Quick Easy Lunch: Warm Lentil and Beetroot Salad

I don’t know about most of you reading this, but as much as I love to cook, cooking for one is not always my favorite thing. For me, one of the best parts about cooking doesn’t have to do with the time spent in the kitchen or shopping for ingredients. It’s true, mixing up flavors and trying out new ingredients is both exciting and delicious – but my favorite thing about cooking is preparing a meal to share with others. Since living with Mr. B, I’ve got it great. He’s got a healthy appetite, loves just about everything, and he does the dishes. 😉

Before this, whenever I’d lived by myself, I would resort to cooking something gigantic and eating it for a few days. One of my main staples was lentil soup. It’s healthy, cheap, and tasty. Today, when preparing lunch, I looked over at my old friend, the little sack of lentils I had sitting on the kitchen shelf. So tiny and pretty! What we call “French lentils” in the US, are just called “lentils” here; imagine that! They are dark green in color and tend to hold their shape better than the brown lentils which are more common at home. Perfect for salads. I decided to cook some up to have as a side for any dinners this week, and for lunch today. They’re great to have around.

So today, I’m sharing a warm salad I made with them.

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How to Cancel your La Poste Mobile Contract – or Other French Mobile Contracts

Hello! I recently switched mobile phone carriers from La Poste Mobile to Free. Why? Because I am cheap and 4 euros a month just wasn’t good enough. 😛 Free has 2 euro per month plans and I can call the US with my minutes! Perfect.

By Kzar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

To set up my Free contract, I used one of those sim card vending machines. You can choose to have the contract valid for one month or as an ongoing thing. The sim costs 10 euros. If you don’t live somewhere that has one of these vending machines, or a Free shop, then you can order it online.

ANYWHOO. In order to cancel your La Poste Mobile contract, you can’t walk into a post office and tell them to cancel it. You also can’t call customer service and do it by phone. Nope, you  need to send them a letter. Luckily for you, you can just copy mine below.   Continue reading

Back *for now* and Bonus SV by Sparkly Vernis Swatch

Hello and sorry for the absence. One of the main reasons I haven’t been writing is that what inspires what I write (a lot of times) are the photos I take. Or I photograph with a blog post in mind. The pictures go hand in hand with my little posts, and sadly, last month my little Canon died. Without new pictures, I haven’t been very inspired to write.

In the last month, le hubs has had a lot of holidays so we’ve spent some time relaxing here at home and also a week in the south of France. It was great, I love traveling by train in France. On the way back our connecting train was delayed (quelle surprise!), so we made the most of it with glass of Saint Julien in the Bordeaux train station. Life is hard.  😉

Still settling into Tours, I’ve found a vibrant language group here so that will make social life and French progression much easier (I hope). I’m also really excited because my sister is coming into town in two days!!! We’re planning on visiting some chateaux and eating lots of cheese. Sounds like a good holiday to me! ❤

And as a bonus: From the new Sparkly Vernis collection, La Petite Coquille! I’ve seen it layered over more vibrant colors but over Essie’s Ballet Slippers, I feel extremely ladylike. 😀 IMG_7164

The collection goes on sale tomorrow at the SV shop. I got it first because I helped name this one. 🙂 I’ve also bought one of her Frankies,  so expect a swatch of that soon.

Hopefully there will be more sunny days and less writers’ block. Happy Thursday!!

Mani Monday – Mint Polish with Gold Polka Dots

Happy Monday!

I thought today I’d share my minty mani, mostly because I’m still working on the Loire à Vélo post. 😉 Mr B and I went on another ride yesterday, but this time in the other direction -> east! It’s a completely different ride, as when you’re going west from Tours, you have much more silence and farmland. Going east, you are riverside, which would be nice if it weren’t as crowded as going to the mall on black friday! Seriously, so many pedestrians – and mysteriously, they are all deaf to the bike bell and like to walk four abreast in the middle of the only path. -_-

IMG_0057Anyway, I digress…I’ll put that in the cycling post. Today I’ve got a pretty minty mani: I used Sally Hansen Mint Sorbet and an old Forever21 polish for the gold polka dots. I used OPI Nail Envy as a base, and Seche Vite as a top coat.

BTW: I’ve never really had problems with peeling nails except for the middle finger on my right hand. As you can tell from the above picture, it is the only nail that is significantly shorter than the rest. However, I’ve been using Nail Envy (Original Formula)  on it since last week and I can already see a difference. I also quite like the formula for the Sally Hansen Xtreme wear polishes, and they are usually pretty cheap at the drugstore too. I like the flat brush, especially for my french tip manis – makes for a much easier application.

OPI Nail Envy is available at Ulta as is Seche Vite.

Btw if anyone has any recommendations for a top coat that works as well as Seche Vite but doesn’t stink so bad, please let me know! I’ve just run out of Nails Inc. Kensington Caviar and am looking to try something new.

So there you go. Happy Monday and happy manis. 🙂

Friday Nails: Julep Lena

I don’t know why my hands look reddish in this pic, but oh well! This is a swatch of Julep Lena.

The Julep polishes I have are nice quality, and if I lived in the states, I’d definitely subscribe to their Maven program again. The golden shimmer that this polish has in the bottle doesn’t translate onto my nails, but it’s still a beautiful, vibrant color. You could get away with one coat, even! This picture is with Essie Millionails and no top coat (also pre-cleanup cause I was so excited to take a pic).

Raclette for a Cold Winter’s Dinner

Again with the cheesy winter foods – and why not? Raclette is a particular favorite chez nous, obviously because of the cheesiness, but also because it requires practically no cooking. I just set the potatoes to steam, and arrange cheese, meats, veggies and cornichons on a plate.

We have the home raclette, which is kind of an electric griddle with a space underneath for little dishes which hold thick, individual slices of cheese. On top you can place your meats to grill, and when they’re ready (and when the cheese is melted) – you put everything over your steaming potatoes and tuck in.

Personally, looking at this picture makes me hungry – is it dinnertime yet?

Easy Gradient French Tip Mani

Gradient french tip mani

Short post today because I haven’t posted in a while. I’m sharing with you my super easy gradient french tip mani! I like the clean, elegant look of french tip manicures, but I don’t like trying to get that little white tip perfectly straight. I was also in the mood for something a bit more modern. I’d never done a gradient mani, and I was pleased to find out how easy and pretty it is!

After a nice base coat (of course) I first painted a layer of nude polish on my nails. Once that was dry, I painted one white and one nude stripe onto a white makeup sponge. I’ve also heard that it’s really easy to use those little spongey eyeshadow applicators.  Then it’s just dab dab dab! Be sure that your polish underneath is dry, because if it’s not the gradient won’t be smooth. There are tons of tutorials for this on youtube, so have a look before you start!

For this manicure I used:

  • Essie Grow Stronger base coat
  • Orly Prelude to a Kiss
  • Sally Hansen White On
  • Nails Inc Kensington Caviar top coat

FYI: Kensington Caviar is one of my favorite top coats. It dries quickly, dries hard, has very little shrinkage and doesn’t stink like Seche Vite. It also maintains a nice consistency all the way through the end of the bottle.