Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What's for Dinner

Here are some of the meals that I made last week:
 


















Beef Bulgogi with Veggie Fried Rice - This was a quick and yummy dinner. I cut beef steak into thin strips and marinated it for 4 hours with Korean BBQ sauce (pic here), sesame seeds and soy sauce. After frying the beef, I chopped up frozen stir fried veggies into bite size pieces, and sauteed it in the same frying pan with spring onions, salt, pepper and brown rice. For my drink - I had Iced Green Tea. I try to have at least 1 mug of Green Tea a day - hot or iced.

















Shrimp Lobster Rolls - There is no lobster in these sandwiches - but they are prepared like the Lobster Rolls you get in New England - with mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, paprika, salt, pepper, spring onions and celery served in buttered hot dog rolls. So satisfying.






















Shrimp Fried Rice with Salad - While I made the Shrimp Lobster Rolls for hubby, I tried to be healthy and have my portion of the jumbo shrimp with brown rice, carrots and cucumber. It was okay - but hubby's dinner was more delicious. I think the next time I make this - I'll make a cold salad for myself - using the shrimp/mayo mixture from the Lobster roll - but served with salad rather than a hot dog bun. I served my meal in my Cath Kidston plate - it's so Shabby Chic and pretty...and makes small portions seem bigger!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pretty Reading

I love reading about Beauty and Fashion - I think there is always room for self-improvement - so why not learn from the best? I've been especially spoiled this year because we live close to a fantastic library - so anytime I see a book that sounds interesting - I place it on my request list - and within a week I can go pick it up (almost as fast as Amazon - without the expense or clutter!) Here are some books that I've read this year.

Making Faces by Kevyn Aucoin - Aucoin's work was legendary - and this book has many different looks to inspire you. On my to-buy list.

Real Beauty Sonia Kashuk - Interesting reading, but I didn't learn anything new about make-up application. The end section has interviews with experts in health, nutrition, nails, etc. I photocopied the 2 page dietitian interview as there were some great tips on supplements and food choices.

The Lucky Shopping Manual

The Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style - Both these books are written by the editors of Lucky magazine. I found the Shopping Manual to be more useful (on my to-buy list ). It features sections on each type of clothing item (pants, dresses, skirts) with tips on buying and wearing them. The second book was fun to flip through - it goes through different clothing styles (such as Gamine, American Casual and Euro-Chic) and identifies icons who personify these looks. It then suggests key wardrobe elements to capture these styles.

Style A to Zoe by Rachel Zoe - Just finished reading this. Has beautiful pictures of Nicole Richie and Mischa Barton (back when she was in It-girl) - but I didn't take away ANYTHING from this book. Definitely one to flip through but NOT purchase.

That Extra Half Inch by Victoria Beckham - I LOVE this book. I wasn't a huge VB fan before I read it - but she has a great sense of humour, beautiful pictures of her modelling gorgeous clothes- and lots of great advice. Another one on my to-buy list.

ON MY BOOKSHELF - WAITING TO BE READ:

A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style by Tim Gunn - borrowed from the library

The Body Shape Bible by Trinny and Susannah - borrowed from the library

The New Secrets of Style - Purchased - I have 2 other InStyle books - and they have great inspiration pictures for hair and make-up - so I have high hopes for this one.

About Face by Scott Barnes - Purchased - JLo's make-up is always glamorous and amazing - and Scott Barnes is responsible for it! I look forward to reading this and hope that there are lots of useful tips.

Have you read any of these books? Did you like them? What are your favourite books on Fashion or Beauty?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What's for Dinner and NOTD

It's been a while since I posted a dinner photo - I made this on Monday night. It was the perfect summer dinner - Grilled Chicken with Avocado salad. I seasoned the chicken with Montreal Seasoning, Lemon Pepper and Olive Oil. The salad was guacamole-inspired - and had Avocado chunks, Lettuce, Spring Onion and Tomato dressed with Lime Juice, Salt, Garlic Powder and Green Tabasco sauce. I plan on making this regularly - it's quick and easy yet really yummy.

Now for something completely unrelated - my latest nail polish purchase: Sally Hansen Complete Manicure in "I Pink I Can". I decided to purchase another colour from their line since I'm in love with this nail polish. However - this particular shade is DEFINITELY not a fave. The colour looks like a sweet pink - but on my nails - and in most indoor lights - it looks neon! Day-glo pink is NOT a flattering colour on me! Also, the polish applied streakily/patchily in some spots - despite 3 coats of polish. However, I'm still a fan of the Complete Manicure line. The wide brush applies colour so neatly - and I love the incorporated top and base coat. For my next purchase, I plan to swatch the colour and test it in different light settings BEFORE I buy.

Disclaimer: I purchased this product myself and was not paid to review it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Last Weekend (in pictures)

So it's been nearly a week since I got back from my weekend/reunion trip. I had such a great time with my old friends. Isn't my College so pretty?

The weather was VERY hot and humid - my most-used item was blotting paper! This was my first solo trip since the summer of 2006 (before kids/pregnancy). It's a really long gap - before that, I'd travel alone at least 4 times a year. It was fun to stock up on magazines and plan outfits and pack just for me again. I got some amazing packing tips from this slide show on the New York Times website. I implemented their clothes-rolling technique - such a space-saving and wrinkle-reducing tip!

Here's the make-up I took with me. The most important items were my brushes - especially my MAC 129 brush (for bronzer and blusher) and Bare Escentuals Handy Buki brush (the ONLY brush that applies mineral make-up in a natural way - providing great coverage - and NO cakey-ness!). For my eyes - I mainly used my Lancome compact and MAC gel liner. For my face - I used my Everyday Minerals base, Chanel blush in Utopia, Sephora "shimmerbrick" highlighter and MAC concealer. For my lips, I took 2 lipliners and 3 glosses (good for lots of different combos).

This is my carefully constructed "liquids" bag - you can tell I love my label-maker, huh? I picked up some travel containers, but also re-used sample jars and bottles. I save a lot of the tiny containers I receive - I wash them out with hot soapy water, rinse them with 40% alcohol and keep them ready for decanting my toiletries into. Most of my toiletries are not generic - so I have a hard time finding them ready-made in travel sizes.

I did manage to fit some shopping into my trip - my friends and I decided to replicate our *true* college experience - by skipping official events and heading to the mall instead! I finally found some good things in Forever 21 - I picked up a peach blouse, an enamel necklace and 2 flower rings (the white one is for my sister, although I love it to bits). From Sephora I bought the Amber Diamond Dior shimmer powder (It's been on my wishlist ever since I read about it on The Gloss Goss). I also got Boscia blotting papers - I had Body Shop blotting papers with me - but I found these to be more effective - and generously sized too. I picked up these cuff links from Tiffany's for my husband - I thought it was appropriate since he got me a Tiffany's necklace on his last trip away. I also bought some toys for my kids (including the Pottery Barn doll pictured).

Close-up of the rings - they are so cheap yet well-made!

I had the best time on my trip - yet I was not sad to leave - which is the best way. I couldn't wait to get home to my kids! And having them meet me at the airport - that was the best part of the whole weekend...as for the foreseeable future, I don't plan on spending any more nights away from them :-)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pre-Holiday Manicure

Here's a picture of the manicure and pedicure I got before I left on my trip. It had been 5 years since my last manicure, and 12 years since my last pedicure! Although I like getting my nails done - I'd rather save my salon money for treatments I can't do myself...like massages, facials and bikini waxing!

I think the key aspects of a professional looking manicure are: nicely shaped nails, neatly applied polish and groomed cuticles. I'm good at shaping and painting my nails - I just have to work on keeping my cuticles healthy and in shape.

Here are all the steps of my salon nail treatments - I wrote EVERYTHING down so that I could recreate the experience at home.

1) Bubbling foot bath and hand soak (At home option: soak hands and feet in warm water and olive oil)
2) Cut nails with sharp clippers
3) File into shape (I noticed she used a back and forth motion - some say this weakens the nail, but I think it's fine)
4) Spray cuticle softener and push cuticles back
5) Use a cuticle trimmer to trim excess skin (I have a Revlon tool that I plan on using. I know a lot of people advise against cutting cuticles, but it is hard to get a neat look without using a trimmer)
6) Smooth nails with a buffer
7) Clean under nails using an orange stick
8) Spray callous softener on the foot, use a pumice stone to slough off dry skin
9) Exfoliate with a scrub
10) Moisturise
11) Dip hands and feet into bags of paraffin, wrap them in towels (won't try to replicate this!!!)
12) Use nail polish remover to clear off oils
13) Apply nail primer (this dries out the nail to help polish adhere better - will probably skip this step)
14) Apply base coat
15) Carefully press on polish
16) Brush on top coat
17) Apply quick drying drops

While I was getting my pedicure done, I noticed that the lady next to me chose the cutest shade of candy pink for her nails. It was too late to change my polish - but I picked up Sally Hansen's "I Pink I Can" from their Complete Salon Manicure line for my next (at-home) pedicure. Hope it applies as beautifully as "Plum's the Word".

What's your favourite nail polish colour? I'd love to read about it in the comments!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Reunion Weekend Outfits

This weekend I'm off to my College reunion. It's my first time travelling solo since August 2006! I'm sad because I'm leaving my kiddies behind - but I'm trying not to dwell on it. I know that I'd regret not attending this event - SO many of my bestest friends are going to be there! (Including one who's a loyal reader of this blog...E - you're getting a sneak preview!)
Today I've been busy planning what outfits I'm going to take. I'm trying to pack light, since I don't want to check-in any bags. Here's what I've come up with so far:
FRIDAY: DAY/TRAVELLING:

Sweater & Tank - Old Navy, Pants - Dorothy Perkins (UK brand), Sandals - Payless
NIGHT:

Top & Camisole - H&M, Sandals & Pants - same as above.
SATURDAY: DAY:

Dress - Wallis (UK brand), Camisole - H&M, Sandals - Payless NIGHT:

Dress - Lauren by Ralph Lauren, Sandals - Payless
(**This dress has some ruffling and ruching that doesn't show up in my pictures - it isn't as shapeless as it seems here!)
SUNDAY: DAY/TRAVELLING:

Cardigan - GAP, Top - Garage, Jeans - Miss Selfridges (UK brand), Sandals - Payless

I'm only taking 2 pairs of shoes with me - the Payless sandals I bought during their BOGO event. (Close-up pics here and here). I'm deliberately not taking heels - they take up lots of space - and I want to have fun and enjoy myself - without limping around! As for accessories, I'm taking the bare minimum. I'll be staying in a dorm (just like the good old days!) so I don't want to take anything too valuable with me.
Bracelets:

Pendants and Earrings:

On Thursday I'll be getting a manicure, pedicure and my hair blow-dried. It's been over 5 years since I've had a manicure done! I hope to pick up some techniques to make my home-manicures look more professional. And then Friday - I'll be flying out - eek!

Do you have any exciting travel plans coming up? I'd love to read about it in the comments!

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