28 July, 2011

Beauty Talk + Giveaway

I'm no beauty expert but, I do have a few products that I am absolutely in love with. And since I love when other bloggers post their beauty tips, I thought - why not post mine? Here are a few of my favorites:

(1) Clinique Trio (#2 for Dry/Combination Skin) : This is a set of facial soap, toner and moisturizer. My mom taught me when I was very little that moisturizing your skin is an absolute MUST. I never had a specific brand that I used for my face, until I went for a consultation at a Clinique counter and the old lady berated me for not using a toner. She suggested the Clinique 3 step program and, for the past few months, my skin is literally glowing. Clinique may or may no be the brand for you (but I highly recommend it), but what is important is to have a routine, to use the same products in conjunction.
I always thought toner was for really oily skin, but I learned that toner is important for all skin types because it removes the impurities on the surface of your skin, opens up you pores and then allows for the moisturizer to really penetrate your skin. Otherwise, you're simply slathering moisturizer onto the very top layer of your skin and it isn't really feeding into the pores (aka not doing its job). Also, don't forget to cleanse and moisturize your neck! Along with your hands, it is one of the first places where your skin starts to age.

(2) Essie Deep Conditioning Cuticle Oil: I love, love, love this. The title is self-explanatory, and it really does its job well. I also love the Sally Hanson Salon effects nail polishes, they go on so smoothly and they have a lot of great nude colors which are perfect for hiding nail imperfections between manicures!

(3) Moroccan Oil and Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray: I discovered these two a month ago and I can't imagine how I survived before them! They are perfection in a bottle. I use the Moroccan oil when I want to straighten my hair - it gives it great shine, smoothness and smells divine. The surf spray is amazing. For the past month, my hair routine has been : wash, towel dry, spray surf spray, and go. I have naturally curly hair that gets unruly and frizzy in the summer humidity, and this spray tames it, giving me soft beachy waves that never dissapoint. These two products are both slightly pricey, but they are definitely worth the investment. And if you buy the Surf Spray at Sephora (online or at the store), they give you a coupon for a free blow-dry and style and participating salons.

(4) I stopped by the Benefit counter the other day, hoping to find a good under-eye concealer, was sucked in by their clever packaging and then convinced when I saw that they really worked! These cosmetics are pricey (I'm used to buying drugstore brands), but I found a few products that I'll definitely splurge on.

Brows-A-Go-Go kit. This kit comes with tweezers,an eye liner, brow shadow and gel, an application brush, a brow highlighter and brightening cream. I always thought that only old Russian ladies {I'm Russian, so I can stereotype! :oP } filled in their brows (or those too eager with the tweezers), but after the woman at the counter filled in mine, I was hooked! I don't do it everyday, but every once in a while I apply a little bit of the brow powder and gel to hold it in place, and the result are more even, slightly thicker looking brows. The highlighting powder goes on so smoothly under the brow, and I also dab a little in the inner corner of me eyes to brighten and make me look more awake.

Finding Mr. Bright: This kit contains Erase Paste (a concealer), High Beam and Pearl ( highlighters) and Posie Tint (a berry colored tint that can be used on face or cheeks). The Erase Paste works wonders but, it is slightly too thick to use everyday in the summer (at least for my skin). I use it for evenings out when I know the sun won't melt away my makeup. It covers really well, and doesn't crease. High Beam is my favorite - it is a shimmery highlighting gel that I use on the apples of my cheeks. It stays on all day and gives off a subtle glow....and it photographs really well!

Now that I've shown you some of my favorite products, time for a little Beauty Giveaway! I previously wrote about Birchbox here (the photo above is of the most recent one), and so I've decided to make a Birchbox of my own, filled with samples of my favorite products, including Philosophy, Marc Jacobs perfume, L'occitane and Fresh, among many others. I'll also include four vignette notecards and a small Italian notebook, perfect for notes-on-the-go.

One lucky reader (domestic or international!) will win this goody-filled "birchbox"!

To enter (1) please leave a comment below (I'd love to hear your beauty favorites!) with your e-mail address and (2) please be a follower of Cap Ou Pas Cap.

I will choose a winner next Monday, August 8.
Bonne chance and Happy Weekend!

27 July, 2011

My Life, Recently

{weekend spent at the lake house. divine.}

{deliciously sweet wine from a local winery}

{birthday cake made entirely from scratch by my love's wonderful mama}

{an improvised version of birthday cake}

{thai food never disappoints}

{dining al fresco before temperatures hit the 100s}

{avocado popsicles. seriously delicious. but don't take my word for it}

{wedding dress shopping for my best friend}

{being a tourist in my own city}

{daily reminder of the important things in life}

Summer is going by so quickly. In just a few short weeks, fall semester will start and with it, a whirlwind of papers, research and the usual mayhem. Though I know I'll miss these lazy days, I can't wait for fall and, truth be told, for {slightly} colder weather.

{I know I promised a giveaway this week....hold tight, it is coming Friday!}

22 July, 2011

Ten Secrets

I found this 10 Day challenge at Miyan's awesome blog and decided to tag along. I have a habit of starting challenges and not finishing them, but I'm making it a point to see this one through....though I can't promise it will be exactly 10 days.

Here we go....ten secrets.

(1) I didn't have my first kiss until I was eighteen, a freshman in college. I was so scared I would be terrible at it that I pretended I had a cold for three weeks until one day, my then boyfriend couldn't take it anymore and kissed me as I was mid-sentence. I've received only compliments on my kissing abilities since then ;)

(2) I can spend the entire day at a bookstore. I'm constantly reading. Most nights I can't fall asleep without reading at least a few pages of a book, a magazine, the back of a shampoo bottle...it's a disease I am not willing to cure!

(3) I've had an obsession with Katherine Hepburn since I was thirteen years old. I'm not sure how it started, but I've read all her biographies and autobiographies. Strangely, I've never seen a single one of her movies.

(4) I can drink Sangria like it's water. It reminds me of summer nights in Barcelona.

(5) When I was little, I was terrified of thunder and storms. I would lie in bed at night, with my fingers in my ears and my eyes tightly shut, imagining lightning striking the house. Now I love thunderstorms, especially on lazy weekends.

(6) I've never felt comfortable in a bikini, even though I wear them. I'm working on changing that, not only physically (with healthy food and 6am runs by the lake), but mentally as well. It's all about confidence, right?

(7) Mmmmm......gelato. I could eat this every day for a year and not get tired of it. Pistachio and lemon are my favorites.
(8) I've always wanted to be a blonde...for a while. My mother has told me I am blonde enough already without having the hair color to prove it. chuckle, chuckle. (no offense all you gorgeous blondes! In truth, I would love to try it, but I'm afraid it will wash out my complexion and my green eyes)

(9) When I was fifteen, I was {very} afraid of wasps (still am). My mother and I were driving in the car when I saw one flying around right next to my leg. I freaked out and jumped into the front passenger seat. My mom turned to see what the commotion was about and, as a result, hit a car that was just coming around the corner. Thankfully it was only a minor accident, with minor damage. But the mortifying part was that it wasn't a wasp at all, just a lightning bug.

(10) I speak four languages fluently (French, Russian, Armenian, and English) and have dabbled in Portuguese, Spanish and Italian, and I'm always encouraging others to learn a new language, even the basic vocabulary. I cannot stress enough how many opportunities these languages have afforded me, and I'll always be thankful to my parents for having the foresight to encourage me to learn more when I was young.

Join in with me, I'd love to read your secrets ;)
Happy Friday

p.s. Thank you all for your amazingly sweet comments on the birthday post. He was very touched, as was I. Birthday week/weekend recap coming up Monday, plus my first giveaway!

20 July, 2011

The Day Our Love Story Started

On July 20, 2979 an accident happened. Rather, the fruit of an accident came into this world...the accident had happened 9 months earlier. That accident was a little boy.

But though his parents thought him to be an accident, in reality, he was planned, put on Earth for a purpose.

Thirty two years later, that boy, that accident, is the best thing in my life. He IS my life. It never ceases to amaze me how our paths linked together, despite all the improbabilities and complexities of life.

I will always think of July 20, 1979 as the day our love story started. Because when I look at us together now, when I FEEL how strong our love is, how unbreakable our bond, when I sink into his arms after a long day, when he kisses my forehead and whispers he loves me, when I feel my heart tug the minute we are apart, even if only in different rooms, I believe with every fiber of my being that we were made for each other.

Somewhere, in the far reaches of the Universe where the fates and destinies of mortals are formed, where threads are linked and futures woven, our threads were tied together.

Somewhere, it was written that on July 20, 1979 a boy would be born. And seven years later, on a cool fall evening, a girl would be born. And that boy and girl were destined for each other.

How lucky I am to be that girl.

Happy Birthday to the man who makes my heart beat faster, always.

16 July, 2011

What I've Been Doing In July

There have been so many things to celebrate this month, and so many more to come, including my love's birthday this Wednesday. And sometimes, no occasion is needed...gorgeous weather and beautiful friends are reasons enough to have a drink and toast the good life.

This week I'll be staying with my love in the city (!!!). Seven whole days together, without him having to drive me home at night. Pure bliss. Our plans include: lazy afternoons at the beach, movie nights, birthday cake, and running. Yes, running. I HAVE to get myself into shape...I've been feeling blah lately and I know it is because I can't remember the last time I put on sneakers. And lucky for me, the bf is a boxer and personal trainer....so he knows just how to get me into the best shape ever. Although I'm hoping he won't be completely immune to a bat of the eyelashes when I am out of breath and begging for a break ;)

But what I am most looking forward to is simply falling asleep and waking up next to each other.

Happy weekend!

14 July, 2011

Le Quatorze Juillet

I didn't write a post for the Fourth of July, but I waited all day for midnight to arrive so I could publish this Bastille Day post. If you've read this blog for any period of time, you shouldn't be surprised :)

Oh Paris, how I miss you. Your cobblestone streets, quarters full of mirth and amusement, hidden streets, cafes. Your people - the street vendors, the bouquinistes along the Seines, the bakers, the waiters, the charming cafe owners who prolong bringing the check because "c'est dommage de laisser partir une si jolie fille".

Believe it or not, each time I've been to Paris I haven't taken many photos. The minute I step out into the city, I feel....at home. I don't have a compulsive need to photograph everything, but rather, to feel the moment, to absorb the city, to feel it flow through my veins like the wine I drink sitting on the sidewalk's edge along the Seine.

But one of the things I miss the most is the language. I miss speaking French, hearing it around me. I miss grabbing a Madame Figaro at the newstand, or reading Le Figaro at breakfast like a good Parisian.

I cannot wait for the day that I can take my love to Paris. My two favorites in life....I'm afraid I'll have to "lose" my passport and stay forever.

Soon, soon...I'll be back, Paris.

03 July, 2011

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

I've never been to a baseball game, despite the fact that I live in a city that is home to two rival baseball teams.

For me, baseball is under the category of "utterly uninteresting American sports", along with football and basketball (no offense JB and Sarah! ). Give me a good futbol or tennis game, anyday!

However, last week my French student gave me two tickets to a Cubs game. And since neither my love nor I had ever been to a baseball game, we decided we had to take advantage and see what we were missing.

We had a great time at the game, though it had everything to do with the beautiful skyline, delicious hot dogs and just being together, and absolutely nothing with the actual game itself (what are innings? how many more left? oh, did they start the game already?)

We left no more in love with the game than when we came in, but rather with a greater appreciation for each other, and a wonderful memory of a shared "first".....and for that, I thank you, baseball.

Hope you're having a lovely weekend! xx