Tiny Horse

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


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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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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!”


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End of Year 2016 Wrap Up

2016 was a big year. So much happened in the world and also in my own life. From my own experiences, I can say I had a pretty good year and there is much to be thankful for and proud of.

This is the most recent picture on my phone! Last weekend, I made a fun trip to my local St. Vincent’s thrift shop and it became candle-themed very quickly. I bought close to 40 votive and tealight candles, 3 candle holders, 2 napkin holders and an old pot for my candle-making tool! I made the mistake of previously using my super nice, Teflon-coated, non-stick pot before; I have learned my lesson, you guys.

The wick is twain coated with a thin layer of wax and tied to a metal nut. I melted down the remains of a Prize Candle, Yankee votive, BBWorks votive, 3 tealights and another previously melted down candle. It yielded 5.3oz. Not bad, y’all! I wish I could say it smelled good but it smells bizarre. The Prize Candle was a clean, fresh spring flowers scent but the other waxes was a mix of winter spice or vanilla (which I absolutely DESPISE the smell) so it’s a rather weird concoction! Pouring and grasping the hot hot candle holders is the most difficult part. I got smarter this time and used one of those strong office binder clips but my technique could use some work. Good thing I burn a bajillion candles every year so I can get lots of practice :).

I am packing for Christmas and this time, it’s totally appropriate that Pangur Ban is preparing too–I am bringing her to my parents’ house! I will have a whole lovely week at home and my babycat gets to enjoy it with me! I hope she becomes best friends with Muffy while she’s there. There’s a whole cycle of hating each other, turning into tolerating each other and then when they are about to separate, become friends with each other. #travelcat

How adorable is she?! Look in awe at her lovely, shiny, long gray hair! Look at that luscious, full tail!

My wrapping job might not be the best, but my coordination skills definitely are! Even the random winter bag I chose has a matching snowman! What are the odds?! So excited to give these out to my friends and family.

My current mani is 2 coats of Formula X in a deep watermelon and an alternating topcoat of VS gold glitter. I’m modeling the most recent book I finished called Little Bee by Chris Cleave. It’s a quick and interesting read but lacking facts and real conviction because it’s completely fiction. I wish the author would have wrote about a real Nigerian refugee’s experience in England instead of making it up. I thrive to educate myself when I read for pleasure and the author’s level of research was so half-assed that it’s a bit disconcerting.


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Books + Manis

I hosted Thanksgiving this past week and it was a big accomplishment. Nine people under 1 roof: in-laws, family members, husband and even sister in law’s hubby were present. We deep fried a turkey (45 min tops) and put together meals for multiple days. The true star of the holiday season was Pangur Ban, as everyone wanted her cuddles and love :). Here she is with her momma during a rare quiet moment.

Throw back Friday to this cutie in the springtime! It only looks like she’s pushing me away but she’s a momma’s girl!

This was my birthday and Thanksgiving mani. I alternated a demure purplish gray and a light sorbet color with a Jamberry piece on the accent nail. You must preheat the Jamberry strips to make it adhere better but I never bother with my few sample pieces. As you can see, it doesn’t completely lay flat and got caught in my hair every time I touched it. Grrrr…

Shown here is The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison, featured as one of Goodreads’ horror section’s books of the year. It’s an easy, fast-paced interesting read without much depth or conviction. It’s a solid 3-star book though and not badly written but there are gaping plot holes and forced suspense. It’s a fine beach read or casual read but it makes me highly suspicious of any other Goodreads nominations for books of the year…

My current mani is a creamy Ulta pinkish orchid with a deep sparkly Estee Lauder plum. The plum shade photographs badly but it has micro glitter and really is beautiful in person.

I just finished reading The Adventures of John Carson in Seven Quarters of the World by Brian Doyle. I gave it a 3.5 star review only because it really was written in a similar style as the real Robert Louis Stevenson but in truth was a dull, trifling read. It sounded so adventurous but the structure was more of a stories within a story format. So basically, nothing really happened to any of the characters in real time and no one was particularly memorable.

Mmmmm…cheesecake bites from the WINergy womens’ conference I attended on Wednesday. I’m a sucker for prettily arranged dessert shots!


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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…