Peace out, 2014!

CHEERS!! 2014 was a good one, maybe even the greatest yet.

Strawberry Mint Bourbon Smash

I started out the year 3 months pregnant and said goodbye to snowy Michigan and hello to rainy Oregon. We drove a lot of miles, crammed ourselves into a sleek and tiny light-filled apartment in a great Portland neighborhood and settled in. Less than six months later, we house hunted and moved into our first home. Exactly a week after we moved into the house, our son Casper Hart, was born. It was an insanely wonderful first half to a year. Then, we got to work settling into our home with our boy. We fell crazy in love with our tiny human, slept little, and nested a lot. The second half was equally crazy and amazing.

Portland “snow” in our backyard. 

Through it all we ate a ton of amazing food, visited with our families, and explored our new city. I also blogged and worked on freelance projects. Some for my girl Betty and a few others. It was fun and exciting and stressful. I found the light in 2 new spaces (the second of which I’m still figuring out) and tried to simplify my whole process. I was both happy with and frustrated with my work–it made me realize I want to work better and be better. I hosted some guest posts from bloggers I love and admire. I cannot give enough thanks to Nicole, Amy, Sarah, Erika, and Megan for taking care of my space while I took some time to birth a human and learn how to mom.

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

I made a lot of new favorite recipes this year and some of them were your favorites, too. One of those things I didn’t make, but my talented blogger friend did. Unsurprisingly, they were all treats and a lot of them were the frozen variety, some had booze, some were cakes, and there was also a pie and cookie that won your hearts and stomachs.

Double Berry Swirl Amaretti Ice Cream

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

4-Ingredient Strawberry Cream Pops

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pops

Ginger Bourbon Cider

Strawberry Mint Bourbon Smash

The Sugar Hit’s Blackberry Jam Donut Bundt Cake

Fold-Over Rhuberry Pie

Hazelnut Crunch Pumpkin Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Malted Oatmeal Cookies with Hazelnuts and Sea Salt

And, my number one, tip-top, favorite of all time-ever, was this guy. I know, I know…this is who I am now!

Don’t punch me.

In the new year I hope to continue to simplify my blogging/working process and put myself out there more regarding blogging and opportunities related to this space. I want to define my aesthetic more and hone my photography. I want to work on my writing and make it more meaningful when I can without it becoming too serious. I would also like to include more life stuff, maybe some mom stuff, but I’m still trying to figure out how to include it in a sensible way. Becoming a mom has changed me in so many amazing ways and I just want to figure out how to share some of that here.

Anyway, peace out 2014! You were an amazing gem and gave me so much more than I could have hoped for or even imagined. Wishing all of you all of the health and happiness in the lands for 2015. Cheers!!!




Apartment Tour and a Surprise!!

Hungry Girl por Vida Apartment Tour + Surprise!

Today, instead of a recipe I’m sharing a tour of our little, light filled apartment…with a bit of a surprise at the end. It’s a temporary space while we figure out where to find our footing in this beautiful Northwest city. Be warned, there are a lot of pictures.

Hungry Girl por Vida Apartment Tour + Surprise!

Hungry Girl por Vida Apartment Tour + Surprise!


Hungry Girl por Vida Apartment Tour + Surprise!

Hungry Girl por Vida Apartment Tour + Surprise!

Hungry Girl por Vida Apartment Tour + Surprise!

Hungry Girl por Vida Apartment Tour + Surprise!

By now, you may have noticed the clues as to what the surprise in the title is…Sean and I are having a bebe!! I have been SO EXCITED to share this with you all. I could seriously burst. Our babe is due in late July and he’s a boy! We were totally convinced we were having a girl–simply because everyone we are close to have girls and it was just on the brain. We, along with our friends and family, are so excited to welcome a baby boy into this clan of girls. This week I’m officially halfway through my pregnancy at 20 weeks, the baby is looking great and is super active in his cozy space. His kicks and stretches are getting stronger, we even saw him hiccup (and pee! which totally happens in there, apparently. HA!) during our last ultrasound, and he’s a healthy little guy. We truly could not be more excited.

A little background, I’ve always wanted to be a mother.  As a couple, we’ve always wanted children to be a part of our future, it’s one of the things that we knew from the start and that fueled our attraction for each other. We also wanted to finish school, get married, and live a bit of married life before we began this journey. Also, honestly, I harbored a lot of fear that it might never happen for us. With good reason, that I won’t get into right now, I didn’t trust my body and its ability to conceive and carry a baby. So, we put it off for several years. Sean was ready years ago, but my fears kept things on hold a little longer. Then, a few months before I turned 29, I got the fever and I couldn’t shake it. It kept me up at night and I could feel that proverbial clock ticking. I made an appointment, consulted with an obgyn who guided us on maximizing our fertility, and 5 months of temperature taking, calendar tracking, and lots of tears and stress later I was pregnant. It was such a relief that even when the first trimester symptoms of extreme fatigue and nausea hit, I welcomed them…even in the midst of the holiday season eat-fest.

So, basically, this is a dream come true and I have been absolutely BURSTING to share this with you guys. I mean, it’s a BFD to me, and so are all of you.

Just a little note: I know that while it may have been stressful and fearful to embark on this journey for us, I know a lot of couples have it much, much harder than we did. And some even have it easier. I’m not trying to compare or in any way diminish the experience of others, I just want to share this joyful time with all of you.


Cindy’s {current} Beauty Favorites

Hey, gals (and guys)! Remember when I promised you that beauty-faves post 2 weeks ago? Well…it’s here! I have to apologize for getting majorly distracted by family/friend time while I was away in the wild West. Toddler and baby nieces, man, they get me EVERYTIME!

But really, let’s talk about this make-up sitch…cause I love it and love talking about it…so bear with me! These are just 15 (fifteen!) of my current favorites — products I use, have used, or just discovered and love.

1. I picked up this Sonia Kashuk Hidden Agenda concealer palette several weeks ago and I am loving it. It contains 3 cream concealers (light, medium, and a green-tinted one for covering redness), as well as a setting powder (which I NEVER use, I’d honestly rather have another cream concealer shade for blending). I mostly use the green tinted and light concealers the most, though I appreciate the darker shade for blending and I think it will definitely come in handy this summer.

2. Urban Decay Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder. GUYS! THIS POWDER is amazing, despite it’s super long name. I am so-super-obsessed. It’s an HD-style (as in HDTV) finishing powder, claiming that it creates an optical illusion that hides flaws…and, I totally drank the kool-aid. Since using this, I have totally given up on foundation primers, it has a similar effect with out the weird end-of-the-day foundation slide that sometimes happens with primers.  It has a weirdo-applicator that I was okay with at first, but grew to hate, so I just popped off the top and use it as a loose powder with a brush. I use this powder on my whole face after I apply my foundation and concealer. It’s super silky, smooth, and does not leave a cakey-powder finish. It’s also great over a little BB cream to smooth things out and amp up the coverage. I will definitely be re-purchasing.

3. Again, another overwrought name, but really, Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen WOW Brightening Makeup is my current go-to and has been for several months now (I have re-purchased it a few times). It has medium coverage and a super lightweaight feel on the skin. I love the silken texture of the liquid and it’s smooth application. As with everyone, I struggle with matching my skin tone. As an Asian/Caucasian I have yellowish undertones, some redness, some hyper-pigmentation, and I go from medium-light to bronzed depending on the season. The shade Honey…I’m so money is one of the best matches for my skin tone I have found, and it blends like a dream. Paired with the UD Razor Sharp powder and I feel pretty much as flawless as possible when I leave the house. Also, the pump-style package makes for very little waste.

4. These DreamLumi Touch Highlighting Concealers have been all over the internets recently, and I have totally jumped onto that bandwagon. I use these (I have them in Nude and Buff) exclusively around my eye area. If you have dark under eyes, these are a dream — they brighten with just a bit of highlight, without making you look crazed. PLUS they are a drugstore find and at Ulta you can often get them (and mix/match) for their Buy1Get1 50% deal they always seem to run on drugstore brands.

5. This Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pen in Cafe Gold is SO PRETTY! It’s a gold-flecked brown eye pencil that glides perfectly AND is waterproof. They are a lot like the Urban Decay 24/7 pencils (which I also use and love), but a bit cheaper and I think the colors are a bit more restrained. I have weepy outer-eye corners, so waterproof liners are my jam and this one is definitely a keeper.

6. Another Sonia Kashuk palette, this Arch Alert Brow Kit is pretty great. Though I have super dark eyebrows, they are sparse in areas, and ladies (gents, too) your eyebrows make your face. Non-eyebrowed folks are just creepy. For an example, check out this creepshow. There are 4 shades that have a bit of a waxy texture–eliminating the need (in my opinion) for brow gel. The darkest and medium brown shades both work for me–the medium is a more everyday look, while I use the dark one for nighttime. There is also a reddish shade and a fair one for our redheaded and blonde friends. I use this palette with a short, compact bristled brush.

7. I just picked up this Smashbox Halo Highlighting wand a few weeks ago, hoping that I would get the most product from it possible, and I am loving it. I am a big fan of liquid highlighters and was using one for Stila for a while, but the packaging frustrated me — the brush doesn’t reach the bottom of the bottle, so the remaining contents get dry and goopy…not cute. This wand has a click/pump that pushes from the bottom up, lessening the waste…which I love! I have the wand in the gold color — because I LOVE gold things — though I think the pink is just as pretty. I have only been using highlighter religiously in the last 6 months or so, but I feel like it really brings something extra to the make-up party. I use it to highlight the tops of my cheeks, the bridge of my nose, my brow bones, and the cupid’s bow of my upper lip. You could use the brush on the wand, but I just use to to dot the product on my face where I want highlight and brush it out with a stiff bristled, short haired, flat brush (like the white handled one pictured above).

8. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush has been making huge waves on the internets and I couldn’t resist trying it out. I am a big fan of Tarte cosmetics and this blush does not disappoint. I purchased it in the color Natural Beauty, which is a matte rosy-red color. I call it the perfect Snow-White-Princess blush–it’s really red and rosy and pigmented and PERFECT. I love a doll-face, fairy-tale cheek on anyone and this product delivers. The color pay-off is huge — a little goes a long way and a light hand OR blending is absolutely necessary. I am a big fan of blending, so I pile it on, blend, and repeat until I like what I see. I have tried this blush in other colors and love them all just as much, but this is my absolute fave for my skin tone. My BFF has the color Blissful which is coral-y and beautiful too, and may just be next in my collection.

9. I am a huge fan of the glossy, balmy, lipsticks that are popping up all over drugstores these days. This one by Maybelline Color Whisper in Pin-Up Peach may just be my EVER-FAVE lipcolor for any and everyone. It’s creamy and light on the lip, glides on easily, and leaves behind just enough color. This particular color looks good on pretty much everyone, I could not possibly love it more. It’s the perfect sweet and vintage-y peach-pink color at a great price point.

10. & 11. Revlon’s Colorburst Lip Butters are really similar to Color Whisper, but waxier. The color pay-off is similar, sheer color with a bit of pop. These shades in Sweet Tart (10.) and Cherry Tart (11.) are my favorite shades of the bunch. Sweet Tart is a sheer, creamy, bright pink — think barbie toned down a bit. Cherry Tart is a great red — my other red lipsticks are from MAC and super pigmented and opaque — this one is more sheer and you can build the color allowing you to go for a cherry-stained look or a more bold red lip.

12. Revlon Just Bitten Kissable BalmStain in Rendezvous is the first (and only?) tangerine-y color I own. I like this one because it’s definitely part of the orange lip trend, but not overly so and is a nice intro into a more bold lip look. I like the chunky crayon style and the smooth balmy texture, not to mention the sheer, fun color. I woud say that if your natural lip is fairly dark, this may not apply evenly color-wise, since it is a sheer-stain product.

13. I recently dropped my Birchbox subscription and took up with Julep Maven. I’m liking this subscription because no matter what  I get at least 2 new polishes a month…which, for me, makes it totally worth it. Plus, if I’m not feeling the boxes, I can skip that month. This Julep color in Teri is such a perfect coral cream. I love a cream polish and I am loving coral this year, so this is perfect. In the bottle, it appears a little more drab and muddy than it does on the nail, and online is seems REALLY orange. I assure you, it’s definitely a coral and definitely one that I will use all summer.

14. I got this FLO Atomizer in a Birhcbox before I cancelled and it was hands-down the best thing I got from them all year. Even though it totally looks like a vibrator (oh, I went there… because it totally does) it’s the PERFECT size to decant a sample-size of perfume and fits perfectly in any purse, plus you can clean it and fill it again with something else. I thought I actually lost this and immediately purchased a new one (Sephora brand that seems to be pretty comparable).

15. While dry shampoo is hardly a new thing, I couldn’t resist sharing this travel-size bottle of cherry scented Batiste. I find this brand to be well priced (compared to Rockaholic, which was what I used to buy), and while the scent is hardly cherry-like, I love the throw-back look of the packaging and that it’s travel sized. I have not tried any tinted dry shampoo’s, but I do have super-dark brown hair and yeah, I do get the white residue, but I just let it set/absorb for a few minutes (I usually tweeze my brows or something while I wait) and then just rub it in super fast. As someone who NEVER washes her hair consecutive days in a row (I can’t even imagine how dry my ends would be), dry shampoo is worth minimal the effort. It’s easy enough and FAR less time consuming than washing, blow-drying, flat-ironing my hair on the daily.

**HEY! Just a little disclaimer to say that none of these opinions are sponsored–I purchased all of these products with my own dollars and tested them out on my own face and head and nails, etc. Links are provided for my readers by me and are un-sponsored, so that the products mentioned are easy to find and check out. All opinions are my own.