St. Patrick Day ~Green Tea Chocolate Chip Cookies~

In honor of St. Patricks Day, I decided to play around with some matcha powder and put them in chocolate chip cookies. The aftermath:

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If you have a favorite chocolate chip cookies recipe, I would just simply add the matcha powder in there, though I would use all white sugar instead of brown sugar to keep the vibrancy of the green color.

Trader Joe’s did start selling match powder recently. I emptied 4 packs into my batter of a 1 egg recipe batch. At Trader Joe’s you do have the option of purchasing chocolate chunks instead of chips but the chips would work better for the same reason I mentioned with using white sugar (to have the green color of the batter stand out instead of having a whole bunch of micro-sized chocolate crumbs blending in).

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So to sum, here’s the gist of what I did:

~Ingredients~

  • About 1 1/2 c flour blend (coconut flour, almond flour, regular flour)
  • 8 oz blend of butter and cream cheese
  • About 3/4 c sugar
  • Drizzle of almond extract
  • About 1/2 bag of chocolate chips (6oz.)
  • About 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 4 packets  (approximately 6 grams) of match powder

Cream the butter/cream cheese mixture with the sugar, matcha powder and almond extract. Add in the egg and chocolate chips to blend. Fold in the dry ingredients. Refrigerate overnight before forming into balls and baking on a sheet for approximately 8~9 minutes in a preheated oven (350 degrees F).

Wishing you all a festive St. Patricks Day,

M

Seeing Dots

I decided to buy a new pair of brown pumps as they are considered essential in my wardrobe. And of course I decided to get a few other pieces that coincidentally seemed to all work together  (the red hair band and grey dress I was wearing underneath the coat were not part of the new purchase):

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Click here to buy the coat

Though I will not be keeping the coat (the buttons were placed in places that made it a bit tight for active movement) I am definitely not disappointed in the quality of the tights. When it comes to patterned tights I do prefer subtlety and the polka dots thankfully did not make me look like a purple dinosaur (although you may beg to differ). As you could tell from the full body shot, you can’t really tell until you take a look at a closer up photo:

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Click here to buy the shoes
Click here to buy the tights

And secretly, there are red polka dots on the inside lining of the pumps too 😉 It might be because I generally prefer to wear shoes that have rounded toes rather than pointed toes, but there is something about round buttons and dots that are timeless and classy when done right. If it starts raining again, this would be an adorable look to pair with an umbrella. But it has been sunny again here in northern California, so perhaps I’ll be alright with returning the coat after all.

La tee dot, dot, dot ….

-M

My Pre-Ocar Films List 2016-2017

Usually when the Oscar nominations are announced, the nominated films become available for viewing in bulk the weekend(s) prior to the award night. However, I am very sensitive when it comes to sensations such as fatigue of my eyes from film viewing for long periods of time or the motion sickness felt from motions of the camera (and often made worse from the smell of movie theater popcorn).

So I have never done the bulk viewing at such events. Therefore, this year I had resolved to make a list early on in the season in November of films I decided I was interesting in watching prior to the Oscars. Of course, the nominations were not announced back then so I did not know which films would get the nominations at the time I wrote the list. Behold “the list” (with respective release dates):

Hacksaw Ridge – November 4th

Nocturnal Animals – Nov 18th

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Nov 18th

Lion – Nov 25th

Jackie – Dec 2nd

La La Land – Dec 9th

Collateral Beauty – Dec. 16th

Hidden Figures – Jan 13th

Silence – Jan 2017

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(WARNING: Do not read the rest of this blog posting if you do not want any spoiler alerts. )

Like many Oscar-worthy films tend to be, the list is dominated by films that are based on rather serious subject matter. So I did also recently view the film Fifty Shades Darker to indulge on a guilty pleasure moment with a grilled cheese sandwich. And in regards to the Fifty Shades Darker, I did actually enjoy watching this one more than the first one (Fifty Shades of Grey).

Though I applaud Natalie Portman’s transformation into former First Lady Jaqueline Kennedy in Jackie, I was a bit disappointed in the context of the film as it was very much centered around the assassination of her husband which was nothing most of us haven’t heard of (I thought it might go more into her upbringing or other parts of her life).

Nocturnal Animals is the one film I had not been able to cross off my list. However, from watching Collateral Beauty I can see how the films would explore a similar realm in going into someone’s mind in how they see things after a heartbreaking moment. The concept of writing letters to things [in Collateral Beauty] I did find fascinating. And I did think that each “thing” was represented well by the chosen actors – You wouldn’t expect anything less from such an all-star cast.

Andrew Garfield played the main character/protagonist in both Silence and Hackshaw Ridge where he is trying to stand up for his beliefs and they both take place in Japan. But I personally liked Hackshaw Ridge better. It might also be because I’m a sucker for happy endings, but the story of Hackshaw Ridge was also about something I was not familiar with, whereas I had learned about the history of Christianity in Japan in Japanese school (Silence).

Likewise, a lot of people talked about how sad it was that the story of Hidden Figures had not come out until now. But the treatment of black people by NASA and the other characters in the film was something I had become more familiarized with when I binge watched the ABC show Astronaut Wives a few weeks prior to watching the film. Even then, I really did love this film. My girlfriends and I did a lot of cheering for the leading ladies while watching it.

I was also a bit surprised at the ending of La La Land as I thought it was also going to be a happy ending since it seemed like the film was going to be a musical with lots of happy songs (which they still did have a lot of). Prior to watching the film I had heard a few people tell me that they thought the film was overrated but I personally enjoyed the dancing and the artistic color scheme of having everyone wear vibrant solids.

Fantastic Beasts was an adorable film but it might be a bit too adult for a much younger audience as it does also showcase death, abuse, etc. Even if you have never seen a Harry Potter film you should not have any trouble appreciating/understanding the film storyline. I’ve liked a lot of films Eddie Redmayne has starred in and this one seems to also agree with the shy smile-type of personality that he plays well.

With Lion, I liked how you don’t find out what the meaning behind the title is until the very end of the film. I had that experience with the film Arrival back in December (which I also unexpectedly loved). Since Saroo gets lost when he’s only five years old, it did automatically make me think back to my five year old self and what I would be able to recall and piece together had that happened to me. It’s what films do — they make you feel and interpret.

So grab some tissues and get ready to do some crying (and laughing) at the movie theaters if you haven’t already. And to all the Oscar-nominated films — congratulations!

-M

Skin Fabulous in February

I just had my very first experience with getting a full body scrub at a Korean spa at the Pearl Health Spa & Sauna in San Francisco. And am I now addicted! For anyone who doesn’t have sensitive skin issues, I would highly recommend getting this done. My skin feels so much smoother now from the exfoliation~

It’s a leisurely session sandwiched by a luxurious/unlimited usage of their steamed and dry saunas, showers with the best water pressure, hot and cold tubs, and their clay and salt rooms – plan on spending a few hours enjoying yourself to get the full benefit.

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(For the purpose of privacy, I did blur the other person’s face out)

In one of my previous blog postings, I wrote about the new look my go-to sunblock lotion underwent. And I was very pleasantly surprised to have received a box of their products since then.

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While I am still going to continue purchasing their Eco-Sensitive SPF35 (not sent in the box/photographed above), I have found that the Face & Body SPF30 is sufficient for the winter season we are currently in (photographed second from left).

And while I am primarily an indoor athlete (which works to prevent sun damage in the first place) I am bound to have some active fun in the sun from time to time and appreciate the addition of the Ocean Tested Physical Sunscreen (photographed second from the right) and the Aloe Vera Skin Fix gel (photographed at the very left) as I already have plans on taking advantage of a swimming pool at the mansion my girlfriends and I will be staying at during a weekend in Palm Springs and all.

And while I no longer regularly do my workouts outdoors, I’ve had plenty of days out in the sun playing tennis in my teens so I think I’ll benefit from their UV Damage Recovery serums and Nightly Recovery Complex face/neck cream (photographed in the center) which I’ve started applying after cleaning my face with their cleanser (photographed in the right).

I love the eco-friendliness of the BurnOut line but am also a fan of the fact that their products don’t contain perfumes/scents (the only thing that had a tint of a refreshing citrus scent was the Vitamin C serum, which I love the scent of anyways).

January seems to be the month where a lot of people try to lose weight as part of their New Year’s resolution. Being at a healthy weight is just part of feeling and looking good. As someone who is not a heavy makeup wearer on a day-to-day basis, I am an advocate for taking great care of what would be underneath it all so that I don’t feel the need to cover it up in the first place. Therefore, I would like to encourage February to be the month of fabulous skin!

Wishing you all a skin fabulous February,

-M

Banana Cheesecake Brownies

Valentine’s Day is coming up and it’s all about chocolate. I recently came across a cheesecake brownie recipe and decided to combine the brownie element with my ever-popular banana bread element and my a take on a classic hostess chocolate cupcake-looking treat. The aftermath:

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~Recipe~ (yields about 2 dozen cupcakes)

For the brownie batter:

  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 c chocolate chips, melted
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp salt + sprinkles of cinnamon + cardamon
  • 1/2 c flour blend of almond flour, coconut flour and regular flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

For the cheesecake batter mixture:

  • 1 block (8oz) cream cheese
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract or cream cheese extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F)

Mix all of the wet ingredients for the brownie batter together first (though I would mix in the eggs last to prevent the eggs from getting cooked from the heat of the melted chocolate). Add in the dry ingredients to form the brownie batter. Fill each cupcake paper about halfway full with the brownie batter.

Blend all of the ingredients for the cheesecake batter and top each brownie batter-filled cup with a bit of the cheesecake batter.

Bake for about 11 minutes or until done (but not overly done) and let it cool in the oven

Et voila! Bon appétit~

– M

 

 

Revision: BurnOut Sunblock’s New Look

This was the posting I posted a few days ago:

I’ve been purchasing BurnOut sunscreen from Whole Foods for about seven years now since an aesthetician recommended it at a spa I had gotten a back facial from. Recently, I went to Whole Foods to resupply myself with the sunscreen and couldn’t help notice some changes. I went home with it and was able to confirm that I wasn’t imagining it:

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At first glance, you may notice the size difference. It went down from a 3oz container to a 2.4 oz. Why? The airplane allows for liquid containers of up to 3oz so why wouldn’t you keep it at 3oz?

The second thing I noticed was the change in the SPF. It went down from SPF35 to a SPF30. Again, why? Why wouldn’t we want more sun protection.

And the price tag for it remained the same at the store.


UPDATE January 28th:

I got in contact with Whole Foods via Twitter and BurnOut Sunblocks via e-mail. And it turns out that my favorite sunblock was in disguise under a new look. The “new” sunblock I purchased is actually a new product released by BurnOut specifically for the face and body. It was obviously a bit confusing because the packaging looks very similar to that of the eco-sensitive sunblock’s former packaging.

So here is the new look for the eco-sensitive sunblock by BurnOut (still the same SPF35 and 3oz):

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It was initially described to me by BurnOut that the container is a greenish color but it did appear both yellow and orange on their website and in person at the store where I photographed this.

I am once again a happy camper. Here’s to sun protection~

-M

Look Like a Princess But Don’t Act Like One (Peacock Princess Version)

On rare occasions we women feel entitled to sport a tiara when we’re partaking in a bachelorette party shenanigan or be a birthday queen for a day. It’s again that feeling of going back to that age when you decide you want to wear your princess costume your parents got you for Halloween to the grocery store just because you feel like it.

I recently purchased a comb that had that effect without it looking too over-the-top, a green coat and black pumps that I actually found I could wear altogether and make it work as an outfit ensemble. I couldn’t resist placing my peacock pumps  in juxtaposition to the black pumps I was wearing for the peacock effect.

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Here’s a close-up of the tiara-like comb:

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2017 might be the year of the Rooster but I’m pretty sure that I’m going to continue to sport my peacock elements. That’s right – I make my own trends and phases.

Wishing everyone a fabulous 2017,

-M