Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Giveaway: Win a gift card to Nordstrom, Hope's, or Target!


I am very excited to announce that Erin from With a Wink and a Twirl, Brittney Marie from Pretty Little Pursuits, and Lauren from The Fashionista's Diary, are graciously hosting a holiday giveaway to help me with my dissertation research! We are giving away 3 gift cards to 3 lovely winners: 1) $100 to Nordstrom, 2) $50 to Hope's, or 3) $25 to Target. To enter, all you have to do is fill out a short survey that will help me with my dissertation research! After you complete the survey, just enter a valid e-mail address and you are officially entered into the giveaway. 3 random winners will be chosen on Tuesday, 12/23/14! Click the picture above to enter! 

Luv,
the Bride

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Top 10 beauty favorites

When I was in high school and college I had a pretty normal daily hair and makeup routine. From start to finish it took about an hour. After graduating and joining the work force, I started getting less strict. Enter grad. school and I am somewhat ashamed to say that the majority of the time I go makeup free.

I have always gotten a lot of compliments on my skin. My routine is pretty simple. I wash my face twice a day with a gentle exfoliating cleanser, apply noncomedogenic moisturizer with SPF 15 or 30, and I rarely wear foundation. Other than that, I don't do anything special.

I was thinking about all of the hair, skin, and makeup products I've tried throughout my lifetime, and all the ones that I fell in love with and can't live without. These are the products out of so many that I've stuck with for years, if not decades. I thought I'd share them with you, because they are too good to keep to myself.

In no particular order, here are my Top 10 Beauty Favorites:



10. Olay Skin Smoothing Cream Scrub
I actually have not seen this on the shelves for awhile, so I have also used Olay Regenerist Regenerating Cream Cleanser. I like that they're non-foaming and contain exfoliants that help smooth my skin. I keep one by my bathroom sink and one in the shower. I also use warm water to open up my pores first and then use cold water to rinse and close my pores.







I have been using this (or some form of this) regularly since I was in tenth grade. I love that it is light, non-greasy, oil-free, noncomedogenic, and can be worn any season, underneath makeup, or by itself. It also contains SPF 15 (or 30) and protects my skin from the sun. I prefer the Sensitive Skin version, which is unscented, but I've used the scented one too, and the scent is not overpowering.





I have also been using this since tenth or eleventh grade. I use it to remove any leftover eye makeup after I've washed my face. I also use it to clean up any eyeliner or mascara smudges after applying makeup. What I like about it is that it's non-oily, so I can dip a q-tip in it and clean up under my lash line.


Another product I've been using since tenth grade! I'm on my second set of these in over ten years, so they've lasted a long time. I prefer the wire clips over the plastic super clips, which I find leave creases. I know most girls these days use curling irons, but I find it so easy to just roll my hair in these and then finish doing my makeup or getting dressed while they set. The key is to take them out after they're completely cool. The jumbo size is perfect for long hair, and even if the curl happens to fall out, your hair still has a lot of body.

I like these better than Tweezerman (although those are a close second). I've had the same pair for several years and they haven't needed sharpening. If you live near an Anastasia Brow Studio, they are the BEST at shaping eyebrows. I was first introduced to her method when I lived in NY, and was lucky enough to have found one at the Nordstrom nearby, but unfortunately they closed the studio. Fortunately, I have found a really awesome threading studio in the area that I really like.



As an Asian girl with short, straight lashes, I have tried so many different ways to curl my lashes. While I did like my Shu Uemura eyelash curler, I still found myself heating it up before "curling" my lashes, which is a bit dangerous if you're not careful. In fact, two of my friends bought me a heated eyelash curler on two separate occasions because of my eyelash curling technique (they didn't work). This little curler fits in the palm of my hand and does a great job of curling even the edge lashes...and I don't have to heat it up first.


 4. Silk'n Flash&GO
This is one of my more recent discoveries, but it is a life changer and a great investment. I hardly ever shave anymore, and I love that! You can read about my experience with the Flash&GO here. I'm excited to see recent TV commercials for it. They've come out with a newer model (the Luxx) that comes with a lifetime cartridge. If you hate shaving, I cannot recommend this product enough.





 3. Microplane Colossal Pedicure Rasp 
I hate feet...and I hate rough, peeling, scaly feet the most. I used so many different foot creams, files, and pumice stones, before stumbling across this on Amazon one day. Best foot file ever! After using this, my feet stopped peeling and I worried about them so much less. My feet will still sometimes get a little rough after a few weeks, but then I just use this quickly in the shower and they are baby soft again. I follow it up with some Nordic Care Foot Care Cream and a pair of socks.





 2. Maybelline Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Washable Mascara
I've been pretty picky about mascara lately. I keep finding myself coming back to Lash Stiletto. I feel like it gives me the best length and definition, which is what I like my mascara to do. I apply mascara after I've curled my lashes. (I don't like getting mascara on my eyelash curler.)







 1. Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm
I use this product everyday. I have a tube in my purse, in my car, in my desk drawer, on my nightstand...I just like the way it feels and that it doesn't leave a glossy or sticky residue. It's an absolute necessity in the dry winter season!









So these are 10 of my favorite beauty products that I've discovered over the years. I use many of them on a daily basis, and all of them are over-the-counter products that you can find at your local drug or beauty supply store. :) What are some beauty products that you can't live without?

Luv,
the Bride







Friday, October 17, 2014

A year in the life...

A year ago today I was a huge mess of emotions as I began my wedding weekend. My best friend since 4th grade was in town, and we were about to spend the day at The Spa at Fearrington getting pedicures and massages before heading out for my bachelorette party at Solas and C. Grace. I was an anxious mess--worried about the weather; apprehensive about having 4 guests and 2 dogs in my house; freaking out about having all the decor and supplies organized, packed and ready--and Xanax didn't help at all...

To my relief, everything went as planned from start to finish. It was the best weekend, and the most perfect wedding. The weather was great, everything went/ran smoothly, and I was so so happy.

This Monday will be our 1 year anniversary and I am so excited. We are taking a trip to the mountains and will get to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage. Autumn is by far my favorite season of the year, and it is wonderful to get to celebrate our marriage at this time each year. 

A family shot from our Spring '12 e-session with Brian Mullins.
The only thing that is missing is my precious little Lamb. I would give anything to have her here with me right now.

Life is not easy, and things do not always go your way, but part of growing up and celebrating your blessings is realizing that God's plan is bigger than yours. I can't help but be grateful for where I am in life right now. Six or seven years ago I never would have guessed I'd be where I am today. I never would have imagined I'd be so close to earning my doctorate, married and living in this house. I never wanted to say goodbye to my beloved Grandpa, my dog, David's Gramps. I didn't think I'd sell my condo in New York, or move back down south to the place I'd just left. 

Life is unexpected, and sometimes it's hard...but it is also wonderful and vivid and exhilarating.

This has been the most wonderful year, and I can't wait for the next.

Luv,
the Bride


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The #HungryHusbandProject - 4th Edition: Eggplant Parmesan with Spaghetti (Squash)

It's been a while since I contributed to the #HungryHusbandProject, and I am embarrassed to say that I actually had 2 other meals to write about, but managed to misplace the husband's score sheets. Oh well.

The 4th edition of the #HungryHusbandProject is Eggplant Parmesan with Spaghetti (Squash), inspired by my college friend/roommate, Kelly. Kelly is pregnant with her 3rd baby and due any day now. Her mom made her some Eggplant Parmesan to see if it would induce labor (so far it hasn't)...but it sounded delicious, so I decided to make it tonight. This recipe is low-fat, low-carb, and vegetarian. I wasn't sure how the hubs would feel about it, but when I texted him from the grocery store, he was all for it.


Left: Fresh out of the oven; Right: For a low-carb meal, serve over cooked spaghetti squash. (I made mine in the microwave.)

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant (or 2 small eggplants)
  • 1 jar spaghetti or marinara sauce
  • 2 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 (2 cup) container low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • Italian seasoning (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray.
  2. Beat eggs in small bowl. In another bowl, combine parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  3. Slice eggplant(s) into 1/2" slices. Dip each slice in egg, and then dredge through parmesan cheese mixture. Place in single layer on cookie sheet.
  4. Bake at  425°F for 20 minutes, turning slices halfway through.
  5. Spray a 9"x13" pan with non-stick spray. Cover bottom of pan in a thin layer of spaghetti/marinara sauce. Layer half the eggplant slices on the bottom.
  6. Top with another thin layer of spaghetti/marinara sauce, then spread ricotta cheese evenly over the sauce.
  7. Add remaining eggplant slices, then cover with the remaining spaghetti/marinara sauce, then mozzarella cheese.
  8. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes. Serve over cooked spaghetti or spaghetti squash.
It smelled so good while it was cooking and took me less than an hour to make. Surprisingly, the hubs really liked it and said he'd definitely eat it again.


Here is the verdict:

 28/30  Taste
 20/20  Presentation
 10/10  Originality
 10/10  Re-heatability
 10/10  Clean-up
 20/20  Overall Ranking 
----------------------------------
98/100  Final Score
    A+    Letter Grade

Comments:
"Had surprising flavor for a vegetarian dish. Might even taste better the next go-around!"

This is my highest-rated meal so far, which is surprising since it's vegetarian. (I swear I said that last time.) The original recipe I was looking at called for ground hamburger, which was browned and then placed over the ricotta cheese layer. This is an option for those who eat meat. I've never cooked eggplant before, and I've actually only eaten it a few times. I definitely didn't mind the flavor. I have to admit though, my fave part was the melted mozzarella cheese. :)

Luv,
the Bride

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Becoming a vegetarian

I have been eating a vegetarian diet for just over a month now. (Technically, a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, as I eat eggs and dairy.) It has actually been a lot easier than I thought it would be, and certainly much easier than eating low-carb. I had to figure out a few vegetarian fast food options for those days when I have to go to work but haven't had time to pack a meal. I've started visiting Taco Bell a little more and Panera Bread a little less. (I love how easy (and cheap) the Cheesy Bean & Rice Burritos and Bean Burritos are.) I've also fallen in love with The Remedy Diner


Overall, I don't feel much different. I was expecting to feel different, maybe lack energy (or gain it), but I feel about the same. One thing my friend Beth pointed out to me was that I need to be careful of my soy intake since I have hypothyroidism. Luckily I have a physical and thyroid check up next week, so I'll discuss it with my doctor then. 

I was only planning on doing it for a week, but a week turned into two weeks, and two weeks turned into a month...I think I will likely incorporate fish and seafood in (pescetarian), but we'll see.


A few things I've discovered: 

  • Excluding meat cuts down on cooking time significantly! 
  • You don't have to include meat for a meal to be tasty.
  • Cutting out meat was not as hard as I thought it would be.
  • I've met more vegetarians in the veterinary field than anywhere else.
  • Vegetarian restaurants are pretty darn good.
  • There's usually a way to "vegetarianize" or "veganize" a meal and make it still taste good.
  • Raw meat grosses me out a lot more than it used to. (I never did like cooking chicken very much.)
  • LOTS of food (packaged, pre-packed, prepared, un-prepared) contain meat or meat products.
On another note, the hubs and I have been cooking up an interesting project we want to start together. More on that later. :)

Luv,
the Bride

Saturday, August 23, 2014

When it rains, it pours...

It has been just under 2 weeks since we said goodbye to Lamb. Our other Chinese Crested, Noah, has been sick since Thursday of last week. At first, I thought he was in mourning and just grieving the loss of his best friend. However, after running diagnostics for the past few days, we discovered that he has a foreign body. Fortunately, he's not obstructed, so they think they can remove it via endoscopy (less invasive than surgery). Unfortunately, it is still costly, and after everything with Lamb, the estimate of $1600 is a big burden for our little family. When it rains, it certainly pours!

I have created a crowdfunding campaign through Go Fund Me, and we are trying to raise as much money as possible to help pay for his medical bills. 

This has been a trying few weeks for us, but we're staying positive and pressing on as much as we can. If you wouldn't mind sharing this with your friends, family, and fellow animal lovers, and/or donating (even the smallest amount helps), we would be so grateful.


Thank you, and puppy kisses!

Luv,
the Bride (and her black and white dog)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Grantland feature


I'm so excited to share something that has been in the works for some time now. Check out this feature article by Katie Baker for Grantland! A part of ESPNGrantland is an online magazine that covers sports, entertainment, and pop culture.

Katie contacted me in April to ask me about my experience with the Bridal Veil post office as well as the process of designing and creating my wedding invitations.

Check out her article to read all about Postmaster Geri and the famous little post office in Bridal Veil.

Luv,
the Bride