Sunday, March 31, 2013

I'm Sorry What?

"Are we just sugaring the brows or the lip too?"

Ummm so when did the lip even come into play? This is one of those things that has now happened to me more than once...ok more then three times. I guess it's time to deal with it, but let me just say that first off, if I don't have lip listed on the appointment keep your comments to yourself. Got it? 

I am not even sure when the lip hair started, I have incredibly light hair on my face and arms so I never really paid attention to it, but I guess when several trained estheticians are recommending I look into this, I guess they are not just trying to get me to do more services (because that of course was my first thought). So I succumbed to it and had it done for the first time ever and holy lambits how in the world do people do this on a regular basis? It HURTS and it leaves your lip so red that no amount of lipstick will distract from it, so you will just have to wait it out in a dark room for a few hours before showing your face in public. Ugh.
It is no joke that beauty hurts.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Must

This week has been interesting to say the least. We can safely say that I don't want to repeat it, but I did at least get out of the house a bit, ate cake and cleaned. So while not all fun and games at least there were a few highlights and productive moments to be had. I can say that a cocktail on my front porch in the sun this weekend is one thing I am truly looking forward to. I think we all deserve one...or two.

xx
Shannon

Image via Birchbox



Like all great beauty finds I come across lately this came from Birchbox and I am not the only one that thinks this is brilliant. There are roughly 3700 reviews of this eyeliner on their site with 4.5 stars out of 5. Yeah, it's that good. It goes on easily, stays put (and I have eyelids that tend to want to make eye make-up run) and comes off easily with make-up remover. Love.


Image vis the Skimm


Skimm

So do you like a little snark with your news? I know I do and I also know that I can't read or watch the news all the time so this little gem is an email I get Monday through Friday with a little synopsis of the big issues at hand. Replacement for all the details? No, but it at least serves as a way to update you on things you might want to know about!


Refreshing and delicious


Bees Knees

I am not a regular gin drinker or even an occasional gin drinker. I can count on my hand how many gin drinks I have had in the last few years, which is why I was so surprised by how badly I wanted to make this drink the Bees Knees that I cam across from Radical Possibility. I had it both with and with out a splash of soda water and I must say I do like a little bubbles in my cocktails. If you like gin, honey and lemon it's totally worth a try. Yum.


Image via All Recipes

Garlic Chicken

Things I almost always have in my kitchen are chicken, garlic, parmesan and olive oil and usually bread crumbs. With these simple ingredients you can make one of the easiest, moist, best and quick baked chicken I have had. Read the reviews and you will see that people don't change this recipe, because why would you change a great thing? The one thing that was confusing is the whole fresh parmesan vs. green can parmesan. For the record I used fresh finely ground parmesan simply because that is what I always have on hand. It was fantastic. Try it, you will enjoy it.




Mental Floss 

Just a fun few minutes of learning things you probably could have lived the rest of your life without knowing, but it's Friday and you are waiting out the clock. Plus it's entertaining. Enjoy.

Have a fantastically awesome weekend!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Cleaning


Michael Kors Shoes...you know you want them

This post should actually be named Buy. My. Crap.

I have been in a cleaning mood, maybe it's all the talk about the season change, but I think it's more along the lines that I clean when I am frustrated and let's just say I have been a cleaning freak. Deep cleaning freak.

I started with the floors and then found myself in my closet, tossing things that should have been tossed a long time ago, but I never bothered to try them on and find out they didn't fit. This time I did and the piles of clothes, shoes, purses and jewelry kept growing and growing. I separated everything into three piles; Goodwill, eBay/consign and craft/trash. I am pretty picky about what I try to resell which is why there are three piles. The Goodwill pile consists of clothing that is still wearable, but not in super top, really good condition. This also includes my Target and Gap clothes, while these are awesome basics and staples they aren't really worth the energy trying to sell. The eBay pile is for the stuff that is a little bit better condition that is worth more then a few dollars. Posting stuff on eBay takes some time so it has to be worth my time to post things. The last pile is stuff that has holes and is in bad shape. I try to use these items in all the things I pin onto my Pinterest craft board.

So what's the point of all this? Well frankly you should check out my eBay page and see all the items I have posted and be sure to check back because I am constantly adding things. I can only add a few things a day because I am still cleaning. Yup, it's that kind of deep clean.

Here are just a few other items, but there are so many more...

These are super cute!


Leith angora, amazingly soft.

Oh and yes, I am back on Blogger. Boring story, but let's just say it's good to be back.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Routine

When I lived in Seattle and went to work everyday I had a routine that I followed on most days. Of course nights and weekends could include any number of things, but for the most part it was the same type of thing, lather, rinse, repeat. Then 1 1/2 years ago the BF and I decided to shake thing up and now my routine consists of knowing that I will go to sleep at some point and hopefully wake up at another. Where, when or how long depends on what is going on. While this took some time to get used to, I now think I am fully immersed in the crazy routine of random with some bits of normal. The side effect of this though is that I tend to want to never leave my house if I happen to be there for more than two weeks at a time.

I have never been a house hermit. I liked to go out, explore, do things, find things and try things. Now I tend to just want 60 minutes of uninterrupted TV time to catch up on the Walking Dead and Revenge. I am trying to shake myself out of this self imposed hermit like state, but I am having a heck of a time. It probably doesn't help that I am still working on getting to know my neighbors, so my local friends are few (but totally awesome). I think maybe I just need to drag myself out and do things. Any suggestions on what will get me excited to leave the house for? And no, good wine and food won't do it, I have plenty of that at home!

MUST

This week has been full of getting things done. You would not believe the dust that can collect in a house that no one is in. I feel like half the week was dusting and the other half was going through mail. The amount of junk mail and crap that I receive is insane. I think when you go through your mail daily you don't realize just how much junk mail you receive, but when you get a months worth at one time you see how much junk you receive. Let's just say the number of things I needed to read or open could be counted on my hands vs. the majority of stuff that went straight into the recycle bin.


Now that I have dug myself out of the dust and paper, this weekend promises to be filled with a massage, zero plane trips, date night and cake. Hope your weekend is as fun-filled and fancy free.



While we are talking about junk mail, want to reduce the amount you receive in your mailbox? Check out Paper Karma, it's a an app that you download on your phone and just take a quick picture of your unwanted mail and the app takes care of making sure the company is aware of your request. How easy is that?
Hair Ties
I kept it neutral this time, but I will be adding colors in my next order.
You know those hair ties that you have on hand (or wrist), that don't tear up your hair and you won't let anyone borrow because you know if you do, you will never see them again and you spent your hard-earned dollars on? Well, Alyson over at the Average Girl's Guide has shared her source for buying the elastic by the yard and making them yourself for less. Let's review the math. If you click here (I actually did buy this set before I got the knowledge) the ties are $2 a piece. If you click here and with a few minutes of your time you will get approximately 15 hair ties for a total of $3.50 and that includes shipping. It gets even cheaper if you buy multiple colors because the shipping is less. It's too easy to not do and just think you can buy yourself a glass or two of wine with all the money you saved.
Image via Mighty Leaf Tea
Mighty Tea

Over the years I have become a pretty big afternoon tea drinker. It started as a way for me to walk away from my desk while working at home (otherwise I could spend all day there never moving!) and then it just became a habit, even when not working. A few months back I received a few packets of Mighty Leaf tea in my Birchbox and have been drinking it daily ever since. Not only is it pretty to look at, what you see above it what you get in your tea bag, but it has amazing flavor and each type has the recommended brewing time right on the tag to make sure you have the best cup every time. My current favorites are the chamomile citrus and the organic spring jasmine, but I still have yet to try them all.
Image via Zombies Run
Gamify your Workout

I get so bored so easily with working out that I need these apps to make things interesting when I run. I love the Zombies, Run app, but I have done all of the missions and even ordered the 5K missions and blew through those as well. These other apps look fun and just might keep me running!



Food - Irish Style


I have never been a big St. Paddy's day person. The idea of going out, drinking beer and being around a bunch of drunk people acting stupid because they think that March 17th gives them a pass is just really not my thing. This year though, all my blogger friends and people I stalk online have been coming up with all sorts of fun Irish food and I had to get in on the action.
I knew that getting into this that I didn't want to do corned beef and cabbage, not because I don't like it but because I wanted to be different. So after a major online search I settled on Irish Stew, Irish Soda Bread and of course the Guinness truffles I had mentioned in my post on Friday. It was a bit of work to get this made, but easy, uncomplicated work and completely worth every minute of it. I will be making this again at the request of the BF.
The main reason for choosing this stew was because it called for both Guinness and red wine.
The main reason for choosing this stew was because it called for both Guinness and red wine. The more the merrier!
The recipe can be found here and I followed the directions exactly and loved the final results. It is a hearty, belly warming, cold day stew that filled the house with a delicious aroma. If I were to change anything about this I would probably add a little bit more broth, but this is purely for personal preference of liking my stew a little bit more soupy. Highly recommend giving this a go and the more root vegetables you add, I think the better it would get!
The key to Irish soda bread is that it must be eaten warm out of the oven.
The key to Irish soda bread is that it must be eaten warm out of the oven. It is not as good if it waits around.
Reading up on Irish soda bread is pretty interesting. There are lots of opinions out there and most people feel very strongly about them. Based on everything I read, the original Irish soda bread is simple ingredients of flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk, but don't tell that to people who think currents and caraway seed should be included, they will go down fighting about this particular subject. I decided to stick with the basics and followed this recipe and it turned out really good! The texture and taste with the buttermilk, reminded me of cornbread, but different at the same time. It's an incredibly easy recipe to make and anyone can do it. With all the different recipes I found online, I did make one change and also put some buttermilk on top of the dough before going into the oven and then basted it once while cooking. Not sure if it did anything, but I must say the bread was moist.
Truffles
Yum, just yum
I already wrote about these here, but after making them I must say I am in love with them! They are rich and they have a dark chocolate taste that is so yummy. If you tend to like your chocolate a little more sweet, you might want to try these using milk chocolate instead of semi-sweet, but I like them just fine the way they are.
Cheers
Cheers
No St. Paddy's day is complete without a pint of Guinness, right? Well whatever your poison I hope you had a fantastic day and I can guarantee that I will not be waiting until St. Paddy's next year to be making these items!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Nailed It

For the last 10 years I have been flying international for work or personal reasons, but the last two years my travel has been in overdrive. My usual routine after a flight back to the US involves going to the grocery store grumpy (after a shower to wash the plane off and makeup free, looking tired and crazy) extensive complaining about jet lag, 3am Internet shopping (since I couldn't sleep) and essentially taking at least 3-4 days to become a fully functional human being.

I have been working on trying to perfect my routine to eliminate the unnecessary crap and have me feeling back to normal much quicker. It's been an exhausting series of mishaps and gains, but I think I finally have it down and wanted to share a few tips that I have found make my recovery so much easier.

1. This is just the number one rule no matter what, don't eat the food on the plane. I know it's a 10 hour flight, I know you want to eat it because you are bored and it smells good, but don't. Eat a full meal prior to getting on the plane and bring snacks. If you must eat something have the fresh fruit or other healthy FRESH items they offer on the tray, just not the main items themselves. The pizza, pasta, chicken thing are just not going to work for you or aid in your quick recovery from jet lag. Seriously, no. Unless of course you are business or first class on Air France, then eat away my friend, the food is fantastic there. Staying clear of caffeine, alcohol and sugar once on the plane is also advised, but all depends on how your day is going. If you need it, you need it

2. If you are headed to the US and have a morning/early afternoon flight you should rest, but not sleep on the plane. Sleeping really messes me up on this route, but watching some movies and relaxing seems to work well for me. (Side note that the opposite is true heading to Europe).

3. This may only apply to me, but I live about an hour away from LAX and while there are airports closer to me they don't have non-stop service from Amsterdam, so LAX it is. I have tried so many different ways to get back from the airport to the house (I really wish there was a decent train system, but no) and finally have come to the realization that being a regular customer with a car service is the only way to go. Shuttles take waaaay to long and involve other people that I really don't want to sit next to, taxis are expensive and friends and family is a large ask to do so often. Car service is a lot less expensive than you would think and they are there promptly when you get to baggage claim, help with your luggage and drive you non-stop to your door. Win.

4. Have your groceries delivered the same day that you arrive is a genius option. This is not only can be arranged days prior to your arrival (when you are thinking straight), but it can be free depending on coupons, total purchase price or your first time trying this service. The advantage to doing this is huge. You have fresh food (yes, even the produce is fantastic), you don’t have to get take out or icky fast food for dinner, you have items for breakfast the next day and you don’t have to leave the house once you get in from the airport. I usually purchase a frozen entree item (those quick meals that you can throw in a pan and heat) and a salad for dinner that evening so I don’t even have to think, just heat. Fabulous.

5. Schedule a massage for your return, either day of or the following day. This last trip to try and help me stay up, which usually helps me adapt to the time difference much easier, I scheduled a massage the evening I arrived. Not only did it keep me up, but it had me leave the house for something enjoyable. I stayed up, received my massage, came home relaxed and promptly went to sleep until 6am. That’s like a record or something.

While some of this can’t be done every time, I will be doing as many of them as possible when I return to the US since this has truly made this last jet lag be so much easier to recover from. I announced this discovery to the BF and he reminded me that the second night is always harder than the first to stay asleep. Good thing I never listen to him.

Happy Monday!


Woman at Work - Blog Change!

Well not really caution, but I am in the process of switching blog platforms which may cause some weirdness over the next few days. It shouldn't cause too many issues, but you never know what will happen when I am in charge of html code! The URL will not change so you will still find me here, but there will be a big layout change that will evolve over the next few weeks, so just keep that in mind when you hit my site and it looks different every time.

What will also be changed only applies to those who have signed up for email delivery or if you subscribed to my blogger feed. Have no fear, if you still want to receive my crazy ramblings via email or feed you will just need to hit a few buttons once the migration is complete. Everything should be done by end of day today, but when dealing with technical items you should always give it a little extra time.

I also want to take this time to thank you all so much for being a part of my little blog. The traffic increase I have been receiving is one of the main reasons for the platform change and I appreciate it so much that you take time out of your day to read whatever flows out of the tips of my fingers. Somedays it's better than others I am sure, but THANK YOU for sticking with me through it all.

xx
Shannon

Friday, March 15, 2013

Must

I am officially on my way back to SoCal today and while I am sad to be leaving NL, I am very much looking forward to seeing Target my family. The hardest part about a relationship with a person from another continent is the constantly having to say goodbye to one family to say hello to another. I have yet to master this, but I am getting better at it over time. The greatest part about this trip back to the US is that I get to celebrate by birthday AGAIN with my family. I love a good cupcake (hint hint) and presents so I say bring it on.

Since I have been MIA for awhile I have a huge stock pile of things you must check out, but some may be a little older and instead of emailing me that it was so two weeks ago, just roll your eyes and say it to yourself. I have been in a work cave for almost two months. Give a girl a break!!

image via Mou


Mou - (pronounced Moo) aka heaven on my feet.

The last week of February I was on site at an event in Istanbul and really misjudged the amount of walking I would do on a hard unforgiving marble floor. While I had packed my most comfortable boots and insoles, the amount of actual walking I did in this conference center destroyed my feet. As luck would have it one of the sponsor booths was Mou and I had struck up a conversation with the ladies at the booth that suggested I try on their boots for comfort. I did, I purchased and the next day I wore the boots to work the floor and my entire day was changed. I even had one guy say to me that I looked happier that day. And I was because my feet were happy, comfortable and not hurting. Now before you say they look like Uggs, I must say they are definitely more stylish and comfortable then Uggs. Now I am not saying these are to be worn to dinner or really out and about, they are plane and errand perfect. I own two and regret nothing.

image via Amazon

Jamie's 15 Minute Meals

I am obsessed with Jaimie Olivers 15 minute meal show that they have in the Netherlands. Take away the delicious and easy to follow recipes and it is just fun to watch him in the kitchen, see the items he uses to make the meals (nothing fancy) and the farm house decor that he has in his indoor and outdoor kitchen make for more than just another food show. Doesn't hurt that the book is pretty awesome too. Buy it!

Image via Trader Joe's

Coconut Oil

I have been obsessed with coconut oil for a few months now. Not only do I use it for my pancakes, but my shower scrub and cuticles. Now I found this article there are several other things it can be used for. I love the smell and the fact that if you use a small amount it will sink right in to the skin. It's pretty pricey at the grocery store, but I have found it fairly inexpensive at Trader Joe's and even at Costco. If you have any other suggestions of where to get it please let me know!


Image via Etsy


Downton Abbey Bracelet

For those Downton Abbey obsessed folks out there (or Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Hunger Games, etc.) this Etsy shop takes some of the best quotes from shows and movies and puts them on bracelets, charms and rings. They are cute, inexpensive and great gifts for the show/book nerd in your life.

Image via Sprinkle Bakes
Guinness Pretzel Truffles

Heather from Sprinkle Bakes is a genius when it comes to baked goods and these lovelies are no exception. This St. Patricks Day just say no to green beer and whip up a batch of of these truffles instead. Easy to make and even easier to consume I am looking forward to Sunday with these babies. If you have a little more energy and time you should give the the Sweet and Salty Guinness Chocolate Pie a go as well. It looks amazing!

Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Trips and Pics

What a fantastic way to start your day at 3500 meters!

Over the last few weeks my head has been consumed with work or travel. The spare time I did have I preferred to sleep, eat or read. I did however get out and about as much as I could to take some photos or just enjoy where I was. While these moments were fleeting I did get an amazing dinner with a fantastic wine in Switzerland and purchased Turkish towels in Istanbul from a little old guy who I failed to bargain with outside of asking, "how much for 2?" and then followed up with, "how much for 4?". (My shopping partner remained silent during all this, so at least I tried!). While my bargaining skills are not the sharpest, I did feel just fine with my purchase and that's all that matters. I also feel fine about my 12 pounds of chocolate purchased in Switzerland. While not all for me, I must admit a large amount will not find a new home.

Here are a few of my favorite memories through pictures of my recent travels.



At the top of the mountain in Saas Fee, Switzerland at 3500 meters there is a glacier that for 4 Swiss Francs (CHF) you can tour the place unsupervised. What they fail to tell you is that you go deep into the glacier, which is not a problem going in, however getting out at a high altitude can be a bit of a challenge, as I figured out for myself when I was ready to exit and faced nothing but up.




Me in the glacier. It's a pretty large space, but not really a great place for the claustrophobic.  I loved it and actually was down there all alone so I easily could come up with all sorts of scenarios about what I would have to do if the entrance closed due to some sort of earth quake or similar. in case you are wondering, I of course would go deeper into the mountain which would lead to a tropical place, a la Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth



I do not know this child or his parents, but he was such a little bad ass with his glasses and fearless attitude his way down the hill, I just had to capture his picture. It made me laugh watching him go down over and over.

Freshly roasted chestnuts on the streets of Istanbul. I never actually purchased any but thought about it several times. We always passed one when we had just eaten. Oh well, the smell alone is a great memory!


When we checked into our second hotel for our tourist time, we were given a voucher for each of us to have a fruit cocktail. We thought it could be a drink, but the chances were high that it could be a bunch of fruit on a plate as well. Unfortunately it turned out to be a drink that tasted like an otter pop with vodka. I don't recommend it, however the naked lady stirrers are fabulous.


While our goal on the day this was shot was to go to the spice market, we totally stumbled upon this by chance. We just started walking down a street where there were lots of people and we found ourselves in the middle of exotic spices, dried fruits, lamps and other uniquely Turkish items everywhere we looked. The spice market may be way smaller than the grand bazaar, but I think it's a much more interesting place.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Baggage

My life consists of a lot of travel and that means my luggage usually never has time to collect dust. I barely unpack from trip and then the next one is right around the corner. For example I am still currently on my trip that started on February 2 for. So far I have spent 5 days in Seattle, 8 days in the Netherlands, 6 days in Switzerland, 1 day in the Netherlands, 10 days in Istanbul and now back in the Netherlands for a bit before heading back to California. If you think I am exhausted you should see my luggage.

For the last 10 years I have been the owner of pink luggage of one type or another. There are many advantages to this with the number one being that I can spot my luggage immediately on the luggage belt. Here is a picture of the latest pink luggage or Big Pink as we call it:


Seriously you can't really miss this or try to steal
it without looking like a complete jerk.

I have had this luggage for approximately 4-5 years and it has held up like a champ considering how inexpensive it was (that is relative to the fact that luggage is stupid expensive) and how many miles it has clocked.

During this last trip to Istanbul Big Pink had a tire blowout on the way there, which made me sad, but considering I had already super glued the sides together three different times it seemed the writing was on the wall. Then on the return to the Netherlands then bottom thingy (a total technical term) was coming off. It now is officially time to say my goodbyes to Big Pink. The BF even made sure I had the proper time to say goodbye before he whisked it away to be disposed of. He knows me so well.

Then much to my surprise before I even had the chance to search online for "obnoxious pink luggage" the BF and family surprised me with a belated birthday luggage set. I think this may be the universes way of telling me it's time to have grown up luggage to make the trek across the globe. While normally I would be a bit sad, you have to check out my new sleek grown up Samsonite luggage:

Completely grown up and lovely

Now you will have to excuse me while I search for some obnoxious pink bows to affix to them.

Linking up because it's true...


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