In progress: cooking.

I have never been one who enjoys cooking. Not even a little. I love the outcome (food!) and I dislike the prep, waiting, and cleanup. Growing up I was always lucky to have a wonderful and talented grandpa who could put things that you wouldn’t think went together and make a yummy meal of them. He was the king of food improv, and when he would use cookbooks, would often combine a few recipes if he didn’t think one would give him the outcome he wanted.

I like things to be fast and easy, and if it isn’t, I won’t bother making it. So I have been asking other people what they cook so I can feed myself like an actual adult.

So far I have found that I really like non-pasta pasta. Out of all of the interesting variations out there, I love brown rice pasta the best. I’ve been making my own sauce with (gasp) real tomatoes, and I bought a steamer so I can have steamed veggies, not frozen. Any batch of food that I make is bigger than just one meal so I’ve been freezing it (great idea from my cousin) and saving the rest for later.

I’ve also found this food blog,  Spoon Fork Bacon, with pretty easy ideas if I want to get fancy. I tried the  Baked Asparagus Fries recipe the other night and they were really good. I didn’t do a dipping sauce but  if I make these when I have guests I totally would.

I have always brought my lunch to work, except for the few and far between days when I don’t have time to grab a frozen din out of the freezer. I recently bought a cute lunch bag that came with different containers and have nixed the frozen dinners. I hate making my lunch but I like that I’m eating fresh lunches and I feel like I’m spending less on frozen items. Except for the veggies and fruits-I have to buy these once or twice a week because, well, they’re fresh and I have to buy in small batches.

So that’s my big achievement for the year so far. And it’s a pretty big one because I still have to force myself to spend the time to cook when I’d rather be doing something else.

White for Summer

August 1, 2010

Summer is the perfect time to wear white. It helps to keep you cool when the temps rise and it looks tres chic anywhere from a night on the town to a day at the beach. You do the monochromatic thing and wear head to toe white (just make certain you do different shades of white or add a splash of gold or silver or a tiny bit of color) or you can pick and choose pieces, accessories, and even makeup. One of my fave quick and easy summer eye looks is to draw on a sheer shimmering white eyeliner and smudge until you’re left with a faint sparkle (Try Sephora Collection Flashy Liner in #02). I also like doing the same technique with a sheer shadow (I like Sephora Collection Aspen Summit #23, which is in the free birthday gift for beauty insiders this year).

Where to buy above items: Tops and sandals are from forever21.com, necklace is from fantasyjewelrybox.com, white shadow is the Sephora Collection Shadow mentioned above, white silver ring is from pret-a-beaute.com, and the velver rose hair clip is from flowerclip.com.

 

I purchased the Sephora Sun Safety kit  this year, just as I always do every year, to see if I can find my new holy grail of sun protection. The 2010 kit included Kate Somerville SPF 55 Sunscreen Serum, my new love. It’s lightweight, absorbs quickly, is great for my oily skin because it’s oil free and non greasy, and does not have a scent. I am so so so so hooked on this product that I had to go buy the full size. I had to order online, though, because my local Sephora only carries three Kate Somerville products. 

 The other suncreeens in the Sephora kit weren’t really anything amazing, though I did like the Jack Black Lip Balm in Lemon and Chamomile. I’ve been using the balm in Mint for several years and might switch to the Lemon version because the scent is uplifting. The kit also includes Bliss Best of Skintentions Moisturizer with SPF, which I have also been using since it launched. Another honorable mention goes to Murad Essential-C Eye Cream SPF 15, for its light weight formula that works well under makeup.

Bandeau swim top pictured above is from Vitamin A.

 

I rarely watch TV nowadays but tonight I will be tuning in to How I Met Your Mother because Tim Gunn will be making a cameo on the show. Exciting! Also, check out TG’s facebook page for a video update of the People’s Choice Awards best and worst fashion. I didn’t watch the awards show and I would love to know who the  “star who looked like he came in from doing yard work” is.

EDIT: If you missed the show, you can catch the Tim Gunn scene here (@ 1:33):

I’m a busy bee this week so I won’t be blogging again until next week. The photo above is a peak of the show I’m currently working on.

Next week I plan to review Bare Escentials Matte Foundation. I’m generally NOT a B.E. fan (the bismuth oxychloride makes me itch soo bad) but I’m trying to give the new formulation the benefit of the doubt. I’ll  let you all know how it goes after I’ve been wearing it for a few more days.

Also trying to overcome my general dislike of cooking. I’m taking some classes at the foods co op soon, and I’m hoping it is beneficial.

Fun Times: The Flat Tire

November 12, 2009

flat

I was having a marvelous day off last Monday. I slept in, got a little holiday shopping done, and was on my way to get my brows waxed when I heard a loud BOOM. It sounded as if something had hit the roof of my car and I was worried it cracked the glass on my sunroof. I pulled over, checked the top of my car and all looked fine. I also checked the rest of the car and everything looked fine so I drove on for a few miles. Nothing sounded or seemed out of the ordinary until I suddenly wasn’t able to accelerate. Shortly afterward, I started slowing down even though I was pressing the gas. I pulled over again, got out, and saw that I had a flat. I’ve only ever had a flat tire once before and also didn’t realize it was flat for quite some time (until a nice lady  flagged me down).

Even though I didn’t have many warning signs of a flat that I immediately recognized, it’s good to know what to look for. I can’t tell you how to change a flat (I know it’s supposed to be easy but I still haven’t learned how) but I can inform you of the basics of tire care:

-I always get my tires rotated on schedule. This helps them to wear evenly and it’s also a great way to know if you need any repair work done (retreading, etc.) or if your tire shop expert notices any potential problems for the future. They will also usually check your pressure (if not, ask them to). I take great care of my tires since they are pretty big investment and sometimes no matter what you do, flats will still happen. If you don’t know how many thousand miles to have them rotated, ask your local shop.

-You should also always check your tire pressure at least once a month. To do this, you can purchase a gauge, which is relatively inexpensive, at your auto parts store or any store that sells basic auto products (Target, Walmart). I prefer to have my own so that I can check the pressure anytime and anywhere. Most gas stations also have air you can fill your tires with and the hoses usually have a gauge that you can use for free. Side note for Californians: It is now illegal for gas stations to charge you for air use. To find out the desired pressure for your tires, there is often a chart on the driver side door of your vehicle, in your owner manual, or you can ask when you purchase your tires or have them rotated. The place I purchase my tires from will also check my levels for free and fill them if needed. Many places will also do this for free or a small fee.

-If you are in an emergency situation, call 911 immediately!  If you need to pull over due to a flat or stall (for any reason), try to do so safely and pull off to a safe spot. Grip your steering wheel firmly and steer carefully, minding traffic conditions around you. Do not slam on your brakes and don’t stop in traffic as it may cause an accident. Turn on your blinker to alert drivers of your lane change. If you remember to turn on your emergency flashers, now would be an ideal time to do so. Carefully exit your car (preferably on the side NOT adjacent to the road) and stand off to the side of the road.

-If you carry emergency flares, place them 300 feet away from your car. If you have a second pair, those should be placed about ten feet from the first set. Flares are especially needed at night or in bad weather to warn other drivers that you are on the side (or middle) of the road. There are now LED flares on the market that can be re-used several times.

-If you are not able to accelerate, it’s a good idea to pull over and inspect your tires. This, for me, has always been a sign that I had a flat.

-Some people hear a flapping sound or a boom when they have a flat. It’s always good to pull off and investigate.

-If you have a cell phone, always make certain it is charged or that you have a car charger in case of emergency. It is also a good idea to have emergency numbers on hand to refer to: road side assistance or a tow company, your highway patrol, and someone you can count on for a temporary loan if you don’t have charge or cash on hand (or someone who will be nice enough to drive you to a bank or ATM).

-I believe that it is best to over prepared then not prepared at all. I keep an emergency kit in my car that consists of: a blanket, plastic rain gear (pants and jacket), a change of warm clothes, socks, old shoes, two jackets, a gallon of water, flares, bungee cords, jumper cables, a travel-friendly tool kit, a large towel, paper towels, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, first aid kit, and a personal toiletry bag (new disposable razor, sample packs of cleanser, moisturizer, spf, eye cream, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, a small brush, extra hair pins, and a tooth-brush and tooth paste. Plus, I always carry two flash lights and I check the batteries every six months.

It’s always good to expect the best and also be ready for the worst.

brush

 

If you use makeup brushes, they should be washed about once a week to help keep them clean, in good condition, and bacteria-free. Making sure your brushes are well cared for will help them to last longer. It doesn’t matter what brush cleaner you choose, the important thing is that you are washing them. Personally, I like using Sephora Purifying Brush Shampoo ($6 for 2 oz or $14 for 6. 75 oz) or Philosophy Purity Made Simple Facial Cleanser ($10-40 for sizes ranging from 3 oz to 24 oz), which is gentle enough to use on brushes. I highly recommend investing in a good brush cleanser (drug store vs high end is a personal preference) since they are meant specifically for brushes. In a pinch (say, you run out of brush cleaner) you can also use a mild facial cleanser.

To clean your brushes, you’ll need a sink with running lukewarm water, paper towels or a small clean towel (optional), a small bowl (optional) and your brush cleaner of choice. Rinse your brush with lukewarm water, then apply a small amount of brush cleaner in your bowl or in the palm of your hand. Gently massage brush cleaner through bristles and rinse. You’ll know your brush is clean when the water runs clear. I like using a small bowl (glass or stainless) so that I don’t get super crinkly hands (I have a lot of brushes). Gently wipe away excess water with a paper towel or clean towl and lay flat to dry.

***ALWAYS, always, always lay your brushes flat to dry on a counter or flat surface!Drying them bristle side up in a cup or brush holder will allow water to seep into the ferrule (the part of the brush that joins the bristles with the handle. This is usually made out of a metal) and can destroy your brush if it is glued. I like to lay mine on a paper towel or small clean towel to catch any extra water as my brushes dry. I also advise NOT to dry your brush upside down (bristles towards the ground, handle facing up) as this can cause your brush to dry in a funky shape.

If you have brushes with white bristles, you can do a few things to help ensure they don’t stain. If you have time after using them, use a spray on brush cleaner to help remove some of the color. Spray cleanser on a paper towel and wipe the brush until color is removed. You may have repeat this step a few times. Later on when you have time, follow the instructions above for weekly cleaning ASAP. You can, if your brush is synthetic (meaning the bristles are man-made and not from an animal), use Dawn Dish Soap to clean your brush (remember: this is only for synthetic brushes! This method may be too harsh on natural brushes). I’d advise to skip buying white brushes altogether as they are very much a pain to keep white. I own a few and try to only use them with light colored powders to avoid staining.

Be sure to store them in a place where the bristles won’t bend and will hold their shape. I like to use my brush belts and a brush roll to store them. Brush rolls are fantastic because they have individual slots to help keep your brushes separate from each other and organized. You can find decent priced brush rolls on etsy in cute patterns by doing a search. If you are keeping your brushes in an overstuffed makeup bag, the bristles may get bent. If this happens, reshape them after washing before laying them flat to dry.

polor

Today was a much needed day off and I totally tried to enjoy it because I work eight days in a row without another day off this week. I can’t even begin to tell you how badly I want next Saturday to come so I can sleep in, get a facial and pedicure, and catch up on doing laundry. Below is a mini account of things I did today:

1. I’m house sitting/dog sitting for my aunt and uncle for the next few days. They have a dog sitting business so I am hanging out with a few four-legged clients while they are gone. I have full work days ahead and luckily they have a neighbor that comes over to play with the dogs while I’m away. I’m currently taking care of their two German shepherds (one was a rescue dog that only has three legs), plus a one-eyed basset hound, and a pudgy corgi. Two more dogs will join our party tomorrow morning.

2. I’m attending and doing makeup for a wedding Sunday. I had a dress in mind to wear but I just realized the wedding and reception will be outdoors and it will be crazy hot that day, so I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to wear. I also need to find comfy flats. Whatever I wear to the wedding also needs to be appropriate for a meeting since I have one scheduled for that evening. Eeeeeeek!

3. While at Target, hoping they’d have cute inexpensive flats (they didn’t), I found a new book to read. It seems promising.

4. While at TJ Maxx, hoping they’d also have cute flats and a colorful inexpensive dress (they didn’t), I found some Korres products on sale! I love, love, love Korres watermelon scrub. Yum. I was so excited to score a few tubes at only $4 each. The one I went to had a lot of the Lemon Basil body wash and lotion. FYI: Korres is changing the size of their body washes and a few other items, hence being at TJ Maxx.

5. I also got a cute new hair cut today.

6. My dinner consisted of: wine, wheat thins, rice, and carrots. There’s food here at my aunt and uncles but nothing I can make an actual meal out of. I’ll be grocery shopping tomorrow for sure.

beachtest

If I ever happen to win the lottery (even though I don’t play) I’d pack up my things, buy a little house near the beach, and spend my days surfing, writing, reading, and being completely lazy. Until then, I’ll settle for trips to the Pacific Ocean whenever I can sneak away from real life, weather permitting. Perhaps there will be a birthday beach trip in my future? The photos above are from the beach near the Point Montara lighthouse, along highway 1.

Organization equals sanity

December 8, 2008

antonius

I try to live by “there’s a place for everything and everything in its place.” Lately I’ve been slacking a bit lot and had gotten behind thanks to a busy November. I’m usually super organized, although last month I found myself mindlessly stashing bagfuls of random items under my bed and had piles of laundry hiding in my closet. If I can’t keep my personal spaces tidy and organized at least I try to feignez-le  (my slightly off French translation for “fake it.”)

I feel the most stressed out when my personal space is in disarray. For me, stress and clutter go hand in hand.  Last week I decided enough was enough and my secret clutter would build up no more! After taking a quick trip to Ikea, I came home with the Antonius storage system (the pull out bins on the right in the above photo.) So far so good. I have labeled each “drawer” and plan on returning for more Antonius components soon and will devote it to organizing my beauty stash.

I also picked up inexpensive wooden hangers. They make such a difference in how organized and clean my closet looks. So now that I’m back on track and life continues as usual, I need to go shopping to fill said new hangers.

Here are a few of my tips to faking a clutter free space if it drives you insane or company is coming over:

  • Inexpensive boxes (preferably with a decorative print or added flair) will always be your friend. You can hide anything in them, stack them neatly in a closet, and get back to them later. I love these for paperwork I can’t file or shred immediately. Boxes also work great for pet and kid toys, things that build up on the counter, desk clutter, shoes, etc.
  • Do away with the open laundry basket and find one with a lid, especially if you have snoopy guests. Nobody will ever know it’s been building up for a while. If your significant other, spouse, or kids shares one with you, banish their smelly socks to the laundry pronto! There’s nothing worse then the tell-tale sign of smelly laundry to ruin the facade. Don’t have a washer/drier? Try zip-lock baggies. Gross, I know, so make sure to get them in the wash ASAP.
  • If your bed is high enough, buy a plastic box you can store underneath and hide things there. Nobody will ever know. Bonus points if you have a bed skirt.
  • Dust is often a dead give away that your space needs a little TLC. No time to dust? Only dust where people can see. This can easily be done quickly between television commercials, while you’re on the phone, after you pop dinner in the oven, etc.

These are only temporary solutions so make sure to complete the full task correctly when you finally get a moment to breathe. And maybe get a mani-pedi or take a relaxing bath as a reward.

Want to avoid having to feignez-le? My dear Papa (grandfather) always says, “Pick it up and put it away.”