Entries from January 31st, 2010

January 31, 2010

i love today | sunshine, french toast, children’s books, old cast-iron skillets

I love today.

After waking up fairly early (way before noon!), rolling around in bed and piddling around a bit in the shower, I grabbed a delicious breakfast (French toast of course) at First Watch with a nice person. It’s been a while since I’ve been to First Watch; the wait wasn’t terrible (spent 10 minutes reading a sweet children’s book, Owl Moon, which won the Caldecott medal when I was three years old, and paging through the thesaurus—don’t laugh!) and the atmosphere was fabulous. The host seated us at a booth in front of the jolly pianist, who was playing, “All You Need is Love,” and some other fun Sunday songs. What a great start to this sunny, beautiful day.

Because it’s finally above freezing and sunny, I decided it was a good day to give the Camry a good wash. She’d been accumulating tons of snow, dirt, salt and dirt in the past few weeks, so it was time. She looks gorgeous! Now, about that interior…

Silver 2009 Toyota Camry

Cami cleans up well.

After the carwash, I trekked downtown to Borders to find some fun books for my two cousins in Oklahoma City who just had birthdays—12 and 6, wow!. I’m the nerdy cousin who likes to get them educational things for their birthdays (though I have broken down and bought video games for them) because I want them to have the same passion for reading that I had at that age (and now!). I picked up Diary of a Wimpy Kid for the 12-year-old cousin and three Curious George books for the six-year-old boy. I like to try to find fun books that encourage them to expand their imaginations and escape to a fun land. I think that’s a little easier for the younger child; for the older kid, it’s a little more challenging to make reading seem fun. I hope this book does it for him! Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a New York Times bestseller and includes cartoons and a handwriting-esque font that makes it look more like a diary; I hope the colloquial tone appeals to a too-cool 12-year-old.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid; Curious George books

I hope my cousins love these books!

My most exciting purchase today came from the Lawrence Antique Mall. I love perusing through this two-story mall for treasures (they had adorable vintage valentines that I almost bought, but I like making my own, so I resisted), and every time I go, I always lust over the old-fashioned cast-iron skillets. Well now…I own two! A mama cast-iron skillet and a baby cast-iron skillet (still need the big daddy cast-iron skillet) for $17—score! My mom swears by cast-iron cookware (that’s all she ever uses in the kitchen—and she still owns the same set from more than 30 years ago!) and has converted me, too.

Cast iron is fabulous because it withstands high heat, maintains a superb nonstick surface (sans toxic perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)) and will last forever with proper care. Right now, my new cast-iron skillets are coated in cooking oil and salt and baking in the oven at 400 degrees to amp up the seasoning it may have lost while hanging out at the antique store waiting for me to take them home. When they’re finished baking, I’ll let them cool in the oven, wipe them down and store them until I’m ready to make some cornbread or pancakes.

Cast-iron skillets from Lawrence Antique Mall

Look at that adorable baby cast-iron skillet! These look great on my stovetop.

In a few hours, I’ll head downtown again to participate in the Haiti Benefit Show at Liberty Hall and catch up with my former classmate Ranjit over drinks and good music. Have you donated to help Haiti yet?

Help Haiti | Liberty Hall | Lawrence, Kansas

Hope to see you at the Help Haiti benefit tonight!

What a beautiful day. I love today. How is your day?

January 30, 2010

perfume reviews | burberry london

Burberry London is my go-to perfume. It’s appropriate for day or evening because it’s soft yet inviting—fine for a date night or just another day at the office. Every time I wear Burberry London, my good friend and coworker Gina raves about what I’m wearing (I’m sure she’s been bugging her husband about picking up a bottle for her, too!).

Burberry London

I'll be due for another bottle of Burberry London soon.

Burberry London is a lighter perfume that incorporates honeysuckle, clementine and rose for a clean, floral fragrance that is soft and seductive.  It does have dryer touches of sandalwood (mama would be impressed) and patchouli (appeasing my inner hippie again!) to round out the floral notes. I’d describe Burberry London as a little more musky than floral—completely sexy but not overpowering—and it’s supposed to capture the essence of bustling London. (I’ve never been, so I’ll just trust that London is sexy but not overpowering.)

I’ve tried the regular Burberry perfume before, and it’s just not as appealing to me.  While Burberry still has notes of sandalwood, vanilla and musk, it’s a little too fruity for me (it has traces of green apple, peach and marigold). Burberry London suits my nose a little better, but I’m interested to sample Burberry Touch and Burberry Brit…we’ll see. I have so many new fragrances on my to-buy list, it’s a little obnoxious. What fragrances are on your list? What do you wear every day? Tell me about it in the comments section.

January 29, 2010

perfume reviews | pure turquoise by ralph lauren

Everything I learned about beauty comes from my mother. While she doesn’t covet expensive, designer makeup like I do, she does have a nose for designer perfume. I grew up smelling Chanel No. 5, Yves St. Laurent Opium and White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor. Judging from these perfume choices, it’s evident my mother is a fan of sandalwood (a note in all three perfumes)-noted perfumes that are on the heavier, more feminine side.

In my own fragrance stash, I have some perfumes that emulate my mother’s nose for fierce, womanly scents. Today, I spritzed on Pure Turquoise by Ralph Lauren. It was a Christmas present from my brother a few years ago, and I only wear it sparingly—it’s a little heavy for daytime (I kept it to one light spritz this morning), but perfect for an evening out (two spritzes for my sushi night out with the ladies).

Ralph Lauren Pure Turquoise

I love the turquoise-topped lid.

While Pure Turquoise by Ralph Lauren doesn’t have sandalwood notes, it has a base of patchouli (yes, that patchouli!), amber, birch wood and light vanilla, and is laced with lily of the valley, orange flower and rose. Pure Turquoise by Ralph Lauren is sexy, woodsy-floral and definitely exotic. Wear this perfume to get attention; pair it with a smoky eye and long trench coat to really get heads turning.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about the perfume I wear most days that even gets my female coworkers asking, “What perfume are you wearing? It smells sooo good!”

What perfume do you wear? Tell me your signature scent in the comments section!

January 28, 2010

lady gaga cupcakes testimonials and more sunday baking fun

I’ve been the most popular girl at work this week thanks to my Sunday baking spree. On Monday, I brought homemade, whole-wheat-powdered-sugar-double-chocolate-chip-cookies to the office—I was lucky to be able to snag two for myself.

Powdered sugar double chocolate chip cookies

The powdered sugar set these cookies apart—and left an easy-to-trace trail to repeat cookie monsters!

Tuesday, I brought in a batch of funky cupcakes that I decorated on a whim. It was interesting to note which cupcakes my coworkers snatched up first; the last-picked cupcakes were the ones with, ahem, appendages (I was feeling a little wonky with the Twizzlers and Pirouettes!)

funky cupcakes

It literally took me five minutes to decorate these cupcakes—we'll just call them "abstract" cupcakes. I used Twizzlers, Pirouettes, a Hershey's kiss and half a Kit Kat to adorn these cupcakes. I added Ghirardelli chocolate shavings to this batch of cupcake batter when I baked on Sunday.

Wednesday, I gave everyone a chance to let their blood sugars stabilize in preparation for today: The unveiling of the Lady Gaga cupcakes in real-life form. Most of my friends and coworkers had already seen pictures of the Lady Gaga cupcakes online, but some hadn’t—talk about some funny looks and smiles! My bosses probably think I’m a strange cookie (or strange cupcake?), but I think the Lady Gaga cupcakes fit in with my oddball personality (my blog’s random quote, “You are interestingly quirky,” is something an acquaintance told me before…and I take pride in that! :))

I asked those who devoured the Lady Gaga cupcakes to write me a few sentences about their experience taking a bite out of Lady Gaga’s cupcake face (I ate one, too…the Paparazzi-inspired Lady Gaga cupcake). My lovely friend and coworker Megan Hirt, who was bold and chose the red-lace-face Lady Gaga cupcake (the one with the Twizzler hat!), was the first to respond:

I love listening to Lady Gaga’s infectious jams, imitating her dance moves and feasting my eyes on her unabashedly eccentric attire. Now, I can add “taste” to the list of Lady Gaga-inspired sensory experiences I’ve had, thanks to Kim and her fabulous Gaga cupcakes! I had the liberty of nomming the notorious red-lace-face Lady Gaga cupcake, and not only was it absolutely delectable, it was so much fun to eat! I know the idea of “eating your favorite pop star” sounds a little macabre, but Kim’s creativeness coupled with the sugary frosting and “Bad Romance” playing in my head as I chewed made for one of the best food-related moments of my life. —Megan Hirt, Lady Gaga cupcake fan

Megan Hirt

Megan Hirt shows off her newly acquired, about-to-be-devoured Lady Gaga cupcake.

Notice how Megan was brave enough to eat the Twizzler appendage first, but admits to being too scared to dig in to the Lady Gaga cupcake—she was too enchanted by Lady Gaga’s red-lace-face sprinkles! But eventually, Megan gave in with a little push from yours truly.

Kim Wallace and Megan Hirt hold a Lady Gaga cupcake.

I showed Megan how to nom her Lady Gaga cupcake. She is a fast learner (and nommer!).

Check back for more testimonials soon. The Lady Gaga cupcakes were super cute and edible! Talk about frosting overload :) I’m incredibly flattered and psyched by the response these Lady Gaga cupcakes got in the blogosphere, and I’m pumped (and anxious) to get going on my next pop culture cupcake baking spree (set for this Sunday). I already have a theme in mind, but what suggestions do you have? Write me a comment and tell me what kind of cupcakes I should bake next!

Until Sunday, walk, walk, fashion baby, work it make that bitch crazy!



Cupcake aficionado and coworker Aubrey Vaughn comments on the Lady Gaga cupcakes:

I feel so honored. Not only did we get to see the original Lady Gaga cupcakes, but we got to eat these one-of-a-kind creations. The Lady Gaga cupcakes are as delicious as they look, with a sweet cupcake taste that is as delightful, though happily more consistent, than the Lady’s wardrobe choices. The perfect antidote for any Bad Romance. —Aubrey Vaughn, cupcake aficionado

January 25, 2010

this makes me happy | lady gaga cupcakes

I love cupcakes, so I decided to bake some tonight. But these aren’t just any cupcakes…these are Lady Gaga-inspired cupcakes! I think Lady Gaga is genius and absurd—and I hope these cupcakes reflect my admiration for her! I don’t think I’ll be able to eat these Lady Gaga cupcakes…they are just too cute. Enjoy.

Six beautiful Lady Gaga-inspired cupcakes by Kim Wallace!

Which one is your favorite?

Side shot of Lady Gaga cupcakes

Lady Gaga's sunglasses are a wardrobe staple.

Lady Gaga cupcake inspired by the style in the music video for "Paparazzi"

This was my first Lady Gaga cupcake—and my favorite! I love those sunglasses.

Lady Gaga's look in the video for "Paparazzi"

Her lips are black, but you get the idea.

Lady Gaga cupcake inspired by her red lace mask and outfit at the 2009 VMAs

This Lady Gaga cupcake was the most fun to make—red sprinkles served as red lace and sliced Twizzlers made up her red crown that she wore at the 2009 VMAs when she accepted her award for Best New Artist.

Lady Gaga accepts the award for Best New Artist at the 2009 VMAs.

How could I NOT make a Lady Gaga cupcake inspired by this look? Priceless.

Lady Gaga cupcake inspired by "Poker Face"

I like the shape of the sunglasses she wears in "Poker Face."

Lady Gaga Poker Face

I wish I had clear crystals to don on my cupcake, but I think the design was pretty solid overall.

Lady Gaga wreath headpiece 2009 VMAs

Who DIDN'T notice this insane wreath-esque headpiece Lady Gaga wore at the 2009 VMAs. This cupcake was simple to produce: dramatic eyes and coconut flakes...done!

Lady Gaga's wreath headpiece from the 2009 VMAs

I would like a Lady Gaga wreath to hang on my door. But for now, a cupcake will have to do.

Lady Gaga phantom of the opera/ VMA red carpet cupcake

This Lady Gaga cupcake was difficult to master. It's inspired by her red carpet look at the 2009 VMAs, where she donned black feathers on her face and bust area and a gold eye shield; very Phantom of the Opera-esque.

Lady Gaga's red carpet outfit at the 2009 VMAs

Somehow, her feathers don't look like a beard. Hmm.

Lady Gaga bow hairstyle cupcake from Poker Face video

I hate that I had to outline the Lady Gaga bow hairstyle in black, but it wouldn't have stood out without it. This Lady Gaga bow hairstyle ALMOST makes me want to get extensions. Fabulous.

Lady Gaga rocks the bow hairstyle she made famous in the music video for "Poker Face."

Lady Gaga's bow hairstyle reminds me of Minnie Mouse.

Lady Gaga cupcake shopping list and sketches

I like that I wrote "need a disco stick" on my shopping list and sketch paper. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a disco stick at Dillon's.

Lady Gaga cupcake sketches

These sketches cracked me up just drawing them.

January 23, 2010

this makes me happy | desserts and tea

Boozy Dessert: Péché Mortel Imperial Coffee Stout Float

This boozy dessert is absolutely fabulous. I was drawn to Péché Mortel Imperial Coffee Stout because it boasted a brew process with real, fair-trade coffee…and I love stouts. Péché Mortel Imperial Coffee Stout would be a perfect breakfast (if I could only get away with that!) drink or a nice sip-on-me beer for a chill night at the bar with close friends. It’s bold, bittersweet and creamy; perfection. I saved about two shot glasses-worth of Péché Mortel Imperial Coffee Stout to pour over some delicious vanilla ice cream—talk about a divine, boozy dessert! This makes me happy.

Péché Mortel Imperial Coffee Stout Float

Beer + Coffee + Ice Cream = Heaven

Surprise Pre-Dinner Dessert: Coconut-Flake Cupcake

Cupcakes are my favorite. I haven’t had a chance to check out the newest cupcake shop in downtown Lawrence, The Pink Box Bakeshop, so…the cupcake fairy came to me! I have actually yet to eat this cupcake because it’s just too pretty—but give me a few hours and a sugar craving, then I will let you know. This cupcake definitely gets an A for aesthetics (and adorable packaging!). Cupcake fairy wins lots of points for this one :) This makes me so happy. Stay tuned for my Lady Gaga Cupcake Extravaganza…

Coconut-Flake Cupcake

I really, really like cupcakes. This is my first one from The Pink Box!

Special Dessert for Two: Strawberries and Cream-Topped Brownie

I love when you go to dinner and have a waitress who really takes care of you. At dinner last night, the waitress was quick, sweet and completely accommodating. When it was time to order dessert, we quickly realized the cafe didn’t really have a dessert menu, so the sweet waitress (who, by the way, was working her first shift ever!) said she’d whip up a special dessert with what the cafe had on hand—fresh strawberries, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and a warm brownie. How special is that? I love it when people care enough to make you happy. I was happy. Very happy.

Strawberries and Cream-Topped Brownie

It may not seem fancy, but it was special and sweet.

Afternoon Tea: Teapouro Teas

Some Saturdays, I like to spend time with my buddy Jameson, the BeerGenius, to talk shop and enjoy life. Today, we decided to hit up Teapouro Tea and Espresso downtown. Teapouro is phenomenal; it serves more than 120 different flavors of loose leaf tea and has other fun treats such as bubble tea. The atmosphere is serene—warm caramel colors, Bonsai trees and Asian-inspired decor, designed in line with feng shui aesthetics. I sipped on two cups of a delicious organic pomegranate tea and can’t wait to go through 119 or so more teas. This makes me very happy.

Teapouro Tea

I love the bright tea pot, mugs and saucers.

Enjoying Teapouro tea

Nothing better than 52-degree weather, a college sweatshirt and organic tea with my buddy. Photo By Jameson Huckaba.

Jameson Huckaba enjoys Teapouro tea.

I enjoy Jameson's company so much—this is a true gentleman! Wish his lovely girlfriend Maggie could have joined us for afternoon tea.

What makes you happy?

January 20, 2010

what's in your beauty bag? lip products


Anya gives me a little lip at the end of our photo shoot. Kitty labor!

Lip Balm: Eco Lips SPF 15 Mint Lip Balm

I am addicted to lip balm. I always have at least three tubes in my purse, a stash in my bathroom cupboard and about 10 tubes in my desk drawer at work. While I’m always trying new lip balms, I have a few standby favorites. Eco Lips SPF 15 Mint Lip Balm just happens to be the one I’m using every morning right now, and I’ve been through enough tubes of Eco Lips balms to have the brand on my list of favorites. Eco Lips SPF 15 Mint Lip Balm has octinoxate and oxybenzone for sun protection and is loaded with organic sunflower seed oil, organic beeswax, organic jojoba seed oil, organic peppermint oil, organic spearmint leaf oil, vitamin E, aloe and organic calendula flower extract. It’s uber-moisturizing, healing and completely kissable. It doesn’t cast a weird white glow on your lips like some sunscreen-laden balms do, so it’s perfect for layering under lip gloss or lipstick.

Eco Lips SPF 15 Mint Lip Balm: $3

Lip Butter: Korres Pomegranate Lip Butter

My most recent acquisition (a present from the lovely Sonja) is Korres Pomegranate Lip Butter. It’s been in my beauty bag since November and hasn’t left! This buttery lip balm casts a sheer coral glow to lips and delivers top-notch moisture thanks to shea butter and rice wax. This paraben-free lip balm has a light pomegranate taste and smell.

Korres Pomegranate Lip Butter: $10

What lip products are in your beauty bag?

January 20, 2010

what's in your beauty bag? eye products


Anya can't keep her eyes off of (and out of) my beauty bag.

Eyeliner: Chanel Le Crayon Khol Black Eyeliner

When it comes to having my own guilty pleasures, it’s buying Chanel makeup. I get a mini-high from possessing those interlocking C’s, even when it’s just makeup or perfume. It’s even better, though, when those status purchases are completely worth it. Chanel Le Crayon Khol black eyeliner is the best black eyeliner you will ever use. Period. Its intense black finishes the way a liquid eyeliner does—but it’s a pencil! Chanel Le Crayon Khol will not budge until you take it off (or rub your eyes a lot!). Bonus: Chanel Le Crayon Khol comes with its own sharpener. Divine. Completely divine. This eyeliner is worth the splurge and will last a long time, especially if you only wear dramatic black eyeliner on special occasions.

Chanel Le Crayon Khol: $27

Eyeliner: Sephora Liner Electro in Choc Electro 09

I am loyal to my Chanel eyeliner, but I picked up this Sephora-brand eyeliner during my birthday in 2009 (I had to spend something to redeem my birthday gift…interesting trade, huh?), so I chose the most inexpensive makeup product I was remotely interested in—and I’m glad I did! This fun, glittery eyeliner isn’t juvenile…the glitter is barely noticeable, but offers a hint of sparkle and interest to perk up your peepers. At $8 a pop, I could load up on all the colors (nine total!) throughout the year and build a fun color collection to supplement my boring black, brown and navy eyeliner palette. Sephora Liner Electro doesn’t have the staying power of Chanel, but it’s good competition. I can wear this liner for about four hours before it starts to fade, so that’s fine for a low-key night out or a casual, comfortable work day. I also like to use it to line just the bottoms of my eyes to add a hint of definition to my lash line. Would I buy Sephora Liner Electro again if I didn’t have a free gift waiting? Absolutely.

Sephora Liner Electro: $8

Eyeshadow: Becca Eye Colour (Powder Shimmer) in Lurex

I love Becca eyeshadows. Part of this love stems from the fact that I hit the jackpot on them when I scored six shadows for the price of one when Sephora discontinued carrying the line. (These are 24-dollar-eyeshadows!) The other part of this love comes from the stellar color payoff, cute packaging and crease-resistant formula. For oily skin, this is huge. I can tap on Becca eyeshadow at 7:45 a.m. and it will still look good by 5 p.m. The tiny, round compacts have a tiny mirror inside, which is helpful for applying shadow in the back seat every morning in my carpool.

Becca Eye Colour (Powder Shimmer): $24

Highlighter: Benefit Miss Popularity Precision Highlighter

This may seem like a superfluous purchase, but I use Benefit Miss Popularity Precision Highlighter almost every day. It’s the perfect little highlighter for the inner corners of your eyes that you want to highlight to really make your eyes pop. While you can also achieve the same effect with a decent white eyeshadow, I challenge you to find a white, shimmery shadow that has the same depth and shimmer to it as Benefit Miss Popularity Precision Highlighter. This highlighter boasts tiny flecks of copper, gold, silver and peach that combine together to offer a fine sheen and eye-popping glow to your eye makeup. The wand has a rounded sponge tip (similar in size to a Q-tip) that is a little bit big to pat onto your eye corners, so be sure to tap off excess before applying.

Benefit Miss Popularity Precision Highlighter: $15

Eyelash Curler: Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler

Serena: Tell me about it. We were in the Beauty Department and she held up this Shu Uemura eyelash curler and said “What is this?” —The Devil Wears Prada

This is the holy grail of eyelash curlers. It’s a beauty staple of the stars, prominent beauty bloggers and yours truly. I’ve been using Shu Uemura eyelash curlers for six years, and they are consistent, strong and deliver a precise curl (as long as you set the curl with the best mascara—see below). The handles fit my fingers perfectly and the silicone pad is soft and easy to clean (just use nontoxic soap on a soft sponge to clean excess product off the pad).

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler: $19

Mascara: Maybelline Full ‘N Soft Mascara in Very Black

I’ve been through dozens of pricey mascaras, but I always go back to my high school favorite: Maybelline Full ‘N Soft. The formula delivers a thick, full, long lash to my thin, straight, Asian eyelashes. Maybelline Full ‘N Soft has all-day staying power and comes in a waterproof version that barely differs from the regular version. While most pros sing the praises of Full ‘N Soft’s older sister, Great Lash, I stick by its younger, hipper sister for all the (eye) drama.

Maybelline Full ‘N Soft Mascara: $6.59

What eye products are in your beauty bag?

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