Thursday, January 31, 2013

Amazing iTunes Genius Playlist!

On the nights when it's "my turn" to make dinner, I love bringing my laptop right into the kitchen, placing it on the counter, perusing my iTunes library for a song with the right feeling to match whatever mood I happen to be in, and then creating a Genius playlist from that song to listen to while I cook.

If you're not familzzz, iTunes' Genius feature is just like Pandora, except it creates playlists straight from your own iTunes library. It is, if you ask me, genius.

Sometimes Genius throws together a playlist way better than I could have chosen myself - locating gems in my library that I wouldn't have even thought of. So basically even though this is MY music, I can't take much credit at all for how awesome these playlists end up being sometimes.

Case in point:  Tuesday night I needed some "making really good grilled cheeses" music. {Hey, when it's my turn to make dinner, I go hard.}  I browsed a bit and then chose "Street Talking" by Slick Rick and Outkast as the basis for my Genius playlist. What resulted was just too good NOT to share... This playlist is bomb and if you own the necessary ingredients, I hope you'll save this list and throw it on the next time you need to clean your house or sort your laundry or make a particularly delicious grilled cheese... with a soundtrack:

1. Street Talking - Slick Rick feat Outkast
2. You Know My Steez - Gang Starr
3. Cher Chez La Ghost - Ghostface Killah
4. The 6th Sense - Common
5. Brooklyn Zoo - Ol' Dirty Bastard
6. Memory Lane  - Nas
7. Nas Is Like - Nas
8. Stakes Is High - De La Soul
9. I'm Not a Player - Big Punisher
10. Cereal Killer - Method Man & Redman
11. D'evils - Jay-Z
12. Xxplosive  - Dr. Dre
13. Me and Nas Bring It to Your Hardest - Slick Rick and Nas
14. Humble Mumble - Outkast
15. Get Down - Nas
16. Thieves In the Night - Blackstar
17. Da Joint  - EPMD
18. Moment of Truth - Gang Starr
19. Still Dreaming - Nas and Kanye
20. A-yo - Method Man and Redman
21. Y.O.U.  - Method Man and Redman
22. Intro/A Million and One Questions - Jay-Z
23. 2nd Childhood - Nas
24. Memories - Slick Rick
25. Beware - Big Punisher



If you're into all of those sorts of things :)

Since this is my blog and I do whatever I want, you may find that amazing iTunes genius playlist blogs pop up from time to time! How does that make you feel?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New Year's Day in Whistler

Well I suppose I ought to finish this New Year's blog before January completely passes by...

We had a very low-key New Year's Eve this year - went to dinner downtown at a restaurant called Earl's (Dave's parents gave us a very generous gift card to the restaurant for Christmas!) and then walked around the city looking at holiday lights and enjoying the non-rain. We were back at home by 11:30, in time to watch Seattle's incredible midnight fireworks display on TV - which really was an impressive display, by the way.

On New Year's Day we decided to make the bound-to-happen-sometime trip to Whistler.  It's only about an hour and a half away and it was a nice sunny day - so why the heck not?

Where's Whistler? It's all happening above Washington State, for you States-siders.

vancouver to whistler

Zewmed in:

vancouver to whistler

This was as low-key a trip as our New Year's Eve had been the night before - we didn't have any big plans to go hiking or anything. Here are some pics from the drive there...

I finally got to see and drive over the Lion's Gate Bridge:

I tried to take pictures of the scenery along the drive, but the road between Vancouver and Whistler is super winding and my motion sickness was preventing me from doing anything but staring straight ahead at the road and trying not to vom. Here's the one cool picture I was able to snap along that road:

.  i dont know what this is a picture of  .
Arriving in Whistler...

As I said, we didn't have any particular plan for what we'd do when we arrived in Whistler Village, so we walked around to see what we could see. The town was adorable... and was not jam-packed at the time because it was early afternoon and most people in town were out on the slopes.

Here's something really cool... the gondola/ski rental/base of the trails area is right in the village. That's how entrenched the skiing lifestyle is in the town - skiers are coming down the mountain and practically just skiing right onto the sidewalk and heading to lunch. It's like instead of a Town Hall... they have a gondola.

Here are more ski things that I didn't participate in but happily observed while in Whistler:

We took a group picture for a family and in return they snapped our pic for us:

.  tourist prom pose  .
Something big happened here a few years ago. I don't remember what it was.

That's about it from Whistler! We got ourselves some lunch but eventually the town started really filling up with people as they all came off the slopes for the afternoon. It became a little too packed pretty quickly so we skeeee-daddled. A quick and lovely jaunt to Whistler!

On our way home we stopped at a pull-off to admire the mountain views alongside the road and snap some pictures:

We got mountains. Come see them! :)

I hope we head back to Whistler soon to do some hiking or snowshoeing and will certainly blog about it when we do!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Much Ado About Valentine's Day Cupcake Nail Polish

Hey-oooo! I'm really excited about today's blog because it ties in with a blog that my friend and colleague Lauren has also posted today over on her blog, Much Ado About Somethin.

Lauren is a woman of MANY talents, and one of those talents is baking up a G.D. storm of cakes 'n cupcakes. I'm talking Sandy Storm. Too soon?  OK, Katrina Storm then. Still too soon? Ok uh... geez forget it, the chick bakes a lot, OK?? She shares many of her culinary adventures on her blog, which allows me to check out all of her cupcakes all the way from Canada. Which in turn allows me to just hang my head and cry because I can't EAT any of them. *Shaking my fist at Vancouver's distance from Lauren's kitchen.*

So Lauren mentioned to me on Friday afternoon that she had a Valentine's Day cupcakes blog planned for Monday, so I immediately demanded that she provide me a preview picture of the cupcakes and insisted that she allow me to create a nail polish look to coincide with them. #IMBOSSY. JK, she was excited at the idea of a cross-blog, cupcake/nail polish mashup, too! It's kind of like back in the 90s on TGIF when Steve Urkel took off with his jet-pack in an episode of Family Matters and crash landed on the backyard picnic table of the Fosters/Lamberts in an episode of Step by Step. It's kind of like that.

ANYCRAP, without any further ADO (haha see what I did there?!!?!), here's my humble nail polish interpretation of Lauren's Much Ado About Somethin Valentine's Day Cupcakes:

.  click for a larger view!  .
And of course, Lauren's actual Valentine's Day cupcakes:

.  click for a larger view if you want to get really hungry and ornery at the same time. because you can't eat these cupcakes. they're just on a computer screen. although, you CAN order some cupcakes from lauren yourself, which i definitely encourage you to do if you're in the boston area. this is a pretty long caption. it's raining today in vancouver. SEWPRIZE. what's the weather like where you are? alright, that's enough, back to nails  .
This project took me awhile. Good thing my entire Saturday was pretty much clear....

What I usededed:

.  relic  .
One of the oldest nail polishes I own, a Sally Hansen Hard As Nails that could very well have belonged to my mother when she was a little girl.  I don't think I've ever used it before in my entire life, but I know it's been moving around with me from place to place for a solid number of years now. It's called Reaction Frost (so I guess it was made in the late 80s/early 90s when American Gladiators was popular??) and it is a slightly pearly light pink with shimmer. I'd tell you that I was pleasantly surprised by this polish and that it applied well (after all these years) and was opaque after two coats, but it doesn't matter because you cannot run out and purchase this 1987 model of Sally Hansen polish anymore.

I also used a clear-based pink glitter polish from Wet 'n Wild called Sparked (not pictured, but I used it in this other Valentine's Day nail polish look), a hot chocolaty-taupe Essie polish with silver shimmer called Mochacino, Sinful Colors' Snow Me White, Milani's Tip Toe Pink (aka the Pepto Bismal Polish), and Sinful Colors' Ruby Ruby.

.  can you figure out which is which?  .
I also needed to use the following nail tools:

.  pretty maids all in a row  .
In case you didn't think I was taking this cupcake challenge seriously, here is proof of my practice rounds:

.  i doodle hard  .

I was aiming for a cross between my "lefter two" pen doodles in my practice picture:  the cupcake wrapper would be at the base of my nail, then a bit of chocolate cupcake, then a fluff of frosting, with some hearts sticking up out of the frosting. I wanted to leave enough space between the tip of my nail and the top of the "frosting" that I'd be able to have some of my hearts sticking "out/off" of the frosting... if that makes sense! That's what I was attempting to convey in my lower left pen doodle anyway. ENOUGH CHIT CHAT.

Step 1:

Paint all of my nails two coats of the American Gladiators Pink Reaction Frost.

Step 2: 

Nextttt, I used my new Quo nail detailer brush to add some small stripes to the bottom of my nail - these are the lines on the wrappers of the cupcakes.

Step 3:

Add the layer of chocolate cupcake! NOM NOM NOM. This Essie Mochacino polish really is tasty-looking. Which isn't a weird thing to say about nail polish.

I did this by dipping the regular Mochacino nail polish brush into its bottle and using the bottle's rim to wipe off most of the polish from the brush head, leaving a dollop of polish on just the tip of the brush. Then I dabbed/dragged the paint in a line across the top of the "wrapper stripes". 

Truth alert: Until this point I was doing all of this on both of my hands. I was committed fully to donning cupcakes on my hands for a day or two. But if we're being honest, which I intend to be, having just prefaced this paragraph by declaring a "Truth Alert," shit wasn't lookin' so good on my right hand (thanks a lot, Left Hand... dick.) so I decided to pump the brakes on that hand and just focus on the one that stood a chance at survival.

Step 4:

Frost yaself!!  Using my double-ended Quo dotting tool I painted white dots across each Mochacino cake layer for a frosting effect and then added a nice heap of white frosting to the top of the cupcake. As I mentioned in the beginning, I wanted to leave space between the top of the frosting and the end of my nail, so I'd have room to add some protruding heart cupcake-toppers. See how I left some space for that?

.  upside down cupcakes!  .
.  don't worry, we're going to wipe off that excess polish with a q-tip dipped in polish remover. just settle down  .
Step 5:

Time to add the heart cupcake-toppers! I tried out a couple of different techniques for making these tiny hearts and the one that I settled on was a combination of using my dotting tool and a toothpick. Depending on how big/small your nails are, you'll decide which sized dotter to use. My nails are obviously the size of a toddler's so I had to use the smaller end of my dotting tool. Place two dots side-by-side and then use the toothpick dipped in polish to draw a "v" on the bottom of the dots to complete your heart. I did all of the red hearts first and then went back and added the pink hearts to each nail. And make sure to give some of them that "protruding from the cupcake" effect by painting the heart past the end of the cupcake frosting.

And you're done!!

And now for a total photo dump - because I couldn't decide which of these photos to post so I figured I'd just post them all:

.  sneak peek at our newly potted lemon cypress tree in the background!  .
Let me know what you think of these cupcake nails! They were fun to do but I mucked them up pretty much immediately after I took these photos, so I've had to take them all off already. WHOOPS!

Be sure to check out Lauren's blog to learn how you can make actual cupcakes like these... that you can eat with your mouth. And subscribe to her blog if you like tasty things or fun times or tiny dogs.

By the way, Much Ado About Somethin' hit a milestone on Friday of reaching 10,000 views! Hoozah!!!

If you try out this Valentine's Day Cupcake Nail Polish look, tweet me a picture at @akaBailey!

Like these Valentine's Day themed nails? Check out a couple others here:

More to come!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Joe's Grill on 4th Ave in Kitsilano

Finally - a place in Vancouver that doesn't charge one first born child for eggs and bacon!!

You know I love me some breakfast food. I'll seek out the perfect over-medium egg until the proverbial cows come home. Joe's Grill is, compared to its fancy 4th Ave neighbors, a totally unassuming place from the outside... but these people are doing it right.

joe's grill, kitsilano, 4th ave, vancouver

Whether it's 2:45 in the afternoon and I'm one of the few people in the place, or it's 10:30 in the morning and the restaurant is packed, my eggs were over-medium. Someone in the kitchen at Joe's gives a crap about how their eggs are cooked. That's what's up. I couldn't wait to take Dave there.

These breakfasts cost what a simple breakfast really SHOULD cost at a restaurant - eggs/home fries/toast costs $5.65 and adding ham/bacon/sausage to that only brings it up to $6.45.

breakfast at joe's grill, 4th ave vancouver

The bacon is what Dave and I very fondly refer to as "Chinese food bacon" because it tastes a little bit like Chinese food. We run into it in different restaurants all over the place - I don't know what is different about it that gives it such a distinct taste... but Boston - you can go to The Brighton Cafe to taste it yaself, ked! At Joe's, it's simply delicious: four or five generous strips, not too thick, not too skimpy, not too fatty to eat. Just damn good. Mmm...

For an extra $1.50, you can substitute fruit or tomato for the potatoes, which I was all over. The side of fruit is not the same "freshness and taste" quality as Sophie's Cosmic Cafe - which is a restaurant I've GOT to write about sometime because I love their breakfast as well. But Joe's is a perfect choice when you don't feel like waiting for Sophie's to have a free seat and also don't want to pay the extra $ for Sophie's. Joe's is just a few doors down the street, and it's jussssst fine for me!

I really like how casual Joe's is - it reminds me of something more small-town than the other places on 4th Ave in Vancouver. The big, brightly painted food/coffee artwork on the walls was a cheerful touch to the low-key room.
bright paintings

bright paintings

Also, here are three words that you can't beat:  Breakfast. All. Day.

Mmmhmm, get yo' 3:30pm breakfast on ladiiiiies!

Overall, I'm definitely going to keep going back to Joe's Grill. I've only had their breakfast, but breakfast is the most important meal of the day... and they make theirs well. Chuch.

Joe's Grill on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 25, 2013

Delightful Dots: Valentine's Day Nails


With Milani's Ruby Jewels nail polish as well as my new "Quo by Orly" dotting tool... and I've got a new Valentine's Day inspired nail polish design that uses both! #STFU. #NOSHEDITTN'T #YESSHEDID.
Behold these little Delightful Dots:
valentine's day nails, red with white and pink dots
.  nothing says "love" like multi-colored spots  .
Zee tools:
white nail polish, pink nail polish and red nail polish
.  that one is white, that one is pink and that other one is sparkly red.
aren't you glad i captioned this?  .
nail polish and nail dotting tool
.  use these things... or be a failure. your choice  .
- Sinful Colors' Snow Me White:  just a plain crisp white that I use all the freaking time.
- Milani's Tip Toe Pink:  a straight-up Pepto Bismal pink - a milky, bright pastel that's super opaque with no shimmer.
- Milani's Ruby Jewels: see below :)
- Qua by ORLY double-ended dotting tool: came in a package with a brush detailer, see here.
- Something non-porous to use as a little paint palette - I'm using a piece of plastic from my recycling bin.

It was my first time using a real life dotting tool instead of a bobby pin or a toothpick. So I guess you could say I'm really becoming a woman.

I started off by painting all of my nails two coats of Milani's Ruby Jewels, which is one of my favorite nail polishes in my entire collection... and I don't even like the color red usually. It's got a very sheer cherry/red wine base with ultra-fine red glitter in it. The glitter is so fine that I can't tell if some of them are black (maybe??) or if the red glitter is just multi-faceted and appears darker in different light. With multiple coats, it's very "Dorothy's ruby slippers"-esque. I've used it before in one of my Holiday Nail tutorials, if you'd like to check that out.

ruby jewels milani, red sparkly nail polish
.  make sure to get a nice coat of red all over your fingertips as well, ladies .
Next I placed 3-4 drops of Snow Me White onto a piece of plastic (I happen to be using the latest design from CalFruit Strawberries, in "clear plastic container top chic") and used the larger end of my dotting tool to dip it into the polish and onto my nails. Then I did the same thing with Tip Toe Pink, except using the smaller end of the dotter. I overlapped the two whenever I felt like, because. Just because.
valentine's day nails, red with white and pink dots

Outside {L} and Inside {R}:

valentine's day nails, red with white and pink dotsvalentine's day nails, red with white and pink dots

Lots more Valentine's Day nails coming... definitely at least one more polka dot. At least one.

If you try this, tweet me a picture @akaBailey!
Or don't... SEE IF I CARE!