Thursday, July 30, 2009

Things I desperately want to buy*


Ruffled Tulle Petticoat, Forever 21, $22.80


*And, thanks to a combination of coupons and it being SOMEBODY'S BIRTHDAY very soon, I very well might actually buy.

**Except the petticoat, because, seriously? Who wears that? Me in my Alice In Wonderland fantasies, of course, but no sane person in real life. Right?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Eggs for Dinner

It is an odd concept, for me at least. I make eggs on Saturday and Sunday mornings (with breakfast potatoes, fake bacon and toast. I go all out!). I also sometimes have a hard boiled egg as a morning snack at the office. Eggs are BREAKFASTY. They're quick cooking, high in protein and a great "meat replacement" for those vegetarians who eat them. There is really no reason they SHOULD be pigeonholed as a breakfast food, but it is hard to think of them outside their little breakfast box.

I noticed two egg recipes on Smitten Kitchen (where else?!) that seemed like excellent, quick veggie dinner options and, despite my initial reluctance, I made and loved both of them.
First up: Eggs in Tomato Sauce. This one was pretty darn freaky. You basically poach eggs in tomato sauce. Simple, but ODD. However, as usual, Smitten Kitchen's photos leaped off her site looking spectacular and defying me to dare make anything else for dinner. Seriously, go and look at those photos. I'll wait here. Spectacular looking, right? Weird or not, I had to try this one.

They were, in fact, spectacular. Boy was only two bites in when he asked me to add this recipe to the dinner rotation.

A few nights later, I tried my hand at Huevos Rancheros. Let me start by saying, flipping these buggers is HARROWING. Seriously. Put an egg on top of a cheesy tortilla then while it is still mostly liquid, FLIP IT. It takes a little practice. All of my attempts were edible, but UGLY. Seriously, not pretty.

TASTY however, that they were. I made a batch of fresh pico di gallo to garnish, along with fresh white corn cut straight from the cob and a batch of canned black beans, rinsed and doctored up with onion, red pepper, cumin and oregano. YUM. Seriously.

Both dinners were high in protein, delicious and took about 20-30 minutes to prepare. Looks like eggs can happily reside outside the box after all.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Splurge vs. Steal

Right before my wedding, I went on a skincare product binge (because if you can't justify that right before your wedding you OBVIOUSLY AREN'T WORKING IT HARD ENOUGH). One product that I picked up and luuurrvveeeed is Philosophy's Microdelivery Peel. I'm almost out . . .I have probably one use left, along with the 1 use or so I have leftover in teensy airline approved containers. Yep, I loved it so much I TOOK IT TO WALES with me. Since the price of the Philosophy peel is admittedly pretty steep, when I noticed Olay's copycat product on Target's shelves I pounced. And then, because I love you all so much, I thought I'd do a line by line comparison so you won't have to spend over $100 trying both products:

Philosophy Microdelivery Peel vs. Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion Peel

SMACKDOWN!

Price
Philosophy: $65
Olay: $29.99


Olay wins, hands down.

Promises:
Philosophy: The Microdelivery Peel Kit not only exfoliates the skin, it delivers vitamin C and peptides to the skin. This completely new approach to skin rejuvenation resurfaces and replenishes the skin at the same time.
Olay: Results you will experience with the Olay Regenerist System: Gently resurfaces skin's texture; Activates surface cell renewal; Conditions skin to leave it feeling soft and smooth; Visibly improves skin tone; Diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.


Same beans.

Smell
Philosophy: Like fresh oranges.
Olay: Like Tang.


Maybe not the most crucial consideration, but Philosophy wins it.

Method
Philosophy: Scrub face with crystals, apply activator, wait and rinse.
Olay: Exactly the same.


Both products are equally easy to use.

Ingredients
Philosophy:
Bicarbonate Vitamin C Crystals: PEG-6, Sodium Bicarbonate, Oleth-20, Glyceryl Stearate (SE), Silica, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Beta Carotene, Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate.
Rapid Activation Gel: Water (Aqua), Lactic Acid, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Linoleamidopropyl Pg-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Polyquaternium 10, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.
Olay:

Microdermabrasion Treatment with Derma-Crystals: PEG-8, Sodium Bicarbonate, Silica Silylate, Polysorbate 20, Niacinamide, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbic Acid, Fragrance, Yellow 5, Red 40.
Peel Activator Serum: Water, Sodium Lactate, Lactic Acid, Butylene Glycol, DMDM Hydantoin, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Disodium EDTA.

I'm no chemist, but I see a lot of the same ingredients. Ascorbic Acid is Vitamin C, so both contain that as well as Lactic Acid. Philosophy gets bonus points for the natural orange oil and apparent lack of fragrances and dyes.

Texture
Philosophy: Crystals are quite fine. Activator foams but does not sting.
Olay: Crystals are still finer than in most scrubs (St. Ives Apricot Scrub, I AM LOOKING AT YOU!), but noticeably grittier than Philosophy's crystals. Mild stinging when activator was applied.

Philosophy wins, although not overwhelmingly.

Results
Philosophy: Leaves my skin as soft as a baby's bottom, and feeling especially fresh and clean without any dryness or irritation.
Olay: Left my skin very soft, although with the teensy-est bit of almost imperceptible redness.

Philosophy wins. But by enough to merit the additional $35 price tag?

Essentially, Olay's peel is a knockoff. And frankly, it isn't quite as pleasant to use as Philosophy's. If you have especially sensitive skin, it is without a doubt worth your money to splurge on the Philosophy peel. As far as a budget alternative goes though, especially when purchased on sale at Target with a coupon (for $16.95!!!), the Olay peel is a viable, nearly equivalent alternative.

Anyone have any splurge vs. steal beauty advice to share? I'm all ears!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Infrared

When boy and I were searching for a wedding photographer, we knew we wanted someone who could do a few out of the ordinary shots. Being total amateurs with our camera (although very eager, interested amateurs!) we didn't know exactly WHAT we were looking to have done, only that we knew we wanted at least a few shots that would elicit responses like "Woah. Never seen a wedding photo like THAT before!"

When our photographer, Jane Newman, suggested taking a few photos in infrared, and when she pointed us in the direction of a few landscape shots she'd taken that way, we knew we were going to wind up with the Best! Wedding! Photos! Ever!

Jane had a separate DSLR camera that she'd modified for IR purposes, which is clearly the way to go if one is a pro, but just a wee smidge outside of Boy and my financial reality. Shortly after we'd shelved the idea of doing any IR photography ourselves, my dad stumbled upon a Flickr group discussing use of an IR FILTER rather than an entire IR camera.

My dad and I promptly bought each other filters as gifts for the nearest available birthdays. And even though my birthday isn't for a few weeks I SCAMMED MINE EARLY!

Boy and I have taken our filter on a picnic, on a hike and to our rooftop. We haven't had any spectacular results yet . . . but we're learning. IR requires some SERIOUS sunlight, and so far I don't think we've nailed the magical combination of perfect time of day and accessible awesome subject matter (Although Boy did manage to sunburn himself while taking photos on the roof shirtless at 11am Saturday.) (Way to go, LA sun.) (And Boy. Seriously, put a shirt on.)

I'll be posting a few photos as we learn more about the technique, but here's one we both liked for starters: It is a study of a black plant we have on the rooftop, named Beetlejuice, and a wispy clouded sky. AKA, Boy messing around with the camera on the roof WITHOUT A SHIRT OR SUNBLOCK ON.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Desserteries, Spectacular Looking Veg And . . . Water!


Lest you think I've been too busy hiking to get anything done in the kitchen lately, you should know that my motto is "One is NEVER too busy to make a fantastically complicated, several course meal". My other motto is "It is fine to serve dinner after 10pm, and if you catch your husband sulking around the kitchen looking for snacks you're perfectly within your rights to smack him away with a wooden spoon. Or, you know, give him a pretzel."

And so it is that on Sunday, after hiking in 110 degree heat all afternoon, I chose to make a dinner that required use of my stand mixer, mandoline AND oven (twice!).

I made Smitten Kitchen's Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte. My farmers' market is just teeming with gorgeous squash lately, and squash is a new found love of mine. I swear, I wanted nothing at all to do with squash last summer. This summer? I want squash in everything.


I paired it with a gorgeous salad of fresh, farmers' market veggies including hearts of romaine, fresh corn cut straight from the cob, roma tomatoes, green onions, parsley, basil, snap peas and rings of sweet orange pepper. I know, right?

And, because I was feeling especially ambitious, I finished things off with a Strawberry Pavlova, meringue recipe lifted from Smitten Kitchen .

Pavlova is one of those things I've been dying to make for ages. I had a spectacular one at a dinner across from Hampton Court Palace a few days before my wedding and I've spent much time daydreaming about it since. I never felt I could accomplish one without a stand mixer though . . remember how I got married and now I have a stand mixer? It was HIGH TIME I tried a pavlova.

Although Smitten Kitchen's raspberry sauce looks DIVINE, I opted out of it this time, in order to focus my energies on the meringue itself. I halved the recipe and made 2 mini cakes rather than one large one. I didn't have fine sugar so I used 1/2 granulated and 1/2 powdered, which seemed logical at the time and wound up working out just fine. I also swapped the vinegar for lemon juice. I topped the cakes with fresh whipped cream (powdered sugar and vanilla added) and simple sliced strawberries which I sprinkled with lemon juice and sugar and left to settle in the fridge for a few hours.

Boy was mighty impressed, is all I'm saying.

And on to water! I'm loathe to admit it but Boy and I are bottled water addicts. We buy water gallon by gallon from the grocery store. And in July in LA we tend to go through up to a gallon A DAY. To make the whole bottled water thing even more obnoxious, gallons cost TWO SIXTY NINE at Trader Joes, which is where I do all my shopping (save for farmers' market shopping obviously). So, in order to avoid breaking us on the basis of WATER I've been making separate stops at Ralphs or Vons or wherever SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSE OF BUYING WATER. Obviously, something had to give, but tap water just tastes so RANK. Boy and I have been meaning to buy a filter but of course I was skeptical. "Pass your water through a funnel of nasty black charcoal and it will MAGICALLY taste better" isn't a really convincing ad line. We finally broke down and bought a Brita on Saturday and I swear, cross my heart, our tap water tastes fantastic after a trip through the pitcher. I take back all my skepticism. Joy!

Monday, July 20, 2009

I suppose it is officially a hobby now

Boy and I spent all weekend hiking again!

I started out with a small hike through Fryman Canyon with a friend on Saturday morning. I'll definitely be doing that one again, in part since it is so close to home. Fryman is a quick 3 mile hike with a fairly challenging incline at the start and quite decent views at the top. The trails are nice and wide, and fairly popular too . . . so I never had that scary "OMG AM ALONE IN WOODS AND WILL BE EATEN" feeling.

On Saturday afternoon Boy and I went hiking shopping. The shoes we'd been wearing were more decorative sneakers than anything, with no real tread to speak of. We both needed sturdier shoes and a few bits of clothing and accessories like a distance pedometer (totally worth my $11.99. I can't even tell you how accomplished I feel having actual MILEAGE to claim!), a backpack and a few water bottles. The deal of the day was most certainly my new hiking shoes . . . New Balance All Terrain running/hiking sneakers at DSW for THRITY FIVE DOLLARS. Not even shitting you*.


*(Side note: Is Target, like, really expensive all the sudden? Or is it just me? I bought a steel water bottle at Old Navy for $5 and they were all THIRTEEN at Target. Not as cute as Old Navy's either.)

On Sunday we drove up to Topanga Canyon, snickering at the radio weather reports warning us to STAY INSIDE OMG IT IS GOING TO BE 110. We set out on our intended, 6.3 mile trail and were greeted immediately by a sign telling us how to ward off a MOUNTAIN LION ATTACK. Waving one's arms and yelling, apparently. But seriously, if I saw a mountain lion, DIE OF FEAR ON THE SPOT would be more like it.

I spent the next mile or so asking Boy inane questions about mountain lions like "How many mountain lions do you think live here?", "Where would you be if you were a mountain lion right now" and "How come we haven't seen any other hikers for a while? Have they all been EATEN?!" (<- No. They were all just TOO SMART to go out in 110 degree heat.)

About two miles in we decided to take the junction to Musch Trail, instead of our intended Backbone Trail. Musch was shorter by about a mile and a half, and have I mentioned it was BROILING? Also, I harbored secret hopes that Musch might be less mountain lion-y.

ALAS, I had not figured in the RATTLESNAKE factor! Musch Trail was much narrower than the backbone . . . Boy and I had to walk single file pretty much the whole way through. And the brush at the sides of the trail would have made a perfect hiding ground for armies of rattlesnakes laying in wait for hikers' ankles to bite.

We were about at the end of the trail when I mentioned this fear to Boy and he about keeled over laughing. Apparently, rattlesnakes aren't organized and they don't stage ambush attacks.

Fear of wildlife aside, I logged almost 8 miles this weekend and I'm pretty damn proud of myself. It is true . . . the whole nature thing does kind of freak me out. I'm allergic to everything. I have to bring kleenex on the trail with me. I have to wear pants, no matter the weather, because plants brushing up against my legs will give me allergic WELTS. I'm hysterically terrified of anything feral or with sharp teeth. But you know what? I've still enjoyed the hikes. And I want to do more. Longer and more difficult ones to boot. And Boy and I plan to do exactly that.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Take and Give

Have I mentioned that I love hotels? No? Well, I LOVE HOTELS! I love having someone else make my bed every morning, with perfect origami corners that I'd never be able to replicate at home. I love teensy bottles of shampoo and those little bath caps folded up inside tiny envelopes. I especially love the possibility that the in room coffee maker setup just might include cookies. Hotels are awesome.

My Boy and I are big believers in the Mini Break; we love taking one or two night weekend getaways. We do Disneyland pretty often, and Vegas . . . but we've also done Palm Springs where we took a cable car up into the mountains, Joshua Tree for a music festival at Pappy and Harriets, and even a weekend in a Wigwam just for the heck of it.

Leading up to any trip, I'm usually bouncing off the walls excited (OMG! HOTEL!!!) and I find the best way to have a little fun with all that gleeful energy is to stalk our intended hotel online. Flickr is GREAT for this . . . I've found some amazing, truth-y-like photos of real hotel rooms and pools by searching Flickr. Of course, a hotel's own site is a great resource, if a little biased. Ok, a lot biased.

My favorite hotel stalking site though is Tripadvisor. It is important to keep in mind that someone who had a negative experience at a hotel is far more likely to write a review than someone who had a positive experience there. But if you keep that grain of salt in the back of your head, you can find an avalanche of useful information on Tripadvisor. Nuts and bolts things like resort fees, parking fees and whatnot. Useful bits of info like the fastest way to walk from the hotel to an attraction or the best floor to request a room on. And even serious, trip-making gems like where to find the best possible rate or how to scam oneself an upgrade.

After making much use of other people's experience on Tripadvisor, I finally sat down and wrote a few reviews of my own. My Luxor Vegas review got 2 "helpful" marks on its first day up, which I was quite chuffed about indeed!

Nobody paid me to say this (although I keep telling the internet that I am ALWAYS OPEN TO BRIBES), but I really think that Tripadvisor is an example of all that is awesome about online communities. Whereas twenty years ago, one might have asked around and maybe found one or two firsthand accounts of a hotel . . . now I can log into Tripadvisor and find tens if not HUNDREDS of real people, all expressing honest and uncompensated opinions (and sharing PHOTOGRAPHS!). It is enough to give me the warm fuzzies, for sure. And it certainly makes planning and gearing up for a trip a lot more informative and fun.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Pretty much the best weekend ever

This weekend:

Hair: Cut!

Crazy ass, wildebeest housing heirloom tomatoes: Turned into salad!

Four mile hike: Conquered!

New bits for the shop: Made!


Also: Blackout lining sewn into the small upstairs curtain (because the temperature at my metalworking desk was akin to the temperature OF THE SUN), homemade pizza part deux, smithing a red jasper ring, potato and squash torte yet again, and OMFG PEOPLE DID YOU SEE TRUE BLOOD?!?!?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Yes, it is called a Tortilla


I have to be honest and say I planned to make this recipe at least six times before finally following through with it. Go over, check it out for a second. See that? ONE AND ONE QUARTER CUPS OLIVE OIL?!?!? Smitten Kitchen promised me that most of the oil would wind up left over, and I TOTALLY FECKING MEASURED TO BE SURE. She was right . . . I probably only actually used 1/3 of the oil called for . . . and I was a rebel and started with one cup instead of one and a quarter. I think if I'd made this in my cast iron instead of in my nonstick I would have wound up using more oil still. But as it was, yeah, there's some oil in this dish . . . but not in the alarming quantities you might (very reasonably!) expect.

My other reservation about this recipe was the flipping of the tortilla. And, internet: I WAS RIGHT TO BE CONCERNED. That shit was harrowing, yo. But I did in the end manage to get it flipped without inflicting third degree burns to any part of my body. Just barely. Again, glad I didn't use the cast iron skillet . . . because it weighs, what? like, 40 pounds? AIIEEEEE . . . oh the anxiety just thinking about it.

I paired the tortilla with fresh made pico di gallo (LOVE! Just seeded tomatoes, chopped tiny, bitty confetti of half a sweet onion, a handful of cilantro chopped finely, the juice of 1 lime and a sprinkling of sea salt) and a side of my usual black bean salad. It was heaven.

On the menu next week are a few salad ideas I lifted from City Mama's blog: An heirloom tomato and corn salad with pasta and a barley and mixed veggie salad. It is getting hot out here, guys. I need no/low cook recipes! I'm not a huge salad person, but I'm willing to give it a shot for a week. The veggies at my farmer's market were spectacular looking this week and I've got a few ideas for crafting non-vinegar based dressings. I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rat Patootie


Everyone has seen Ratatouille, right? RIGHT?! I'm very much one for cartoons and quirky kids movies in the first place. You should see my DVD collection (Labyrinth, Baron Munchausen, Sleeping Beauty, The Nightmare Before Christmas, etc.) You'd have to figure I'd like Ratatouille, but even if you aren't normally inclined towards animation I don't think anyone could help but be be blown away by the amazingly lifelike scenes of Paris in the film. Or by the gorgeous namesake ratatouille.

Traditional ratatouille is not so much in the looks department. Ratatioulle's ratatouille, however, is absolutely gorgeous. Overlapped layers of brilliantly colorful, fresh and seasonal veggies . . . baked through but not into mush. I defy anyone to look at that dish and NOT want to eat it. Kids included, most likely. I'll have to file that idea away for future reference: show kidlets movie, bake ratatouille, watch kids enthusiastically gobble up no less than 5 different veggies on one plate. Anyone with actual kid expeirence think that would work?

I found Smitten Kitchen's recipe for movie-inspired ratatouille and made a tweak or two (added cheese underneath the veg, used more tomato sauce). It was spectacular . . . beautiful, for sure, but also REALLY YUMMY. This is one for the regular Summer dinner roation, for sure!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Vegas! Which perhaps may be hazardous to your health.

Boy and I are back from Vegas! We flew out on Friday and stayed 2 nights at the Luxor. On the agenda:

Hanging out by the pool:

Dinner and drinks (twice!) at our new favorite place in Vegas, Nine Fine Irishmen. I have been in many a pub and I think I can say with pretty reasonable authority that this one is damn near authentic. There were three kinds of mashed potatoes on the menu. They had Guinness AND the special anniversary edition Guinness 250. They had an Irish step dancer, which I can't say I've seen in any actual pub, but which rocked pretty hard nonetheless (Sidenote: Boy and I agree that any daughters of ours are going to take Irish step dancing instead of that pansy ballet BS):

Kiddie games at the Excalibur Midway:

The requisite lunch at Trevi in Caesar's forum shops, along with requisite photo of the fountain:

Window shopping at Caesar's and The Venetian.

A visit to Bellagio's Warhol exhibit, which I don't have photos of because they don't let you take photos in galleries, silly.

An all out search to find the New Greatest Slot Machines Ever! since we've decided that the Star Trek ones really don't pay out anymore. And it isn't even so much the paying that we care about when playing pennies . . . we really just want lots of noises and fancy scatter bonus games. So, Star Trek: GET WITH IT. Or we will have to permanently switch our allegiance to Bagpipe Bonus. That game's music kicks ass.


It was a great time almost all the way around. On Thursday morning, I who haven't been sick in a year and a half, was feeling damn near allergic to everything. My nose was burning and my eyes were itching but I thought "I'll just get OUT of LA and away from these allergens and everything will be FINE! FINE I TELL YOU!". Of course, getting out of LA meant getting on an AIRPLANE and then checked into a hotel filled with SMOKE and AIR CONDITIONING with filters of UNKNOWN CLEANLINESS. So, basically, my sinuses were all "FUCK YOU!" and I spent most of the trip with a kleenex snuffled up against my face. See?

I made it through the first day, night and then the following day pretty seamlessly. But our second and last night in Vegas was fairly rough. Boy and I decided to drink gin and tonics because once several years ago I had a sinus infection that responded REALLY WELL to gin (I'd go into detail, but this blog isn't FEAR FACTOR or anything). This time though, 2 gin and tonics landed me in the hotel room bed demanding that boy turn off the air conditioner and get me more blankets. Yep . . . severe chills. In Vegas. When it was 102. Good times!

Fortunately my bout with the sinus infection FROM HELL didn't really get into full swing until about 11:30pm the night before we were due to leave . . . so all in all a great (and, mostly healthy!) trip!

Up next: Disneyland in 33 days! (YES, I am counting days!)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wishing I had time to let dough rise EVERY night


Last night I had a kitchen first . . . using yeast! I have to admit I'm a little intimidated when it comes to baking, being much more of a 'cooker' in general. Bread freaks me right the fuck out. Having had some recent pastry success though, I decided it was time to up the stakes a bit.

Boy and I like a good THIN crust on our pizza. Pre-made and baked crusts are almost always too thick for our tastes . . . and I have bought premade dough and rolled it out myself but even that has wound up too thick for my liking. I found a recipe on Smitten Kitchen which I thought would do quite nicely . . . and then Anonymous New York did a post on having used the same recipe and pronounced it especially thin crusted . . . at that point I knew I had a winner on my hands.

The whole yeast / dough rising bit went way smoother than I was expecting it to . . .it was SO NOT a big deal. Instead of white wine in the crust (and sauce, incidentally) I used a splash of Hefeweizen, which I swear, even though I used all of 2 tablespoons in the crust, I could TASTE and it was AMAZING. My flour was whole wheat which worked nicely . . . and in the sauce I used oregano in place of the red pepper flakes. I topped the pizza with buffalo mozzerella and some basil from our plant. It was ridiculiously amazing. For serious.

Boy and I managed to get all laundered and packed last night while the pizza dough was rising. We seriously need this vacation in a BIG way. We've been working our arses off in the condo, at work and on our businesses . . . it is well past time for some FUN! Hope everyone has a fantastic holiday weekened . . . wish us luck on the Star Trek slots :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

How you like my liquids NOW?!


Boy and I are going to be flying to Vegas on Friday. We've done this a few times now and so far, even though we only ever go for 2 nights at a time, I've always checked my bags. It isn't that I can't fit my clothes in a carry on sized bag. Its the beauty products!!! For the record, I LOVE MY PRODUCTS. And even for 2 nights, I NEED access to quite a few of them. Boy isn't so low maintenance himself, either. It wouldn't be such a big deal to check a bag for $15 if it weren't for the fact that there are TWO of us and we're going TWO ways. And, seriously, I know of several ways to blow $60 that would be a fuck of a lot more fun.

This time, I committed myself to packing all my liquids in a handy, TSA approved 1 quart Ziploc bag. I went to The Container Store and stocked up on mini bottles, did some serious editing of products (my hair in the morning, for instance, takes FOUR which I edited down to TWO), but I still managed to toss in a few extra fun items . . . since seriously? who wants to be on vacation with nothing but a bar of Ivory Soap? Screw that.

Here's what made it in the Ziploc:

- Sephora brand Tropical Jasmine body butter and dry oil, both packaged in teensy bottles (Have you smelled this stuff, by the way? It smells EXACTLY like the beachy scent they pump into the lobby of The Mirage in Vegas. It is divine.)
- Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange solid perfume, which is fruity of course but still dark and interesting. Unspillable too!
- A little Degree deodorant
- A tiny tube of toothpaste and a Container Store bottle of mouthwash
- Teensy bottles of Bath and Body Works Coconut, Lime & Verbena shampoo and conditioner, lifted from a hotel we stayed at once in San Diego. These are actually smaller than the minis you can buy in the store . . . just 1-2 shampoos worth.
- Container Store mini bottles of Biosilk and Pantene Spray Wax
- Container Store bottles of Liquid Neutrogena, Ponds cold cream, and an old Body Shop tub filled with Boots No.7 Moisture Quench Day Cream.
- The biggest bottle of SPF 50 I could get away with. It is Vegas, after all. In July.
- Cover Girl Lipslicks in Bronze Goddess. The whole internet seems to be atwitter about this product in the shade Daring, which I tried but was too pink for my skin tone. In Bronze Goddess though, for me, this is as close to perfect as a lipgloss could be.
- Clinique Superbalm in Black Honey. I ADORE Black Honey, in all of its incarnations. This balm is really moisturizing, shiny and has just the right hit of color.
- on10 Disney Red Apple Lip Balm, because it has SPF15 and, seriously, how happy does that packaging make you?
- Benefit Boi-ing concealer
- A little container filled with Stila Sheer Tinted Moisturizer, SPF 30 (never enough SPF!)
- A mini Stila Smudge Pot in black
- Boots No. 7 Stay Perfect Eye Mousse in Pewter (Which I bought in the UK and I suppose I'll start hoarding, because it doesn't seem to be available in that color anywhere now!)
- The classic Maybelline eyebrow pencil
and, - A mini of Fresh's Firebird Mascara

Also packed, but in the NON LIQUIDS category are a Fresh eyeshadow trio in Lost World, Nars blush in Orgasm, Sephora Eyeshadow in Mat No.7, a handful of makeup, hair and toothbrushes, a razor, my saline nasal rinse things, band aids and cotton pads, and a little bottle of Oscar Blandi dry shampoo.

That's pretty much that! Except, this morning I think I might have decided to swap out the No. 7 eye mousse for Bare Essentials Eye Glimmer in Celestine.

Probably not rocket science or anything worthy of, you know, an ENTIRE BLOG POST. But I'm pretty darn proud of myself. I'm going to have everything I'll need for the weekend, save $60 and have room to spare in my suitcase. I'm quite pleased, indeed.