Tiny Horse

Fashion, beauty, food, art…pleasing to the senses


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Final Countdown

My latest mani is a creation of Orly’s deep metallic magenta and Sinful Color’s silvery blush. Not my most creative pairing but I was so tired of that Eastery chalky pink!

I’m modeling on top of Uprooted by Naomi Novik, a trying-to-hard to be unconventional fairy tale. It’s supposed to be dark but it hasn’t been very convincing yet. The characters are one-dimensional, especially the heroine, and the villainous being/spirit is not explained very well. I’m 1/4 of the way in and still have no idea what the villagers are afraid of, what this thing does, what it does and why it does these evil things…I’m not holding my breath for a high rating here at the end. I have to get better at choosing what to read this summer!

Mmmm…got my ramen fix at this place I’ve wanted to visit ever since learning the name: Love Yogurt. It’s an Asian eatery that serves fro-yo, ramen, bubble tea and made to order desserts like crepes and puddings! You order the ramen off of a laminated customization sheet and literally everything is an upcharge. The noodles are good and chewy but totally not enough. The broth was good but not as thick as a truly authentic tonkatsu broth. I will say this is the best ramen I’ve had in Pittsburgh so that’s something to cheer about! Hubby and I played a trivia game and the furniture pieces are all puzzle-shaped. Cute, definitely. 

Three weeks ago, my friend who lives in CT visited me on a double date with her BF and we had high tea at the Frick! We dined on mini savory sandwiches, warm scones and an assortment of mini desserts. I had apricot tea and used a lot of their clotted cream. Yum! The inside was super cramped but the surrounding Frick grounds were so fun and varied! We checked out the greenhouse, carriage museum, art museum and gift shop–all free! The weather cooperated that day by being a gorgeous 76 and sunny. I’m definitely making a trip back here. There was even a dedicated parking lot!

I HAVE to give a shout-out to the Frick’s celebrity here–Luke the cat! I guess his owner lives nearby and does not mind him prowling the grounds but my, is Luke the social butterfly! This lovable Maine Coon photobombed our pictures, nuzzled against us and let us pet his big paws! Ladykiller over here!

And by final countdown, I’m counting the days until my due date and hoping my difficult baby will turn out of her frank breech position and drop into the acceptable labor position by then. I”m still driving to work everyday, huffing and puffing up/down stairs, painfully getting in and out of bed, constantly having shortness of breath, walking weird because my feet are 4x the width of my normal feet and a whole host of other unpleasant, downright painful symptoms. 37 weeks now! 

My front yard lilies usually have no trouble blooming but they are so scarce this year. I saw perhaps 3-4 of these pretty deep coral lilies out of the possible 30 that would bloom across the yard…oh well, at least the early purple ones did well! This August heat is for real, you guys. My elevated body temperature is giving me grief these days :(.

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Baby Shower + Craziness 

This is the craziness part of my post. Two weeks ago, I had just gotten off work, pulled out of the parking lot and was going straight in my own lane when a Subaru Forester T-boned me all because he didn’t look left when he was making his right turn. There was no way I could have even stopped to let him in because he turned the exact moment I drove past–what a winner. Just look at the damage he did to my poor lil Civic! This guy’s wife hopped out of the car and had the gall to tell me off for driving too fast. Lady, the speed limit is 35 on this road and since I had JUST pulled out of my work parking lot before being rammed by your husband, the max I could have been going was realistically around 18 mph. A bystander had to point out the fact that I was pregnant because it didn’t even dawn on the actual driver. That lady was like, “Oh my, gosh, she’s pregnant!” Yep, hit by an 80-year old man while 8 months pregnant and being yelled at by his ignorant wife. What a Thursday. The policeman called an ambulance and I took a quick trip to the ER where the NP used the doppler to hear my baby’s heartbeat.

What I’ve learned from this incident that there are ZERO consequences for an at-fault accident in the state of PA. Basically, this terrible driver does not have to pay his own deductible for his vehicle’s repairs, his rate for his insurance will not rise for next year and he does not even get a ticket from the police for not yielding when turning onto a main road. WOW.

Can’t do any work with my Pangur Ban all cute like this. She is decidedly less cute in the mornings when she repeatedly bites me for no reason though.

This is the mint brownie milkshake from Red Robin. It was good but in hindsight, soggy brownie pieces at the bottom of a chocolate shake was not the best idea. I think I preferred the Oreo pieces for a bit of a crunchy texture but oh, well. Can’t complain too much about a milkshake.

Behold the perfect cake pop set amongst my gorgeous hydrangeas. My baby shower went well and it was super fun. I should mention super tiring for me as well since my out of town guests stayed several days. I was excited for this event but also relieved that it’s over :). My sister did a great job with the decorations and desserts. I got to see so many of my Ohio State friends and even rounded up a bridesmaids reunion! Now I am a little more prepared for my baby girl with all the onesies, diapers and accessories I received!

I’m not a fan of my current mani, funnily enough. The color in the bottle looked lilac fo sho but on my nails, it looks like the same exact pastel pink I chose for last month! Grrr…China Glaze, you shady! I tried this Trust Fund Beauty $12 Latte shade on my accent nail and topped it off with a micro glitter coat but it’s still not doing much for me. I think it’s too muddy and dark of a brown and the contrast with this chalky pink color is not great at all. I’ll probably only wait 1 more week to change this one up. No more pinks!

I’m reading The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel Wilson right now and it’s pretty interesting. The narrative goes back and forth between time periods and 2 sets of main characters. I have an advanced reading copy from Goodreads but have not seen any typos so far–always a great sign!


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Spring Review 

Oh, my dear dear Pangur Ban. She turned 2 in June! Her exact birthday is a mystery as she was a feral little thing when I got her and even then her age was a guestimation. My neighbor took good care of her when I was off in London so she is in full fluff mode! Just look at this supermodel cat pose. What grace, what poise, Mimiboo!

She can be a little terror in the mornings though. Just today, she would not let me go down the stairs without nipping, biting , scratching at my ankles and feet. She continued to mew loudly the whole time and rub herself up against me. In addition, she has this bad habit of standing on her hind legs and pawing at me when I get out of the shower and I have to let her sit in my lap while I awkwardly balance her while dripping wet and half naked…oh, the things I do for my furbaby…

This isn’t exactly the mani I envisioned for my baby shower this weekend but it’s close enough. I applied 3 coats of Essie’s muchi muchi and alternated VS’s gold glitter topcoat. I searched all over for my French manicure placeholder stickers but could not find them for the life of me. I was going to paint half the nail gold but alas…

I’m reading Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo right now and can’t think up a good rating for it. It takes place in Malaysia and explores the superstitious ghost stories of the ethnic Chinese who live there and it’s just too cray for me. The main character is clueless and not entirely likable. The style is simple and the story feels too long. Perhaps the ending will surprise me?

Second wedding of 2017! I’m almost 7 months preggers in this picture and definitely took it easy for this wedding. The Morais Vineyard in Bealeton, VA was quite picturesque! I haven’t seen this friend for 10+ yrs so it was a good chance to attend this milestone in her life. The weather was overcast and romantic, I thought ;). Since my friend is Chinese and she’s marrying a Korean dude, I thought the food would’ve been some kind of Asian but NOPE. It was vanilla snowstorm Mitt Romney white. Bland, catered chicken breast, mashed potatoes…boiled veggies that went soggy in your mouth :(. It’s okay, the cake was da bomb! It was like layered coconut, chocolate cake with some strawberry jam in there. Yum!


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UK Sights

What a whirlwind month of May I’ve had! I spent my babymoon in the United Kingdom on an action-packed adventure! It was also my hubby’s annual company trip but I’m mostly going to refer to it as my babymoon ;). Four whole days definitely didn’t feel like enough time, and we caught ourselves already planning a follow up trip to do all the stuff that we couldn’t do this time around–Roman baths, high tea, Globe Theatre, London Museum, etc.

Here I am at Oxford University, standing in front of where the Great Hall in Harry Potter was filmed…also, where the best minds of British literature went to school.

We even caught a theater production in London’s arts district! I’ve always loved the play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and seeing it live was just intense and magical. Recognizing Varys from GoT, Umbridge from Harry Potter and Imogen Poots from 28 Weeks Later was quite satisfying! They are great stage actors!

Right outside William Shakespeare’s childhood home in Stratford upon Avon! This was the only place we got to shop a little. The little stores were oh-so cute here.

Love the Venetian style bridge in the background! This is the area Oxford students celebrated their graduation!

Christ Church–most famous college within Oxford!

Windsor Castle–the queen was here the day of our tour! She did not offer us tea and biscuits but we were also in a bit of a rush. Feeling rushed became the theme of all 4 days here with such limited times and long commutes from our Hilton hotel.

Ah, Stonehenge doesn’t look quite so big, does it? I can pinch the little stones from this angle!

We didn’t go across Tower Bridge but seeing it is still impressive. I didn’t realize the bridge was blue!

This raven got up close and personal with me. Legend has it that the day the ravens fly away, London will fall. To prevent this, these ravens have their wings clipped.

Okay, I had to take this picture :). I didn’t get a chance at Buckingham Palace but the Tower of London had a good view of this guy.

Entrance to the Tower of London. This is the extra thing we did apart from the city tour. We saw the crowned jewels and learned all about the Cullian Diamond! It is the biggest diamond ever found and it’s actually split into 9 diamonds! One is in the scepter and another is in the crown.

The Shard skyscraper–I love the mix of the modern and the ancient in this view.

MI6 Building–James Bond’s headquarters :).

Big Ben and parliament in the back!

Westminster Abbey! We didn’t get to go in–see what I mean about feeling rushed? To be continued for next trip.

Buckingham Palace changing of the guards!

On our first night here, we ate at Giraffe, a world kitchen with interesting international cuisine. I got a Thai dish and hubby got a Turkish dish. I’m sipping my yummy mango lassi. The only real British food we tried was what they served on the tours and I have to say that it’s the worst fish and chips I’ve ever had. That was sorely disappointing!

Current mani = seafoam green + gold champagne accent nail with a thin layer of Mermaid Blush.

I’m modeling on top of the book I’m reading now: Under the Tuscan Sun by France Mayes. It’s the non fiction memoir of this middle aged lady’s housing renovation in Italy. It’s slow reading but I have a fascination with housing stuff so it might yet impress me.

My sweet Pangur Ban is cuddling with the baby :). 28 weeks along now! *Sigh still 2 more months to go…


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I’m on a Boat! 

This is my 6-month preggers mani! It’s an opaque pinkish orchid color from Ulta and my attempts at jazzing it up. You can’t really tell in this picture but my accent finger has this halfassed yellow butterfly on there as a result of my stamping fiasco. I tried 3 different polishes and countless times but either my polish was drying too quickly or it wasn’t thick enough to transfer. Grrrr…I gave up after the 5th try and pasted a nail sticker right on my index finger. My last mani lasted for 2 whole weeks without chipping with a topcoat and I left it on for another 2 weeks so I’m hoping this one will last through my trip next week!

I’m modeling on top of the current book I’m reading: The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon. It’s an awkward title because I want to say A Beautiful Girl but the A is missing. Anyways, I’m predisposed to dislike it based on the fact that it’s not purely fiction and not based on anything that ever happened. I’m skeptical about books designed to make you feel extreme pity for certain characters or to tug at your heartstrings. Little Bee lost me this way because it simply wasn’t based on facts or biography. The author can try to exaggerate the plight and throw in some sob background story but really, the characterization HAS to be convincing and enlightening enough for me to feel like I learned something or discovered something. I mean, I’ll read this book but I’m going into it with a healthy dose of high expectations.

Last Thursday and Friday, I attended the Heart of Agile Conference aboard the Pittsburgh Gateway Clipper fleet on behalf of my company! It was such a unique setting and I got to learn some useful lean principles and network with coworkers that I otherwise would not have met. The boats were stationary but the smaller ones still got shaky when there were waves. Pastries and lunch were served on both days and it was really nice to take in sights of the 3 rivers of Pittsburgh. I’m so lucky to work where I work and to have a boss who is so supportive of these extracurricular events.

It’s fun to remember that just last year, I was in this exact river on the Ducky Tours going under the Liberty Bridge. Pittsburgh is a pretty unique city with plenty of places I have yet to explore. If only its roads weren’t like roller coasters and its drivers weren’t always so pissed off.

Pangur Ban being a little brat ;). Because a cushion-less armchair is so much more comfortable…#catlogic


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April Times

I just got back from the most exhausting wedding I’ve ever been to. My hubby’s cousin married an Indian girl so they had a traditional Barat ceremony at the buttcrack of dawn, followed by a luncheon, then a second Christian ceremony, cocktail hour, followed up by a reception. I got probably 1 hour of sleep between Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I wish there were more traditional, heartier food options but hey, nobody asked my opinion on catering ;). The luncheon offered 3 vegetarian curries and paneer fingers (okay, can someone explain to me why paneer is ALWAYS so firm, hard and rubbery? It looks like it could be tofu or mozzarella sticks, but I’m constantly disappointed by its stubbornly chewy and flavorless texture…). The cocktail hour featured some so-called Chinese and Mexican appetizer stations but since they were made by Indian caterers, the flavors were indescribably “off” and contained absolutely no real ingredients from either culture. I watched one of John’s cousins bite into a juicy-looking meatball with gusto only to realize it was a mashed beans and celery mixture. The late dinner actually consisted of the same, tiresome items as the luncheon’s so I could only wait for dessert time to be saved. 100% vegetarian wedding banquet courses = never again. Little did I know that the brief road stop we made during our 6-hr drive to Farmingdale, NJ turned out to be the best meal I would have all weekend…

This whole wedding was a colorful, extravagant mess! I mean mess in that no one (including the bride and groom) knew what was happening during the Indian ceremony and with 370+ people in one building, there was no guidance on which room to file into, or what blessing what currently going on. For the first 2 hours, I was either mindlessly following this horse doing laps around this country club because the bride’s family was so late to arrive, or I was pinned up against the entrance of the main hall because some sort of ceremony was going on where no one could see or hear anything. For the next 2 hours, the Indian side of the wedding just milled around, talking loudly amongst themselves, eating breakfast all while the actual Barat ceremony was going on. It was a confusing hullabaloo!

What an experience! I was so exhausted I had to take a sick day on Monday because of extreme soreness and vomiting (this I expect came from my disagreement of Indian food). However, it was a lot of “firsts” for me: first Indian wedding, first wedding I’ve attended being pregnant, first NJ wedding. Squeezing into both dresses (bought last year) at five months pregnant is no small feat. I’m hoping to goodness I’ll survive the second wedding in Virginia…

My April Ipsy bag added a mini duo nail polish set to my collection! This deep violet with grayish cast and pinkish nude went well together. I added a swipe of pearl pink topcoat to the accent nails. This ring is also my latest obsession. It’s a canary yellow CZ platinum plated stunner that looks so much more expensive than it is! The band is so delicately thin! I love the cushion cut and the crazy sparkle it gives off! I found out the hard way that it’s also pretty weak…two days into wearing the thing and one of the tiny CZ stones already chipped off on the halo! Rats!

I’m modeling over the book I recently finished: The Truth About Andy Bloom, by Mark Lages. It’s an interesting story about a writer who is supposedly the son of Salvador Dali!

From the official Cafe Du Monde box mix, we fried up beignets at home! They were easier than I expected and tasted great! This is definitely happening again. 

John went crazy two weeks ago and bought a crap ton amount of fresh fruit. He made breakfast smoothies for us one day and here’s the list of ingredients:

-cantaloupe

-kiwis

-canned peach syrup

-few canned peach slices

-fresh papaya

-crushed ice

The result was tropical deliciousness!


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March Mani Time

Finally! New mani time! I’m using an old Sephora brand nail polish in a glossy teal paired with this dependably creamy Julep cashmere polish. It gives me a “working woman” vibe and I like how chic the combo looks. I’m modeling on top of the book I’m currently reading–The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester. It’s quite a curious book detailing the fictitious cookbook author and his whimsies. The style is amusingly snooty and the sparse descriptions of food are definitely enjoyable. Some of his random asides are rather educational too. I wouldn’t call it a page-turner; it assumes the reader has a high vocabulary and is well versed in geography, literature and gourmet cooking.

Check out this dainty spread! My workplace recently hosted this amazing afternoon tea event celebrating womens’ achievements the day right after International Womens’ Day! The ladies at work were invited to sample custard filled cupcakes, turtle brownies, scones, mini fruit turnovers and crackers with various pots of delicious jams! We mingled together and played a game where we had to guess which famous woman we were representing from the sticker on our back! I left feeling full and empowered :).

I made this! It was a surprisingly easy and quick meal to make:

-frozen breaded white meat chicken pieces

-thick sliced mushrooms

-carrot medallions

-sweet orange and red peppers

-lots of chopped scallions

-basmati rice

-sweet and sour sauce: canned fruit syrup, duck sauce packets, sesame seeds, black pepper, light soy sauce, crushed garlic with juices, squirt of lemon juice

Mimiboo and I enjoy some mother-daughter time. Everyday when I come home from work, I am greeted by her cries and gallops from afar! As soon as the garage door opens, she comes up and snuggles my ankles as if to say “Mommy!  Where the heck have you been for the last eight hours? Ah! I miss you!”