Wednesday, October 31, 2012

hurricane productivity

Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, my fiance and I got to spend some quality time at home together, in between the emails and conference calls from our couch! And, I took full advantage of this unexpected free time. Including painting my nails to coordinate with my halloween costume; Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. Unfortunately, due to shipping delays (also thanks, but not really, to Hurricane Sandy) the "Girl on Fire"/second half of my costume is not complete. And thus, I'm sticking with her arena attire. At least my nails are glittery! (Pictures to follow.)
Popovers fresh out of the oven!
Tuesday brought out my inner domestic goddess. I woke up and instantly decided that I was ready to bake. A quick web search resulted in some promising popover recipes! I opted for this recipe which I found on Authentic Suburban Gourmet because it is the traditional Neiman Marcus recipe (which I love - you must try their popovers if you haven't yet!) and it has no butter (yay for cutting down on saturated fats). Please note, you don't have to have a popover pan, you can achieve the same look using a traditional muffin tin, they will just be a little more stout. That's what I did.

And while I expected to follow up the popovers with some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, I opted to take a few hours break from the kitchen and returned around 5 pm to make a before-dinner snack. Toasts with toppings are by far one of my favorite finger foods! I'm pretty much willing to try any combination of ingredients. Here are some toasts topped with (in no particular order): gruyere cheese, fuji apple slices, fig preserves, and slightly burnt and crispy caramelized onions.
Started a new painting and prematurely grabbed my new koozie with my new initials!
But my favorite at-home activity was putting together some lined envelopes and stamped notecards! I was inspired to do this months ago when I saw Emily's post on Cupcakes and Cashmere. It wasn't until recently, though, that I treated myself to a glue pen (for easy glitter application) and stumbled upon some blank stationery. So, with the three cards and envelopes I found, I went to work using the leftover scrapbook paper originally rationed for my birthday party decorations.

Take an envelope, and cut a piece of paper to fit about half an inch from each edge.
 For the picture above, I used our glass balcony door to help with the see-through effect and lining up the edges. I also folded the "template" in half so that when I cut it, each side would be even. Also - you only need your liner to be a little longer than the bottom of the triangle cut in the envelope.

Use your template and trace the shape on the back of your liner paper.
Once you cut out your liners, slip them into an envelope and see how they look! Also, hold the liner in place with your fingers and close the envelope. This will create a crease right int he liner and help keep it in place while you glue it down. Use a glue stick for adhesive. I found that keeping the liner in the envelope was easiest, fold it at the crease and push it down a little. Add a bit of glue directly on the envelop at the crease and then on the triangle of the liner. Unfold and press into place.

Some tools I used to add a little something special to the cards. The glue pen is new!

So, I need a little stamping practice. But here's the finished look!
I am so happy with how these turned out!! Now I just need a reason to send them... Hmm. Also, let me know if you want any :) Happy to make more for friends.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

ombre manicure

Ombre is quite trendy right now. From hair to flowers to clothes, this look can be spotted anywhere! I have seen a number of ombre manicures, mostly on Pinterest. There are also a number of different methods people recommend. You can use the brush from your polish bottle to blend the colors together. You can also make each finger a different shade to create an ombre effect, like I did here and here. Or you can use a makeup sponge to dab and blend the colors.

The method I used for this manicure, I found on Pinterest. I had previously tried this method without success but I was determined to give it another try. First, find the colors you want to use for your ombre manicure. These can be different hues or tones of a similar color family. You can also go with a contrast look using black or white with a bold color for a nice pop!

I went with Essie's "My Place or Yours", "Very Cranberry", and "Runway Reality" for a three-tiered fading effect. Start with the lightest color and paint your entire nail in one or two coats - enough to get a good covering. Make sure you let the base color dry. This is very important! (And, the mistake that I made the first-time I used the sponge-applique ombre technique.)

Apply one or two lines of each polish color to the edge of the makeup sponge. Either light to dark, or dark to light - depending on how you want your final ombre effect to look. Make sure you get the polish on the sponge good and heavy because the sponge will soak up some of it. Now - take the sponge and press it down lightly on your nail. Hold for a few seconds. Then dab it a few times on that nail. The dabbing will help fade the colors together more harmoniously. Continue this process for all ten nails and finish with a top coat!


Friday, October 26, 2012

The Journey to Flying Out Of Lines: Part 1 of Many

One of my many goals in flying trapeze is flying "Out Of Lines" or "OOL" - this refers to flying without a harness. (Don't worry, Mom, of course there is still a safety net beneath me.) The journey to reaching this milestone is a long one which requires a lot of training, focus, and commitment. It certainly helps to have an amazing group of folks consistently supporting your growth and helping you get back up when you (metaphorically) fall.

The first step towards OOL is acquiring a "Log Book" from my school; Trapeze School New York (TSNY DC). I got my log book almost a year ago! The book teaches students about the equipment and includes a number of forms to track ones accomplishments in the following areas:

  • Flying Trapeze Skills
  • Trampoline Skills
  • Conditioning Requirements
Outside of these three physical areas, there is also a written test about the equipment and requirements on the board. This last part refers to hooking up your fellow students when they are getting ready to fly, serving them the bar, and retrieving the bar and lines while standing on the board. 

This past week I had hoped to complete my conditioning requirements which includes; three pull-ups, 15 push-ups, and two sets of 10 V-ups. Unfortunately I wasn't able to finish my test, as my body started to give out when I was four V-ups short of the requirement. This was a hard reality to swallow because I was SO close and I had done twenty V-ups before. But in the end, it was safety and rationality that prevailed. When my legs were shaking and pulsating uncontrollably as I lifted them off the ground, I knew it was time to rest. Thankfully it won't delay my journey because I have so many other requirements to meet before the day comes when I can fly without lines. 

What are the next steps in my plan? Next week I'll be taking the written test. And the week after I'll be going for the fitness test again!! (Gives me plenty of time to continue working on my V-ups.) 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

brushes and flowered accents

One of my birthday presents from Ross was a set of nail art brushes! This was such a great gift and something that I likely would not have bought for myself. It was very thoughtful for him to think of something that is so "me". As soon as I opened the set I started doing some online searches for the uses of each brush. My research turned out to be helpful; for example, it seems that fan brushes are typically used to apply glitter or to create a feathered effect. In the coming months as I try out my brushes I'll share new designs and feedback with you all.

First I'd like to direct you to a great video series on nail art brushes. This link is Part 1 of a three-part video series. Not only does Copy That, Copy Cat provide these great tutorials, there are also wonderful designs to inspire your own creations - much like the design you'll see below!

My base color is "Clutch Me If You Can" by Essie and I am literally working with the dregs of my bottle. (Thankfully I'll be making a little stop at my favorite beauty store in New Jersey tomorrow afternoon!) I used a bright metallic silver for the design and a thin brush with just a drop of paint on the end. The video tutorial also taught me to wipe/clean the brush tip every few strokes, which was a very helpful exercise!

Does anybody have suggestions for future nail art designs? I'm so excited to use my new brushes. Just think, my Hunger Games nails would have been A LOT cleaner with a real brush set rather than using the brush that comes in the polish bottle.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

return to the bar

My forceout in hands to get more height before catching the return bar.
I caught the return bar! What amazes me is that as I review my video, there are no instructors calling each step. Rather, I am naturally and instinctively moving from segment to segment as a result of my body's aerial awareness and rigorous training. The feeling of my first catch is something I couldn't prepare for. I had been "working a return" for almost two months (not a long time in trapeze!) and all of a sudden, I pushed off the catcher, turned, and there it was, the bar was waiting for me. It was a feeling of surprise, elation, and pride. This is such a big step in a flyer's journey at the rig and it has opened so many new doors for me!

So, what's up next? Now, that I can return to the bar, I will be working on my remount to the board. This entails performing my trick, catching the catcher, returning to the bar, and dropping my feet up onto the board and standing up again! Just like you see in the circus. Another important milestone not too far off is flying out of lines. This means flying without a safety belt - not to worry, the net is always there! There are a number of requirements to fly out of lines including a written test, flying requirements, physical requirements, and trampoline skills. I always expected that the most difficult piece of these requirements and the last piece that I would check-off would be the three unassisted pull-ups. To my surprise, I was able to do three pull-ups last week! Looks like flying out of lines will be coming sooner than I thought!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


A few years ago my Dad equated stages of life to writing utensils. Stay with me here, because I think the analogy is really spot on. As a child you can make mistakes without any significant impact, these mistakes are forgivable and forgotten quickly - much like chalk in the rain. As you grow and earn responsibilities, as a pre-teen you're more like a pencil. You can make mistakes, erase them, but a faint trace always remains. In high school your decisions have lasting effects; they can also leave scars. High school is like an erasable pen. (We all know they don't really erase!) Moving on to college, each decision is more important and permanent, and have lasting effects on your personal and professional life. Here, you are in the "pen" phase of life. Last, but not least, the majority of your life is spent as a permanent marker. After college comes all the important decisions; career, life partner, housing, children. At this point in your life personal and professional decisions and mistakes interact with each other; sometimes it's important to take a step back and think about what is most important.
Image courtesy of Chilly Dog Cozy Blog
I had to do this just the other day. As the Round 1 deadline for business school applications looms around the corner (literally... they're due on Tuesday!) I took a step back and thought about what lay ahead. Of course I have to finalize my applications, which involves putting the finishing touches on my essays (seven in total). I also have my first interview at a business school on Monday - which I willing be flying to and from on the same day! Therefore, I must spend the weekend on final preparations. My birthday is next week and Ross and I will be celebrating with a nice dinner on Sunday night. And, to throw a wrench in the works - I had planned to host my birthday party on Saturday night. This entails a lot of prep on Friday night and Saturday day.

This party meant completing all of my application materials by Friday afternoon, four days earlier than necessary. It also meant running the risk of being tired and run down for my interview. This was a risk that I was not willing to take. And so I cancelled my birthday party, for the first time in my life I will not be having a birthday party. Kind of bummer when you think about it that way. It was not a decision that I wanted to make but one that I had to make. Being an adult means making the right decisions and prioritizing items in your life. I guess my homemade Happy Birthday pennants/bunting will have to wait for next year. C'est la vie.

Have you ever been in a situation when you had to decide between what you wanted to do and what you knew you should do?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

fashion forward for fall

The welcomed change in weather has brought a few of my favorite pieces out from the depths of my closet! I enjoy any change in the seasons because there are always a lot of new ideas for outfits, new accessories to play with, and new shoes to wear! I've lately taken a liking to #OOTD on Instagram. At some point in the day I'll snap a picture of my outfit, usually not my entire body, and share it through the Instagram app. For those of you who may not be on instagram or a "savvy social media user", OOTD stands for Outfit Of The Day. The hashtag (#) is used to hyperlink the acronym. Here are a few recent shots...

I used the PicFrame app to organize the pictures in this layout. My outfit includes Burberry skirt, Diane Von Furstenberg wrap top, the ring I inherited from my grandmother, and the necklace was a gift from my Mom!

This outfit was inspired by a recent Banana Republic mailing. I really enjoyed it! It was perfect for the early Fall weather because these fabrics are heavier but the short sleeves and skirt meant that I wasn't going to to get too hot. The sweater is Elie Tahari, the belt is off of a Theory dress, and the skirt is from Banana Republic.

I wore this outfit wedding dress shopping in New York City! It was very comfortable for a busy day of walking between salons and it was just warm enough for the nice weather! (Lucky wanted in on the picture.) Here, I am wearing a beige silk Theory blouse, black Tahari "peggings" (what I refer to as a combination of pants and leggings. These are spandex material but have a fly and pockets!), and Tory Burch flats and purse.

These fun new tights were inspired by the laces of ballerina shoes. And, I love fall because it means that I can wear my suede Jimmy Choos again!

On a recent rainy day I wore my colorful Burberry rain boots with my chocolate brown Tory Burch dress and my fun printed Michael Simon coat on top.

What are your favorite outfits to wear at the start of Fall? Or any season!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


A recent episode of Iron Chef America inspired me to make a new shape of pasta. I never thought that I could make bowtie pasta since most little pastas (not the string/spaghetti types) require machinery that I do not have. However, when Iron Chef featured "pasta" as the secret ingredient, I was instantly glued to the TV and pleasantly surprised about halfway through when I saw a sous chef assembling bowtie pasta; it was a lot simpler than I expected.

I tried to articulate the process to a few people, but ultimately they were confused. So, I decided to illustrate the process and I believe it is much more clear with both words and pictures. See below!

Although my bowties were different sizes, they were a lot of fun to make and eat. I would recommend a  lot of flour on the countertop if you try this shape. I had problems with the dough sticking more than usual, which may have been a result of the humid and rainy weather. In the end, I had to throw out a lot of dough.

Look how adorable these bowtie pastas are! I let them dry on cooling racks for a few hours. They cooked in about 6 minutes in salted boiling water.