Tiny Horse

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


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Sunny Days, Sunny Times!

I had luck with the whole chunky glitter at the bottom with an opaque color look so I thought I’d try this out again. I used a K-Beauty nail polish Pokemon edition (Oddish) and a H&M mermaid blush glitter top coat on the bottom half of my nails.

I’m modeling on top of the current book that is taking me quite some time to read but is well worth it–Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides. I first heard of this book from the Seth Rogen/Barbara Streisand comedy Road Trip, and have since seen or heard allusions of it here and there. If you also thought this book would be about a charming (perhaps haunted) English village called Middlesex…you would be dead wrong! It’s about the life and times of a Greek hermaphrodite and her/his generational saga. Glad I picked it up at the library book sale; it really is interesting and educational.

I tested Christian Siriano’s new fragrance In Bloom recently and it is marvelous! I would best describe it as a tidy, sweet floral scent. It’s definitely feminine and while ephemeral, is still pleasant to reapply often. It sits well close to the skin because it’s not sharp or overwhelming. It’s no unique Jo Malone signature, but it’s a comfortable and young summer/spring fragrance!

I also just tried Aveeno’s new oat mask with pumpkin seed extract and enjoyed using it. I applied with a brush and it was thick, creamy and layered very well. It smelled like leftover cereal and had Pangur Ban sniffing me like no other. Not revolutionary but a nice, relaxing mask at night!

I call this picture “Ladies in Yellow.” Totally accidental that my sister, my mom and I are all wearing sunny shades while touring the lovely Frick grounds.

I hosted a bomb dinner party last week and cooked:

-seared Kielbasa with sweet organic green beans from my mom’s garden! Topped with some sesame seeds and Asian seasoning.

-sauteed edamame with sliced garlic, sea salt and olive oil. This was my personal favorite.

-mango curry with onion, sweet corn and chives over tri-colored rotini

-Not Pictured: blood orange Forte iced tea sweetened with Teavana’s rock sugar

Our microwave broke, leading to many meals of fancy salami bites, mozzarella balls, tomato, chives all heavily drizzled in olive oil and spices!

I attended the a wedding in the heart of downtown Chicago and checked off another “first.” First time attending a wedding in an art museum! The ceremony was held in the sleek and well-air conditioned modern art wing of the Art Institute. The reception was upstairs with a gorgeous view of the city and very clean hardwood floors.

The night of the wedding, we stayed at the Blackstone hotel, quite a swanky upper-crust Marriott line. Service was very meh, but at least I got to see the floor where they host weddings.

We also attended the after wedding dim sum brunch in Chinatown! I got to show off one of these outfits I never thought I’d pull off before that day!

My sis and I toured Pittsburgh’s Trundle Manor, by appointment only. What a hodgepodge of grotesqueness and oddities! I was hoping the place was an actual manor, but alas, it’s just a cramped old house with taxidermy, lol.

Blackstone corner room with a view!

Lovely cake that had a passionfruit creme layer. Yum.

Crossing off a bucket list item: seeing Hamilton!!! Every bit as wonderful as it is/was hyped. We splurged to get relatively okay seats. Over $200 though…how do people see more than one show a year? Yikes!

You might not be able to tell in this picture but it was the hottest day in the hottest city of the year. It was TORTURE walking outside. We had to duck into air conditioned stores on the way to the theater multiple times.

Hubby’s meager soft shell crab salad from Sunda.

My way superior Cantonese style noodles with seared pork belly, shrimp, chinese sausage, Chinese vegetables.

What a bourgie hotpot looks like in a trendy Chicago restaurant ;). Delicious, but it was for two people.

Enjoy this picture of Daphne with her ride at the Car and Carriage museum.


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A Cold Spring

Targeted Facebook ads work on me like a charm. Instagram ones too! Although they are one and the same since Facebook bought Instagram so…basically I’m just saying that it’s not really hard to guess what I like. I recently made a purchase at Live Love Polish and impulse-purchased a temperature reactive polish from their Van Gogh collection. The bottle color is what it becomes when it’s cold and the shade on my fingers is what it looks like warmed up. One polish, two gorgeous shades! This did not come by cheap either–$16 for the bottle and another $6 for shipping. The bottle is rather small too for the full size: only 10ml. Worth it though for the effect? Yeah! Also, I dare you to watch their ads and NOT be interested in trying one!

I bought this raspberry lambic beer last week. Yum! It quite reminded me of the New Glarus raspberry tarts I had back in my WI days! The bottles were stoppered with wax. This lambic beer wasn’t quite as snappy and a little more beer-like. Still, with an ice cube, it was pretty refreshing!

I tried a grape vanilla float at Burgatory last week and boy was it overpriced! $6 for a scoop of plain vanilla ice cream on top of this little soda bottle. There are so many places around me I always get excited to eat out at and then immediately regret it after racking up a $40 bill after 1 entree, a drink and a side…Is this merely inflation or capitalism becoming increasingly unsustainable? Then there’s always tax and tip and wow, an average American’s paycheck for a whole day is down the tube after one meal! Just a few years ago, I would never even think of purchasing a drink at a restaurant and it’s a mark of my financial stability that I can every now and then.

Live below your means, people! Then when you’ve finally saved enough, live comfortably! Save, spend frugally, prioritize purchases, reuse, upcycle and you too can live debt-free!

My second alcohol-related pic in the same post! Ironically enough, coming to you from the girl who is allergic to alcohol, hardy har har. To be fair, this pic is from months ago when I mixed some sparkling water into this pineapple fruity tutti dessert wine. Yum but actually too strong for me, alas. I ended up red and uncomfortably warm the whole night after finishing the quantity you see before you. Pangur Ban is adorbs as a model here.

It was good while it lasted! This stunning white blossoms in full bloom view was as ephemeral as it was beautiful. I want to say…2.5 weeks in April? And now the remnants are stuck in the crevices of our hardwood floors, our rugs, underneath our shoes, in the pond and even in our car seats!


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Sunny Mani

I used China Glaze in a metallic sand shade and Essie’s Peach Side Babe for the accent nail. I also popped on a gold-edged nail sticker! I like the creaminess of the colors together.

Hubby and I went to Muddy Waters for a happy hour last week and it was too much fun. 4:30pm – 6:30pm weekdays this place will serve you $1 east coast oysters on the rocks! We ordered 24 of them of which I consumed 6. Then we feasted like kings and continued to eat the hot chicken entree, cornbread skillet with jalapeno cajun butter and finished it all off with a full order of beignets! The dipping sauce was a melted caramel with a shot of bourbon–luxe! Yes, our bill ended up being very high but getting a taste of New Orleans in Pittsburgh was nice enough. We will be back! 

Here are a few of my USS Midway pics that didn’t make it to my San Diego post. This ship was a 3-min walking trip from our hotel! Good times!


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Iceland Part I

Yes, boy and girls, I traveled to ICELAND! Our hotel was in the capital, Reykjavik but our excursions took us to neighboring places. My favorite excursion was the surreal, magical Blue Lagoon! The most interesting part about it is that it’s not even natural! It is just a byproduct from the geothermal energy plant. Water seeped into some fissures and the heat of the earth, along with the abundant minerals formed the amazing Blue Lagoon. The silica mud there gives the waters its signature milky aquamarine hue and the high pH and heat serve as a tonic for your body. Doctors here legit prescribe treatments to just soak it up! Ay ay, doc!   What made the experience even more luxurious was that the center opened especially for our group a whole hour before public hours. I could spend a whole day here! Temperatures were about 38 F that day and the wind sure was whippy, but then you sink in the waters and forget about all that. Of course, it made climbing out of the lagoon that much more terrible.

Tips for booking your own trip to the Blue Lagoon:

  • A regular admission gives you a wrist band and nothing else. It’s about $50 so be prepared if you choose this option!
  • Pack a towel and flip flops!
  • If you’re willing to spend $90 per person, then yes, slippers and a bathrobe are included
  • Shower facilities and locker rooms are great but got SUPER crowded after it was open to the public
  • Must shower naked first, then put on swimsuit to be able to go into the lagoon
  • Swim up bar in the middle of the lagoon available and you pay via your wrist band. They limit you to 3 adult drinks so you don’t die in the heat and of dehydration
  • Excursions here are only to and from the airport. I’m sure you can arrange your own trip here but it’s en route to Keflavik.

My Blue Lagoon themed mani! Bikini So Teeny from Essie on all nails and a Jamberry wrap that didn’t work so well. I did a top coat this time to make it last using BBWorks True Blue Spa topcoat.
  Yum! Mai Tai Bistro on their main street in the capital. This is the best pad thai I’ve ever had. Presentation was gorgeous and every table had chopped peanuts, dry chili powder, sweet vinegar, black pepper and fish sauce.   Noodle Station! First place I spotted and first meal in Iceland! These are steaming bowls of beef rice noodle soup and it was full of hot and spicy goodness! Iceland does Asian food right!
  Daily breakfast at the Foss Hotel. I had 3 plates of everything and averaged around 2.5 pastries a day. Skyr was abundant and passable with fruits, nuts and Coco Puffs sprinkled on top.   Every day we would eat a big dinner on the main street somewhere and then go to a different restaurant just for dessert. This was a Nepalese restaurant that I picked. I got the milk balls which were sweet dough balls in a soup of condensed milk and syrup served in a fancy ice cream goblet! The hubs got lamb momos with a strange but yummy garlic sauce.
  Best dessert goes to this historic Icelandic bakery-turned-restaurant. This is strawberry mousse with skyr foam, licorice meringue and like 2 berries. Amazing presentation and odd but rich taste! Hubby chose this place because he wanted a fish meal. Pictured here is my dish: sweet BBQ skewered chicken in an herb aioli with a side of fries. Best BBQ chicken I’ve ever had! Iceland did meats right! I had the tenderest pieces of lamb and beef while I was there.


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New England Vacay

What a week for me! It was splendid to be able to be with my hubs even while he was working. I have the flexibility to work remotely as needed and did so last week at Hartford, CT. I started the trip off with a new mani, of course.

I brushed on Ulta’s Tinseltown, H&M’s metallic seafoam and a top coat of VS gold glitter. Lasting power of these colors were crap compared to my other nail polishes, but I liked the contrast and slightly Barney-retro look. 

The night we got into Hartford, hubs took me to J. Timothy’s Taverne for their nation’s 2nd best wings! They are done up in “dirty style” meaning = sauced, fried, then sauced again. They weren’t very crunchy or meaty but they were well seasoned and definitely packed a punch in the zest department. The sauce selection was limited but the sauces themselves were incredibly tasty. I had the Gold BBQ and hubs had the Thai Sweet Chili. Expensive place for wings but hey, vacay time!

The next night, he took me to chic West Hartford where we enjoyed a nice Thai meal at the Silk Elephant. For dessert, I got to visit Noah Webster! Check out that gorgeous blue sky!

I dragged hubby to the Elizabeth Rose Garden and we gawked, smelled and took pictures of pretty flowers. He has been working in this area for 6 months and never even heard of this place. I’m a garden hunter so I will smell out these places! It was truly a delight to be able to walk around the flowers and watch the ducks in the pond in the middle of the work week!
  

Fast forward to Wallis Sands beach in New Hampshire while visiting his sister and seeing her new house. I’m merely showing off my retro bikini; it stays dry the whole time because I’m not crazy enough to dip myself in the frigid Atlantic waters at twilight.

Onto the Boston Public Park! I simply loved these weeping willows that provided some sort of shade in the 92 degree scorching day. This was taken right before embarking on the Freedom Trail, which made me a hot mess afterwards ;). 

Found this gem in the Commons and couldn’t resist takin’ off my shoes and cooling off in this majorly accessible water feature! I love cities that have this for all the children/tourists to enjoy!  

Last day of my New England trip: Salem, MA. I was here for a hot 1.5 hrs but we made the most of it! I HAD to visit the Witch Memorial. My favorite play in the world is The Crucible and I am astonished that most of his characters were real life people. RIP Giles Corey and his infamous last words “more weight.”

Crossed off a bucket list item! Slurped raw oysters at the Sea Level oyster bar–I used a combination of lemon, horseradish, cocktail sauce and this pickled mango and pepper concoction. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience! I tried 5 different types of oysters and the salty sea water brine really helps to flavor that plump piece of oyster. 

I only had time to snap a picture of the House of 7 Gables before getting on my horrible AA flight back to Pittsburgh. I was joking that the gods must have been too jelly of my wonderful week and just had to throw a wrench on my travel plans the last day. The hubs thinks it’s just the entire inadequacy of American Airlines. That at least is definitely true.

What a wonderful week! What joyous eats and flavors! What fun seeing friends and family!


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June Times

  My June mani is a fun way to summer it up! This is a new shade I’m trying called Bachelorette Bash from Essie! It’s a perfect glossy hot pink with the slightest hint of magenta. The ring finger has an extra topcoat from e.l.f nail polish Confetti. It’s been over a week since I first layered this on and only had 1 tiny chip on my right hand. I’m usually pretty good at preserving my manis :).

  I got to try my first vermicelli bowl at a Vietnamese restaurant. I had the grilled pork edition and it took me only a few minutes to gobble everything up. My fellow OSU friends visited me this weekend and we had this amazing meal at Pho Van in the Strip District. I’ve been here before but have only ever tried pho. Now I know to always get the bowl with the grilled meats, mmm…

  Cake and Sparkletini wine time! The girls and I were classin’ it up with fruit layered Chinese cloud cake and sparkling raspberry wine. Yummers!

  My housewarming party with another set of Ohio friends brought this treat all the way from Golden Delight bakery in Columbus. Joy!

 Wanted to capture this pretty dish from Bar Marco a couple of weeks ago. Portions- minuscule. Prices – exorbitant. Taste – tasty. Tips – NO! Would maybe come back during happy hour again but refrain from the custom cocktails. Mine was tiny, too sweet and didn’t have the fruit pieces I requested.


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Memorial Weekend Fun

  This is definitely my new favorite nail color! It is creamy, thick and so darn perfect! I have been searching for a peachy, summery nail polish and I found it in Essie’s Peachside Babe. And what a lovely name as well. Nicely done, Essie, as always.

  Saturday was a day of treats! I will mention that they are all well deserved because of a long hike the hubs and I did in the nearby Boyce park. We hit up my favorite Pittsburgh neighborhood–Squirrel Hill–and dined at a highly rated restaurant there. I’ve been wanting to try Sichuan Gourmet for a long time and it sure did not disappoint! The menus are works of art and available in Chinese and English. The dishes are all authentic Sichuan classic dishes with a few Southern ones thrown in. I had the flaming rabbit and the hubs ordered the Sichuan style lamb. It was my first time trying rabbit and I counting down until I can try it again! While we both used up a small mountain of paper napkins and 3 glasses full of ice cubes, all the heat and pain was worth it. Until next time! I am already making a list of dishes to try on my subsequent visits :).

  I got this “cheesecake” at the Pink Box bakery and was a little surprised that it was not the traditional creamy dessert that I thought I bought. It’s made in the Asian style of a thick pound cake that tastes like the essence of cheesecake. Still amazing, delicate, rich and made me want a second and third slice.

  On Sunday, we (and it seems like all of NY and OH) traveled to Penn’s Caves to take an adventurous cave tour by boat! We saw HUGE rainbow trout swimming in the slightly translucent turquoise, mineral-rich waters. I had a blast and I’m all about softcore spelunking. This will be my 3rd cave tour, and I hope to go to many more!

 A surprising part of the tour led us out into a man-made reservoir and back into the narrow, dark depths of Penn’s Caves.

What a great Memorial Day weekend! I hope everyone enjoyed their time off!


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Burger Feast

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I haven’t eaten at Max & Erma’s since leaving moving out of Ohio, so it was nice to revisit this campy family restaurant again. The hubs and I go straight for their burgers, which was an excellent choice. I’m usually the strict type of “entree girl” but I can’t just ignore the glossy pictures flashing me juicy bacon strips, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, guacamole, marinara sauce…wait, what the heck kind of burger is this? The menu boasts the name “Garbage Burger” and lived up to my expectations. It also came with slices of cheddar, swiss and mozzarella cheeses, lettuce, tomato and pickles.

Best feature of Max & Erma’s? Definitely their no-charge substitution rule. I swapped out their regular beef patty for a brat burger (yes, maybe because I was missing WI food, haha). I also switched out my fries for a side of their DELICIOUS grilled asparagus. I want to make asparagus exactly like theirs from now on:

-lightly grilled asparagus

-black pepper

-coarse sea salt

-lemon juice or a light vinaigrette

I also asked for some dipping sauces and their house ranch and honey mustard did not disappoint. For a burger this big, I resorted to knife, fork and fingers within 30 seconds of attempting to fit it in my mouth.