Tiny Horse

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


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Wintry Tales

I’m showing off so many new things here! My mani, for one, is super unconventional. I was so lazy about removing my last mani’s colors entirely…dark colors are so difficult to get out! So…there are remnants of my watermelon nail polish ever so slightly staining my new look. It would have been unnoticeable if I had chosen an opaque color but no…I had to go for a soft, season inappropriate nude pink shade. I used Revlon’s Sheer Blossom and it has tiny specks of glitter in it. Then I used Marie cat cartoon water decals for a cutesy mani.

I’ve recently been obsessed with POPSugar Must Have boxes and bought myself two a in row (not even counting 2 mixed boxes off of Mercari from other subscriber’s!). One box is 4x the cost of Ipsy or Birchbox per month BUT you mostly get boutique full size products in categories of not just beauty but food, jewelry, fashion items, home (my fave!) and sometimes games. Their cyber Monday deal gave you a chance to order past boxes so you know exactly what was in them. I’m modeling an indigo silk friendship bracelet with a sterling silver heart from their August box. It is the most delicate piece of jewelry I own and even though it’s simple and can be easily overlooked, I’m kind of obsessed with it because it’s so easy to wear and adjust. I also can’t wait to use this gorgeous rose gold notebook from Fringe Studios. It’s leather bound and has a ribbon. I wish the pages were unlined so I can doodle but it’s still fancy looking enough.

I still hesitate to subscribe so I’ll only be buying specific boxes or pieces from boxes that I fo sho know I will like. I have this thing about surprises–most of the time, they’re not worth the fun of not knowing because the annoyance of it being something I don’t like will overshadow any positive feelings.

I also wanted to continue my tradition of modeling my mani atop the current book I am reading so this is a shoutout to the last Foundation book in the trilogy and also the best! I’m about 3/4 of the way through and it is definitely the easiest to follow because there is only one story line and I know all the past main characters already. My hubby has been pushing me to read these books years ago so it’s the least I could do after he’s gone and read the entirety of Les Miserables, Gone with the Wind and Sophie’s Choice after I declared that anyone who wants to understand me should read the following first ;). I am lacking in the sci-fi department so finishing this series in turn broadens my horizons a little.

Is she not the most adorable little baby doll you have ever seen? Look at her pretty little face! I MADE THIS.

This was the last meal included from Gobble and it was grand! You’re looking at a miso ramen with soft tofu, hard boiled egg, bak choy (qing cai), scallions, baby corn all simmered with delicious Korean sweet chili paste and a sprinkling of Korean chili powder. The portion was so big, there was even enough for one more meal the next day! This Gobble subscription was real dang good.

It’s tummy time!

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Gobble Gobble

My Thanksgiving mani is a deep watermelon shade from Formula X (not quite red!) and several cat silhouette water decals! I’m continuing to love these decals. All you need is a pair of tweezers and a shallow container with some water in it. Seal with top coat and you can get fancy with the designs!

This was my dad’s and my combined epic birthday cake (Yay. November bdays!). BEST CAKE I’VE EVER HAD. It’s called Dulce Napoleon cake from Market District. It’s basically several layers of perfect yellow cake, dulce de leche and the lightest, freshest cream topped with flaky, buttery pastry! Oh my glob, it was da bomb frosting. Literally. We’re all about the European pastries in our family so we always shy away from those sugary, radioactive colored confetti cakes usually found in this country. I mean, just look at this beauty. It’s more beautiful than some people I know.

My latest little craft project! I bought a DIY wooden frame from Michael’s for $1. Then I spray painted it gold, lined the top with a strip of washi tape and carefully pressed a silver cluster of bird body tattoos on there! Then I cut out some adhesive print paper and wrote a cool quote on it. Note to self–that sticky craft paper is so thin and tricky to apply that I’m just going to glue it down next time and forget the whole adhesive part…

 

Let’s talk about Gobble! This is a meal subscription service I signed up for. Virgin Mobile inner circle members got a whole week’s worth of credits so I nabbed it before it was gone! I’m duly impressed with the meal choices, ingredients and customer service.

Here you see 3 different meals with 2 servings each for $71. Shipping is included and it arrives the day it ships out. Ingredients are very fresh and pretty interesting! I learned what ponzu, minzu, kohlrabi were! Everything was packaged in its own bag and you didn’t have to wash or chop beforehand! That’s my least favorite part about cooking!

First meal was sesame crusted ahi tuna with kohlrabi noodles, sliced avocado, minzu, pickled ginger and wonton strips. The sauce was a sweet and savory ponzu topped with my fave–sesame oil! So fresh and good!

The second meal was even better than the first! This is pan seared chicken breasts on top of a butternut squash garlic butter risotto with caramelized fennel. Mmmm! I can’t wait for the third and final meal tonight–Korean spicy tofu ramen with hard boiled egg!


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Flirty 30

Flirty, 30 and thriving? I’m not sure I feel like Jennifer Garner’s character from 30 Going On 30; rather, I’m way more accomplished than she was at 30, haha. This is my first birthday as a mom and I’m feeling good about it. I’m still on maternity leave so I have yet to balance the whole working mom aspect, and I know there will be challenges there. So until that day comes, I’m blissfully going to enjoy these times I’m spending with my adorable baby girl.

Current manicure gimmick: water nail decals. I bought a buttload of these sheets so I’m itching to try all of them out! I opted for these annoying Minon ones first just to see how they would look. Decent, I guess. The dark gray accent nail background color was a mistake but going forward, I will not commit this error. The gray is a Sephora brand and the lovely creamy orchid is an Ulta nail polish. I like the broad applicator of the Sephora one better but the size and selection of the Ulta one more.

The book I’m reading right now is an absolute page-turner. I’m so in awe of this gripping yarn and these fascinating characters the author has woven. Who knew I would enjoy a book about a cathedral being built? The preface has Ken Follett admitting he isn’t religious at all, and that his interest in writing about a cathedral was more along the lines of the architecture and culture behind it. I can dig that.

Fall outing at Gerber’s Dairy, a now annual tradition! This mini golf green made a great background for my pic!

Baby girl’s precious smiles and giggles for her momma :). 

I’ve named this toy Babylon 5 and gave him a French accent. He’s a big hit.

I’m obsessed with #Crowdtap’s samplers! I recently sampled the #Revlon sugar kiss exfoliator and lip creme plumper in nude honey. The sugar crystals of the lip scrub melted easily into my lips and didn’t need to wiped away! So easy to get soft, minty lips! The lip creme plumper easily layered on top in a universally flattering nude rose tone. That needed a few applications and was not very long lasting, but it was so smooth and non-sticky!


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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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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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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.