Monday, December 31, 2012

A Triumphant and (somewhat) Fierce Return!

Hello friends!

I'm sure you all are wondering where on earth I went.  Let's make a list:
  • I worked 2 jobs over the summer which took up more of my time than expected.
  • Had to deal with a large grain weevil infestation; I shake my tiny fist at organic soba noodles which were definitely the cause!  As a result I had to throw out A LOT of food.  Ugh.  No food = no recipes.
  • Went on my first week long vacation of the year and threw my back out, for reals!  I spent the week on muscle relaxants and asleep.
  • Spilled some boiling water on myself resulting in 1st & 2nd degree burns on one arm and 1st degree burns on my chest.  I couldn't dress myself properly for at least 2-3 weeks, let alone cook or do beauty posts.  I mean I still painted my nails, because I'm pretty sure almost nothing could stop me from doing that.  ;)
  • Dealing with mental health and developmental issues that I've pretty much always dealt with but they have been exacerbated significantly in the past 6 months or so.
 It's been a heck of a year, let me tell you!  I'm pretty pleased to see 2012 go, mostly because it kind of sucked

So even though I am spending New Year's at home with Mr. Core, I thought I would post my hypothetical New Year's Eve look.  I recommend this look for anyone who is fierce and single on New Year's Eve.  It's not for the timid, as black lipstick rarely is.  But it makes a statement about how badass you are, and you don't need no one to kiss, you are amazing all by yourself!

This look was initially inspired by MAC's Strength collection.  I was SO EXCITED that Pink Pigeon (bright pink) and Party Parrot (warm, bright pink) lipsticks were coming back plus Firm Form, a black and gold lipstick?!?!  And then MAC decided not to distribute it to counters, which meant it quickly sold out online. :(  So no new lipstick for me.  But I decided to give golden black lipstick a try.  Because anyone can do a shimmery black smoky eye and neutral lips but why not try something different?

New Year's face
Let's do a look breakdown:

-Smashbox Hydrating primer mixed with Benefit Girl Meets Pearl
-L'Oreal True Match Lumi Foundation
-Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer
-Sonia Kashuk face powder
-Too Faced Milk Chocolate Bronzer to contour cheeks
-MAC Peachykeen blush & Lightscapade MSF to highlight

-Tarte Clean Slate Eye Primer
-MAC Coquette eyeshadow for my brows (I've also used Mystery)
-a mix of MAC Bare Study Paint Pot and Buxom Stay There eyeshadow in Poodle on the lid & lower lash line
-Sephora Prisma Chrome eyeshadow in Moon Beam generously on crease (it looks like it's been DC, it's a lovely pale champagne with a pink flash)
-Wet n Wild Creme Brulee on browbone
-L'Oreal Telescopic Clean Definition Mascara in Very Black

-Urban Decay Lip Primer
-Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Zero
-NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Black Bean
-NARS Soft Touch Shadow Pencil in Aigle Noire (ultimately unnecessary but what else am I going to do with it?)
-L'Oreal Colour Riche Le Gloss in The Muse's Shine which was LE but any gloss with a strong gold shimmer will do.

Basic steps:
1. Prep your face as needed.  You don't want to go overboard with blush or shimmer, the goal is clean, slightly glowing skin.  As I get oily skin pretty quickly, I opt for luminizer in my primer and a matte powder to set, but you may need to switch it up.  A light cheek contour with blush/highlighter completes the look.

2. Luminous, glowing eyes: I wanted a clean, shimmery eye look, to brighten my eyes without making them the center of attention.  Mixing pale shimmers adds depth without too much extra work and a matte shadow on the brow bone nicely balances the shimmery lids.  The look is complete with precise but not overdone brows, curled lashes and mascara.

New Year's face
3.  THOSE LIPS THOUGH.  Okay prep the heck outta your lips.  Exfoliate and moisturize, but wipe off the excess moisturizer before applying the lip primer.  Give the primer a little time to set, and then outline and partially fill in your lips with black long-wear eyeliner.  Smudge it towards the center of  your lips, and then fill your lips in with the NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil.  You can top it with the NARS pencil but I ultimately felt this step was unnecessary, as it didn't make much of a difference.  I found the easiest way to apply the gloss was to put some on the back of my hand and apply it with a lip brush, making sure to add a little extra along the cupids bow and in the center of the bottom lip.

New Year's face

I assure you, I tried to style my hair, it's not just bedhead.  And yes, there is a slight pink tint because I like a little bit of pink hair on the weekends.

If I had to pick a New Year's Mani, instead of the shimmery purple I'm wearing right now, it would have to be a version of my opal manicure:

opal nails
This is seven coats of nail polish, but I think the end result is SO FREAKING GORGEOUS so I don't care.  I'll do an upcoming post on this (promise!) but it is basically a white jelly sandwich with opalescent glitter & gold shimmer in between the white layers.  I think it's prettier and slightly unexpected compared to the the usual metallics.

And that's my New Year's post!  I'm definitely planning on blogging more in 2013, I've got recipes I've been working on and beauty to chat about!  Happy New Year everyone! 

love and cupcakes,
Ms. Meghan

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Friday Jams: nerdyfuntimes edition!

Hey there!

Here's a quick friday jams post while it is still friday!  (ed. note: I wrote this last night, really, and must have been really tired because I didn't actually post it, sorry!!)

Star Wars Radio Play from the 2012 ECCC
This video features some of the best voice actors in the biz, doing some of the voices that they're most known for in a live reading of Star Wars scenes.  This includes Kevin Conroy (Batman) and TARA FREAKING STRONG (Bubbles, Twilight Sparkle, Raven and SO MANY MORE).  I could've done without so many celebrity impressions but I was still dying with laughter and I bet you will too!

I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH.  I've read it twice now, and this past week, I started reading it, after getting about halfway through and putting it aside months ago, and honestly it's like I never left.  The premise (as I understand it) is that instead of emigrating to Israel a large portion of European Jews were given a piece of Alaska to settle in.  The story itself is a really good police procedural built within this reality and it's just perfection. 

Alkaline Trio!
I love that Alkaline Trio has gotten even more catchy than they already were but they still maintain a nice air of spookiness, they are one of my go to bands when I am in a rotten mood and need to sing in the car.

That's it for this week, have a great weekend!

love and cupcakes,
Ms Meghan

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

On vanity and drivers licenses

Hello friends!

So this past weekend I realized that I absolutely had to get my license renewed which also meant a new picture! I spent part of Saturday morning watching youtube tutorials and planning my makeup, which sounds silly but if this is a picture that will be around and scrutinized for the next 5 years, I want it to look as good as humanly possible. Are you in a similar situation?  If so, then read on for my tips for a super fine license picture!

I can narrow down my license photo makeup tips to two words: Clean Definition.  For me this meant the following:
  • Bright eyes with sharp brows: Primer, a lighter than flesh-tone shadow (WnW Creme Brulee), a thin line of black eyeliner (UD Zero), and mascara.  I use a MAC shadow and brush #208 to fill in my brows.
  • Lip tint and blush: I'm a big fan of Benetint and Stila's lip crushes, and any low-shimmer pink blush.
  • Even skin: Primer (I'm really liking Tarte's primers right now), Smashbox BB Cream (or use the foundation of your choosing), concealer, and powder to set. 
I also needed the appropriate products for contouring but there was one problem, contouring was a complete mystery to me!  And maybe it's also a mystery for you?  Well mystery solved, thanks to the wonder that is the Pixiwoo youtube channel!
This video is a great guide to basic contouring and made a world of difference for me!  Now to show you what products I used:

contouring for fun and profit
Too Faced Milk Chocolate bronzer, Wet n Wild Creme Brulee eyeshadow (a perfect pale beige matte shadow, which is getting its own post soon!),  Sonia Kashuk Flushed blush, Tarte Amazonian Clay Shimmer Powder in Champagne (a pale gold/white shimmer) and a couple of Ecotools brushes.  And this is my look:

contouring for fun and profit
My goofy face.  So in case it wasn't super obvious, I only contoured the left side of my face (and was a little heavy handed with it) to give you an idea of what kind of difference contouring makes.

Since license pictures wash everything out, it's important to use a slightly heavier hand for the contour, brows and lips, while leaving your eyes and cheeks light so that they're still easily visible.  Especially your eyes, if you wear an overwhelming eye look they could be totally lost!

So in spite of all my time and effort, when I went to AAA on Saturday they told me their camera was broken and would just re-use my old picture.  Of course!  Nevertheless, I hope this helped you and here's to many lovely license pictures!

love and cupcakes,
Ms Meghan

Monday, June 4, 2012

Apologies and polish reviews!

Hello friends!

So a week went by without a peep on here, I'm so sorry!  I fell behind on blog posts and as soon as I would turn my thoughts to posting something, I caught an extreme case of writer's block!  But I'm back and I have a few new polishes to review plus one layered manicure that was so froofy I couldn't NOT post it!

The good:
Essie Mojito Madness!

Essie Mojito Madness
How gorgeous is this?!!?

Essie Mojito Madness

This is a part of the "Bikini So Teeny" collection, and I had been wanting a color like this for a while and I'm so glad this is the polish I picked up!  It applied like a dream and I barely needed 2 coats for it!  I did apply over a ridge filler, but I use that more to protect from staining.  Either way I bet it would still apply really well, this polish didn't get goopy or drag and it looks BEAUTIFUL.  Definitely recommend it.

The Bad:
Revlon Runway Pearl

Revlon Runway Pearl
4 coats!
I wanted to love this polish, it's a beautiful LE white/ivory with a red/orange/gold shimmer.  It's really stunning in the bottle.  BUT it goes on so thick, a little streaky, it took 4 coats to build opacity AND IT BUBBLED LIKE CRAZY.

Revlon Runway Pearl
THE BUBBLES! (editing note: I cropped and sharpened this using flickrs editing tools)

And you can see a little bit of the bottle in the above shot, the shimmer is really beautiful but the formula isn't worth the headache.

The Awesome:
Here are my "prom dress" nails!  Every time I looked at my nails I kept picture a puffy skirted sky blue dress with baby pink tulle that was covered in bits of silver glitter.  I have a major soft spot for froofy dresses, let me tell you.

Prom Dress nails!

This is OPI What's with the Cattitude topped with 2 coats of Pirouette My Whistle from the NYC Ballet Soft Shades collection that just came out and CND Raspberry Sparkle on top of all that.  I really like PMW, it's a mix of silver microglitter and white pearl hex glitter.  It's really beautiful and looks lovely over pastels.  It's the best picture I could get of my nails before I took this off but isn't it lovely?

And that's all I've got for today!  I've got another beauty post in the works for Wednesday and of course there's Friday Jams!  Thanks for stopping by!

love and cupcakes,
Ms. Meghan

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Jams: The Hoopy Frood Edition!

Happy Friday everyone!

I'm so sorry I missed my Wednesday post, I was just losing my mind this week and I got distracted and spooked watching a scary movie for 365 Days of Horror!  This is the 3rd guest post I've done, and I watched House on Haunted Hill!  Vincent Price sure is dreamy but it's a little disconcerting to watch the movie alone in your basement apartment.  You can read my review of HoHH here, and you can read my other two reviews if you're interested: Suck and Tucker and Dale vs. Evil.

But onto the jams!!!

If you are a hoopy frood then you know where your towel is, and you know that today is Towel Day!  Today is meant to celebrate the life and works of the late author Douglas Adams, who wrote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and all but one of its sequels.  It's crazy funny sci fi and they also made a movie, starring Martin Freeman, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel, and Sam Rockwell.  Even if it's not book accurate it's one of my favorite movies, here's the trailer:
I just love this movie!  It's so charming!

Speaking of people I love, this lady is amazing.  And she has a new album out this Tuesday!!  In the meantime you can listen to a stream of the whole amazing record on NPR here!  Or watch the video for the single "All the Rowboats" if you're so inclined:
Eeee I'm so excited!  I really love this album, and I think it's better (or maybe just brighter?) than her last one.

No that is not a word salad and I am not having a stroke, eggplant bacon is the genius invention of IsaChandra Moskowitz, as seen in her cookbook "Appetite for Reduction"!  But if you really wanna try it, she's also posted the recipe here!  My 2 tweaks: I toasted some spices (whole peppercorns, cardamom, coriander, crushed red pepper flakes and chunks of garlic) in a tiny pan and added the soy sauce to that with a little water and let that mixture heat up.  It's like a spicy soy sauce tea, but this adds more flavor without extra fat/calories; I let that cool before adding the liquid smoke and eggplanting it up.  And when I put the eggplant slices back in the oven for the last time, I sprinkled a little paprika on top because paprika is wonderful.  And this was so delicious!  I had an eblt with garlic hummus and OH MAN IT WAS WONDERFUL.  Definitely give this recipe a try, I wasn't even sure I liked eggplant but this made me a believer!

And that's it!  Happy long weekend friends, I hope you have a good one!

Love and cupcakes,
Ms. Meghan

Monday, May 21, 2012

True Confession: I love accent manicures!

Hi everyone!

I was so busy cooking tonight that I almost forget to put up a post.  Good thing I have a backlog of nail polish swatches to show you!!

So let's talk about accent manicures.  Generally speaking, I consider an accent manicure one where the whole hand is the same except for one nail which is usually, but not always, fancier than the rest.  Or it's just painted in a different color.  There's a variation on this where the thumb is the accent nail and it's called "Blackberry Bling".

I've been doing accent manicures since 2007, I started with a black creme and Sally Hansen Glow on my ring finger.  I wish I could find photographic evidence, or maybe I'll just do it and take pictures, either way it looks awesome!  I also liked to do black + a shimmery fuchsia accent.  Nowadays everyone is doing accent manicures.  But I still think they're pretty sweet, so without further adieu, here are 2 recent versions that I was particularly fond of:

Essie + SOPI accent mani
Essie "Armed and Ready" + SOPI "Don't Be Eggnog-ious" accent

Okay so I loved Armed and Ready in the bottle, it's a really interesting cool olive green with copper shimmer.  On the nails?  Less interesting, but it coordinates really well with the SOPI glitter, which is really nice and shiny.  I just wish it wasn't quite so dense. 

China Glaze accent mani
China Glaze Happy Go Lucky with a Pool Party accent.

OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS MANICURE.  It is one of my favorite manicures I've done this year.  Happy Go Lucky is a favorite polish of mine, I've worn it multiple times with no complaints from me, it's a nearly perfect yellow and it's so much fun!  And then there's Pool Party which is this eye searing neon reddish pink and these two colors just work so well together!  I did this manicure in January when I was bummed about winter and some personal drama and it cheered me up a little, which is pretty amazing because I'm kind of a grumpy person.

(Speaking of bright colors from CG, have you seen the summer collection?  TOTALLY SWOONING!)

And those are some of my favorite accent manicures, feel free to share yours in the comments!

love and cupcakes,
Ms. Meghan

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Jams: things that make you go YAY!

Happy Friday kids!!

As with previous Fridays, I've come to present things that are not only my jam, but also my jelly and marmalade!!

NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast
You can download this free podcast via iTunes, it downloads in the "Culturtopia" feed.  This is my FAVORITE PODCAST IN THE WORLD.   It is hosted by Linda Holmes, the editrix of Monkey See NPR's excellent pop culture blog.  The regular panel includes Stephen Thomspon, Glen Wheldon, and Trey [with an 'e'] Graham [like the cracker] and they are all wonderful.  They discuss various relevant (and irrelevant) topics and always end each episode with what's making them happy.  The regular crew are a good mix of funny, smart, high/low brow, and even if I'm not always into what they're talking about I always ALWAY enjoy it.  Do yourself a favor and check out this podcast!

Kate or Die!
Kate Leth is my new favoritest comic lady.  Her comics/art are cute and saucy and generally excellent with a side of feminism that is super groovy.  FYI her comics are not always SFW so don't click on the link if you're in the office, JUST IN CASE.
Kate or Die!
See?  Isn't it just the best?

[pink grapefruit] Marmalade:
Pink hair!  A long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away your favorite blogger had pink hair!  And lo, it with the hottest of pinks!  Behold:
pink hair
My friend Georgia just posted about having pink hair for the first time (oooh gurrrl it looks good!) and it makes me miss having pink hair SO BAD.  It's probably my favorite hair color in the entire universe to be honest.  Something about it is just completely perfect in every way.  It's bright, it's pink, it makes me happy, it looks good, what's not to love?!  One day I'll have the kind of job where I can have pink hair and not get looked at twice or reprimanded/fired.  And on that day I will be a happy girl.

So those are the things that are my jam this week, have a great weekend!!

love and cupcakes,
Ms. Meghan

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Funky French manicures, are you my arch-nemesis?

Hello friends!

I'm here today with a confession: I have a love/hate relationship with french manicures.  While I do love the soft, clean look of a classic french manicure, I can't stand 75% of the french manis out there.  It has gone from "my nails but better" to "BIGGER BLINGIER TACKIER PINK AND WHITES OMG."  GROSS.

I really think a funky french can be quite chic if done well, black is the go-to choice for many women but really there's a whole rainbow of colors out there, experiment!!  I wish I could just get the hang of doing a french; I've used guides and even when I freehanded it, I just didn't feel like it looked as neat as I wanted.  So here is a brief history of my french manicures, in all their glory:

FF #1: Going green!
first ever funky french
Zoya Rose with China Glaze Entourage tips.

Rose is a sheer pale pink-y beige shimmer with a green flash.  It's really nice by itself, but I thought that green tips would coordinate really well, and Entourage is a pretty spring green with green shimmer.  I like it a lot and it did look nice with Rose, but can you tell I had never done this before and I free-handed the tips?  Because I totally did.

Still fancy
Essie Vanity Fairest + OPI Your Royal Shine-ness + OPI Servin' Up Sparkle

I actually really love this look.  This was my first time using guides and I thought it came out really well, not perfect but still lovely.  Also it is SO FREAKING SPARKLY.   Vanity Fairest is a good go-to french base, it's not streaky, has a little bit of shimmer and it brightens up your nails overall.  And how can you go wrong with a silver foil and silver holo glitter?  I used 2 coats of Servin' Up Sparkle, and it applied really nicely.

FF #3: Black like my soulless heart
Funky French manicure
Vanity Fairest again + OPI Baby It's Coal Outside + China Glaze Fairy Dust
Again with the Vanity Fairest and the silver holo glitter!  I lovelovelove Fairy Dust, it's so pretty and goes with so many colors.  I really like Baby It's Coal Outside, it's a rich black that has a lot of shimmer and still manages to look black and not dark grey.  Oh man the edges here are super messy looking, even with guides being used.  I like the look and I may try this again but I took it off after a day, it was too messy for my tastes.

So there are my 3 attempts at french manicures.  What do you think of french manis?  Do they make your skin crawl, or are they still chic?  Do you have any tips for a french mani n00b such as myself?  Let me know in the comments!

love and cupcakes,
Ms. Meghan

Monday, May 14, 2012

Chili Lime Pineapple!

Hello my anchos and cascabels!

A quick food post for you, but it's so delicious and simple, maybe it will chase away the Monday blues!  I was going to make some chili lime mango for my lunch tomorrow, but my mangoes aren't ripe enough, so instead I decided to use some of the pineapple in my fridge, and I'm so glad I did.

Chili lime pineapple!
After I made this for my lunch, I made another batch to nibble on.

The construction could not be simpler: chop up some pineapple, squeeze on some lime juice and sprinkle on as much cayenne as you like.  The sweetness of the pineapple pairs nicely with the tart lime and cayenne and I bet it would be pretty good with a little sea salt.  Or you could give whole pineapple rings the same treatment and then grill them for extra deliciousness.

And that's all I've got for today, thanks for reading!!

love and cupcakes,
Ms. Meghan

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Friday jam: is it really spring? Yes it is!

Happy weekend everyone!

I think by now it's technically saturday but WHO CARES IT'S THE WEEKEND.

I just spent a lovely evening with my family and will be spending more time with them tomorrow so let's get on with the jam!

late night snackkiwi and blueberrieswatermeolon carnageorangekiwis and strawberries
I can't wait for local fruit to hit the scene but man if I could afford it I would eat fruit all day erry day forever and ever.  I don't think this kind of deliciousness needs more of an explanation.


"Ice Cream Man" by Tom Waits, because seeing the ice cream trucks out and about are getting this song stuck in my head left and right. 

Google Image searching for "tibetan spaniel puppies" because they are the coolest, fluffiest cutest dudes ever.  Don't believe me?  Check out this dude:
dorje, chillaxing
His name is Dorje and he's just the best.  He's not even a puppy at all but don't you just love his cuteness?!?

That's all I've got today, have a great weekend!!!

love and cupcakes,
Ms. Meghan

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hot pink lipstick: MUFE vs. Sephora!

Hello friends!

Once upon a time, I was Tumbling as I am wont to do, and I stumbled upon this post on The Makeup Box, comparing Sephora's Love Test creme lipstick to MAC's LE and sold out Quick Sizzle lipstick from the Shop MAC, Cook MAC collection.  The colors popped off the screen and looked so bold and vibrant, I decided to give Love Test a try.

Lo and behold it was a pretty fair color match for MUFE Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick #36, which I happen to own and love a WHOLE HECK OF A LOT.

Sephora Love Test versus MUFE Rouge Artist Intense #36
MUFE on top, Sephora on the bottom.

So Sephora looks denser and more pigmented than MUFE but I think that's just the sheen of the MUFE lipstick.  It also appears warmer in pictures but they are pretty much the same color.  Honestly, I put them on my lips right next to each other and couldn't tell them apart.

Sephora Love Test versus MUFE Rouge Artist Intense #36
MUFE on the left, Sephora on the right.

I honestly like the MUFE better, it's a really top quality lipstick, it's nice and creamy and wears quite well.  I'm still not 100% sure I should even be wearing the Sephora lipstick, as I have had allergic reactions to some of their lip products in the past.  I've had no bad reactions to Love Test so far, but I'm not totally convinced one way or the other.  I will say that Love Test has a noticable bad taste, not as bad as Urban Decay's lipsticks, but if you are sensitive to these sorts of things (and I am) it's worth keeping in mind.

So if you're looking for a Quick Sizzle dupe, apparently Love Test is a pretty close one, and IMO MUFE #36 is a perfect match for Love Test, so either way you're set.  But really, there's no such thing as too many bright pink lipsticks, am I right?!

love and cupcakes,
Ms. Meghan

Monday, May 7, 2012

Potato and Roasted Tomato Soup!

Hello my little crumpets and scones!

I'm going to share a delicious soup recipe with you today that is not only delicious and far superior to the canned iteration but it's also vegan and gluten free!  But truly, you won't miss the cream/butter.  I mean I'm okay with butter and I don't miss it at all in this soup! 

This recipe was definitely inspired by the "Creamy Tomato Soup" recipe from "Veganomicon" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and I referenced that recipe for the stock/potato quantities for this recipe.  However I've been making a roasted tomato and pepper pasta sauce for a while, and I thought roasting tomatoes would translate well for soup, and boy did it ever!  Incidentally you could roast the tomato mix for only about 30 minutes and then puree that mixture for an excellent pasta sauce. 
Potato and Roasted Tomato Soup

2 lbs. small tomatoes (cherry or grape) washed, cut in half
4-6 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs olive oil
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp of dried thyme & oregano
½ tsp of salt
1 tbs of olive oil
1 medium carrot, 2 ribs of celery and a medium yellow onion diced
½ tsp of salt
6 cups stock/broth
1 lb of white or Yukon gold potatoes peeled and chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 500F.  Mix the tomatoes with the garlic, vinegar, tomato paste, olive oil, paprika, thyme, oregano and salt.  You want all the ingredients to be well-combined and especially for the tomato paste to be completely mixed in with the other ingredients.  It should look like this:
  2. Place the whole mix in a roasting pan (lined with foil if you like easy clean up!) and roast for 50 minutes, making sure to give the pan a shake every 10 minutes or so.  You want the tomatoes to look a little bit roasted and you want the liquid to be about halfway evaporated. It looks like this after roasting:
    Roasted Tomatoes
  3. While the tomatoes are cooling in a large-ish pot sautee the carrot, onion and celery in the olive oil with the salt on medium heat for about 6-7 minutes.  Once they have begun to turn translucent and brown a little add the stock, and the potatoes, as well as the tomato mixture.  Bring it up to boil and turn down to a simmer.
  4. It should take about 30 minutes for the potatoes to be cooked through, and once they are cooked, puree the mixture (carefully!) in a blender or using an immersion blender if you have one.  Once the soup is completely blended, run it through a strainer back into the pot and heat for another 10 minutes and serve.

Potato and Roasted Tomato Soup!

You can garnish it with fresh basil or parsley, pesto or some cheese if you’re not vegan.  This would be great with sandwiches, especially grilled cheese or a garlicky chickpea type sandwich or just some good garlic bread. 

And that's it for today, I hope you all try this soup and love it as much as I do!

Love and cupcakes,
Ms. Meghan

Friday, May 4, 2012

The premiere of Friday Jams!

Happy Friday and May the Fourth be with you!!!

I decided to start a new weekly post on Fridays called Friday Jams!  This gives me a chance to post about things I love, or things that are my jam, jelly and marmalade!!


So this is definitely a slow jam but what a song.  This album and this song have been in my life for 15 years, and this song has been with me for almost every crush I have ever had, which is a powerful thing.  But I honestly think this version of the song is a perfect representation of longing: Ani's performance vocally and instrumentally is a little delicate and reined in, and the slide guitar is a perfect accompaniment to represent the bittersweet tang of un/requited love.  If you like Ani, and you don't have this album, do yourself a favor and check it out.


Meelo is my patronus, funny eyebrows, lumpy head and all.  BE THE LEAF!  Actually The Legend of Korra has been pretty amazing thus far, I'm pretty excited to see where it goes (and to find out who Lin's father is!!!)


I just started reading "Zone One" and it is so so so good.  I don't mind zombie fiction and I do read it, but most of it is just genre fiction.  This is a zombie book that defies its genre, and I would even go so far as to compare it to "World War Z".  Well worth checking out.

And that's all I've got today, have a great weekend everyone!

love and cupcakes,
Ms. Meghan

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Compare and contrast: pink blushes!

Hey everyone!

I recently purchased a couple of products that seemed awfully similar to each other, so I thought I would compare.  I've got another one of these posts coming up with lipstick as well, but I'm pretty stoked on this as one of the products is limited edition and already HTF.

MAC Lovecloud versus Sonia Kashuk Flushed!

MAC Lovecloud versus Sonia Kashuk Flushed

Lovecloud was released as part of the Très Cheek collection pretty recently and sold out fast fast fast at all the counters (at least the ones by me) though I just checked and you can still purchase it online (although it sold out at first). It's a beautiful pale, bright pink. It's matte, a little warm, but it's still very pink and I completely love it. Flushed is a slightly deeper bright pink, with some shimmer, it is definitely closely related to Lovecloud, but it's a little warmer, deeper and doesn't apply as smooth.

MAC Lovecloud versus Sonia Kashuk Flushed

In the pan, they look remarkably similar. But once they are swatched, their differences come out a little bit more. If you can find them, both are worth owning, though the SK is a bit cheaper and much more widely available.

MAC Lovecloud versus Sonia Kashuk Flushed
Flushed on the left, Lovecloud on the right

 So that's Flushed vs. Lovecloud, I hope you liked it! 

love and cupcakes,
Ms. Meghan

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Juicelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Solid Food

(You can read up on day one here!)

I hinted at it on my twitter feed, but I broke cleanse*!  I KNOW.  I feel sort of guilty and then I don't and then I'm indifferent to the whole thing.  Honestly after the bowl of cappellini aglio a olio everything was garlicy and nothing hurt, and ultimately my decision was made after considering the following:
  1. Time: I spent a lot of time washing, peeling, chopping, juicing, AND cleaning.  I would say at least an hour if not more each night.  I'm not a quick person, and I have small hands and minor coordination issues, so you might be faster than me.
  2. Waste/cost: for all the goodness that came out of the juice, this is not a top of the line juicer and a lot of goodness (and waste for sure) was getting thrown out.  And that means a lot of money was getting thrown out.  On the other hand, I don't always use up all my produce so I suppose the difference about balances out.
  3. Physical effects: I had cravings like mad and they never went away.  I never had any blood sugar crashes, but I was cold most of the time, and really unfocused and sleepy all day.  And even yesterday when I upped my juice intake, I felt slightly feverish which is my body's way of telling me that something isn't right. 
I want to try again, and I want to keep juicing, it is really nice, but I think my slightly poor time management skills plus the turn of cold, damp weather combined in such a way that this didn't work out the way I wanted it to.  I think that if I alternate days versus doing it for days at a stretch, I'll have an easier time of it.  We'll see I suppose. 

So have you tried a juice cleanse?  Did you have more success than I?  Do tell in the comments!!

*In case this confused you, straight edge people use the term "breaking edge" when they choose to starting drinking/using drugs.  So breaking cleanse = stopping the cleanse.

My first glitter gradient mani!

Soooo in the wake of not dealing well with the aforementioned juice cleanse, I completely spaced on writing my post for yesterday, so you get 2 posts today, and this one is about the sweet manicure spotted in Monday's post.  So without further very first glitter gradient manicure!

Green and gold glitter gradient!

First, let me wax about Illamasqua Nomad, which is the base for this polish.  It is MAGNIFICENT.   It is a glorious, gorgeous jade green that applies pretty much perfectly.  I had almost no clean up and it barely needed 2 coats.

I used 2 China Glaze polishes for the glitter, "White Cap" which is a sheer gold glass fleck and "Medallion" which is extra small and small gold and medium silver holo glitter in a clear base.  Both polishes are great, though I didn't really need "White Cap", "Medallion" is spectacular all on its own.

To make the gradient, I did a layer of polish on the top third of the nail and let that set for about a minute.  I then applied a thick second layer over that, and working quickly, took a clear polish and ran that over the top and middle third of the nail from the top down.  I used a clear Essie I had lying around, but any clear polish will do as long as it's not a quick drying polish.  I only had to do this all once through.

Green and gold glitter gradient!

I think it came out fairly well for a first time, and if I had more patience it probably would have been even nicer!  I hope you liked this post, I'll be back later with the juice cleanse update!

love and cupcakes,
Ms. Meghan

Monday, April 30, 2012

Juice Cleanse: Day One

Hello friends!

I recently decided to hop on the bandwagon and do a juice cleanse. But I am not made of money or influence and cannot afford the $100 a day for the much talked about R.C. However, I really like the idea of resetting my body and brain a little bit, and I definitely struggle with appropriate portion size and impulse control, and that seems to be a touted benefit of doing a cleanse.  So after re-reading Hannah's post on XOJane I decided to give it a go myself. I purchased a juicer thanks to my tax refund, and I got to work.

Last night I made 2 juices, and forgive the indulgence but I have given them slighty silly names:

Green Goodness
2 handfuls of chopped kale and baby spinach
1 fuji apple, peeled/chopped
1 kiwi, peeled/chopped
4 romaine leaves, washed
1 tablespoon lemon juice (I juiced 2 lemons and am keeping that in the fridge to add as needed, I probably needed 1.5 for this juice)
2 mini english cukes, chopped
tiny piece of peeled ginger
a few parsley & mint leaves

Ravishing Red
(the inspiration for this was a frequent side dish favorite of mine which is orange ginger roasted beets)
1 beet, washed, peeled, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled, chopped 1 fuji apple, peeled, chopped
1 orange peeled, broken up into reasonable segments
larger piece of peeled ginger
4 romaine leaves

I sent all ingredients through the juicer, though I found that I needed to send the expelled pulp back through a couple of times. Both juices came out fine. The recipes here maybe made 14 oz of juice, maybe 16 oz.? I am using 20 oz. water bottles so I just made up the difference with water. Both juices were good but it certainly was not enough to get me through the day and I came home cold, hungry and a little crabby. So I made this: Juice cleanse soup.
(Does that amazing looking manicure intrigue you? Check back tomorrow for the details!)
3 small tomatoes
2 handfuls kale, one of spinach
1/2 small clove of garlic
A few parsley leaves
Sprinkle of cayenne

I then added a little water to this, plus a couple of pinches of salt (!!!! I think the salt is definitely cheating!!!!) and heated up the whole mixture in the microwave. It was fine, it was obviously not a perfect substitute for the delicious, delicious pizza I am craving right now. The pizza that is in my fridge not 10 feet from where I sit. But I will ignore it and stick with the juice as long as I can, and I'll be back on Wednesday with a cleanse update!

-Ms. Meghan

p.s. Big disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and I don't necessarily recommend doing anything like this without doing research and/or consulting with your doctor.  Do what's right and healthy for you.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Featured on Temptalia: Polka Dots on Pink!

Hey friends,

Temptalia put out a call for spring nails, and since I was stuck at home dealing with major drama (UGH) but nothing to do, I decided to put together a sweet manicure to submit!

Spring/Easter nails!
Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear polish was used for almost all of this look. Bubblegum Pink is the base, and the dots were done in Mint Sorbet and Lacey Lilac. I added a top coat of China Glaze Fairy Dust, because it's a nice subtle sparkle that doesn't hide the colors underneath it.

I've done just the polka dots as an accent nail, for my birthday manicure last year:
You can't really see them because I topped the whole look with the sinful glitter polish and it's kind of thick.

So if you want to check out the other shot of my look or all the other super cute spring manicures, just click here! Thanks to Christine for opening up for submissions, that's super cool of her!

love and cupcakes,
Ms Meghan

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sicky McInfectedpants Soup!

Hello friends.

Today was absolutely lovely around here, it was sunny, and in the high 50's at least. I mean, I spent most of the day inside, but when I left work it was nice out. I'm even typing this with the window open in my kitchen. In spite of all the nice weather, I am feeling crummy. So I ran a few quick errands, picked up a couple of things at the grocery store and have made my go to #1 soup for when I am feeling ill. I call it Sicky McInfectedpants soup, and it is pretty tasty, seriously easy, and good fer what ails ya. When I'm feeling unwell, I tend to crave fresher flavors, but I really love spicy/sour flavors, it wakes me up and makes me feel better just by eating it. And if you're congested, who needs Sudafed when you have spicy soup?!

I'm going to outline the simple version, and then detail how I gussy it up further. You can make it as simple or complex as you're feeling.

Sicky McInfectedpants Soup!

Sicky McInfectedpants soup
1-1.5 tsp grapeseed oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, grated
1/2 inch piece of ginger, grated
crushed red pepper flakes
32-48 oz. of stock (I used a box of Kitchen Basics unsalted chicken stock and then added 2 c. of water and one veggie boullion cube)
pinch of salt, or more as needed.
handful of grated carrot
1 scallion, thinly sliced
lime juice (1 wedge per bowl)

1. Heat up the oil in a medium pot, grating in the garlic & ginger once it starts to thin out. Add a pinch of salt and cook on medium heat until they start to get a little clumpy and very light brown.
2. Add the crushed red pepper flakes (to taste, some people like a little, some people like a lot!) and cook for 30 seconds. Turn the heat up to high and add your stock.
3. Once the soup comes up to a boil, turn down to a simmer and add the carrots.
4. Serve hot with a squeeze of lime juice, and some crackers on the side.

Now, I wasn't feeling so crummy, so I got a little fancy:

1. I added ~1 tsp of tom yam paste to the garlic and ginger. This can be found at a well stocked Asian market. It has a very high sodium content, so I used it pretty sparingly.

2. In a separate tiny pot, I toasted up the crushed red pepper flakes with whole coriander, whole black peppercorns, and whole cardamon (the little seeds, not the whole pods). I added a little bit of stock to this plus the stumps of the garlic cloves I grated into the bigger pot. I cooked this at a boil for a few minutes then poured it through a strainer into the big pot.

3. Once I brought the stock up to a boil, I ladled it into a bowl with: chopped baby spinach, finely chopped parsley, grated carrot, and topped all this with scallions. It was hot enough to cook everything.

4. I added some low sodium soy sauce because the soup was under-seasoned. This is the kind of recipe that you can add salt at the end if needed and the soup won't suffer for it. Just add it a little at a time so you don't over-do it.

5. You can add shredded chicken or chickpeas to this to make it extra filling. You can also add bulgur, just make sure to stick to only about 1/4-1/2 c. uncooked bulgur because it soaks up liquid, and you want to have soup, not mush.

Sicky McInfectedpants Soup!

See, that wasn't so hard! And it takes less than 1/2 an hour to put together, so you have plenty of time to veg on the couch and watch cartoons, or if you're me, play your new video game!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Entertaining ideas and suggestions!

Hey everyone!

So I totally polish bombed you last week, how much fun was that? I thought it was pretty groovy myself and it was kind of cool to have regular posts for a change. And I would like to post more, but I'm finding it hard to focus on one thing because I want to focus on ALL THE THINGS!

But the more I think about it, the more I realize I would love to have a lifestyle type blog, with a variety of posts, but focused on lifestyle blogging for the rest of us. I realize that with most lifestyle bloggers, it is something like escapist fantasy. However I think it would be nice to read a blog that is something you want to read, and is both entertaining and realistic! Maybe this is unattainable, or maybe it isn't, but I think that there's a market for it.

Is there something you would like to see in a lifestyle blog, or this blog in general? Let me know in the comments!

love and cupcakes,
Ms Meghan

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Week of Greens day 7: St Patrick's Day mani!

Even though I'm sort of indifferent to St Patrick's day, being festive = fun nail polish, and I'm always down with that! I was going to something over the top and fancy but then I realized simpler was easier and could still be just as pretty!

And how could I NOT wear a polish called "Four Leaf Clover"?
China Glaze: Four Leaf Clover

This is China Glaze Four Leaf Clove from the AMAZING Up & Away collection. It's a seriously beautiful teal/green creme, which of course just won't be photographed properly. It's brighter and more green in real life. On my ring finger (my accent nail of choice) I did a coat of Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure (the original) and over that a coat of Essie As Gold as it Gets. So it's kind of like a pot of gold, but mostly it's just really pretty.

A note on the manicure: This is 1 coat of Seche rebuild, 1 coat of China Glaze Ridge Filler and 2 coats of FLC. I think China Glaze Ridge Filler is the best in the entire universe but it's a little HTF for me, so I don't use it very often. I do like to use it with really intense/pigmented greens to help prevent staining.

China Glaze: Four Leaf Clover
Slightly blurry, but still so pretty!!!!

I think you can still get the Up & Away collection from most e-tailers, and if you can, you should, speaking only for the brights, it's an amazing collection. The pastels are beautiful too, I'm just not a pastel kind of girl for the most part. Hidden Treasure was of course LE, but there are enough dupes of it floating around, and As Gold as it Gets is still pretty widely available (I saw it at Target last night!)

So that's my week of greens! I'll probably give nail polish a break, but I'll definitely be back soon with something awesome! Happy St. Patrick's day everyone!!

Week of greens day 6!

Sorry for the delayed post everyone, I got really sleepy last night and completely forgot to put this up! I also have to post my St Patrick's Day manicure! So let's move on to yesterday's post!

SH Lacquer Shine: Glow
Sally Hansen Lacquer Shine in Glow!

This is a beautiful lime green with tons of gold shimmer! It's so sparkly it almost looks like a foil, but it's definitely a shimmer! I really love this color, my go to manicure (going back 5 years) was this polish on my ring finger and the rest of my nails painted with a black creme. It was pretty fly if I do say so myself.

SH Lacquer Shine: Glow
One more shot!

I love the name of this color because it really does glow! Unfortunately the line was discontinued a while ago, but if you do see these polishes anywhere, pick them up! They are really beautiful. And I'm pretty sure that Zoya makes a couple of close dupes for this color.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Week of Greens day 5!

Hello again, I'm back with another green polish, one that is widely available and I'm madly in love with it! Aaaw yeah!

Sally Hansen Smooth & Perfect: Sea
Sally Hansen Smooth and Perfect in Sea! (forgive the extra shiny cuticles, I was almost done swatching and my skin was so dry!)

I am in LOVE LOVE with this whole collection. It is 7 pastels (beige, 2 pinks, coral, blue, green, purple) plus a white and they all have this amazing soft shimmer to them. It's very fine and not quite warm, so they sort of glow and it's beautiful.

I saw these polishes popping up on a few blogs and wanted to give them a try, I bought Dune (the beige shade) and fell head over heels. WITH A BEIGE NAIL POLISH. So I slowly bought the whole collection (and bought backups of Dune & Fog [white]).

Sally Hansen Smooth & Perfect: Sea
Bottle shot, look at that shimmer!

The polish has ridge filler in it, so by the 3rd+ coat, your nails are gonna look soooo smooth, my thumbs have some horizontal ridges going on and with this polish they are non-existant. The only downfall is drying is a bit tricky and these are sheerish, requiring 3-5 coats. While I am not usually the kind of girl that tolerates anything that requires more than 2 coats, I completely tolerate it for these. YEAH. They are that pretty.

Sally Hansen Smooth & Perfect: Sea
One more shot!!! (Ignore the smudge!)

These are pretty widely available now, I've seen them at drugstores, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond (the ones that sell bath/beauty products). They run ~$5-$8 but Sally Hansen is on sale all the time. I would recommend this in a heartbeat!!!!

Tune in tomorrow for a slightly old school (5 years or older?!) Sally Hansen! Yeah!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Week of Greens day 4!

Just like I promised, today I'm posting 3 Funky Fingers polishes for you! I'm so nice!

Funky Fingers is pretty much re-packaged Color Club, right? I mean, there are some colors that Color Club doesn't have, but it is nice if CC is harder to find and you happen to have a Five Below near you (where I find mine). Anyway, on to the polish!!

First up, Sold Out Arena!
Funky Fingers: Sold Out Arena

I'm not a huge fan of foils but I really liked this polish. It looked much better in real life, I didn't feel like I needed more than one coat, and I didn't have too much trouble applying it, and while it looks brushstroke-y it really wasn't.

Next, is a "funky fingers" exclusive (not a cc dupe) Mrs. Mint!
Funky Fingers: Mrs. Mint
I wish this color looked like the photograph but it is much more pale/yellow based, and the gold shimmer in the bottle was non-existent on the nail. Bummer! I would love a bright jade-y turquoise with tons of gold shimmer, but this was a standard mint creme with a whisper of gold shimmer.

Finally....TINSEL TOWN.
Atlantis vs Tinsel Town
Tinsel Town vs. China Glaze Atlantis, a color which blew our minds when it was released. Well, it blew my mind, look at how gorgeous it is! Anyway, I thought maybe these two would be close, and while they are close-ish, they're not dupes at all.

Funky Fingers: Tinsel Town
That's Atlantis on my ring finger and Tinsel Town on the others. Atlantis is darker and more muted, while Tinsel Town is brighter and I think the glitter is a little different. They are both worth owning (of course I would say that) but owning one or the other is a matter of taste/availability.

So there you have it, 3 groovy new Funky Fingers polishes! I hope you liked them, and if you did try checking your local Five Below or consult that wondrous oracle The Google to find out if they are sold elsewhere. Coming up in the next couple of days a pretty new and a kind of old couple of polishes from Sally Hansen, plus what will my St. Patrick's day manicure be?!?! Come back tomorrow, same cupcake time, same cupcake channel!!