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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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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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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Allure Beauty Box! 

Before I dive into my review, my Pangur Ban gets some limelight. After the November scare we had from her, she is a healthy, bubbly kitty once more. I might need to look into pet health insurance now. She’s had 2 costly vet visits in 2016 and it’s not even the end of the year yet!

Showing off my cute-as-buttons cupcake candles! They really did smell individually like red velvet, butterscotch and chocolate! Disappointingly though, these craft candles lasted all of 45 min before the short wick burnt out and trickled out a messy pool of wax that still left half the candle unburnt. No wick and wax left over is my biggest candle pet peeve. As soon as I find a suitable old pot, I will get into upcycling my candles again!

And now the reveal! Disclaimer: I did not enter any contests or giveaways for this. I’m not sure how Allure made this decision…could it be I’ve been a subscriber to Glamour/Lucky/Allure for years and Conde Nast finally wanted to give me a shout-out? I wasn’t asked to review or share this but I wanted to give my readers a glimpse into another subscription box that wasn’t Ipsy or Birchbox. The quality of these items definitely made me want to give this a shot!

After some light research, I found that I was sent the October box. Here are the contents:

-Spongelle bath sponge infused with body wash. Legit full size and retails for $15. The entire box permeated with this amazing fragrance. It’s strong, sweet and sparkling! I cannot WAIT to use this and it’s definitely my favorite out of the bunch

-Tatcha silk body cream 1 oz. When I saw the jar, I wanted so badly for this to be a face cream but body butters are incredibly useful too. I go through one a month at a travel size in the winter. It’s made with indigo so the cream is blue and it smells like a cashmere floral. I’ve always wanted to try this brand so now I get to feel luxe too!

-Mally mascara full size product. This baby retails for $20 and I was fortunate enough to try it when Ulta offered it as a my birthday gift last year. It’s the blackest of blacks and it coats your lashes so thoroughly. It feels like it has nourishing oils in the formula because it was never drying or clumpy. I also love the simple pearly packaging. Winner.

-Briogeo deep conditioning mask 1 oz. I don’t care for hair products but at least this brand is good. I’ve tried other Briogeo products from Ipsy before and they all smell like a clean coconut cream so that’s pleasant.

-Klorane dry shampoo 1 oz. I wash my tresses everyday so I don’t have too much occasion for dry shampoo but during extra humid times in the summer or whenever you’re camping, this is great to have. I haven’t sprayed this yet but it says it’s made with oat milk so that’s groovy, I guess.

-Doucce Freematic eye shadow single. Packaged cutely in its own little velvet container, this eye shadow looked luxe right off the bat. I’m not a fan of singles because palettes are where it’s at! There are magnets on the bottom of this thing so that may be cool if you have a Z palette or magnetic tray. It apparently retails for $10 and is a luxe brand. I don’t care for the bronze color because I hate brown shadows and every palette is filled with them :(. However, I can tell by the cool quilted texture that it’s quite pigmented and has a slight shimmer.

Try out the Allure beauty box for yourself!

https://subscribe.allure.com/subscribe/allure/108981?source=ABB_MONTHLY_GENERAL_HOLIDAY16_NATIVE_REDIRECT#six

 

 


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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!