Saturday, January 29, 2011

"Hey lady, I really like the shoes...that are glued to your fingernails"

I was on the Metro in DC today and discovered a disturbing trend in manicures.  No, it wasn't that male friend of mine at the mani-pedi place last week...he doesn't like to go on weekends (too crowded, not enough personal attention).   Apparently crazy colors and designs - for example, 10 miniature airbrushed portraits of Young Jeezy on your fingernails - just isn't enough anymore.

You gotta go 3D or go home, baby.  This chick, facing me on the Metro, actually had munchkin-sized sparkly stiletto heels attached to her already wildly painted nails. They would fit my friend Shelby's feet.  I tried SO HARD to non-chalantly snap an iPhone photo of her nails, but it was all blurry and I was scared since she looked like she could seriously jack me up.  So I had to resort to finding internet photos of this in-your-face (pun intended) nail art.  As you'll see in the menagerie of fingernail Picassos below, there is usually a common theme between the left 5 fingers and the right 5 fingers.  Not so much on our Metro was like a buffet of nail designs - and not just your standard Chinese buffet - it like was Indian buffet + all-you-can-eat sushi + Souplantation all under one roof.  Couldn't you just have picked one theme?  Apparently, no.

For an extra $5, you can have Jenny McCarthy painted on your nail. 

This is what we like to call the "Wedding Day Special"

What happens when you forget and pick your nose? It'd be like getting a peanut stuck up your nose.  Better have your Ear, Nose and Throat doctor on speed dial (paging Dr. Schmidt...).

And for the  age 11-and-under set...or, if you're Mariah Carey and can pull off the over-40-but-still-likes-cutesy-bunnies-and-butterflies schtick.
Amazingly, this also works for nasty, FUBAR-ed feet too (before and after photos):
BEFORE: Got fungus? 

AFTER: Be ashamed no more!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What to wear when skiing in West Virginia

Worried about fitting in with the locals? Never worry again!  With The beardski, you will fit right in.

To make it truly authentic, throw in some WV colloquialisms, such as:
- "far", i.e.  Damn, gramps threw some extra wood in and now it's a real big far!
- "winder", i.e. Momma caught Billy Joe with the goat again! Poor goat was so startled he jumped right out the winder!
- "holler", i.e. That Winston boy is so dense, the wind blows through his ears like his head is holler.

Thanks to The Blind Pig and the Acorn for the references.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

You know who you are.

Top Ten Captions for this Priceless Photo:

10) "Oooh hoo hoo! Ooooh! That tickles!"
9) Taking advantage of the January MANicure-pedicure special.
8) "How much extra for the happy ending?"
7) "Do you think that shade goes with my dark blue scrubs?"
6) There are some large hands to go with these large feet. Hmmm...
5)  Discovered! Toe jam the size of Paris Hilton's chihuahua.
4)  There's a reason mani-pedi lady is wearing gloves.
3)  "Oh - hey Neff, uh, how's it goin'? You, uh, wanna go watch some football after?"
2)  If you have an Asian fetish, a nail salon is the perfect place to meet some Asians.
1)  Hairy is the new black, ladies.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Suck it, Paula Deen!

Okay, I'm pissed.  Who the hell would recommend a cup (A CUP!!!) of salt for a collard green recipe?  I googled a recipe (and here - case in point - is why I hate recipes) by the PD, Queen of the South herself, and my resultant collard greens tasted like, well, you guessed it, ass.  Ok, maybe not ass (that's raw cauliflower, if you recall), but definitely like taking a handful of mud from the Dead Sea and chewing on that for about an hour.  Seriously inedible.  Overrated.  Paula Deen can kiss my ass.  Oh, and BTW, this is where I need to apologize for my non-French-speaking friends (Heather? Marci?), i.e. those who never say "pardon my French" before making a statement.  Sorry, I can't help it.  Don't unfriend me please.

I've found that the MUCH better "guideline" (as I prefer to call it) comes from Guy Fieri  As always, I have to doctor it up, and not just cuz imma doctor - I added a little brown sugar, a few cloves of chopped garlic when sauteeing the onions (never can have enough garlic, I like to say), and I like pancetta (Richmonders: two words - Belmont Butchery) instead of bacon or salted ham, just cuz.

Oh - and I also like apple cider vinegar better than plain old white vinegar. Mostly because it reminds me of Martinelli's Apple Cider at New Year's Eve when I was a little kid...but I digress. And the pancetta should be added to the mixture to simmer for a while - not at the end - so the collards get some good piggy flavor at the end.

I also like to finish off nearly all dishes with my favorite fixin', Sriracha, which you can buy in packs of 6 on Amazon if you are not so blessed as to live within driving distance of a 99 Ranch Market (helloooo! Asian Heaven!!).

End result below:

And if anyone has a favorite grandma's greens recipe, bring it on, cuz I'm just a temporary Southerner, fakin' it.  Everyone knows I'm Southern...Californian!!!

Best. Jean. Ever.

Everytime Genetic Jeans show up on HauteLook I have a seizure-like fit of pointing and clicking and buying buying buying. Good thing I cleaned out my closet.  Genetic has supersoft fabric and makes the best skinny-leg and slim-fit jeans!  Someone hold me back, cuz after this post, I'm headed back over to HauteLook!  Sale ends Saturday at 8am.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A plea to all ladies...

Do not fear the full-length photo!  But please, don't stand facing the camera straight on.  Ever.  Follow the lead of the red carpet darlings and swivel those hips around.  And put your arm on your hip, on your waist, around a friend...ANYWHERE except flat against your body.  That just makes your arm look like a turkey leg, no matter what size your arm is.  Not flattering.

Here is a real-life photo op for proof that if you just turn a bit sideways, you'll not hate your photo...

Bad Amy! Bad Pae! Bad Nancy! (and Bad Seth! Get off your phone!)

...and, AFTER: much bettah! Girl with green purse is saying,
"Check out those uber-flattering poses! So jeal!".
Cheers! And happy photo-snapping!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Handbag triage

Today I weeded my closet of 42 shoes, 42 handbags, and about 4 large garbage bags full of clothing.  Interestingly I found several items that I didn't recognize.  And there were tags still attached.  No one tell my husband that, please.

I kept tally...just to satisfy my curiosity of how bad the situation really was.  The unfortunate part came when, after about 5 hours of sorting and reorganizing, I realized I forgot the coat closet.  And the attic.  Ugh. "The Disemboweling of Nancy's Closet: The Sequel" coming to theaters near you January 22!

Sadly, many of those handbags that had to be tossed were crushed, misshapen and now unusable. But in the process of this behemoth of a task, I came upon a great way to keep my surviving handbags in great shape for the long term...old socks and tank tops!

Sad, deflated, flat handbag
Stuff socks with other socks (Yes, I know it looks like a phallus) 
Stuff purse with socks = happy handbag
Old tank tops and tees also make great large bag stuffers.  Here I took a hideously pumpkin-like tank top, filled it with a couple of old tees and made a little cloth football:

Insert a couple folded tees into tank top
Tie the left shoulder to the right bottom corner and double-knot
Tuck the remaining corners in under the knot

The finished product

Stuff it

So in addition to the above, store your handbags upright (but not hanging) and away from sunlight or excessive temps. Use dust covers that are dust-proof (duh) yet breathable.  For more tips on how to keep your handbags lookin' spiffy, check out this link.  

And someday in the future, if I discover a way to store my shoes without getting them all jacked up in the process, I'll gladly share that also!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hoarder Lite Lip Balm

I'm a hoarder.  Actually not in the television show "Hoarders" sense of the word, but more like  "Hoarder Lite".  Especially when it comes to travel-sized hand moisturizers and lip balms.  I can't just have one of each, and have to transfer it back and forth from my glovebox to my work bag to my evening bag to my gym bag to my nightstand. That would just be ridonkulous.  But in all those places, there needs to be: 1) hand lotion, and 2) lip balm, at all times for me to be happy and sane.  I may have stumbled across a solution for this special need of mine.

For years, my go-to nighttime lip balm was Laura Mercier's Lip Silk.  Great formula, nice non-gooey texture, no strange odor, and does the job, even in the dry winter months when my lips start flaking off in Frosted Flakes-sized chunks.
But this week, to make sure I had balm for, well, everywhere, I picked up some Chapstick Ultra Renewal Nighttime Formula at CVS.  I was pleasantly surprised!  While just a teeninstiest thinner in consistency versus LM Lip Silk, it was nearly identical in overall feel and results.  And I can get 7 of these fancy Chapsticks for one LM Lip Silk.  And those of you who know me, know I have terrible spendy-ness issues (that I'm trying hard to be better about) - so I'm not trying to be cheap.  But crap, if something costs so much less and does the same damn thing, it's just stupid to keep using the pricey item...right?


And here's the checking out the ingredient list of these two products (really to convince myself that I really should be spending $3.50 instead of $20), I found two interesting things: 1) They are remarkably similar - see footnote, and 2) Laura Mercier kills funny-looking birds to use their fat so we can spread it all over our lips.

The Emu
Don't get me wrong - I'm no vegan (Not that there's anything wrong with that. More power to ya, vegans.), and I sure do love my leather boots and I love me some free-range chicken, but the idea of bludgeoning this goofy sad bird to slather its blubber (What really is emu oil?) on my lips is just kinda gross.

So give this Chapstick thing a try...and save the world from dry lips, one pucker at a time!


Ingredient lists

Laura Mercier Lip Silk 
Active Ingredient: Dimethicone. Other Ingredients: Petrolatum, Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum) (and) Hydrogenated Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer (and) Hydrogenated Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Coploymer, Emu Oil (Dromiceicus), Tricontanyl PVP, Cyclomethicone, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate), Allantoin, Apple Extract (Pyrus Malus), Citric Acid, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Silica, Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben.

Chapstick Ultra Renewal Nighttime Formula
Active Ingredients: Dimethicone (2%).  Inactive Ingredients: Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Extract, Cetyl Alcohol, Colloidal Silicon dioxide, Cyclomethicone, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Isocetyl Stearate, Lactic Acid, Methylparaben, Microcrystalline Wax, Mineral Oil, Propylparaben, Salicylic Acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin E Acetate, White Petrolatum

How to make cauliflower NOT taste like ass

So cauliflower - especially raw cauliflower - may be one of the most unappetizing foods to spring up out of mother earth.  Other than drowning cauliflower in Indian spices (one of the few other instances I like cauliflower - mostly because the sauces are so good that the cauliflower serves as a vehicle for the sauce), this "recipe" has transformed the wretched albino brain-looking vegetable into something palatable.

Now I know I say I hate recipes (see sidebar) - and I do - and that's because I'd rather use recipes as guidelines.  If I'm inspired to create something and have never done it before, I'll either just make it up or I'll check out 3 or 4 recipes to get the overall idea.  This recipe, well, I just made up.  But it's delicious so figured it was worth repeating!  And while it's called a salad, it really tastes good warm too, as a side dish.

Mediterranean Cauliflower Salad

a large cauliflower
zest of one lemon
some lemon juice - about 1/2 a lemon
1/2 bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
a crapload of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds (black or white)

How to:

Find a cauliflower.  I chose one that was about the same size as my husband's head, since I was bringing this dish to a potluck.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Rid the cauliflower of its leaves and most of the stem.  I like to chop the cauliflower into 1/2" slices rather than florets because it roasts better and more evenly.  

 Place cauliflower in a bowl.

Scratch that. Place cauliflower in a big ass bowl (BAB, if you will - and everyone should have a BAB - see footnote).  This really made it a bit easier to do the next step, which is mix in olive oil and salt.  I like using Kosher salt or Hawaiian red salt because the granules are big.  How much olive oil? Just enough to coat and moisten the cauliflower...and again, this will depend on the size of your husband's head.  And salt? For this size cauliflower, I used about a tablespoon, and you can always add more at the end to adjust to taste.

Lay the cauliflower slices on a baking sheet with foil in a single layer and roast for 15 minutes.  You'll notice little to no browning on the cauliflower, but if you turn one over - voila! - it's the underside that turns brown!  Which is why the single layer is important.  Turn as many of the suckers over that you can, and return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes til golden brown on both sides.

While the cauli is in the oven, chop 1/2 bunch of parsley.  If you're wondering what that mesh bag is, that's what I bring to the market ( to avoid having to collect those silly little plastic produce bags that I never know what to do with after.

When the cauli is browned, remove from the oven and let it cool to room temp for several minutes.  Then, using a potato ricer/masher, mash the cauliflower into large granules (i.e. pea sized).  You'll know you're done when it is no longer in any kind of recognizable form.  This helps for people like me who often have a visceral reaction to cauliflower.  Mix in sesame, parsley,  lemon juice, lemon zest, salt & pepper to taste.  At this point, you can add more olive oil or the various mix-ins below - my favorite is the truffle oil.  Chill until, well, chilled.

Remember - you can serve this warm OR cold! If you serve it cold, you'll need more salt, as flavors can be blunted in a chilled dish.

Feeds 6.  Or feeds one, if you're this guy:

- add a touch of white truffle oil at the end to make it extra fragrant
- add some curry powder for a hint of Southeast Asian flavor (I guess that would no longer be Mediterranean, then, would it?)
- add crumbled feta for a more Greekish dish

The BAB I like is a commercial-grade stainless steel mixing bowl.  You can get these online for $3.30.  Yes, three bucks.  And they really put the hoity-toity Crate & Barrel, Williams Sonoma, etc. mixing bowls to shame, for a fraction of the price.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Several inquiries about the price of LHA serum...$75.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hands down the best money (or kidney) I've spent for a cosmeceutical

This may be my #1 product purchased this year. Ok, last year (as I realize there have only been 13 days  so far in 2011).  I had to sell my kidney for it - thankfully we are born with, like, three or four, so I've got backup renal function.  Crawling towards the upper reaches of my 30s, acne scars and the whatnot just don't seem to fade like they did in the good ol' 20s.  This has really worked after only about two weeks of use to lighten scars, minimize pores, decrease fine lines and overall clarify skin.  Available at the skinceuticals site.  God bless 'em. 

Welcome to Two Words, No Hyphen

First of all, the name...there is nothing that causes more confusion in my everyday life than my name.  My new(-ish) name, Nancy Yen Shipley.  Yen's not my middle name.  It's my maiden name, now the first half of my last name, but since I never had a middle name, I opted to not start now.  After the wedding, I decided to add my husband's Shipley to it.  TWO WORDS, NO HYPHEN.  It's not hard.  What about someone with a last name like De la cruz? That's THREE words.  I only have two.  Yet banks, telemarketers, people at work, airlines - they just can't get it.  Sometimes I'm not even allowed to keep the space in there, so it becomes one long yenshipley.  But I like my two-word-no hyphen-having last name.  And I couldn't think of what else to call the blog.  So there you have it.

So, why a blog? I have nothing to peddle, nothing to promote.  Some people would say I have too much time on my hands.  I don't.  I have a job, a husband, a dog, a social calendar, hobbies...but sometimes I come across something new that I think my friends would love - whether it be a culinary creation, a new makeup discovery, a great restaurant, or cool website - and I feel the urge to post it somewhere.  Sure, Facebook is great. But I know among the FB friends that I have, 99% probably could care less about how I figured out a way to make cauliflower actually edible.  So this, my friends, is for the 1%.  Enjoy.  Or point and laugh. What ever floats your boat.