Thursday, February 28, 2013

Can't-Live-Without-It Foundation

I don't wear very much makeup, but one thing people often ask me about is my foundation. I use Laura Mercier Mineral Powder which is super easy to apply and provides natural-looking coverage. It wears really well all day, so even when you start getting a little shiny or sweaty (story of my life), your skin still looks pretty. Here's how I use it in my morning routine:

1. First, I prep my skin by washing gently with water and applying moisturizer and a prescription acne gel.
2. Next, I sprinkle some powder into the cap.
3. Using a big fluffy face brush, I "buff" the powder in circles in the cap to break it down and get it to adhere evenly to the brush.
4. Then I apply the powder to my face using circular motions, concentrating on areas where I need more coverage (like around my nose and chin).
5. To finish, I apply a little bronzer on the apples of my cheeks, and that's it!

I've converted three aunts and potentially the receptionist at my optometrist's office to this make up. If you're looking for a new no-hassle foundation, I'd highly recommend it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Breakfast Vacation at Pastis

leisurely breakfast
Most mornings, my breakfast consists of a cup of coffee and a Luna bar eaten absentmindedly at my desk while checking email. Long leisurely breakfasts (with multiple coffee refills) always feel really refreshing and indulgent—like going on a mini vacation :) The other week, my friend Roy and I had a really great breakfast vacation at Pastis, a French bistro in Palo Alto. 

breakfast croissant
The incredibly cool French owner stopped by our table to chat with us. It felt like we were hanging out in his kitchen. In France, he said, everyone dips their croissants in their coffee.

pastis french bistro
breakfast in palo alto
After our croissant course (which I wish I could have every morning), we split the bread pudding French toast and the Eggs Benedict. Everything was so good. I was stuffed! I'm already eyeing their dinner menu for my next visit—the mussels with fries are calling my name.   

bistro chairs
Do you make time for a real, sit-down breakfast every day? Or do you eat on-the-go, too? I hope you'll have a good breakfast vacation soon. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Gold Trend: At Home + In My Closet

CB2 gold pig bookends
Lately I'm in love with just a peek of gold here and there. It's made its way into my decor, my closet and even into my kitchen! 

anthropologie gwen loafers
west elm rose gold flatware

What do you think? Are you a fan?

{from top: Pig bookends, CB2; Gold-heeled loafers, Anthropologie; Rose gold flatware, West Elm}

p.s. pretty wallets with a hint of gold

Monday, February 25, 2013

Have You Ever Had a Celebrity Sighting?

2013 oscar red carpet
jennifer garner and ben affleck 2013 oscars
joseph gordon-levitt 2013 oscars
Did you watch the Oscars last night? It's funny because I never watch them, but following celebrities is one of my biggest guilty pleasures. When I lived in L.A., I wouldn't see celebrities all the time but definitely way more than I thought I would. I took a history class my freshmen year with Taylor Anne Mountz, who played the original Kay Bennett from the soap opera Passions. (18-year-old me thought that was the coolest thing ever). I'd always debate between talking to them and saying nothing/playing it cool. In the end, I'd wimp out every time I saw one, including:
  • John Lithgow walking his dogs at UCLA -- he turned out to be my professor's tennis partner!
  • Stella Ward shopping in Urban Outfitters on Melrose Avenue
  • JC Chasez eating at Mel's Drive-In on Sunset Blvd.
  • Zach Braff being obnoxiously loud on his cell phone at LAX
  • Snoop Dogg being hounded for autographs on Sunset Blvd.
  • Nick Spano studying in Kerckhoff coffee house 
  • Bill Maher in a club on Sunset Blvd. 
Which celebrity sightings have you had? Did you talk to them? Did they seem nice and normal or stand-offish? People always seem to have at least one interesting celebrity story--I'd love to hear yours! 

(Top and middle photo via Gawker; bottom photo by Jason Merritt via NPR)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Restaurant-Worthy Garlic Bread

restaurant-worthy garlic bread
best garlic bread recipe
A few weeks ago, the grocery store was out of ready-made garlic bread, so I tried this recipe for dinner one night. I'd made this vodka cream sauce pasta, but this bread stole the show! Intensely cheesy, buttery and garlicky, it tastes like it's from your favorite Italian restaurant. I ate the leftovers the next day with a big green salad, and it was the best simple lunch I'd had in a long time.

Garlic Cheese Bread
By The Pioneer Woman

3-1/2 cups Cheddar Cheese, Grated
3/4 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
1/2 cup (Real) Mayonnaise
4 whole Green Onions, White And Light Green Parts Minced
1 dash Salt
1 loaf Crusty French Bread
1 stick Butter
4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced

Mix cheeses with the mayonnaise and the green onions. Add dash of salt to taste and set aside or keep in fridge until you need it.

Cut loaf of bread in half, then each half into half again.
 Working 1/4 loaf at a time, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet and add 1/4 of the minced garlic. Place 1 of the 1/4 loaves face down in the skillet, swirling it to soak up the butter and garlic. Allow bread to toast in the skillet, removing garlic if it starts to get too brown. Repeat with remaining butter, garlic, and bread.

Spread cheese mixture on warm loaves and bake in a 425 degree oven until cheese is hot and bubbly, about 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cheeky Lipstick

kate spade lipstick
Lately if I'm in a rush or feeling low-key, I've been having fun wearing not much more makeup than a swipe of bright lipstick. I've been told that I have a lipstick hoarding problem (although I prefer the word collection :) or else I would order one of each of these cheeky Poppy King for Kate Spade lipsticks. Isn't the packaging sweet? What are you collecting these days? 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How to Make a Mini Layer Cake

how to make a mini layer cake
Anytime I'm in a bakery assessing the goods, the tall frosted layer cakes are the first thing to catch my eye. They're simple (who doesn't like cake and frosting?) yet elegant. These mini layer cakes I made for Valentine's Day would be fun to bring to a dinner party and are a cute alternative to cupcakes. Here's how to put them together...

best vanilla sheet cake
1. In a 9x13 rectangular baking sheet with rolled edges, bake vanilla mayo cake (recipe below) and allow to cool completely. 

punch out cake layers
2. Using a round biscuit cutter, punch out as many circles as possible from the sheet cake and set aside. These will be your cake layers. 

pink frosting layer cake
3. Frost the top of the first cake layer. (cream cheese frosting recipe below)

mini layer cake
4. Place another cake layer on top and repeat with frosting. 

pink mini layer cake
5. Keep adding layers and frosting to reach your desired number of cake layers.

You could use any cake or frosting recipe, but if you're looking for something moist and delicious, I'd highly recommend my favorite vanilla mayo cake recipe. I also found the perfect cream cheese frosting recipe which is light and fluffy. The best part is that it's not too sweet and uses way less sugar than most other recipes. I'm never using another cream cheese frosting recipe ever again!

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp instant vanilla pudding powder
1 cup cold water
1 cup mayo
1 tsp vanilla
zest of 1 lemon

Sift together the dry ingredients. Add 1 cup cold water, 1 cup mayonnaise and 1 tsp vanilla. Beat until well combined. Stir in lemon zest. Pour into 9x13 rectangular baking sheet. Bake at 350 for about 22-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
From Not So Humble Pie

Yields enough to frost a 8" or 9" double-layer cake or 3-4 mini layer cakes

1lb (16 oz) full fat cream cheese, softened but still cool
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cold heavy cream (use the ultra heavy 40%+ cream if you can find it)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

Sift the powdered sugar and add the cream cheese and vanilla to a large bowl. With an electric mixer, beat them thoroughly until fluffy and completely smooth/lump-free. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream to nearly stiff peaks, then add the whipped cream into the cheese mixture, scrape down the sides of your bowl and quickly and briefly beat to combine. Do not over beat.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Keeping It Together

Last week was tough. I haven't written about difficult things in a while on Quiet Like Horses, but writing things down helps me process them. So, here's what happened last week...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day! Do you have any special plans? I'm going to an all-day Duarte workshop which I'm super excited about. In the evening, Alan and I are going to hang out with friends who have some juicy news to share, and then we'll probably come home and watch The X-Files. We're the most low-key Valentiners ever. :)

(Wes Anderson valentines by Jennifer Lewis)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Secret Weapon Boots

flat brown boots
flat boots for wide feet
My favorite boots lately are sleek and flat and can be paired with jeans just as easily as they can with tights and a dress. These ones by Frye come in all sorts of pretty colors and fit wide feet (yay!) They're the kind of shoes that make people ask if you've done something different with your hair or if you've just come back from vacation. Little do they know, it's all in the boots...!

Monday, February 11, 2013

3 Easy Valentine's Day Ideas

3 easy valentine ideas
My favorite part of Valentine's Day has always been giving out valentines to friends. Since it's just a few days away, I'd love to share three easy DIY valentine ideas. I hope you enjoy! 

you're sweet cupcake
1) Tell someone how sweet they are with a cupcake (with pink frosting, of course :) For the cupcake toppers, print the "You're Sweet" and "xo" flags here, cut them out and attach them to toothpicks with a little bit of glue or tape. (I made a mini layer cake just for fun. Tutorial post coming up soon!)

"you rock" rock candy valentine
2) Give complimentary candy. Print and cut out the "You Rock" circles from the printable, punch a hole at the top, attach with string or ribbon to rock candy sticks and place them in cellophane treat bags.

"you give me butterflies" valentine
3) Give someone (gummy) butterflies. Bag some up in a treat bag and tie it with a pretty ribbon. You can print out the matching tag right here.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Birth Photography

Last week, a pregnant friend told me she was thinking about hiring a photographer to take pictures in the delivery room. It was the first time I'd ever heard about birth photography, and her explanation for why she'd want to do it made lots of sense. A lot of the times, the responsibility to take pictures can fall on your partner, but wouldn't it be better if your partner could focus solely on you and the experience instead? A professional photographer could capture all the parts of the birth you might otherwise miss. Like the moment the doctor places the baby on you or the look on your partner's face when he first sees the baby. Of course, on the flip side, there are some moments I'm not sure I'd want to have documented and having a stranger in the room might feel a little strange.

What do you think? Have you heard about birth photography? Would you, or have you, done it?

p.s. a gallery of birth photography if you're curious. I looked through the entire thing with a dropped jaw!

(top image by Calla Evans, bottom photo by Megan Crown)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Keds for Kate Spade

kate spade keds

Did you wear Keds as a kid? I remember I had a few pairs :) These Kate Spade Keds would be so cute worn with shorts this summer. (I'm already daydreaming about warmer weather!) Which ones would you pick?

p.s. I love how the color-dipped ones say "kick up your heels."

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What Are Your Favorite TV Shows?

Last week, we talked about bad TV, but today I'd love to know: What are your favorite shows on TV these days? Here are mine, starting with my most recent discovery—Downton Abbey. OH MY GOODNESS, where have I been? The dressy dinners, the estate, the servants. Alan and I devoured the first two seasons in two weeks. I love Mary and Matthew's relationship.

American Horror Story. This is such a well-written show, and Jessica Lange is brilliant in it. The second season just ended, and I can't wait to see what the story line is next season.

Game of Thrones. This show is so good that Alan says he hates it. Seriously, every time I watch it I sit on the edge of my seat and am super sad when the credits roll. But mark your calendars, it's coming back at the end of March—yes!

Mad Men. Who doesn't love this show? I'm sure it's been the inspiration behind countless parties and costumes (here's the Mad Men party I went to last year) and for good reason.

What are your current favorites? People keep telling me to watch Modern Family. Is it really that good? Any others?

Monday, February 4, 2013

3 Yummy Places to Eat in Napa

where to eat in napa
thomas keller macarons
I was in Napa last week pretending to be a wine connoisseur at a work conference. I spent all my downtime scouting out the best affordable places to eat. If you're ever in the area, here are the places I'd highly recommend. 
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