Chihuly Garden and Glass

Glass Balls

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Hand blown glass by renowned artisan Dale Chihuly is currently on display at the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit in Seattle. I paid the admissions fee of $22, which includes the indoor and outdoor garden exhibit, to see glass displayed as sculptural art.

It was very neat initially…but as I walked through the exhibit, I couldn’t help feeling that all the organic shapes became a bit too monotonous. Glass balls, narrow tubes, and swirls were motifs in almost every single display. True. The colors changed, and every piece of glass had an unique characteristic. The style remained the same and got duller and duller for me. Some pieces sparked my interest…but perhaps I needed other artworks interspersed among the glass to maintain my attention.

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I did enjoy the interplay between colored glass and light and how light could either illuminate or veil certain pieces to create complexity within the display.

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Beautiful glass ceiling. Made me feel like I was a fish looking up at the lily pads and sunlight through the water.

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The New Year in Seattle 2016

2016 Edition

As you might know, I started my new job leaving my birdies and most of my belongings in Salt Lake City. I packed a car full of clothes, bedding, computers, and cooking supplies and headed up to Redmond, where I was provided temporary housing in a lovely 800 sqft 1Bd/1B apartment for a month. I’m currently living in a room with a bunch of male tech contractors that I rent month to month but planning to move soon…living out of my boxes since December 2015…

collage-2016-01-09Let’s see the rundown for the month. I moved in early December, got settled in somewhat at work, visited the parents for Christmas, and Joe visited for the New Year. I threw out my beloved tennis shoes that have been with me for over 5 years. *Tears* Explored a bit of Seattle by purchasing a CityPass for $68 which covers admission to the Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium, Pacific Science Center, and others. Visited Pike Place as well for free.

Being on top of the Space Center actually made me feel somewhat motion sick so I didn’t spend too much time looking at the panoramic views of the city. Neat to see mountains in the distance. Worth the admission cost of $22? Maybe
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The Seattle Aquarium was nice and very kid interactive, though I do prefer the Chattanooga or Atlanta Aquarium to any aquarium I’ve visited so far. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Science Center as they really cater to children, not adults. Of course, both places are roughly $20 for admission. Ah. Come to think of it, I wasted money on the CityPass because I only attended 3 places…I blame Joe. Grr.
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A Tale of Three Cities

Saint Louis
Salt Lake City
Seattle

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This year I’ve lived in three different cities in three different states, all of which start with the letter S. It’s been a whirlwind of change and emotions, and I’ve come out stronger and wiser…..I hope. 😉

Spot the Bicsaurus

Bicsaurus Sighting

Antelope Island, Salt Lake City, UT

It’s a 15 mile long island, 4.5 miles across at its widest point, and located on the Great Salt Lake. As expected, the landscape on the island reflects its salty location. The plains are lush with dry grass and barren of trees. Supposedly the island is full of pronghorn antelope, for which the island is named, but I only saw waterfowl, birds, crows, jackrabbits, and the occasional buffalo. I wonder where they get their fresh water…

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The rare Bicsaurus also happened to be on the island. She was jumping around and somewhat difficult to capture. Her appearance often changes to blend in with the scenery, and this time, she had antlers on her head.

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Skincare and Dermatologists

I have a girly indulgence.

I watch popular youtube videos of skincare videos online. Every youtuber talks about their skincare routines and multiple products they use to help with either dry skin or acne. Acne advice is rampant online. Soo many people have recommendations for using this product or that product to help with acne issues…but none ever seem to recommend their viewers that products can’t replace a good dermatologist.

So here is my advice. If you have issues with acne or dry skin, go see a dermatologist. They can prescribe you medications that will help with your issues. And it will probably be cheaper than all the products combined.

I am on a tretinon cream prescribed by my derm that has effectively eliminated my acne. My skin has never been clearer! No major breakouts. I was even told to use cetaphil cream as a moisturizer. I can’t believe I didn’t know the difference between a moisturizer cream or lotion. Crazy. Silly to think I didn’t think there was a difference.

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And I’ve basically replaced all the fancy expensive face creams with just cetaphil and a generic lotion with spf. I’m splurge for my favorite lancome spf day cream, but we will see. I did get a new clarisonic! It’s the smart profile. <3 it. It has a new body brush attachment.

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Brighton Ski Resort and Utah State Fair

MOO!

I live 30 minutes away from Brighton Ski Resorts. While it’s not ski season, it’s definitely hiking season, and the hiking at Brighton is absolutely fun and filled with gorgeous views. Not as steep as Mt. Olympus with fantastic views. I felt like I was in a national geographic magazine. My pictures don’t do it justice.

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…with lakes!

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State fairs are all alike. Farm animals, local arts and crafts on display, cheesy rides, overpriced food, fun wholesome family entertainment. The main difference is geographical location. So in Utah, no humidity and nice weather made for an enjoyable fair experience.

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not complete without giant gourds….

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alligator wrestling

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and a butter sculpture

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Fun times!

This Week in Food (August 16-23, 2015)

VEGAN!

I recently decided to try a vegan diet for a week, in part because I enjoy torture and was bored. Also for health reasons since dairy and lactose-intolerance don’t mix well. Vegan seemed the obvious choice. Go big or go home.

So let me state how difficult it is to find any prepared food that is vegan…milk, butter, eggs, etc. are prevalent everywhere. This meant I had to cook or prepare a lot of my own meals, which meant healthier and colorful meals. Basically, I ate a lot of vegetables and had no limit to the quantity I could eat. For protein, I added tofu and meat substitutes such as Gardien meatless products….and NO, don’t expect them to taste like meat because you will be disappointed. Expect them to be delicious non-meat products! That’s the mindset you need to have.

For a special treat, I ate dinner at a vegan Vietnamese place. I had a Vietnamese sandwich and a lemongrass non-chicken (seitan) noodle dish. It was delicious and would have been a 10 if there had been meat. (Yes, I really enjoy meat.)

Final comments: going Vegan was a fun challenge. I didn’t feel as bloated as normal and felt that I was eating a healthy mixture of vegetables and fruit and protein. It was nice to have vegetables as your main course. But meatless meat is expensive, and I felt too restricted in this diet. I think tweaking this diet to include meat would be absolutely perfect…

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British Themed Food

St Louis Tea Party?

Rob, Jake, and I had another day full of board games and delicious food. We went for an Imperial British theme with all our board games filled with expansion or conquest and food inspired by a traditional British Sunday roast.

What’s a better way to start the fun day than mimosas? Fresh squeezed orange juice and a splash of prosecco is the best!

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Afternoon tea replaced the usual lunch. Smoked salmon and cucumber tea sandwiches were quickly consumed with our English breakfast tea.

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…as well as the chocolate and cranberry scones with margarine (Rob said no butter for you, Bic) or strawberry jam

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Dinner was the real treat. We prepared a prime rib roast, Yorkshire pudding, roasted vegetables, and ole fashioned British roast potatoes. A 3 bone-in standing rib roast was simply salted and rubbed with a rosemary, garlic, and olive oil emulsion.

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Then it was roasted on low heat (roughly ~250°F) for 2 hours and blasted at high heat (~500°F) for 15 minutes to brown. It was perfect!

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I tossed purple, yellow, and orange carrots and brussel sprouts in olive oil, seasoned with salt and all purpose seasoning and roasted them for 30 minutes. Lovely!

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Lovely coloring and delicious flavors.

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Then Rob attempted a recipe for Yorkshire pudding by Jaime Oliver. It was quite a simple batter consisting of only flour, eggs, and milk (salt to taste). The complex part was knowing how hot to heat the oil and how much oil to use.

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Turns out, we used too much oil so while the yorkies puffed up and rose in the oven, they were pulled down by the weight of the oil as they cooled. Next time, we’ll have to make sure to add less oil. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures of them as we initially saw them. Gorgeous yorkies!

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Last but not least, British roast potatoes are heavenly and easy too! After quickly parboiling them, you shake them up in the pan “to fluff” them up, season with salt and other spices, toss in oil, and bake for 15-20 minutes on each side. They turned delightfully crispy on the outside and had the consistency of creamy mashed potatoes on the inside.

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Everything plated and ready to be devoured. I made a little au jus sauce with the roast drippings, which was fantastic. The entire meal was like a dream. Delicious!

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Christmas at Robs

Jake, Rob, and I had our second annual Christmas gathering where we exchange gifts, eat delicious food, and play board games.

Our trio in these grainy iphone pictures
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We started the day out with lunch! Bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado sandwiches were assembled and gobbled up quickly, and then we opened presents!

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I bought Rob an Asian teapot with 2 black cups and 2 white cups to complement his go (game) set. Jake got him ceramic knives to replace Rob’s notoriously dull knives. He’ll never have to sharpen a knife again.

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Robster was extremely generous this holiday seasoning and gave both of us multiple gifts. We received two joint gifts: animal ornaments and a potato smasher. Earlier this year, I showed Rob how great potato smashers were to secure meats for carving (genius idea on my part because you can’t poke holes in your meat with a potato smasher).

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I received unicorn themed gifts which were quite fitting because I’ve been singing/humming songs by The Unicorns this past year. The giant squishable plush looks like a bloated unicorn, doesn’t it?

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Jake received all things beer related. He now has a growler — a 64 ounce aluminum beer jug with a gasket — and a monogrammed beer stein.

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Afterwards, we played Yedo and a new game, Edo. Then dinner time! Rob went all out this year with a planned dinner consisting of duck l’orange, mushroom risotto (which I made), and a wilted bacon spinach salad, followed by Haagen-Dazs’ pomegranate swirl gelato. Rob introduced extra sophistication by pairing the duck with a glass of pinot noir.

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All plated!
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We continued the Japanese-themed board games and finished the night with Kanban. After a bit of chitchatting (with Brian, Rob’s roommate), our fun evening came to an end. While our trio might not have another Christmas party together again, we’ll always cherish the special times together. Happy holidays Jake and Rob!

Everyday Skincare Routine

Routine or just lazy?

My morning and night routine normally consists of me looking at the time and either scurrying off to bed or to work with minimal fuss in-between, but that doesn’t mean that I neglect my skin! I mean who doesn’t enjoy having healthy, radiant skin?

In the mornings, I use my Clarisonic facebrush. This brush always leaves my face feeling clean, exfoliated, and refreshed. It’s amazing, especially in combination with my favorite cleanser. After I wash my face, I apply on a moisturizer that contains SPF! I never leave the house without SPF on my face because, whether its just SPF 15 or SPF 70, having some UVA and UVB protection will reduce skin damage and decrease the likeliness of future sunspots. (I love me some sunscreen.) And occasionally, I put on some eye gel depending on my mood. That’s all I do in the morning.

At night, I just go to bed without washing my face 90% of the time. The other 10% of the time I spend on either wearing a premade face mask or using my cleanser as an intensive face mask or using a peel-off mask, which by the way is incredibly fun to remove. It makes me feel like I’m shedding my skin like a snake! If I wash my face, I like to apply a night cream afterwards to keep my skin hydrated (no SPF here).When I have a pimple, I use an overnight pimple cream. And that’s all I do at night.

These are the products I’m currently using at the moment.

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