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

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

 

 

beauty · food · good reads

my world.

As we say our goodbyes to the Summer and wait for a consistent Fall, here is a round up of what’s been happening and what I’ve been loving. These are some things that have made the transition from lazy summer days into early mornings a little more enjoyable.

blade runner – I wasn’t sure what to expect when we went to see this movie, but it was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t feel like a movie. It was so well done that it felt like we were in every scene. The acting is superb and for someone who doesn’t usually enjoy futuristic sci fi movies, this was one of the best I’ve seen. I highly recommend watching this one in the movie theatre.

nest indigo- This is my favorite new scent. I realized how much I love it the other day when I found myself sniffing the clothes I had worn with this lingering scent on them.

spinach and artichoke lasagna- This is my all time favorite lasagna. I’ve been hooked ever since the first time I made it. If you are a lover of all things spinach and artichoke, give this one a try.

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darjeeling tea- A dear friend of mine recently brought back this amazingly delicious tea from India. Nothing can compare to the flavor of this darjeeling tea, no matter how many different kinds I’ve had here in the States. They are just not as good. I often look forward to having a cup of this when I get home from work.

FRESH Soy Face Cleansing Milk- This is my new go to facial cleanser for both the mornings and evenings. The texture is so soothing and milky. It never leaves my skin feeling tight, but incredibly supple and soft. I highly recommend this for anyone who has sensitive skin and enjoys a non foaming facial cleanser.

naked smoky eye pallete– I recently purchased this eye shadow palette, even though I wasnt in the market for one because Sephora was offering it a discounted price and I’ve heard so many good things about the Naked palettes. I’ve been using it every day since this arrived in the mail- and have been loving it so much. No wonder Naked palettes are so popular- the quality speaks for itself!

zara cardigan  There isn’t much that I needed to add to my fall wardrobe, but an oversized chunky cardigan was on my list. As soon as I saw this, I knew I would want to live in it. It is so soft and cozy. I don’t have anything in this shade of green. It feels like walking around with a warm blanket wrapped around me. Fall I am ready for you- I have my cardigan!

Elena Ferrante Neapolitan novels–  This is a series of four novels that is about two friends.  It follows their lives from the time they were little girls playing with their dolls, into adulthood. Their friendship is complicated, as most relationships with those we love tend to be. What struck me the most about these novels, was not so much the story line but the author’s skill in telling the story. I felt like I knew these two characters like they were a part of my life and truly missed them once I finished the series. I cannot wait for the HBO series to come out.

essential oils- I recently started using essential oils and have really been enjoying them. I like to add a few drops of either peppermint or eucalyptus oil to the floor of the shower. When the warm water hits the oil, it creates a wonderfully fragrant experience. The peppermint oil is especially helpful in alleviating my migraines.

laal ishq– I have been struggling to get this song out of my head. It’s no surprise that it’s been sung by Arijit Singh.

What has been going on with you lately? What have you been loving?

Sincerely,

Surleen

 

 

 

 

 

good reads

milk and honey.

Have you ever read something that feels like it was written just for you? This book of poetry seems like the thing that had been missing from my book shelf (and my life).  I love every word, but here are my favorites:

 

love will come
and when love comes
love will hold you
love will call your name
and you will melt
sometimes though
love will hurt you but
love will never mean to
love will play no games
cause love knows life
has been hard enough already

 

 

 

you wrap your fingers 

around my hair 

and pull

this 

is how you make music 

out of me

 

 

 

i don’t know what living a balanced life feels like
when i am sad
i don’t cry i pour
when i am happy
i don’t smile i glow
when i am angry
i don’t yell i burn

the good thing about feeling in extremes is

when i love i give them wings
but perhaps that isn’t
such a good thing
cause they always
tend to leave and
you should see me
when my heart is broken
i don’t grieve i shatter

 

 

i didn’t know why
i split myself open
for others knowing
sewing myself up 
hurts this much
afterward

 

 

 

you cannot leave 

and have me too

i cannot exist in 

two places at once 

-when you ask if we can still be friends 

 

 

 

 

 

you leave

but you don’t stay gone

why do you do that

why do you

abandon the thing you want to keep

why do you linger

in a place you do not want to stay

why do you think it’s ok to do both

go and return all at once

 

 

 

i want to apologize to all the women

i have called pretty

before I’ve called them intelligent or brave

i am sorry i made it sound as though

something as simple as what you’re born with

is the most you have to be proud of when your

spirit has crushed mountains

from now on i will say things like

you are resilient or you are extraordinary

not because i don’t think you’re pretty

but because you are so much more than that

 

 

 

 

i call you and beg

for five more minutes

we won’t talk

we won’t touch

just sit across from each other

and let our eyes

drink

each others skin

for five minutes

–Rupi Kaur

 

Which one is your favorite?

Sincerely, 

Surleen 

 

 

beauty · food · good reads · lifestyle · music

my world.

Here’s what I’ve been loving lately, as we wait for Spring to finally arrive…

We recently saw Rangoon in the theaters, and a few of the songs were great. I find them to be pretty addicting though, so listen in moderation:)

 

station eleven- This wasn’t a book I thought I would like but I couldn’t put it down around 100 pages into it. The “end of the world” concept doesn’t appeal to me, but the way this book switches between before and after the collapse, kept me interested. The premise is that a pandemic hits the entire world, and civilization quickly and abruptly comes to an end. There is a group of people called the traveling symphony, who go to the different settlements to entertain the surviving population. The connection between the characters and how all the author connects all the dots at the end is what makes this book special. Also worth mention is when breathe becomes air– really enjoyed this one as well.

Vanilla Pistachio candle- I love my bath and body works candles but there is something so subtle about this one that I just love. I purchased this from Anthropologie, where I always seem to find unique candles.

 drink chobani– This is my new favorite breakfast drink. I’ve been drinking special k for breakfast for a while now but when I saw that chobani came out with a yogurt drink, I thought I would try it. It has 14 grams of protein which keeps me going until lunch. It tastes delish and comes in different flavors- I have only tried the strawberry banana and really enjoy it.

 tocca simone– This perfume by Tocaa is spring in a bottle! I was in the market for new scent for the transition months into summer and this is so perfect.

Here are the notes:

Top: Crisp Apple, Fresh Picked Watermelon, Lemon, Calypsone  

Middle: Frangipani, Ylang- Ylang, Rose Petals, Freesia

Bottom: Creamy Lactones, Blonde Woods, Musk, Amber, Nirvanolide 

this sweatshirt-  I recently got this sweatshirt from Zara and can’t stop wearing it. I love the pink color, the fluffy sleeves and how comfy it is. I like to wear it with leggings on the weekends and with jeans to work (on a Friday). Zara has been killing it lately!

 

Sincerely,

Surleen

beauty · food · good reads · lifestyle · music

my world.

I want to say I can’t believe it’s already February but I honestly feel like the Holidays were so long ago. For once, I don’t feel like time is flying. Here is a roundup of what I’ve been obsessing over lately.

music:

 

 

beauty:

MUFE stick foundation:

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I’ve been using this foundation for the past few weeks now and have been loving it how easily it blends and how flawless the coverage is. I also like that the coverage isn’t too matte- I don’t like a very matte look during the winter months. This was a great find and I’m not sure what took me so long to try it.

too faced semi sweet chocolate bar:

unnamedI’ve had this eye shadow palette for a while, but I recently started using it more consistently. I love how many looks I can achieve with this, and it’s so fun to play with. It makes getting ready in the mornings more fun! See my review here. 

Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Powder Bronzer:

This is my go to bronzer- I use it every single day to give my face some warmth. I love the finish it gives- it never looks ashy and is pretty fool proof. I like to use a big fluffy brush or the brush it comes with.

fashion:

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Steve Madden studded buckle booties- I get compliments every time I wear these booties. They’re comfortable enough to wear all day and have a bit of edge with the buckles. I got them in the Fall from the Steve Madden store and wasn’t able to find the exact pair I have, but these are similar.

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ZARA check maxi coat: This is my new favorite coat- warm, long and trendy. I can wear this with leggings and a sweatshirt and still look stylish:)

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reading:

the night circusThis book was such a joy to read. It was a treat for the senses. I felt like I could smell the foods of the circus, see the elaborate tents, and feel the magic of the circus. Reading this book is like entering a fantastic world- a true escape. This book makes you wonder what is real and what is magic? What makes something real and what makes it a dream world? Highly recommend this one- a disclaimer though is that the plot is slow moving but worth your patience at the beginning of the story.

food:

I recently started making my own trail mix using just three ingredients in equal parts- almonds, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chips. It is so delicious and easy to put together. I like to have it in the afternoons at work as a pick me up.

What have you been loving lately?

Sincerely,

Surleen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

good reads

sweetbitter

I didn’t think I would enjoy this novel, but it surprised me. It’s about a small town girl named, who moves to New York City and happens to find herself in the culinary world- trying to not only navigate the hierarchy of waitstaff, bar staff, hostesses and managers, but also how she fits in. Tess gets involved in a dysfunctional love triangle as she tries to find herself.  There are lessons to be learned in her attempt to grow up and enter the real world.  I could not put this one down- highly recommend. 41aQco98MpL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

good reads · music

an equal music by vikram seth

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I assumed it would be extremely difficult to write about music , but Vikram Seth has written so beautifully about it in this moving novel, that I find it hard to believe he isn’t a musician himself. The novel itself takes place in breath taking romantic cities like London, Vienna and Venice, which left me longing to be back in Europe.

Vikram Seth writes: ”Music to me is dearer even than speech.” His love for music shines in his ability to describe it better than anything I have ever read. This novel is elegantly written and the ending did not fail to touch me.

Seth describes different relationships, the ones we have with others and the one we have with our musical instruments. I have a new found respect for my sitar and can’t imagine life without it. I now have a deeper respect not only for music, but also for all the sounds around us that we so easily take for granted.

I can’t wait to read more of his work.