Friday, June 28, 2013

Splurge v. Steal Throwndown: Summer Nail Polish

I love nail polish. I even like the smell (I'm aware this is strange). I like experimenting with different color combinations and textures. If you buy nail polish often, it can be expensive. OPI and Essie run about $8.50 a bottle (still a lot less expensive than a spa manicure). I decided I'd try an inexpensive brand to see if it worked as well. Here are today's contenders:




The Lowdown: 

Essie Mint Candy Apple: This is one of my favorite Essie colors. It goes on smoothly, and you only need two coats to get the color pictured. If you use a good topcoat, you should be chip free for a reasonable time period. 

Benefits: The nail polish will last you upwards of a year, no goop! 

Negative: $8.50 a bottle 

Sinful Colors Mint Apple: The sheen in this polish is nice, and adds a little dimension. However, It took me 4 coats to get the opaque color that you see in the bottle. Of course, that means the polish is more prone to chipping. 

Benefits: $2.00. 

Negative: You'll have to basically dump the whole bottle on your nails to get the desired color. 

This round goes to the splurge! 

Worth the Splurge: RELAX

I'm a worrier. I have been since I was a kid. I have an uncanny ability to work myself into knots over nothing, and when I have an actual something to worry about - watch out. The bar exam being the biggest something I've had to worry about in a while...well, I really need a prescription for the world's largest chill pill. Studying all day isn't fun, but it's not horrible. What is horrible is the small panic attack I have every time I open the practice essay book and discover that the lecturer/ assigned reading didn't even cover that topic - and what am I going to do when that happens on the bar exam and then I fail, which will inevitably lead to an inability to get a job; eating macaroons nonstop out of depression; becoming very obese; and eventually the fire department will have to come cut open the wall to our apartment to take me to the hospital, and then I will probably go on Maury and talk about how they had to weigh me on a scale intended for automobiles. All because I failed the bar exam. Anyway - you get the picture - I need to relax (Although if I WAS going to become morbidly obese, macaroons would be the clear poison of choice). So in the interest of relaxing, here are some things I find calming:

Add a book and you've got perfect relaxation 

Add this book. It's hilarious. 

Cooking a lazy dinner with a glass of wine =  my happy place 

The perfect drink for summer relaxation. Pimms. Weekend goal: add it to our bar cart. Serve with these: 

A small obsession of mine. 

I also love the idea of hanging this print in our kitchen. Simple, Clean, Relaxing. 

Tea, Clearly. 

I'm going to try to find a way to work some of these things into my weekend, breathe, and relax. 

Have a wonderful weekend! 


I can't look at that phrase without hearing the song in my head. This happens to you too, yes? 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Shopping Detox: Huge Madewell Sale Today

Madewell is having an amazing sale today. I am trying to be good and NOT shop it - but if you need to stock up on basic tees or you have a little extra cash, this sale is pretty great (and I can live vicariously through you). Their sale is an extra 40% off with the code: EXTRAEXTRA 

link to the sale here.

here are a few of the things I'd snap up: 

Hurry over if you're interested, they tend to sell out quickly! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How To: Iced Coffee at Home

Iced coffee is my life support this summer. Usually when summertime hits I switch from coffee to strong-brewed unsweetened black tea - which I generally make at home. This summer, the bar exam means that I need more caffeine than iced tea can offer, and the D.C. weather means that hot coffee is off the table. I've been popping over to the little market across the street two or three times a day to get my iced coffee fix, but that means I'm spending too much. Two dollars a glass x 3 x 7 = 42 x however many weeks of this hell I have left = WAY too much money to spend on iced coffee when you aren't bringing in any income. (Sorry, I'm not actually going to work out how much it is. If I was good at math I'd be an engineer or something and I wouldn't have gone to law school or be studying for the bar . . . Life would be better if I was good at math.)

Yum. The problem is that you can't just brew coffee and stick ice in it. It's too watery. Same goes for putting it in the fridge or freezer and then putting ice in it. You've got to make a concentrate. It's actually insanely easy, and the finished product will last you a week or more (unless you, like me, drink three glasses a day). 

Pour a half cup of good dark coffee into a pitcher. Add two quarts of water. Use a spoon to make sure all the coffee grounds are getting good and saturated. 

Store overnight 

8 hours later, using cheesecloth in a mesh strainer, slowly pour the liquid into another container. 

When you're done pouring, press on the grounds to push the last of the liquid through. 

Now you have the coffee concentrate (which I should really just start injecting directly into my veins)

Charlotte thinks this process is fascinating. (No. She isn't supposed to be on the counter.) 

Pour the coffee back into a pitcher, and gather your other necessities

You'll want your glass full of ice. 

Pour in coffee concentrate. 

Doctor to your liking. I prefer half & half and a teaspoon of sugar. 

Okay, maybe it's more like a tablespoon. 

Enjoy. It's the perfect studying companion. 

It's going to be a long and exhausting day. 

For most of us . . . 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Foodie Detox: Quinoa with Steamed Purple Cauliflower, Green Beans, and Almonds

This week, in repentance for all the weekend birthday festivities, I really wanted to treat my body to some healthy and nutritious foods. I was also (ever so slightly) hungover on Sunday and wanted something easy. Quinoa embodies all things nutrition: the tiny little grain is delicious, versatile, and a perfect protein. I had some cauliflower and green beans I'd picked up from the famer's market on hand, and I thought together they'd make a pretty delicious meal. They did! 

I bought this cauliflower mainly because it was purple, and pretty. Yes, purple is my favorite color. 

So purple! 

This thing is awesome. It cooks rice or quinoa in its bottom while steaming veggies on top (here is one for $25). To cook Quinoa in a rice cooker, rinse it, and then use water and quinoa in a 2:1 ratio. 

Throw your veggies in the steamer and let em' cook. You can also do this by simply placing veggies in a colander over a boiling pot of water and plopping a lid on top of the colander.

When everybody is done cooking (when the rice cooker clicks done or about 20 minutes in a pot), throw them all in a bowl, add some sliced almonds, and mix with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. 


Boyfriend says this dish looks weird ("why is it purple?"). Apparently men can't handle purple in their foods. It didn't taste weird. It tasted delicious - and nutritious! It was also incredibly easy and simple. 

My mantra is generally that the more natural colors are in a meal, the more nutritious it is. Eat colorfully! 

This dish was easy, filling, and inexpensive to make.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Mandate: Week of All of the Detox (La Boum Brunch Review)

image adapted from Hyperbole and a Half

This week I'm not only doing a spending detox - I'm doing an entire life detox. The life detox is necessary because I spent the weekend being ridiculously unresponsiblish. I won't feel guilty about it - it was my birthday - but I was really very horrible. It was so. much. fun. After having a great birthday dinner Friday night at Le Diplomate (and trying escargot for the first time - delicious!) I woke up on Saturday prepared for birthday brunch at La Boum - a brunch where they snap the blinds closed, and turn a cute French cafe into a mid-day disco. I won't even tell you about it, after all pictures are worth 1,000 words. Well - these pictures are actually grainy and sometimes blurry - but given the surreal quality of the experience in general, I hope you'll forgive me. 

Not Pictured: The naked-except-for-pasties burlesque dancer. 

On the way home I, wonderful friend that I am, offered to carry Laura. It did not go well. I have bruises on both knees. 

If you have a special occasion coming up, and you'd like to have an insane 3 hour brunch - do La Boum! I was originally worried that it would be too much for me - seeing as I generally prefer a glass of red wine and conversation to loud music and dancing. Club music is generally my cue that a place isn't for me. This was different somehow and so much fun! Only advice: wear something comfortable and eat something small beforehand. The food was great, but drinks were flowing before food was served, and you'll be dancing on your chair while eating your entree. 

A few hours after the brunch I basically forced the boyfriend take me to Five Guys. It was really difficult to convince him. 

It was an awesome decision. However, after spending the weekend acting like a hedonist, I need to treat my body and mind to some healthy living. Up this week on the blog: healthy recipes, how to make iced coffee at home, and some advice on deciding whether an expensive item is worth the investment (which I'm clearly qualified to give).