Friday, July 29, 2011


AHHH so stoked for this weekend. Dan and I have been wanting to have an L.A. weekend for quite some time now. My sweet cousin Emy just got an internship with FOX news and moved to Westwood L.A. for the summer! Lucky us, we get to crash with Em and our friend Bryce for the weekend. Here are a few places we are planning to hit up, maybe we'll see you there.

The Getty - A center well known for its famous art, architecture, gardens, and views overlooking Los Angeles -- can't wait!I've never been and I've heard so many wonderful things about the Getty. The current exhibits feature Parisian artists and rich material ambiance of Paris during the mid-18th century. Oh my...I'm really going to love this!

The Grammy Museum - A museum that uses music as a gateway to learning; inspiring and cultivating creativity, critical-thinking and self-expression. Right now they have exhibits on The Beatles, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson etc.

The Edison - A lounge that retains architectural and mechanical artifacts; a homage to its history of the first private power plant of 1910 in Downtown LA. You enter the lounge through an alleyway! It's located in the sub-basement of the historic Higgins Building. Too cool! The whole lounge has an industrial gothic vibe of the early 1900's. Fun fact...the Edison sells martinis for 35 cents on Thursdays and Fridays. How fun!

Santee Alley - One of the most popular shopping areas in the LA Fashion District and downtown Los Angeles. It's best known for its festive atmosphere and amazing bargains; I like it for it's knock-off's of designer bags and shoes. Shhhhhh don't tell on me. Anything you need, you can find on Santee Alley -- from fluffy bunnies to taser guns, not so sure those are legal. Ha-ha.
Located within two blocks between Santee Street, Maple Avenue, Olympic Blvd., and 12th Street, "The Alley" is open 365 days a year from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm.

Illy Espressamente - An authentic Italian-style cafĂ© focused on coffee and light gastronomy. Illy food embodies the excellence of Italian cuisine, combining fresh, high-quality ingredients with the creative flare of the numerous chefs who created each recipe. Were going to the Cafe in the JW at LA Live!

Lake Street Creamy sure sounds amazing. I hope we can catch them! Click on their "find us" link to see where they're located for the day.

I'll be sure to take lots of pictures and give you the complete update on our weekend when we get home! Yay!

Our 1920's House...

A few months back, Danny bought a house! I know...big news! We are very excited to see what it will become. The house is a major fixer-upper from 1921, but it has great potential and a BIG backyard. Dan and his father are remodeling the house and making it rent worthy for future tenants (with hopes to start a nest egg for ourselves). We recently tore down a wall and found a newspaper ad from 1929! Too cool -- an advertisement for a permanent hair wave for $4.50.
Sometimes we drive over to the house just to visit our adopted cat (Captain Jack - he apparently belongs to our address) and I like to sit in the house with Jack and Dan and imagine what life would have been like in the 1920's. I think about the history this house has seen...who lived here, what did they look like, did they own a Model T, did she wear a mink stole, how many families had memories of this house before us? If only walls could talk. Right?
We are so thankful for our little shack/soon to be cute cottage. We hope we can get it finished in the months to come. Here are a few pictures of our fixer-upper and a photoshop image of what we hope it will look like in the future. Hmmmm...what would life have been like in the 1920's?

Our big backyard!

Some vintage wallpaper...I'm guessing from the 1950's

Here is some of the original wallpaper from 1921!

Danny and his father Doug working on the kitchen

The 1929 ad we found in the wall space

Working on the house

This is a Photoshop image of what we hope the house will look like when we're finished

She must have seen our ad!

Maybe they lived here...

These babies crack me up! Too funny

I'll be sure to keep you updated on our progress!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

YSL Rings.

Pictures: 1,2,3

Newspaper Nail Art! How Fun!

How fun!
1. Paint on a light colored nail polish and let dry
2. Dip fingernail in alcohol -- basically any will do, vodka is suggested 
3. Press a strip of newspaper big enough to cover the whole nail on to your alcohol soaked nail
4. Pull off slowly
5. Paint a clear top coat

Picture: Pinterest  

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

DIY: Lanterns

Lanterns add pizzazz to parties, dinners, shindigs etc. Here are some fun DIY lanterns that will jazz up any special event.
P.S. Kids love making these too!

Cocktail Umbrella Lantern
Illuminate your outdoor soiree with a saucy summer lantern made from cocktail umbrellas.

Doily Tree Flowers
These are dainty and adorable. You can use a strand of Christmas tree lights! Wrap small paper doilies around the base of the each light. Secure with clear tape.

Fabric Makeover Lamp
Find your favorite fabric and cut the length and width of the lampshade circumference. Sew the fabric ends together and pull it over your lampshade. Vuala.

Tin Can Lanterns
Draw dot designs with a washable marker and then poke holes in the tin with a nail and hammer. Hang with a wire and place a candle inside. Simple and cute.

Pearl Lamp
Ooh la la, this is so pretty. You will need a wire cage and wire pearl strands.These pearl strands can be found at craft stores like Michael's in the flower or wedding section. Simply twist the pearls between the slats on the cage and hang you lantern with a metal chain and hook.

Tissue Pendant Lamps
These are fun looking! I would make these the same way as the cocktail umbrella lantern -- A paper lantern, glue and tissue paper. I've also seen these decorated with newspaper circles and thin book pages. Fun stuff.

Lace Lantern
BEAUTIFUL! This one takes a bit longer, but the finished product is magnificent. You will need lace doilies, a large balloon (found at party supply stores), string, wood or wall glue, a brush and a light with an extension cord.

1. Blow up your balloon to the desired size of your lamp and hang it from a string
2. Soak all of your lace doilies in glue and place them on your balloon. Make sure that the doilies overlap -- this will give your lamp more support
3. Once all of your doilies have been placed on the balloon, take you brush and coat the lamp once more.
4. Let the lamp dry for 24 hours or until the glue is hard.
5. Pop your balloon and carefully peal it away from the inside of the lamp.
6. Attach your light bulb and extension cord and secure it to the inside of the lamp...

Pictures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Shaker Lemon Pie with Vodka Pie Crust

My Dad makes the best pies! He’s a perfectionist at heart and when he makes this pie, you better believe it’s the best darn pie you’ll ever taste - perfect lemony heaven. He found this recipe at Cooks Country and makes it for special occasions. It’s my favorite pie! I always tell him to make two so he can share the wealth with me!

You will need 6 tablespoons of lemon juice for this recipe. Have an extra lemon on hand in case the 3 sliced lemons do not yield enough juice.
Serves 8.


1 double-crust pie dough (Dad uses this Vodka Pie Crust Recipe )

3 large lemons, sliced THIN and seeded (see technique below)

1 ¾ cups sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cornstarch

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon heavy cream


1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9-inch pie plate with 1 dough round and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Squeeze lemon slices in fine-mesh strainer set over bowl; reserve juice (you should have 6 tablespoons). Bring drained slices and 2 cups water to boil in saucepan, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slices are softened, about 5 minutes. Drain well and discard liquid. Combine softened lemon slices, sugar, salt, and 1/4 cup reserved lemon juice in bowl; stir until sugar dissolves.
3. Whisk cornstarch and remaining lemon juice in large bowl. Whisk eggs into cornstarch mixture, then slowly stir in lemon slice mixture, then slowly stir in lemon slice mixture until combined. Pour into chilled pie shell. Brush edges of dough with 1 teaspoon cream and top with remaining dough round. Seal, crimp edges, and brush top of dough with remaining cream. Using paring knife, cut 4 vents in top of dough.
4. Bake until light golden, about 20 minutes, then decrease oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue to bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 1 hour. Serve. (Pie can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for 2 days.)

The Slice is Right
We found that using a knife to evenly cut the lemons into paper-thin slices was a difficult and time-consuming task. We had better results with a mandoline (or V-slicer), which produced perfectly thin slices in no time at all. If you don’t have a mandoline, we did find another piece of kitchen equipment that will make the process easier—the freezer. Popping the lemons into the freezer for about 30 minutes firms them up for better hand-slicing, which is best accomplished with a serrated knife.

Building Bold, Not Bitter, Lemon Flavor
Using sliced whole lemons, pith and all, can produce an overwhelmingly bitter filling. We found a few tricks to create bright lemon flavor while tempering the bitterness of the pith.
1. Squeeze the seeded lemon slices and reserve the juice for the filling.
2. Simmer the slices to mellow the bitterness of the pith and then add them to the filling with the uncooked juice.

Picture by abitofbeesknees and knoxnews


In honor of the last Harry Potter movie...I bring you a recipe for Butterbeer by the Huffington Post. This looks incredibly delicious!
Butterbeer is created by mixing a buttery caramel sauce with cream soda and dash of rum, topped-off  with a healthy dollop of whipped cream. Mmmmm sounds like my kind of drink!

Start to finish: 1 hour (10 minutes active)
Servings: 4
1 cup light or dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
6 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
1/2 teaspoon rum (or rum extract for the kiddies)
Four 12ounce bottles cream soda


In a small saucepan over medium, combine the brown sugar and water. Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring often, until the mixture reads 240 F on a candy thermometer.
Stir in the butter, salt, vinegar and 1/4 heavy cream. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the rum.
In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Use an electric mixer to beat until just thickened, but not completely whipped, about 2 to 3 minutes.
To serve, divide the brown sugar mixture between 4 tall glasses (about 1/4 cup for each glass). Add 1/4 cup of cream soda to each glass, then stir to combine. Fill each glass nearly to the top with additional cream soda, then spoon the whipped topping over each.

Picture by pastryaffair

Beautiful Art with a Powerful Message

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Travel Cheaply: My #1 Secret for Cruises

I have always been a saver...I even have a cute little coupon box that fits in my purse. Whether it's saving $ on groceries or vacations, I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Last summer I spent a month in Costa Rica on $800 INCLUDING my plain ticket (I must post about that fun trip sometime soon). I am proud to crown myself the queen of finding great deals.

A few years ago I found this is the best website for finding fabulous cruises for up to 75% off their original price! Many cruise lines have empty rooms and will lose money if they aren't filled, so they sell them at extremely low prices before they depart. My favorite is the "90-Day Ticker" --a complete listing of last-minute cruises from around the world. And if you wish to plan ahead, you can search the "Find a Bargain" tab for cruises up to a year in advance. Check it out. You will love it.

Lets all go on a vacation

Victoria's Secret Supermodel Workouts

I stumbled across an interview by Vogue with Victoria’s Secret supermodels. What do these women do to stay fit? They shared some of their favorite fitness routines.  Here are some great ways to get in shape.

Lindsay Ellingson
“I was always involved in dance teams growing up,” says Ellingson. “Maybe that’s why I can’t stand running in a straight line on a treadmill now!” Every other week, she pops and breaks at Crunch gym’s Hip Hop classes; to round out her routine with strength training (while perfecting her sun salutation), she also squeezes in twice-weekly vinyasa sessions at Yoga Works. “When it comes to exercise, I don’t like anything that’s too serious,” she says.
404 Lafayette Street

Yoga Works
138 Fifth Avenue

Erin Heatherton “I need to pay people to make me work out or I wouldn’t do it,” says Heatherton with a laugh. Lucky, then, that trainer Lynn Duffy is up for the challenge. The pair head no farther than the gym in Heatherton’s West Village apartment building, where the 22-year-old psychs herself up, three times a week, for a high-octane half-hour workout that has her switching between five-minute intervals of sprinting and power-walking on an incline. “It’s exhausting,” she says. “But then comes my favorite part—a half hour of yoga. I love the way it tones but also loosens you up.”
Lynn Duffy

Lily Aldridge
Aldridge credits best friend Miranda Kerr for keeping her in shape. “Miranda introduced me to Justin Gelband four years ago,” reveals the newlywed, who meets with the New York City–based trainer three times a week. “My favorite thing is jumping on the Reformer, but we also kickbox and do a bunch of crunches and sit-ups. That section isn’t much fun, but the results are worth it!”
Justin Gelband

Justin Gelband with VS Model Selita Ebanks

Candice Swanepoel
“My body’s changing as I get older,” muses the 22-year-old South African model, who lifts, crunches, and squeezes with Gelband three consecutive days a week. “So I’m doing a lot more work with weights to keep muscle tone.” Her favorite exercise? “Kickboxing! I like that, as well as keeping fit, I can protect myself.”

Picture 1

OC Summer Fair

We went to the OC Fair on a "We Care Wednesday". Every Wednesday you can bring canned food, books and clothing for charity instead of paying for the cost of a ticket. What a great way to help others! 

Love the smell of funnel cakes... The fair is back!


Funny story…So Dan and I were looking over the schedule and we saw an All Alaskan Tractor Pull listed in the farm area. We were both super excited. Hmmmm, these tractors must be huge! I wonder what amazing things they can do!? When got there, to our surprise, little kids were pulling tiny tricycle-tractors with weights in the back. Ha-ha, what a crack-up. Too cute.

Mmmmm. Getting hungry. We had to get one of these kabobs!

Chicken, squash, bell peppers, onions and tomatoes

Ice cold lemonade

We stopped by my favorite stand. One of our friends happened to be managing it and insisted on giving us a free Cinnamon Roll! What a great guy! Fun fact...He said they sell about 2,000 rolls per day for about $5 each and the fair is 4 weeks long! Yikes that's a whole lotta dough!!! ha-ha.
I should have studied the art of making cinnamon rolls in college.

We ate our delicious cinnamon roll and watched the Peking acrobats on the grass field.

Knott’s Berry Farm pie eating contest. Love the little guy on the left. They gave him a head start.

One of the winning cakes in the pastry competition.

Some great art in the state-wide art contest.

This is an oil painting of one of our favorite restaurants in San Francisco. The Swan Oyster Depot. What a small world!

Looks like a picture -- nope oil paint! wowzaaa that is talent.

Dan and I had a great time.

Shanny had an extra ticket, so she invited me to see the Rodeo tonight! It was amazing! I will post some pictures when I get a chance.
Tomorrow, a group of us are driving to Malibu to see our friend's band play at the INN. More pictures and fun stuff to come!