beauty · food · good reads · lifestyle

five ways to take care of yourself- my self care routine

As a (very) new mama, I find it’s even more important to carve out some time each day to take care of myself. Here are some things that I’ve been doing to get in some me time and do the things that I enjoy, now that our daughter is here. Honestly though there are some days when I would rather just stare at her all day and take photos and videos!

  1. I  love making myself an iced coffee every morning, or an iced espresso mixed with a protein shake. I really enjoy starting my day this way and will usually check my emails and write out a plan for the day.
  2. Once I get out of the shower in the mornings I like to use either the bare minerals complexion rescue or the nars velvet matte. I just use a small amount, especially when I know I’m not going out. Each of these has an SPF so it’s the only product I need to use on my face. One step and I’m good to go for the day.
  3. I started going back to the gym for a light workout each morning. I am not there for long and haven’t been doing anything intense yet, but it feels great to move and have that time to myself at the gym.
  4. I love to read so much and can’t imagine not doing that now. So every evening, I give myself a few minutes, even if I only get to read a few pages at a time. I’m currently in the middle of Less by Andrew Sean Greer.
  5. Once in a while I like to do a little pampering, whether it’s a face mask at home or going out to get a manicure pedicure. I think having some time to pamper yourself just helps you to feel more like yourself. I’m currently loving this face mask by Fresh and this nail color by essie.

 

 

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good reads

book haul

We recently  found ourselves at one of my favorite bookstores, The Corner Bookstore on the Upper East Side. They have a unique selection, always have great recommendations and a wonderful children’s book selection. Here is what we picked up for ourselves and of course a few for the little one on way! I don’t think it’s possible for us to walk into a bookstore and leave empty handed…there’s nothing like a new book!

My picks:

Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

free food for millionaires by Min Jin Lee

His picks:

why buildings stand up by Mario Salvadori

the arab of the future by Riad Sattouf

For little peanut:

the carrot seed by Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson

the night gardener by Terry Fan and Eric Fan

ocean meets sky by Terry Fan and Eric Fan

 

What are you currently reading?

Sincerely,

Surleen

 

 

good reads

the nest by Cynthia D’aprix Sweeney

I had purchased this book from the bookstore after having seen it on so many bestsellers lists and was excited to pick it up. Before I start reading a book I usually like to read some reviews on Amazon. To my surprise, this book had nearly 3000 reviews and the ones that were most recent were pretty much all negative. Some even went as far as saying that this was the worst book they had ever read. Needless to say, I was influenced by the reviews and decided to return the book. I found myself at Barnes and Noble a few days later, receipt in hand all set to get this book off my hands. A friend of mine asked why I was returning it and I told her all about the horrific reviews. She then suggested I read the first page or so before letting go of the book. Well that’s exactly what I did and guess what? I was hooked from the first sentence!

Lesson learned, I won’t go by the reviews anymore. If the synopsis sounds interesting and if the first page or two grab my attention, or if the author is someone whose work I enjoy, I’m going to give the book a fair chance.

I highly recommend this book for its character and plot development, unpredicabtility and the fact that it’s set in New York. I find many of the characters relatable and realistic. Overall the book was a pleasure to read. If you like books like Freedom by Jonathan Franzen and Modern Lovers by Emma Straub, I am pretty confident you should add this one to your TBR list.

 

Sincerely,

Surleen

food

no bake peanut butter bars

There is nothing more delicious than the combination of peanut butter and chocolate and there’s nothing better than not having to turn on the oven on a hot summer day! I hope you give these no bake peanut butter bars a try. They have become a staple in our fridge during the summer months. They are perfect to take along to a bbq or picnic!

recipe courtesy: the pioneer woman 

Ingredients

Filling:
  • 2 sticks salted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter 
  • 2 cups powdered sugar 
  • One 12-ounce box vanilla wafers
  • One 12-ounce bag mini semisweet chocolate chips (I use regular sized if I can’t find the minis)
Frosting:
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter 
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts 

Method:

For the topping: Using a double boiler or a microwave, melt the chocolate chips and creamy peanut butter. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes while you make the bars.

For the bars: Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with some butter. Using a stand or electric hand mixer, mix together the butter and chunky peanut butter until smooth. Stir in the powdered sugar a cup at a time.

Add the vanilla wafers to a food processor and process until they are in crumbs. Then add the crumbs and mini chocolate chips to the peanut butter mixture and mix until just combined. Spread it evenly into the buttered pan and set aside.

Pour the topping over the base. Spread it out evenly and sprinkle over the chopped peanuts. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, then cut into 20 bars.

Keep refrigerated, as the bars and chocolate will soften at room temperature.

 

Enjoy!

Sincerely,

Surleen

 

lifestyle

erin condren planner

As a planner addict, I love getting my hands on the newest planners out there so it comes as no surprise that I had to get the new Erin Condren life planner! I’ve been using Erin Condren planners for years now, both the life planners as well as the teacher planner. I really enjoy the customizable options, the variety of layouts to choose from, and not to mention how pretty they are! This time I decided to go with a vertical layout in the life planner and added the baby tracker petite planner since we have a little one on the way:)

I love that this planner starts in July 2018 because my current planner finishes at the end of June and I like to start my planners at the beginning of the summer since I work at a school. Planning my year academically makes most sense for me.

Here’s a look at my new life planner:

 

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Here is that the baby tracker looks like:

 

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Do you have a planner? Are you part of the “planner community”? I would love to know what planner you use and how you keep yourself organized!

 

Sincerely,

Surleen

 

beauty

current beauty favorites

 farmacy sunscreen– I’ve been loving this sunscreen recently and use it before applying my foundation. I use it regardless of whether my makeup has spa or not. It is unscented, very lightweight, doesn’t break me out and instead of leaving a white cast, melts right into my skin. Another winner from a terrific brand.

bobbi brown shimmer brick– This might be my nw favorite addition to my morning makeup routine. It gives my face that perfect warmth sun kissed hint of color. It’s subtle enough to use every day and works well with my skin tone.

lancome makeup removing oil– This makeup removing oil is so unique and lovely. I really enjoy the scent and honey like texture. The best part is that it removes all of my makeup AND leaves my skin baby soft.

dior micellar water– This has been my go to micellar water and I’m currently on my second bottle. I like to use it in the mornings when I first wake up as a quick cleanse, or on my non makeup days. It’s gentle and smells delightful!

mac lip liner in spice– I needed to replacement for my mac lip liner in soar so decided to try a different shade. This works as a great base for any nude lipstick or gloss and in terms of quality, you can’t beat Mac lip liners.

fenty gloss bomb– I like to use this on top of the spice lip liner or on its own. It’s not sticky and has the perfect hint of color. I will be repurchasing this one.

 

Fresh body lotion– This is the perfect summer body lotion. It smells of citrus, is lightweight and the scent lingers all day. I just purchased my second bottle. I think this is my favorite scent by Fresh.

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What are your current Beauty favorites?

Sincerely,

Surleen

 

 

beauty

spring sephora haul

I thought I would treat myself to some new goodies from Sephora since it had been a while.

The reason why I wanted to stop by Sephora was to get a new fragrance. I took home a few samples and fell in love with this one the instant I tried it out. Most importantly though is that it doesn’t give me a headache, which many fragrances do.

I knew I was going to purchase this perfume going into the store but then of course I got sidetracked and picked up some other goodies- because why not?

So here’s what I picked up. All of these products are new to me so I can’t say how they are in the long run, but I will report back if you have any questions about them.

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CHLOÉ Nomade Eau de Parfum– I’m super excited to add this Chloe fragrance to my collection. I love the original Chloe, Chloe love story and Roses de Chloe. My initial impressions are that it is sexy and sophisticated. It’s different from anything I’ve worn in the past. Oh and it’s super long lasting!

Scent Type: 
Warm Floral 

Key Notes: 
Oakmoss, Freesia, Mirabelle Liquor  

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BOBBI BROWN Instant Full Cover Concealer in honey

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BITE BEAUTY Amuse Bouche Liquified Lipstick in Caramelized, a creamy butterscotch

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FENTY BEAUTY BY RIHANNA Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer (comes in one shade) 

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TARTE Airbrush Finish Bamboo Foundation Brush

Oh and how cute is this Better than sex mini? Perfect for travel!

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Have you recently made any purchases from Sephora? Would love to know what you picked up!

Sincerely,

Surleen

good reads · lifestyle

2018 reading list

IMG_7669.jpgWho else loves books? bookstores? the smell of books? books and coffee? books and curling up with Chutey? Me! Here are my top picks for books to read in 2018, including what I’ve already read.

Already read:

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah 

The F word by Liza Palmer

The tribes of palos verdes by Joy Nicholson 

Paris for one & other stories by Jojo Moyes 

Julie and Romeo by Jeanne Ray 

Reading now:

What to expect when you’re expecting by Heidi Murkoff

The library at mount char by Scott Hawkins

Current reading list:

Shadow of the wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón 

My not so perfect life by Sophie Kinsella 

The library at mount char by Scott Hawkins

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

What to expect the first year by Heidi Murkoff 

Everybody lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Eating animals by Jonathan Safran Foer 

I need more recommendations so please leave some in your comments below! I’d also love to know what you’re reading.

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Sincerely,

Surleen

 

 

food

cauliflower chowder

My husband and I made this soup the other night and really enjoyed it. It has none of the unnecessary fat in a traditional chowder and all of the flavor. A great weeknight comforting dish that is so easy to prepare and utterly delicious.

recipe adapted from damn delicious 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • one cup shredded cheddar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in cauliflower and bay leaf. Cook, stirring occasionally, until barely crisp-tender, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until cauliflower are tender, about 12-15 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. If the chowder is too thick, add more milk as needed until desired consistency is reached.
  4. Add shredded cheddar and allow it to melt for a minute or two.
  5. Transfer the contents to a blender and blend until you have reached desired consistency and thickness.
  6. Serve immediately, garnished with parmesan cheese and black pepper.

 

I hope you give this soup a try, I guarantee you will love it!

Sincerely,

Surleen