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Dinosaur Egg Pedicure, To Your Satisfaction

3 Aug

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of yoga, which invariably reminds me that it’s time to change my polish since I’m hanging my head over my feet.  I refuse to go to a nail place because I have a somewhat intimidating collection of China Glaze that could last a lifetime, so it would be a disservice not to use it.  The only thing that professional pedicures do really well, in my opinion, is exfoliate.

olive oil & sugar

I made a really easy scrub, and it has two ingredients, and the ingredients are extra virgin olive oil and plain white sugar.

(l) cracked medallion (r) re-fresh mint


Feeling at Home on the Road, To Your Satisfaction

11 Jul

At home, anywhere: in this case, Pismo Beach

I’m currently on the road, hiking my weight in gold up and down central California.  My sister and I are having a beautiful trip so far, alternately driving up the coast & stopping to explore interesting cliffs, meadows, and possibly happy hours, too.

Even when I’m in itinerant mode, I still feel pretty at home.  I guess maybe that’s not so strange.  I find comfort in a mixture of the familiar and the (as of yet) unknown.

In the last 2 days, I’ve found secret waterfalls, collected beach glass, climbed cliff top trees, scraped my knees while clambering over mysterious rocks.  But I’ve also sat in the room & done just the right amount of nothing, watched Harry Potter on ABC Family (which is, exactly what I would be doing at home).

current view from my static position


Being flexible, not sweating the small things, and making a practice of relaxation is a good thing :]

Your Life as a Bento Box, Part 1

7 Jul

The Bento fruit salad: both an art and a timeless pursuit

I have a friend (who also created the layered pillars of fruit pictured above) who I may or may not have accused of having a life like a bento box.  What I mean to say by that is – uniformly portioned; aesthetically pleasing; and segregated by color! I don’t mean colors found on people duh, more like on blouses and foods!

And though I’m not always the most orderly person, sometimes there’s harmony in a system… Case in point, my own latest foray into the Bento Box lifestyle.

Rows: red, thru violet

Recently, I found myself in the unique position of having: (one) freshly moved-away boyfriend and (one) awesome New-to-Me bookshelf that got left behind during the moving process. Not exactly tit for tat.

But to make the whole installation and shifting of stuff more exciting, my art-oriented sister decided to color organize my books.  She had a burning desire for rainbow book that was, so burning, it could only be quenched by rainbow book! rainbow book!

rainbow book!

So she color arranged (almost) my entire collection, and added a shoe, and it looks great!  A veritable reading rainbow.  Sometimes, a little aesthetic appeal goes a long way towards making things feel special :]

other fun ways to arrange your books (other than by subject) –

  • stack them on their sides to make pyramids/geometric shapes
  • use sparkly shoes or other decorative objects to act as bookends
  • rig a lazy susan or other rotating device to hold your books

New Inspiration home design

  • utilize open space!  especially if you have tall books and narrow shelves
  • if you’re a monochromatic control freak, cover all of your books in matching scrapbook paper!
Organization is more than kind of a sport, I’m coming to realize.
photo credit 1

photo credit 2,3 personal
photo credit 4 here

The Perfect Glass of Champagne, To Your Satisfaction

21 Jun

life as it should be lived

I believe that champagne drunk is a special kind of drunk, like wedding drunk. And it’s such a delicate, effervescent experience that each glass should be a unique pleasure, you know? While I have definitely spent my fair share of time with a bottle of Andre brut, found at CVS for a cool $3.99 & served in a red plastic cup, when time and resources allow, I like to do any of the following things for a most satisfactory glass of champagne:

1. Move beyond the standard mimosa <orange juice + champagne> into exotic territory.  Cranberry juice is a great addition.  My personal favorites are probably a splash of grapefruit juice, which imparts a nice peachy color, or sparkling blueberry juice (the one from Trader Joe’s is perfect).  Besides, “Blue’mosa” just rolls so trippingly off the tongue.

for the discerning drinker on safari

2. Use the proper equipment.  A champagne flute is the infinitely preferable choice when it comes to glassware.  And that’s not just snobbery talking, it’s science.  The relatively narrow diameter of the glass rim is what keeps your bubbly, bubbly.  Too much open surface area allows the effervescence to escape quickly, which leaves you feeling flat and sad.

your cup will runneth over

3. Keep the faith.  Even if your champagne has gone flat and sad, there can be hope of rejuvenation.  I have had varying levels of success with re-carbonating day (or two)-old open bottles of champagne  by dropping in a raisin or other small, bumpy fruit.  I first read about the raisin trick in a book called Urawaza <> by Lisa Katayama.  Apparently, this can resurrect the life of flat champagne because the highly irregular surface of a raisin gives the carbonation something to bounce off of.

I have attempted this urawaza tip quite a few times, and I think its utility depends on the wine itself, mostly.  Sometimes it’s a complete dud and nothing happens.  But there have been a few occasions where I used blackberries in a half-full bottle of champagne and it literally bubbled over!

Wolf Blass Yellow Label - surprisingly affordable

4. You don’t have to break the budget.  I got a bottle of really great champagne for $5.99 this weekend at the San Diego Wine Company <>.  I went in looking for a Father’s Day gift, but this Wolf Blass Yellow Label Brut was positioned right near the register and in a testament to impulse shopping, I decided I had to try it.

It didn’t disappoint!  It made for an awesome strawberry bellini that comforted me greatly, as I was nursing a cold all weekend.  I would definitely recommend this champagne if you need to get a good, inexpensive bottle for a party or just for personal consumption – can’t go wrong!




photo credit 1
photo credit 2
photo credit 3
photo credit 4

A Haircut, To Your Satisfaction

16 Jun

Nikki, making good hair happen

I’d like to think that I know good hair. I’m not always the owner of it, but when necessary, I can make it happen. To me, it’s an exhilarating process to enact change in my own appearance, whether that be through a bottle of peroxide or a run-in with scissors. Though there are bound to be experiments that prove less than fruitful (hello, stagnant magenta bangs) in general, I’ve had a pretty good time of it with my hair over the years. While even the most cringe inducing styles won’t last forever, I started thinking: What steps can one take to ensure a “good” haircut experience?

1.)  Be able to tell your hairstylist what you want.

Lighting up my life, and my hair, since 2006

This one seems like a given, but it’s really not.  When I think back on the few times in my hair history that I’ve gotten a really atrocious cut, it was usually because I went to a new stylist or one who I could not communicate with comfortably.  If you are going to trust a person to make you look good, you have to tell them, honestly and exactly, what you want.  Think one side looks uneven, or you really wanted the bangs about half an inch shorter?  Say so.  It isn’t bratty or princess behavior; be assertive but polite.  The person cutting your hair may have no idea that their execution doesn’t match up to your expectations unless you make your feelings known!

One thing that has made communicating my list of hair-related likes & dislikes to my stylist easier in the past years has been the fact that I am lucky enough to have a close friend who is going through beauty school.  My good friend Nikki always keeps me (and my sister, and her mom, and a bevy of other beauties) looking fresh.  Aside from the great conversation, though, I keep going back to her because I know that she understands exactly what I mean when I say things like, “short but not too short, long enough for a ponytail but leave the front layers alone since my roots are growing out, yeah?”

But you don’t have to have a best friend in a vocational trade in order to receive a satisfying haircut.  What you do have to have, is the balls to speak up and say exactly what you want!

2.)  Bring visual aid(s)

Case in point: Good hair on Nicola Roberts

Of course, in order to tell someone else what you want, you have to know what that might be.  I’m usually in possession of some kind of visual aid.  Pictures of celebrities printed out from search engines are always good, but usually hair salons also have “look books” with simple headshot type photos of hair models demonstrating hairstyles for short, medium, and long hair.  Like the layers in the back of one cut, but the bangs from another haircut?  Cool.  Bring two or more pictures, then!  Include all the angles.

Aside from just a picture – what other ways can you use to explain how you want your hair to look?  Get creative, think about geometry and shapes, even reference cartoon characters.  I have a friend who wanted her hair to look like Jessica Rabbit, the foxy animated vixen from Who Framed Roger Rabbit.  If you have an awesome lampshade at home that flares out at the bottom just like you want your A-line bob to do, then maybe you should bring it with you.

3.) Bear in Mind

It's Not His Fault

Even the best hairstylist isn’t a magician.  When looking for a style to aspire to, keep your natural hair texture/body, current length, and styling habits in mind.  If your hair is super fine and low on volume (as mine often is) don’t ask for a super blunt cut, for example, that lays flat on your head.  Also, if you hate blowdrying your hair, don’t get a haircut like straight-across bangs that only looks good when blow dried.  Try to work with what you already have going on, not against it!

With that all said, it can’t hurt to repeat that your hair isn’t like your teeth – it can always come back!  So if you got a bad haircut, don’t lose too much sleep over it; but try these simple how-to’s in the future to ensure an experience that is To Your Satisfaction!

photo credit 1 & 2: personal

photo credit 3: here

photo credit 4: here