Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Alcoa Building, Pittsburgh

How I discovered it: I grew up in Pittsburgh and my father worked here.

What they say: "The ALCOA building was built from 1951-1953 as the corporate headquarters for the Aluminum Company of America. It is an internationally known example for a post-World War II International Style corporate tower by the architectural firm of Harrison and Abramovitz. Aluminum is used throughout the skyscraper to promote ALCOA's product." - Library of Congress

What I Say: When I was a kid, it was such a treat to visit my dad at his downtown office! Going downtown meant taking a trolley car from my suburban home - so much fun! I really don't remember thinking much about the building when I was little, other than that it seemed the highest of high skyscrapers (30-story - a tiddler these days!), but now, as an adult (and a fervent retro-modernist!), I absolutely love it!

In 1953 it must have been considered BREATHtakingly modern - particularly that beautiful, sweeping entrance. I love that the building is clad in aluminum - Alcoa's main product (reminds me a bit of the industrial glamour of Rearden Metal in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged).

I'm so pleased that they recently renovated Mellon Square (on which the building sits) and hope they will always preserve this building as a beautiful example of mid-century modern design.

The verdict: Lorelei loves it!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Frozen Herbs

How I discovered it: I’ve seen them in freezer cabinets over the years, but the ones that finally tempted me were in shiny, jewel-like bags, which appealed to the magpie in me. 

What they say: “Frozen within hours for freshness...” 

What I Say: There’s no getting around it. I am lazy. I like cooking, but the less prep I have to do, the better. But for years I bought bunches of fresh coriander, parsley and basil (I’m not that keen on dried herbs), washed it, dried it, chopped it, used a tablespoon in a recipe, then threw the rest away two weeks later when I discovered it all slimy at the back of the fridge. Then I saw these gorgeous foil bags of frozen herbs at Waitrose, and my life was changed! I started with the basics, which for me means coriander, garlic and jalapeno. It was great to just whip herbs out of the freezer and have them ready-chopped. I even use them frozen in salads – they’re chopped so finely, they thaw really quickly. It makes life so easy! I like these from Waitrose, but most supermarkets do them.

At around £1.49 a pack there’s no doubt you’re paying for convenience, but I think it works out a lot cheaper in the long run as there is no waste. Once you try them, I doubt you’ll go back!

The verdict: Lorelei loves it!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Benefit “They’re Real” mascara

How I discovered it: Cruising Twitter one night, I saw that one of my tweeps (I’m so sorry; I can’t remember who it was!) was trying a new mascara and posting photos of her progress. One look at her before and after when she used this mascara ensured I bought some the very next day!

What they say: “Lengthens, curls, volumizes, lifts & separates. Our jet black, long-wearing formula won’t smudge or dry out. A specially designed brush reveals lashes you never knew you had!” 

What I Say: I love this mascara – and when three people on different occasions asked if I were wearing lash extensions, I knew I had to blog about it! It gives great,dramatic lashes and is very black. I’m a contact lens wearer, and it doesn’t give me any trouble at all.

What could be improved: The application, in my opinion, is not straightforward. If you put it on straight from the tube, you’ll probably end up with gloppy lashes – but here’s the trick that worked for me (after a bit of trial and error). Always wipe the excess off the brush with a tissue before applying. Really wipe it. Then brush it on, wiggling the brush side-to-side for all you’re worth! I usually do two coats, applied quickly – coat one eye, then the other, then repeat. There’s no need to ‘refresh’ the wand in the tube. There is plenty on a wiped-off brush to do two coats on both upper and lower lashes. 

At £19.50/$23.00 (in the States they also do a mini-size that’s around $10), it’s not the cheapest mascara around (and I’m actually a fan of cheap mascara!), but I think it’s one of the best ones I’ve tried.

The verdict: Lorelei loves it!

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

bareMinerals Advanced Protection SPF20 Moisturiser

How I discovered it: I’m a huge fan of bareMinerals make up from Bare Escentuals – no doubt I’ll be loving it in future blogs – and as we had a heatwave (which in the UK means anything over 70 degrees for more than 2 days in a row) recently, I thought I’d better slap on some sunscreen. 

What they say: “[T]his extra-gentle moisturiser provides powerful SPF 20 protection against the sun's harmful rays. Powered by our proprietary ActiveSoilTM Complex, this light, silky cream delivers essential antioxidants and nutritive minerals to help defend against environmental stressors for soft, smooth, healthy-looking skin.” 

What I Say: This is a fantastic, lightweight moisturiser with a pretty good degree of protection. It comes in clear or ‘sheer tint’. I love the tinted one, but it’s a little bit dark for me. I still use it though – I just mix it half and half with the un-tinted one. It boosts my skin a little on those days I don’t want to wear makeup. The moisturiser comes in two formulations: ‘Combination’ and ‘Normal to Dry’. I prefer Combination for these sweaty summer days as it’s lighter, but the Normal to Dry is great in winter (yes, it will be here sooner than you think) when you need a bit of a moisture boost.

At $30/£27 for 1.7oz/50mls it isn’t cheap (especially in the UK!) – but I use it every day and so far my two containers have lasted for months!

The verdict: Lorelei loves it!

Monday, 27 May 2013

Those who serve our country...

How I discovered it: It was always there - the final Monday of every May when I was growing up.

What they say:Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday. It is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.” 

What I Say: When I was young, Memorial Day was all about family, barbecues, and playing games in the yard with my cousins. But now that I am older, I understand its true meaning – and am glad for the chance to express my gratitude to those in the military for the sacrifices they have made.

The photo is of my brave father-in-law, who died in service to his country.

The verdict: Lorelei loves you and thanks you.