Monday, September 24, 2007

Veil...in the mail

I got my veil in the mail. I can't show a picture of it because Trevor might see it and although it's just a buncha fluff I don't want to ruin the surprise of what I'll look like on our wedding. But I just have to say it looks gorgeous. I never thought a bunch of fluff would make that much of a difference but when I inevitably tried it on I found that it made me look like a little angel...even with my stringy unkempt hair and nerdy-girl glasses.

I don't know what it'll look like with my gown...so I'll have to just wait and see. My wedding gown is waiting for me at my parents' house so hopefully everything looks how I imagine it in my mind. Though my wedding gown doesn't fit me in the slightest so I can't really just try it on...at least not without a good deal of assistance to keep it from falling off my body.

It's exciting. Sometimes I'm surprised at how everything is falling together.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Oishi Sushi Review

Trevor and I are self described foodies. More specifically we're Japanese foodies, so when I perused through Yahoo Local and found a Japanese establishment within 20 miles of our home it warranted trying to track it down and give it a try. Oishi does not have a website at present otherwise I'd link it up. Oishi is located at 1455 Riverdale Street,West Springfield, MA, 01089

The owner is Korean, which is a welcome change to a landscape that so far has been full of Chinese restaurateurs. I wouldn't say his menu sticks to all the traditions, but it has be best "spirit" of Japanese culture and food. It's hard to describe, but really good Japanese food is made with care and attention to detail. I feel like the owner really cares about his food and really cares about maintaining good relations with his patrons.

There's nothing wrong with Chinese restaurateurs; they just have a tendency to have terrible service. Their staff is rarely attentive or nice. I understand many of them have a language barrier, but after a few years you should be able to pick up a few bits of chit-chat.

In any case, the food at Oishi Sushi was quite good. I think the fish is fresh, everything seems to be made on premises, the non-fish also seemed very fresh, thoughtfully arranged on the plate...overall it was a nice experience. That feeling was what made it feel moreso like Japanese cuisine than any of the other places we've tried. In Japan, even the cheapest street food is prepared with the utmost care and the freshest ingredients. I was a big fan of the gyoza and udon noodles. The unagi was really buttery and good. The sushi was pretty good, but I wasn't totally in love with the rolls which were a bit more heavy on the rice than I like.

I'd still say it's better sushi rolls than: Oyama in Enfield (which totally sucks), Natori Sushi in Manchester, Sushi Ocean in Windsor Locks (also totally sucks), Iron Chef in Longmeadow, Wasabi in Milford, Higashi in Manchester, Ichiban in West Hartford and Ginza in Bloomfield (you'd think that since it won the Hartford Advocate award that it'd be good but it was a let down for me since the fish wasn't fresh).

Can you tell the search for the perfect sushi has taken us everywhere?

But I think we'll continue to go to Oishi. I'd give it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars. I'm particularly fond of their combo plates and hot foods. They have great value for what they're serving. Most of the aforementioned restaurants will do their best to shake out every last penny in your pockets and are not worth giving continued patronage. For around $30 Trevor and I are entirely stuffed with food that actually feels homemade. I'm no Rachel Ray (in fact, if I never hear "yum-o" again it'll be a great day) but that's a fantastic value for Japanese food at dinnertime. Two people can very easily spend $50-$60 when out eating Japanese.

Speaking of which, we'll be going out in a few minutes to have sushi lunch like we do every Saturday. :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mom-glish

My overall wedding planning has stalled. The only vendor left to worry about would be the photographer.

Realistic Kelly knows that in twenty years or so I'm not going to care about having a ton of wedding pictures because no one ever looks at them. I've only ever seen like 2 pictures of my own parents' wedding day and I think that's plenty.

Wedding Kelly however is neurotic and wants to be sure that someone at the wedding knows how to take a picture that doesn't make me look like a cow. Plus since I've already vetoed having a videographer I know that my mother will have a heart attack if there aren't a bazillion pictures to make up for that.

I love my mother. And at face value she's a pretty cool chick, but she rules with an iron fist. I feel this is true of most every Asian momma. She has said that it's my wedding and I can do what I want, but having years of "mom-glish" under my belt I know that really means "I'd rather you do it my way, but I'm giving you lip-service because you're as stubborn as I am. Instead I'll try to slowly manipulate and guilt trip you into agreeing with me."

Not to say my mother isn't an incredibly blunt human being. Her friend Quyen got remarried a few years back. She's a few years younger than my mom, but she's an adult. She had 4 kids from her previous marriage so she wasn't exactly a spring chicken and clearly the wedding was paid for by her and her now husband. They didn't do a dinner; they chose to do passed butler finger foods as the reception. My mother was so upset by the cheapskate-ness that she actually called Quyen up not that much longer afterward to tell her how horrible it was that she would allow her guests to starve. And now, years later, my mom thinks Quyen's husband is a cheap penny pincher because she knows Quyen to be much more generous natured. The emphasis of the disdain seemed to somehow get pointed directly on his head.

So it's really important to me to throw a nice wedding because it will lorded over my head the rest of my life otherwise. And for the non-Asian kids out there, that probably seems incredibly cold-hearted and unreasonable but the entire Asian culture works that way. Why do you think there are so many stereotypical over-achieving Asian kids? It's because they want to avoid the wrath of their families.

Western families reward their kids for doing well. Asian families hold it against you if you don't do well. If you do well, you're just fulfilling your duty and honoring your family. If you're a rebel everyone talks about you, but not only do they talk about you they'll also talk about your parents because your parents should have taught you better and wrangled you in.

I'm not saying this is right or wrong. It just is. And deep down inside I don't want to dishonor my parents with a crappy wedding. Realistically I know I can't please all of the people all of the time, but I sure want to try and make them proud. If that makes me unusually neurotic I'm sorry, but after this whole thing wraps up I'll be much more normal. Of course, after we get married my parents won't stop asking when there will be grandbabies, but we'll get to that juncture later.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Cinnamon Ice Cream

Since I believe in sharing...

3 bras for $9.99 plus if you use promo code: 607913 shipping is only $1.99. There aren't many styles, but they're plain and simple. I hate it when I go to Victoria's Secret and the only sale bras in my size are day-glow colors I'd never be caught dead in.

In any case, I haven't gotten too much done regarding the wedding. Since Cathy will be getting married a few weeks after me I ran the idea of sharing a few items by her and she thought it was great. The only items I could think of sharing were the flower girl basket and the ring bearer pillow. I'm hoping she goes for an ivory gown because that'll make everything so much easier if we're sharing. ;)

But I think it's silly to buy things only to use them for like 15 minutes. We might as well get a little bit more wear out of them, and then one day we can save them for the next friend or family member's wedding. I'm more than happy to share if it'll save people a few bucks in the long haul.

I made some Cinnamon Ice Cream this weekend. It's unbelievably good and part of me feels it's on par with store bought kind apart from the fact no one sells Cinnamon Ice Cream. The only change I made was the lessen the sugar down to 3/4 cup since 1 full cup for a quart is wildly sweet. I make it a point to not make an ice cream flavor that I can readily buy in the store for less money and less calories. lol So I've yet to make vanilla, strawberry or chocolate ice cream. I'm thinking that my next batch will be Coconut ice cream, and if we sprinkle in some almonds and chocolate syrup it can be like Almond Joy ice cream. I don't make ice cream all the time thankfully. Making your own anything makes you very aware of how unhealthy it is. I'm mostly inspired to make ice cream to accommodate mine and Trevor's adventurous taste buds.

But for ice cream I've yet to find a good way to reduce the calories without it affecting the texture. It'll only fluff up really well if you have a fat to suspend the air in, like whipped cream.
Every time I try to put reduced fat milk in it and stick it in the freezer it becomes a giant milky ice cube. It's good immediately out of the machine, but it doesn't like setting up...one day I'll get it down to an art.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Dream a little dream

Do you ever dream that you woke up?

I had one of those dreams today when I was totally convinced I was already awake and I peeked out the window to see that it was snowing. While the weather is hardly gorgeous, it's certainly not going to snow in September. But, I always end up a little disoriented when I actually wake up because it feels a little bit like deja vu, except this time minus the snow.

It's probably too early for posting, but I'm up and Trevor is not. I can't seem to sleep in late the way I used to.

I have absolutely no plans this weekend, which is actually pretty refreshing. Kim's off with her boyfriend in Boston. Ni's back in Cali. It's kinda cruddy outside too so I'm sure that stunts my desire to accomplish anything. I'm usually very task oriented. I don't even have a menu planned out.

But I'm lazy and I just want mindless dribble to entertain me.
http://www.celebrity-babies.com/ -> I'm not at the point where I'd want a baby yet, but you can't help but oooh and ahhh over all the adorable pictures. When I'm bored at work it's good G-rated material. It also makes me aware that babies are big business. The business student inside of me never realized how much money new parents drop on their youngin's on organic food, special high tech bottles, no slip hair clips for little girls...the list of seemingly unnecessarily commodities boggles the mind. Who knew they even made $900 strollers?

Oh, before I forget to review it, the Everyday Minerals makeup was really good. I don't have like scars or anything, I just want something light to even out some blotchiness and cover up some shininess. They have four formulas of coverage depending on your skin type, which I think is pretty cool since not everyone likes the same level of coverage. I'm combination so I find the semi-matte perfect. And I now realize that you have unlimited free samples (again you have to pay shipping) but the only limitation is that you can only request one free sample kit per order. So even if you don't find your perfect shade right off the bat you can still keep on trying before committing to a full size pot. The samples are actually pretty generous though the pots are small, so it's really difficult to do the "swirl and tap" without getting way too much product but if you have other empty makeup containers it's no inconvenience at all. I don't think it's a miracle product the way all the TV infomercials seem to make it out to be, but it's the best kind of face powder I've tried. I always find makeup to either be too pink or too orange and this actually looks normal. Be forewarned that you will need makeup brushes to apply the product because it doesn't come with any applicators. Thankfully for me Kim got me a makeup brush kit as a gift for me last year so I came prepared.

For someone who doesn't wear makeup regularly I'm very picky about it. I'm a contact wearer, so I cannot tolerate any makeup that irritates my eyes. (As it is cigarette smoke and pollen create more than enough discomfort for my liking.) And I take great pride in good skincare (Vichy) so I refuse to wear anything that will clog my pores and give me breakouts. I'm not blessed with perfect skin; quite the contrary in fact so I am constantly looking for the next great product at a reasonable price.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Nini's Visit & Kim's Apartment

Sunday we went to Ni's BBQ & then I went to Kim's to see her pad. Nini's party was nice; like any Asian get together we were asked to eat every 15 minutes, but it was nice to see her and meet her new beau. His name is Thai and he's actually nice. If I seem surprised in any way it's because the guys that Ni has dated in the past haven't exactly been the kind you'd bring home to mama. Clearly this guy is literally good enough to bring home to show off to her family. I'm happy for her though, he seems like the kind of person who really wants to make her happy and seems very genuine. Given the many late nights that she and I spent in college lamenting about our inability to find anyone to like us let alone date us I'm proud that everything came together in the end.

My fiance had a man-date (say it with me fast...mandate!) with some pals to play WoW so I sent him off with Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies in tow for him and the boys to snack on. I had baked earlier that morning so I'd rather share than try and convince Trevor to single-handedly eat a dozen cookies. I hate staying at home alone so I hung out with Kim. I was supposed to take a tour of her apartment but she was half starved so we went to Carabbas (Ryan's restaurant) for a bite to eat.

I was sooooo full after Nini constantly prodding me to eat something all day I couldn't imagine actually eating dinner, so I had ice cream. And Ryan asked for them to give me some cake too. Since he's manager it's within his ability to boss around waitstaff. The cake was okay; coolwhip and yellow cake isn't going to knock anyone's socks off, but it was good to balance out the vanilla ice cream. I don't think dessert should be too heavy if you've already polished off the main meal. I had the tiramisu when Kim brought us some leftovers to try, but it was missing something for me. I think it needed some more sweetness. It was really really creamy, but it was like eating just whipped cream. It's good, but it just didn't hit the spot.

The problem with being an avid chef is that sometimes your expectation of food is higher than you intend for it to be. Not every meal has to be a culinary masterpiece to be good. Sometimes I feel like a food snob, and my penchance for watching the Food Network all the time certainly doesn't help. I think this is only exacerbated by the fact that I eat like a bird all week long and then when the weekends hit I feel like every calorie I consume better be worth it. lol

I should really get back to the gym. I've let it slip ever since Trevor got back into WoW, but I should really be more motivated to go on my own. My ankle hasn't been acting up the way it used to when I would skip going to the gym. Kind of like my own little built in alarm clock, it told me when I needed to get moving. I think it might actually have healed from the Mechanical Bull incident of February 2007.

So anyway, after dinner with Kim, Ryan and Ryan's sister Dawn we split off. Ryan still had to work and Dawn was tired. So Kim and I went grocery shopping at like...9:30 p.m. The store closes at 10 so we are hauling ass trying to fill up her cart. This is no mean feat since I decided to wear my 5" Guess? shoes and I was trying not to topple over. But we did completely fill Kim's cart and get out in about 20 minutes. I'm sure the other patrons thought we were big weirdos, but we had fun and were giggling the whole time.

I helped Kim put away her groceries. I mostly just took my best guess at where the groceries would most reasonably be placed as Kim had a smoke break. Yeah, for those of you not in the know Kim's fallen off the proverbial smoking wagon. It's kind of sad for me because every one of her new friends are smokers so I'm left in a giant cloud of eye-itching stinky smoke but I'm not her mother. If she wants to smoke it's her prerogative and I refuse to treat her like a little kid. I wouldn't even really mind the smoke so much if it didn't make my eyes go bonkers. I hate driving after hanging out with smokers; I feel like I'm going to inadvertently cause an accident.

Kim's apartment in E. Windsor is nice. It's a pretty generously sized 2 bedroom apartment but considering that both she and Ryan came from homes they're both bringing a ton of stuff with them. Right now everything fits fine, but I'm left slightly confused at how they'll fit Kim's computer desk, Mary Kay inventory and eventually a sleighbed-frame in there. Eh, it's their apartment. I'm sure they'll figure it out. The living room is still very sparse so furniture may find its way out in the common space. If I could fit practically my whole life in a dorm room, well half a dorm room since Emily needed space too, I'm sure Kim will find a way.

She intends to throw a housewarming eventually once her, Ryan and Anya all have a free evening. Considering each of them is a workaholic it may be some time before that eventually comes to fruition. I think between the three of them they have like 6 or 7 jobs. I worked 2 jobs at one time once in my life, and I was really burned out. I can't imagine working as much as they do.

In unfortunate news, Kim's given up her cat now that she's moved into this new place. Kim's former cat, Salem has the kitty equivalent of irritable bowel syndrome. Kim didn't want him to inadvertently poop his pungent kitty innards out on the wall-to-wall carpeting (a truly graphic description...I know) so she decided to give him back to the humane society so they could place him in a home better suited to his medical needs. She actually tried to pawn him off on friends or willing family members first, but no one we know is really in a good place for pets/already has pets/hates cats. Salem is a sweetie, so I'm ultimately sad Kim couldn't place him in a loving home but considering the pace of her life and juggling 3 jobs right now it's probably all for the best that he have a family that can give him more time and love. She actually asked if I wanted to take him, but considering Trevor's unusual hatred of cats I feel as though Salem is much better off at a shelter.

Plus considering my overall issues with allergies I don't know if it's a good idea to add a small furry pet into the mix. I'd probably make poor Trevor vacuum everyday.

It's sad...summer's coming to it's end. I like it much better when it's cool outside, though I guess it's just that feeling like when you're a little kid and you realize it's time for school again and you get the slightest twinge of sadness even though you're happy to be able to see all your friends and you have so much more to do. I'm a nerd...I admit that I really liked school. I know that when you're in school it's cool to be a rebel and say you hate it, but I'm actually so lame that I liked school. I liked it so much I had perfect attendance 3 out of my 4 years of high school. The only reason I missed school that one time was because I was on a college tour and got a headcold because the tour was rained out and we were sloshing around campus for a whole day. So really, I missed school because of my pursuit for more schooling. The lameness knows no bounds!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Wedding in...a box

Sometimes I'm desperate to cook. This particular weekend I felt like making some Thai Chicken Pizza. I got pre-made dough from the grocery store (it doesn't cost more than $1.50 and it's a heck of a lot easier than making it from scratch) and I topped it with garlic, a spicy peanut sauce, shredded carrot, scallion & cooked chicken pieces. In the last five minutes I put on the cheese because I find that when you make it at home the cheese gets burned really easily while you're waiting for the dough to cook. If you're cooking on a pizza stone or something the bottom is warmer than the top so I imagine that's why it's not a problem for professional pizza makers but I simply made due with my biggest cookie sheet and it worked just fine.

I don't like buying kitchen stuff that I won't get to use often or take up a ton of space in my little kitchen. I hope not to get too many kitchen things as shower or wedding gifts since I won't have room to store them. Oh, and to anyone considering it please do NOT get me a "The Joy of Cooking" cookbook because Emily has already expressed that she's getting me one.

And tonight was Tortilla Soup. I haven't made it before, but Trevor's a big fan of it when we go out so I did my best impression of it. I think next time it'd be good to make some cornbread to go along with it to offset the spiciness.

Tomorrow...I don't entirely have a menu planned out, but I've got tons of chicken leftovers to work with. I haven't heard from Nini yet, but I'm sure she's busy getting caught up with her folks. I'll give her a call tomorrow and hopefully the BBQ is still on; it's looking a lot like rain so I wouldn't be too surprised if it got postponed.

Oh and Trevor and I have decided to disclose as little information about our wedding reception as possible. After hearing about Susan's wedding for the better part of a year I had a picture of it that was much bigger and grander than it was. Even though it was a lovely wedding, because I had heard about it well beforehand I was still mildly let down when my imagination painted a much more intricate vision of what the day would be like. I don't want anyone to be let down by the wedding. If anything they should imagine that Trevor and I are getting married in a cardboard box because when the day comes it'll be all the more beautiful. So imagine it now with me...Cardboard Box!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Pedi-Party

I'm one sleepy lady. I should go to bed at like 10 to avoid being a zombie all weekend too.

Anyway...it's been a short work week and suddenly it's already Thursday. Nini's supposed to be coming back home here to CT this weekend since she invited me to go to a BBQ on Sunday at her parents' house. She's dragging along her boyfriend so I'm happy to finally meet him. She'll also get to meet my Trevor at long last. (It's been a long time since I've last seen her...almost three years.) So I'm happy to be able to see her again since all through college I considered her one of my closest friends and I've asked her to be one of my bridesmaids. At this rate I won't see her again until my wedding day. lol

Otherwise there is much laundry to be done this weekend. Oh, and Kim's moving so I might drop in and lend her a hand. Yesterday we had a little pedi-party at Kim's pad in Springfield, which now that I think of it may have been one of the last times I'll be there. Kim & I have done little pedicure get togethers on our own, but this time Viki and Anya came too. I dragged along a few "clubby" shirts that I haven't worn in at least 2 years to see if anyone wanted them. I also took a red dress and a pair of sky-high black wedge lace up sandals. Kim claimed the shoes and dress and Anya took most of the other tops. We promised to do a clothing swap another day since everyone has tons of clothes that are perfectly good but just not worn regularly anymore. I have tons and tons of clothes I don't wear anymore since now that I'm a young professional I simply don't wear half of the cute, but work inappropriate clothes I have.

Ah, to be young, carefree and able to wear teeny tiny tops.

I guess that ever since Trevor and I moved in together our overall desire to go out and dress up has gone way down too. It used to be that every week or two we'd want to go out to the bar. But now it's so much easier to just stay inside and watch movies, browse the plethora of wedding stuff I still need to buy, and cook. To be fair, weddings are expensive...I need to save my pennies in favor of having a more blinged out wedding band. ;) At least I have well placed priorities.

I have a major desire to cook something fun this weekend too. I was thinking maybe whipping up something Thai. I love Thai food, and it's very fresh and healthy feeling, unlike my want for Chicken McNuggets since they keep running commercials about buy one get one nuggets.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Susan's Wedding

The Wedding on Sunday was lovely

Firstly, the weather was beautiful. I somehow found a suitable dress as the last moment. And we got out to the woods without getting lost or being late.

It really came together very well. The ceremony was a little off from the banquet hall and had a lot of tree cover so we didn't have to worry about being fried under the sun. The ceremony was pretty brief, but we clearly paid a lot better attention as a result. lol

The reception hall was very pretty as well. High open ceilings and there was an attached patio for guests to hang out. The patio was a huge hit because everyone was on it much of the night, particularly the smokers.

Susan and Sean looked so happy. Sean in particular seemed to be on cloud nine. The food was...okay. I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there nor was I particularly comfortable since the AC was blasting. I gave up towards the end and wore Trevor's jacket.

The DJ could have been better, but Liza, Dino & Aunt Peggy managed to cut a rug all night long. Aunt Peggy did so even though she somehow injured her foot and was bleeding later in the evening. But even with that it was a very drama free day. I'm really quite surprised how smoothly everything went and how positive the entire day was. Everyone that came truly came to support Susan & Sean.
My contacts were going nuts toward the end so I was very excited about going home, though it was hardly a quiet night inside. My fiance, his brother and his two Boston cousins have a Beirut Beer Pong Tournament and since they were all together for the wedding they decided that evening was the time to do the tournament.

The plan was go to back to our apartment and then do the tournament out on the patio, but due to time flying by, the patio was locked by the time we were ready and we ended up doing it at Kim's house because she's such a kind hostess. The boys also convinced me that I am now part of their family and therefore that I must compete with them.

1.) I don't drink beer. 2.) I have no hand-eye coordination when it comes to throwing things. So I wasn't entirely interested in playing but I got bullied into it. Amazingly enough I beat Trevor, but I felt so bad because he legitimately wanted to win a lot more than I did. I didn't win the whole thing though. Devin did actually.

And since Kim was such a fantastic host to entertain my future family-in law I promised to hang out with her and some of her pals Monday at a nearby lake compound. Viki and Anya were very nice. Not like I thought they would be anything other than nice; they really had a big hand in getting Kim back on track after she had her big breakup with Mat.

We hung out, had some grilled burgers/hot dogs. We laid out on the beach chatting about boys and life. We took a dip though Kim was the only truly courageous one that did more than just sit and soak. Anya's this tiny little thing. She's like 5' tall and petite with white-blond hair and an Eastern European accent. Viki's about my height with strawberry blond hair and very outgoing. And she's practically my neighbor since she's only like four streets away from my apartment. After soaking up a good amount of sun we decided to go to the mall. I bought 2 blazers for work when I didn't think I would buy anything after my shoe blowout from last week. And Kim had what looked like handfuls of stuff since she wanted to take advantage of the Labor day sales. I didn't stick around for all that long at the mall though since Trevor wanted to go to dinner, and I like having dinner with my fiance as often as I can. I clearly see him all the time anyway but I like having that dinner-time routine where we can talk about our day. (I'm lame...I'm okay with it.)

Now I'm totally pooped out. I missed all my usual weekend beauty sleep. lol On the plus side, I did get to try out one of the Everyday Minerals Foundations and it was unbelievable! Where my eye makeup eventually looked faded and smudgy my face looked as though it glowed with healthiness. I really liked the blush, which was very natural looking.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

E.L.F Review

I've heard a little buzz about this makeup line called E.L.F, which stands for Eyes, Lips, Face. A lot of fashion magazines have been mentioning them.

They sell makeup at $1 a pop, which of course is Wet 'n Wild level cheap. I had a coupon code, for an additional 50% off their already cheap prices and I figure it couldn't hurt to give it a go. The discount basically negated the cost of shipping, which is $5. I bought about $10 worth of stuff and I'll review what I got.

-The All over Color stick sucks. I got it in Persimmon & it's way shimmery. It doesn't look pink it all, it just looks silver on your skin. I tossed it almost immediately. Don't even bother considering it. It's not good as a lipstick, shadow or blush.

-Clarifying Pressed Powder is okay. I got tone 2 since I figure I'm not pale as a ghost or Irish and I'm never the darkest shades because while I'm ethnic I'm not the darkest girl I know. They only offer 4 tones so I thought it was pretty straightforward. But unfortunately tone 2 on me looks just a tad too orange. It's also about half the volume of say...CoverGirl's pressed powder compact. But for $1 it's fine, and it'll force you to replace your makeup more regularly. There's no mirror in the compact but it does come with a puff to apply your powder.

-Brightening Eye Liner in Plum. It's okay. I don't think you can really mess up eye liner. On the plus side it comes with it's very own sharpener. I'd say the pencil is about 4 inches long so you'll get a good amount of use out of it.

-The Super Glossy Lipshine w/ SPF 15 is fantastic. I know lipgloss; I buy it all the time and I probably have a dozen tubes littering my car, office, purses and bathroom. It's not sticky, it has a nice sheen and light scent they describe as Grape vanilla. I got it in Watermelon and it's really natural looking pink. If you want color get the darkest shades they offer.

-And I got a custom palette compact. Basically it's an empty compact that you can fill with 4 rounds. You can fill it with any shade of eye shadow, lipstick or blush. I got 3 eye shadows and 1 blush. You only need the tiniest bit of blush or you start looking like a harlot, but I suppose that as long as you have a light hand that it works just fine. Usually I favor bronzer over blush because it looks more natural. The eye shadow is fine, it goes on smooth and has a nice color when it first goes on. It's a little too shimmery for my taste but it does fade a bit so in about 5 minutes you look much less showgirl, but most eye shadows will do that and they won't let you pick your favorite shades. After wearing it all day long I find it stayed on pretty well and didn't crease. For $5, it's a great to have for your purse. Nice full size, but small enough to bring around with you plus you can swap out the rounds when you're done with them and add new ones in. It's all held together magnetically so you can re-use the case and swap out colors easily when you either run out or change your mind about shades.

I hear fantastic things about their brushes and bronzer. They have a ton of applicators and brushes. I got a pack of four powder puffs too since it's always good to replace those regularly. Nothing is animal tested. And they just updated their site with liquid eyeliner that I'd love try out. I highly recommend their lip gloss. Stay away from the Soothing Lip Gloss, it's way too sticky with a weird plastic-y mint smell but I hear good things about the others. I personally love when any product comes with SPF already in it.

I don't think I'll go and replace all my makeup with E.L.F, but I'd say it's on par with like CoverGirl and Revlon cosmetics and a great value for people who don't wear makeup all the time but want a few things for when they go out. It's also great because you don't feel guilty buying a ton of stuff and you can more easily find the shades that work for your coloring. The Custom Compact & the Lip Gloss are tops on my list.