Tiny Horse

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


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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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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!


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Vacay Mani

Modeling my new mani in preparation for my week-long tropical vacation! The shade might be Turquoise & Caicos from Essie but I’ll be heading to The Dominican Republic! Had to use 4 coats to get this perfect opacity. The accent nail has a mermaid blush topcoat from H&M. Hopefully it survives hurricane Nicole…

The book I’m reading right now is Lancelot, by Walker Percy. I’m close to finishing it and it’s a 3/5 so far. My to-read list has been weak sauce for the last 3 books so I’m hoping to get out of this rut. The last great book I read was Of Mice and Men but that was way too short to linger. I’m yearning for a masterfully-written saga.

Family portrait time! Pangur Ban is giving her momma a sweet kiss as we all cozily watch the Ohio State game from our sectional. Fall weather is perfect for cozy snuggles!

Mmmmm…wanted to share this amazing salad I made last weekend. This freshened my day:

-halved yellow tomatoes

-sliced organic bell pepper

-Italian salad mix

-cilantro

-crushed garlic

-Dressing: olive oil, sesame seed oil, garlic sea salt, Xi’an chili oil, lemon juice, sesame seeds on top