Thursday, April 28, 2011

Learning To Be Me

I told someone the other day that I was teaching myself everything I need to know for my next career. A total stranger. And as I said the words out aloud it made me feel proud. I was delighted to be able share that with someone who didn't know me. Someone who didn't know a thing.

Strangers are good sounding boards for trying out new parts to add to your personality. I'm not talking about being fake but rather when you stop being fake. You know, when you realize the person you're pretending to be is starting to look less and less like the person you actually are but you're worried if you start acting like yourself no-one will like you, so you start revealing small real things about yourself and hope that it isn't rejected or ridiculed? Maybe I'm alone in this feeling?

A few hours after this encounter I was at home, rethinking over the events of my meeting, enjoying my proud feeling and I was suddenly struck with guilt. I felt uncomfortable. I couldn't help but think that I was in fact a fake.

I hadn't yet taken any steps to teach myself anything. How could I expect anyone to take me seriously if I couldn't even do that? I noticed that I've been a passive participant in my own life. Sailing by. Pretending that things will just happen. I'm thankful for that retrospective moment. It gave me a push that I didn't even realize I needed.

It is all very much a work in progress at the moment. I'm still learning the best way to teach myself. I've never been good at being a student. And I've never been very good at being me. But I'm willing to give it a good shot.

I just hope it is well received. {maybe I'm too paranoid}

Are you true to yourself?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Looking for Talented Guest Bloggers

Hello there. Happy well wishes to you!

I'm currently searching for some talent, and I'm wondering if you can help me?
I'm looking for bloggers to post on this blog once or twice a month. I'm looking for original work, not already posted on your blog. And it would need to fall into one of the following genres;
  • Fashion & Personal Style
  • Sweet Food recipes
  • DIY Projects related to fashion, design or food
If you are interested please send me an email and say hello. :)
Please include your blog address and what you'd like to write about in your email.

Why should I be a guest blogger?
Besides from showing a new audience how awesome & talented you are, guest blogging is a great way to expand your reader base and gain new readers. But most of all it allows us to expand our community and get in touch with talented people just like you!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Living The Sweet Life

Yesterday was such a glorious day. The sun was shining.

I don't think I truly appreciated the sun until I moved to Seattle.

Daniel & I decided to take advantage of the sunshine and took Koda for a walk around in our area.
While we were walking around I got thinking about my life. I don't know if it was the sunshine beading down on my skin causing some euphoric sensation in my brain, or the fact that I was venturing outside of my apartment and exercising for the first time in a little while or if I was just having a great time with my two favourite guys. But I started to have these thoughts & realizations that I was a very lucky person. That I was in fact living the sweet life. And I didn't even realize....until now of course.

Not everybody gets a chance to be able to move overseas and experience that side of life. For the very longest time I've been consumed with the thoughts of "when are we going home?" instead of "how can I make this my home?" and by doing so I'm missing all these wonderful moments that are passing me by. And time just keeps ticking by. It isn't slowing down, and I'm certainly not going to get any of that time back.

But I can't berate myself over my past only learn from it. And grow into something better. I have to remember the good. I am happy, healthy and in love. And from this moment forward I'm going to appreciate my life and do everything I can to have a long & full life. Because that is what its all about.

I've decided that I'm going to teach myself everything I need to know in order to take the first steps into my next career. It is something that is going to take me quite a while but I know that it will be worth it in the end. I've just got to take a leap and hope that it works out in the end. It is just that first leap that is sometimes hard to take. You can feel the nerves in your stomach and your first reaction is fear. That is a good reaction to have, it reminds us what is important.

 Every time Daniel & I talk about letting Koda off of his lead in public we get that feeling. Koda is six and in all that time we've never let him off lead in public. We've never taken that leap because Koda is somewhat of a day dreamer {much like his mum} and has a tendency to not pay attention to where he is going or he gets carried away by the various smells around the place. Yesterday we decided to take that leap and it was awesome. We walked him for about an hour so he was a little tired and then in a safe area {no immediate access to roads} we let him off his lead and he was so well behaved! He stayed by Daniel the whole time and as a mama of a furbaby I was very very proud.

It is the little things that keep me smiling.

This post was inspired by Melissa's "My Sweet Life" link-up over on her blog, Sugar Coat It. Head over there if you'd like to play along.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

{Recipe} Vanilla Cupcakes & Buttercream Frosting

Cupcakes are like little pieces of heaven. Little pieces of delicious heaven. I looove to bake cupcakes. They are just so pretty & dainty, oh and delicious!

Yesterday I finally got around to baking these cupcakes that I had planned to make earlier in the week. Unfortunately I had ran out of cupcake pans and decided to improvize and use my muffin tray instead. The recipe worked out perfectly and I filled the entire tray.

They turned out really well. Very moist and dense, yet they had a very light & fluffy texture as well. Topped with vanilla buttercream frosting and they became hard to refuse. I've only had two but I really don't know how much longer they will last.....

Vanilla Cupcakes

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
½ cup sour cream
1 large egg , room temperature
2 large egg yolks , room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin/cupcake tin with paper or foil liners. Or if your like me and completely forgot to check if you have patty pans (cupcake liners) then just use your muffin tray with a little extra spray.

2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl. Add butter, sour cream, egg and egg yolks, and vanilla; beat at medium speed with a mixer until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds or so. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.

3. Divide batter evenly among cups of prepared tin. Bake until cupcake tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from tin and transfer to wire rack; cool cupcakes to room temperature before frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar (icing sugar)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Using an electric mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl once or twice.

2. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Once all of the powdered sugar is added, increase the speed to medium-high and add the vanilla, mixing until incorporated. Whip at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.

3. Frost cupcakes and then enjoy! YUM 

P.S I almost forget to announce the winner of the Easter Candy Giveway!
The winner of the most delicious candy & chocolate is Mez from It's Days Like These. Congratulations Mez, I'll be in touch with you soon :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Celebrate Earth Day with Hemp

Today is Earth Day.

Earth Day is about promoting awareness & appreciation for the Earth, its natural environment and ways that we can help to it clean up. It was started over 40 years ago in 1970 and paved the way for the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many more environmental laws. You can read more about Earth Day here.

One way that I believe we could help the environment & the Earth is through the use of Hemp.

Industrial hemp is different from Marijuana because it contains an extremely low dose of THC which is the chemical that gets you "high". In fact if you tried to get buzzed from industrial hemp it would be the same as taking 2-3 doses of a high fiber laxative!

How is good for the environment?
  1. Because of its low lignin content, hemp can be pulped using less chemicals than with wood. Its natural brightness can obviate the need to use chlorine bleach, which means no extremely toxic dioxin being dumped into streams. A kinder and gentler chemistry using hydrogen peroxide rather than chlorine dixoide is possible with hemp fibers.*
  2. Hemp grows well in a variety of climates and soil types. It is naturally resistant to most pests, precluding the need for pesticides. It grows tightly spaced, out-competing any weeds, so herbicides are not necessary. It also leaves a weed-free field for a following crop.*
  3. Hemp can displace cotton which is usually grown with massive amounts of chemicals harmful to people and the environment. 50% of all the world's pesticides are sprayed on cotton.*
  4. Hemp can displace wood fiber and save forests for watershed, wildlife habitat, recreation and oxygen production, carbon sequestration (reduces global warming), and other values.*
  5. Hemp can yield 3-8 dry tons of fiber per acre. This is four times what an average forest can yield. *

The possible uses of hemp;
  • Food - The seeds contain all the essential amino & fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life. It's quite high in some essential amino acids, including gamma linoleic acid (GLA), a very rare nutrient also found in mother's milk.
  • Building Material - Concrete-like blocks made with hemp and lime have been used as an insulating material for construction.
  • Paper - The first identifiable paper was hemp, made over 2000 years ago. It lasts a long time and doesn't yellow.
  • Fabric - Fabrics made of at least one-half hemp block the sun's UV rays more effectively than other fabrics. The fibers are longer, stronger, more absorbent and more mildew-resistant than cotton.
  • Water & soil purification - Hemp is being used to filter contaminants at the Chernobyl disaster site
  • Fuel - Hemp oil can be used to power to power diesel engines. And is a lot cleaner too.

In the spirit of Earth Day, hemp and fashion {and because you sat through a lesson on hemp} - here are some pretties I found on Etsy. As you can see hemp can be pretty much made into anything, looks great & you're helping the environment at the same time. Win win!!


* source

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wednesday In Seattle

Yesterday I went into to Seattle with Daniel and a friend to check out a Star Wars exhibit and to grab a coffee at our all time favourite place, Stella's. I love going into Seattle, it has so much history to it. I even love just looking at the signs all over the traffic poles.

Both turned out to be a total bust because the exhibit had hardly anything interesting in it and Stella's doesn't make coffee anymore because it has completely turned into a bar! Which is fine but they had these amazing Roman cappucinos that were to die for! Seriously the best coffee I've had in my entire life. Oh well, at least I got a photo of Darth.

The highlight of the day was that the sun peeked its head out from behind the clouds a few times and shone its glorious rays down on my skin letting me know that Spring was definitely here.

Oh and we even went by "Seattle Grace". Sorry Grey's Anatomy fans, the hospital doesn't exist. All the outside shots are actually the Komo News centre!

{photos taken with my Windows Phone 7 - Samsung Focus}

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Learning To Style Series
{Part One: Likes vs Dislikes}

I've done quite a few thousand miles around the fashion world this last week. Fashion websites, blogs {there are so many amazing ones!}, flickrs, tumblrs, videos - you name it and I've probably seen it.

Did I learn more about what fashion and style actually are? Yes I did.

One thing that became consistently clear to me is that fashion is completely subjective. It is up to each individual to decide what they like & don't like.

It is only when you have the confidence to stand by your own decision to truly embrace who you are, will you have the power to be a true original.

Ultimately what fashion really came down to for me was choice. And choice, or rather freedom of choice is something that I am quite passionate about and believe in very strongly. So it makes sense to me that I've come to learn more about this world of self expression through the clothes & accessories that we wear.

Of course finding what your style is can take a little bit of inspiration.

How do I get inspired?

First off, write a list of things that you already know.

What are your favourite colours?
What are your least favourite colours?
What parts of your body do you like?
What parts of your body do you like less?

From just these four questions I can straight away tell you;
I prefer fabrics in pastel pink, sunshine yellow, emerald green, plum grey & of course black. I don't like fabrics that have a brown, khaki or orange colour to them. I like wearing shorts, skirts & dresses above the knee {I like my legs and my face}. I also like clothes that flatter my stomach and bust {areas I like less}, such as v-neck shirts, vertical lines and anything that gives the appearance of a long torso area.

The second thing you want to do is find inspiration by having a look around at different fashion websites and blogs. You'll find that once you start looking it will be hard to stop. I've found myself jumping from link to link for hours at a time. Try not to over saturate your brain with too much information, you'll just up more confused then when you started. Set yourself a limit of an hour a day or every other day, then allow yourself to spend some time reflecting. You'll find that your brain will naturally keep coming back to things you've really liked. Make notes!

Some of my favourite inspiration websites are;

The rest of knowing what you like will come to you gradually over time. Once you make a conscious decision to learn about how to style yourself you'll find that within six months you will have developed patterns and trends with the things that you like. Just keep exposing yourself to various different sources of inspiration {tv, magazines, podcast, videos, newspaper, blogs, etc}.

Next week I'm going to be talking about "Key Pieces. What Are Yours?", so keep a look out for that.

If you have any helpful tips or stories that you'd like to share on what gives you inspiration or how you learnt what your style was about, I'd love to hear them in the comments below!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hairstylin' {Ballerina Bun}

Whilst doing some research for my next "Learning to Style" post {which I was suppose to post last Friday, oops!}, I got thinking about hair styles and the way people wear their hair. In particular how I wear my hair. Or rather, don't wear my hair.

I have been bleaching my hair for about the last twelve months quite harshly with a bleach & tone every 4-5 weeks, and previous to that I was getting full heads of foils for about 2-3 years. Its only in the last 3-4 months that I've had a fringe {bangs}. Previous to all of this I was a brunette. Naturally I am a brunette. As pictured here.

I've realised that part of looking great doesn't just come down to the oufit you wear but has a lot to do with the way you pair an outfit with the accessory pieces, such as; jewellery, make-up, shoes & the way we wear our hair.

I've only ever worn my hair out or up. I've never learnt how to wear my hair in various different ways, let alone in a way that looks flawlessly stylish! So being someone who likes to learn what I don't I've decided to teach myself, but of course!

So I'm introducing a new weekly column to my blog called "Hairstylin'". Each week I will pick a different hair style, try it out, write a how-to and give my thoughts on it {oh and post some pictures!}.

To kick off my very first Hairstylin' post, I've chosen the high head "Ballerina Bun" as my first style. I've noticed this one around a lot these days and I have to admit as soon as I saw it I was struck with awe. It was the prettiest thing I had seen all day & I knew I had to try it.

  • Wash your hair
  • Dry your hair off with a towel until its just damp {no water dripping out of your hair}
  • Spray in a sealing/heat protectant spray
  • Use your hair dryer to dry your hair, using your fingers to loosen your hair as you go
  • If you have a fringe like me, brush out whilst your hair is still slightly damp and use dry with the hair dryer
  • To get a little bit of body in your fringe brush up whilst drying
  • Once your hair is dry, brush all your hair to the top of your head like you were making a pony tail and then make a bun right on the top instead. I like to have mine a little messy.
  • Style your fringe. Lightly spray with hair spray - you still want it to have a natural bounce.
  • Voila! Beautiful!


LOVE IT!! I love this style so much. It was super easy to do and looks really pretty. You could even add pretty clips or tie some lace around the bun. I'm definitely going to be adding this one to my regular rotation. I even have a few ideas on how I could tweak this style.


{Next week: Double Knot}

If you would like me to review and try out a particular hair style I'd love to hear your thoughts, so let me know in the comments or send me an email and let me know!

My Very First Giveaway - Easter Candy!

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I'm so excited to announce my very first giveway here on Emerald City Girl! In the spirit of Easter and all things delicious I decided to pick up a couple of the cutest things I could find at my local supermarket. And there were a lot of cute goodies to choose from!

The giveway loot includes;
  • One deliciously cute "Speedy Bunny" from Hersheys
  • Two cute "Little Beauty" chocolate bunnies
  • One pack of marshmallow peeps
  • The cutest pack of gummy candy animals you've ever seen


But I have one more surprise for the winner of this candy awesomeness. The winner of this giveaway will also win a featured post on my blog about their blog. HOW COOL IS THAT?!

So how do you win?

All you have to do is be a follower of this blog and leave me a comment - tell me a joke or an interesting fact about you. HOW EASY IS THAT?!

For extra entries;
  • Tweet about this giveway, but make sure you @emeraldctygirl so I can see your tweet!
  • Blog about this giveway on your blog. Making sure to leave me the link in the comments.
  • Follow Emerald City Girl on Facebook.
  • Follow Emerald City Girl on Bloglovin'.


For each extra entry you need to post a comment on this post for it to be counted as an extra entry. So if you enter all five different ways, then make sure you comment five seperate times on this post. I use the random number generator to pick a winner so thats why you need to post each entry separately.

*This giveway closes on Good Friday (April 22nd, 2011) @ 12pm PST. I will announce the winner on the same day by 5pm PST. Open to all.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

{Recipe} Leila Loves Daniel Chicken Noodles Soup

I started making this when Daniel & I had moved out to our own place and he wasn't feeling very well. He was coming down with a dreaded cold. I wanted to do something to make him feel a little better & to show him that I loved him, especially when he wasn't feeling well. That was over 7 years ago now and has turned into a definite favourite in our house and is requested by Daniel {a lot}. There is nothing better than a bowl of soup to warm you up on a cold rainy day.

Leila Loves Daniel Chicken Noodles Soup

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon crushed garlic
1 brown onion, diced
1lb {500g} chicken breast or thigh, cut into bit size pieces - I prefer to use thigh
2 carrots, cubed
3-4 celery sticks, diced
32oz chicken stock
7oz packet of Udon noodles
2 packets of Lipton noodle soup {or a dry packet of chicken noodle soup}

Melt the butter in a soup pot, add the garlic and let it cook for a minute or two on a medium heat. Add the onion.

Let the onion cook {but not brown} for about two minutes. Add the chicken and cook for a further four to five minutes.

Add the carrots and the celery, stir a few times then add the chicken stock. Bring to the boil slowly.

Add the udon noodles and the noodle soup packets about 10 minutes before you are ready to serve it. {I like to cut my udon noodle up a little bit so they fit on your spoon better when you're eating the soup.} Boil for 10 minutes.

Serve. I always serve my soup with some french bread. YUM!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Storytelling in 30 Photos

1. someone I spend a lot of time with

2. a picture of myself

3. a picture of someone in the family

4. a picture of something that makes me happy

5. an old picture of myself

6. a picture of a sibling

7. a class photo

8. a random photo of you and your significant other

9. a picture I’ve never posted before

10. a relative of mine

11. a person I can tell everything to

12. a picture from everyday life

13. a picture from a place I love

14. a picture that reminds me of old times

15. a picture from a great night

16. an unusual picture

17. a picture of my spare time

18. a picture of people who are closest to me

19. a picture of a person who is always there

20. a picture of a time in life I miss

21. a picture from last summer

22. a picture that makes me sad

23. a picture I always laugh about

24. a crazy picture

25. latest picture of myself

26. a picture of my parents at my age

27. a picture from the best days of your life

28. a picture from my favorite vacation

29. a picture of an accomplishment

30. a picture I’m satisfied with

I found this idea from Liz over at Srsly Liz and thought it was a great idea. I had a lot of fun going through all my old photos and remembering some of the great times I've had.

What do your 30 photos look like?

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