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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Friday, 24 June 2011

Metallic Gold Nails

Heya Guys! Lately I've been having alot of trouble getting to sleep =(, and last night was one of those nights. So I was up late just chillin', and I remembered I bought some nail foil adhesives off eBay a few weeks ago. I don't know if any you have seen recent pictures of Lady Gaga, Beyonce or Rhianna (and many many other celebrities), but if you have and if you've looked closely, you can see they've all been rocking these AWESOME metallic nails - the instant I saw them I just knew I needed to get right on it and get me some of those.

Image Source: Google Images

Actually I think they've been around for a while now...not sure if it's just me or maybe alot more celebrities are jumping on the bandwagon....

The closest thing I could find to the much more expensive celebrity manicure were these nail adhesives off eBay. So I got cracking! And this is what resulted!




What do you think? I really really like them, and once I put them on I got really excited and wanted to do a post. They're a bit like grillz for your nails hahaha.

However, while these look real good, they are bit a fiddly and time consuming to put on, which I didn't mind since I wasn't gonna get much sleep anyways after starting these. I also noticed that they start to peel off in places really soon, especially the tips, like the next day =(, especially if you do things like wash the dishes and what-not. In fact you're actually supposed to remove them by soaking them in warm soapy water and then peel them off....so I guess you shouldn't really wash dishes.

So, definitely worth it for a night out or a party, but definitely don't last long. Would I do this again? Hell-to-the-freakin yea. 

Thursday, 23 June 2011

21.5!!

HAPPY HALF BIRTHDAY TO ME!! Yay! Yesterday was my half birthday!! My friends and I have for some reason been going on about how we should celebrate half birthdays (the age of 21.5 to be exact) since our 21st's were so enjoyable. And so in celebration of my 21.5th birthday I went to the city to hang with friends and go shopping =). So pretty much an average day =P.

RMK 'Missme' Suede Wedges - I LOVE these! So comfortable!
OPI The One That Got Away, Glitzerland and Do You Think I'm Tex-y
Napoleon Primer, MoroccanOil, Sally Hansen Hand Creme and Cuticle Oil - Stocking up on the essentials!

Well, I didn't go crazy because I am on limited funds and I'm trying to be moderately responsible. Gosh I'm so old.

On another note, I also managed to make some cake batter ice cream! The fat kid in me is beaming =D.

My Ice Cream Cake

Happy 21.5th Birthday to Meeee =D

And for those of you with an ice cream maker, here is the recipe.

Cake Batter Ice Cream
From The Kitchy Kitchen

Ingredients
2 cups thickened cream
1/2 cup yellow cake mix (buttercake mix)
1/2 cup caster sugar
Pinch of salt
3 egg yolks (you can make meringues out of the egg whites so you don't waste anything =) )
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 and a 1/2 cups full cream milk 

Method
1. Combine 1 cup of the cream, cake mix, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until warmed through.

2. In a separate bowl place the egg yolks and whisk till smooth

3. In another bowl place the remaining cup of cream, vanilla and milk and sit a fine mesh sieve over the top of the bowl. Set aside.

4. Once the cream + cake mix mixture is heated through pour a little bit onto the egg yolks whilst whisking constantly (easier done in a electric mixer) until combined. Continue pouring the rest of the heated cream mixture whilst whisking constantly until it is well combined.

5.  Return the mixture to the saucepan over medium heat and heat to 77-79C (170-175F) on an instant-read thermometer whilst constantly stirring so the bottom doesn't burn. This will take about 5-10 minutes and the mixture will be noticeably thicker.

6. Immediately pour through the fine mesh sieve into the bowl containing the cream, vanilla and milk. Mix to blend. Refrigerate mixture until completely cool (you can leave it overnight).

7. Place mixture in ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Store in air-tight container in freezer.


Annnd if you would like to put your egg whites to use like I did, here is a recipe for Chocolate Meringues

I didn't exactly take a pic of the meringues, but they're in the left bottom corner in this picture! This was for our chocolate fondue after dinner for my friends and I at my place.

Chocolate Meringues
Adapted from Cadbury

Ingredients
3 egg whites
1 and a 1/2 tsp vinegar
1 cup caster sugar
8 tsp cocoa

Method
1. Preheat oven to 90C (194F)

2. Whisk all the ingredients except the cocoa together for about 10 minutes or until sugar has dissolved (NOTE: This is the very quick short cut way - normally you would beat the egg whites until fluffy and THEN slowly and gradually add the sugar. But I'm impatient and these turned out fine =P ALSO do note that the sugar may not appear to be dissolved fully after 10 minutes - that is ok =D).

3. Fold in the cocoa.

4. Line oven tray(s) with baking paper and spoon teaspoons of meringues onto the paper, placing them about an inch apart from each other.

5. Bake for 1.5 hrs. This time may vary depending on your oven so just keep an eye on them and you can be your own judge =).


Happy Reading =D xx

Monday, 20 June 2011

TTYL

China Glaze TTYL is a holographic polish. And was incredibly expensive for a bottle of nail polish =S. But, it looks gorgeous! My camera fails to pick up on how holographic it is. Which is a shame because my camera was also very expensive....=P.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

DIY Lightbox

Heya! I love it how i have so much time on my hands right now, I get to do things without feeling guilty about it. And i get to do stuff I've been putting off due to uni work. Like learning how to use my DSLR camera properly....I'm a point-and-shoot kinda girl. OK, so i haven't exactly gotten round to doing that, but one thing I wanted to do was find a way I could take pretty pictures of things without the harsh flash accentuating every single minute detail, so provide my 'subjects' with a softer light. I'm sorry if this doesn't make any sense, don't judge me, I'm no camera buff, I just like pretty-looking things/pictures =P.

In many blogs that I come across I see alot of people taking pictures in things called 'lightboxes' (the ACTUAL box thing, not the editing program =P). They are supposed to disperse the light and provide a uniform background for the thing your taking a picture of. So I thought, 'Hey! Why not make one! I've got nothing better to do anyway =P'.

And so, i trekked to Officeworks, bought my supplies, and followed this tutorial to make my very own photography lightbox =).


It didn't really take that long, maybe an hour. It was a bit hard to cut the sides out with my tiny stanly knife, but I managed =D.


TADAAA! My very own hand-made lightbox =D. I took some test pictures in it to see what it was like.




I like the way the pictures turn out, the only thing I'm a bit unsure of is the quality of my own desk lamp - I think it's too yellowish or artificial like, not bright and natural like in the lightboxes I've come across. But I guess unless I get another lamp I can't really fix that =P. But I still think that pictures turn out really nice when taken in the lightbox.

I took some more pictures in the lightbox, of my nails.

China Glaze Emerald Sparkle


I like how all these imperfections on my cuticles and nails are sort of 'softened' out by the lightbox. Below is a picture of my nails taken under normal artificial light. Not very pretty comparatively =P.


On another note, for some reason this manicure reminds me of an enchanted fairytale....not sure why....

So I think it was worth taking the time to make the lightbox. I'm looking forward to experimenting with light angles, and hopefully getting a more 'natural' light =P.

Have a nice day guys!

Eesh-style Exam Procrastination Leads To.....

...too many ebay packages lying on your doorstep a week later.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Brown Butter and Lemon (And lots of thinking)

HULLO! Finally I have time to blog as often as I like because I'M DONE! I have FINALLY completed my LAST EXAM EVER!! I am so over-joyed....sleeping in till midday, bumming around watching TV all day, cooking 24/7, SHOPPING (not that this habit was kicked while studying...)!! Ahhh whoever says holidays get boring can take a hike. Although the fun stops in 3 weeks when I start full-time placement.....oh well, can't have too much of a good thing or I'd just be an overweight couch-potato with a crap-load of clothes. And nail polish.

While I was studying for my last exam, every so often I would get distracted and just blog-surf - mostly food blogs since studying meal-plan prescriptions and nutritional advice can make you hungry - and I would find all these cool things to make, but then i wouldn't have any time to make them. So, i saved them all and decided to make as much as i could before placement starts. So the first thing I decided I wanted to make was something sweet (big surprise =P).

Whilst blog-surfing I always find awesome new blogs I can follow that become regular favourites. One particular one that stood out was Heather's Dish. Apart from the awesome food-porn pictures that made me drool, the recipes she posts look so delish! There's a mix of sweet, savoury, healthy and down-right artery-clogging-but-oh-so-delicious guilty pleasures there, each and every one I feel tempted to make myself. I love her blog because while she posts these awesome recipes, it's more the way she came about making each dish, the little snippets of her life that she throws in there as well that make it so enjoyable to read and follow. I love how her focus is on living a healthy lifestyle while still enjoying the things she loves. And I love the honesty, it just makes you feel human. I often feel that I get side-tracked and pressured into thinking that every aspect of my life has to reflect the profession I have chosen to build a career in, and I often feel guilty if I don't live by it to a T. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for leading a healthy lifestyle, eating well and keeping active like everyone should be. But sometimes I'm led to think my passion for cooking and eating food that may not necessarily be classed as 'healthy' overrides my ability as a dietitian. There are pressures that come with such a career, as people see you as a role model for 'healthyness' and that's where the self-doubt comes in.

But, to know that there are people out there who are healthy and have values and passions that are similar to mine makes me feel like maybe the fact that I like to have a burger and fries for lunch instead of a salad isn't so bad. It doesn't impact on my capabilities as a dietitian, and doesn't mean that I don't believe in eating healthy and living healthy. I love Heather's blog because it makes me remind myself that this, my career and what it encompasses, isn't all consuming, and isn't supposed to be a chore - it's all about balance. I'm only human after all =).

PHEW! Sorry for the soliloquy, if I'm left alone too long this is what happens in my mind. SO, back to my baking adventure! One of the recipes that I found on Heather's blog immediately caught my eye, maybe because I was craving something like it at the time.


I apologise, I don't have the super-fantastic ability to make food look awesome either by presentation or photography, but I can tell you they taste bloody good =D. Again, more drool-worthy pics can be found by clicking the link to the original recipe on Heather's awesome blog below. And unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the cooking process because my camera ran out of battery just as I was browning the butter =(. But I'll do my best with descriptions!

These are Brown Butter Sugar Cookies with Lemon Buttercream! They are so delicious, the brown butter adds a different, rich taste to the cookies and the lemon buttercream isn't too overpowering. The perfect balance between sweet and sour.


Brown Butter Sugar Cookies with Lemon Buttercream
Recipe adapted from Heather's Dish


Ingredients
1 and a 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda (bicarb powder)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter + 4 Tbsp at room temp (the 4 tbsp are for the buttercream - I used margarine because I'm used to the taste, more so than butter)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup powder sugar (icing sugar/mixture)
Zest and juice from 1 lemon

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F)

2. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat brown the butter by letting it bubble, and stir constantly. You'll know when it's done when the butter literally turns brown - this can happen quickly so that's why you keep it on medium-low heat, and keep an eye on it! I let mine get to the colour of dark brown sugar then I took it off the heat.

3. Pour immediately into a cold bowl. This is important - you need to let it cool and NOT pour it directly in the next step or you could potentially cook the eggs with the heat. And i'm sure I don't need to tell you this is not a good idea =P.

4. Cream together the brown butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. You may need to refrigerate the batter at this point if it's really sloppy - it can be hard to work with if its too sloppy, so keep it in the fridge for 30 mins if you feel the need to.

5. Roll into 1 tsp balls and bake for 8-10 minutes (mine took 15, but they were a bit hard - it all depends on your oven!), until the edges are sightly brown. Let them cool completely before adding the frosting.


For the frosting - Beat together the 4 tbsp of butter/margarine with the 1 cup of powdered sugar. Add the lemon zest and 1/2 the juice. If the icing is spreadable don't add any more juice. ONLY add more if you feel the buttercream is a bit too stiff. 

NB: I only added 1/2 the zest AND 1/2 the juice to my buttercream because that seemed to be the right amount for my taste - you may feel otherwise =). But add both in small bits and taste as you go so that you achieve the right amount you desire.

Mmm squishy buttercream


Hope you enjoyed reading!

Oreo Anyone?

I love Asian grocers. They always have the coolest stuff! I didn't even know these existed.

Ice cream, Double-filling and Peanut Butter + Chocolate Oreos

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

I (heart) Free Stuff!!

HULLO! I got excited about this post so I couldn't resist and broke my rule about posting before my exam =P.

About a week ago (after much trepidation) I ordered some bottles of nail polish from Inglot (a cosmetics company from Europe - more specifically Poland i believe?) after seeing some reaaaaally nice nails on some blogs i read, using this particular polish and others like it. And so I looked it up, found out Inglot had stores in Sydney, but being the lazy ass that I am PLUS I used the excuse I shouldn't really leave my house since I'm 'studying', I decided to buy them off the online Australian store, even though they charged a shipping fee (like I said I'm feeling particularly lazy at this point in time =P).

So I ordered 2 bottles of the polish I was after and also another colour that had a matte effect to it.

And they arrived very quickly! Like in a few days =D. And i got really excited and opened my package - yep, all the stuff I ordered was there.

But then.....

I opened the little polish boxes and =O! The two bottles of 202 were TINY! And I was like ^@#&$! I ordered these 15ml bottles but all I got was like 1/2 the size! And for $16 per bottle I was like 'I don't think so buddy'! And so, I emailed the sales rep frantically explaining what had happened, I didn't get overly mad because I was sure they would be able to rectify the mistake.


WELL! The exciting thing is, they emailed back, explaining very nicely that they did in fact send me the right bottles, but there was a typo on the website that listed the wrong size. AND because I was 'inconvenienced', they were offering to send me TWO FREE BOTTLES of any polishes I want! WOO HOO!! So, after debating whether to even buy these polishes in the first place, I effectively ended up paying for 1 bottle! And now I have 5 bottles (yes, 3 are actually the same thing, but look at the pictures below and you'll probably realise why having more than one of these bottles is a good thing =P)!


They also sent me some other things like lip liner and foundation samples which was really nice of them =). 

So, I hope these pictures convey WHY exactly I went through all the trouble to get this polish. I believe this is what they call a "flakie" polish. I think its holographic foil flakes suspended in a clear base. And over dark colours it looks spectacular! This is Inglot 202 over a plain black polish.


The holographic foil flakes change colour between green, red and gold


And THEN, I decided to use a 'matte' top coat - for those who are unfamiliar with this, you use it instead of a regular top coat, and it creates this matte finish instead of a shiny one. This was a matte top coat by Essie (Matte About You - I got it from Myer)

Looks like there is a bit of blue in there too
Yep! Definitely blue!

I couldn't decide what pictures to put I'm so sorry there are quite few! And yes, I'm working on taking better care of my hands, I realise my cuticles & skin are very dry. It's hard when you work in a shoe shop and all you do is constantly pull out and put back dusty boxes =P.

Hope you enjoyed reading =) Follow me if you did!

Exam Time Pizza Cravings

Hi Guys! I must apologise for my prolonged absence from posting - I am studying for my last exam ever! (Well, at least for this degree...=P). And blogging is a useful procrastination tool that I saved for a particularly boring part of stuvac i.e. a few days before the actual exam =P.

Every Sunday in our household used to be pizza day. We used to make the dough in our breadmaker just in time for lunch. And then my brother and I would work together and often fight over what we should put on each pizza. Most of the time it was just tomato paste, cheese, salami and oregano. But they tasted good purely because it was homemade. Unfortunately our pizza days are now non-existent because I work on a majority of Sundays and we've veered towards a healthier eating lifestyle (our pizzas weren't exactly the healthiest creations we've produced with all the cheese and processed meat =P).


Recently I have been having these pizza cravings, because during exam time who doesn't want fatty, artery clogging goodness?! But because my family and i have been so busy we just don't have time to make them (even though the breadmaker DOES do all the work). I decided to revive pizza Sundays for just one day, only because I've been craving it alot and just my luck, last Sunday was my FIRST Sunday off in a long time!

One of the things that our pizzas suffered from the most was an under-baked base. Often because the dough the breadmaker produced was quite dense and thick the base wouldn't cook properly. Many a time did we stand in front of the oven watching our toppings burn to a crisp in a desperate effort to just get the base cooked to perfection. But try as we may, most of the time we'd be discarding doughy chunks of bread while we munched away.
Image Source: KitchenwareDirect

Cue the pizza stone. Another reason why I was keen to make some pizzas was because I had bought a pizza stone along with my ice cream maker from KitchenwareDirect. It was really cheap, only $10, and essentially I got it for free due to the shipping cost scheme KitchwareDirect has (Yipee!). A pizza stone is a ceramic round disc that absorbs the excess moisture from the pizza so the base can cook properly and crisp up. It distributes the heat evenly across the base - and a high temperature is important when cooking breads of all kinds. However, having a super hot oven, whilst cooking your base will burn the rest of the pizza. So the stone acts as a sort of "heat trap" and thus allows you to cook your base and toppings at their respective required temperatures. Genius!


Pizza stones are always placed in a cold oven, then the heat is turned up to about 200C (390F) and the pizza stone is left to heat up for about 40 minutes (less if it is a smaller one). If placed in a hot oven, the stone will most likely crack from the thermal shock. They can also get reaaaaally hot, so it is important to ALWAYS wear mittens and be extremely careful when handling them.The pizza will take about 10-15 minutes to cook (depending on your oven of course =) ).

Here are pictures of my pizza creation process!

Rolled out pizza bases - one large, one small (for me...you'll see why =P)

Plain tomato paste - don't add too much or your base may turn out soggy

Cheese! I'm not a big fan of cheese hence mine has less.
I am teased constantly for my weird eating habits,
like eating cheese on pizza but not by itself....I don't think its weird!
Plus there isn't even much on the pizza! Whatevs =P.
Hungarian salami - all we had on hand...
And finally, some sun-dried tomatoes and olives!
OH and oregano of course =D
The only trouble point I had was transferring the pizzas to the stones. I sort of had to get my brother to help me lift them from their dishes and on to the stones. Lots of sites I read up on suggested spreading the work-surface, or wherever your going to lay your pizza for adding toppings, with cornmeal (not alot....though I'm not sure what counts as 'alot'....) to prevent the dough sticking, and them sliding the pizzas onto the stones. They also suggested using a pizza paddle (also know as a pizza peel) to top your pizzas and then just slide them onto the stones (again making sure to use a bit of cornmeal on the paddle). Think I might need to get me one of those....


Before you use a pizza stone for the first time, it might be a good idea to wipe it down with a damp cloth. To clean them after use, just scrape off any baked on bits with a knife and soak them in warm water for an hour, then leave them to dry overnight on a cooling or drying rack. NEVER use soap or detergent because this will seep into the stone and the flavour will be imparted into the next pizza you cook on it (mmm soapy pizza....).


So, the verdict? AWESOME! The pizzas were crispy and cooked through and just YUM. Satisfied my cravings! And they tasted so much better than I remembered, purely because the bases were well cooked. DEFINITELY get one of these if you either make alot of pizzas or if you just want a good crispy base for your delicious pizzas. They can also be used to reheat pizzas, or cook other things such as pies, bread or cookies (will need to road test that before I preach....)

Next time I'm going to hand make the dough! And probably be more creative with toppings, bit more smart for the heart if you know what I mean.....One thing we did note was that we had ALOT of left-over pizza compared to before. I think our healthy lifestyle has shrunk our stomaches no joke. Not that that's bad or anything =P.

See you soon guys! Follow me if you enjoyed reading!
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