Archive | September, 2010

Shopping anyone?

30 Sep

What girl doesn’t love shopping? It’s one of my favorite pastimes, right alongside sleeping and my mommy “timeouts.” Well… lately I have found that with two kids, there isn’t much time for shopping. This is a good thing for my husband and our bank account, but a major upset for me! I have since found my favorite shopping buddy,

Shopstyle has a great app for iPhone, iTouch and iPad for an all in one shopping experience! The shopstyle website is fantastic too! All my favorite stores, designers and brands rolled into one. It was so annoying sitting online on multiple sites and composing “wish lists” on each one.

On the shopstyle app, I can search by category, designer, brand or store. I can flip through photos and save to my favorites (which will also link and save to your favorites on the website) or select “buy” and it will take me directly to the store’s website to make the purchase. Some of the stores, from the many available to shop, are Anthropologie, Coach, Forever 21 and Old Navy. Shopstyle not only has clothes, accessories and shoes.. they also have categories for home decor, kids and babies!

Most of the time I find myself using the shopstyle app, but the website has more to offer and it’s sure to be a bookmarked favorite. They have a section called “Celebrity Style” for looks inspired by a variety of celebrities. The “Style Notes” section is a daily blog of all things fashion and beauty related. Lastly, my personal favorite, “Community Looks.” A section/bulletin board that people post to and share inspirational photos and fashion looks that they created! You should check out!

I’m so excited for my find, I just had to share it! I can shop anytime and anywhere I want to! I think I will take my mommy timeout and do some shopping tonight… I think you should too!

How Old is that Puppy in the Window?

29 Sep

My Aiden turned One! 

When trying to decide on the details for Aiden’s first birthday party I considered what he was into…Since a nursing themed birthday party would have been really awkward, I decided that puppies were one of the few things that really got him excited. 

All of my decorations really started to take shape once I found the cutest cupcake papers at Meri Meri

From there I made the decision to hand paint tablecloths to match.  I am so glad that I started weeks in advance because it took me forever!  My husband suggested I use stamps.  But I was really going for a modern (almost mod) look and wanted to ensure I had crisp clean edges.  So, I used dog bone shaped cookie cutters dipped in paint and to mark the outline and then filled them…one at a time…by hand…

I am really happy with the result though.  I made 5 tablecloths in total.  One really long one for the food table and a small one for the plates, napkins, etc.  The other three went over short picnic tables that we made out of one sheet of plywood.  We were able to make the tables so that the legs can screw in and out so we can just unscrew them and easily store the table tops standing upright in a closet for future use. 

We purchased the sandwiches (I had way too much baking to do the night before) and some of my loving family provided the sides.  All in all the spread was cool and fresh for a record-breaking hot day!

Dessert is always my favorite part.  With those super cute cupcake papers I decided to go crazy and not make cupcakes!  I know I know…I live on the edge.  I made chocolate whoopie pies with vanilla frosting in the middle.  After I pieced them together I rolled the sides of the whoopie pies in sprinkles so that they lined the edges.  They looked so fun and kind of mimicked the look of the dog bones on the cupcake papers and tablecloths. 

Since I was expecting about 50 guests, two dozen whoopie pies was not going to cut it!  So I also made a cake.  Not just any cake would do for a puppy themed party though.  I made a freakishly accurate looking “kibble cake.” 

I made this kibble cake in my largest Pyrex bowl.  Once completely cooled I slid it into a brand new, and clean dog dish.  I topped it with dark chocolate frosting and Cocoa Puffs cereal. 

For party favors I made rice crispy treats and cut them into dog bone shapes.  I dropped a handful of Cocoa Puffs, or dog kibble, into small plastic treat bags and then dropped the rice crispy treat on top.  I tied each off with matching dog bone ribbon and made tags that said “Woof.”  I placed them all in a wicker basket and labeled them “Treats.”

I think the party was a success…It was a lot of work, but well worth it since the memories will last a lifetime…as long as I properly document them in my scrapbook!

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My Mt. Everest….

28 Sep

Call me crazy, but on the record hottest day in Los Angeles I decided to make cheesecake. I always thought it was so intimidating. I mean, something so delicious can’t be easy to make. I have flipped right past many recipes for cheesecake. I always wanted to just try once to see if I can do it and of all days.. I picked yesterday!

This cheesecake was my Mt. Everest. I was anxious and excited, but nervous for my graham cracker crust. I was desperate to get the right consistency and crossed my fingers that I had evenly pressed it to the pan with out cracking it. The actual filling was very easy to make, my stand mixer did all the work and it came out smooth as silk. I poured in the filling slowly and slid the pan gently in the oven.

It was agony sitting in the house with the oven on at 350 degrees for forty long minutes on such a hot day. When the timer finally rang, I took the cheesecake out of the oven and gently giggled it to see if it was almost set. It was perfect, but I was far from finished. The next part was the hardest… 5 hours of cooling. The yummy smell of cheesecake filled the house, but as Alton Brown always says… “your patience will be greatly rewarded.”

After 30 minutes of cooling on a rack, I had to use a small spatula to run between the crust and the pan to separate the two. The crust is so delicate, I was not looking forward to the next step. I had to wait another 30 minutes and then remove the spring form pan sides. I was imagining the cheesecake crust would crumble and fall off as soon as I removed it. I thought, “if I can just get through this”…and as I unlatched the side and the pan popped off… the cheesecake gods smiled down on me.. it was perfect. I did it! The crust didn’t fall apart, the filling actually set, the cheesecake didn’t crack…I made it to the top of my cheesecake mountain!

Of course I couldn’t enjoy a piece of my victory until today. I took a slice this morning to share with my carpool buddy, Laura. I told her that I reserve no judgement about eating cheesecake for breakfast, I had eaten my piece on my way to pick her up. I couldn’t wait until I got home! I don’t think any dessert lover could! It was smooth and delicious and the crust was perfect! I guess I worried it would turn out like those store-bought kind, bland, dry and cracked. I wish I could share a slice of victory with you all!

If I can survive, then you can too! I was thinking of trying a raspberry cheesecake with a chocolate crust. Any other ideas? I’d love to hear your cheesecake stories. Tell us what your favorites are, store-bought or homemade, or tell us about the time you tried to make one yourself.

Breakfast @ Tiffany’s

27 Sep

Who doesn’t love this movie?! I’ve watched it about 3 times this month since downloading it onto my iPad. Okay, so it has been a little slow at work and Audrey makes my day a little more bearable. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a classic and just about everyone I know loves this movie! It has and continues to inspire fashions, jewelry and interiors… this movie never goes out of style!

I’m not quite sure how much of a DIY project this would be.. but someone was ambitious enough to tackle it. I found this cast iron, claw foot tub on Etsy! The painting of the tub has to be the easy part, cutting a cast iron tub in half… not so much.

You know what would be easy enough to pull off? With Halloween just around the corner and party invites stuffing your mailbox, consider dressing up as Holly Golightly! There is a little black dress tucked away in the back of every closet. Put it on, up-do your hair, add some pearls and voile! Use your imagination. You can add so many different types of accessories, like earrings, rings and jewels for your hair. I found this cute pearl necklace inspired by the movie… you can even wear it when you aren’t dressing for Halloween!

Once the party is over, slip into your pajamas and wear this mask over your eyes… Sweet Dreams!

Embroidery Me This…

16 Sep

On a mission for ideas to update my bedroom, I thought I’d start by looking for a new headboard.  The headboard should be the focal point of any bedroom, so I was looking for something different and fairly inexpensive (these are tight times).  I ran across this image of a headboard that was embroidered to give the look of wrought iron.  Genius!

This got me thinking about what other ways you could incorporate embroidery in a headboard!  I searched a little more and found another super cute embroidered headboardThink about it, the possibilities are endless!  For me, in a home filled with boys and their sticky, grimy hands, I think I would have to try this with a removable headboard cover that can be spot cleaned or dry cleaned if necessary. 

One idea I had was to try an embroidered headboard with a faux bois look (I’m totally obsessed with faux bois right now). 

Hmmm….I’ll let you know if I decide to try to tackle that one….

Embroidery does have another place in design…the HOOPS!  They are of course useful when you’re doing the actual embroidery, but when you’re done they look great filled with cool fabrics and hung on a wall or even on the ceiling! 

This nursery uses embroidery hoops for a new take on a baby’s mobile.  Again, Genius!

kristmas kahlua

10 Sep

i have totally been stressing over creating a label for these bottles i have “fermenting” in my kitchen cabinet. i have been scouring the internets searching for ‘d.i.y. bottle labels’. i came across plenty cool and a lot of not so cool. i guess i was searching for something original, fun, and a little vintage. i was hoping for help from martha’s site but alas! i haphazardly clicked on amy moss’ eat drink chic site and a couple more clicks later i was learning illustrator all over again (thanks mary!).

(spoiler alert: if all goes well these might just be christmas gifts! so stop reading until after christmas. you know who you are…) my mother-in-law shared her home-made kahlua recipe with me a month or so back and next week i will be having a little kahlua-tasting party. she finds her bottles at the rancho cucamonga wineries (in california); however, i am sure you will be able to find some of your own cool bottles. don’t forget to sterilize them!

shopping list:

12 bottles

3/4 Cups Organic Instant Coffee (Trader Joe’s has a nice one but its not Organic)

2 T, 1t Molina Vanilla (has to be Mexican vanilla)

8 Cups Organic Sugar

1 Gallon Tito’s Handmade Vodka (I had to buy it because of my G’pa! His nickname is Tito)

8 Cups Water

yield: 24 bottles time: about 4.5 hours (oh so worth the mouth watering smells)


simmer all ingredients (except vodka) for two hours. let mixture cool for about another two hours then add vodka. stir it up. after your done humming bob marley’s stir it up song to yourself, using a funnel pour the completed mixture into the bottles (careful b/c this can become a sweet sticky mess!). seal and store in a cool, dark place for six to eight weeks. don’t forget to mark your calendars and maybe outside the box.

six or eight weeks later…

have a kahlua tasting party and enjoy (let me know how yours came out!). i’ll post pictures of that experience in about one week!

…please stand by…patiently waiting for my kahlua…

d.i.y. labels

now for the reason for the premature kristmas kahlua post (besides i haven’t posted in awhile). below are the labels i semi-created. basically i borrowed some designs and mixed a couple of different projects together. hey, i am not a pro on illustrator yet! like i stated earlier i found this amazing blog by amy moss (i am still looking and reading everything about her- i am totally blog stalking! i hope one day whoopie cookie has blog stalkers! 🙂 you can also download amy’s versions on her site: eat drink chic. i am just a little undecided which i like better. i might have to scrap both and start over again. what do you think?

My House Margarita

7 Sep

Our Labor Day weekend was filled with time spent by the pool, at the BBQ and without much labor…

We were blessed with perfect weather here in San Diego and (if you’re over 21) nothing tastes better than a cold margarita on a warm day by the pool. So for dessert yesterday I served Better Crocker’s Strawberry Margarita Cake.

It is the perfect dessert for summer time or any BBQ. It is incredibly simple to make, especially since we typically have strawberry margarita mix on hand. The topping is a fresh combination of Coolwhip and the zest from one lime. It is so fragrant and light that it embodies summer fun!


5 Sep

This, I will admit, is my second attempt at making Blondies. I don’t remember how or what went wrong the last time, it is all a blur. All I can remember is that my husband said that they weren’t that good. They were edible (unlike my attempt to make chocolate mint cookies with fresh mint, that will be for another time), but something was off.. I think I made them as cookies instead of bars. I must not have had my coffee that day.

This time, I documented step by step and got AMAZING results! I used the Blondies recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens, New Baking Book. It was very easy to make and I think everyone should give them a try!

The Shopping List

Brown Sugar -packed; 2 cups
Butter -2/3 cup
Eggs -2
Vanilla -2 teaspoons
Flour -all purpose; 2 cups
Baking Powder -1 teaspoon
Baking Soda -1/4 teaspoon
Semi Sweet Chocolate Pieces -1 cup
Nuts -chopped; 1 cup

Grease a 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium sauce pan heat the brown sugar and butter over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Cool slightly.

Using a wooden spoon, stri in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla.

Stir in flour, baking soda and baking powder.

Spread into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle with nuts and chocolate.

Bake in the 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until done. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into the bars when warm; cool completely in the pan.

They turned out so delicious and I totally redeemed myself! Dessert was a complete success!


4 Sep

I tried a new recipe tonight and wouldn’t you know, it was another seafood dish. I dug this recipe out of my Cooking Light magazine, the September ’09 issue. It’s a super fast 20 minute dish!

Creole Shrimp & Sausage Stew

Shopping List

Olive oil -2 teaspoons
Green bell pepper -chopped; 1 cup
Turkey smoked sausage -thinly sliced; 1 cup
Garlic -minced; 1teaspoon
Chicken broth -3/4 cup
Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles -undrained; 10 oz can
Shrimp -medium peeled and deveined; 8oz
Kidney beans -rinsed and drained; 15oz can
Fresh parsley -chopped; 2 tablespoons

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Add bell pepper, sausage, and garlic to the pan. Sauté 3 minutes or until bell pepper is tender. Stir occasionally.

Add broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil.

Stir in shrimp and beans. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 6 minutes or until shrimp are done.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

The recipes says Yield 4 servings (approx 1 cup each). I think that isn’t very much per serving…I used pretty big dishes to serve and I got 3 servings before it was gone.

I served it with crusty bread. It was really delicious and pretty spicy. I cooked up a small pasta dish for the kids. We are saving this recipe for sure. I can’t wait to make it again! It’s a perfect bowl of comfort food on a chilly evening.

ship ahoy!

2 Sep

I found a drawing while browsing Etsy. It caught my eye with it’s sweeping lines. The drawing is titled Leviathan & Lonely. I would love this framed and hanging someplace in my home.

After discovering this.. I decided I would share other nautical finds…

I found this gorgeous locket adorned with an octopus. I love the rich red color, the brass octopus really stands out alone. I could see myself wearing this with a white tee shirt and jeans on a casual day on the town.

I went on to find this adorable sea coral beaded headband. Looking at it…I think that I could make one like it at home. The color is vibrant and playful and could be worn casually with shorts on the beach or dressed up for a night on the town. I’d maybe even wear it with the Across the Bow jacket from Anthropologie !

My findings couldn’t be complete if I didn’t have anything for the home! I found this fantastic writing desk from Cottage & Bungalow. They have lots of great pieces for all areas of the home.

Lastly, you can never forget lighting! It it the most important when it comes to design. I found this great ship wall sconce from Olde Good Things. It is an architectural salvage store that’s in Los Angeles, local for me. Architectural salvage stores are great when you are looking for unique pieces or trying to find interesting doors, windows and trim.

Thanks for joining me on my nautical adventure… I’m sure it won’t be my last…

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