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Hi there, and thanks for taking the time to look at my blog! On this blog I’ll share health and beauty tips, cosmetic reviews and easy-to-cook multicultural recipes. I hope to encourage those who have never tried their hand at international cuisines (or never cooked at all!) to give it a try - I have a feeling you’ll soon be addicted to cooking exciting meals from all over the world, from the fiery curries of India to the fragrant bouillabaisse of South France! Most of the dishes I share are a medley of spices, herbs, and fresh vegetables that don’t rely on fat, sugar, or salt for richness or complexity of flavor.

I’ll also sort through the cloud of cosmetic product marketing and share useful facts about cosmetic ingredients so that you, as an informed consumer, won’t waste money on ineffective or even harmful cosmetic products. Along the way, I’ll indulge my love of color and share some beautiful makeup finds; I have a weakness for colorful nail polish and bright lipstick (and even brighter shoes!)


 
How did I learn to cook international foods? 
When I was 19, I had the chance to volunteer in Thailand at a small hospital in rural north Thailand. There, at the foothills of intensely green mountains, surrounded by rice paddies, mango and banana trees, my relationship with food changed forever.   

I had always viewed food as something to fear and loathe because I thought enjoyment of food = road to obesity. Growing up in the United States, everywhere I turned I saw people “dieting,” foods labeled “low carb” or “no fat,” and TV shows, books and magazines touting the newest fad diets. Believing that the only way to be healthy or slender was to deprive and punish myself, for five years I avoided the foods I enjoyed and ate no fat!

In contrast, the Thai people celebrate and enjoy food and value the diversity of what nature has to offer. In Thailand there was no way to count calories or fat grams (not possible to ask the farmer that information at the market!), and yet the people are healthy and not overweight. Their outlook on food and the discovery of delicious Thai cuisine truly opened a new world to me! I learned to appreciate the textures, spices, colors, and wholesomeness of my meals. Instead of feeling horror, apprehension, and guilt after eating a rich meal, I felt satisfaction and self acceptance. 

Studying abroad in South France (Provence) and living in India a few years later further strengthened my new healthy relationship with food. I realized that when I experimented with an exciting variety of cuisines and ate foods that were full of fresh and natural (not processed) ingredients, I felt satisfied eating less. 

When I returned from my trips, I longed to continue eating vibrant and fulfilling meals, so I attempted cooking some of the most memorable dishes. From that point on, there was no turning back….:-)  

I have had extra help learning to cook Indian food since my husband, an “avid connoisseur of all gastronomic delights” is Bengali (from the eastern state of West Bengal in India). Additionally, my mother-in-law has taught me an array of Bengali, North Indian, and Burmese (she grew up in Burma) dishes. I don’t stop there, though – my culinary pursuits include Thai, Chinese, French, Italian, Middle Eastern, Latin and South American cuisines as well!  

My Mom, a true Southerner from Louisiana, also taught me to value homecookin’ – she always cooked delicious Southern meals (her gumbo is the best!) for our dinner, so I grew up knowing how important it is to eat meals prepared at home. 


How I learned about skin care, makeup, and cosmetic ingredients:
I have always enjoyed the art of makeup, and as a little girl I remember frequently playing dress up with my mother’s makeup collection. As a teenager I loved experimenting with different application techniques and colors. In my 20s, I became increasingly interested in skin care and hair care, especially in learning about the ingredients in all the products I apply every day.  

A few years ago I started losing my hair, and I researched possible causes. Finally (many hairs later!), I learned the harsh sulfates in most shampoos were the cause. At that moment I realized that being an informed consumer is not easy (but it’s so important!), and there is a lot of conflicting information out there. Since I love research, I dove into learning all I could about cosmetic ingredients. I firmly believe putting healthy ingredients on your body is just as important as putting health food in your body. I would love to share with you some of what I have learned, as well as post fun, colorful makeup finds that can make even the dreariest Seattle day brighter!   

What else do I do?
When I’m not cooking, writing, or trying cosmetic products, I’m usually dancing (love Nia and Zumba!), drawing (I dream of illustrating children’s books one day!), or spending time with my husband Sunava and Tonkinese cat, Howl. (Many thanks to Sunava – I couldn’t have designed this site without him!)

The Howl, weighs only 8 pounds but has the personality of a lioness!

Sunava takes wonderful photographs and is my blog photographer!


If you'd like to contact me, my email address is splashdashash@gmail.com. Please shoot me a line - I love to hear from readers!!

I do not accept payment for posts or allow sponsored posts – everything I write on my blog is my honest opinion.
Thank you again for taking the time to read my blog!

Ashley

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