Happy holidays!

I hope everyone is having a great holiday season. Here's my little family's Christmas card photos.

I'm wearing MAC Viva Glam I on my lips. My sweater is from H&M and my leggings are (discontinued) from Black Milk Clothing.

 The final photo:

Sending love to all!


why i've been gone forever... babies!!!

Furry babies, that is.

Christian and I got our first puppy at the end of April. We've wanted a dog for so long, and we finally had the chance to get one. I had been looking on Craigslist for MONTHS, and the timing was right. We picked a solid blue nose  female pit bull who was 10 weeks old. We decided to name her Reign, or Rainie. She was the runt of the litter -- her dad was 110lbs and her mom 70! However, at 4 months old, she was still only 25 so we don't think she will be very big. Rainie is very smart. We were able to teach her how to sit and stay by 11 weeks.

3 months old already.

My mom and Reign. I loved seeing them together. My mom used to be terrified of pitties... not anymore!

A few days ago, now 4 months old. She can high five and shake like a pro!

When we took her to my parents house when Christian had leave, we didn't know how she would react to my kitties. She ended up being very curious and playful towards them. However, Romeo wanted nothing to do with her. He hissed and spat. Rosie just hid. So I accepted she and my cats would never be friends :( Unfortunately, we don't really know anyone with a cat, so we were worried that we wouldn't be able to socialize Rainie with cats so that she would be friendly and gentle towards them.

So we decided to get our own kitty!

We decided to get a Bengal from a breeder. I would have been fine with any kitty, preferably a rescue, but Christian only wanted a Bengal, so I agreed. We chose another female. I originally wanted a male, but I preferred the markings of this female. She is an 8 week old brown spotted Bengal kitten. We decided to name her Katana, after the sword.

She's still scared in our home, and is not a fan of Rainie. Rainie has endured many hisses.

Rainie is VERY curious and excited about her new sister. She is very gentle around her already. I'm super proud of her!

Katana is very, very talkative. We barely got any sleep on the first night.

They were able to play together -- Rainie chewed on the plastic end while Kat played with the feathers. I can't wait for them to become best friends!

I hope you enjoyed this update. Our furry babies have brought so much joy (and frustration) into our lives already!


lilac spring blossom nail art

I wonder if anyone can relate with me on this. I find it so relaxing to delve into some complex, intricate freehand nail art for 3 hours while watching my favorite TV shows. All that time spent for something that'll chip the next day, but I have so much fun while doing and feel so much at peace that I don't really mind. Not to mention, Christian gifted my family with 6 months of Netflix for Christmas so I've been having a blast with that. I've gotten through very episode of Prison Break, Sherlock, Twin Peaks, now I'm watching Pretty Little Liars. So much fun!

Anyways. I love this mani. It reminds me of the trees that will soon be blooming beautiful spring flowers and cherry blossoms... I am so very excited for that! :)

OPI Do You Lilac It?, Milani White Canvas, OPI Let Me Entertain You

I also had a lot of fun playing around with the manual settings on my Nikon D5000. I love how these pictures turned out!

Aaaaaand I hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day! Mine was nothing special. However, Christian bought me plane tickets to go visit him during my spring break for 8 days. I'm looking so forward to that :)

Have a great Saturday, all!


glitter gradients

I've been obsessed with these manicures lately. It's perfect for when I feel that wearing one color is too boring, but I'm too lazy to delve into the world of freehand nail art: striping brushes and rhinestones (and 3 hours of my time). Glitter gradients can take a boring color and turn it into something awesome. And when I already start with a gorgeous color like this OPI, a sprinkling of glitter makes it look magical.

It's also perfect for when I want sparkle, but don't want to paint all my nails in a glitter and then spend 30 minutes removing it (or peeling it off, but please don't tell anyone that I actually do that).

OPI Every Month is Oktoberfest
Orly Mermaid Tail

How gorgeous is Every Month is Oktoberfest?  It looks wine red at some angles, then a plum shade, and sometimes you can see the orange duochrome/sparkle. It's definitely a sexy shade, but a little more fun than a traditional vamp polish.

God, this Orly really is like a mermaid's tale captured in a bottle. Almost worth the extra buck I had to shell out for it at my local nail supply just because it's a LE glitter, not a regular shade from the Orly line. Not that I'm bitter or anything.

Related to my last post, I went to Sally Beauty Supply last night and picked up a of Ion Color Brilliance in 8RC (light copper blonde) and 20 volume developer. And after saturating my head in ammonia and chemicals, I can gladly say it's the exact Lana del Rey shade I was aiming for! A light strawberry golden brown. Do you guys want pics?

Anyways, sorry if this post if kind of bottle rambly. I start my spring semester of school tomorrow, and I really don't want to go back after being able to be lazy for over a month. On the plus side, after these couple of months, I only have 2 years to go until I get my psych degree. But.... I have to wake up early every day this semester. shudder.


new hair color and barely there makeup

Winter break from school for over a month with nothing to do means I get bored a lot. Which means I'll do things like dye my hair for fun.

I recently downloaded Lana Del Rey's revised edition of her album Born to Die. She looks amazing on the cover. The music is amazing: I particularly like American, Cola, and Blue Velvet.

I was bored, and I have a total girl crush on her.  So I had a sudden impulse to go to Target and buy hair dye. I decided to dye my hair so it'd be a gorgeous strawberry-gold brown color like hers. Here's how it turned out, plus my FOTD.

Maybelline concealer
translucent powder
MAC Unconventional blush

brows: MUFE Aqua Brown in Ash
Soft Brown
Manila Paper
Solar White
L'oreal Telescopic mascara


It turned out a little darker than I wanted, but I am definitely not gonna try to lighten it at home! Oh well. It's still a light auburn, and I love it. Another plus, my MUFE Aqua Brow shade will not make me look like a makeup newbie who can't choose the correct shade anymore ;)

How does my hair look? Am I a good red/auburn head? Thanks for looking!

baked by clara: momofuku milk bar

I love desserts. I mean, in a perfect world, every single meal of mine would be cake. Or cookies. Or ice cream. Or brownies. I'm not picky.

Well, I am picky in the sense that 99% of the sweets I'm going to eat have to be homemade. By me. With high quality ingredients. But other than that, I'm not picky.

Over the summer, when I lived with Christian, we would sometimes go to the bookstore for fun. I just liked to browse. He just liked to put up with me.

There I saw this cool looking cookbook. It's dark cover and neon light writing drew me in. Looking through its strange creative recipes made me have to have it. I bought it on Amazon ($15 less than the store!) and started to bake through it.

Momofuku Milk Bar

Here are two of my favorite cookie recipes from the book: corn cookies (seriously) and cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow cookies.

Unfortunately, many of the recipes in the book were either poorly written or poorly scaled down from their normal bakery-sized batches. All over the internet, people have trouble making their cookies. They spread out too much, look nothing like the pictures, have an off texture, etc. The cornflakechocolatediabetes cookie is definitely hard to make - they always come out paper thin. But they are delicious!

First off, here are the corn cookies.

I know it sounds kinda weird. Corn in dessert? But it's delicious. Don't knock it til you try it!

Momofuku Milk Bar Corn Cookies
makes about two dozen 2oz cookies
2 sticks softened butter (225g) (to ensure they don't spread too thin, I use 1 or 2 tbsp less than this)
1 1/2 c granulated white sugar (300g)
1 egg
2 tsp extract (recipe doesn't call for this, but I think it adds a lot. I use 1tsp each of vanilla and butter extract)
1 1/3 c flour (I use bread flour)
2/3 c freeze dried corn powder (65g)*
1/4 c corn flour (45g) (mix 1/4c flour with 4tsp dried corn powder)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

*you can get freeze dried whole corn kernels from Target or Whole Foods (or online). Grind it in a food processer or coffee grinder (specifically for spices) and measure from there.

1. Cream together butter and sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Add egg, beat until well combined. The original recipe calls for beating in the egg for 8 minutes (!!!) but ain't nobody got time for that. I also think beating it for that long will contribute to the spreading of the cookie. Beat in extract.
3. On low speed, add in all the dry ingredients until JUST mixed. Do not over mix.
4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour, or better, overnight.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Scoop out cookies while still cold, spaced about 3 inches from each other.
6. Bake for about 12 minutes. Check on them, see how soft they are in the center. Bake for additional time as needed.

The cornflake cookies take a bit more time and an additional step. You need to make something called cornflake crunch, but believe me, you won't mind the additional step. The crunch is so salty and delicious and try not to eat all of it before you make the cookies.

sweet and salty heaven on friggin' earth

Momofuku Milk Bar Cornflake Crunch
makes enough for 1 recipe cornflakechocolateetc cookies
2 1/2 c cornflakes (170g)
1/4 c milk powder (20g)*
1 1/2 tbsp sugar (20g)
1/2 tsp kosher salt (2g)
4 tbsp butter, melted (60g)

*you can get nonfat dry milk powder in most grocery stores in the baking aisle.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
1. Pour cornflakes into a bowl and crush them with your hands until they are about a quarter of their original size.
2. Add milk powder, sugar, and salt and toss to mix.
3. Add the melted butter and toss. The butter will kind of "glue" together all the dry ingredients to the cereal.
4. Spread the mixture on a lined baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown and toasty. Use in a recipe or eat as is (or try not to).

Momofuku Milk Bar Cornflake-Chocolate-Chip-Marshmallow Cookies
makes about 2 dozen 2oz cookies
2 sticks softened butter (225g) (again, use a tbsp or 2 less)
1 1/4c granulated white sugar (250g)
2/3 c brown sugar (150g)
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (2g)
1 1/2c flour (240g) (again, I would use bread flour because of the high fat content of these cookies)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 recipe cornflake crunch (above)
2/3 c mini chocolate chips (125g) (or any you have on hand)
1 1/4 c mini marshmallows (65g)

1. Cream together butter and sugars on medium high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Add egg, beat until well combined. Beat in extract.
3. On low speed, add in all the dry ingredients until JUST mixed - no longer than 1 minute. Do not over mix.
4. Still on low speed, add in the cornflake crunch, chocolate chips until barely mixed in. For the marshmallows: AFTER I scoop the cookies, I pinch off a bit of the top of the dough mound and add 4 -5 mini marshmallows, as shown in the picture above. Then I replace the top and lightly press on it. You can mix them in the batter if you want, but this ensures your marshmallows will stay in the center of the cookies, not the edges where they will spread out all over your baking sheet.
5. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour, or better, overnight.
6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Scoop out cookies while still cold, spaced about 3 inches from each other.
6. Bake for about 12 minutes. Check on them, see how soft they are in the center. Bake for additional time as needed. These cookies are finicky, so they might need as much as 16 minutes. Keep an eye on them.

I know these recipes are a bit complex, but I love complex flavors. I also love baking in the kitchen for half the day. But maybe that's just me ;)

me decorating a (vegan) cake I made for my brother's birthday last year.

I hope you guys enjoyed one of my first baking posts! How did you like it? Should I post more?


2012: my favorite manicures and moments

Happy New Years Eve! Well, to those in America.
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season... I definitely did. Christian came and we spent the 24th with my family and the 25th with his. It was fantastic!

Overall, 2012 was a great year for me. One step closer to getting my psychology degree, getting much, much better at nail art, 1 year closer till Christian gets out of the Marine Corps, him returning from Afghanistan, our first time living together... it was great. Here's to hoping 2013 is even BETTER!

I know I haven't been posting as much as I should. Uh... last post was over 3 months ago. I'll just try not to think about that.

Here's my manicure for the new year!

OPI Casino Royale with Essie French Kiss & freehand accents

My favorite gradient nails: Color Club Take Me to Your Chateau, OPI Do You Lilac It?, Essie French Affair

Christian's and my little apartment :)

Zoya Aurora

My first galaxy nails

Favorite glitter gradient! China Glaze Refresh Mint, Deborah Lippmann Happy Birthday

When my family came to visit us in Oceanside

Election gradient nails

Thanksgiving freehand nail art

More freehand!

Greige gradient

I was obsessed with french tips of different colors!

I learned how to surf this summer, even after being afraid of the ocean. Standing up was a proud moment for me!

My favorite freehand

Zoya Happi with freehand hisbiscuses

Christmas jelly - Essie Limoscene, China Glaze Party Hearty

OPI What's with the Cattitude, DL Happy Birthday, Essie Sugar Daddy

Salt and pepper jelly sandwich.

Spending Christmas with Christian :)

For the next year, do you guys have any requests of what I could post? I rarely wear makeup, but I do my nails every day and I cook/bake a lot. So, what would you like to see?

Have a great New Years! Much love to all.