Month: July 2015

MasterChef: No Way Gnocchi

This week’s episode of MasterChef was done family style– a family style meal served in the dining room for a special visiting family.  Well, I knew it was the home cooks’ families, but they didn’t, so it was a big surprise for them!  Oh, the feels.

The judges appointed two team captains this week: Derrick for the Blue Team and Claudia for the Red Team.  Derrick selects Nick, Olivia, Christopher, and Tommy.  Claudia selects Katrina, Hetal, Stephen, and Shelly.  Derrick devises an Italian menu– a rack of lamb, caprese salad, baked ziti, and a chocolate mousse pie for dessert.  The caprese salad switches to a strawberry tomato salad by Olivia’s suggestion, once Gordon has pointed out the double cheese sides… as if that’s a problem!  Claudia’s menu is chicken, mashed potatoes, broccolini, and strawberry short cake.

They serve for Derrick’s mom, Olivia’s mom, Christopher’s girlfriend, Tommy’s husband, Claudia’s mom, Katrina’s boyfriend, Hetal’s husband, Stephen’s son, and Shelly’s daughter.  The family members don’t know who cooked what, and vote for either red or blue blindly.

It’s amazing how many people vote for their loved one’s teams!  The exceptions are Nick’s mom, Katrina’s boyfriend, and Derrick’s mom giving the Red Team the win.  It’s also amazing how emotional I get (and Graham too, that sensitive fellow!) watching the home cooks see their family members!  I love these moments.

But just like that, it’s time for another pressure test.  The judges save team captain Derrick, who pulled his weight.  Nick, Olivia, Christopher, and Tommy make gnocchi.


Nick calls himself Nicky Gnocchi and is very experienced with making this dish; his go over well.  As great as Nick’s go over, Olivia’s are even better and she’s only made the dish once before!

Christina Tosi has something against Christopher.  Like, I know he’s not always the most polite or conscious of how he’s coming across to others, but something about him just rubs her the wrong way.  She yells at him before she even starts eating, and goes off on him as he tries to play to the crowd while Gordon tastes his gnocchi.  His dish looks good, but he didn’t taste the mixture prior to preparing… rookie mistake.

Tommy remade his gnocchi with like a minute and a half to go, so it’s miraculous that they’re even on the plate.  Though they’re swimming in butter, the taste is good.

Nick & Olivia are safe.  Between Tommy and Christopher, taste wins over presentation.  Not tasting his dish was his downfall, and Christopher is asked to leave the MasterChef kitchen.

I really liked Christopher, but I’m glad Tommy is still around too.  Next week, it looks like a flambé challenge, and we certainly need Tommy to deliver the line from the preview about not being the only flaming thing in the kitchen.  Loves it.

What did you guys think about the elimination and Christopher?  And single digits!  Who’s your fav?

Have a great weekend, loves!

Face Off: Intergalactic Zoo

I don’t know if you’ve picked up on this or anything, but I seem to love reality competition shows.  Oh, you noticed?  Okay then.  Well, I particularly love them when they involve some sort of artistic creation, be it culinary like Top Chef or MasterChef, or design like Project Runway.  Enter: Face Off on Syfy.  Face Off features special effects make up artists transforming humans into out-of-this-world creatures– monsters, aliens, animal-hybrids, and more with stories to tell.

Season 9 started this week, so join me in watching and talking about the amazing (and sometimes, not so amazing) creations!  As with any season opener, there are too many characters for me to really zone in on favorites yet.  There are sixteen of them and they walk up in pairs to the Natural History Museum.

Here, McKenzie Westmore reveals that it’s time for the week’s Spotlight Challenge: an alien animal.  They’re working in pairs– with the person they walked in with.  There are points of inspiration scattered throughout the museum– each team must snag one to create their animal.  The pairs and their inspiration pieces are as follows:

  • Jasmine & Ricky, alligator skin
  • Ben & Jordan, azurite with malachite
  • Omar & Kevon, clam shell
  • Nora & Scott, ram horn
  • Evan & Sidney, schorl tourmaline
  • Meg & Missy, herbivore jaw
  • Stevie & Libby, native silver
  • Brittany & Jason, turtle shell

Oh but there’s a biiiig twist– their designs will incorporate two models.  This really forces them to think outside the box and get away from human shapes.  It reminds me of Doctor’s Who’s daleks, in a way… how they had to truly think of something that wouldn’t look like a man in a suit.  Try that times two!

Here’s what they come up with:


The top two looks are Jordan & Ben’s and Evan & Sidney’s (third down on the left).  Jordan & Ben’s is my favorite look, and the judges as well!  Ben earns the win for his amazing paint job and head sculpt.  The bottom two looks are Omar & Kevon’s, which took their inspiration too literally, and Steve & Libby’s, which is essential someone sitting on someone else’s shoulders.

The good news is, though, no one goes home!  With this monumental challenge being the first, the judges feel that they know what these contestants are capable of.  And we’ll see more next week!

Which was your favorite look?


If you follow me on instagram or watch my vlogs, you know I went to check out the Hokusai exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts last week.  I was glad I found time to see it, as I knew I’d like it… I just had no idea how much!  This has been my favorite collection since Chihuly a couple of summers ago, reminding me how much I need the MFA in my life!

You might know Hokusai from the Great Wave:

Red might have tried to sell this to you in Animal Crossing New Leaf.

Red might have tried to sell this to you in Animal Crossing New Leaf.

Hokusai closes at the MFA Boston on August 9, so I highly recommend you see it before it’s gone!  A collection of works by pupils of Hokusai is coming at the end of August, and I cannot wait!  I took a million pictures, but I’ll share a few more with you here. (more…)

Beach Weekend Make-Up Bag

If you’ve been watching my weekend vlogs or following me on instagram, you know I’m packing and repacking a weekend back to head to my beach house in Rhode Island every weekend!  I’ve made a lot of progress these last few weeks on my overpacking problem, and my make-up bag is my next venture.  More often than not, I’m not wearing any make-up down there… but I can’t be caught completely without should I need some!  Here’s what I’ve got in my beach weekend make-up bag:


I definitely don’t need my usual foundation for the beach community, but I do bring my Nars concealer should I have some trouble spots.  I’m using Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue in place of my typical foundation, for a lighter face.  For powder, I take Bare Minerals Mineral Veil with it’s matching retractable brush– a space saver!

If you’re going to wear mascara to the beach, make sure it’s waterproof!  I don’t always, but I throw in my Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara in case I do.  I also bring my current favorite mascara, Benefit Roller Lash which is the one thing I always apply, even if I’m not wearing any other make-up.

If you’re going to be wearing eyeliner in the heat, you’d better prime those lids!  My Urban Decay Primer Potion has to come with me, because I love wearing eyeliner.  My Maybelline Unstoppable pencil and Stila Stay All Day waterproof liquid eyeliner and my make-up bag essentials.

My brows have needed a little work lately, so my Benefit Instant Brow pencil is a must-have.  I always bring my tweezers too– you just never know when a stray will pop up and need to be plucked!

Finally, I’ve been loving my Physician’s Formula Bronze Booster to even out any sun I’ve gotten at the beach that day.  My new Sephora pro bronzer brush has been it’s faithful companion.

This little Vera Bradley small cosmetic bag holds it all and is small enough to drop inside a larger bag or even my purse!

What are your make-up essentials for a beach weekend?

MasterChef: Cowboys & Fruit Tarts

The home cooks find themselves 70 miles north of the MasterChef kitchen in the land of green rolling hills and cowboys!  Dressed for the occasion are Graham, Gordon, and Christina who drives the judges up in style.  For this team challenge, they’ll be feeding and judged by cowboys.  They’re of course making steak!  The steak is to be accompanied by two sides and a sauce.  Hetal and Katrina, the winners from last week, step up as team captains.

Hetal, as the winner from last week, gets the first pick… only, there’s a twist!  She’ll be picking for Katrina’s team and vice versa.  The teams end up being Hetal, Shelly, Olivia, Christopher, and Stephen on Red vs. Katrina, Claudia, Tommy, Nick, and Derrick on Blue.  Hetal also gets the choice of her teams’ cut of meat– she picks the hanger steak and gives the NY strip to Blue.

Both teams have to make menu adjustments throughout, as Red’s grilled zucchini is deemed a bit “ladies who lunch” by Gordon and the demi-glace on Blue seems more wedding than campfire.  Here’s what they come up with:


Whether it be due to zucchini delay or Hetal’s panic, it’s a landslide victory for Blue.  The Red team’s headed into the pressure test.

Blue gets to save one member of Red from the dreaded test, and they snag Olivia up to the balcony.  The other four home cooks go from outdoor grilling to delicate baking: it’s a fruit tart challenge!  I can’t imagine how hard this would be to make.  Hetal lets her nerves get to her again, Stephen cries on the floor, but all produce fairly attractive tarts:

Top: Stephen's and Shelly's, Bottom: Christopher's and Hetal's.

Top: Stephen’s and Shelly’s, Bottom: Christopher’s and Hetal’s.

In the end, Hetal and Shelly are sent upstairs for the best two tarts.  Stephen and Christopher await their fate, only to learn that they will both be safe this week!  Thank goodness.  With so many double-elimination episodes, I knew we’d see this day!  The top 10 live to cook again.

Who’s your favorite out of the group?

Paint Nite

Listen, I’ve been procrastinating this post forever because I’m just so short on time this month. It’s sad that my work life-balance is very off this summer, but it’s just fact. I have managed to have lots of fun here and there, though! Case in point: Paint Nite with my favorite blogger friends Elissa of Style Wire and Celina of Trends & Tolstoy.

This actually happened last month, I think? See what I mean about short on time?

Elissa invited us along, having been given some tickets for review. As someone who loves to paint, I was immediately interested… but I was also intimidated. Sure, I paint for fun, but I don’t paint actual. I paint designs, abstract somethings I can’t mess up, or words. Maybe I’ll get crazy and paint some flowers or the occasional pokémon gym badge. Luckily, my friends were just as concerned about our lack of artistic abilities. And we call ourselves Emersonians!

When we got there and got a glass of prosecco in us, we relaxed. Our Paint Nite was located in the basement of Clerys, which concerned me from a lighting perspective. That didn’t end up being an issue, but there was no service down there! Bloggers have got to instagram and tweet, right?

Our instructor, Suriah, made us promise not to judge ourselves or each other, or look at each other’s painting for comparison. I can say I did quite a bit of looking around and laughing at myself! The class did such a great job and we… went a bit rogue. Guess we’re Emerson kids after all!

Check out the pictures for the rest of the story!

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We were offered a discount code so abate the cost of future Paint Nites. It doesn’t expire, so I’ll share it here with you: Suriah45% for 45% off tickets! I had an absolute blast and would love to do another.

Have you ever done a Paint Nite? Leave me a comment and let me know what you thought!

Julep Maven July!

Hello, friends!  Welcome to the most color-coordinated Julep Maven box I’ve ever received.


I realized weeks later that my little July box had been hiding in my mailbox since the holiday.  I went with the basic three-polish It Girl box, but made one color switch.

What I got:

  • Corinne, sandcastle stardust |  Isn’t that a lovely description?  I was so excited about the stardust finishes, but Corinne is kind of… thick?  It didn’t go on easy, and at first it looked very dull.  It does wear long and well, though, and I actually loved the color after a day of wear!
  • Mara, thistle blossom stardust | Truth be told, I haven’t tried this one out yet.  After being immediately discouraged by the new stardust finish, then having my love completely restored, I’m back to being super excited to try it out.  It read radiant orchid to me, and it perfectly matches the Maven box itself!
  • Alyssa, beachside turquoise | I was a little on the fence about this one, thinking it looked prettier online than in-bottle.  It’s on my nails now, though, and I am happy to report it is a perfect, bright, trendy summer turquoise!  It’s a bit more on the green side than any turquoises I own, so it was worth it.

Leave me a comment if you’d like to join Julep Maven!  I’ll send you an invite to get a free box.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 26

It’s never weird for people to just start disappearing in Sailor Moon, and after a big attack from Sailor Moon, I’m not surprised that both she and Nemesis are no where to be seen.  The inner senshi are surprised, though, because Sailor Moon Crystal hasn’t been kind enough to grant them the ability to think for themselves.  Then Tuxedo Mask’s hands start glowing and he disappears too.


Neo Queen Serenity awakens, kisses her king and brings him back to his body.  This is a twist on a classic I can get on board with!  Little Chibiusa is so pumped to see her mom, who promptly reveals that the Nemesis they saw was just an illusion and Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask got sucked toward the real planet.  She also reveals that she has no guardian powers and sends her child to fight alongside Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask.  No one sees a problem with this.  Venus, Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter stay behind because they don’t get to do anything.  Oh, and Pluto is apparently really dead.

understatement of the year, NQS.

understatement of the year, NQS.

There’s got to be a balance between with Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask love fest… as much as it’s always worked for me in the original anime, I don’t see Crystal’s Sailor Moon as the same one I knew.  She says she can only access her power in Tuxedo Mask’s presence and I’m just not okay with this.  As they charge toward the planet Nemesis, which threatens to consume the solar system, (but is Nemesis even in our solar system?) Sailor Chibi Moon appears.  Moon and Chibi Moon hurl a double Moon Princess Halation and destroy Nemesis.

It’s pretty quick.  Neo Queen Serenity dubs Sailor Moon the Guardian of Mystery, which I really love.  She grants her cosmic power and a new compact and scepter.  She says she can’t meet her past self because it will change history, then decides to anyway.  I’ve never seen anyone so pumped to see their self!  Chibiusa leaves, but then comes back to be trained.  And that’s the end of Act 26.

The big question, begged further by à bientôt, is: Is Sailor Moon Crystal over?  If so, was it worth it?  We’ll never get to see Haruka or Michiru (or really Setsuna since we’ve only seen her as Pluto), or Hotaru.  We’ll never see what Sailor Moon’s cosmic powers can do.  From a manga perspective, I was looking forward to a more adherent story (guess I’ll just have to crack my manga open!) to see the Amazoness Quartet revealed as Chibi Moon’s team of senshi– this is one detail that I always wish was carried into the previous anime!

If anything, I’m glad Sailor Moon is back on people’s minds.  Thoughts?!  News?!  Leave me some comments!