in the Bellagio hotel, back in year 2005. I was there celebrating our best friend’s engagement. My memory of the restaurant was upscale decoration, fancy food, and great  wine!

It has been a long time since my last visit to the Picasso restaurant, because there were too many great restaurant options on the Vegas Strip, and the Picasso restaurant was closed sometime during last year for renovation. But I finally had the chance to eat there during  my recent trip to Las Vegas!

As I walked into the Picasso restaurant by the award-winning chief, Julian Serrano, I recognized the newly renovated interior. It looked different than what I remembered, but the restaurant was still unique and colorful. And the Picasso paintings were all over the walls just as they used to be.


I’ve dined at most restaurants in the Bellagio property many times, such as the Prime Steakhouse, Le Cirque,  and Todd English’s Olives. I’ve also sat at the tables right by the window, where I could enjoy the closer view of the Fountain of Bellagio. But for this time at Picasso, we preferred to sit at the table a slightly away from the window, so I could sat back and get a bigger view of the fountain via the window frames throughout the night.

My friend and I ordered the prix fixe menu ($118 per person). We got to choose from the menu for each part of the three-course meal and a dessert in the end.

I ordered Poached Oysters, Roasted Langoustine, Roasted Milk-Fed Veal Chop. And my friend ordered Crème of Butternut Squash, Sautéed Filet of Scottish Salmon, and Sautéed Filet of Black Bass. (The pictures are presented below in the order of the list.)

Poached Oysters

Roasted Langoustine


Roasted Milk-fed Veal Chop

Crème of Butternut Squash

Sautéed Filet of Scottish Salmon


Sautéed Filet of Black Bass

My friend and I were craving for different food on the night we went to Picasso (as you could tell from the items we ordered). But all of our dishes were delicious.

I love to sample a variety of foods. I was very satisfied with my choices. The Poached Oysters (garnished with Osetra Cariar) were slightly warmer than the regular chilled oysters, but they were delicious.

The Roasted Langoustine was prepared exactly to my liking. The other restaurant that makes a great langoustine is Joel Robuchon in MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. And the Roasted Milk-Fed Veal Chop is the perfect main course. It was tender and flavorful.

I tried a bit of my friend’s dishes; they were also very tasty.

I’d say no fancy meal is completed without a nice drink. I ordered a Hemingway Daiquiri cocktail drink. It is made of Bacardi Light, Luxardo Maraschino Cherries, Fresh Grapefruit Juice, and Fresh Lime Juice. The drink tasted different than other Hemingway Daiquiris I’ve had in the past, but it was definitely very good.

Hemingway Daiquiri

After we finished our delicious three-course meal, we were pretty stuffed. When it came to ordering the desserts in the end, I got to make the choices for both of us, because my friend wasn’t as into desserts and I was.

For desserts, we ordered Chocolate Bread Pudding and Pineapple Tart. My friend only had a few bites of each dessert, and I basically ate all of the them. (When it comes to desserts, I just couldn’t resist the temptation of the delicious sweets sitting right in front of me! )

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Pineapple Tart

Our overall experience of the Picasso restaurant in the Bellagio hotel was great! The services was outstanding, food was unique, and the ambience was perfect.

I’d say for a fancy restaurant like the Picasso in the Bellagio Hotel, the price we paid for our meal was well spent.

 

 

5 Things to Try This Month – May 2017

May is the perfect time to embrace the Spring season! Among many things I planned to do in May, are: a family trip to Universal Studios Hollywood with my nieces, improve  my makeup techniques, and indulge myself for endless crepe desserts.

Listed below are my five things to try list for May. Hope it will inspire you to enjoy the season of Spring.


Improve My Makeup Techniques

During the first weekend of May, Nordstrom in Bellevue, Washington is hosting an event to promote the beauty brand, Charlotte Tilbury. It is created by the famous celebrity makeup artist, Charlotte Tilbury. Before the promoting event weekend, one of the celebrity makeup artist, Kate, from Charlotte Tilbury, was giving a master makeup class on May 4th. I attended the session and had a great time learning the makeup brand’s new products.


Indulge in Layers of Crepes

I love to eat desserts and my recent sweet obsession is the Mille Crêpes cake from Lady M Confections bakery. Each Mille Crêpes cake is made of more than twenty thin layers of crepes and filled with light pastry cream between each layer. My favorite flavor from Lady M is the Green Tea Mille Crêpes cake. To satisfy my sweet tooth, I ordered the Mille Crêpes in Green Tea and Strawberries (seasonal)  to share with my family!


Break In the Summer Sandals

After the record rain in the Seattle area this winter, we finally got some long-awaited sunshine, This is the perfect time to break in your summer shoes. Try something with 3-D flowers, like Charlotte Olympia – Tara Embellished Metallic Leather Sandals.

Charlotte Olympia Tara Embellished Metallic Leather Sandals


Family Trip to the Universal Studios Hollywood

I don’t usually go to theme parks, but when I do, it’s always with my nieces. In the beginning of May, we went to the Universal Studios in Hollywood, CA. Our first stop at the theme park was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. To avoid the long line, we arrived to the theme park right at 8:00 am when it was first open. We had the luxury of riding the rides (twice) before the crowds came in. I also took the photo right in front of the Hogwarts Express train with a cast member.


Expand My Reading Topics

I learned some basic Blackjack strategies in the past, but it was all based on the memorization of the Blackjack strategy cards. Every now and then I would play a few hands of Blackjack game in Vegas for fun (but I would only play it when I am with my experienced friends).  This month, I plan to go to Vegas with some family friends and I though it might be interesting to read up on the famous “Beat the Dealer: A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty-One” book, by Edward O. Thorp. I am only half way through reading the book, but I am already fascinated with the explanations on the game strategies. I don’t plan to play a lot of Blackjack while I am in Vegas, but it would be great to understand what I am doing when I play!

Beat The Dealer: A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty-One


Spring 2017 Fashion Trends

No Spring wardrobe is complete without the traditional pastel hues and brightly colored accessories. But for the Spring 2017, there are some other unique fashion trends that stand out.

Below are some of my suggestions for you to consider when you update your Spring collection this season.


Clashes of Patterns for Boldness

For Spring 2017, we’ve seen some unexpected pattern combinations in outfits, such as plaid with polka dots, and flowers with animals. They key to success in such a trend is to keep your accessories to solid colors to complement your patterns. (As seen on Altuzarra’s Spring 2017 Runway.)

Of course, if you don’t think you are bold enough to wear two different patterns on yourself, try the simple mix-and-match of the solid color with one of patterns.


See-through Silhouette for Sophistication

For this Spring, be ready to show some skin via sheer silhouette! On the runway (i.e. Dior and Valentino), we’ve seen many models in the fancy see-through silhouette. These designs might not be street-friendly without a camisole underneath, but it represents a unique trend for this fashion season.

If you’d like to try the see-through silhouette that gives some built-in coverage, try something like Self-Portrait Dresses.

Self-Portrait Hall Lace Mini Dress
Self-portrait Hall Lace Mini Dress


One-shoulder Silhouette with Ruffles 

Last Spring and Summer we saw a lot of off-shoulder silhouette. For this year, we see a lot of one-shoulder tops and dresses. If you want to invest in a one-shoulder piece, try it with ruffles!

Isabel Marant Lavern Printed Cotton And Linen Dress
Isabel Marant Lavern Printed and Linen Dress


Stripes for Statement-making

Stripes are one of my all-time favorites when it comes to Spring wardrobe. Many fashion houses are showcasing stripes in multi-color and bold patterns. Stripe patterns are also spotted on shoes.

In my opinion, I’d prefer to invest in silhouettes with stripes than shoes with strips, because the clothing pieces will more likely to be in trend for future Spring and Summer seasons!

RedValentino Striped Knitted Sweater

RedValentino Striped Knitted Sweater


Blossom Flowers to Celebrate the Season

When it comes to wearing floral design for outfits, we usually mix them with some solid staples (i.e. floral dress with solid-color stilettos) and avoid wearing blossom flowers from head to toe. However, for this season, we’ve seen some fashion houses (i.e. Balenciaga and Chloe) demonstrate the essence of the warm season.

If you are going for a head-to-toe floral style, consider trying the floral printed handbags and boots to complete your outfits.

Fendi Kan Small Floral-printed Leather Shoulder Bag

Fendi Kan Small Floral-printed Leather Shoulder Bag


Military Inspired Attires for a Twist

Military style wool coats were popular in Fall 2016. For this Spring, consider switching to a thinner military cotton jackets with some fun variations. For example, try Veronica Beard’s Appliquéd cotton jacket. The black lace on the shoulders and the drawstring at the waist will give your would-be casual look a sophisticated twist!

Veronica Beard Appliquéd Cotton Jacket


5 Things to Try This Month – April 2017

When I think about April, an image of warm and sunny weather immediately comes to my mind. Although I live in Seattle area, where there’s not enough sun for the beginning of Spring, it won’t affect me from participating the things that are happening this month.

Below are my suggestions for what I’d like to try for April.


Made-To-Order Accessories for the New Season

One must-do for each season is to update wardrobe accessories. It’s always fun to have unique shoes and handbags, custom made for you. Try Jimmy Choo’s Make-to-Order shoes and clutches. You get to pick the shoe and clutch design in the color and material you want.


Designer Silhouette for an Affordable Price

One of the fashion news items that appeared repeatedly in the past few weeks is the collaboration of Victoria Beckham and Target on a new Spring collection – Victoria Beckham for Target. It will be available for purchase on April 9. I can’t wait to try out some of the dresses in the collection!


New Lip Balm for Everyday Happiness

In my February’s Valentine’s blog post I mentioned Yves Saint Laurent’s new Volupte Tint-in-balm lipstick. It’s a hybrid lipstick that’s made of lip moisturizing ingredients. It provides sheer glowing colors on the lips. The fun part about the lipstick is its lip-shaped heart in the center. I ordered some from Yvest Saint Laurent’s site with free complimentary engraving. I can’t wait to receive them next week!


Stylish Jacket for Early Spring

Although we are already in Spring, I still feel chilly in the early morning in Seattle. If you live in areas that has a similar climate  as me, you can stay warm with a nice wool-blend jacket. Try something like the Coach’s Wool-blend and Leather jacket.

Coach Wool-blend and Leather Jacket


A Book of Your Choice for Self Improvement

I love to read books, especially when they’re related to biography and business. Recently, while I was going through my bookshelf, I found a book I had since Year 2013. I read a couple of chapters back then, but never finished the entire book. The book is “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. It’s a book about women’s behavior in society and work. And how we can overcome the challenges we are facing in our careers and the work environments. My goal for this month is to finish reading this book!

Lean In Book


Harvest by Roy Ellamar Restaurant at Bellagio Las Vegas

Last year July, I ate at the Harvest by Roy Ellamar restaurant in the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. The Harvest by Roy Ellamar restaurant was the new additional to the Bellagio property. It replaced the Sensi restaurant (Italian, Asian, American and Seafood fusion), at the location by the Bellagio Spa Tower.

It has been too long since I dined at the Sensi restaurant (in Year 2009), so my memory of the dinning experience at the restaurant is limited to good service and some pictures of my meal. It was good, but wasn’t good enough for me to have the urge to go back there again.

During my first visit to the new Harvest by Roy Ellamar restaurants in July 2016, my friend and I shared a bone-in ribeye steak and pork chop for the main entre, crushed potatoes, creamed spinach, and sautéed spinach for side dishes.

(Picture of the Bone-in Ribeye steak)

(Picture of the Pork Chop)

(Picture of the Sides: Crushed Potatoes, Creamed Spinach, and Sautéed Spinach)

The sautéed spinach wasn’t on the menu. But my friend and I were craving for it, so we asked our waiter to put in a special request for it.

And as always, our craving was much bigger than the amount we could actually eat! I walked into the Harvest by Roy Ellamar restaurant with an open mind for trying the new restaurant and ended up with a fully satisfied tummy. The food and the service at the Harvest by Roy Ellamar were great! Especially the bone-in ribeye steak we had.

During the past holiday season, I came across the picture of the ribeye steak I ate at the Harvest by Roy Ellamar restaurant, and it made me crave for the same ribeye steak I had.

A few months later, I finally got the chance to go back to the Harvest by Roy Ellamar restaurant. My friend and I shared the bone-in ribeye I’d been longing for and the Harvest rotisserie chicken. We limited our sides to just crushed potatoes and brussels sprouts. (We learned our lesson from last time; three sides was too much!)

(Picture of the Harvest Rotisserie Chicken)


(Picture of the Brussels Sprouts)


My second dinning experience at Harvest by Roy Ellamar was as great as the first one! The bone-in ribeye steak tasted even better than I remembered (given that it was very good on my first visit already). The Rotisserie Chicken was surprisingly flavorful and tender.  Both the crushed potatoes and the brussels sprouts complemented the ribeye steak and the rotisserie chicken perfectly.

I have to say the two dinning experience at Harvest by Roy Ellamar were equally great! I will definitely include this restaurant in my Top Ten Restaurants in Las Vegas Strip list!

5 Things to Try This Month – March 2017

March is the transition month from Winter to Spring. If you haven’t thought about updating your wardrobe with some light hue silhouette and accessories, it’s time to start!

Below are some of my preliminary suggestions for the month of March. I hope they will give you some inspirations for your Spring wardrobe makeover project !


Green Color Nail Design for St. Patrick’s Day

If you like green, March is a great time to get green nails for the St. Patrick’s Day. For my March gel nail design, I have some green stones on my greenish blue sparkling nails. Not only is it a fun alternative to my usual red nail color, it also prevents me from getting pinched if I forgot to wear green on the St. Patrick’s Day!


 

Pamper Yourself with New Lip Beauty Product

I am a big fan of lip glosses. In March, Dior released its new lipstick beauty product, Dior Addict Lacquer Stick. This has a glossy formula; it’s almost like a lip gloss on a lipstick. I ordered it in a few shades and I can’t wait to try them on when I receive them!

Dior Addict Lacquer Stick


Fun Mini Shoulder Bag

As we are transitioning out of the Winter, it’s always a good idea to add a new handbag in a light color for the Spring season. Try something like the Valentino Garavani Lock Mini crystal-embellished shoulder bag! This is a perfect addition to your outfits on a sunny day as well as for a night out-and-about.

Valentino Garavani Lock Mini Crystal-embellished Shoulder Bag


Sweatshirt for March Madness

Who says March Madness is for basketball fans only? This time of year, some of my friends would be picking their brackets and anticipating the college basketball games. Although I am not a sport fan, I sometimes join my friends for drinks in the bar and watching some of the games. I won’t be wearing any school logo shirts, but I will be wearing my Kenzo cotton sweatshirts!

Kenzo Cotton Sweatshirt


Swap Out Your Wool Accessories with a Silk Scarf for Spring

The first day of Spring is in March. It’s time to switch out your wool scarf with a silk one. I recommend something with flowers in the design to spice up your attire. Try Gucci’s silk scarf below.

Gucci Silk Scarf


Spain Trip – Barcelona Day Two

My first day in Barcelona, Spain, went very well. The next day (Day Two) I woke up at the break of dawn and enjoyed the view of the Barcelona coast.

From our hotel room window, I saw the first shred of sunlight hitting the buildings by the coast, and the light from the lamps reflecting in the water.  The natural and artificial light combination created a peaceful and beautiful view. To me, this is a perfect view I wouldn’t mind to wake up to everyday!


(Picture of the view from our hotel room.)

Since we were on vacation, my friend and I decided to take it easy by taking our time to get ready. Instead of eating in the restaurant on the W Hotel Barcelona property, we wanted to adventure out of the hotel to look for a breakfast place.

After about a 10-minute walk from our W Barcelona property, we found a restaurant, “Amarre 69”, which was opened for breakfast. Both of us ordered Americano coffee and breakfast with sausage and egg.



(Picture of the Americano coffee and the breakfast at “Amarre 69” restaurant.)

The Americano coffee was the perfect espresso drink. Not only did it smell very good, it also tasted very delicious. And the bacon in my breakfast was especially good. I don’t usually eat bacon in the States, but the bacon I had during my Spain trip was more like fried thick prosciutto (which happens to be one of my favorites).

After we finished the breakfast, we headed over to Park Güell in Carmel Hill. Park Güell was designed by Antoni Gaudi, a famous architect whose great work includes Sagrada Família. (Stay tuned for blog posts on Park Güell and Sagrada Família.)

After we left the park, we were starving. We found a restaurant off the Internet which opens earlier than most places in Barcelona. The restaurant was called “Restaurant 7 Portes”.

At the “Restaurant 7 Portes”, my friend and I had glasses of wine, Catalan flat bread, Jamón (ham), and paella. We ordered two kinds of paella; one with meat and seafood and one with black squid ink.

Everything we had in the “Restaurant 7 Portes” was great and the bill was unexpectedly inexpensive. After the dinner we walked back to our W Barcelona hotel. The walk was nice; we got the night view of Barcelona and the W Barcelona.


More on the Barcelona Trip – See Day One