my world.

As summer officially begins to wind down, I thought to corral all the things I’ve been loving while basking in the joy of summertime–  if only it could last forever.

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Summer olympics 2016– We thoroughly enjoyed watching the summer olympics and I was amazed by how fast those 17 days went by! I’m always in awe of these athletes, who dedicate their lives to the sport and find myself inspired and motivated to be more dedicated to whatever it is I am doing- whether it’s working, creating something or finding new ways to build a healthier lifestyle. Who else was super impressed with the “Final Five”?! I literally wanna be best friends with them.

Wooden Tulips– This summer I was fortunate enough to visit Amsterdam, and have to admit it was among the most beautiful places I have been. Every step I took was a photo opportunity, from the beautiful canals to the bicycles to the countryside filled with charming windmills and farm animals. It was truly a dream destination. The flowers there were incredibly beautiful and they even have a floating flower marker right on the water where they sell various seeds and buds for you to take home. Since I don’t have much of a green thumb, we decided to bring home these colorful wooden tulips which look so gorgeous in this delft vase. Whenever I look at them, I am reminded of beautiful Amsterdam.

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Isla Verde Beach

Vegetable Biryani– In case you don’t already  know this about me, I LOVE RICE. My husband constantly teases me about my ongoing love affair with rice. I can have it every single day of the week- on its own, with daal or sabzi, with raita, in the form of risotto or mexican rice–I don’t care, I just love it. I had the highest of hopes when I ordered the vegetable biryani at Tulsi during Restaurant Week. It was love at first bite. This dish was prepared dum style–in order to lock in all those fragrant flavors it had been sealed with dough. Once you tear open that seal, the aroma is intoxicating. Is anyone else’s mouth watering? No, just me? Ok.

Caribbean water- I’ve always known how much I love the beaches of the Caribbean, but after recently visiting the Hamptons this month (August), the water was so cold I could barely keep my toes in. I would love to insert the video of my husband attempting to go in and promptly walking away, but he would kill me, so I won’t. But my point is, the water here on the East Coast is freezing at the height of the summer. I much prefer my Caribbean beach vacations, where I can actually spend time in the water and truly be a beach bum.

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 The fault in our stars– I posted about this book here and still find myself thinking about it. I’m still waiting to watch the movie and enjoyed it so much that I just picked up Paper towns, by the same author and also a movie.

High key photography- I took a black and white photography class last month and one of my favorite concepts was high key photography. Chutney is the best subject and I plan to take many more black and white photos of him in a dream like state.

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Quinoa- Ok, where has this been my whole life? I had a brief and unpleasant experience with this stuff while living in Bolivia many summers ago. I found it to to be bland and it didn’t do anything for me at the time. This has made a comeback for me though. I think the key is to cook it in vegetable stock, which adds tons of flavor. I have quinoa in my salad most days for lunch. I also like to mix it into rice when I make Indian dishes, for example, half rice and half quinoa with a heaping bowl of Rajma.

Vanilla Almond Iced Coffee– This iced coffee has been the perfect post workout pick me up. I like mine unsweetened but you can certainly add sugar/sweetener.

Mix together these ingredients and enjoy!
1 cup cold coffee
¼ cup almond milk, sweetened
¼ tsp almond extract
½ tsp vanilla extract

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Mason Jar decor- It’s just so cute!! I love how happy these mason jar pieces makes me, especially since I’ve spent so much of my summer off in the kitchen.  I purchased the utensil holder, measuring cups and spoons for myself and the cookie jar for my sister.

Sincerely,

Surleen

 

 

 

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perfect makeup storage- finally

I did A LOT of research before I decided to get this storage system for my makeup. I recently converted my desk to a vanity area so that I could actually sit down and get ready in the mornings. It has made my mornings so much more relaxing and I look forward to getting ready. The best part if that I don’t have to search around for my makeup products in various sections of my bathroom mirrored vanity. It’s all right there in front of me and I find that I am using so many of the products I had forgotten about.

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The name of the storage unit I use is the luxe acrylic modular system and it’s completely customizable. You can get as many separate trays as you want and they are each sold individually. They come in a variety of sizes to fit your needs. They all stack beautifully and are extremely durable and well built, which I expect from the Container Store.

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The most important thing to me was to have makeup storage that would fit most, if not all of my makeup while allowing my collection to grow. I absolutely love this acrylic system and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a customizable makeup storage solution. I looked into various options before deciding on this one, including a plethora of items on Amazon, the original beauty box, the Zara beauty ones, etc. I am so happy I went with this one- after many hours of research!

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A special thanks to my husband who helped me with all the measurements to make sure all my makeup goodies fit perfectly.

Here is the link to the luxe acrylic modular system. I have the following pieces and in the photos you can see how they look stacked together:

Wide Medium Luxe Acrylic Modular Drawer Clear (one)

Half Short Luxe Acrylic Modular Drawer Clear (two)

Large Acrylic Makeup Organizer Clear (this piece is on the top of the others and it has a removable lipstick organizer).

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What do you think of this makeup storage solution? How do you store your makeup? I would love to know!

Sincerely,

Surleen

 

 

 

perfect potato salad

I made this potato salad a few summers ago for a Fourth of July bbq at my sister’s house. It was such a hit that I’ve been making it ever since. The original recipe calls for hard boiled eggs but I tend to omit them since many people in my family don’t like them. You can definitely make it with the eggs though!

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recipe courtesy: pioneer woman

Ingredients-

  • 5 pounds Russet Potatoes (about 8 Medium Russets)
  • 1-1/2 cup Real Mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip)
  • 4 Tablespoons Prepared Mustard (regular, Dijon Or A Mixture Of Both)
  • 5 whole Green Onions, Sliced Up To The Darkest Green Part
  • 8 whole Small Sweet Pickles (may Use Dill If That’s More Up Your Alley)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (more To Taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 4 whole Hard Boiled Eggs

Method- 

Cut potatoes in halves or thirds, then boil until fork tender. Drain. Mash potatoes (or run them through a ricer or food mill to make them extra fluffy–I don’t have a food mill and mashing them works just fine).  Fold potatoes together with mayonnaise, mustard, green onions, salt, pepper, and other seasonings you like. Fold in pickles and eggs, then taste for seasonings, adding more salt, mustard, or mayo as needed. You may also splash in juice from the pickle jar if salad needs a little moisture. I highly recommend this step.

I guarantee this potato salad will be a hit at your next bbq!

 

Sincerely,

Surleen

 

bath and body works fall candles 2016

Fall is my favorite season of the year and when I saw that bath and body works came out with their Fall collection, I had to place an order! Even though it’s not quite fall yet, I have to admit that I might have already started burning my all time favorite candle! I’ve been able to justify it because it does remind me of campfire s’mores- and that’s season appropriate right?! All but the marshmallow fireside candle are new to me.

Here is what I ordered for my first Bath and Body works Fall candle haul:

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Marshmallow pumpkin latte: This candle combines the scent of “Pumpkin Latte, Toasted Marshmallow, Creamy Sandalwood, White Ginger, Praline Musk”. Last year I never purchased this scent in candle form but did use the shower gel and body cream and LOVED it. I am hoping I love the candle version of this scent just as much. I haven’t burned it yet but on first whiff it smells just like the body care.

Warm apple pie:  This candle smells exactly like a homemade apple pie is baking in your oven. If you don’t like sweet scents, this candle is definetely not for you. I plan on burning this in our kitchen.

Toasted graham latte: Another candle I haven’t tried before, I ordered this one based on the description online- “Toasted Graham Cracker, Vanilla Bean, Buttery Toffee Chip, Drop of Espresso”- how can that not smell good?? I am SO excited to burn this one and have a feeling that marshmallow fireside might have some serious competition.

Marshmallow fireside: This is hands down my all time favorite bbw candle. It is perfect in every way- the right amount of sweet and smoky, I could burn this candle all day every day. I need to have at least two back ups of this at all times.

See my haul from last Fall here.

Look for another Fall Bath and Body works haul! What are some of your favorite Fall candles?

Sincerely,

Surleen

my little foundation trick

Even though I love these summer months and have been enjoying my time out in the sun (not forgetting to apply sunscreen of course), the sun exposure has definitely made my skin a few shades tanner. I’m not complaining about my easily tanned skin, but I do find it hard to make my existing foundation shades work for me in the summer. Since I didn’t want to go out and buy new foundations, here is a little trick I recently learned.

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This is what I do:

I take my current foundation (which is currently too light for me) and mix it in with this one which is a bit darker. I like to apply with my fingers for the most natural and seamlessly blended coverage. Not only does the Nars velvet Matte darken the shade so it matches perfectly with my current skin tone, but it helps keep my face matte and gives me some extra SPF!

I am in the shade Y375 golden sand in the MUFE foundation and in the shade Annapurna medium 2 in the Nars velvet Matte. You can see my review of the Nars here.

Another technique I’ve been using lately is I will use my current foundation as is, and then apply this powder on top to warm up the color. I alternate between the shades cashew and spiced sand depending to the time of the year.

If I am still looking lighter than I want, I use this bronzer on my forehead, sides of my face and chin for that overall warmth.

I hope these tricks help you out if you find that like me, your lovely tan has changed your complexion!

Are you able to use the same foundation throughout the year or does your skin tan during the summer months??

sephora haul

A trip to Sephora is like going to Disney (for me). It’s impossible for me to ever want to leave, and definitely not empty handed. I don’t always walk out with something- at the very least I leave with a few samples of the newest moisturizer or perfume that catches my attention. Since I’m pretty set in terms of my skincare routine at the moment, I picked up some makeup products that I’d had my eye on for a while. These are all new to me. They’ve already made their way to my vanity and fit right in with the rest of the makeup and fragrance family!

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Bare minerals GEN NUDE lipgloss– I tried on several shades in the selection before going for the shade must have. I love the concept of the gen nude line where there is a nude for every skin tone. I liked this shade this best for the pinkish tone of my lips. I find that it enhances the natural pink in my lips while giving them a very neutral rosy color- not too pink but just pink enough. This is my perfect nude lip gloss! I may have to buy another so I have a back up. Not to mention, the formula is creamy, not at all sticky (yayyy) and is encased beautifully in a heavy duty clear tube. Bare minerals nailed it with this gen nude collection.

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Bare minerals GEN NUDE lipstick– All it took was one swipe of this on my lips and I was sold. The formula is incredible!!! It is incredibly creamy, buttery and hydrating while delivering just enough pigment where you don’t have to be so precise but also enough color that it lasts. My perfect shade is mantra, which is a mauve with rose undertones. I am so in love with the formula of this lipstick that I might have to pick up a few more shades. I would compare this to my YSL lipsticks, but they come at much more hefty price.

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Mon Paris by Yves Saint Laurent– see my review here.

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IMG_7339Nars blush in Amour– I loved my Nars orgasm blush but wanted to replace it wth something with less shimmer, while being in the same color family. One of the Sephora ladies recommended this one and I love it. It is a gorgeous peachy pink without shimmer and will look great with any of my makeup looks. I highly recommend this shade especially for Indian skin tones.

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Hourglass mechanical gel eye liner-  At 1.5 MM, this eye liner gives me the most precision I have ever had when it comes to tight lining, lining the upper and lower rims of my eyes, or even for my new favorite, the semi- lined eye. I can also build it up for a dramatic cat eye. It’s nearly impossible to mess up with this eye liner! This will be my go to eye liner until I can find something this precise which also stays put all day long AND glides off with one swipe of my eye makeup remover.

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What goodies have you picked up from Sephora recently??

Sincerely,

Surleen

summer favorites

I refuse to believe that summer is coming to an end, because it isn’t (yet!), but I wanted to share  all the goodies I have been loving during these sunny, never ending days of bliss. What have you been loving this summer? I would love to know, so please share in your comments below!

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Nars velvet Matte skin tint- This has been my go to foundation/moisturizer/spf this summer. I have been using it every single day. It’s one step, it’s easy, no brush needed. It doesn’t get any better in terms of coverage for a product that feels so light weight and looks so natural on the skin. I am in the shade Annapurna. See my other review here. 

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The fault in our stars-  I found myself without a book on our way to Puerto Rico, after having finished China Rich Girlfriend, the sequel to Crazy rich Asians, both of which I found to be highly entertaining. Since I cannot be on a beach without a  good read, my husband came to the rescue (he is my real life hero), and suggested we pick up a book for me at the airport once we landed in Isla Verde. He picked out this read, and though he refuses to read it, after seeing me tear up while reading as we flew back to New York, I highly recommend this book. It deals with a tough topic with wit, humor and kindness. Now I have to convince my husband to watch the movie with me. I can’t watch it alone, can I??

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Mon Paris by Yves Saint Laurent-  I first got a whiff of this while reading a magazine a few months ago and thought “omg, that smells like everything I would want a perfume to smell like”. So I went to Sephora and got a sample. Within the first day of trying it out, I must have gotten asked three times what perfume I was wearing. I get migraines easily and especially from fragrances, so to be sure this dream come true scent wouldn’t induce any headache drama, I got myself another sample. Again, I was asked by random strangers while shopping and eating out what I was wearing–and no headaches! Needless to say, I had to purchase this in full size. It doesn’t smell like anything else I own and I am obsessed!

Notes:
Strawberry, Raspberry, Bergamot, Calone, Pear, Orange Flower, Jasmin Sambac, White Peony, Datura, Patchouli, White Musk, Ambrox, Cedarwood, Crystal Moss.
Style:
Passionate. Sensual. Sophisticated.

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Taylor Swift 1989-  This album has been my morning workout jam. It gets me going, keeps me going, and has converted me into a Taylor Swift fan. It’s a very well produced album.

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Watermelon Lemondade- This candle has been burning in our home all summer and it will always remind me of the summertime. Is anyone else already getting excited about the bath and body works Fall candles??

Summer will always be such a special time of the year and I love it so much. I hope that you are enjoying your summer days and nights as well and are making every moment count.

 

Sincerely,

Surleen

 

nordstrom anniversary sale 2016 haul

For those of you who don’t know what this sale is, it’s basically a sale that Nordstrom has once a year for a week and a half, where brand new styles, including high end designer brands, are at clearance prices. Once the sale is over, the prices go back up.

This was my first time shopping at Nordstrom and since the closest one to us is a good 30 minutes away, I thought I would make my purchases online. I figure if they don’t work out, I can always return them in store. I had no idea about the anniversary sale but was pleased to find some great deals. My only regret is that I didn’t know about it sooner and literally placed my order when there were 2 days left. Needless to say, many of the popular items were already sold out before I could get my hands on them! Here is what I managed to order. I cannot wait for everything to arrive!

 

  1. Vince Camuto chiffon top 
  2. Leith drape trench coat
  3. Laundry double face drape collar coat 
  4. Shayna black booties 

What did you pick up from this awesome sale??

 

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