Saturday, January 24, 2015

Get the [Nail] Look: Flower Tips

So lately I've taken to Pintrest for nail look ideas and I came across this one that I was absolutely in love with this one nail look (shown below) that I kept seeing on literally everyone's board!
I loved this look so much that I decided to try and recreate it. I couldn't find the right pink, and I still can't! So if you know what polish looks similar to the pink in that picture, PLEASE let me know down in the comments below because I literally spent an hour searching up very pastel pink nail polish and swatch trying to find the perfect color. I ended up giving up because I couldn't find any color close enough and just stuck to a very light pastel pink that I had. It's a bit too light for my liking but I'm pretty happy with the end result!

I used the following nail polishes (shown in order from left to right):
-Sinful Colors Nail Polish in Easy Going
-Essie Nail Color in Mojito Madness
-Revlon Colorstay Nail Enamel in Cafe Pink
-Orly White French Tips Nail Polish
-Essie Nail Color in Camera (discontinued)

Although the bright red nail polish by Essie is discontinued, you can use any sort of red-pink nail polish that would blend well with the pink. Or you can totally make this look your own and choose a different flower color like yellow roses or even blue roses if you're feeling creative ;D
1. Paint base coat with Easy Going by Sinful Colors. This polish can be pretty streaky so you need at least two if not three coats. Wait for it to completely dry. Be patient!
2. On a scratch piece of paper, put a drop of the white (Orly French Tips), pink (Revlon Cafe Pink), and red-pink nail polish (Essie Camera) so that they're all touching. Using a rounded tip (ie. a dotting tool or the knob of a bobby pin), swirl right in the middle where all the colors meet so that your rounded tip has a bit of all colors.
3. In a C or circular shaped motion, start drawing the first petal of your rose. Continue on going towards the center. Paint about three roses per nail. (Try not to crowd them as much as I did so leave some extra space in between). Let dry.
4. Add the leaves! Using a green polish (Essie Mojito Madness) and a tooth pick, create leaf like structures.
5. Let it all sit a bit before adding a top coat. I used Seche Vite as usual which works for not completely dried polish but it depends on what top coat you are using. Be careful that your design isn't so wet that it smears when you add the top coat.
6. Finished~! Make sure to take a picture for instagram and tag me (@creamydinner) ^__^

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Good Eats - Hong Kong Edition - BBQ Military (Ep. 7)

It's been a while since my last Good Eats post, but I thought I should share a few more of the places I went to when I was in Hong Kong over the summer. BBQ Military is a Korean barbeque restaurant that, well as the name implies, has a theme centering on the military. Their waiting area chairs are cameo print (see above picture), their servers dress in military uniform, and they even have a mini shooting range with BB guns! You have to be over the age of 18 to use the BB gun but it's totally free and pretty fun. BBQ Military is also owned by the same owners of BBQ 7080, another Korean barbeque restaurant that is also just as popular as BBQ Military. I think there are also a few more branches of 7080 around Hong Kong so it's a bit easier to find.
BBQ Military is pretty popular so if you want to get a table, I would definitely suggest going before peak hours (ie. before 7 PM and even then might be cutting it close) or calling in to make a reservation. If you go in during their busy hours, they might not have any room and all their tables could be reserved meaning your chances of getting a table are slim and only possible if someone doesn't show up for their reservation or cancels. I like the style and concept of the restaurant and it's pretty cool, their seats are like stools but you can pop off the top and stuff your belongings in it making for easy storage and safe keeping. The restaurant does get pretty crowded but that's with most Hong Kong restaurants as space is limited. Your table will definitely get a bit crowded, but it's all good :)
All the tables come with a circular cooking tray in the middle and you usually have one waiter dedicated to you who will help serve and cook your food. I really liked the service because most Hong Kong restaurants don't focus on service and can treat you pretty badly (ie. they just want to get you in and out as quickly as possible). Here, the server really is attentive and they're super helpful. I did go to the 7080 in Tsim Sha Tsui and our server was amazing. I accidentally spilled my tea (they give really good Korean tea!) and she immediately was there with tissues and napkins to help wipe it all up. The server also frequently changes your cooking stove so it doesn't get too oily or covered in burnt food and they also give you a ton of lettuce and mint leaves to wrap your meat in. They also start off by giving you a tray of banchan (Korean starter dishes) which is super good. It comes with kimchi, japchae, cold tofu in some sort of really good sauce, and cabbage in a sort of wasabi paste which I personally don't like wasabi so I didn't care for it much.
I'll admit that the place isn't insanely cheap but it's also not crazy expensive. You get a good portion for what you pay and the meat is reallyy good. Their menu comes in Chinese and English which is great for tourists like me and pictures too ;D I know most people like pork belly but I personally find it too fatty, but if you're into that, then I would definitely recommend it. My favorite dish was the Gwangyang Bulgogi (marinated grilled beef), beef brisket, and some other beef thing that I can't remember what it was called but it was SO good. In the picture below, it's the meat that's rolled up with little hashmarks on the top right corner with the two white circular blobs (those are two slices of mushroom haha).
Overall I would highly recommend BBQ Military if you're looking for good Korean BBQ in Hong Kong. They have really great food and the service is great which is a nice change from the normal usual service you see around Asia. Plus I'm a sucker for Korean BBQ so I really enjoyed going here :) Let me know if you check this place out and what you liked the best!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Simple 3 Color Winter Nails

Because my exams are finally over, I've been able to paint my nails and oh my, how I've missed this simple luxury. Please don't mind the dryness of my nails (yes I know extremely unflattering but the winter cold air has left in moisture) and focus on the design instead ;D I took my inspiration from a design I saw on Pinterest but switched the colors around . I like the mix of the emerald green and silver. It's a bit festive and actually would have been more perfect before Christmas but nevertheless, I think this is still perfect for the winter weather. My nail painting skills are a bit rusty, having not painted them for so long now, but this look was so simple and easy to do that it was pretty foolproof.

The three nail polishes I used were:
-Revlon Matte Suede in Emerald City
-Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in Showtime (I think this is discontinued which is a shame because it's so pretty and I've used it for so long)
-Orly French Tip (I really need another white nail polish because this one is getting goopy!)

The overall nail look was really quick and easy to do. I hope to be doing more nail designs in my free time so please look forward to those and send me any styles or designs you want me to attempt (easy ones please haha!)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

My Experience with Printerpix

If you have parents like mine who never seem to want anything other than "you getting good grades", you'll know that finding them gifts is always a struggle. However, two years ago, I saw a deal on Living Social (a site that offers deals or coupons which often allow you to buy a gift card for less than its value - ie. buy a $50 dollar gift card for a restaurant for only $10) for VistaPrint, a company that specializes in personalized printed items such as calendars, cups, mugs, shirts, etc. I ended up getting a calendar filled with family pictures for my parents and they absolutely loved it. Last year, I made a family book with pictures from our family trips all the way back in the 1990's when I was a kid and they loved that too. So this year, sticking with the whole family memories tradition, I decided to get another calendar for which I had seen a deal on Living Social from the company, Printerpix. Now I've always trusted that the sites Living Social offers deals to are legit and what not (trusted meaning I never even stopped to consider that the sites wouldn't be reputable because I always assumed like if Living Social is legit, their deals should be fine right?), but after some of the problems I had with Printerpix, I went online and on Yelp the company have an absolutely awful rating. However, I'm not going to completely bash Printerpix and I just want to give you my whole experience and honest opinion about them so hear me out if you will.

Knowing that Christmas time always gets busy, I decided to make the calendar ahead of time and placed my order on November 15th. I would have placed my order earlier but I had difficulties working with the calendar creating page and of course school got in the way. If I were to compare the online program/site to the one VistaPrint has for their calendars, I would definitely say VistaPrint is way better. The zoom function from Printerpix's program is super annoying and it often lags (no, this is not a problem with my computer!). Some of the positive things though are that it does have background designs for you to choose from, you can add in your own personal holidays (ie. birthdays) onto the calendar, there are stickers that you can add to decorate the calendar (though they can be a little tacky), and it lets you know if you picture quality isn't high enough to guarantee a clear image when printed. You can also upload pictures from multiple sources like Facebook, your computer, and other media sites. Once I completed my order, I received a confirmation email stating that my order had been received and that I would be sent another email with the tracking ID once it was shipped.

Now all that was done by November 15th. Fast forward to around the first week of December when I realize.. hm I still haven't gotten my calendar. I check my email - no email from them regarding shipment. I check the website - my order status says 0% .. what?! I call them and it takes a while to get through but finally I get connected with a customer service representative who informs me that my calendar has been shipped but the "website isn't updating for some reason" and gives me the tracking information. Now first off, if they know that the website isn't working, I think it would be nice if they sent out an email or at least informed their customers of this because it's quite concerning seeing that my order is at 0% when it's been almost over a month. Furthermore, I never received an email with the tracking information which I'm not sure if that's linked to the website issue or not but they DEFINITELY should let customers know then because then how are we supposed to know to expect our order and when to, right? Luckily for me, the customer representative that I was speaking to was very nice and helped me look up my tracking ID which they had sent via USPS and low and behold, for some reason it had arrived at location near/very close to my address but then somehow went off to the city next to it and then "departed the USPS facility" and just never was scanned again. So the Printerpix lady told me to contact the USPS to see if they could find out where it was and if they couldn't help me, to call back again and she would send me a new copy.

Getting a hold of the USPS was another long wait but I managed to talk to a customer service representative and he (supposedly) opened up a case for me to track my package and said someone would contact me within 48 hours but no one did so I contacted Printerpix again (by then it was the second week of December) and the person who I explained my situation too was great and helped send out a new order request for my calendar in no time. However, I forgot to ask them to change the shipping address because by the time it arrived, I would be back home for the holiday break and obviously wouldn't be able to give it to my parents then. Within a week (not sure why it took so long), I received an email with the tracking ID for my reprinted calendar and was able to track that over my winter holiday break at home. It arrived in about 5 business days (right on Christmas eve actually) but I wasn't able to retrieve it until January 4th when I came back to my college apartment. I was a bit displeased because I found my calendar shoved into our tiny apartment mailboxes when I expected it to be left outside our doorstep like most larger packages or in the office. The reason why it was even able to fit into the tiny 4" by 8" box was because the cardboard packaging was thin and flimsy and barely sturdier than the card-stock the calendar was made out of. I was super disappointed about this because after about 2 weeks of being shoved up in that tiny mailbox, my calendar was curled up almost permanently. Since then (so for about a week now), I have put my heavier textbooks/flat objects on top of it in hopes that it will flatten out with no permanent wrinkles or folds. I sent an email complaint to Printerpix and have yet to receive a response but am definitely upset and annoyed at the poor packaging. Although I may have paid for my calendar using a Living Social deal, the calendar normally costs $20 if I remember correctly (if not more) which completely does not justify such poor effort put into the packaging.

Regarding the calendar itself, I was also a little disappointed to find that it was double sided meaning that it goes to January to June I think and then you have to flip the calendar over and on the backside you go from July to December. I'm all for being eco friendly and all but something about that bothered me. I'm not sure if they list that in the calendar description on their webpage but I do feel just a little cheated/disappointed in the quality of the calendar. Nevertheless, one good aspect is that because it's a wall calendar (or at least the one I ordered), it comes with a hole at the top to pin it up and the wire that holds the pages together sort of bumps up in the middle so you could hang it on a pushpin/tack in the wall. I do wish they would give you the option of choosing a landscape or portrait calendar however because they only give you the portrait option for the wall calendar.

So overall my thoughts would be... no I do not recommend this company. I do appreciate the professional and friendly customer service because they did seem earnest in helping me out (as of late I've been having great experiences with customer service like with AT&T and the USPS, it's surprising but refreshing). The downsides are that I feel like this company has a lot of problems (on there webpage they have a specific link to direct you if you have complaints! Like if they actually have that.. I feel like they must get quite a lot of complaints) as my experience showed with their webpage, email miscommunication, shipping issues (though I suppose that might not be their fault, I don't feel like USPS is that reliable and would prefer another carrier), and also delay in email response. They say they'll get back to you within 24 hours but the multiple times I've emailed them, it has always taken more than 24 hours if not no response at all. At least I've gotten my calendar in the end, albeit after Christmas so I'll have to give it to my parents the next time I see them, but do be wary if you plan on purchasing any merchandise from this company. Let me know in the comments if you've had any experience with this company and if so, was it good or bad?!

Edit (2/26/15): I sent my complaint email about the condition I received my calendar in on January 5th. On January 27th, I received an apology from their customer service and an arrangement for another calendar to be sent to me. Now if this had been something more urgent or a present for someone other than my parents I definitely would have been a bit more upset at the super late response (3 weeks?! Really?!). But because I had managed to flatten out my calendar to a somewhat presentable state and given it to my parents, I wasn't too bothered. I would like to mention that even my mom thought the quality of the calendar was pretty bad in both the picture quality and just overall look/design/material. On February 16th, I received an email confirming the shipment of my order and received it on February 20th so at least I got the package in a decently timely manner. The packaging was still this pretty thin cardboard material but at least this time the mailman (or woman) left it on my doorstep and not crumpled up in the tiny PO boxes that apartment complexes have for normal mail (as it was for my first order).  I do appreciate PrinterPix shipping me another calendar and trying to make up for the poor condition I received my calendar in so points for that and I do think their customer service tries hard to make up for their companies faults, but I do not think that excuses the company for poor quality products.