back in the usa/the perfect summer drink

I just came back from a 2-week vacation in Beirut! I can't wait to share some of what I did and saw, but for now I wanted to write about how I spent part of my Tuesday. Monday I was at my parents' then with the bf, so I didn't escape back to my little studio until yesterday.

Nothing is better than coming home to a tidy apartment with the sun shining through the blinds :)

Since I'd been away I just got to open my June Glossybox yesterday, so I'll do a quick overview of that soon. I spent the day relaxing, running a few errands, and whipping up lunch. The latest issue of Bazaar, an iPad with a summery screen saver + Plants vs. Zombies, and my sunglasses (as well as my wallet to pay for the aforementioned errands) were really all I needed to get me through the morning.

For lunch I made cheese and jalepeƱo quesadillas with salsa on the side, which were yummy and just greasy enough to satisfy my constant junk food craving. I also made some plum & thyme iced tea from a recipe I found on Pinterest, which is DELICIOUS. The recipe is from Real Simple (here, reproduced below with my comments), and it's amazing for a nice summer afternoon.

You'll need:
2 tea bags (black or herbal, I used Lipton)
2 tablespoons honey
2 plums, sliced
8 sprigs fresh thyme

1. In a large saucepan, bring 3 cups water to a boil. Remove from heat, add the tea bags, and let steep for 10 minutes (a quick tip: take a chopstick and wrap the string of the tea bags around it several times, then rest it across the saucepan. It prevents the string slipping into the saucepan so you don't have to go around digging for it later or end up with soggy bits of paper floating around). Discard the bags and allow the tea to cool to room temperature.

2. Stir in the honey, plums, and thyme. Transfer to a pitcher and refrigerate until cool, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve over ice.

They also recommend stirring in 1/2 a cup of bourbon right before serving if you want to turn it into a cocktail. I had it sans alcohol, but I'll probably try it as a cocktail soon! I served it (to myself, haha) in a mason jar with a striped paper straw.

If you're entertaining or want to make it a bit fancier, you can cut bite-size bits of plum, stick those in an ice cube tray, and pour some tea over them to make tea-ice cubes. That way the tea won't get watered down by melting ice, especially if you're drinking it outside in the oppressive heat.* I consider a meal that didn't come out of a freezer box a huge accomplishment so I didn't go that far, but I definitely will next time I have a few friends over!

*Can I just say that it was in the 60s and 70s in London when I was there for layovers. Damn you Brits and your amazing weather.


glossybox usa

Glossybox has arrived in the US! This month’s box is labeled “beauty around the world” and features products from South Korea, the UK, Italy, France, and the US. Looking at the card with the included products (they mention a Glossybox blush brush as well) – I love this already! Below is a description of the products and my first impressions :)

Products included:

  1. Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Refreshing Hydra-Gel – I tried a little bit of this on my hand and sadly, I instantly loved the way it felt. I say sadly because the full-size version of this product is $100. It has a really light refreshing smell to it. I’ll enjoy the sample size while I have it.
  2. Burberry Beauty Lip Mist Natural Sheer Lipstick Copper No. 202 – This is obviously the product that hails from the UK and the one I was most excited about when I read the card. The color is really natural, a little on the sheer side. This is the cutest lipstick sample I've ever received – the Burberry packaging is very luxurious and they even have the Burberry check imprinted into the lipstick itself, like for the full-sized product.
  3. Marvis Whitening toothpaste – I know people received toothpastes in Birchbox as well, which I always thought was a little weird, even if it makes sense that nice teeth are an important part of beauty. Haven’t tried this yet, I’ll probably save it for travel at the end of the month. Smells minty. Haha dunno what to say, it’s toothpaste, though an Italian one at that.
  4. Phyto Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Mask for Dry Hair – When I pulled this out of the box the heavens parted and angels sang for a few seconds. My hair has been very dry and the past couple weeks I've all but given up, throwing my hair into a bun pretty much every day. I have high hopes for this product.
  5. Zoya Summer 2012 Beach and Surf Collection, color Wednesday – This is a gorgeous seafoam blue cream, and it’ll fit in perfectly to my summer nail polish palette of bright green, hot pink, coppery rose, and burnt orange.
  6. Glossybox blush brush – It’s just a bit scratchy and has an odd smell to it (though not an overpowering one) that will most likely be washed out. It’s flat and narrow, resembling a smaller MAC 116, which I don’t own to actually compare. Probably not a brush I will reach for often, but I’ll likely end up throwing it into my purse since it’s nice and slim and I won’t mind too much if the bristles get a bit bent.
Overall, I like this box. Glossybox is a European beauty box that just launched in the US (this month’s box is its first) and as far as I've seen from the blogs I read of girls across the pond, subscribers tend to receive worthwhile products that they seem to enjoy. It’s pretty pricey at $21/box, but the samples are deluxe samples or, in the case of the toothpaste and nail polish, full-sized products. What I really want out of these boxes is to try more high-end or new brands that I otherwise wouldn't be exposed to or couldn’t afford/justify buying myself, so I feel like this box does the job (especially since I've been vying to try Burberry beauty for over a year now!). If you’re willing to splurge, I’d recommend giving this box a go!

blog revival

I've been a bad blogger, but summer is back and so is some free time to get back to this thing! As for life in general, year one of school is over, summer classes are here, and I still can't cook worth a damn (though I do own two or three new cookbooks). Hopefully the summer will give me some exciting things to document. I am heading to Beirut at the end of the month, so hopefully it's fun exciting and not my-country-got-caught-up-in-a-neighboring-country's-civil-war kind of exciting. Fingers crossed. Aaand this ended up more depressing than I was hoping for this post. Tl;dr, I was gone but now I'm back, yay!