Saturday, April 27, 2013

DIY gelish nails

I haven't done any manicure or pedicure ever since I came to US. Something which I missed terribly. Main reason is cost - it's gonna be pricey especially if I opt for gelish nails which will last much longer than normal polish.

So Panda very sweetly got me the Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish Starter Kit. It's available in Target for around US$60. (The last I checked it's not available in Singapore yet!) It'd already be worth my money if I use it more than twice. The cheapest gelish manicure I've done back home is around US$32.

The set comes with this:
· 1 LED Lamp
· 1 Gel Base Coat
· 1 Gel Nail Color
· 1 Gel Top Coat
· 10 Nail Cleanser Pads
· Acetone Remover
· Cuticle Stick
· File & Buffer
· Instruction sheet

The steps are very easy to follow. For someone like me who is not used to painting my own nails though, it can be rather tricky! But I got the hang of it after a while and amazingly my right hand turned out to be nicer than the left, simply because I had much practice by then.

Here are more photos of the kit, and the results of my first attempt.

*Tip: Although instructions call for nails to be cured for 30s each time, I find it better to let them stay longer under the LED light. Average no. of times I've pressed the light for each coat = 5.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A picnic with fellow French lovers

I haven't been attending the French Club gatherings for a long time because of the Stanford course and the 3-week visit by SILs. So I'm quite glad to have joined them again for a picnic at the San Mateo Central Park today.

It's a surprising 23C weather today (read: hot!) Kia was waiting for us when we arrived and I noted that she has decorated the place with a nice big sign, a French flag, and a bunch of paper flowers. Nice.

For the potluck picnic, we had pasta salad, sandwiches, brownies, nachos, fried bee hoon (by me) and a home-made strawberry tart. The picnic was somewhat disrupted by a homeless man, who kept telling us about his Chinese wife and made loads of comments about the food we offered him. But it was overall enjoyable, and we had such a great time talking to the lovely folks.

After that, we were divided into pairs and introduced to the game of bocce. In order to win a point, either one of your team's balls must land closest to the smaller yellow ball. If both you and your partner's balls are closest to the yellow ball, you will win double point. The game is actually so much more difficult than it looks, because you need to roll your ball on all kinds of terrain!

In the end, Panda and my partnership worked - we emerged champions of the bocce game even though it was the first time we played. Les bleues sont les gagnants! Merci a tous!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Viva Vegas!

Et voila! Uploading the photos of our Vegas expedition as promised. It was fun, fun, fun! On the day we arrived, the Stripe was relatively quiet because it was a Tuesday. After eating the Todai buffet, we headed towards the Premium outlets in the South. Once again, we underestimated the amount of time we'd spent at the outlets. We only stopped when the shops were about to close and we packed soup from Whole Foods and burgers from Five Guys for dinner. The staff was really nice - he gave us some fries to munch on while we waited for our order.

The next day Julio from Grand Adventures picked us up early from our hotel, New York New York, for the Grand Canyon tour. I don't usually join tours but I've got to say it's one of the best tours I've ever been on. It wasn't just the places that Julio brought us to - Hoover Dam, Seligman, Grand Canyon (of course) - it was the way he introduced us to the area. I was fascinated by his stories, and he kept us looking out for rattlesnakes, eagles and California condors along the way. He also showed us the best spots to take photos - we owed some of the daredevil poses to him too!

The last two days at Vegas were spent at the Premium outlets as well, this time in the North. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. We also had better time management, having highlighted the shops which we REALLY NEED to go the night before. I'm rather surprised that we managed to pack everything we've bought in our bags without buying extra luggage. It's surely a miracle, to say the least!

Viva Vegas... and long live our fantastic memories there!

Arriving at the airport

On the Strip

Free fries for us while we waited for our orders

Burger madness from Five Guys

Historic Seligman Sundries, Arizona

Jump shots at Grand Canyon

A magnificent view behind us

Freezing our butts off for that glorious sunset

The client and her dealer

We love shopping!

Do I get a discount here too?

My lovely peanut M&M

A brown M&M it is!

It's like a M&M rainbow!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Walking along the streets of Austin

Oops. I know I should be writing about the last leg of the SILs trip in US (Viva Vegas!). But let me postpone that to the next post. Right now I'm in Austin, Texas. Live music capital of the world. I tagged along on hubs' global marketing kick-off.

I'm sorta stuck in the hotel area cos car rental here is expensive. Fortunately the hotel is located in the downtown district. I could go as far as my legs dare to venture.

My first stop today was Wild About Music, a store that totally blew me away with their selection of music related merchandise. I spent half an hour there and left without buying anything. Not because I didn't find any good stuff. On the contrary, I can't decide what I shouldn't buy so I'm gonna grab hubs here tomorrow to plough through the items with me.

Other than music stuff, I'm quite keen to find quirky artsy items made by the locals. I love their slogan 'Keep Austin Weird'. Yes, be proud of your individuality! Unfortunately for me, non-commercially made items are usually out of my budget. I could only window-shop in the small boutiques along 2nd Street. I wish I have the money to splurge on some of the accessories!

Next up is 6th Street, THE AREA where all the action would be. Pubs lined the street and if I were with a friend I'd have gone in for happy hours. Alas, brave Asian girl I was not and I didn't wanna make hubs worry about me. So I just took a quick walk along the street, passed a lot of tattooed men and women (nobody was taking notice of me seriously - fear unfounded) and scurried back to the hotel.

Other than the singing waitress I encountered during lunch and the numerous tattooed bodies, Austin seemed a tad too quiet, too un-rock. Or maybe I didn't venture deep enough into those places. I kinda liked the street art, creativity-is-in-the-air feel though. I'd love to see more musicians line the streets, more liveliness spilling out from 6th Street to other areas, for Austin to truly live up to its name.

P/S: After going to Wild About Music the second time, I realized that I could ill afford the items I really want. So in the end I only selected two cheap guitar picks as a souvenir. The staff must have took pity on my dejected face cos he said I could just have them. Sooooo nice!!! :') It doesn't cost much but they really, really made my day.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Skiing rocks!

Where do I begin?

So we started out really early. It was Sheena and Sheila's first skiing trip at Northstar, Lake Tahoe and Panda went with them to take the beginners lesson on the bunny slopes. So I decided to push my limits and take the novice course. I was so lucky cos I was the only student and had a one-to-one with a really great trainer.

So I went for the green slopes for the first time and many, many times after!!! It was like, such a big milestone for me!!! Sheila did pretty went too and I accompanied her twice on the big and easy slope. Bravo!! Then I skied down the village run and met them back at the ski rental point. It was too fun. Blisters and all included.

And then, Sheena prepared a great dinner for us while we flopped down on the sofas to rest. And then it started to SNOW after dinner! How much better can it get? Panda made hot chocolate for us girls while we try to catch snow with our hands and hair on the balcony. Haha.

It was such a wonderful day. Thank God for the good weather, and for letting us experience so much fun all within a day!

Decked in our gears outside the ski rental

Taking the lift up the mountain

Our second time in 3 months

Much less snow compared to January (a little sad)

Mid mountain

Alone and trying the green slopes for the first time

Sheila's triumph on the Big and Easy

Sustained some "injury"...

A blistery ankle. Almost like an art piece.

Dinner made by Sheena

Hot chocolate under the stars

The beginning of snow fall

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Woohoo Tahoe!

We were quite worried on our way to Northstar, Lake Tahoe. There was almost no snow on the roads, unlike in January where we drove past lines and lines of white powdered trees and wide snowy fields. Thankfully the lady at the check-in counter told us that there's still skiing until 14/4. It's the end of the skiing season, and we made it!!!!

It's not as cold as we thought. We didn't have to 'activate' the puffy jackets yet, getting by with just inner thermal wear. The loft room we booked was cosy with a kitchenette, fireplace and two queen beds. Well equipped enough for us to prepare a simple lunch and dinner.

The highlight of the day was complimentary skating at the village! We met a sweet pair of sisters who happen to stay near FC. The younger Sophie even shared her cookies with us. Cutest kid ever. Hope to bump into her again back home.

To the slopes and beyond tomorrow!

View from our patio

Our loft

Lunch preparation in progress

Pasta with mushroom sauce and edamame

Putting on our skates. Love the colours in this photo!

A moment with the hubs

Us with the pair of cute sisters