Wednesday, April 23, 2014

LORAC Rockin' Red Hot Lip Gloss Collection

Before I left India, the only cosmetics brand I properly knew about was Lakme. I faintly remember hearing about Avon, Elle, Maybelline and Revlon. But I had absolutely no idea that cosmetics are widely categorized as drugstore and high-end brands. Since last Christmas, I have been binge watching thousands of beauty videos in YouTube and educating myself about so many wonderful brands. Like every other girl, I want to pamper myself and buying one or two high-end product definitely gives me that feeling.

This "Rockin' Red Hot Lip Gloss Collection" from LORAC was in fact the very first high-end product I bought for myself. LORAC is the cosmetics brand by celebrity makeup artist Carol Shaw. [Fun fact: Lorac is CAROL spelled backwards, pretty clever idea to name your own brand, if you ask me :)]. I picked this kit from Kohl's just after Black Friday. It was just $27 for 6 full-size lip glosses, I am not 100% sure about their regular price, but I can definitely tell its an awesome value kit. This kit was also available in ULTA and Kohl's for quite a few weeks after the holiday season. And I guess I have already mentioned that I love me some good value kits, definitely a very good way to try out new products. Naturally, I had to pick up this kit :)

This is a 6-piece lop gloss collection housed in a fierce red cardboard packaging , nothing special about it though! But the packaging of the actual tube is really really pretty and elegant. The cap of the tube is adorned with tiny rhino stones which definitely goes very well with the holiday feeling. Apart from the super affordable price, this cute packaging made me buy the kit.

I am however, not very impressed with the product. I like the color range it offers. It has everything from nude to coral to deep shades like fuchsia and violet. As described in the packaging, the glosses are paraben-free, definitely a good thing. The texture of the gloss is very very sticky. I really don't like my hair sticking up on the lips whenever I apply these glosses. There is a faint smell as well, but for me, its not overpowering. The staying power is also quite satisfactory, for me it stayed up to 3-4 hours on me without any drinking or eating activity. Besides all its qualities, personally the stickiness that comes with it makes me kind of unhappy about the product. If that is something that does not bother you, you will definitely enjoy these glosses. And yeah, not a big fan of the brush applicator.

Rock It: Described as a coral shade, it also has some shimmer on it. Its a lovely shade plus the shimmer comes out very very subtle once you apply it. I like that.
You Rock: It is described as plum shade with similar kind of shimmer. I really like this color, especially for everyday wear. 
Rock On: It is a pretty pink color with tiny shimmer. Nice color.

Rock n' Roll: It is described as a pink nude, but on me it appears as a very ashy nude color. It also has the same kind of shimmers.
Easy Rock: It is described as a fuchsia color, however it is not very opaque or much pigmented. Hence it shows up like a light pink color on me. And yeah, this does not have any shimmer in it.
Rock Star: Described as exclusive violet, this shade looks really deep and dark on the tube. But when I apply, I don't get as much pigmentation as I would have expected from the color. This is also shimmer less as Easy Rock.

So here are my quick takes
  • Awesome value.
  • Adorable packaging of the tube.
  • Good range of color.
  • Very very sticky texture.
  • Does not show up as pigmented as I had hoped.
  • The colors when applied, does not look much different from each other :(
  • Not a fan of the brush applicator.

Despite not being overly impressed with these glosses, I have been getting quite a lot usage from them. I mostly use them on top of my not so wearable nude lipsticks, just to cancel out the ashy looks from those colors. I often pack one of these glosses whenever I am travelling for work. Great for bringing out some brightness to the lips especially if your work or study environment does not allow much use of bright colors. I also think they will be great stocking stuffers. I can also mix one of these glosses with few other beauty items and I know it will make a great gift for my cousins or friends whenever I am visiting India for my next vacation.

Hope it was helpful :)


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

::: তিল দিয়া কুকুৰাৰ মাংস (Sesame Chicken) :::

If you happen to browse through my first food related post, you already know that I am always after easy-to-cook recipes. Plus, I am not a very versatile cook. Because of my work and lifestyle, I am kind of compelled to eat outside for most of the time. And so, whenever I cook, I tend to favor recipes of Assamese cuisines that reminds me of my childhood. It is kind of my way to deal with the fact that I miss home and my mom's awesome cooking.

Sesame seeds are very popular in Assam and are widely used in our cooking. I remember my mother spicing up a monotonous everyday meal with a simple sesame chutney made with garlic, chilies and tiny drops of mustard oil. As I have heard from my elder generation, sesame seed helps in maintaining jet black color of hair, if you prefer black as your hair color :),  as well as nourishing them. The same sesame paste can also be used to flavor up a simple chicken curry

I don't remember having this specific delicacy very often back home in India. Recently one of my very adorable friend prepared this recipe one day for a dinner invitation. It was just too good to taste this flavor after so many years. I was immediately intrigued , because, like me, she also prefers recipes that require less time and effort. A big thanks to her for sharing the recipe.

So here it goes

Ingredients: Chicken, Sesame Seed, Red Chili, Bay Leaves, Pas Furon (five spices mix), Garlic, Cumin Powder, Coriander Powder (Optional), Turmeric Powder, Salt, Chili, Ginger, Garlic, Onion, Big Pieces of Potato (optional)

1. Make a paste of ginger and garlic. Chop some onions.
2. Heat mustard oil in a wok (you can replace mustard with any other oil of your preference, but I like the authentic flavour of mustard oil). Add dry red chilies, bay leaves, pas furon and chopped onions.
3. After 2-3 minutes, add the garlic-ginger paste, chillies, turmeric powder, cumin powder, and coriander powder if you like. I am not much fan of coriander powder, so I always skip it :). One key aspect of this recipe is the absence of Garam Masala which is almost a must have in any chicken curries. I believe the flavour of both sesame seed and Garam Masala will be clashing.
4. Add chicken pieces, potatoes and salt.
5. After the chicken is almost cooked, add the sesame paste. Stir till you feel the paste is cooked.
6. Add water per your required consistency. I like it to be a little thick.
7. Serve with rice or naan.

I am not very rigid about ingredient measurement while cooking. For me, cooking is an experiment with trial and error method. This is the first time I cooked Sesame Chicken. When finished, I realized that I put a little too many spoons of the paste and hence the sesame flavour came out a little bit overpowering. But that happens with experiments :) The bottom line is, you should be a little bit careful about the ratio of chicken to sesame paste. I think 3 teaspoons for 1/2 KG (i.e. 1.1 lb) of chicken should be good.

Hope you all enjoyed an easy-to-cook yet flavourful dish from my home state of Assam, a very beautiful place in north-east India.