Reincarnation of the Nathan Hot Dog

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Have you ever found yourself snacking on who knows what? Lately, I’ve been craving a bag of chips after a long chip ban. A chip ban isn’t too pleasant when it’s your favorite savory snack.

I just started to do some grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s and picked the South African Style after I couldn’t find a cheddar alternative. Warning: You’ll want some cheese to go with it, but not just yet. Now what is so relevant? It’s the perfect sandwich chip…. and all American hotdog snack! The taste is quite similar with the cheesy Nathan Hot dog. This chip’s packed with bbq spices to evoke the aroma of a summertime classic of bbq’s and hotdogs! If you are a fan of BBQ, you’ll admire the more simpler approach to smoky chips. Not the kind you leave on that bbq grill either!

After a full day of sharing it with the siblings, we managed to leave 1/2 a serving left! That’s nearly crumbs of colorful chips speckled in green basil/parsley mix, chili pepper flakes, and other spices. Definitely don’t miss the vinegary taste I am accustomed to when snacking on regular (Honey) BBQ chips.

I can’t say I wouldn’t buy it again…

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I know this mysterious smokey hot bag is too smug to stay in the corner of shelves, but have you decided to snatch it from potential shoppers yet? Because it’s as good as gone in my house!

-rae

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Ipsy Bag: Street Style September 2014

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I received my Ipsy bag last month ago and decided to give some products a whirl but forgot this post, oops. You might be wondering, but October’s glam bag has already reached homes across the US. That review is coming up soon. But first, I think for once this bag has decided to edge away from girliness and sweet palette of colors to a simplistic but grown-up feeling. I think the studs give it that extra touch! Be warned, your bag may reveal plenty of surprises, and yes, possibly fabric adhesion and wrinkles!

-scrunching of nose- Well removing it will be a cake!

 

Anyway, to the content…

 

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Sorry, white case not included. 😉

The first look?

The mask is quite refreshing in scent and great in size. I’ve used it once so far and immediately see it doesn’t rely too much on thick silicons to coat your hair, however it’s a treat even for new locks. Unlike other masks, it isn’t a sweet sickening potion but relies lightly on a sweet herby fragrance. It is based on sweet almond oil, the famed argan oil, and creamy avocado which sure moisturizes your hair! I’ll try it for another week, then month and give further results!

In case you got some of the mask on your forehead, use the cucumber-watercress face wash to remove all grease! It makes your face super duper clean, so try using a pea sized dot if you can… I think the least used items in this bag were the dual-end brushes and eye pencil. When all you need are bright eyes to look awake…Why?

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In my case, eyes are the most sensitive part of my face and it really gets irritated under conditions like full-strength glasses, cool air, and maybe light. So naturally, if wiping or rubbing your eyes are a major habit, you’ll want to forget wearing any eye makeup altogether. (That doesn’t stop me from using permanent inks though… like gels and liners) But if you don’t have well-worn oily eyelids, the eyeliner pencil will stay on for hours! I’ve tested it on my forearm and it never ceased to impress others with the occasional stray line.

 

But my favorite part? Yes, it screams autumn! I loved the lush, dark magenta lip color I luckily got. Cailyn usually has great quality products and this one doesn’t disappoint. You might find it sheer enough to layer under colors ranging red to baby pink. But be warned, color does spread unevenly. And then you’re surprised, how can this be a fan favorite? Well…

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It’s always a pleasure not to have a foil mask packet, right? Not messy at all! Except for the dipping part.

 

Have no fear… get your lips all moistened up and application’s a breeze! The secret is to applying vaseline or an oily lip balm, like last month’s Jersey Shore’s Mongonogo* lip balm. Once the lip gloss goes on, it’s spread smoothly without the weird streaking you’d find otherwise… unless you love the ombre, gradient look.

I think this month’s bag has been a successful turn out. In terms of usability, I can find quite a couple of ways to make that $10/month worthwhile. Especially that sheer, but build-able berry plum lip gloss hits the bank in terms of value and versatility! In case you’re ready to subscribe or fill out the quiz, check it out soon… ipsy.

p.s. if you’re racking the points, I’d go for Chella’s highlight or Tinibeauty Liquid Shadow if I were you. 😉

Eating at Copabanana: How little bites sustain you

In homage to Philly’s Restaurant Week, I’m updating it with a post from July, back from Dining Days.

Hello Readers! It’s been about a month and I apologize for such late updates. I had a lot of classes and prep for the upcoming months and eventually blogging got push out of the way. However, to compensate for that, I’ll be updating for a whole week – (could it be that consistent!?) of the foods I’ve been sampling the past month.

 

This one was from Dining Days over at University City, so as Sept comes, why not have a mini restaurant week right here too?

I recently have been on and off with workouts. Having gym service is terrific especially when you can grab a friend and join their exercise sessions. Body Combat has to be my favorite. It encompasses kick boxing and plenty of cardio to make use of your arms, legs, and joints! Knowing that, I tried to stay off the fat starting with this salad.

Ethereally Live

Cantina Salad w/ Jicama.

This salad was delicious, especially the bright citrusy dressing which makes you feel perked up and enjoy it even more. I think it’d have been dry without and after throwing away the olives, it lost lots of valuable flavor. Jicama is a very interesting root. My mom usually cooks it in a dumpling like rice noodle pastry and so it’s never had much l0ve by itself. It’s crunchy like guava but has a sweetness where its texture doesn’t work, at least for me. However, after having it here, I appreciated its appearance and it makes the salad much more healthful and enjoying than a caesar salad. I easily gobbled it up utilizing the dressing wisely.

Ethereally Live

Jalapeno Fries w/ Cheese Whiz.

 However, this could not hold off my temptations. We opted for whiz since the cheddar might cool off by the time we finish this. And we really, wanted to enjoy it slowly. As far as fries goes, this is your typical fries and does not disappoint. But the jalapenos really kicked it up a notch! It wasn’t spicy, but more of a warm mild pepper that gives more depth to regular fries. I couldn’t help throwing down more calories as my mouth loved the warm cheesiness, crunchy onions, and peppers combination. Thank goodness my friend let me have most of these peppers!

 

 

Ethereally Live

Honey glazed Salmon w/ mango salsa.

 And by the time we finished it off, I was waiting to try this beauty. It was a bit saddening that it was tiny… I expected at least 2.5 times more of the salmon as seen from the online menu. Instead, I was pleased to have the sweet mango salsa along side the wonderfully glazed fish. The mashed potatoes was a bit heavier than I expected and washed well with plenty of warmed butter and minimal salsa dressing that lingered on the plate. Asparagus is always nice to pair up with and grilling it makes a nice finish and smokiness you can’t resist.

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Chicken in Jerk Spices

Don’t let the picture fool you! This sure is a huge leg for those whose snacking on fries almost didn’t satisfy. Unfortunately, it was a bit drier to our tastes, which leaves me wondering whether it was already cooked or just sitting there without enough juices evenly distributing. We were already full by the time my friend offered me a sampling of this leg but the spices made the chicken work. It reminded me of my co-worker’s delish jerk rice/jambalaya where the spices in the fried rice and chicken made up for the dryness of rice. Nonetheless, be prepared to have a refreshing glass of lemonade to aid you in finishing this.

The waitress came back constantly to check on us, for either our appetites weren’t very large or she worried our food was growing cold. In either way we were surprised to even hear desserts were coming out. Yikes, being nearly full, I’d wished I took it to go. But the portions of all these dishes seemed small that it was silly to take out just a bit. Mental note, I’ll have the desserts to-go, and check please.

 

Ethereally Live - Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie.

What a luscious little one. It was my first time having it, but nevertheless it was refreshing, based on all the citrus and fruits going on my dishes, you’d think I’d gotten tired! The crumb was buttery and just as you’d expect. By the time I finished half, I was eyeing both the crust, tart filling, and whips of fat. The side cremes were heavenly just meringues, but just freshly whipped cream. The topping instead was soft and slightly sweetened but much denser than the heavy cream as you see. I just wanted to finish the crust and frosting by then, as I knew no lemony curd would stay still in my stomach. I’m much too full.

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Alas, I was able to sample the Chocolate Lava Cake!

By contrast, this was a melty volcano of chocolate. Great for those better than Hersheys’ lovers out there! It was divine to cut through its ooziness but I couldn’t handle it by myself. I had already fallen in love with my pie.

 

It was probably the best $15 I could spend on a spur, as I didn’t expect to have lunch but Copabanana won’t tire you out!

With its’ fresh flavours and easy classics I think you will not go wrong with any bite. But seriously, try the jicama salad for a fresh burst of morning shine!

 

-rae

2-Ingredient Homemade Cheez-Its & Categorization

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In the hour of decisiveness between a satisfying dish to a light snack to curb appetites, it makes you get creative. I just stopped searching for seasonings from buttermilk powders to white cheddar cheese until I realized what use of those “accessories” work without the base. From zucchini to butternut squash, the star must have its stage. And although I had butternut squash, I wanted something satisfying. Not too sweet. Or at all. But potentially cheesy. And there the cheez-its were born. Or something close to it. A late night snack always does it.

Can you believe it? Zesty tortillas and Parmesan cheese. Hint of lime and chilis if you prefer.

habtorts      grtparm

creds to The Saucy Gourmet & cookstr for pics.

 

It’s hardly a eureka moment, as homemade puffy pockets of tortilla chips and Trader Joes’ guac with fresh lime recently made my bucket list. So I took the idea of a gently puffed tortilla and gave it some seasoning most kitchens would have. Voila, simple chips without the heavy trans fat from hydrogenated oils and clean snacking. Just grab a plate for yourself.

I think the tortilla itself, packed with a hint of lime and habanero, made it work. (pics coming soon) Slice and pop it in the oven for 2 minutes per side at 350 deg F. Then remove and freshly grate parmesan on. It’s still hot and ready so the cheese sticks slightly without added oils. Although I’ve cheated and used pre-grated parmesan, frozen. Yeah, that sure keeps it fresh! While I’m working on improving this, try it for yourself.

You might not want to hand over $4/box ever again! (Perhaps $2/if you’re lucky, because you’ll finish it in a jiffy.)

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New categories, New content!

Also, just to keep my posts a bit more organized, I’m planning to place them in new categories:

Fashionspiration on fabrics and tailored wear that inspire us all.

Home & decor where re-organization means simplicity and space to breathe.

Cookery from recently made dishes or newly claimed knowledge

A Box of Wisdom just to touch on life topics.

Beauty to test out skin & makeup products and see where the glory lies. DIY if it’s special

(for all others, Others probably works too.)

 

-rae

Quick Updates

Hello again!

It’s been quite awhile since my last post as I was swerving by my summer term. (Good news, it paid off! My GPA went straight up!) But I will try updating my blog at least 1x/week, than my old minimum, until I get used to the change in pace.

Also, I noticed I had several drafts in place which will be posted shortly, some including:
recommended New York Bites & Eats, University City Dining Days (Philly’s Uni. City version of Restaurant week), and several more.

Also, stay tuned as I re-vamp this blog for easier access & a cleaner layout. (The old one didn’t seem to feel right, like me, at home). Those are some goals I hope to accomplish by September. See you soon!

-rae

p.s. Has anyone felt the cool air on their coasts yet? It makes me excited to see more autumn weather. It never fails to keep me inspired and productive. Sure, the warm weathers are for relaxation, but as long as it never dips any warmer or cooler, it would be perfect. Here’s to more early sweaters!

image creds: artsymphony on blogspot

image creds: artsymphony on blogspot

Don’t brush off the “Little things”

Image credits to GloriousMind

My professor in an entrepreneurial class once said to fix the little habits that tended to slow you down. That could be from storing your keys in different rooms and instead creating a key holder just by the door. By this simple fix alone, it helped you save time in the long run so you don’t sweat off the little things. Notice brushing it off is a neglect to forget what’s important versus sweating it means you get rid of the necessary immediately then. Just as your body’s glands start cooling you off with sticky, salt precipitation, it clarifies your skin without being blocked by applying a crystal stick on. Find those areas where you wasting time and being unproductive as a result of that worry.

For me, I noticed it came often in photography. With all tasks, the best way to learn is to get out in the field, or world, and practice. As I try to take the perfect shot, I often noticed I kept re-adjusting my camera just to get the subject in focus. It was a habit, to manually re-frame. And to move the arrow keys much rapidly trying to compose before finally snapping. I missed a great deal of shots from this to the point I tell my audience, keep on going, doing whatever it is, and eventually I’ll get it right. But it was time to sit down with my camera, a manual or tutorial, and myself.

After a re-evaluation, I learned the four settings on a DSLR I should’ve practice with. Instead, I kept on one setting knowing I had no time to try it out. I hadn’t made time. Therefore when it came to my younger brother’s graduation, I had a hard time focusing when he walked in from the double-side doors and by luck barely captured his grey-pinstriped suit and dark lavender shirt. He wasn’t in focus and it wasn’t perfect. Special occasions such as this made me realize how I practiced. Now I’m off to re-evaluating my 4 settings if it means I need to tout the extra couple of ounces on my neck. Poised and working my shoulder. Then sculpting my biceps while steadying the camera.

Sometimes I wished I recognized this was a misstep before any regrets were made. The only regrets are ones, remembered, and tasks you wished had gone right instead. But I realized this is my advantage to use this tool, learning to focus, and hopefully produce more stand-outs.

The Queen of Tarts… isn’t Present. Thank goodness.

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The picture above reminds me of when I go to the optometrist when he/she checks your eyes, asking “what numbers do you see?”. Is that a 8 or a 10? But keep on reading if you’re ready to see the final results, and the progression to it!

Just the past week, I had completed my first tart. I originally wanted to used strawberries as the main focus but opted for the blackberries as 1. I already bought a whopping 5 lbs of the red gems, and 2. squishy berries aren’t exactly a pleasure to munch on, unless they’re meant to be cooked. But I wanted to keep with the fresh fruit theme, so I used blueberries as the main filler. I recently bought a new tart pan (or quiche, as advertised) and hope it wasn’t too small! But it was perfect for 6-8 people!

Knowing the crust was more tedious (my refrigerator hates being cold) so making the dough + freezing it worked best. I kept this unbaked for the following day, even though it may have kept well, ultimately I didn’t want it to crumble. I used JoyOfBaking’s fruit tart recipe, with no adjustments, for a trial run.

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I went on to make the pastry cream which admittedly was rather run. It wasn’t too intimidating as I thought. Hopefully if I perfect this, I can go no making cream puffs.

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I felt like I baked the tart too long. Setting it up for 400deg for 5 mins, then onwards for 10mins. Oops. It did have a nice golden touch, but perhaps not too evenly. Next time, I’ll just take the longer route– at lower temps.DSC_0057

After dressing it and chilling for a bit, we decided to serve it the same day. (It’s always fresher, unlike pizza which is yummier overnight). However, I realized the middle of the tart crumbled. The cream wasn’t as thick as originally suspected, and rather strong of alcohol-due to the heavy amounts of vanilla extract. Next time, I’ll halve that amount and maybe sweeten it a tad more! And are crusts supposed to falling apart? I thought it should hold as if cutting a pie!

Here’s the tart in its humble manner. Credits to my sister, who I believe while playing around/practicing, took this photo. I apologize if it’s hard on your eyes— the tart does look like it’s falling off the table. But rest assured, that is okay.DSC_0059