Chrissie Dines Out: Sushi

Welcome to my first post of my new restaurant review series: Chrissie Dines Out! In today’s post, I’ll be sharing with you some recent eateries of my favorite cuisine – SUSHI!!

The NYC dining out life has really transformed and has been totally giving off that European outdoor dining vibes. Restaurants have come up with some really pretty and interesting dining experiences and honestly, I’m kinda liking it. Granted, the reason why outdoor dining is a thing right now is because of Covid-19, but I mean, hey – let’s make lemonade out of lemons!

Mido Japanese
Located on the Upper West Side, this place hands down has the best price for sushi lunch. The entire lunch menu is $12 and there’s even 50% off all beer and wine. YUMMMM! You have an option of 3 rolls, a Sushi Set (6Pcs Sushi & Salmon Avocado Roll), a Sashimi Set (12Pcs Sashimi & side of rice), or a Sushi & Sashimi Set (3Pcs Sushi, 6Pcs Sashimi & Salmon Avocado Roll) for $12 each! If you’re not a fan of raw fish, no worries – this place has got you covered with their Teriyaki or Tempura Bento Boxes.

I ordered the Sushi & Sashimi set and paired that with a cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc. The meal was truly delectable and I would 100% go back to try out their dinner options.

Sushi Sen-nin
This lovely restaurant is located in Midtown right near Herald Square and has the most yummy drinks that goes great with their fresh sushi. The sushi rolls prices can range between moderate to pricey, but I believe the quality of the fish totally makes it worth it. Their drinks here are also phenomenal – I had their seasonal summer moscato sangria!

Despite being situated in Midtown Manhattan, there are plenty of tables for outdoor dining and the decorations are beyond cute. The planters contain actual basil and mint – how cute and organic!

Zurutto
Situated on the Upper West Side, this eatery is famous for its ramen and gyoza. While I did have a bite of ramen from my friend’s bowl (the soup is super rich), I’m here to share with you their classic tuna poke.

They unfortunately do not have a lunch special, but I would say the prices are moderately priced for an Upper West Side location. They gave me plenty of fresh tuna pieces, along with some other toppings. It’s a classic dish and the perfect meal to stay cool while eating on a hot summer day.

Xoxo, Chrissie Carly

So tell me, where have been some local sushi restaurants you’ve been to recently?
Comment below on some of your favorite NYC restaurants!

Skincare Sundays: Self-tanning and Body Scrubs

Summer during a pandemic has been slightly different this year. Normally, I would be spending my days outside in the city and going to the beach to work on my seasonal summer tan. This year, I’ve had to resort to other means for self-tanning: Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning drops (Light – Sun-Kissed Glow)!!

Now I’m no expert is self tanning since I’ve only tried one other self tanning product – Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer, but…between the two, I am totally in love with the Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning drops.

Jergens vs Isle of Paradise Reviews

  • Application
    Jergens is very easy to apply since it comes as a lotion. You simply just need to put some product in your hand and rub it on your skin and all over your body. To apply on the face, it is recommended to purchase the Jergens Natural Glow Face Moisturizer. When applying the lotion, I did not use any tanning mittens – all I had to do after was simply rinse my hands after applying.
    Isle of Paradise definitely requires more steps to apply. The drops need to be mixed in with your moisturizer and then applied all over the body with a tanning mitten. You can certainly apply it with your hands, but I prefer using the **St. Tropez tanning mittens since this self tanning product will definitely stain your hands. These drops can also be applied to the face – just mix it in with your face moisturizer. Additionally, I like to use the Real Techniques Body Buffing Brush when applying on the face and neck to get an even tanning glow.
    **Side note: I did purchase and use the Isle of Paradise tanning mitten, but after 3 uses, the seams started to split. So unfortunately, I do not recommend purchasing their tanning mitten.
  • Scent
    Jergens had a very strong scent and while it wasn’t awful, smelling that all night gave me a headache.
    Isle of Paradise did not have any scent. The only scent I picked up was the aloe vera scent from my moisturizer.
  • Tanning Glow
    Jergens gives a more subtle and gradual glow. I had to apply the moisturizer everyday for a week before I saw any difference on my skin, and even then, the tan was very subtle. I will say though, I did purchase the fair to medium tone so that could be a reason why I was not seeing much of a tan.
    Isle of Paradise gives a quicker tan – develops within 4-6 hours and the tan is definitely more visible. I like applying the tan at night and then waking up in the morning to a beautiful sun-kissed glow. The tan for me usually lasts about 4-5 days before I need to exfoliate and reapply. I have noticed however, after 3 weeks of using this self-tanner, my tan did stay longer even after exfoliating. I will note though, that I was spending more time outside so I was also getting a more natural tan.
  • Price
    Jergens is your classic affordable drugstore product – retailing at $2.99 at Walgreens. You can find this product at any Duane Reade, Walgreens, CVS, Target, etc.
    Isle of Paradise retails for $29 and I bought mine at Sephora. You can also purchase this at their retail site.

Although Isle of Paradise is significantly more pricey than Jergens, I feel that the results from Isle of Paradise is well worth the cost. Overall, I was happier with the tan results and I would definitely purchase this product again. For anyone who is looking to get that glow-y tan before Labor Day weekend, I highly recommend the Isle of Paradise self-tanning drops.

Another summer essential that I have been loving recently is the Tree Hut Coco Colada Shea Sugar Scrub.

I adore the scent of coconut in the summer and every time I use this scrub, it reminds me of summer beaches and ocean waves. This body scrub is really affordable – retailing at $7.19 at Ulta and has lasted me for about 3 months now. I use this scrub once a week, usually on a Friday when I give myself a more pampered spa treatment. I’ve also found this scrub super helpful in taking off my Isle of Paradise self tanner.

This scrub contains little beads that really exfoliate the body leaving you feeling super clean and smelling amazing. After using the scrub, I never feel the need to moisturize just because my skin never feels dry after using it, though I do believe it never hurts to always stay moisturized.

So, would I recommend this body scrub? Absolutely! Tree Hut body scrubs come in many scents so I’m excited to use a more fall/winter scented scrub once I’ve finished using this jar.

Xoxo, Chrissie Carly

So tell me, what are some of your favorite summer skincare essentials?

Let’s catch up….

It’s been quite a while since I’ve last posted, hasn’t it? A lot has been going on and while I haven’t been posting as much as I had planned to in the beginning of the year, I’m glad I took the past few months away to refocus and reset myself. So let’s do a lightning round of catching up, shall we?

Right now, we are still in the midst of a pandemic and I don’t know about you, but I feel like my life has been in shambles the past 4 months. Yes – I’ve previously posted about joyful moments, but sometimes I have to be realistic and not just focus on the tiny joyful moments, but acknowledge and address the anxiety and difficult moments — trust me, and there are A LOT of them.

For the past few months, I’ve personally been going through unemployment and a breakup (along with the whole world going through a pandemic) and my anxiety has been at an all time high. I remember there were days where I just couldn’t do anything because I was so overwhelmed with emotions and anxiety. All I could really had the energy for was focusing on breathing and just getting through each day one by one.

Thankfully, I am now employed (with my dream company!) and it is definitely a huge relief. What I want to share with you is today are some realizations I’ve learned the past months.

  1. Be Gentle and Kind with yourself. We are in some unprecedented times right now and it’s okay to feel lost, anxious, confused, hurt, angry, etc. All of those feelings are VALID. Let me say that again…What you are feeling right now is OKAY and your feelings are VALID.

    Going through my breakup, I had to teach myself (and still am learning everyday) how to focus on myself again. Coming out of a 2 year relationship with someone who I thought I was going to marry was a rude awakening because I had lost my best friend. There were moments when I would cry all day because I was so hurt and heartbroken. I didn’t want to feel the sadness and would often get angry with myself for feeling broken. However, through prayer and journaling, I slowly learned to be gentle with myself. I learned to acknowledge the hurt I was feeling and and be kind to myself and to my thoughts. I’m still learning to be comfortable with my feelings, but it’s certainly gotten easier to sit with them and letting the feelings go.

  2. Good things are happening to and for you. As some of you may or may not know, I’m Catholic. So for me, I trust that God will provide and lead me to the path he wants me to be on. However, for those who are not religious, let’s perhaps say that the Universe has something amazing waiting for you. Either way, I’ve learned that good things take time and that a rejection (for a job or in a relationship) simply just means “not yet”.

    I was constantly getting rejected from job applications for months and honestly, at one point, I was just simply waiting and expecting that rejection letter. However, what kept me going was trusting that God (or the Universe) was looking out for me and that every rejection I faced was a learning experience. I’ve been on countless interviews now and after each one, I felt more and more confident in my interview skills. Today, I can happily say that I am now employed at one of my dream companies and those 4 months of persistence was well-worth it.

  3. Create/find your support group. Confession: I struggle from major anxiety and I have gone and will continue going to therapy for it. What I’ve learned is that during those anxious moments is that I have some supportive friends and family. They aren’t my therapists (and they shouldn’t be), but they have talked me out of many panic attacks and they never gave up on me. They were gentle and patient with me when I was being hurtful to myself and I’m truly grateful for them. What surprised me even more was that I wasn’t alone. I learned that everyone was going through some sort of struggle and by supporting each other, I no longer felt alone.

    So find your own support group. You’ll be surprised by how many of your friends will be there to support you. I understand that sometimes anxiety tells you otherwise, but don’t listen to those thoughts. Just by opening up even a little bit to your support group can really help realize that you aren’t alone and that you are so loved and worth it.

The past few months have definitely been a journey for me and that journey is still going! I’m just a little bit more prepared and open to accepting whatever is coming to and for me. The lessons that I’ve learned will certainly remain with me to embrace what is yet to come!

Xoxo, Chrissie Carly

So tell me, what are some things you are learning or experiencing during this time?

Feature Fridays

DIY Home Offices
Living in a NYC condo with my parents and sister means that there is definitely not a place where I can have my home office. My mom, sister, and I usually work at the dining room table, but what’s a girl to do if she wants her own space??

Please, step into my office!

This DIY office is built from a yoga mat, cushions, two wooden stools, and a wooden board. Creative, right? I created this office in the corner of my room and I have to say myself…it’s quite efficient and I’m really loving it.

Sidenote: this also turns into a mini DIY church on Sundays!

Vanderpump Rules & Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Anyone who knows me knows that I love reality tv. There is nothing better on a Friday night to settle in bed with a glass of wine and catching up on the newest episodes of Vanderpump Rules and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Ohh…the drama!

Fuzzy Socks
To all my fellow friends whose feet are always cold, you can probably relate to this one! My condo has hardwood floors all throughout and while it is much easier to clean the floors, my feet are constantly cold. Fuzzy socks are such a vibe (and mood!) and nothing beats that warm cozy feeling of putting on your favorite pair of fuzzy socks and just sitting back and relaxing.

Xoxo, Chrissie Carly

Little moments of Joy during Covid-19 part 2

Even when times are tough, it’s nice to know my fellow friends out there are still finding and seeing joy among the chaos:

“Doing sillier things to connect with my family and friends that I would otherwise never have done, like watching a movie on FaceTime in the same house”
– Erica W.

“My HS friends and I have been designing an online board game because we were bored, so definitely friends find a way to hang out regardless of distance”
– Anonymous Friend

“I haven’t worn a bra in a month”
– Elizabeth F.

“Boundaries are the distance where I can love you and me simultaneously. The quarantine is forcing me to do something I’ve been meaning to do my whole life: establish boundaries with and overbearing relative”
– Francesca P.

“My eldest quit the piano when she was at the end of six grade and didn’t want to complete level 8 ABRSM exam. Yes! I was disappointed since that was (still is) the highest level one can achieve. Why quit at the last level? That was how I felt. She was simply not enjoying music anymore even though her piano teacher said she has a gift of music. I was definitely bummed about her quitting. Because of COVID 19, we suspended piano lessons for my youngest daughter. I asked my eldest daughter if she can help her younger sister with one of the songs, even though she has not been playing the piano for four years. To my surprise, she gladly played the Steven Universe Theme song. She laughed and giggled with her younger sister as she played the piano. It wasn’t an easy song and not playing it for four years definitely made her a bit rusty in one part of the song. But, it was just beautiful to see her enjoying music again and her willingness to teach her sister completely brightened my day.”
– Anonymous Runner friend

“I’m grateful for the time I’ve gained to finally organize my house – going through all my clothes, shoes, magazines, papers, etc”
– Monica K.

“I have found joy in the hobby of baking – fun with the added bonus of delicious sweets to eat”
– Nicole D.

“Finding out that my sister’s leukemia is in remission on Good Friday, and then having a Zoom celebration on Easter Sunday with my family”
– Zach E.

Xoxo, Chrissie Carly

Little moments of joy during Covid-19 part 1

Watching Frozen 2 with my twin sister
My sister and I have always been huge fans of anything Disney, especially with the movie Frozen (hello SISTERS!). So when Frozen 2 became available on Disney Plus, I immediately asked my sister to watch it with me and let me tell you, this movie DID NOT DISAPPOINT!

I won’t spill any movie details or spoilers, but this movie brought me so much joy because I love seeing the sister bond between Elsa and Anna. Elsa, Anna, and Olaf always makes me smile and having my sister laughing right along with me made this movie even more memorable.

Facetiming and having wine nights every Friday with my girl friends
Now that we are all under #Stayathome guidelines, my girl friends and I have had to change our ways of catching up with one another: Face timing and drinking wine every Friday. Even though we’re all at home, it’s great just talking and laughing about each other’s stories of random things that we all experienced throughout the week. It definitely makes staying in on a Friday night more bearable.

Afternoon coffee and tea time with my mom on the balcony
Every Tuesday at 4pm, my mom and I would have afternoon tea (for her) and coffee (for me) on our balcony. Prior to this pandemic, my mom and I would rarely have a chance to really sit down and have deep talks. Sure, I would talk to her whenever we were at home, but something about drinking tea/coffee on our balcony just made the mother-daughter moment more special. We laughed and talked about everything ranging from what was for dinner to breakups and relationships.

Reflecting and expressing gratitude on a daily basis
With so much uncertainty going on, it is so easy to just focus on the chaos we are facing right now. I can listen and watch the news every minute of the day filling my mind with statistics of people who tested positive for Covid-19 or watching unemployment numbers going up. Now while it is great to be informed for current events, I believe that there are still blessings and gratitude to be found during this time. So at 8pm every night, I like to reflect on the day and jot down some things I am grateful for. Reflecting and expressing gratitude each day has truly helped me stay calm and see the light even during this tough time we are all facing.

Xoxo, Chrissie Carly

So tell me, what are some joys you’ve experienced during this time?

Makeup Mondays: Keeping my skin hydrated

As someone who constantly struggles with dry skin all year round, I am constantly looking for the best hydrating skincare products. After having tried many products for the past few years, I’m finally here to share them with you!

Belif Creamy Cleansing Foam Moist
The first step to any skincare routine is to wash our faces to get off all the dirt and grime we collect on our skin throughout the day. It’s kind of like wiping the slate clean! My go-to face wash is the Belif Creamy Cleansing Foam Moist. It has a refreshing lime smell that always reminds me of summer. It’s tough enough to leave my face feeling clean but gentle enough that my face doesn’t feel tight after a good rinse. Because it foams up after running it under some warm water and rubbing your hands together, a small dollup of this face wash goes a long way, which I truly appreciate. 

Belif Aqua Bomb
This moisturizer is literally my holy grail and lifeline when it comes to skincare. It keeps my face soft and moisturized, while never clogging up my pores – which happens a lot with cream-based moisturizers. It settles into my skin within seconds and feels cool and refreshing. 

Laneige Sleep Mask
I use this sleep mask once a week — usually on a Wednesday or Thursday as a quick pampering pick me up during the middle of the week. Right before I go to bed and after I’ve washed my face, I scoop up a small amount (about the size of a quarter) with my hands and rub it all over my face and neck. The next morning, I simply rinse my face, leaving it soft and moist for the entire day. I like using this just as a way to remind myself to stay glowing and fresh and preparing for the weekend!

Sheet Face Masks
I like to end the weekend as a mini celebration by using a Sheet Face Mask to really hydrate my face. I’ve been a huge fan of the Sephora Collection Masks. Two of my favorites are the Pearl and Coconut Masks. Putting on a face mask is the perfect way to pamper myself on a low friendly budget yet still feel like royalty. 

Ahava Dead Sea Mineral Hand Cream
I first received this product as a Christmas gift and it has truly changed my life. I’m not a fan of hand creams that leave my hands feeling sticky and oily, and I was really happy to have been introduced to this hand cream. It’s water-based and simply melts into your skin within minutes. It has a really nice scent (similar to Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Lotion) but not as overbearing. 

Xoxo, Chrissie Carly

What are some of your tips to keep your skin hydrated?

Do you have any products you would recommend for keeping lips hydrated? 

Feature Fridays

Welcome to our first Feature Friday series, a series where I share with you some new weekly favorites that have made me smile throughout the week!

Zodiac Animals
Continuing with the Chinese New Year theme, Zodiac animals play a huge role in the lunar calendar. The concept is very similar to our Zodiac signs, except this time we’re talking about animals: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit,  Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. The story of the Zodiac Animals goes that a race was organized by the Jade Emperor and the order of the animals were determined by the order of who crossed the finished line. There are many versions to this story, but this one is my favorite!

Fun Fact: I’m the Year of the Rooster!
Source: Travel China Guide

Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice
This drink is certainly not new on the Starbucks menu, but is my classic go to winter drink. This drink is literally tastes like liquified apple pie and always satisfies my sweet tooth. The sweetness paired with the tartness of the apple is absolutely scrumptious and I highly recommend it to anyone who needs their sugar fix for the day.

Kumquat Lemon Bubble Tea
This citrusy but sweet drink is the most heartwarming drink on a gloomy day. Kumquat and lemon are both tart fruits, but mixed in with some honey and simple syrup – this makes such a great combination for a hot drink. Kumquat is also high in Vitamin C, so it’s a scrumptious and nutritious drink all in one! Yum!! My favorite place to visit to get this drink is Vivi’s Bubble Tea. It does also help that this place is all decked out in pink!

Kumquat picture source

Xoxo, Chrissie Carly

What made you smile this week?
Have you tried any of the above drinks? What do you think?

P.S. I’ll be in Ottawa this weekend so follow me on Instagram to follow my adventures and feel free to recommend me some of your favorite places to visit!

Chinese New Year Food, Festivities, and Traditions

Happy Chinese New Year (or Happy Lunar New Year)! 新年快樂! 恭喜發財!

Chinese New Year is probably one of my favorite holidays during the year! It’s a time of wishing prosperity and good luck & fortune to those around you, spending time with family, and of course – for those who are not yet married – receiving 紅包 (hong bao) or red envelopes filled with money.

Chinese New Year lasts for a month, but in my family, we celebrate it for 15 days. As of today, we’re in the 2nd week of the Lunar New Year. During this time, we eat plenty of good food ranging from little snacks like little turnip cakes and 湯圓 (tang yuan) which are little sweet glutinous rice balls to elaborate 8 – 12 course family style dishes. Usually, when visiting someone’s house, the host will have a big red round or flower shape container with different compartments filled with an assortment of candy and nuts. In my house, we keep it less traditional and simply use a three-tiered glass plates to hold these goodies.

During Chinese New Year, it is tradition to decorate the house with red decorations since red is seen as a lucky color. Red Chinese Lanterns are hung around the house and in the streets. In my house, we are a bit less traditional and we simply have huge red flowers (gladiolus) as the centerpiece on our dining room table. We also will have a plate of candy specifically Ferraro Rocher chocolates, pistachios and oranges (or tangerines) throughout the house. Oranges and tangerines were common food symbols for wealth and good luck. It also meant abundance and happiness. It’s also custom to give oranges and candy (Ferraro Rocher in my family) when visiting family members and in exchange they will give you oranges and some sort of candy when you leave.

Now my favorite tradition is receiving 紅包 (hong bao) – usually when visiting a family members house! These red envelopes contain money and are given to younger family members who are not yet married. Once married, you then start giving out red envelopes. That said, some employers may give their employees red envelopes during this holiday to wish them luck and fortune in the new year. The red envelopes come in many beautiful design with gold lettering or cute cartoons and sometimes, it even comes in pink!

The festivities that take place outside are joyous, loud, and everyone from little children to grandparents will come out to celebrate as a community. Dancers perform lion dances at different stores and businesses in hopes to bring them good luck and prosperity in the new year. Some places will even hold a fireworks ceremony to scare away any bad luck and evil spirits that may be lingering in the new year.

Chinese New Year is an exuberant and fun holiday meant to bring families together to welcome in the new year together. I look forward to it every year and I wish every one of my readers a prosperous year filled with good luck and fortune!

**Please note: the traditions listed above are traditions in my family. Each family’s traditions may vary.

Xoxo, Chrissie Carly

Do you celebrate the Lunar New Year? What are some traditions you follow?

If you don’t celebrate the Lunar New Year, what’s your favorite holiday to celebrate?

Xoxo Chrissie Carly

Hello, 2020! Hello, everyone!

I’m Chrissie, and welcome to the launching of my new blog – Xoxo Chrissie Carly, formerly known as Boutiquefull!

How have you been? How are your New Year’s resolutions/goals going so far? One of my 2020 goals is to start up this blog again…soo CHECK! It really has been quite a while since I last wrote, and I am thrilled to start blogging again. 

Now you might be asking…what’s new about this blog? Well, I’m happy to share that Xoxo Chrissie Carly will be more than just a fashion blog – it’ll be a full-on lifestyle blog! Here are some things to look forward to:

  • Fashion/makeup reviews
  • Restaurant and food posts
  • Weekly features
  • Daily happenings/adventures in my NYC life
  • Monthly newsletters (coming soon!)

This blog will be about bringing joy to the little moments in life, whether it’s from buying a new dress, trying new foods, or simply cozying up with tons of blankets and rewatching Gossip Girl. Everyone in New York City is always hustling and bustling (guilty, for sure) and sometimes, we forget to just take a moment, have a good laugh and reflect on the little happy moments that happen during our day.

So what are you waiting for? Hit that follow button, and let’s get ready for some NYC fun-filled fashion, beauty, and lifestyle reads!

Xoxo, Chrissie Carly

Do you have a blog too? Feel free to comment below and I’ll be happy to check it out!

Follow me on Instagram for more sparkly daily adventures!