Friday, December 27, 2013

link love

Hi friends! It's the last link love of 2013, and it's unfortunately going to be a short (but good!) one. But that just gives you more time to enjoy family and friends for the holidays, right? Yeah, I'm pretty much just making excuses now. But it's definitely been a busy week, and I'm loving it. I got this awesome glass fish statue thing during white elephant last night, I've got a friend visiting from out of state, and I'm hosting a s'mores party tonight. It should be a blast.

Hope you end the year with a bang!

- cranberry hand pies

fun finds:
- trees cut from paper shopping bags
- this list of notable instagrams
- these minimalist nature photos
- the best of SNL 2013
- essential kitchen skills no one taught (but everyone should know)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

merry christmas

No Christmas tree for us this year, since my cat loves climbing it and knocking down all the ornaments and the fake branches, so I made these DIY marquee lights out of cardboard and a string of Christmas lights to hang up instead. 

Hope you're having a relaxing day with family, whether you celebrate Christmas or not. I'm making brunch for the family with my mom's new waffle maker, and then we're heading to my aunt's for dinner. Should be a good time.

I'll be back in a few days with pictures from the s'mores party I'm throwing on Friday, and a DIY s'mores kit. Here's to ending the year on a sweet note!

Friday, December 20, 2013

madison, wi

Hi friends! No link love today, because I haven't had the time to pull one together. It's definitely been a busy week. Instead, have some iPhone pics from my two-day trip to Madison, WI for a job interview. This company really spends a lot of time and effort into their recruiting process, and it was a blast. And if it all works out (and that's a HUGE if), I'll be within driving distance of Chicago and my beloved Blackhawks, which makes all this goshdarned winter cold worth it. I really hope it works out. I'm beginning to fall in love with Madison.

waiting for my flight. i swear that dude knew i was taking a picture and deliberately walked into my shot. also this picture is really green for some reason.

somewhere over minnesota. maybe wisconson. who knows. 

the wisconson state capitol. absolutely stunning.

it's not *that* cold. but really, it's not, considering that it gets below zero at its coldest. but it is the first time i've heard of freezing rain. the weather ended up turning a 7-hour trip home into a 12+ hour ordeal with tons of delays, missed connections, luckily grabbing a seat on standby to a nearby airport, and an extra stop in Salt Lake City for some emergency medical care. ay carumba. at least i made it home safely. props to all the customer service representatives that have to deal with rude customers. i can't even bear to stand next to one of those conversations, much less be on the unhappy end of it.

Well that ended up pretty rambling there at the end. Hope you have a wonderful weekend, and if you're flying anywhere for the holidays, safe travels and fingers crossed for no delays!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

two for today

a couple recent snaps from my instagram. happy hump day!

Ottolenghi's green pancakes with lime butter and avocado. recipe from Plenty

super awesome care package from allison. sloe gin, peach shrub, letterpress card, BNTO, apple jalapeño jam, and a bow tie for ruby. a girl could get used to this.

Friday, December 13, 2013

link love

Labels Against Women | #WhipIt #ShineStrong Pantene

This short ad by Pantene Phillipines does a great job breaking down the double standards. You wouldn't really expect it from a shampoo ad, but it works.

So much has happened this week, and next week is going to be just as busy. I've got two DIY projects in the works that I might finish this weekend (though probably not), I've figured out my mom's christmas present, and I'm still working on my brother's (and everyone else's). Thank goodness practically every blog is doing a gift guide so I can get some ideas.

Hope your holiday shopping is going better than mine! or if all else fails, just give people food. You can't go wrong with food.

- gene therapy keeps "bubble boy" disease at bay
- gay rights and putin's olympics
- who says math has to be boring?

- blood orange caramels
- italian jam shortbread tart
- cut-out cookies with champagne glaze
- quick and easy bread bowls

fun finds:
- beautiful typographic book covers
- the oregon coast
- npr's planet money makes a t-shirt, and follows how it's made
- this instagram feed
- the year in photos (tw: some graphic content)

Friday, December 6, 2013

link love + happy friday

image via tumblr

Happy December! I say this every time, but it's crazy how quickly this year has gone by, and I feel like I've still got so much to accomplish before 2014. It's going to be a super-productive couple of weeks, that's for sure.

We can't have a christmas tree this year because my crazy cat climbs up the middle and makes a huge mess.  So instead we're decorating the mantle and the staircase; i.e. places she has no access. Maybe the front windows too. It'll be a first without a tree, but I think we'll be fine. Have a wonderful weekend!

- gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting and sugared cranberries
- candy cane chocolate cookies
- gingerbread spiced marshmallows

- holiday gift toppers round-up
- printable holiday gift packaging (from paper crave)
- more printable holiday gift tags (from oh so glam)
- even more printable holiday gift tags (from creative index)

fun finds:
- this gorgeous hand-forged brass coffee scoop
- how a former set from "the wire" became a new public design school
- this wedding in provence (but mostly the provence part)
- i want to go there: hokkaido, japan

Sunday, December 1, 2013

birthday box

I saw this birthday jar from anthropologie a little while ago, decided to make my own version for my good friend Allison's birthday. Anthro's version is cute and all, but the contents are a little underwhelming. Here's a homemade version that's simple to make but festive enough to brighten anyone's special day!

I started with a USPS small flat-rate box, and lined the inside with a gold H&M bag. I think some scrap fabric or scrapbook paper would also look swell. The box was then filled with homemade caramels, kraft paper confetti strips, a star sparkler, and a "happy birthday" garland printed on to kraft paper and strung on to baker's twine. 

I also threw together a quick card to stick on top. Now that I think about it, a balloon would totally be a great addition, too. You can also add in whatever store-bought goodies you want to send along, and scale this up to humongous sizes, if you'd like. I'll probably be returning to this "birthday box" idea over and over again in the future for all my friends! You should try it out, too.

Friday, November 29, 2013

link love

Swan Lake | Ep. 10 | city.ballet

There's this docudrama produced and narrated by Sarah Jessica Parker about the New York City Ballet that's absolutely fascinating, called city.ballet. Each episode's about six minutes long, and they get better as they go along. You can catch all the episodes online here.

- gut bacteria might influence our brains

- peanut butter & marshmallow sandwich cookies
- hoosier mama's cranberry chess pie
- apple cinnamon beignets w/ apple caramel sauce

Cool Finds:
- toddler naps with his 2-month-old puppy every day
- ikea lets loose 100 cats into an empty store to see what happens
- cloud-shaped ice cream
- you don't know africa (until you play this game)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

happy thanksgiving!

this gorgeous turkey from Food52

Just checking in real quick to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. It's just me and my mom this holiday, so we'll be keeping things kinda small, with a kabocha squash risotto, this baked mushrooms, broken bread, and a roasted brussel sprout and apple salad. I'm also starting a pretty big DIY that I'm jumping in to kinda blindly, so we'll see how it turns out.

Hope your long weekend is full of family, friends, good food, and relaxation. Maybe some shopping, too, if you want to brave the crowds =]

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

gingery caramels

There are a couple (food-related) things that usually do not work out for me: 1. dough-y stuff and 2. caramel-y stuff. I don't know if it's the recipes I follow, or my own lack of skill, but there have been so many batches of caramel that have burnt, or seized, or what have you. It's a bit ridiculous.

But I decided to face the challenge once more, because I saw a box of ginger caramels one day at TJ Maxx (the Home Goods store seriously has the most awesome collection of things?!) and just had to make them myself.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

spiced oatmeal apple carrot cake

One of the hardest things for me about creating new(-ish) recipes is probably naming them. It's just like writing the subject line of a super important email to a stranger: it needs to adequately summarize your email, but be short and interesting enough that they don't just delete it without reading. It is an ordeal, let me tell you.

Friday, November 22, 2013

link love

Timelapse: Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
My family and I were going to road trip to NM last month to see this, but ended up not finding the time. But I feel like it's something that has got to happen eventually. Maybe next year?

Anyways, I hope you have a not-too-stressful weekend in preparation for Thanksgiving next week!

- surgeons discover quirky knee ligament all over again
- why your childhood is crucial to how you'll age
- the smarter you are, the stupider you are
- should brain scans count as evidence in court?
- i want to be a millenial when i retire (i want this now)
- the widow who created the champagne industry
- reinventing the condom

- persimmon, prosciutto, and brie grilled cheese
- applesauce carrot bread with pecan streusel
- cranberry pâte de fruits

cardboard rudolph
- typography cookies (custom gift tags for presents?)

Cool Finds:
- visit the Netherlands
- the man who invented the calendar by bj novak
- this floral workshop in the berkshires
- the invisible bike helmet (totally amazing!)
- 16 people on things they couldn't believe about america until they moved here
- famous photos reimagined as selfies
- punctuation tips
- this ridiculously awesome volvo commercial (you have to check this out)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

nutty quinoa granola

Granola is great for cleaning out your pantry, and as the end of the year draws near, maybe it's time for some pantry organization... It's healthy, easy to make, customizable, and is pretty enough for gifts. So really, what else are you looking for?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

sunrise muffins - orange pulp, dried cranberries, and nuts

It all started with Whole Foods. On the weekends, there's a dude squeezing oranges and selling fresh-squeezed OJ and it's just about the best tasting thing ever. But as most things are with Whole Foods, it's a little pricey, so my mom and I decided to make our own. Usually when I juice, I throw out the leftover pulp (I know, boo me), but this time there was so much orange pulp that it seemed a horrible waste to just get rid of it. Plus, it tastes pretty good by itself? Anyways, I decided to bake them into something, which gets us to these muffins.

Friday, November 15, 2013

two for today

chilling with ruby while cookies bake

shopping date with the parentals

Thursday, November 14, 2013

link love:thanksgiving

picture originally from my instagram

I love Thanksgiving, and not just because of all the food. It's like the (non-religious) spirit of Christmas, minus all the commercialism, with more gratitude, and a dash of history thrown in. I think it's pretty great. Here are some DIYs, recipes, and more to help you prepare, even though Thanksgiving is still two weeks away.

Food :
roasted carrot soup
ultra-crispy potatoes
- inside-out sweet potatoes
- baked mushrooms, broken bread
- winter squash butter

25 ways to make pie
chocolate-dipped pistachio shortbread
cranberry upside-down cake
- vegan chocolate-dipped molasses cookies

- apple orange hot toddy
- the perfect fall sangria

- DIY Thanksiving placemat
- simple fall wreath
- rosemary wreath place cards

- Individual wedge-shaped pie boxes

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

wish list: entertaining in gold with target

Target's website is the absolute worst, but they've got some great stuff if you can deal with it. I'm especially loving Nate Berkus' line, and apparently Threshold? Here are some of my faves for entertaining.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

college care package: winter edition

I don't usually put so many bought goods in a care package. but my brother's a special case. But he got a pretty good spread of stuff, if I do say so myself.

Here's what went in:

  • granola x3
  • hot cocoa (french vanilla & milk chocolate)
  • fruit strips (apricot, strawberry, & wild berry)
  • homemade dark chocolate peanut butter swirl cookies
  • persimmons
  • shout wipes (from the $1 bin at Target)
  • hand warmers (also $1. we may have bought too many...)

Monday, November 11, 2013

dark chocolate peanut butter swirl cookies

My mom and I are putting together another care package for my brother, so I baked up some cookies to send along. We also found out that he has no cookie sheets (and I'm guessing any other baking pans?) where he lives, which just blew my mind. Like, whoa. But I guess I was just fantastically lucky living in a dorm with a fully stocked kitchen on each floor.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

wish list: anthropologie

Because it's only November, this isn't a Christmas wish list. This is a I-wish-I-had-more-money-or-maybe-a-rich-boyfriend/husband-or-a-job-I-suppose wish list. Anthropologie is really good at breaking my heart, and I was having the best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) luck on Friday, because everything I tried on looked absolutely fantastic. Time to wait until these go on sale. Or maybe I'll discover I have a great-great-aunt-once-removed who willed her considerable fortune to me. That'll be the day.

And then some other fun finds, as I was browsing their website.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

winter veggie tacos

I love tacos. Well, more accurately, I love tortillas, and everything that you can do with them. Like tacos.

I usually just sauté together whatever's in the fridge with some garlic and cumin, maybe some oregano, and stuff it into a tortilla with avocado, cheese, and cilantro. It really couldn't be easier, so I'm not giving you a recipe. This time, I had brussel sprouts, zucchini, kale, and roasted beets.

Also, we buy this weird brand of tortillas because Mission brand has really high sodium. But the brand we get tastes horrible plain, which I guess is the trade-off? But it's probably a good thing, otherwise I'd be finishing off a pack of tortillas a day. But the tortillas taste just fine with good-tasting stuff in it, so these tacos are great. And probably healthy.  Dunno, it's vegetables.

We also only buy burrito-sized tortillas, so I cut them into quarters and make two-bite tacos. Finger foods are infinitely more fun. It's been scientifically proved. Also, sometimes I like to pretend I'm a serial killer (or a surgeon, I suppose) when I'm chopping beets. I swear I'm not crazy.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

two for today

A couple instagram snaps from breakfasts the past few days.

belgian waffles with persimmon, cinnamon yogurt, and maple syrup

soft-boiled egg, raspberries, and toast

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

happy birthday, mommy!

Mommy's birthday nineteen years ago, with me and my little brother

I can never remember how old my parents are, but thank goodness for the Chinese zodiac, because I can remember their signs. Usually I'd go all out and make a three-layer cake, but my family and I are working on eating healthier, especially cutting down added sugar, so that's unfortunately a no-go for cake. Then I thought of baked apples, but we didn't have any apples, and so that too was a no-go.

everything but the allspice

But what we did have a lot of was persimmons. Most recipes I found tend to use Hachiya persimmons, the pointier ones that you eat with a spoon when super squishy, because they're a lot sweeter. Ours weren't ripe yet, and they tend to be stringy and astringent, so I didn't want to go that route. But I did find a recipe which uses Fuyu persimmons, the flat crunchy ones, and only a little added honey, so I decided to go with baked persimmons.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

restaurant review: modo mio

We don't usually go out to eat unless it's a special occasion, but it's my mom's birthday tomorrow, so we went out for dinner this past weekend to celebrate. I always complain about how there aren't that many good places to eat in and around where I live in southern California, but I think that's because I'm so used to being able to walk out the front door of my dorm and have a handful of great food choices right there, and now I have to drive to get anywhere. But there are definitely good places to eat here in Orange County; you just have to be willing to drive a little bit.

image from modo mio

Modo Mio Cucina Rustica is one of those good food places. The short story is that it's good quality food for a decent price in a fantastic location, so if you're ever in the area, you should definitely stop by to check them out.

Monday, November 4, 2013

beets and beet greens

For some reason, I tend to completely forget that beets exist in this world, and then I'm endlessly delighted once more when I rediscover them. It's a pretty great cycle, though, to be honest.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

i forgot NaBloPoMo was a thing

image found via Tumblr

NaBloPoMo stands for National Blog Posting Month (or something), and for some reason, most people who take on the challenge of blogging every day for a month tend to do it in November. I, clearly, didn't realize this was a thing, since I started my own "blog every day for a month" challenge in the middle of October. But now that I'm not alone, it'll be interesting to see how others deal with all this blogging.

Another month-long writing project happening in November is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), where participants pledge to write a 50,000-word by the end of the month. Props to all those doing this, too; I took a creative writing class once in college, and had the hardest time figuring out how to write a story longer than a page. It was the absolute worst.

So to all those writing and blogging a ton this month, good luck, and see you on the flip side.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

pomegranate oatmeal with dried blueberries and toasted nuts

Oatmeal tends to be put on hold when the warmer months come along, but I pull it out of hibernation the minute it starts getting cold. Which, in California, is around November. I'm sure everyone has their own method of making oatmeal, so this is less of a recipe and more of a toppings suggestion instead, to move you away from the butter and brown sugar and raisins that are traditionally thrown into the mix. So instead: pomegranate seeds, dried blueberries, and nuts.

I peeled this pomegranate the night before as an after-dinner snack, but it was a little too sour to eat by itself. So it got saved for the next morning to get rescued with a little maple syrup, along with some dried blueberries I found in the pantry, and some toasted nuts we always keep on hand just for this purpose of sprinkling on top of cereals, salads, etc. Being the lazy lazy person that I am, I also make my oatmeal in the microwave. It's a one-bowl process that couldn't be easier, and perfect for the coming months. I hope you enjoy.

Friday, November 1, 2013

link love + happy friday

3-year-old contemplates the effects of his diet on the toilet
Wow, this video made me crack up so hard. And it reminded me of that show Bill Cosby used to host, Kids Say the Darnedest Things. That was a funny show. So was The Cosby Show. I just like Bill Cosby.

Hope the Halloween candy hangover isn't that bad, but if it is, you'll have the whole weekend to sleep it off. And if you've got too much Halloween candy, we've got you covered right here.

Have a smashin' weekend, and hello, November!

- why children hide by covering their eyes
- math proves bacon is a miracle food
- carrot dating - the new dating app that let's you bribe your partner into giving you a chance
- (ignoring all opinions on standardized testing) American education isn't mediocre, it's deeply unequal
- how popcorn took over movie theaters
- interesting stuff about why first-borns are smarter (but it's not really quantifiable)

- finally, a use for all those kale stems you've been throwing out: kale stem pesto
- if you've got extra apples, this slab pie looks fantastic
- I may need to invest in a donut pan after seeing these french toast donuts
- 15 ways to use up Halloween candy

Cool Finds:
- which state matches your personality?
- this home in the Yucatan
- xkcd: 20th century headlines rewritten to get more clicks.  definitely spot on.
- in case you're not on instagram enough already, here's a cool person to follow
- who knew walnuts could be set on fire and used as candles?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

ruby's dragon costume + happy halloween

Happy Halloween! I was scrambling to put together Ruby's costume earlier today, but I think it turned out pretty swell.  She's not too happy with it, but at least she cooperated long enough for me to snap a couple pics. It's surprisingly difficult to take selfies with a DSLR in one hand and a squirming cat in the other.

I used this tutorial as a starting-off point for her dragon costume,  but used an old t-shirt instead of felt, got rid of the head and stuffed tail, added some wings out of foam, and hand sewed the felt spikes because I ran out of hot glue. I also didn't bother measuring any part of Ruby's body, and just held the fabric up and estimated. Worked well enough.

Isn't she the cutest?

Hope you have a wonderful, safe, candy-filled night!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

chocolate marshmallows

Marshmallows are surprisingly simple to make, as long as you have a stand- or hand-mixer and a candy thermometer. And the results are a definite crowd-pleaser. One batch makes up a ton, but at the rate they'll get eaten, you'll be glad you made so many in the first place.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

neighborly notes

They're finally done and ready to be slipped in to mailboxes. Hooray!

Monday, October 28, 2013

maintenance day

The website is going through a teensy little facelift, as I dust off my coding skills and try really really hard to translate my vision into reality. So it might be a little laggy for a little bit, but any wrinkles should be ironed out by the end of the week.

Also, the recent influx of posts are because I'm doing #91 of my 101 in 1001 list, which is to blog daily for a month. It's definitely been a challenge trying to come up with posts while keeping some sort of quality control, and while I've definitely learned a lot about how I blog, I can't wait until I can go back to my regular (irregular?) posting schedule. Today's day 12 of 31.

Happy Halloween Week! Thank goodness the weather's supposed to be nice on Thursday. I can't wait.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

paper bag princess crown

I can't believe I forgot the most important part of any princess outfit - the crown! Thank goodness it was an easy problem to fix.

I tried to keep my crown pretty close to the original. Using kraft paper once again, I traced out the design, which was essentially a long band for the base, and long squiggly lines topped with circles for the spokes. I was too lazy to line this part with packing tape like I did with the dress, but I think it will hold up just fine. I cut it out, crumpled it up a bit, and punched two holes for bobby pins.

I've seen people spray paint their crowns gold, which is a splendid idea, but unfortunately I have no gold paint =[. But it looks fantastic nonetheless. Halloween here we come!

P.S. Apple picking today was a bust, because apparently the crop was unusually light this year. Boo.
P.P.S. I edited this photo with PicMonkey, which was the first time I tried it. For some reason my computer was a tad slow, but it was really easy to use, and had a lot of features (although some are only available to paying members). I think I'll be using this until I develop my own PSDs to use with Photoshop.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

diy paper bag princess costume

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch is definitely one of my favorite children's books. I mean, a princess story with a feminist twist - what's not to love? If you've never read the story, it's about Princess Elizabeth who loses everything she owns to the fiery breath of a dragon, who also steals her fiancé. Dressed in a paper bag, she follows the path of destruction towards the dragon's castle to rescue her prince. She outsmarts the dragon (without violence! another plus), and releases Prince Ronald. Ungrateful Ronald is unhappy that Elizabeth doesn't look like a real princess, so Elizabeth calls him a bum and dumps him. The end.
It really is such a great story, and a wonderful change to all the traditional princess stories. It'll be so hard not to preach my feminist ideals to the little kids coming by =P
Plus, the costume wasn't too difficult to make, and I had all the supplies on had already. The plan is to sew together 2 sheets of kraft paper, and then cut a slit down the back to make it easier to put on and take off.
This is how I put it together (although fair warning, I am pretty inept at making my own sewing patterns).

Friday, October 25, 2013

link love + happy friday

When I'm Able to Find You - Me & Mr. Cassidy
I mentioned Oh, Hello Friend's 5th anniversary party last week, and Me & Mr. Cassidy was there to provide live entertainment. They were absolutely fantastic. Their cover of Drops of Jupiter/I Try is also pretty special (song starts at 1:02). You should definitely check them out! You can watch their videos here, or sample some tunes on their website.

We're going apple picking this weekend in Oak Glen. We'll see how it compares to apple picking out East =P
Have a lovely weekend!

- ff you're not a politics sort of person, but still want to know happened with the government shutdown, the NY Times provides a great summary
- a fascinating article on alcohol as an escape from perfectionism for women
- it's interesting to see what older people think about younger people, in this case about spending, or the lack thereof
- scientists are finally figuring out why people need sleep
- this really resonated with me for some reason. experience matters.

- I've never had a cronut, but this apple pecan pie version looks pretty tasty

Cool Finds:
- want: a disco ball pizza oven
- not sure if this qualifies as "cool", but a photographer takes portraits of the men who catcall her on the street in Philadelphia
cats napping in cute places. now say it with me, "awwwwww"
Kelly Clarkson covers songs and absolutely kills it. (my fave is "I Will Wait." That's a lie. I can't choose. "Lose Yourself" is def pretty epic though.)
coffitivity gives you coffee shop background noise without the distraction to boost productivity. win-win.
- this portland library turned home is absolutely swoon-worthy

Thursday, October 24, 2013

halloween decorations

Phew, these decorations are finally done. There's this one house on my street that goes all out every holiday, and for Halloween, they turned their home into a haunted house. I can't possibly compete with them, but my cute little decorations are enough for me. And probably much cheaper too! Perks of unemployment: free time out the wazoo to craft all these things.

(sources and some DIY instructions at the end of the post.) And without further ado...

FRONT DOOR HANGING SIGN: For the black lettering, I printed out a template for each letter, then traced it onto black butcher paper, making sure to connect all the letters so the "Trick or Treat" saying is one piece of paper. After cutting it out, I glued it on to a sheet of kraft paper, and created pockets for the dowels by folding back 1" of the kraft paper on the top and bottom and taping down the long edge. I threaded the dowels through, tied a loop of twine to the top, and added some washi tape for decoration.
DOORBELL WITCH: Idea from pinterest. I cut out the hat and cloak from black cardstock, and cut out a hole for the doorbell. The head is a foam circle I found, but cardstock will also work. The broom is made from a dowel cut down to size, and a length of kraft paper that I cut a fringe into and glued around the end of the dowel.
ORIGAMI PUMPKINS: see bottom of this post.
FRAMED SIGN: see #3 here for original sign. Frame from Aaron Brothers.
WINDOW SILHOUETTES: Ideas from here, cut from black butcher paper and taped onto windows. 100 count orange mini lights from Target for $3.50 each, and hung up with washi tape.