Monday, July 29, 2013

New Beginnings and Crossroads


Well hello, hello! 

For anyone out there still reading my blog you may be asking where did you go? What happened? Why the long hiatus? 

Well, quite frankly, I don't have a very good reason...life just happened... During my junior and senior year of college the academic load just got heavier, and I became more involved in extracurricular activities. I had to prioritize some things, and as much as I enjoy blogging, I had to put it on hold. 

So what's new? 
1. I am a new grad with a B.S. in biological sciences 
2. I moved from SoCal back to my hometown 
3.  I am currently job hunting 
4. I am learning how to transition into this new chapter of my life 

So what does that mean? 
Hopefully more time to blog!  

As I just mentioned, I recently moved back home, and the first few days were filled with lots of sorting and unpacking. In order to make room for all the new things I acquired during college (a.k.a mostly clothes and makeup), I had to sort through my dresser and closet for things I don't wear anymore. For instance, remember those Hollister polos from high school? So I went on an expedition to do something with my used clothes, and I wanted to let you all know of these options as well!



1. Try to sell back your clothes!

It all started this past spring when my roommates and I were cleaning out our closets. We decided to bring our unwanted clothes to a Crossroads Trading Co. which just opened in a plaza close to our condo. If you haven't heard of Crossroads, it is a used clothing store on the trendier side. They do have a small selection of new discounted clothes, but most of their inventory comes from people who sell back their clothes to Crossroads! Every season they come out with a flier which shows examples of the types of clothing/trends they are especially looking for during that time period. They will also price these items higher (and give you more cash back/store credit) due to the higher demand.


For Crossroads' buy back policy, they give you 50% store credit of what price they are marking your clothes. However, if you want cash they will only give you 30%. Depending on the store location and the associates working, sometimes they tend to be pickier on certain days. I've noticed they tend to be pretty brand conscious, so that may work in your favor or not. I took my clothes to a Crossroads near my home town. Most of my clothes were pretty dated, so I didn't expect them to take much. And I was right, they didn't take anything!

Another store that is much like Crossroads is Plato's Closet. Plato's Closet isn't seasonal like Crossroads, so they will look at any type of clothing regardless of what time of the year it is. Their buy back policy is a little different, since they only give you the option of 30-40% cash of what they price your clothes at. They do take a larger variety of used jewelry compared to Crossroads. For both stores, if the associates are busy or there are a lot of customers in front of you be prepared to wait. They usually take their time expecting your clothes for general wear/stains. I was in each store for 40 minutes! Unfortunately, Plato's Closet didn't take any of my stuff either!



2. Donate your clothes! 

And this is what I ended up doing with my clothes! Luckily, all of these stores including a Goodwill were within close proximity to each other. It's a painless process. Usually you just drive your car around to the back of the store, and someone helps you with your donation. I was out within five minutes. To be honest, it feels more altruistic knowing that my gently used, somewhat in style clothes are being sold at a much lower price to someone who needs them or at least enjoyed finding a good deal.



So whether you are trying to make some extra cash or doing a good deed, I hope this post helped someone out! I would love to know what you guys do with your old clothes!

Superlove & more blogging soon, 
Emily

P.S. After that clothing expedition, I went to get a haircut. I decided to go for a full straight fringe, and so far I'm liking it! Here's a picture straight out of the salon. I apologize for the little hairs on my face!



Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sweet Italian Sausage Pasta & Salad

Hello Everyone! 
Long time no blog, right? I apologize for the lack of posts for the past couple of months. As I've been progressing through my undergrad years of college it just keeps getting harder and harder... Unfortunately, I'll probably only be able to update this blog when I have some extra time on my hands. But please do check back every now and then! :) 

Now that the new quarter has just begun, I have been taking many trips to the grocery store in order to stock up my fridge. Today I wanted to cook some type of pasta dish, and as I was strolling through the isles of Trader Joe's, I spotted their "Sweet Italian Sausage". I decided that I would try a twist on my usual Spaghetti & Salad. Usually I just make my Spaghetti with lean ground beef, and it's pretty good for the most part. However, the Italian sausage adds so much more flavor to the pasta! Next time you spot it in the meat department definitely give it a try. 



This sauce recipe serves around 4-5 people. However, if you're only serving for 2 (in my case my roommate, Connie, and I) just freeze the rest and defrost for another time!  

Ingredients for Sweet Italian Sausage Pasta: 
1. Trader Joe's Sweet Italian Sausage  
2. Yellow Onion 
3. Garlic 
4. Dried Italian Seasoning  
5. Red Tomato based Pasta Sauce (I used Classico's Sweet Tomato Basil)
6. Linguine (or use your favorite type of pasta)  

For the Salad:
7. Romaine Lettuce
8. Mini Tomatoes 
(cherry, grape, or in my case heirloom!)  
9. Cucumbers (I used Persian) 
10. Corn 
11. Dressing of your choice (I used Caesar) 

Step 1: 
Prepare the ingredients for your salad. You can either cut or rip your salad into bite sized pieces. I halved/quartered the tomatoes depending on the size and I cut the cucumbers in to 1/4 in. thick half circles. Place everything in a large bowl.




Tip: For any meal, prepare your raw vegetables first. If you start by preparing the ingredients for the pasta, you'll get an onion-y/garlic-y tasting salad! Also you avoid any cross contamination. 

Step 2: 
Prepare the ingredients for your pasta sauce. Finely cube a quarter of an onion, mince 3-5 cloves of garlic (depending on how much you like garlic!), and reserve an 1/4 of a cup of tomatoes from the salad. 

 

Step 3
Heat up some olive oil in a pan on medium high and add your onions. Cook and stir them for about ~3 minutes, or until their slightly translucent. Add your garlic, a dash of salt, and a generous tablespoon of Italian seasoning. Continue to cook and stir for another ~3 minutes. 

 

Tips: By adding salt you're able to draw out the moisture from the onions. This way they'll cook faster and sweeter as well. Also by adding the dried Italian seasoning now, you're able to bring out their flavors in the hot oil.  While you're waiting, start boiling some water for the pasta! 

Step 4: 
Cut and throw out the casings from your sausage links. Add the sausage to the pan and use a large spoon to crumble the sausage into very small pieces. Continue to brown and cook the sausage for ~6-8 minutes, or till they're almost cooked through.  

 

Step 5: 
While your sausage is cooking, prepare your pasta using the directions on the box. Don't forget to add salt to the boiling water before you put in your pasta! This should take about 9-11 minutes depending on the type of pasta you are using. 


Step 6
Turn the heat to medium low and add the whole jar of your favorite red pasta sauce to the pan.  Put a lid on the pan and simmer while stirring occasionally. When there is 3 minutes left till the pasta is done, add your reserved tomatoes to the sauce to heat them through. This adds as nice freshness to the sauce! If you have fresh herbs, do it at this time as well. 

Tip: If you're skillet does not have a lid, just use a large piece of foil! 

Step 7: 
Drain your pasta, toss your salad (without dressing!), and assemble your plate. I usually don't dress my salad until everything is plated. This way everyone can use their own favorite type of dressing, and if there is extra salad I can store it in the fridge without it getting soggy. 


I hope you enjoyed this recipe, and if you try it out tell me how it goes! 

Superlove & Happy Eating, 
Emily 


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What's in my Purse/Bag + Video!

Hello everyone!
If you've read my blog before, you may know that my birthday passed a couple weeks ago. I was fortunate enough to receive the Canon Powershot s95, which has awesome video recording capabilities.  To celebrate I thought why not get to know me a little better though a "What's in my Purse" video! 


The Purse:  
Beige Deena and Ozzy Moto Duffle Bag 
It's not as large as a regular duffle bag. I think the name refers to the shape.
 


What a carry with me: 


Sunglasses, Aspirin/Ibuprofen, Coin Purse, Keys, Cell Phone, Wallet, Cross Pen/Pencil  
(These are the essentials that I carry with me on a regular basis) 
Dog keychain, Hair Masks from Vietnam (I just visited my cousins who gave me these gifts from their trip to Vietnam. I kept them in my purse for the time being, and never took them out till now!), Monopoly Deal (this may become an essential...it's a great game to play with friends!) 

Carmex, Oil blotting sheets, Sephora mirror compact, Faceshop eyebrow pencil, Revlon Colorburst Lipgloss in Peony, hair brush (this wasn't included in the video because I took it out to brush my hair before I filmed it LOL!), Banana Boat Sunblock, L'Occitane hand cream, & hand sanitizer.

This is all very new to me, so I hope everyone who watched the video enjoyed it! I really had fun filming and editing, so hopefully I can make more in the future :) 

Super Love & Yay for Trying New Things, 
Emily 

P.S. If you guys watched the video, I really hope I didn't waste 8 minutes of your lives... 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Sunshine State.

Hello everyone :)
I'm back from vacation, and if you couldn't tell from the title I went to Florida! I usually go on vacation with just my immediate family, but this summer was different because my grandparents joined us. Although the pace of this vacation was more mellow, I definitely enjoyed bonding with them. Here's a little recap of what I did on vacation with some photos. Remember to click the pictures if you want to enlarge the photos or see them in better quality. 

We first flew to Orlando and while I was there I visited Universal Studios, specifically for the Harry Potter theme park, and Animal Kingdom in Disney World. It was so cool to see Hogwarts and Hogsmead come to life. They had shops like the Three Broomsticks, Honeydukes, and Zonko's. I even got to drink butter beer, which tasted like a delicious butter scotch malt slush. But, boy was it expensive at $11.50 for the drink as well as the plastic mug it comes in. I did keep the mug as souvenir though :)  Unfortunately I don't think the $85 for the ticket was completely worth it. The rest of the other areas within the park, like Toon Lagoon or Seuss Landing were pretty mediocre. I'm really glad I got to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter though. 

My family and I had a blast at Animal Kingdom! Maybe it's because I'm a sucker for anything Disney, but I enjoyed everything about the park. If you haven't been to Animal Kingdom in Disney World, think of it as an amusement park and a zoo in one! The park itself is beautiful and lush, with it's themed areas entitled Africa, Asia, and Dino USA. Not only do they have really fun rides, but there were also great opportunities to see many different types of animals, like apes and rhinos, in an environment that actually looked like their natural habitat rather than in cages or behind glass! They also have really beautifully performed shows like, Festival of the Lion King and the Finding Nemo Musical.   

I didn't want to bring my DSLR to the amusement parks, so unfortunately I don't have any pictures from these days. Sorry everyone, I didn't want my camera to get stolen or broken :(

We then drove to Fort Meyers and later Bradenton to relax at the beach. I loved the beaches in Florida. The sand was so white, fine and soft. It literally felt like flour between your toes! The water was also nice and warm and there was a huge abundance of seashells.  

 



While in that area we visited the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. This is basically a historical museum that preserved the vacation houses and grounds that Edison and Ford would travel to in the winter to escape the cold and continue their research. There were many exotic plants there, like bamboo which was used for Edison's bulb filaments and rubber tree's used for Ford's tires. Edison's house was so tech savy for time with electric lighting and an intercom system. I bet it would be equivalent to Bill Gates' house now! (Did you know upon entering Bill Gates' house guests wear a pin? This pin helps the room automatically adjust the temperature and lighting when the a guest walks in!)


 




Both my grandma and mom really enjoy growing their own plants, so we went to the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. This Botanical Garden is known for it's wide variety of epiphytes, plants which grow on other plants or objects but are not parasitic. Although I myself do not have a green thumb, I still appreciated the beautiful scenary and I loved taking pictures here.

 





Even though I had fun on the trip, like everyone says, there is no place like home. I'm really glad to be back and away from Florida's humidity! I hope you enjoyed all the pictures :)


Superlove and Sunshine, 
Emily 

P.S. I got pretty tan from this trip! I wonder if you guys will be able to tell in photos :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Two Decades.

Today was a good day.



Every time my birthday rolls around, I enjoy being able to reflect how much I have grown and matured over the years. More importantly than that, I love recognizing all the people who have constantly been with me along the journey. I am so blessed to have my family and friends who spent this special day with me. And lastly thank you to everyone who enjoys reading my blog and for leaving all the lovely comments. It's been a really great creative outlet for me :) 

Superlove & Red Velvet Cheescakes, 
Emily

P.S. Now it's time for vacation. See you all in 15 days. Expect a lot of pictures :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ombre.

Hello! 
I hope everyone is having a great summer. I can't believe it's already almost mid August! Luckily, us quarter kids don't start till late September, so I still have some time to relax and enjoy the summer sun. To all you semester kids, high schoolers, and everyone already working, good luck on this upcoming school year! Take advantage of this fresh start :)

This summer, I took summer school from late June to end of July, so I've only been home for a little less than two weeks. I've been enjoying being able to catch up with old high school friends and just chill at home with family. Yesterday, I was quite bored and decided to do something spontaneous... so I dyed my hair!  

I've been contemplating Ombre hair for awhile, but I thought it would only look good on girls with lighter hair. However, seeing how great it looked on Ashlee Simpson and Rachel Bilson, I finally decided to go through with it. If you're unfamiliar with what ombre hair is, it's basically when the color of your hair has a gradient effect. It is the most dark at your roots gradually getting lighter till it reaches the tips where it is the lightest. 


 Me being gutsy and honestly semi-broke, I decided to do it myself after watching a lot of youtube tutorials. If you're contemplating doing this yourself, I suggest you watch this one!

I decided to get the L'Oreal Frost and Design in Caramel. This is originally intended as a highlighting kit. I did highlight my hair as well to help the ombre effect blend in my hair, but I mainly used the dye for the ends of my hair. It has lightening properties in it, enabling the dye to lift even darker hair colors.  This dye actually works surprisingly fast, so if you use it I suggest that you check your hair often. My hair became light brown in about 20 minutes! Since I have super dark hair, the lighter parts do seem slightly brassy...nothing a toning shampoo can't fix!
 
After lots of hole poking, aluminum foil ripping, and inhaling disgusting fumes, here are the results: 

Click to enlarge and for better quality pictures. 

 



I know this look isn't for everyone, but I think it's a fun change for now!
What do you guys think? 

Superlove & Endless Summers, 
Emily 

P.S. Even my older brother helped me! Yay for nice siblings :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Ahoy there!

Hello again! 
I hope everyone is doing well :) 
Where have I been? Honestly, it's just been the usual - school, studying, dance, and whatever leftover time I have with friends and family. I can't believe my second year of college is coming to an end. It's definitely true when people say that your undergrad years will pass you by. As for the collegiate dance team I'm on, our season is over since it coincides with the school year. I'm no longer a newbie! Next year I'll be considered a returner. I also got a research position in a neurobiology lab on campus! I'm really looking forward to summer and seeing what my third year has in store for me. 

To celebrate the last day of classes, Connie and I decided to have one last spiffy day. I really hope we will continue this tradition when fall quarter of 2011 rolls around.  Here are some pictures from yesterday!  Click them if you want to see them in better resolution. 

To go along with my nautical inspired dress I decided to do a classic pin up-esque look with winged eyeliner and a bolder lip. Connie allowed me to bring out my inner make up artist and create a look for her. For her tribal print top I decided to go for a slightly more dramatic day look with a diffused cut crease for her monolids. Hope it turned out well!


 


  

  
 



  


Outfit Details: 

Emily:
Nautical Dress - Forever21 (I love how it has pockets!!) 
Navy Blue Socks - Target 
Boots - Star Ling (purchased at Nordstroms)  
Pearl Earrings - borrowed from Mom

Connie: 
Tribal print shirt - Forever 21
Black Denim Shorts - Cotton On 
Sandals - Sam Edelman (purchased at Nordstroms) 
Earrings - Korean Boutique  

Make Up Details: 

Emily: 
MAC Face and Body Foundation 
Rock & Republic Blush in Bedroom
Too Faced Shadow Insurance 
Wet N' Wild Color Icon Palette in Vanity - Matte Off White shade 
Wet N' Wild Color Icon Brow Pencil 
MAC Black Track Fluid Line 
Maybelline Falsies Mascara
MAC Lipstick in Viva Glam Cindy  
Stila Lip Glaze in Merry  

Connie: 
Luichel Foundation Powder
Nars Blush in Orgasm
Too Faced Shadow Insurance 
Revlon Eyeshadow Palette in Copper Spice - Gold and Dark Brown color 
Revlon Kajal Eyeliner 
Covergirl Lash Blast Mascara 
Wet N' Wild Lipstick in Peachy


Hope everyone has a great weekend while Connie and I are studying our eyeballs out for finals!! 

Superlove & Funny Faces, 
Emily 

P.S. I've missed you all! I guess the one thing about being inactive on blogger is the fact that you have a lot of blogs to read and catch up on. You don't have to anxiously wait for udpates :)