Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

I will never pass up the opportunity to dress in costume.

My class decided to do a group costume this year and went as the Wizard of Oz cast! The student association had some costumes leftover from last year, and when I saw the Leg Avenue lion costume I immediately thought of this lion makeup tutorial using the same Leg Avenue costume and had to do it. Here's my loose interpretation:

I was also a blue fairy-- I didn't have time to go all out with the makeup like I had planned, but I still liked my costume in the end. I'm wearing a French Connection dress with dollar store wings!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Little Things

On a quest for Halloween accessories at the local thrift shop, I came upon these darling little necklaces for only $2-3 each. Since I don't drive, I don't really make the time to shop vintage - but I usually find something lovely like this each time I go. Does anyone else go vintage shopping anymore?

I normally wouldn't wear it with this casual, slouchy grey sweater but I wanted to take a photo of how they look on... I'd normally pair it with a more fitted t-shirt and blazer.

Shoppers Drug Mart is having another big beauty sale! Revlon nail polishes are down from $7 to around $3 I believe, and Rimmel Lasting Finish lipsticks are at $2.99 from around $7. There is a particular lipstick shade, Airy Fairy, that has been all over the YouTube makeup guru community for ages now. I can see why, Airy Fairy is a lovely cool pink nude shade-- a great go to color.

I told a classmate of mine today about it and she went to go buy it but it was sold out everywhere she checked!

Another product I've found and really liked wasn't on sale, but is still worth mentioning: Maybelline's Instant Age Rewind Dark Circles Eraser in "Brightening".

I once fell for YSL's Touche Eclat but could not justify spending $50 on a concealer. I tried L'Oreal's Touche Magique as a replacement, but I wasn't very happy with it. It dried very quickly and looked quite ashy and chalky in flash photography.

(To me it's obvious, to others it might not be... but the area around my nose should not be so white and ashen like it is in the photo)

The pink fluid of the Maybelline formula blends really nicely into the skin, which means less coverage but a really lovely natural uplift. Like I actually had been sleeping properly and going to yoga on a regular basis or something.

(Hee hee the white stuff in the corner of my eyes is white eyeliner I hadn't wiped off properly. Oops.)

This is going to look a little gross. But I love this meal.

To like this mess, you have to 1) like tuna salad sandwiches, and 2) like cottage cheese. I used to hate cottage cheese as a kid, but something just changed in me one day and I can't get enough. I love how it adds creaminess to so many things in a healthy way.

This is my quick healthy alternative to a tuna salad sandwich. Open and drain a good can of tuna that's been stored in olive oil. I like the Italian brand Callipo.  Mix with capers, finely diced red onion, cucumber slices, a good serving of 2% cottage cheese, lemon juice. The lemon and red onion really bring the tuna to life, the cucumber offers a cool mild backdrop to the bold flavours, and the cottage cheese unites everything in a delicious creamy swirl.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Express Dinners

Sometimes I'm just so tired that I need something instant and frozen for dinner. For the most part though I like to cook what I can, because I enjoy it and it's healthier.

There a ton of quick and easy cooking books on the market now-- the most famous ones being Nigella Lawson's "Express", Jamie Oliver's "Meals in Minutes", and most of Rachael Ray. To be honest though, sometimes I don't even have the energy for their idea of "fast" cooking.

For example, Nigella Lawson's mustard pork chops required me buying hard cider and heavy cream. It's certainly not the most arduous task, but it's not something I could call a "go to" recipe. They were delicious, especially with the gnocchi, but I have a tendency to overcook pork chops (i.e. dry) and I felt bit of added sugar was necessary to round out the recipe.

Now this is my idea of lazy cooking. Nigella Lawson actually gave me the idea (although it's not a particularly unique one) during one of her Express segments. She suggested items you could keep in the freezer, and fresh tortellini was one of them. "Just boil them in hot soup, and you have supper!" True, and perfect for a cold night. I just sautee an onion and a carrot in a bit of oil, add broth, some herbs and tortellini and it's honestly so, so good and simple.

My freezer is currently jam packed with various fresh stuffed pastas from President's Choice (available at supermarkets such as Loblaws, Valumart, Zehr's, etc). They're normally on the high end of $4, but right now they are on sale for $1.50!!!!!! As a student, I wept with joy.
President's Choice Trentino-Alto-Adige Porcini Tortellini is one of my particular favorites.

Savoury oats are an easy, no fuss alternative to risotto. Just cook the oats as normal, add a wedge or two of Laughing Cow Cheese, throw in some roasted pre-cut butternut squash cubes and herbs and you're done! You can also cheat and add a tiny splash of chicken stock concentrate.

Curry is supposedly easy, but still takes a bit more effort than I'm prepared for sometimes... Still, if I'm going to do it, I like to adapt Nigella Lawson's red prawn and mango curry. I follow it really loosely - I don't use mango or fish sauce (I would if I had it). But I make sure to have fresh coriander, a stalk of lemon grass broken in (it's only 50 cents or so at the supermarket), and fresh lime juice.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mom's Birthday Brunch - Zucchini Pancakes

It was my mom's birthday yesterday! Part of my present to her was making brunch.

I wanted something quick and easy but creative. My starting point was finding some way to spin the traditional Western breakfast.

President's Choice had these lovely looking lamb sausages for sale, and I thought they were a nice effortless way of jazzing up the meal. But what goes with lamb? That's when I had my brilliant zucchini pancake idea! (When I think of lamb I think of roast vegetables and other earthy things to compliment it. And mint jelly.).

I used this recipe for zucchini, but made the point of squeezing the grated zucchini before mixing the flour in. I didn't want the pancakes to be too soggy!

Tester pancakes.

To tie everything together (and to act as a dipping sauce) I served the plate with some Greek yogurt and honey. The honey is amazing with both the pancakes and the sausage, and the yogurt is thick, creamy and heavenly cool against the rest of the warmth.

I'm really happy with how it turned out, and happy that I didn't feel like passing out with exhaustion after cooking. Happy birthday, mom!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Costume Jewelry

I love costume jewelry.

I appreciate a classic pearl earring and an understated bracelet, but there's something about the fabulous architecture of a statement necklace that makes me flutter a bit.

The dress below on the left is from J Crew, and it's a perfect example of what I like to wear with costume jewelry. The poppy orange is one of my absolute favorite colors, and I like the longer sleeves matched with the fresh, above-the-knee hem. That dress is $230 though, so I was pleased to find something similar at Forever 21 for $27.80.

Since it's October, though, I began thinking about costume jewelry a bit more literally. The necklaces I picked below from Forever 21 are all beautiful (in my opinion), but also have a distinct aesthetic. I think they're great inspiration for Halloween! The first and third necklaces would be amazing for a vintage catwoman outfit (see Julie Newmar), the second necklace gives me a Cate Blanchett Elizabeth vibe, and the last two would be great for a Cleopatra outfit. And that's just the beginning!

I can't wait to work on my costume this year. I'm hoping to find a costume that could incorporate those stunning eyelashes from Shu Uemura.

Last year I was Princess Peach (note the spray painted blonde hair lol):

I actually choose Bowser when I play Mario Kart, though. :o And why do those photos look like they were scanned from the 90's? D: