Glossier : Part 1

Guys. My life is changed. Okay, maybe just my makeup routine. When my cousin Cece visited she introduced me to two things.
1. The no makeup, makeup look.
2. Glossier products.

I am obsessed with thick luscious long lashes. That’s my thing. If I want to feel pretty, I give myself a couple of swipes of mascara and that does the trick. Then Cece comes to town and tells me that mascara looks too fake (gasp! In general, not on me.) and my lashes are nice enough to go without. My biggest complaint about mascara is that even when I wear waterproof, my skin is so oily that it isn’t long before I have dark circles under my eyes from it. (Or am I just so tired beyond belief that makeup doesn’t help?)

Cece brought her French minimalist style and opened my eyes to the dewy, au naturel look that I can now pull off (Thanks to Apoterra!) She showed me Glossier products and now I am hooked.

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Haloscope Highlighter
Originally I only got the topaz (as a gift from Cece) since I am a darker tone than her. I used it on my cheekbones to get a nice “glow”. But then she took her quartz highlighter and dabbed it on the bridge of my nose, cupid’s bow and inner eye corners to brighten up my face. I’m bout this. So I had to order a stick for myself.

Balm dot Com
She got the 3 pack and gave me the mint one. Love the smell, love the texture. I use it mostly for my lips but you can use it anywhere really. I looked at the ingredients because it reminded me of the nipple cream that I keep in my purse, and sure enough, there’s lanolin in it. It’s a multi-use balm. I probably won’t re-up on this because I can stick to using my nipple cream. However, I did have a dry itchy patch on my skin one morning and I dabbed a little on it. It cooled it (because of the mint) which made it stop itching, and then moisturized it and made the patch go away! Win.

Stretch Concealer
At first, I was thinking, “Oh it’s so light, I can only use this for under eye concealing.” Wrong. Good thing I went online to see reviews and tutorials because this product is build-able so you can layer it on to cover your blemishes. It’s not thick and dry like other concealers. When you touch it, its almost like coconut oil and feels nice, soft and dewy on your skin. Which I am all about now. Cuz I’m a 30 something mom.

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They package everything in a cute pink bubble wrap bag, which is perfect for stashing my stuff in and throwing it into my bag. I also got cute little emoji (like the one’s seen on their site) stickers too. As a visual designer, I’m all about packaging, and they get an A+. Especially since it can be re-purposed!

Part Two will cover the Face Mist, Primer Moisturizer, Perfecting Skin Tint and Boy Brow. Stay tuned.

**All opinions are my own and I don’t even think Glossier knows I exist. I bought all products with my own money and was not paid to share this honest review. But you can help pay for my addiction by making your first order with my link. You get 20% off and I get a little somethin’ somethin’ too.

Kapnos Taverna

I love to try a little bit of everything, without putting myself in a buffet situation. Dim sum, tapas, hot pot, Korean bbq, forcing my dinner mates to order something so I can have a little bit of theirs…I clearly don’t like to be stuck with one entree. At Kapnos Taverna, they have mezze, which is the word that refers to Mediterranean small dishes. Perfect! I love small plates.

I stopped by for lunch one day with the hubs. There seems to be two levels, which creates an open air vibe full of plants (dead, fake, alive?) and very modern. Definitely liked the vibe there. The staff is very attentive, and our server was very knowledgeable, he even took the time to bring over someone to explain one of the dishes. Unexpected but appreciative. He knew it was our first time there and wanted us to really get a feel for the food.

They’ve got quite a selection of house made sodas. My husband went for it and chose the 5 Spice Ginger beer. I wanted to try to passionfruit one, but I’m not that big of a soda drinker and didn’t want to NOT finish it.

We chose the tzatziki and flatbread spread and the half spit-roasted chicken to share. Lunch is quite like and there was a generous portion for both.

The tzatziki was creamy, flavorful and was well, perfect. I’ve never had it like that before and I love it. Usually when I have it, its watery and yogurt-y and this was definitely a spread. It’s served with fresh hot flatbread. Like literally fresh. When we asked for another piece, it takes 4 minutes because they have to roll it out and throw it in the fire. Worth the wait.

The chicken is smoky, tender and full of flavor. It’s served over barley cooked with spinach in a risotto style (STYLE, not risotto). It was very lemony, and bright but paired with the chicken perfectly.

My husband thought it was too expensive, but I think it’s well worth the price. They also have “express” lunches which include a gyro a side and a drink for $15. I’m told it is a lot of food, but I prefer a bunch of small plates.

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It’s obvious I love ramen. From hopping around to ramen shops to hosting “Ramen Day” at my house, I could ALWAYS eat ramen. And lucky me, there’s a ramen shop walking distance from my office. Yet, it has so much more to offer than your average bowl of ramen. (How many times have I typed the word ramen already?)

So let’s NOT talk about the ramen, (though the king crab ramen with uni butter? omg) let’s talk about all the other delicious bites you can find there. Not only do they serve traditional style ramen, they have small plates that are both Japanese and Korean flavors.

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One of my favorites, so simple yet so delicious, the snap pea goma-e. I am always iffy about having snap peas at restaurants because you never know if they are going to prepare it properly. I hate when I have to sit there peeling the strings off, definitely takes me away from enjoying my food. Here, they are perfect. And I really get to enjoy the slight crunch and the salty-sweet marinade. These are also perfect for me to snack on later (if I order it when I’m at work).

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Bean Sprout Salad, minty, with a little tiny kick in white soy. I’m a texture eater and there’s a nice crunch added with the Marcona almonds.

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Dumplings. Little pouches of deliciousness. As an avid dim sum-er, I’ve had many kinds of dumplings in my life. These weren’t anything super special. Probably wouldn’t order it again (on my own anyway).

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Ermergerd. I don’t remember what this was called. I wanna guess that it’s the tuna poke. I usually don’t like tuna poke (I prefer salmon), but this was amazing. It’s got these little crunchy rice pearls and the sauce is delicious. It’s cut really thin and melts in your mouth. I’m really particular about what raw things I eat, and I basically ate this whole dish myself.

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Guys. This is the uni waffle. Two things I’ve never had before. Caviar, and uni. AND THEN I GO AND HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER AT ONCE.

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It was really intimidating. I’m not going to lie. I didn’t even know how to take on this first bite. I just went for it. It was a little messy (ok a lot) but wow. It just hits you. The toppings are cold, but the waffle is fluffy and warm. It was like getting knocked over by a wave you weren’t ready for. I could really only handle two bites before I had to take a break. But I did find myself wanting to have it again later. And think about it, a lot. If I eat this again, it would have to be shared with a friend!

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And of course, you can’t go wrong with the buns! My favorite is the oxtail. It’s a nice crunch to the softness of the bun. I always get it. Don’t worry, my daughter just took a bite of the bun.

If you get the chance check it out! I love it because it’s convenient and I don’t have to find parking in DC. Win-win for me!

Life with Bawse: Dog Walking Etiquette

I know, I know, it’s been awhile since we updated on life with Bawse. He’s a grown up now so nothing new, just the same ol’ same ol’. He’s a big brother, and so he’s been very busy minding over his little sister and …attempting to keep her out of trouble.

We still occasionally go on family adventures where we bust out the stroller and go for a nice walk at the park. Yes, we know he’s a pitbull. Yes, we know the stigma around them. But we’ve raised him since he was a tiny, goofy pup and know his nature. Yes, if you don’t know him he can look intimidating at times, especially if you’ve already have a preconceived notion that pitbulls are “vicious”.

As a pitbull parent, I feel like I am much more strict on dog walking etiquette than others with more “friendly” breeds. I was recently inspired by the dog-walking service, Rover to write about some dog walking etiquette that I follow, and hope other people follow.

Keep Your Dog on a Leash

Bawse is always on his leash in a public setting. He is always asked to walk by our side, or behind us, and told to keep eye contact. We’ve come across plenty of people who just let their small dogs run around off leash. And there are countless times where they would run STRAIGHT up on Bawse. This angers me because if anyone or anything runs up on you that you don’t know, you would be on guard, so Bawse has every right to take a protective stance. He is a lot stronger than me, so if something like this happens I ask him to sit and wait patiently, hoping that whoever owns that dog would stop or grab their dog before Bawse loses his patience. Because you know that as soon as he even sniffs another dog, the owner will be quick to act like he’s about to attack their dog, when clearly they are at fault.

If we are not at a dog park, keep your dog on a leash. Sometimes I feel like people intentionally try to get a rise out of Bawse just so that they can say something bad about pitbulls. Luckily for us, he is very patient, probably more so than my husband and I because we would be the first to yell at you about keeping your dog on a leash. One time a lady saw us walking Bawse and intentionally UNLEASHED her poodle who ran straight up into Bawse’s face. Bawse immediately sat down and looked at us like “What the hell Mom?!” and basically waited for us to handle it. My husbanad quickly yelled at the lady to get her dog.

If you can, cross the street.

I don’t know your dog, you don’t know mine. We aren’t looking to make new puppy friends. If we did, we would go to the dog park. When we are walking in the neighborhood, or hiking at a local park we are on a mission. Usually if we see other people with dogs we try to walk away from them, or cross the street because we know dogs are curious and will want to sniff each other. If we are on a small path and see another dog coming, we have him sit, and wait to the side until they walk by if there isn’t enough room for both of us. There has been an instance where the owners just let their dog get in Bawse’s face. Move your dog, and keep walking. Clearly we got out of YOUR way to be polite. So please take your dog and move quickly. We don’t want to talk to you, get your dog out of our dog’s face. This is not okay.

Pick up after your dog. Obviously.

This is a no brainer.

Ask the owner first before you pet someone’s dog. 

Bawse loves people. He loves kids. He gives kisses. He’s super friendly, and doesn’t realize how big he is. Some people’s dog are skittish and don’t like people. Don’t just roll up on someone’s animal and try to touch them without asking first. Bawse loves attention. But he needs to be introduced properly or he will jump and lick all over you. If we ask him to sit, and wait, he will sit and let you love on him as much as you want, but if you give him an inch he will take a mile…meaning he will knock you over and lick all over your face. Be careful what you wish for.

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This is the obvious, most respectful thing you can do when it comes to walking your dog. Are there other things I’m missing, or something that you think would be good dog walking etiquette?

Photographer: Vina Sananikone

I love snail mail. I love sending out cards, thank you cards, holiday cards birthday cards etc. I like receiving and getting photo cards because I feel like its two in one. Usually greeting cards get tossed after a year, because who likes clutter? Not me after reading Marie Kondo’s book. Lol. But if I get a photo card it’s fun because I get the sweet sentiment you sent, but I also get a picture to stick on my fridge (stick because my stupid fridge isn’t magnetic 🙁 but yay for for washi tape)).

Since I’m not a selfie queen or a skilled photographer, I turn to my friend Vina who is an AMAZING photographer. She does weddings, portraits and events. BUT HER REAL HUSTLE? Food. And she’s GREAT at it.

She’s done…

our engagement photos, maternity photos, captured special moments and most recently our daughter’s first birthday!

Whenever there is something special to capture, I call her first because she knows how to capture great shots without any awkward posing or stress. I hate being in front of the camera and she really puts us at ease! Our photo shoots are literally just a day at the park.

If you are looking for someone to capture the best moments from your special day, or events, I’d definitely recommend her. Her pictures always come out so full of emotion and well composed. It all comes together with a very natural un-posed vibe. I love it.

If you are looking for a photography I highly recommend her. She is located in the DC/VA area, and not opposed to traveling. Did I also mention that she is a graphic designer, and an instructor at the lemon bowl dc? What can she NOT do?

If you are looking for punny captions and yummy eye candy follow her instagram.

Tieks

Tieks. Foldable italian leather ballet flats. With a hefty price tag. You might recognize them by their blue bottoms. For my birthday, I decided that I’ve been a good girl. I deserve a “treat yo self” moment. After asking friends that have had them, and reading blog posts…I did it.

First thoughts. They came really fast, and packaged cutely in a little box with a flower band. It came with a bag for the flats, and a bag for your shoes (for when you kick off your heels and switch to the flats). Nice little perks. Eye candy.

The leather is so nice. I think this is my first real leather shoes because whatever my other shoes were made of are not the same as this. Putting them on at first is super snug. They say if you are a half size, order the next size down (they only have whole sizes). I totally understand why.

They were snug at first. Nothing terrible. Just stiff. After wearing them all day at work, my dogs were definitely ready to be free by the time I got home. After about a weekend in them in Vegas, they softened up and molded around my feet. Oddly enough my feet didn’t stink. Let’s be real ladies, don’t act like your flats don’t stink. Unless you spray alcohol in them at the end of the day (which works, thanks for the trick Nginn sisters!) which I don’t. I was like, wow this is magic unicorn shoes!

Well it has been about 3 months. The flats are super, amazing, comfortable. I haven’t folded them up at all though, because I wear them so much. And they are starting to stink a little (to me) but nothing over bearing, which is kind of a reality check. Definitely will start spraying them with alcohol…hope that doesn’t ruin the inside. Wish me luck. They are still holding strong and don’t look worn down at all. My normal flats, whether from target or nine west always end up looking busted by the 3 month mark and have to get tossed. So far, I think they are worth their price. I’ll check in again once they get WRECKED. If that happens.

Untitled Book Project

Some of you have been pushing me to write a cookbook. Some of you have been asking me when said cookbook will be done. Some of you have asked me straight up, can I send you some recipes.

Some of you have no idea what I am talking about.

When my mom was sick, and it was clear she wasn’t going to have much longer to live, a few things came to my mind. If I have children, they would never know their strong, beautiful grandmother, who was the best cook. Yeah, I was definitely one of those kids that thought my mom made every thing better. Even her jar spaghetti. How will my kid know the tastes of Laos? How will they know the labor and love that is traditional Lao food? That’s when I realized I needed to get all my favorite recipes from my mom before she passed. Sound selfish right? But not really.

Growing up I was always in the kitchen with her. I’d be holding the bowl while she was kneading the dough for thick rice noodles. Or tasting the papaya salad when she needed someone else to taste it after pounding it in the mortar pestle. I was the one pouring the sauces into the eggroll mixture because her hands were all meaty and gross from mixing it. I was her little sous chef as soon as she trusted me to use the knife. I prepared and cooked the sticky rice. I loved being with her in the kitchen. And I hope that my future kid will feel the same way.

In her last months, we spent our time together in the kitchen. Me, writing down and making all my favorite dishes with her in the kitchen. Her, telling me exactly how to do it. Savoring all the flavors together one last time.

Fast forward a few years. I helped a local chef with her two restaurants, submerging myself in both front of house and back of house activities and promoting the flavors of Laos. Then I had a baby. And started another blog. Then I got lazy because now there are two Lao restaurants around to fulfill my cravings, instead of putting in the effort myself. I stopped working on my mother’s recipes.

Now I am back, and ready to start writing, testing, retesting, cooking, tasting and shooting these recipes. Time to collect it all together with the found memories and make a book. Because now I have a daughter, and I’d want her to learn about her grandmother through the food. Technically it would be categorized as a cookbook, but really it’d be a journal of memories and recipes.

Wish me luck.

Leftover Crab Bisque

I’ve made this before with lump crab that costs like a million dollars at the grocery store. After eating as many crabs as I could stuff myself, I decided to not let it go to waste, and used my crab picking skills to pull out my own lump crab meat and made a yummy bisque. There aren’t any measurements because I make this to taste!

Ingredients:
1 can (10.5oz) of Condensed tomato soup
1 can (10.5oz) of Cream of mushroom
Lump cooked crabmeat
Whole milk
Salt
Pepper
Curry Powder

Directions:
In a pot whisk together the tomato soup and cream of mushroom. Add one can of milk to start. Whisk until well mixed. Add crabmeat, make sure not to add too much. You want it to be a good amount of crab per bite, not too much, not too little. Stir till well mixed, turn on the heat to medium. Bring it to steaming, NEVER LET IT BOIL. Stir frequently so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Once hot, taste it. And add black pepper, salt, and curry to taste. If it’s still too salty, add milk to make it creamy.

Shrimp Quinoa Bowl

My husband loves the chicken citrus quinoa bowl I make him. I personally don’t, don’t ask me why, I’m weird. So I decided to make one for myself, that I’d like to have for lunch, and decided to go with a lemon-y shrimp one.

There are not enough quinoa bowls in my life. They are so simple. Quinoa, veggies of your choice, dressing, protein. BAM.

For my bowl, I had a base of the same quinoa, cooked in chicken broth. Then I added sweet corn, avocado, red onion, cucumbers, oranges, and cilantro. Tossed it all together with a lemon vinaigrette then topped it with cajun seasoned shrimp. So easy there really isn’t a need for a recipe. But here’s one for the lemony vinaigrette!

Ingredients

6 Tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons worth of juice
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
honey to taste
salt and pepper

Directions
Whisk all the ingredients together. Pour over bowl when ready to eat! I eat it cold and its a perfect no heat lunch.

Bullet Journaling

Remember how I was obsessed with planners? Well I have a new planning obsession, and its definitely going to stick. You know why? Because it’s one notebook, undated, that has everything in it. It’s apparently a big thing, and it’s definitely not new. Actually some of my engineering friends have done it for years, on their own before it became a “thing”.

I decided to wait until I finished my first notebook before I wrote about it. Because knowing me, I’d get bored and try to buy another planner or something (which I’m known to do, don’t judge, I like pretty notebooks and paper). But nope, I stuck to it and am pretty reliant on it. It comes in very handy, since I can’t use my personal phone at my new job. So no more digital notes, or calendars at my fingertips.

Basically its a journal that you can just dump your brain into, and organize it the way you want to. And since its a blank notebook, you can also get creative with it, with all the space you allow yourself. Currently, mine is mostly black ink, because I’m on the move so much I don’t have time to doodle or color code. But seriously, its no pressure! I love it.

For the official site and structured information on how to do it, visit BulletJournal.com. Then after you understand how it works conceptually, check out pinterest for more inspirations and collections you can use with it. The possibilities are endless. I write everything in my bullet journal…quotes I come across, meal plan, things to do, blog topics, random notes and numbers, keep track of bills, questions for the pediatrician… EVERYTHING. I also have a separate one that I use for work that keeps track of projects, and meetings and notes.

The best part is that you can use whatever notebook you want. So now I can go through and use up all the pretty journals I’ve been hoarding. Plus if you keep them, you can always look back and memories and notes for those days! I love paper and pens and this method is perfect. It can be anything you want it to be. There’s really no wrong way to do it. I even tape business cards or other pieces of paper related to that day in there to keep track of it.

Some of my “collections” aka brain dumps are things like.. books to read, movies to watch, brainstorms, event plans, home renovations, expense tracking etc. The index is helpful because now you know exactly where you dumped all your thoughts on a certain subject.

How about you? Have you tried it? Are you using it? What are some other planning methods you are doing to keep track of LIFE?

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