Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Guess What!!!!

(Insert screaming, jumping up and down, and general giggling here)


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Tale of Two Moisturizers

Several months back I got a sample of Lancome's Absolue Premium Bx SPF 15 cream in a bonus. This stuff is killer . . . its light, great for my sensitive skin, feels great, smells great, doesn't cause breakouts, has spf . . . its everything I was looking for in a face cream. I figured that even if it was up in the $50 to $70 price range I could wait for a department store bonus and buy it with a clear conscience, so I walked down to Macy's on my lunch hour one day to check the price.

OMFG! $110.

So, yeah, needless to say I immediately switched gears to searching for a REPLACEMENT product. My love for Boots brand products is well known, and well deserved I think! I've been using No. 7 night cream for years and cleansers for the last year or so. However, I was only able to find one No. 7 cream that had SPF (?! I know that the UK doesn't get much sun, but come on . . . ). Fortunately, the equally awesome Boots Botanics line had several options w/ SPF 15. I picked up a tub of Boots Botanics Face Renewal Cream SPF 15 for $13.99 and honestly, seriously, swear on my life I think this stuff is every bit as great as the Lancome cream. It has the same feel going on to the skin, absorbs quickly, smells great, and has lots of fancy cell renewal ingredients that leave my skin glowing. And with the leftover $96.01 I was able to do some damage at the Ben Sherman store sale ;)

Listening:  The Smiths- "This Charming Man"

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mine Didn't Have Google Eyes . . .

. . . but I did make matzo ball soup last night. Its super easy, uses ingredients that I pretty much ALWAYS have on hand, and even freezes well (we all know I like to freeze things).

Matzo Ball Soup:

About 6 pints of stock or water mixeed with vegetarian stock powder
1 extra large onion, diced
about 6 carrots, sliced thinly
a big handful of celery stalks (about 6 or 7), leafy bits included, sliced
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 cup matzo meal (I use whole wheat)
2 eggs, beaten with a bit of salt
a splash of seltzer water or club soda

-put all the veggies and the dill in the stock and bring to a rapid boil
-meanwhile, add the matzo to the beaten eggs and stir until combined. Add a dash of seltzer and mix through (I've been told this makes the matzo balls lighter, I'm not sure its true but I do it anyways!)
-place the matzo mixture in the fridge while the soup comes up to a boil
-once the soup is boiling rapidly, reduce heat to a light simmer
-when soup is down to a simmer, drop teaspoon fulls of the matzo mixture into the pot, taking care to spread them out. Bad things to do at this point: Stirring (breaks up the matzo balls), boiling too rapidly (makes the matzo balls tough)
-Good thing to do at this point: drop all the matzo balls into the soup, slap a lid on the pot, set a timer for 30 minutes and walk away. Do not stir, uncover, or fiddle!

Couldn't be easier. Makes about 5 big bowls.

Listening:  Jesu - "Lifeline"

Monday, January 14, 2008

Gemstones Can Be An Expensive Habit

But look at that! Can you blame me? I made this necklace last night using rough cut garnet and citrine and olive jade rectangles. Just gorgeous, I think. And considering the prices I've seen for natural gemstone jewelry in mainstream stores, worth the bit extra I'm charging to cover bead costs. And if this baby doesn't sell, I can always keep it ;)
I've been getting even deeper into gemstones lately . . . they're just so beautiful and colorful. Its hard to believe sometimes that such colorful stones are actually natural. I've seen deep wine garnet, perfectly rose pink quartz, and even flashy iridescents like one of my favorite stones, labrodorite. I love the fact that their shapes are often organic and dictated by nature. Sure you can buy cut or faceted gems, but oftentimes I think the natural shapes are even prettier.
I pick up a lot of my stones at Bead Source on Pico in LA (having said that, none of the gems in this necklace are from there!) and they recently started a 15% discount program . . . so needless to say I've been making FAR too many trips over there on my lunch hour! I did today and picked up some gorgeous goodies: round cut garnet, little droplets of smoky topaz, a few colored bits of quartz and a lovely nugget of ocean jasper. Can't wait to see what kind of necklaces they want to be! ;)

Listening:  Goldrush - "Heaven Is My Destiantion"

Monday, January 7, 2008

Crystal's Birthday Cupcake Insanity!

Its been a while since I whipped up a batch of cupcakes (well, not that long since I did a bunch for the boy's family holiday party) and I've got TONS of fun new cupcake goodies to play with (thanks to the boy's family!). I made my usual chocolate chocoalte chip cupcakes w/ cream cheese icing for Crystal's birthday today but did them up extra fancy using my new pastry bags and decorating tips and had a MUCH easier time getting them into the office thanks to my genius new cupcake tote.
The icing tips were great fun to use, although I'm going to need a bit of practice before I perfect the technique. As is, you can already see clearly which ones I iced first and which i iced towards the end.
Even so, the effect is way prettier than my usual "glob on white icing w/ a spoon" technique, and the cool neon food colors I used added a bit of extra fun (although I'm still second guessing myself on having used green . . . would YOU want a green cupcake?)

Listening:  Old 97s- "Wish The Worst"