11 Jul 2013

My Summer Rooftop Party

This past weekend, my boyfriend and I threw a big party at our new place. When we moved into our Penthouse, I knew I wanted to throw a big housewarming shindig here in the summer - you can't let 80 square meters of rooftop patio go unloved! Haha! We eat dinner out there almost every night, we have a gas BBQ which we use a ton (I highly recommend the Weber Q by the way, it's phenomenal and the meat always comes out even and perfectly grilled) and when it's sunny I lie on my sun lounger and sunbathe - bad for the skin but oh so good for the soul! (Don't worry, I use a really high SPF.)

We began to organize and plan our party about a month ago, and let all our friends know the date well ahead so they could reserve it on their calendar. So important during the busy summer weekends! Then last Saturday was finally the day. We prepared most of the food on Friday evening, and got our shopping done on Thursday. We ordered two kegs of beer at a great local brewery, which we could just pick up on the day of. I had bought colorful paper plates, napkins, cups and all that stuff the last time I was at IKEA. As much as I hate it from an environmental aspect, disposable is really the way to go here. I don't know about you, but I do not have 30 plates or enough cutlery for such an event, and it makes clean-up so much easier. Plus, no drunk people dropping your fine china in a daze! Just make sure you opt for recycled paper plates and stuff.

Doing most of the work way ahead of time saved us all the stress on Saturday. All we had to do was set everything up, pick up the kegs, and wait for our guests. I even had time to lounge in the sun and enjoy a strawberry-watermelon vodka margarita. Might as well get a head start - *hiccup* !

We gave our guests a flexible time slot, and wrote from 6 pm onwards til open end on our invite. At about 6:30 pm, the first people started to arrive. I was so busy hosting and making sure everyone had a drink and was taken care of, plus of course talking to everyone and having fun, that I didn't even have time to take that many pictures. But here's a few that I took! Because of privacy reasons, I'm not posting any pictures of my friends on this Blog right now. I'm not sure if everyone would like that, due to my public life.


We set up the seating area outside on the patio obviously, and our apartment has a wrap-around glass front with a huge sliding door. So you can basically open up the front of the apartment to connect with the patio - very cool! We set up the food on our dining room table in pretty, colorful bowls and dishes, along with all the plates, cutlery, and non-alcoholic drinks. That way, everyone could just help themselves buffet style, and all we had to do was fill up the dishes again when they were running low. We had made all the salads in gigantic Tupperware containers, which we stored in our cool basement overnight because they didn't fit in our fridge.

Tossed mixed green salad with tomatoes in the centre, and a massive quantity of potato salad that was just perfect for the BBQ. We made about 6kg of potatoes for that salad! We washed all the lettuce and stored it in ziploc bags in the fridge for easy refilling.

I made several homemade dressings and dips. It goes without saying that everything is made from scratch here! I don't eat ready-made food and I'm not about to serve my guests something out of a can or a jar. On the left is my homemade salad dressing - I used a hand mixer to emulsify and it and it came out so creamy and smooth. I filled it into an empty plastic water bottle, and just filled up the sauce jar when it was running low.

I also made a Spicy Peanut Sate sauce (pictured on the right, above) and that was also a big hit, with some people asking for the recipe. It was mainly chunky peanut butter, sautéed onions, ginger, chili, and some Thai herbs and spices. I made it a couple nights ahead of time.

I also made fresh Tzatziki with Greek yogurt, cucumber, and loads of fresh herbs from my garden, and Hummus, which is made from Chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, lemons and Tahini (sesame seed paste). We bought several loaves of bread for dipping up the sauces.

This Melon & Pancetta Bacon Pasta salad was absolutely delicious and I'll definitely make it again sometime. It also contained tons of basil and fresh mint leaves, and a yummy dressing. I used three different types of juicy, perfectly ripe melon and it was so refreshing - a perfect summer dish! Yummy.

Fresh crusty olive bread for dipping the Tzatziki, Hummus and Spicy Peanut sauces. We also bought different baguettes and more breads to refill the basket.

All I can say is: Cheers! This was 30 Liters of beer - this picture was taken the day after when the beer had long been swilled away. Kegs are the easiest and most cost effective way to offer your guests an alcoholic beverage. It comes way cheaper than buying bottled beer or wine, and you can often get some really interesting varieties at some micro breweries. We ordered a 20L keg of an amber beer, and 10L of a light lager. Make sure you also have some non-alcoholic stuff to drink too, though!

Now we obviously didn't have seating for that many people, so we organized some extra tables and benches from someone we knew. They were a pain to transport by car since they are really long, but each table and bench combo fits 8 people comfortably. Then we pushed our own patio table together, so that everyone had space to sit and eat. They fit perfectly on our big patio, and it was so great to finally be able to use all that space! On the tables we served a variety of chips and also olives as little snacks and appetizers, so that our guests would have something to munch on right away while mingling.

Since everyone likes different things to put on the BBQ, we asked everyone to bring their own meat and grilling food. This is pretty much standard practice in Switzerland when invited to a larger BBQ party, because meat is really expensive here when compared to other countries, so no one ever expects the host to buy meat for 30 or more people - well unless it's a wedding or something like that. If I throw a smaller dinner party, I'll of course pay for the meat, but for a larger party, it's really the easiest way to make sure everyone has what they like, also for vegetarians! That way I made sure to provide all the rest. 

We lucked out and had absolutely phenomenal weather, and a gorgeous sunset. We put our stereo speakers outside and blasted fun, summery music - Cuban Salsa, Lounge, drum&bass, downtempo - you name it! It can get quite windy sometimes on our rooftop patio, but luckily that evening was very pleasant and warm. The sun set and I lit all the candles. I don't much like electric or solar lights on the patio, so I got loads of candles and put them in a bunch of empty jam jars. Super inexpensive, wind-proof, and if you get the larger IKEA tea lights (not the standard smaller ones) they will last you for many hours.

I also purchased these three large, ultra-wide candles from IKEA which I had burned down to the right height over the course of a few weeks prior. Both the candles, and the candle vases here, are from IKEA. Put some sand, or salt (cheap alternative), on the bottom of the vase, then stick your candle into that as a perfect base. When it was dark, I carried out and placed one vase on each table. I also had lots of lanterns going, unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of the beautiful night time atmosphere at our party, which sucks!

These thick candles need to be lit for several hours if you want them to burn down evenly, so they take a bit of thinking ahead. Light them in the afternoon if you plan to use them in the evening for a party, so that the wax will burn all the way to the edge. Otherwise, you will get a candle tunnelling problem, which can cause the wick to not burn properly after a while.

We have two bathrooms in our place, so we made one for men, one for women. I wanted to make some humorous signs, so I printed these out from the computer.

Channing Tatum for the Ladies...

And sexy Rosie Huntington Whitely for the men!

It was an absolutely wonderful party. With a bit of planning ahead, it can be very easy and stress free. Just don't leave everything to the last minute! Buy your groceries at a discounter, make dishes that features seasonal produce to avoid high costs, or buy things in bulk. It wasn't that expensive to throw such a party for that many people, and it's definitely something I plan to do again! Everyone had so much fun, and we were laughing, eating and talking well into the night. Make sure to set the right atmosphere with music, decorations, lighting and even some pretty flowers.

Here are some of the containers that I planted for our patio - I have a couple more that I didn't photograph yet. I love the tall grasses blowing in the breeze, which adds some interesting movement, and the flowers at the base add some color.

My lavender in bloom! This is my all-purple container.

I hope you enjoyed my post! Leave a comment below if you're planning to throw some kind of a BBQ or a party this summer, and what you've got in mind for decor and such. I just love entertaining in our new place.



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10 Jul 2013

Draw My Life

There have been a slew of Draw My Life videos on Youtube, and so many of you requested that I do one! I hesitated for a long time because actually, I'm a fairly private person and very careful about what I share on Youtube or on the Internet in general.

I changed my mind on doing this video many times, but then I realized that I don't want to portray myself as someone who is "perfect", as someone who doesn't have problems and issues just like the next person. Sometimes I feel like there is such a struggle to always look and seem flawless on Youtube, but it's really not who I am. I mean, I have gone through dark periods of life, had both amazing and troubling experiences, and faced challenges that I struggled to overcome. And most of all, my life doesn't revolve all around beauty and shopping. Before Youtube, I did a lot of traveling and soul-searching that shaped me into the person I am today. I wanted to share that previous life with you.

You can watch it below, or see it directly on Youtube here.

Here are some more drawing excerpts - the video is in watercolor!

8 Jul 2013

L'Oréal Colour Me Pink Collection

Hello, today I've got the L'Oréal Colour Me Pink collection to share with you. This a collection of all pink products, for all the pink lovers out there! It's very girly and fun, if you're into that.

First up, the lipsticks!

Left to Right: Ballerina Shoes, I Pink You're Cute, Miss Magenta, Fresh as a Rose, Wisteria Rose, Everbloom, Pink Flamingo, Raspberry Rush

Swatches are in the same oder of appearance as above, left to right, top to bottom.

As you can see, there's probably a shade of pink in there for every skin tone and for every taste. Speaking of taste, that "Old Lady" scent of these lipsticks has remained unchanged since sometimes in the early 90s I think. L'Oréal, please - it's 2013 and that scent has got to go! It's just so dated. I don't like my lipsticks smelling and tasting like a 90s flashback.

Ballerina Shoes is the only really frosty shade in there, and I don't like it too much. Do frosty, light lipstick colours actually look good on anyone? Besides that, my favorites are Raspberry Rush and Pink Flamingo. They are all very wearable shades and I wouldn't call any of them neon, they aren't as intensely bright as the Maybelline Vivids for example, which might be a good thing for some people.

Next up are the nailpolishes.

Left to Right: Sugary Sweet, Taste of Romance, Hella Pink, Pink Attitude, Rosy Macaron, Berry Jealous

Just bottle pictures here for now. I've worn Hella Pink on my nails and it's so pretty! They have a slightly thinner texture than some other polishes I own, but this particular shade was opaque after two coats. I'm on my second day of wear right now and there are no chips whatsoever yet.

Lastly, the lip glosses...

Left to Right: Pucker Up Pink, Florid Pink, Rosy Demeanor, Raspberry Flush, Berry Chic

These have a nice pigmentation, and a pleasant caramel flavor. (Not the 90s scent like the lipsticks.) I personally would prefer a wand and brush applicator here because I find it's hard to get a nice application with the squeeze-out angled tops. But other than that, the bolders colors look really nice.

Has anything here caught your attention? Anything you might pick up? These products are available at the drugstore in the USA, unsure of how it looks with worldwide availability.

5 Jul 2013

Illamasqua Paranormal Collection

It's Friday!! Looking forward to the weekend? My boyfriend and I are throwing a rooftop BBQ party tomorrow as a housewarming for our Penthouse. Got the kegs of beer ordered, and right now I've got about 6kg of potatoes boiling away for a potato salad. Slaving away over a hot stove in the summer, oh dear...

Anyway, I thought I'd get a break from the party preparations by showing you some pieces of the new Illamasqua Paranormal collection that is out now. You can view the entire collection and some instructional videos on the Illamasqua website - here.

First up the Paranormal Palette (Price: £34)

Illamasqua describes this as "A unique water-resistant eyeshadow that can't decide if it's a cream or a shadow. Instead it combines the best of both worlds, delivering the textured silky appearance of a powder, but with the deep color wash of a cream."

I played around with this briefly and I'd say that description is pretty accurate. At first I couldn't tell if it was a cream or a powder eyeshadow and it's a very unique texture, one I personally haven't seen before. The pigmentation is nice, but I haven't actually worn this on my eyes yet so I can't make any claims on its longevity, creasing, smudging, fading and the like. I'm really keen to try this out because I think it's pretty neat! The colors are also really bold and fun for summer.

Illamasqua Gleam in Supernatural (Price: £18)

This is a cream product that can be used for bronzing, blushing, and maybe even highlighting on darker skin tones. It has a pearlescent finish that can really give you that beautiful glowing, dewy finish on your cheeks. For me personally, this shade is pretty intense - maybe a bit too dark for fair skin tones, but I can imagine this to look really beautiful on darker or very tanned skin. Since I don't do much tanning (just say no to future wrinkles) I don't know how much use I will personally get out of it, but the product itself is nice.

Illamasqua Lipsticks in Posture (L) and Esp (R) (Price: £16.50)

When I saw the lipstick Esp (pictured on the right) I was so excited: Intense, vivid Purple!! Egad!!! Both lipsticks have a matte finish. Esp seemed right up my alley, Posture - however - makes me look zombie-fied, or like a corpse. Super unflattering on fair skin, in my opinion at least.

Also, both lipsticks have an extremely dry, sort of chalky texture. It's really hard to get an even, smooth color payoff because they don't glide on very well at all. Posture just looked quite strange on me overall, and Esp was hard to work with. I might put up with it anyway because the color is so unique. I think it's probably really difficult to make a lipstick out of purple pigment, because pretty much every purple lipstick I own or have tried has some kind of issues. Either the color is patchy, or doesn't spread evenly.

Swatches of Esp, Posture and Gleam in Supernatural.

Precision Gel Liner in Infinity (Price: £18) and Hydra Veil (Price: £27)

First up, the gel liner I haven't tried yet so I can't make statements about it. It's a black gel eyeliner.

The Hydra Veil is another unique, new product, one I haven't seen before yet on the market. When you open the jar, you are met with a completely transparent jelly, which moves exactly like Jell-O in the tub. Very funny! There's a little scoop applicator which you can use to get some of the product out, and when you rub it onto your skin, it turns into a super fast absorbing gel, almost like water. This is supposed to be a hydrating gel that you can use as a base before make-up. It has a beautiful light texture, and feels very refreshing on your face and absorbs fast. I don't think it can replace a good moisturizer completely, especially if you have dry skin, but as far as primers go it's quite nice. I think I will have to try this out a bit more, I'm very intrigued!

Overall I think it's a very interesting and innovative collection, and aside from the troubles I had with the texture of the lipsticks, I'm really looking forward to using everything a bit more. Are there any pieces here that have caught your eye and that you might pick up?

For more information and online shop: Illamasqua.com

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