Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Barcelona Adventures Part Tres: Cava & International Dinners

Alright, last Barcelona post, I promise.  Don't pretend like you don't want to read this.  We all want to live in a glorious European country that prides itself on cheap booze and ham sandwiches.  So off we go -- 

After my day of beach strolling and creepily watching old men exercise (I promise I'm mentally stable.  For the most part.  Ok, you're right, even I couldn't type that with a straight face), AW finally arrived from London!  We met virtually years ago through a mutually friend of ours who had studied in England, but I knew from my university in Boston, so it was so great to finally meet in real life! 

After a bumpy start (he missed his flight from London > Barcelona, and then I proceeded to have a panic attack until I was assured that he got another one), we spent Wednesday strolling around the Barri Gòtic, went to Catedral Santa María del Mar and Parc de la Ciutadella.  It was nice, and continued in the theme of relaxing, European wandering. 

I'm not sure what exactly AW is trying to accomplish here,
but I am confident that it was hilarious at the time.
We found some street art on the way to the park.
..and I have the mind of a 13-year-old boy.
Thursday was even better because, yes, there was wine.  Oh, joyous day!  Faithful readers, if you ever get the chance to visit Barcelona, please PLEASE take a day trip to Freixenet.  It takes all of 45 minutes on the train and you get a killer wine tour of the caves for only 6,30€.

That car is in the shape of a wine bottle.
These people know how to start a visit off right.
For those of you who don't know, cava is sparkling wine made in the Penedes region of Cataluña in caves.  HOW COULD I PASS UP THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET DRUNK IN A CAVE?  You're right, I couldn't.  At the end of our tour, they popped open a bottle of bubbly and gave us what appeared to be Ritz crackers, though I felt quite hoity toity eating them whilst sipping on my cava, so I'm convinced they're rich people crackers.  

I basically had to restrain my pinky from
shooting up when I held that glass.
But, wait! There's more after the jump.  (Is the suspense killing you?  I know it is.)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Music Mondays: James Morrison

Currently on repeat on my iPod is James Morrison's new album, The Awakening.  (note:  let's remember that I am a serial repeat-er, as I have probably mentioned.  I can listen to the same song on repeat for over 24 hours without getting tired of it.  It drives everyone insane, but I'm only trying to spread the joy of good music to everyone around me.  Clearly you should be grateful.  Clearly.)

Basically, James Morrison is cute, British, and apparently sounds like Cee Lo Green to everyone except me.  I honestly still don't hear it, but it is entirely possible I have dog hearing, so there's that.  

courtesy of Flickr user Aurora's album
He's got this slow, smooth, raspy voice that is perfect for Sunday afternoon when you're lazing about reading Mindy Kaling's book (as I was doing.  It is SO GOOD.  If you haven't read it yet, do it.  Right now.  Stop reading this. Go.)   

My favorite song from his new album is "I Won't Let You Go" and I have so graciously posted the video below.  I do have to say the video is extremely bizarre, makes no sense, and features a girl laying on the road by herself with a bunch of people staring at her.  I don't understand this.  Who is this girl and why is she laying on the road in lingerie?  Is she trying to reenact scenes from The Notebook without Ryan Gosling?  While I continue to muse on this and avoid doing work, please enjoy his wonderful voice and scruffy face:

Another one of my favorite's from his previous album is "Nothing Ever Hurt Like You."  Eh, voi la -- 

For a sampler of his new album, just click here!  Hopefully he'll put you in a zen mood amidst work stress.  (I know, stress relief at work is a trending theme of mine.  Welcome to the world of shit post-college job.  I try to find any small thing that puts me in a better mood.  This includes mini fruit tarts and Hello Giggles posts.)

What do you think of James Morrison?  Let us know in the comments!

Happy Monday!
-Beetle, xx.  

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Frenzy: CAKE

Happy Friday, friends!  We're (sort of) taking a brief break from the Barcelona posts for this week's Friday Frenzy, brought to you by gluttony and easy recipes.    

This is basically how I look at every meal.
(courtesy of cheezburger.com)
When I was in Barcelona, L taught me how to make tiramisu in the fastest, easiest way I have ever seen in my life.  It requires no baking.  (No, really.)  S & L don't have an oven in their apartment, so this is one of the few cakes L can actually make.  It takes more time for me to write and explain it in this post than it does to actually make it.  

We did have to tweak it a bit, since everything has to be low-fat friendly in my house after my sister's gall bladder surgery.  (Check out her kick ass food blog and follow her on the Twitter machine at @CraftyBelka!)  Here is our final result: 

instant coffee (3 tsp)
Mascarpone cheese (1 box, 227 g)
egg yolk (1)
egg whites (2) 
sugar (4 tsp)
lady fingers (1 pack) -- How old does it make me if I giggle every time I hear the words "lady fingers"?

Step 1:  Make really really strong black coffee.  We put 3 tsp of regular instant coffee in one cup.  Pour it into a wide bowl so it can cool off.

Step 2:  Beat egg whites with electric mixer until they stand up when you lift the mixer out of them.  

Step 3:  In a separate bowl, mix in mascarpone, egg yolk, egg whites, and sugar.  Beat well (either with a spoon or electric mixer) until you have an even, thickish, creamy consistency.  

Step 4: Dip lady fingers one by one in coffee.  Lay them down flat in your tupperware of choice.  Then add one layer of the cream you made in Step 3.  Add one more layer of lady fingers, and another of cream to top it off.  (You can technically alternate and do as many layers of lady fingers/cream as you want, but I think two was more than enough for us.) 

Step 5:  Refrigerate until cold (I know that sounds stupid).  Basically, if you do this in the evening, leave it overnight.  If you do it in the morning, you can eat it probably by the evening.  It just has to be cold.  

Step 6:  Sprinkle some cocoa over it and enjoy!  We used Godiva and it was heavenly.

I can't say no to chocolate and coffee.
Voi la! 
Has this put you in the cooking mood for the weekend?  (or maybe just the vegging mood?  That's fine too.)  Let us know what your favorite dessert recipe is!  

-Beetle, xx.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Barcelona Adventures Part Dos: Montañas y Playa

What's the best way to get over a painful hangover?  Walk up a giant ass mountain of course. The day after our vodka-gin-rum night of death, JMS, L & I decided to go to Montjuïc, a mountain in Barcelona with a castle (I know, we're up to here with fucking castles) and a gorgeous view of the city.  S decided to stay home because he couldn't bare any contact with sunlight after the previous night, and no one really wanted to be photographed considering we all looked (or at least felt) like we just got hit by a very large churro truck.  

So instead I give you lots of scenery photos!  They're nice.  Like them.  
There's that castle.
I know, you're just longing for a bungalow.
Good call on that tanning spot.
View #1 of Barcelona from  Montjuïc 
Pretty impressive, no?
Honestly, it was really nice to go up there, sit, and not think about anything.  I know that NYC has places like the top of the Empire State Building and views from the Brooklyn Bridge, but sometimes, amidst all the hustle, I think it can be pretty difficult to find a place where you can just sit down and be at peace.  Montjuïc was that place for me.  

There was another place too.  Read about it after the jump!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Barcelona Adventures Part Uno: ¡Hola tío!

As promised, I am kicking off Tuesday with a quick whirl around Barcelona!  A ramble down the Ramblas, if you will.  (Yes, I am aware of how terrible that pun is.  I already regret it, but I know you will all still love me, even in this state.)  

First thing to know about Barcelona:
They are so obsessed with their football (soccer) team that
they even have their own brand of chips.   
I should've known that my Barcelona trip would be good (and by good I mean completely absurd) from the very beginning because my flight was quite.. interesting to say the least.  I met a fellow traveler from Mexico who was going to Barcelona for a few hours to pick up his belongings before he went back to school in Switzerland. -- Reasons I love Europe:  You can say things like, "I'm just going to Dublin for the weekend!" -- Everything was great until he started talking about how he was smuggling drugs and then proceeded to tell the person in the seat next to me that I was his girlfriend and asked to sit next to me.  So I ended up spending my entire 7.5 hour flight with him.  

And it was actually pretty great!  We watched movies, he tried to flirt with the very gay flight attendant to get free booze (and sadly failed), and exchanged stories about our respective homelands.  Once we got to Barcelona, he helped me with all my stuff all the way until city center.  (Yay for batting my eyelashes and not having to carry heavy things.  Except RAWR! girl power all the way I totally could have done it myself.  But in the great words of Phoebe Buffay, "Oh, I wish I could, but I don't want to.")   

Once I got to S & L's place, I got to eat the yummiest Spanish lunch ever -- homemade paella.  Yes, I asked for the most typical Spanish dish ever.  Sue me.  That shit is good and you know it.  Shortly after, JMS, who I hadn't seen in 2 years finally came!  I kind of jumped on him like a spider monkey and didn't let go for a while. 

I didn't take a picture of L's paella but this one is equally as good!
(courtesy of Flickr user jlastras)

It was really after lunch that the craziness started.  Read more after the jump!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Teeth Tuesdays

Despite the dental genre of the title of this post, I am not here to talk about oral hygiene or dentistry of any kind. The past couple of years has brought back (or "mainstreamed") the cult worshiping the species known as Vampires. Between Twilight, True Blood, Anne Rice and hundreds (thousands?) more, many sides of vampires have been explored and exhausted. As a veteran Vampire lover I've read many books, watch many movies and TV shows on the subject matter. One current TV show I am obsessing over is Being Human. A lot of people may know this title from the British version and may disagree with me when I say that I will choose the American version over the British one.

First off, here is a little information on the show.

Image courtesy of Imageshack.com
Aidan and Josh have nothing in common other than both working at the Suffolk County Hospital in Boston and being supernatural. Aidan is a vampire who is trying to run from his gory past by converting to bagged blood and working as a Nurse. Josh is a werewolf who ran away from home (and med school... who wouldn't run?) to protect his loved ones from his dangerous and painful transformation every month. Both are striving to be human aka "normal" and decide to help each other out when they know they won't be able to control themselves. They rent out an apartment together to simulate normalcy in their life. Little do they know, Sally the ghost is still living there. The trio battles personal issues and supports each other while discovering how to live with themselves (and not to kill people just because they can).  

In hindsight, Begin Human uses a lot of stereotypical supernatural references except for the fact that Vampires can walk out in sunlight. However I think that this works for the show. This show is funny, and dark. It pushes a realistic view on how supernaturals deal with their situation and shows the irony of trying to be "normal". This is a great show for those of you who like True Blood and shows where people bond over living together (sitcoms). I am definitely looking forward to seeing how Season 2 pans out. Let me know if you like this show or not and why! :) 

The second part of my Teeth post is inspired by the video game Alice: Madness returns. 

Courtesy of a person on Blogspot.com
This is a ps3 videogame that has a similar gameplay to Kingdom hearts. You play Alice as she returns to Wonderland to recover her lost memories only to find Wonderland infested with evil creatures trying to devour her I guess. She is equipped with an awesome butcher knife to cut her way thought these monsters to find all her missing memories... There are also secret keyhole rooms where you will find the pieces of her memories. Oh wait! This IS Kingdom hearts..... lol. Besides the countless similarities to KH, I really like this game. The graphics are nice, not as fancy as the Final fantasy game but good enough that I like to stop and admire the game scene and the new outfits Alice has in a new chapter. If you like KH like gameplay and really like to see a new twist to Alice in Wonderland this is a good game to check out. 

Well that's it for me! I hope you enjoyed this post! Please Leave me comments to show me you care! 

<3 Nibs n Ink

Oh!!! I almost forgot the best part of the Game Alice, She collects Teeth as currency in Wonderland. I guess that's useful since you can just punch out the cashier if you're low on teeth to buy milk. :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Music Mondays: Chambao

Hola mis amores!  

To honor my triumphant return from the land of tapas, cheap alcohol, and fanta de limon (which they do not produce in the United States for some ungodly reason), I have decided to feature Chambao in this week's Music Monday!

courtesy of Flickr user teclasorg
They're this flamenco-y, hippy band from Málaga in the Andalusia region of Spain and they're amazing.  If you're feeling particularly Spanish or stressed out, put them on and just imagine that you're walking the streets of Madrid or eating chocolate con churros without a care in the world.  

A lot of their songs are about nature, love, being free (told you they were a bit hippy) and honestly, after a crappy day at work, they're exactly what I need.  When I listen to them, I imagine myself living on a villa decorated with small white lights at night and drinking Spanish coffee (which is infinitely better than the sludge I drink here).  

Ok, enough of my bizarro fantasies.  Here's my favorite song of there's.  It's called "Mi Primo Juan" ("My Cousin Juan") and it's basically about someone with cancer.  It's pretty depressing, considering the lead singer, La Mari, has also battled breast cancer, but the music is gorgeous.  

Apologies for the random naked lady, but I wanted the studio version and that's it! 

For two more of my favorite Chambao songs, where they collaborated with other artists, read more after the jump!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

W is for Websites.

Happy Wednesday Bloggers! 

But this Wednesday is an important Wednesday. There may be a bunch of you that did not know that today is the day where websites all over a taking a stand against the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The most renowned participant of this 24-hr protest is the website we all know and love, Wikipedia. So if you need to polish your paper (not recommended for the intellectually inclined) for a class, tough luck. 
Where's Wikipedia??

So why should we protest against it? Isn't it supposed to better the society so that the people supported the celebs in music and movie making can earn what they deserve? I agree that entertainment supporters deserve adequate reimbursement for their time and hard work, however Do you really think this bill will stop pirating website that work with torrenting? Those website works on third member sites that is probably not regulated in the United States. Voting for these two acts means giving power to censor the internet to a few people who thinks they know better for everyone in the United States (that's 312,870,807 people... rocket scientists included). Please take into consideration who supports this and who doesn't when re-electing your congressmen. For those of you that wants to be part of this you can contact your local congressperson and senator to tell them why this act cannot be passed. 

TED just released a comprehensive video on why PIPA and SOPA is wrong. Please watch it if you don't really understand the repercussions of passing these two acts.

I thank you in advance!

Please feel free to leave comments on what you think about this protest or if you why you believe that the PIPA and SOPA should/should not be passed!

One another note, W is for Webtoons!!!!

One note-worthy Webtoon for me is Nineteen, Twenty-One by Jenna. 

Courtesy of Webtoons Live! Thanks!

This webtoon is a story of a girl who lost 2 years of her life due to an accident. This incident isolates her from her friends and family. This is a beautifully drawn webtoon that inspires everyone to re-discover their passions and pursue things that really matter to them. I hope everyone enjoy it as much as I do.

WebToons Live also has a wide-range of other webtoons that are equally marvelous! Please let me know which ones you like/dont like.

<3 Nibs n Ink

Typing Dude gif courtesy of AnimatedPlayhouse.com! Thanks!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Boobie Talk Tuesday

After watching Rowan Peeling's hour long Documentary on men's thoughts on their penis size, I've realized that a lot of women have the same thoughts (not about penises of course since females tend to have vaginas) about their breasts. When did size start to matter? People always told me that proportions is what matters the most. It's okay to have small boobs as long as it is in proportion to the rest of you. What constitutes as the perfect proportion? Does meeting the golden ratio (which btw is 1.618 blah blah blah) really increases your beauty? 

As an above-average sized (I'm 5'5"), Asian girl, I speak from experience when I say I know how it feels to have small boobs. I grew up expecting them to pop up someday and I guess they did, but I didn't think it was gonna stop when they did. Now I know better since A is for Asian after all. I apologize for that stupid pun. My boobs aren't exactly a disappointment but rather an expectation misguided by media. I was never a fan of Asian media so I guess I was brainwashed by the gigantic boobies of Hollywood and American culture. However for all those fellow small boobies (SB) out there I would like to say that I have grown to love them. Because seriously, they are very low maintenance. Everything fits and you never have to worry about popping out (like poor Janet). 

Aren't you glad you won't have this problem?
Small boobs also has a lower percentage of sagging. YAY! *dances her happy cow dance*  

One tip I can give to my fellow SBs is to find that one bra that makes you feel amazing in. It doesn't even have to double your size like the liars at Victoria's Secret said the Miracle Bra would do, but make you feel comfortable and give those babies just enough push. For me this is Victoria's Secret's (I know I just called them liars... but they still make good bras...) BioFit Bra. I don't know about other SBs, but too much padding tends to make my bra rise up ALL the time. I spend more time fixing it than enjoying my time in it. The BioFit has very little padding but gives enough support to make my boobies be visible. Please feel free to leave your favorite Bra in the comments below! :) 

I think a lot of the anti-small boobs feelings come from the glorification of big boobs and the belief that adding more fat to your chest means increasing your beauty. And why do we care about our beauty? Well the answer is SEX. I'm not trying to be vulgar but speak the truth. We try to better ourselves physically to attract a mate. The greatest way to increase self-confidence is knowing people are attracted to you. The sexualization (is this a word? w/e i don't care you get what I mean) of boobs is a main cause of why plastic surgeons make so much money on breast augmentations which is ironic because breasts augmentation are know to decrease (erotic) sensitivity in the nipples. I know, I know, as long as the rest of your body works that's okay right? But as a woman you know know that foreplay is 50-70% of achieving an orgasm. So Is it worth it if you can attract a person but not feel as much?

I know not everyone is a nerd like me and read medical papers for fun. So here is a very informational website about BOOBIES! They have a lot of information on sagging and different types of boobs.  

Thanks for reading my ramblings! Please leave me comments on what you think! 

Here's a picture of my sister's adorable pups for your time.

<3 Nibs n Ink

Janet image courtesy of NYdaily news.com. THX!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Music Mondays: Washed Out

Among my friends at Alpaca Clouds & associates, I'm known as the "short Asian hipster," so it comes as no surprise that my first Music Mondays post is on Washed Out, a pioneer of Chillwave, or hipster dance music.

Image from trespassmag.com

Washed Out is the stage name for Ernest Greene who started producing music in his simple bedroom studio with a computer as his main instrument. Graduated with a Master in Library and Information Science degree in 2009, Greene moved back home with his parents in Georgia, searching for work in the day and recording music at night. He went viral on Myspace and eventually was contacted by Mexican Summer, a label based in Brooklyn.

Image from http://musosguide.com

If you watch Portlandia, then you might already know the music. Although I have been watching the show ever since it first came out, I did not google the artist of the opening song until recently. "Feel It All Around" is my favorite song because it really puts me at ease, but I also enjoy "Phone Call" and "Belong."

Whether you like to dance awkwardly in a room full of tight-jean, loose-fitted shirt-clad 20 to 30 somethings, or just want to create the chill ambiance, give Washed Out a listen and maybe you, too, would want to go skinny dipping in a Georgia lake one warm evening. 


Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Frenzy: Globetrotting Alpacas

This week's Friday Frenzy is brought to you by the letter H for hyper because I'M GOING TO BARCELONA, FRIENDS.    

That's right, at 7:05pm today, I will be overcoming the forces of gravity and watching what will probably be a god awful chick flick on my way to the land of tapas and cigarette smoke.  It's going to be legen -- wait for it, and I hope you're not lactose intolerant because the second half of that word is -- DARY.  

After visiting Spain twice, then living there for 6 months and traveling all over that ridiculous country, I'm so excited to be going back and not doing anything touristy.  I'm going to be visiting two of my amazing friends -- S & L -- who pretty much embody my ideal couple.  S is from Azerbaijan and L is from Spain.  They come from entirely different backgrounds, but they merge their cultures and constantly learn from each other.  They work like crazy and spend every penny they save on travel.  They've been to more places than I can even wrap my mind around and I'm so wildly jealous.  I live vicariously through them by stalking their Flat Stanley-esque photos on Facebook.  Judge me. 

They came to the BK for the first time back in October.  Here we are with my sister, RB, during a lunch break from the hell cave:
Clockwise from the left:  Me, RB, L, & S sitting down.
We here at Alpaca Clouds are broke off our asses, but certainly try not to be uncultured swine by zooming to unknown lands when we can.  Click the Read More button below to see where we've ventured!  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Balls. (of stress)

Apologies for the late post, alpaca readers!  I've been running around like a mad woman these past few days preparing for my killah Barcelona trip that I am zooming off to tomorrow!  (P.S. We're having a post all about it coming up so be sure to check back!)

Like most of my ideas, this one started out great and soon turned into a huge stress fest because this inevitably failed to go as I had hoped.  Do they ever?  Negatory.  I'm generally an extremely organized person and I like to be on schedule with my life, so you can imagine the freak out that occurs when things need to be rescheduled.  In this case, I planned as many activities possible to make the most of my short week away from the hell cave, and it turned out that two of them already presented conflicts.  While I do like to have a plan, I'm pretty flexible with moving things around as long as everything gets done.  

The stress beast came out once I found out that one change in plans would wind up excluding a friend who was traveling far distances to see me.  It's not so much the control issue, as that I want everyone to be happy.  This is why I fail at planning parties.  There's that one inevitable drunk girl that takes off her shirt and I'm the one who gets all the evil glares for it.  I'm getting stressed just typing that sentence.   

Usually, if it's something I can control, I deal with my stress by breaking things down into small bit and handling them one at a time.  If it's out of my hands, I get my loyal friends to distract me from thinking about it.  Their advice usually goes something like this: 

(courtesy of maggie123 via imgfave.com)   
My friend Bear recently shared his stress reliever and, despite being an avid lover of the disgusting, pee-ridden sidewalks of my beautiful Brooklyn who fears nature like it's the plague, I actually found it to be quite effective!  It's a little website called RelaxPls and it has rocked my world (in the calmest way possible of course).  

And, of course, when all else fails, there's always the fluffy bunny route: 

(courtesy of Nobody wants me via imgfave.com;
sidebar: the bunnies want you!)
What are your stress-relieving tricks?  

Leave your advice in the comments below and be sure to check back tomorrow for more on Barcelona & traveling!  (Please, you guys.  Our moms are tired of reading this.) 

-Beetle, xx 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Experience Required

Yesterday was a big day for NibsnInk, who had a job interview at her dream company!  After sending lots of good vibes and mental sparkles her way, I got to thinking about my own interview mind set again.  

As you all know, my current place of employment is somewhere between the sixth circle of hell and a Justin Beiber concert on the Beetle Scale of Torture.  (Meaning I'm always job hunting.)  Like every other 20-something who graduated with a liberal arts degree, I have no idea what I'm doing with my life and want to work in non-profits.  Since my cover letters would put people on speed to sleep, if I even get an interview, I do my happy dance.  (You should see it, it's great.  A cross between the Liz Lemon dance and the ballin' little kid in this Aloe Blacc video.)   

Once I actually get the interview, I freak the crap out and go into zombie-mode.  It's like everything in my head filters into the Recycle Bin and I can't even answer the most basic questions.  It goes a little something like this:

Interviewer:  What would you say is your greatest accomplishment? 
Me: Uhh.. mm.. guh... Turtles.  No wait!  I can play the piano.  You're pretty.  I like shiny things. 

(courtesy of  entrepremom.com)
On my last interview, I even took some Valerian for the anxiety, and I still didn't get it.  

Note to self:  Drugging doesn't quell the crazy within me.  (Note to all:  This isn't actually a drug.  They give it to kids to help them sleep.  That's right.  I go balls to the wall, pre-school style.)

Obviously this is a work in progress.  I've been trying to prep questions in advance, practice responses, everything. 

What are your interview practices?  Do you get nervous?  Leave us your comments and tips below!     
-Beetle, xx

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Epic Fail: Beauty Blogging

It may be ironic to blog about how I fantastically failed at blogging, specifically beauty blogging, but I thought why not? I'm WahYizzle.

I don't know when this whole beauty blogging/YouTubing fad started, but I'm guessing it was around 2009-2010 because it seems that's when the first videos were uploaded by the most viewed beauty YouTubers (Michelle Phan, frmheadtotoe, Fleur De Force, etc.). I've always been a late bloomer (B.T.dubs, I'm still late-blooming in the romance area, so hook a girl up), so it is no surprise that I started getting addicted to beauty bloggers only this past summer, when I was escaping my sad reality of unemployment. Mind you, it was not completely impractical because prior to watching these videos religiously, I had no idea how to put on make up, and we all know how crucial it can be in this professional (mother frakkin' superficial ass) world. 

Anyway, my biggest beauty splurge this past year was on the Gareth Pugh x MAC collection. I adore Gareth Pugh and his clothes make me wish I were a tall, dark-haired Goth with porcelain skin (I was a punk/goth wannabe back in high school, but I was too aware of how mainstream this sub-culture truly was). 

Gareth Pugh makes Lisbeth Salander look like a wannabe.
(Photo courtesy of Hautemacabre.com)

I bought Fervent, a "blackened berry" lipstick with a Satin finish, and Strada, a brownish nude blush. I bought products from this collection more because I love the packaging as it's designed by G.P. (even his initials are awesome!). I needed a dark lipstick, so Fervent perfectly satisfied this "need." The only thing is, I did not expect to fall in love with it this much. I have only worn it out once, and I already regret trying it out at home several times before this outing and wasting product. It's dark enough but somehow doesn't look too blue-purple on my olive/medium-tan skin.

It doesn't look like a vibrator like the regular MAC lipsticks, but it's just as sexy!

Of course by the time I decided I should get a back-up even with my limited funds, it was already sold out. I was looking at Sephora's Manic Mat in 04 as a dupe...but Rimmel's collaboration with Kate Moss finally sailed across the ocean blue, and what top model in her right mind would not include such a hard-to-wear, but totally in-trend color of purple in her lipstick line? So I checked it out when I spotted it at Walgreens (the Astor Place location). When I swatched it on my hand, Rimmel's Lasting Finish by Kate in 04 (is four the number for purple?) was a complete dupe for Fervent. 

The packaging is pretty nice for this one too.
Still, without a steady income, I needed to make my purchases wisely. So after a week or two, I finally decided to buy it (It was $6.99 compared to Sephora's $12; this will give me more funds to buy MAC's purple lip liner in Nightmoth). When I got home, they looked very similar on my lips too, but after taking pictures, I realize Kate's 04 has more of a brownish tint and Fervent has more red in it. Although I lean towards Fervent as the more flattering color for me, I think these are so similar that no one will be able to tell. 

The one on top is Fervent and the bottom one is 04. They look almost exactly the same right?
Up close and personal here, but still Fervent on top and 04 on bottom. 

I got so excited about my findings that I completely swerved away from the main anecdote, which by now, just looks like a side comment. Anyway, I had wanted to post this last week, but after I took the pictures of the lipstick colors on my lips, I realized how terrible they looked under the lighting I had in my room! I was going to do it again in the morning, but a) I always wake up late and b) I always have work/errands to run. It is also at that moment that I realized how much more time and patience is required of beauty blogging. Hats off to you, true beauty/fashion bloggers! By the way, my favorites are Frmheadtotoe, Clothesencounter, and Beautycrush. Fashionista804 is great too, but her eye make up can be bit too MAC-ish for me...love her personality and fashion sense though!

BOTTOM LINE: Rimmel's Lasting Finish By Kate Lipstick in 04 ($6.99) is a great dupe for Gareth Pugh x MAC's Fervent ($22). However, if you can get your hands on Fervent, do not hesitate!

Now, I'm gonna peace out to Washed Out's "Feel It All Around" (Can you guess what I'm watching?).


Monday, January 9, 2012

Music Mondays: Alex Goot

If you haven't heard of Alex Goot, you're missing out, friends.  I first learned about him through KurtHugoSchneider's channel, which I follow religiously.  

I have to say I quite like this whole young-people-covering-pop-songs trend that's been going on the past few years.  When I found out Sam Tsui wasn't actually on Glee, I was kind of shocked.  (But now I'm glad since that show's gone to shit.  Sorry, Darren Criss.  I will still probably stalk you on How To Succeed in Business, since you are now technically living in my city.)  

So yes, Alex Goot.  He started off on YouTube in 2007 and now has a butt ton of followers.  He's going on tour and will be stopping by this glorious city of mine (yes, NYC belongs to me in its entirety.  Living at home and sitting in debt is a personal choice) on March 23, 2012.

You can also download three of his songs for free here(hello, poor college grads.  here is your opportunity for free, legal, music!)  

Basically, he's young, he's got plastic glasses, and boy can sing.  He also plays the accordion, so obviously he's a lady killer.    

Look him up on Grooveshark and let him get you through the work day.  My personal favorite is his cover of Wonderwall.  (Oldie, but goodie.  Can you tell I grew up in the 90s?) 

Have a listen and let us know what you think! 

- Beetle, xx.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Frenzy: Puppy Friday

Happy Friday, wonderful readers!  (all 3 of you.)

Aside from the glorious weekend finally arriving, today is especially important because we are kicking off the first Alpaca Clouds Edition of Friday Frenzy!  

To get through days at the windowless hell cave that is my day job, my coworker JD and I started sending each other pictures of cute animals throughout the day to remind us that joy does exist outside of this twilight-zone pit of doom.  This soon evolved into Puppy Friday, which we also continue on the Twitter machine (hashtag #PuppyFriday).  

Here are a few to get us started here on Alpaca Clouds.  Show us some of your favorite in the comments section below, or tweet as us, bros.  (Yes, I just said bros.  It's Friday, I'm allowed to stop thinking.  Shut up and look at the puppies!) 

(courtesy of imgfave.com)
This is how I feel at work.  every.  day.
(courtesy of imgfave.com)
Please.  Just make the work e-mails stop.
(courtesy of imgfave.com)
Look at this freaking baby Corgi and tell me you don't want to squeeze it.
(courtesy of imgfave.com)
This concludes our first Friday Frenzy!  Be sure to post some of your puppy favorites to us too!  There is no such thing as too many puppies.

And now that your mood has been sufficiently lifted, go out and be merry!  (Or buy yo' fine self a drink.  It's 5 o'clock somewhere.)  

Happy Weekend! 
-Beetle, xx

P.S.  Oh yeah, please also follow our blog with Bloglovin!  Come ooon, you know you could use some of our daily badassery in your lives!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I guess New York City is getting sleepy

Apparently something's happening to New York and it's called the Bostonification.  Have you heard of this absurdity?  

I read this article a while ago about how bars in New York are starting to close at 2am because community members are complaining.  Now, I'm hearing about the MTA closing down the 4/5/6 lines from 10pm to 5am.  

Courtesy of Mike_fleming via Flickr

... what.  

News flash, people.  This isn't Boston (as much as I do love the Bean after spending my college years there.)  This city wasn't founded by a bunch of Protestants.  We need our 24-hour subway and, more importantly, WE NEED OUR BOOZE.  We need to be able to get up at 3am when we're feeling depressed, call our friends, and take the train to our favorite bars to get our drink on.   

Without that, there's nothing else separating us from the rest of this country.  And lord knows we're nothing like the rest of this country.

(Yes, I'm aware I'm an obnoxious New Yorker and actually wish this were true.) 

What are your thoughts on this craziness?  Would you mind bars closing earlier and the subway lines running during certain hours only? 

Post your rants below!

-Beetle, xx.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The End of the World and Non-Resolutions

This is by far the best cartoon to represent my views on 2012. 

Courtesy of ozarkangel.com
As much as I love watching all the crazies in Brooklyn freak out about the world exploding in December of this year, I'll take any reason to do all sorts of ridiculous things with the excuse of "I ONLY HAVE 11 MONTHS BEFORE THE EARTH BURNS FROM WITHIN," starting with my trip to Barcelona in less than two weeks.  

Am I packed? Of course not.  Have I even started to pack?  Negatory.  Do I have anything planned?  Sort of (but that's because I do have some OCD in me and can't go entirely unprepared or else I'll have a seizure next to a churros stand and no one needs to see that.  They think Americans are uncultured enough without me confirming that stereotype for them.) 

In any case, I wanted to talk about resolutions and how I hate setting them.  As much as I love wearing sparkly dresses and drinking champagne at midnight, I don't think anyone should save goals for this one specific day.  You are the only one in control of your life, and if you want to make a change, then make it damn it!  The fact that it's January 1 doesn't magically change anything.  You make changes when you need to.  

So in the spirit of non-resolutions, here are some of my ongoing goals, which I have been working towards for forever now and I hope to actually achieve this year: 

-  First and foremost, FIND A NEW JOB.  

My current place of work is the bane of my existence, as I've mentioned over and over again.  I've been sending out cover letters like a madwoman, and yet still no luck, so here's to hoping I actually get out of that hell hole sooner rather than later. 

- Move out of my apartment.

Thanks to this booming economy and my student loan debt, I'm still living with Mama and Papa Beetle.  As much as I complain, though, living at home post-college is quite possibly the smartest financial decision that anyone (with or without debt) can make.  I've been working so hard to over-pay my loans and my minimum payments have FINALLY gone down to an affordable amount after a year of giving away my paychecks to these evil people.  I'm so ready to move into my little cardboard box in Brooklyn with my friends and my Bazinga lunchbox.  

Honestly, that's pretty much it for now.  This job hunt is basically taking over since my current place of employment is ruining my life.  I can't complain about too much because my friends and family are amazing, krav maga gives me an outlet to beat the shit out of pads and release stress, and happy hour continues to exist.    

Speaking of that.. I think it's time for a drink.  

Until next time! 

Beetle out. xx