Stella May I know how your holiday season is going? Atlanta Botanical Gardens: Garden Lights Holiday Nights

8:30 AM Unknown 0 Comments

Of course you may. I know it's been quite a while since I posted anything. It was all going so well too! I was posting every week day and then I just stopped. Things came up and my blog went on the back burner a little, but not anymore. Before the new year starts I want to get back on the horse and back to SMI. (not waiting for those New Year's Resolution, but I will no doubt be still making a list so look out for that soon!)
After being in Atlanta for the past few years, can you believe I have yet to visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden? So while I can't attest to how the Gardens are during the day time or any other time of the year, the visit was actually really nice. You don't really see much of the plant life, but the lights displays are pretty to look at. (These pictures are really not doing them any justice. You don't the full effect of the lights or the twinkling.)
We got here a little after the sun set, which that's when the opening hours are for the Holiday Lights anyway. So you would also be coming in after dark. I went on a Sunday so it wasn't too crowded. But we were planning on visiting the day before except they were sold out online. We would have gone to the late night 9 PM special discounted ticketed one, but our dinner decided to take longer (because of the waiter) than we planned. I was worried that although the late night special was discounted, you would only get an hour to see everything. But that's plenty enough time, especially since it's also freezing outside and that's about how long I can stay out. So check tickets before hand! (This is a separated even from the regular admission.)
 There a little bonfire are to make s'mores! This was me catching the falling marshmallow. (#totalnewbiemove)
 If you can't tell, it's a dragonfly. (There's also a premium deluxe ticket that includes 3D glasses, and these subbosedly look much cooler through them.) I don't think I will be trying the deluxe one next time either.
 A poinsettia Christmas Tree
Why hello, Thomas!
The giant sign outside the Botanical Garden, if you happen to somehow miss this, you surely can't miss the super long line of cars leading to it.

Some things I must remember the next time I go: dress warm! I probably should have had a hat or a scarf or mittens or something! And there were so many people with those Christmas light necklaces. That would be totally obnoxious any other time, but just walking around the garden, they seem to just blend in. Not to mention since it is dark you can totally find your party if they happen to turn around. It's also quite small so we didn't have a route planned and we got to see everything. Also we parked in the residential area across the street and avoided paying the parking fees. If you do the same just remember to look for the signs! Some spots require permits.

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Stella May I know how you plan on having a turkey in that tiny place of yours?

7:46 PM Unknown 0 Comments

Of course you may. At our first Thanksgiving we had at our tiny place with basically no kitchen, we didn't have a turkey. Instead I pan roasted a tiny chicken! I made up for the lack of spectacularness that comes with the turkey with lots of sides. It took me all day to prepare (lots of timing preparation involved with the one electric stove and toaster oven), but me and Mister and Oswald happily had a roasted bird and lots of fixings. This year if I were to have a turkey I would sous vide the whole thing! I know that's a little crazy to imagine, and not at all spectacular in terms of presentation, but I will have a turkey and it would be perfectly cooked and it wouldn't use the oven or the stove. Today I want to share the first part of how to sous vide a turkey!
First off even if you don't sous vide a turkey, I would highly suggest brining the turkey. A brine is basically solution of water and salt. The brine will inject moisture into the meat and can even prevent over cooking it. The salty water basically gets absorbed into the meat and plumps it up while seasoning it. The extra moisture retained can help add a few more minutes before your turkey become dry and overcooked in the oven. While the only flavor your truly get is the salt, I like to throw in a couple of extra spices and herbs.
All I do is gather salt, spices and herbs in a bowl. Dissolve it in water then add in the turkey.
After at least 12 hours in the brine, remove the turkey legs and pat dry. Then stick them into a zip lock freezer bag. This is a gallon sized, so can you imagine how giant these turkey legs are!
 Add in an extra large pat of butter (or if you have it on hand, some bacon grease!) and into the water bath it goes.
Now by choosing the temperature and cook times you can decide how the turkey will taste. With a higher temperature (closer to the 165°F), the turkey will have a more traditional texture. It's drier and almost stringier. With a lower temperature (closer to 145°F), the turkey will be more moist and softer. At the higher temperature, it will only need to cook for 5 hours, whereas the lower temperature the cook time will be 8+ hours. (I chose to cook our turkey at 145° for 12 hours.
After 12 hours, they look a little something like this. Which isn't bad, but by no means does this look delicious yet. It will however taste juicy and be seasoned!
So how to make it look as delicious on the outside? Well there are a few ways to achieve that brown crispy exterior.
1. Take a torch to it.
2. Put it on a rack and blast it under the broiler (in the oven)
3. Grease up a pan and sizzle it away.
 So this isn't as even brown as it would have been had I been a more patient. But me and Mister were getting hungry so we just dug in.
That's all it takes to make turkey in a home with limited appliances. You can also simultaneously make turkey breast and other parts of the turkey in the water bath sous vide. Then DIY it with a bunch of toothpicks and construct a turkey! (Maybe not.)

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Stella May I ask what if there was never a Luke?

8:30 AM Unknown 1 Comments

Well we would all not know what we were missing! I am of course talking about Luke from Gilmore Girls. Did you know Luke was originally written to be a lady named Daisy? There was never going to a Luke!
Was the diner going to called Daisy's? Would it be a Lorelai and Daisy relationship that we were all really hoping was going to happen? Would Lorelai be walking into the diner with Daisy's plaid shirt?
I mean the creator Amy Sherman-Palladino didn't originally make the character Luke to be all that important anyways. Daisy was changed from female to male just because they needed more males on the show. &she didn't even change any of the dialogue! (read the rest of the article here.)
This is one of my favorite scenes from the whole series. They finally get together! &seconds later Kirk comes running naked in between them.Classic Kirk! (but really Luke + Lorelai 4eva)
Another favorite scene. When it was the first snow of the season..
And when he built her a skating rink outside her house. So many moments! How could you not be rooting for them together?
Well I am sure happy she did change it so we do have a Luke. (But what if I don't know what I missing?) Are you excited about the return of Gilmore Girls? Counting down until Friday!)

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Stella May I know what retro activity you have been giving a go?

12:37 PM Unknown 0 Comments

Of course you may. It's Spirograph! I remember having a small party favor set that I cherished so much. (It was also a flat edge, so it was my go-to ruler) This set is actually not mine, but Mister's. & if you can't tell it's the same one he had has a kid. Mine is probably somewhere in storage alongside my colored pencils that I would use with it.

Have you seen the resurgence of children activities made of adults lately? The obvious coloring books, sticker books (how obsessed are we with that voting sticker?) and now spirographing. (Spirographing isn't an actual word, but it will be in my Fiddle-Faddle Friday posts!) I used to just use one color with one wheel and that's that. Now the pictures I have seen with the use of multiple colors and wheels (on different starting points too!) has made me think about how creative I use to be.
 Mister actually brought back the whole, clunky box back here. Why Mister didn't just take the parts out is beyond me.
Inside you can find a tray with a place for every wheel and a how to guide.
Well the top of the box does have all these references for what the wheel and points make.
 This is me trying to attempt the box pictures. Take notice of the choice of pen.
 So far so good right? Although I do think my hand placement is all wrong and I found out later that there are little holders in the box to help stabilize the whole thing. See the little holes on the ring? You can actually use that to pin down the ring to the paper (or whatever medium).
But look at how not nice they turned out! And the choice of pen just made it worse. I don't suggest using a smudgy pen like the Pilot G-2s, stick to coloring pencils or quick drying pens. (Probably not gel inks.)

I noticed that Spirograph drawings are popping up in my feed and it just got me super nostalgic. Have you taken notice to the resurgence of these geometric drawings? I hope you liked today's Fiddle-Faddle Friday post all about my second introduction of Spirograph. I will keep trying to get better and more interesting designs to look at. (I spotted a brand new, updated set at Michael's the other day--of course in the children's activity section. But unless I actually take to making these geographic drawings then I will probably stick to Mister's set and plus, it's not really that updated.) With my recent sticker book and not-yet creatively Spirographing, I think I am really channeling my younger self these days.

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Stella May I know how to get Zoella Beauty products here at Target?

8:00 AM Unknown 0 Comments

Of course you may. So I was just casually strolling through the beauty aisles in Target and I couldn't believe what I saw. Zoella Beauty's Snap Fizz Relax Bath Fizzers! Unless you have been living under a rock, Zoella is a popular YouTube beauty/lifestyle channel and Zoe came out with her own beauty products. These have been exclusive to UK (well you can order them online) until now! Zoella Beauty is at Target!
I only spotted this one product on the shelves. (It's located at the half shelves where other holiday sets are.) BTW how pretty are the bronze foiled gingerbread men.
On the shelves of Target.
& the extra touch of a striped bow on top.
Inside are three individually wrapped gingerbread bath fizzers. Even though it's wrapped, you can still sniff the gingerbread scent. (I couldn't really smell anything from outside the box though.)
Each gingerbread man is good for two baths. Just snap them in half and run it under the water.
Do Not Eat! Warning label. 
This is the same distrubution company as the ones made in UK! So it should be the same product. This is from her Christmas collection though, so I am wondering if we will get more products? Do you know?
If you didn't already know, I don't have a bath here in my little home (well, currently), so I couldn't try it out tonight. I will be bringing them back home with me this Christmas as trying it at my parent's house! I will basically be having a bath everyday, and I am not complaining.

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Stella May I know what would be the perfect gift for a beauty lover?

8:30 AM Unknown 0 Comments

Of course you may. Today's At First Beauty Post is all about beauty advent calendars. These advent calendars have really been popular these past few years with every coming year featuring more and more options. I picked out a few of my favorites (I'm sure there are more as we get more into the holiday season). I imagine these best as gifts so the pictures I have included have all the products already displayed. I know that ruins the surprise each day, but I would rather know that I am getting products that I would actually want. & I don't reveal which product you will be getting on each day, so you can look forward to that little surprise (although you will know what you will be getting on the last day.) 
For a fellow lushie: Lush's 12 Days of Christmas $99.95 
Included are all of the classic Lush Christmas bath and body goodies, from bath bombs to soaps to lotions. These are the Lush products that always comes back every Christmas, so you know they are popular. 
For the one who can never have enough nail polishes: Ciaté London’s Mini Mani Month $53.10 (currently on sale)
Inside there are 22 mini nail polish bottles and one full sized one.
For the one who has wanted to try other Target exclusive skin/body/hair care products: Target's 12 Days of Beauty Fave Advent Calendar $24.99 (free shipping)
Con: there are only 12 products and most of them are travel sized. Pro: the variety! skin care (my favorite toner from Pixi), hand cream, Nyx's ever populat soft matte lip cream, nail polish (full size), bath bomb, lip balm and even a face mask.
For the high end beauty lover: Selfridges Beauty Advent Calendar $69.00 (plus shipping to US)
Included are 24 beauty minis (hair, skin, makeu up) Some of the products I have already received in my Sephora monthly subscription boxes and most of the products you can find in Sephora stores here. There are some UK brands that we can't get our hands on here though: Smith & Cult Lipgloss STARSKIN Bio Cellulose Eye Catcher, Dr. Paw Paw Original Balm 10ml, This Works Deep Pillow Spray, Lord & Berry Lip Crayon.

There are so many out there. Chances are your favorite store has a version out there. If now how amazing would it be to just DIY your own version? It would be so much of a discount, but the calendar would be totally customized! Just pick out 12 or 24 or 25 products and stick them in little envelopes or boxes. Number them and you are done! Have you gotten your advent calendars yet?

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