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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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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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!”


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My Life in Food Pics

Mimiboo and I sharing a glass of sparkling cider in my new favorite room to hang out in.

I put together a whole seafood hotpot in under 15 minutes! I used chicken stock, chili oil, sesame oil as the broth base. There are crab sticks, fish balls, shrimp balls, squid pieces, fish cake, bean curd and tofu skin wraps. High protein and low calories!

I made mango curry from scratch last night! Ingredients included:

-coconut milk

-canned mango with nectar

-paprika, black pepper, chili powder, basil, salt, brown sugar

-Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, chili oil, red pepper flakes

-carrots, onions, sweet potato, button mushrooms, golden mushrooms

-basmati rice

We went to this place called Thai Foon and I ordered yuntun mein! The broth could have used more flavor and the egg noodles are the wrong kind but this was still pretty dang good. 8 whole wontons were included! Plenty of qing cai (bakchoy)! I even had some leftovers! Winner!

This is how my husband and I celebrated Chinese New Year…without Chinese food at a Chinese restaurant, lol. I originally ordered dan dan mein but this restaurant did not make this :(. Then I tried ordering Cantonese noodles right off their menu and the waiter had to apologetically explain they don’t carry those noodles either. Ugh, just give me some beef Pad Thai then. Hubby got the deluxe sushi and sashimi entree that costs a small fortune. We also splurged and got steamed pork dumplings with chili oil. Mmmm…


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Punta Cana! 

I’m loving my oh-so-feminine mani right now. I used Sinful Colors shimmery burnt pink alternating with Essie’s pastel To Buy or Not to Buy (palest lilac). I have on The One Ring and modeling it atop of an amazing book called Honolulu by Alan Brennert. I picked this up cold because I enjoyed Moloka’i soooo much. That book taught me so much about Leprosy/Hansen’s disease and that particular part of Hawaiian history. This author should have taught in school because he effortlessly engages you in a topic you wouldn’t otherwise be interested in.

Hubby and I just came back from a 6-day, 5-night all inclusive resort vacation from the Dominican Republic. It was basically just unlimited food, drinks, shows and pool/beach time. The biggest decision we had to make everyday was where to pick our dinner reservation.

It did rain for 2.5 days while we were there but duh–it was their hurricane season so we chose this year knowing the risks. We ate at 4/7 of their specialty restaurants and sampled every bar. There were nightly shows that definitely impressed us with its scope and talented cast! We did archery, mini golf, ping pong and pool and even made some friends. Our one regret is that since the waters were so choppy, no water activities were available. I wanted to snorkel or kayak or go on the catamaran but nope! Instead I lost my only pair of aviators to this evil bigass wave.

I couldn’t help but compare this trip experience to my only other Caribbean resort experience which was in Jamaica and found it lacking. We stayed at the Caribe Club Princess Resort and I would probably rate it a 2.5 stars out of 5. October is the off-season but it was still swarming with people :(. At Jamaica, there were only a few other U.S. honeymooners and some locals but at this Punta Cana resort, there were so many babies, families and entire European and Latin American tour groups. The resort was so big in area that we had to wait 15 min at a time just to board the “train” to get to the lobby/theatre area. The buffet food selection was very meh and most of the dishes were bland and overcooked. A nasty surprise was that about 85% of the clientele smoked. I was trying to waft away second hand smoke the WHOLE vacation. People tossed their cigarette butts on the beach, in the beach, at the buffet and even in the pool! There was no escape. Our Jamaican resort was no-smoking. Also, I wasn’t prepared for 95% of the staff and other resort goers to only speak Spanish. Even the couple of Spanish words I used weren’t understood by anyone. Sad news bears. Would I come back to this resort? Hellz no. Would I come back to DR? Probably not. My next beach resort vacation will be an upscale one at Turks & Caicos or Saint Kitts & Nevis ‘cuz you pretty much get what you pay for, mis amigos. Going lower in price this time matched the kind of quality you get and the type of masses of people you go with…