Friday, December 27, 2013

Banana Bread

Here is something yummy for your tummy, that is, if you like bananas.

Watching 'It's Judy's Life' makes me drool most of the time. Food is a key ingredient to their videos and I totally love the fact that they are passionate about healthy food. I have tried some of their recipes and this time I was really craving banana bread. 

I used this recipe: Banana Bread
The only extra ingredient that I added were the almonds, simply because they were waiting to be used. 

So delicious!

My advice: eat it while it's hot!


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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Vrolijk Kerstfeest!

This year has flown by like crazy. It was a beautiful year, filled with wonderful experiences. I found out that I was pregnant during the beginning of the year, Epica celebrated its ten year jubilee, I visited Australia, Indonesia and China for the first time, I got married, my son Vincent was born on the 2nd of October, two days later my sister-in-law gave birth to a baby girl, my best friend gave birth to a baby boy.

Among all this joy there was also sadness. While I was waiting for Vincent's arrival, I had to say goodbye to an aunt that died of cancer. I couldn't be at her cremation because I was long passed my due date and could give birth any time soon. That was one of the weirdest situations I have ever been in. Waiting for my son to be born while knowing someone close to me was dying. May she rest in peace.

Giving birth has been life changing. I was very afraid of it and thanks to hypnobirthing I experienced a beautiful delivery. I know now that I am strong and can handle all the obstacles in life (not that giving birth is an obstacle). I gave birth to a beautiful, bouncing baby boy and did it the natural way. For me that is the highest achievement.

The first Christmas as a family has arrived. Although Vincent is too young to enjoy it, he does love the lights and is totally mesmerized by it. It is so beautiful to see.

SmoonStyle has been a bit in the background since his birth, but I am sure that you can all understand that I had very little time for the blog. The new Epica record is almost done and has taken up the free minutes in between breast feeding and changing poopy diapers. I still have to go to the Netherlands after Christmas to finish the vocals. Our sixth studio album, can you believe it? Can you guess what TQE stands for? 

Thank you all for your loyalty and support. It keeps us doing what we love and we will keep on going strong together with you!

Enjoy this time with your family and friends, don't worry about presents, the real presents are the people that you love, health and happiness.

Love,
Simone, Oliver and Vinnie

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Feel Good Products

It's the time of the year where I long for scented candle light and extra moisturized lips. When the seasons change, my lips tend to get really dry for a couple of days. The heater and cold wind dry are to blame.

I decided to give the Fresh sugar lip balm a try. They are quite pricey, but I read some good reviews about them and wanted to make the investment. So happy that I did, I really love it! A huge plus is that the color is just right for me. The perfect light rosewood that keeps my lips moisturized all day long.

My current scented candle that I am loving is from Caudalie. It is their Oil Divine candle which smells exactly like the oil. I do have to say that it is very strong. This little friend can make the whole house smell good in seconds. You don't need to burn it for very long. It can become a bit overpowering. Still, the scent is amazing. I got this candle in a christmas set from last year. I am sure that Caudalie will do something similar this year, so keep an eye out for that.

What are your favorite scented candles and lip balms?


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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Miss Minou

On the 27th of November 2012, Oliver and me went to an animal shelter to visit the cats. Schwarzkopf left a void in our hearts and our home. Minou's original name was 'Mama'. They named her Mama because she was brought to the shelter with one of her kittens. Back then she was 2 years old.

She is pretty tiny for her age and incredibly cute. We immediately fell in love when we saw her. In the beginning she was very scared. She was hiding underneath chairs, sofas, in the kitchen corner.

Now, one year later, she has become cuddly and is entertaining us with her funny dance moves while chasing her toy mouse. She is a family member that fits the Palotais.

Happy belated birthday my sweet feline friend.

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Autumn Orange

There is one new addition to my orange lipstick collection and it is Manhattan's Intense Lip and Cheek balm in the color 001 Tomato Juice. It is a beautiful orange red which I will probably wear a lot this autumn and winter. It feels super smooth and is very moisturizing. This is part of a current limited edition 'Beauty in the Air'. Big love!

Price: €3,99



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Monday, November 4, 2013

Soiree Nails

A beautiful nail polish that once was a limited edition is now available in the permanent nail polish line from Mac Cosmetics. It is called 'soiree' and is a beautiful frosty pink. Perfect for the holiday season!

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Kiss Kiss Phone

For some time I have been searching for an iPhone case that has red lips on them. After googling and searching on Ebay, I found a cool case from Marc by Marc Jacobs. The case is really sturdy and survived a fall on concrete. It keeps my iPhone safe and looks super cute and classy! It's not red lips, but something similar and I must say that I like this even more.

I like it! How about you? Do you regularly exchange your phone cases/bags?




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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Walk in the park

Nothing beats a walk in the park to clear your mind and fill your lungs with fresh air.

We are lucky in Germany to experience a very sunny and warm autumn and have the forest at our doorsteps. Comfy shoes and clothes are a must when you dive into nature. 

  • Shoes - Fila (ancient)
  • Necklase - Asos
  • Sunnies - Armani Exchange
  • Cardigan - H&M (ancient)
  • Bag will be featured in a later post



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Friday, October 25, 2013

Face of the Day - MommyStyle

Being a new mom means almost no time to get ready for the day. Make up needs to be quick and easy. Not much fussing with lots of different eyeshadows and make up brushes.

My basic mommy proof make up products are cream eyeshadows and cream blushes. You can apply them with your fingers and you are ready with your eye make up. Cream blushes can also be applied with your fingers, but I always use my foundation brush to apply it with. 

The key products for this look are MAC Indianwood Paintpot, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua B10, Kryolan Coral cream blush, Shiseido BE333 lipstick.

My 5 minute make up, if V doesn't wake up in between ;)


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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Beauty Bin #4

Sensodyne Tooth Paste Whitening and Normal 75 ML
A staple in my everyday routine. I do prefer the normal above the whitening. Whitening tooth pastes are not the best option when you have sensitive teeth and brush your teeth 4 times a day. It dries out the corners of my mouth.

MAC Studio Fix Powder NW20 15g
My powder foundation since years. Absolutely love it, have switched to NC20 though because it fits my current skin tone better. The coverage is amazing. You can use this on your own or for extra coverage to set the liquid foundation with.

De Tuinen Day and Night Cream Aloe Vera 50 ML
Contains green tea and 70% aloe vera concentrate. A great day and night cream for sensitive mixed skin. Gets absorbed by the skin really well and doesn't leave a sticky layer.

Balea Waterproof Eye Make Up remover 100ML
Great make up remover for waterproof make up. I have switched to Maybelline at the moment because my current mascara needs something stronger.

Kerastase Nutrive  Bain Satin Shampoo 250ML (normal slightly sensitized hair)
This shampoo smells like the typical green soap my grandmother had in her bathroom. You love or hate it. It cleans the hair thoroughly and the scalp a bit too much. I found it to dry out my scalp and that happened every time after I used this shampoo. Won't get it again.

Carol's Daughter Monoi Repairing Conditioner 250 ML
A great conditioner without paragons, petroleum, mineral oil or artificial colors. It is quite pricy, especially if you have long hair. The scent is amazing. The packaging is a disaster. It is super difficult to open when your hands are wet. I don't like twist caps at all.

Avene Eau Thermale 50 ML
This have been my savior during the super hot summer days. Swelling up like a balloon is no fun. I used this for cooling my body down. You can also use it after you've saved or after a sun burn. I just needed to cool down my inner oven which suffered a lot this summer.

Kryolan Skin Refreshing Spray 50 ML
Thanks to Kryolan I had more options to keep my cool. This skin refreshing spray is super great to wet pigments, or the aqua colors. If you want to get rid of the powdery finish of your make up, it makes it look more natural.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunblock SPF 45 141g
If there something I hate about summer, is to lather on the sunscreen. This is an amazing product. You don't need to use your hands anymore, you can just spray it on. The mist reminds me a lot of the Avene and Kryolan face mists. Super fine and very effective. Unfortunately it is only available in the USA. I will be stocking up on these babies next time I am in America.

Garnier Ambre Solaire Light and Silky Sunscreen SPF 30
Another great option for people that don't like to mess around with lotions. This one still needs some rubbing after spraying it on, but it is not super sticky and has a pleasant scent. Bought this one in the Netherlands.

L'Oreal Hydra Active 3 Make up Remover for dry and sensitive skin 20 ML
This is supposed to be a great dupe for the Bioderma Crealine/Sensibio. It can be cheaper than the Bioderma Sensibio if you don't buy the two pack in France. I always get my Sensibio when I am in Paris and get the double packs. L'Oreal did a great job with the Hydra Active 3, but I still prefer the Bioderma since this product will empty super fast. For traveling I would prefer L'Oreal, but I have been filling up traveling sized bottles with my Sensibio for years now. If you can't get your hands on the Sensibio, this is a good alternative with the same result. It's great for sensitive skin, doesn't irritate and get's rid of most of the make up (non waterproof) really well. I still always wash my face with a face wash after I've taken off the make up with the fluid and cotton pads.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

All That Glitters

As you might have noticed, my eye make up is going through a pink phase. It instantly brightens up my eyes. One of MAC's most popular, but very unspectacular in the pan, is 'All that Glitters' that has a Veluxe Pearl finish (my favorite). It is a super soft pink eyeshadow that is very natural. A really good option if you don't want to go too extreme.

On the lips I am wearing MAC's Dressmaker Dressmaker. It was a limited edition, but I am sure that it can be found on Ebay.

A super affordable dupe for All that Glitter is a eyeshadow trio from Wet n' Wild called 'Walking on Eggshells'.


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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Beautiful Birth - HypnoBirthing -

I wanted to take the time to inform you about Hypnobirthing and how it has worked for me.

Hypnobirthing stands for a calm, natural birth. You are free of fear and filled with belief that the woman's body is designed to give birth and that it is a beautiful experience. It teaches you to relax your body and conditions to relax once you listen to the relaxation exercises and birth affirmations. The breathing techniques are different to the ones you might know and they do make all the difference. Besides that you don't push the baby out, but exhale while birthing the baby.

It also gives you tips and tricks how to keep your endorphins high and fight the adrenaline. Endorphins are the strongest 'pain killers' there are. Adrenaline on the other hand tenses your body for action. For giving birth it is crucial to relax your body and work with the contractions and to let go of all the tension and enjoy the miracle of giving birth.

The partner plays a vital role during the preparations and actual birth. Unfortunately many men feel like they cannot be of any help during birth, but that is absolutely untrue. The dads are very important for the women to feel at ease. You will be doing this together.

When I discovered that I was pregnant, one of the first thoughts that came to my mind was giving birth and all the stories I've heard about giving birth. So far I've never heard birthing stories that were not filled with excruciating pain and trauma. You will always hear women talk about what went wrong and how much it hurt. They then conclude the story with: 'Don't worry, once the baby is there you have forgotten all about it'. Well, that is reassuring. You first still have to go through hell to then return to heaven on earth. That is quite the journey and I was honestly scared of it.

When one of my dearest friends told me that she was pregnant, too, and wanted to try out Hypnobirthing, I wanted to know more. She was talking so passionately about it so I ordered the book right away. My friend was taking part of the official Hypnobirthing Classes. I first wanted to read the book to see if it was really something for me.

When I decided to also take the classes, I couldn't find anyone who still had space for me. Luckily the woman who was giving the classes in the Netherlands agreed to meet with me on Skype for a couple of sessions. We worked together on some parts and it was nice to just talk to her and release the fear that I attached to giving birth. I felt confident and really wanted to make it work. I was free of fear and really looking forward to it.

Let me tell you that I had the most beautiful birth ever. I practiced the exercises (breathing, relaxation, visualisation etc.), I also bought the music that was used for the relaxation CD and listened to that as often as I could. With and without headphones to also make the baby hear the soothing sounds.

My delivery took only 7 hours after I was induced and Vincent came swimming into the world in the birthing tank. He is a very calm baby. Just as all the other hypnobirthing babies that entered the world in a calm way. I didn't use any pain medication. It was a birth like nature intended it. My endorphins kicked in and there was no pain.

I wish all women the beautiful birth that I had and can wholeheartedly recommend Hypnobirthing for you. Even when you are a sober minded Dutch girl like me. Giving birth doesn't hurt. I tell you that it does work!

One thing that is really important is to write a birthing plan. Describe your ultimate birth and preferences. A lot of women never think about it, but the caretakers at the hospital really appreciate it and can guide you better through your birth. My hospital didn't have a lot of experience with HB and because of my birthing plan they knew what to do and it all turned out wonderful. No weird surprises, all according to my plan.

I would like to thank: Oliver, Linda, Kathrin and Karin for guiding me through this wonderful experience. I could not have done it without you!


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Monday, September 30, 2013

Hair Care

One of the most asked questions is how I take care of my hair.

Normally I wash them every second day. Sometimes I manage to squeeze in an extra day of not washing them, but then I use a dry shampoo, especially if I have to leave the house.

I am not the biggest fan of dry shampoos. I kind of like the clean feeling of freshly washed hair. Dry shampoo leaves a sticky film on the hair. It is great for tours when showers are missing. When you want volume in your hair for certain up do's it is great to give the hair structure. I however don't like that feeling and the fact that it makes the hair look dull. For me it is an emergency product, but not a favorite.

Besides shampoo I always use a conditioner and almost always a hair mask or hair treatment and a hair oil to protect the hair from any heating tools and frizzly bear look. Where I live there is a lot of limestone in the water and I need condition it more than when I would wash it with water that is clean of limestone.

Here are my current favorite hair food products:

Redken Fresh Curls Shampoo
My current shampoo and a long time favorite. This is a highly concentrated shampoo (it must have done well in school). A little goes a long way. The scent is divine. It leaves my hair super clean, without making it scrunchy. It feels volumized without feeling dirty like some volumizing shampoos tend to do. The coconut oil really conditions without making it greasy. It's perfect.

Organix Macadamia Oil Conditioner
A conditioner that I used last year and totally forgot about. However, we don't have this brand in Germany and the Netherlands. I ordered mine via amazon.de and it was shipped from the UK. I paid way more for it than when I got it while I was in the US. It is not such an expensive conditioner. It does the job really well. I sometimes also just use this after I washed my hair and skip the hair mask. I do that whenever I am lazy and when my hair is in a good shape.

Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Keratin Intensive Treatment
An expensive hair product, but worth the money. It smoothes down my hair again without leaving a nasty film on my hair. My hair has become stronger and smoother. Once this is empty, I will first use up  other hair products and then go back to it in case I cannot find any good replacement for it.

Kerastase Elixir Ultime Oil
I always use this before I blow dry my hair as a heat protectant and once again after to take the frizziness out.

I am aware that all these products contain silicons, but that is what makes my hair shiny, soft and strong. There have been very few silicon free hair products that I liked and that managed to control my hair.

Let me know your current hair care routine in the comments. I am curious how you all maintain your manes.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

RETROSPECT - DVD - Trailer

So exciting!! Our official DVD statement:

EPICA's Retrospect trailer revealed.

On the 23rd March 2013 the Dutch symphonic metal band EPICA celebrated their 10th Anniversary with a special concert dubbed Retrospect. During this evening the band was accompanied by the seventy piece Extended Reményi Ede Chamber Orchestra and the Miskolc National Theatre Choir, playing an unforgettable 3-hours best-of set.

Ten high-definition cameras captured this very special sold-out show while EPICA played in front of nearly five thousand ecstatic fans. In addition to a collection of the band's biggest hits from across the spectrum of their entire catalog, this once-in-a-lifetime spectacular also featured the live debut of "Twin Flames" and the previously unreleased "Retrospect", covers of classics by Vivaldi, Pergolesi, and Oscar-winning film composer John Williams, two guest collaborations with the venerable Floor Jansen (NIGHTWISH, REVAMP), and a very special performance of their breakthrough single "Quietus" with founding members Jeroen Simons, Ad Sluijter and Yves Huts.

The trailer of the upcoming Epica Retrospect release has been revealed. You can view the trailer on our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTy5yjccZzE


Epica’s guitar player Mark Jansen comments on the trailer: Retrospect was both our 10th anniversary party and a highlight of our career. The trailer shows it all: our loyal fans, the orchestra and choir from Hungary, an energetic band! When I watch the trailer my thoughts go back to this special day and the great team-spirit of everyone involved in this project!“

Retrospect will be released as a deluxe hardcover book with 36 pages, both as a 2DVD/3CD and 2Blu-ray/3CD version, on the 8th November through Nuclear Blast.

You can pre-order signed copies or exclusive bundles here: Buy Retrospect

Copyright Tim Tronckoe.
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