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Halloween Round Up

18 Oct

Ever since I was little, Halloween has been one of my favorite holidays because I viewed it as the wonderful day of the year when you get to dress up and get free candy. Over the years, however, I have come to love Halloween in large part because it marks the beginning of the holiday season. Halloween is the first of many festive celebrations with exciting traditions,delicious food, and spirited decor. So here is the first of many holiday round ups to come in the next few months.

Costumes

Baby Frida Costume DIY

Raggedy Anne Costume DIY for kids and adults

Too Big Alice in Wonderland Costume

Children’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s costume on Etsy

Decorations

 

Swarm of Batts Pupkin..since you don’t need to carve it, feel free to decorate this pumpkin in advance, or even do this to a sugar pumpkin so that you can bake tasty treats from the pumpkin after Halloween

Googly-eyed monster cups to make any drink more exciting

Tea light squashes for a more elegant take on the classic Jack-O-Lantern

Festive pumpkin cooler

Adorable free Halloween Bunting Printable

Pumpkin Cat…too cute not to include, but please do not try this at home!

Savories

Jack-O-Lantern Stuffed Bell Pepper

These Jack-O-Lantern tarts have a sweet filling, but with a spanikopita-style spinach filling they’d be absolutely divine!

Spiced Tofu Bruchetes….stick the skewers into a pumpkin for a festive update

Spiced Harvest Squash and Fennel

Mini Mummy Pizzas….so much cuter than the giant ones from the pizza parlor!

Candy Corn Crudite Platter with Pumpkin Dip for a healthy take the on the beloved candy

Baked Parmesan and Sage Truffle Fries

Curried Zucchini Roll Ups

Vegetarian Lasagna Bites

Innocent (or spooky) Owl Crackers

Sweets

Pumpkin Mouse Trifle (you don’t have to tall anyone that it’s healthy)

Candy Corn Butter Cookies

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Frosting

Candy Corn Candy Apples

Jack-O-Lantern Pop Tarts

Monster Candy Apples

Pumpkin Meringue Pie

Momofuku Milk Bar Remix: Candy Corn Chocolate Chip Cornflake Cookies

In my family, what began as a simple pizza dinner with friends before trick-or-treating has evolved into a fanciful feast with creative, themed treats and appetizers. It’s a wonderful time to chat with friends and family in a more relaxed setting before the candy-crazed kids begin their neighborhood roam. What are your Halloween traditions?

September Likes

27 Sep

10. Check out this wonderful list of 7 trips every woman should take in her lifetime over at The Frisky. As if anyone needed another reason to travel! While a trip may not be in your immediate plan, it’s still a good idea to keep this article in the back of your mind for the next time you’re on the hedge about leaving town.

9. I love this super-sweet heart braid featured on Cup of Jo. It is pretty enough to make any little girl jump with joy, and funky enough to dress up a basic sweater-and-jeans ensemble. No matter who wears this awesome hairstyle, it’s bound to get smiles all around.

8. Check out this incredible DIY pallet bed from Prudent Baby. I can’t believe some of the resourceful recycled DIYs that people come up with! It’s beautiful, it’s eco-friendly, and it costs practically nothing to make! Make it your own with whatever colors and prints inspire you. Besides, nothing will blow your friends’ minds like hearing that you made your own bed.

7. Check out these adorable collard-wrapped mini burritos over at The Daily Meal. They are packed with quinoa, beans, cheese, and veggies. The vibrant color and wonderful size make these a healthy and exciting appetizer for a party or special dish for a Meatless Monday family dinner. Get creative with the fillings and use whatever you like best. I guarantee it will end up costing far less than any commercial fast food burritos and it will be far more nutritious too!

6. For anyone looking to ward off a few pounds prior to donning revealing Halloween costumes or simply looking to avoid the dreaded Freshman 15, check out Slimkicker. The online database and iPhone ap turn health and fitness into a game. Upon accumulating enough points from completing your self-chosen challenges and chronicling your meals and exercise regime, you earn points to advance to the next level, at which time you treat yourself to whatever reward you chose. I love the idea of turning health into a game where you choose how hard you want to push yourself and you set your own goals.

5. All of the nail designs over at nail-fun.tumblr.com are pretty amazing, but these Cath-Kitson inspired floral nails may be my very favorite. The bright blue base and delicate rosettes are enough to make anyone smile when they look down at these nails. I doubt I could ever master the complicated designs on this site, but they certainly provide some great inspiration for the next trip to the nail salon.

4. I can’t get over how adorable this travel-inspired dessert buffet is over at Amy Atlas Events. The sweet map cut outs, vintage suitcases, fluffy meringue clouds, and pretty little hot air balloons make this such a creative update on the typical dessert bar. This seems like the perfect addition to an UP themed wedding to me!

3. I am so excited by this super-simple yoga mat cleaner DIY from Free People’s BLDG 25 Blog. It simply fills a spray bottle with 3 parts water with 1 part Witch Hazel and a few drops of essential oils with antibacterial properties such as tea tree, lemongrass, lavender, peppermint, or eucalyptus. I can’t wait to make it this weekend because my yoga mat doesn’t quite smell like roses…

2. This Ostrich Pillow on Kickstarter allows users to take a comfy power nap anywhere. I love that idea of the creators to design a product that “allow[s] you to create a little private space within a public one, to relax and unwind.” It allows you to bury your head and hands into the soft cushiony folds in order to catch some zzz’s on the go. The architecture firm who designed the product has met its goal with still 20 days to go.

1. This Decorated Cake Roll from Sugar For the Brain is absolutely awe-inspiring. Making any type of cake roll is pretty intimidating, but this beautifully printed cake seems terrifying to make. If you have the guts to try it, I can think of no better way to impress someone on their birthday. Sorry mom, I am not brave enough to make this for you next week…at least not yet. PS check out her Halloween Cake Roll on Best Friends for Frosting too!

Decoupage Memory Box

22 Aug

Many people nostalgically describe college as the best times of their life, but few people warn of the sadness that comes when it’s time to leave. Heading off to college often means saying goodbye to families, friends, homes, and cities that people have known all their lives. And while what lies ahead may be fun and exciting, saying goodbye is one of the hardest imaginable things to do.

I’m lucky because I’m moving only 30 minutes away from home, so I can come home to visit Goose and my family on weekends and even after school some days. It wasn’t just luck though. When you have people in your life as incredible as the ones that I have in mine, it’s impossible to stay away for long.

Saying “See you in November” to friends who you’ve known since kindergarten is tough. On the flip side, knowing that you won’t see them until Thanksgiving makes you appreciate what time you do have with your friends even more. Without seeing friends in school each day, you  have to decide which people are worth going out of your way to maintain relationships with via phone calls, letters, care packages, e-mails, and rare visits.

Packing up boxes of picture frames and sentimental items to take with me to my dorm left my room feeling impersonal and empty. The blank walls and eerily clean bookshelves made the room a constant reminder of my upcoming move, and from my little sisters’ perspective, of my leaving them. In an effort to show them that they will still be as much a part of my life when I go to college as they always have been, I made these memory boxes for them. This project also allowed me to test out the idea of making additional personalized boxes for friends to include in future care packages.

The boxes are really simple to make, as they involve little more than some cutting and pasting; but the personal thought and homemade aspect of the gift make this a wonderful way to show someone you care. Seize the opportunity to get as personal and creative as you want. Draw your own pictures or add text to decorate with. You can even experiment with fabric, wire, mirrors, and other materials.

Decoupage Memory Box

Materials:

  • Wooden box
  • Glue stick
  • Shiny Mod Podge  (or a mixture of 1 part Elmer’s glue to 1 part water)
  • Scissors
  • Exacto knife (optional)
  • Foam brush (or other paint brush)
  • Pictures
  • Magazine images
  • Letter or 3-D stickers

Directions:

  1. Take your time in going through old photos and magazines to choose a good selection of pictures that either hold a special memory or that you know will make the recipient smile. This is the most important step of the project. I spent months going through old magazines and a good few hours searching through my computer for the very best pictures. Gather more  images than you think you will need so that you can be selective when it comes time to actually lay out your images.
  2. Use the scissors to cut out each of your images. I chose to cut them right on the edge, but you can leave a slight border if you prefer. Just make sure that you are constant in applying the same method to all of your images.
  3. Layout what images you want on the four sides of the box, being sure to coordinate the tone and color scheme as well as possible. The longer you spend in the first step, the easier this step will be.
  4. Use the glue stick to glue down the images to each face, one face at a time. If you want your images to overlap the space where the lid and the side meet, press the top and the bottom together firmly and glue the image right on top of the seam, then use your Exacto knife to gently cut through the image along the seam. The cut will be unnoticeable in the finished produce, and you will still be able to open and close your box without a problem as long as no glue gets into the seam.
  5. Use the 2-D stickers and remaining images to decorate the top of the box, and even to dress up the sides a bit more.
  6. Coat each face of the box with a generous coat of Mod Podge, then top with any 3-D stickers if desired.
  7. Hide a special note or sentimental object inside the box and give it to someone you love.

What I’m Loving Now: July 2012

24 Jul

Ass a follow up to my “What I’m Loving Now: June 2012” post, here’s what I’m loving this month! With so many websites and blogs releasing incredible new information daily, it’s impossible to catch everything, so here are my 10 favorite tidbits of the month. Enjoy!

10. This week’s DineLA deals got my craving some seriously good food. I’m talking sophisticated, savory meals, not the sweets that I so often cook up in my own kitchen. Easter LA’s round up of LA’s 20 most iconic dishes is the perfect way to keep treating my taste buds while trying to track down some of the city’s best fare. Two of the the highlights on this list for me are #7: Mozza Pizzeria’s butterscotch bundino, one of my favorite (and the richest) desserts in the city and #20: Jitlada Thai Resturant’s green curry, the dish that I’m most eager to try soon thanks to my obsession with any type of Asian cuisine.

9. This charming “Let’s Sleep Under the Stars” print from TheWheatField captures the true essence of the carefree attitude that summer elicits. The soft twinkling of stars and innocence of the red plaid tent illustrate the perfectly childish fun of summer camp, and show what all of us try to recapture each year as the temperatures climb.

8. This “You Know You’re A Food Blogger If…” list from Eat the Love cracks me up! While Not all 40 of these statements are true for me just yet, it’s good/frightening to know what’s in store for me in the future as I continue working on my blog. I think #20 just may be my favorite…or #10…it’s just too hard to choose!

7. I adore this sweet necklace from TagYoureItJewelry! The tiny pendant is sweet and pretty, but still simple enough to wear everyday.  It’s so refreshing to see romance jewelry without an abundance of hearts!

6. My mouth is watering simply from looking as this delicious Eton Mess Trifle from Sips and Spoonfuls. This trifle layers Middle Eastern rosewater and pistachio meringues with luscious strawberry whipped cream for a desert that looks decadent, yet tastes light and airy. This looks like the perfect end to any summer get-together! I can’t wait to ry out the recipe myself (as soon as I return from Europe that is).

5. I was so impressed by Wes Anderson’s latest indie flick, Moonrise Kingdom. Goose kindly gave into my pleas to go see the unconventional love story of two 12-year-old misfits who decide to run away together and eventually fall in love. We both walked out of the theatre in awe of how the two unlikable protagonists manage to have the audience rooting for them throughout the film. Equally impressive are the stellar performances by Ed Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and the young new comers, Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward. The movie has been out for a few weeks, so try to catch it in theaters before it’s gone!

4. I am completely obsessed with Free People’s Indian Enchantment Dress! I wrote a post a while back about how I love Free People’s whimsical, boho-chic aesthetic and this dress is the perfect elevation into formal wear. The wispy, jewel toned fabric is the perfect anti-dote to boring, monochromatic prom dresses. I don’t have any idea what I could wear this dress for, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful!

3. Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation recently released pictures of the duplex that Frank Gehry designed for the project. Gehry’s four-bedroom duplex is one of the 21 new additions to the ninth ward that he and 20 other leading starchitects have designed. PS the home’s new inhabitants chose the lavender color for their new home, not Gehry himself.

2. On Sunday I was lucky enough to witness an incredible feat of partner yoga while walking with Goose along Santa Monica beach. We saw over a dozen people engaged in this trust-based practice that ended with one of the partners in each of the pairs simultaneously lifting the other partner into a handstand. It amazes me how the yogis can have such a deep conviction in their partner’s ability to protect that they  are willing to attempt an already difficult pose while balancing upon another person. I was nervous about trying aerial yoga because I had to put my faith in fabric to support me, but by placing your faith in a fallible person takes trust to a whole other level.

1. I can’t wait to tryout the wonderful step-by-step tutorial for making my own dinosaur bookends from A Life Worth Living. The gold spray paint is such a chic update to classic children’s toys. I’m thinking of making them with zoo animals to hold up all of the books I’ll be reading as an English Major. Just a few weeks ago I decided to switch my major from architecture to English and Creative Writing, so there couldn’t possibly be better timing for this sweet literary DIY.

Playtime with Legos

23 May

When anyone makes the transition from the carefree pleasures of childhood to the serious responsibilities of adulthood, as I am about to make now when I graduate high school in just under a month, there is tremendous pressure to simply grow up. Well quite frankly, I don’t want to. There is no rule that when you become an adult that you must leave youthful fancies behind. The most succesful and happy adults are those who remember to play.

I plan to always make time to play because it is just as importance as meditation or exercise in terms of maintaining mental and physical well being. Playtime is full of rewards whether you’re exercising on the playground with your kids, boosting your general knowledge with a game of trivial pursuit, or simply having a good time to get your creative juices flowing.

Legos are one of the most beneficial and beloved toys in America because they encourage kids to embrace their creativity and they are just plain fun! I wish that I can say that I was a lego lover growing up, but they’ve become more of a recent love. Check out some of the incredible ways that people have been using their legos and see the innovative things that people have done to express their adoration for America’s favorite toy!

Simon Pillard and Philippe Rossetti’s 20,000 Lego kitchen island from Dwell

Lego lunchbox from Firebox


Lego soap dispenser from Simply Sara

Lego cake from Betty Crocker

Lego Bow tie from Made in Forest Hills

Lego conference table from abgc Architecture and Design

Lego crayons from Crafty C0rn3r

Lego messenger bag from Luxfordst

Lego deer taxidermy kit from David Cole


Lego building inserts in Toulouse, France for Imaginez Maintenant (Imagine Now)

What’s your favorite way to play?

Unique LA Recap

15 May

What I love most about living in LA (besides the weather of course) is that there is always something to do. Downtown especially is filled with exciting events, restaurants, shops, and attractions. From tracking down the Coolhaus ice cream sandwich truck to watch both the Lakers and the Clippers in second round play off games on the same day, to admiring the architecture was beautiful enough to become the focus of 500 Days of Summer to visiting the monthly Art Walk, Los Angles always has something exciting to offer!

Even while sitting in a downtown parking outside The California Market Center over the weekend, I was lucky enough to simultaneously view Banksy’s “Park” street art and timeless Art Deco gems like the beautiful Eastern Columbia Building. Where else in the country is there such a breathtaking combination of perfect sunshine, poignant art, and historic architecture?! I really do love LA.

Back to the story…the reason that I was sitting in the parking lot is that on Sunday for Mother’s Day I had the pleasure of attending the fourth annual Unique LA Spring Show Downtown with my mom and three sisters. We always love attending these fabulous craft fairs to find super talented local artists and designers. The Spring, Summer, and Holiday Unique LA shows are two of my favorite things to do in Los Angeles. If you live in San Francisco or New York, make sure to checkout the Unique SF Show on June 20 and July 1 or the Unique NYC show that they are hoping to start soon!

There was a $10 admission fee, but a dollar of every ticket goes towards supporting another local organization, CicLAvia, and upon entry each guest gets a canvas tote with art designed by a local artist specifically for the event. At each Unique LA event, the nonprofit organization changes, as does the artist who designs the bags. Unique LA also offers free snacks, a free  photo booth, and a free craft station.

As always, the tremendous creativity of the 325 designers who showcased their work at the event amazed me. This is both the perfect place to pick up a unique, handmade gift for even the pickiest people on your list and a lovely way to spend an afternoon with friends. There are countless booths with beautiful jewelry, hilarious t-shirts, quirky home decor, awesome terrariums, intriguing sweets, upcycled vintage goods, and artsy prints. With so many talented artists in one place, you’re bound to find something that strikes your fancy. The artists are almost all incredibly friendly and they are often willing to negotiate prices with you or give you a better deal if you buy multiple items.

We ended up buying magic wallets made from old books, inventively flavored pickles, earrings, ghost pepper hot sauce, seed bombs, a necklace, and other fun goodies. There were so many great things for sale that it was hard to choose what to buy!

One of the coolest things at Unique LA this weekend (although I didn’t really appreciate it until after I got home), is that they got Caine Monroy, the 9-year-old inventor of Caine’s Arcade, to bring his homemade, cardboard arcade to the event. When we saw the elaborate cardboard set up, my sister was immediately stunned and told me how she cried during the video. Although I has heard of the arcade built by a young boy in the back of his dad’s auto parts shop, it wasn’t until I came home and cried as I watched the video myself that the magnitude of Caine’s creativity and hopefulness really hit me.

If you haven’t heard of the kid genius who became famous overnight, check out Nircan Mallick’s moving video, about Caine’s Arcade immediately….and have a box of tissues nearby.

Mother’s Day Loving From a True Momma’s Girl

12 May

For years I’ve been told by countless teachers, friends, and family members just haw much I look like my mom. Unlike most teens, I think that there is no greater compliment than being told of my resemblance to this incredible super woman. She has a speech pathology degree, a model-esque body, and endless charm, yet she chose to dedicate her life to raising my three sisters and me. If that kind of pure selflessness doesn’t count as a super power, I don’t know what does.

I owe much of my academic success to my mom’s tireless dedication to doing everything in her power to help me. From dropping me off and picking me up at Habitat for Humanity sights that are almost an hour’s car-ride away to running back and forth among all of the art and building supply stores in town to help get me all of the obscure materials that I needed for my architectural models, my mom has never once refused to help me in any way possible.

Not only has my mom been my biggest cheerleader over the years, she also has been my best friend. She is my closet confidant, my shopping buddy, my kitchen companion, and the person whom I can always rely on to try new things with me. While my mom always tries to encourage me to catch up on my zzz’s, when I end up staying up to the wee hours of teh morning, it’s usually because she’s by my side chit chatting with me all night over a shared orange and a few cups of green tea.

I feel so incredibly blessed to have this amazing woman to enstill a sense of endless possibility and to guide me throughout my life. Without her support and daily readership, this blog would not be possible, so thank you Mom!

If any of you lovely readers want to show your apprecaition for your mommas out there too, check out this quick and easy craft as a great last minute Mother’s Day gift or an idea to tuck away for the future. These sweet little tea cup candles are the perfect way to add a touch of vintage chic to any house or office. The great scents of these decorative gems are an extra bonus!

Teacup Candles

What You’ll Need:

  • small sauce pan or pot
  • teacup, with a saucer if you so desire
  • meltable wax (find this at craft stores like Michaels or melt down existing candle stubs)
  • candle wicks with holder, at leas an inch or two taller than your cup
  • dye and essential oil (skip these if you bought pre dyed and scented wax like me)
  • thermometer
Directions:
  1. First scour your local vintage shops, flea market, or grandmother’s china cabinet for a cute teacup.
  2. Generously measure out the amount of wax that you will need to fill your teacup.
  3. Melt the wax in your pot and place the thermoneter in it to monitor the temperature.
  4. While waiting for the wax to melt, tie the top of your wick around a pencil or popsicle stick.
  5. Once the wax reaches 185 degrees, gently dip the wick into the wax, then place the base of the wick into the teacup and let it set.
  6. Balance the pencil or stick on the teacup’s rim, and place the teacup in the sink.
  7. Gently pour the melted wax into the teacup, making sure to stop 1/2 inch below the rim of the cup.
  8. Let the wax cool for at least an hour, then untie the wick from the pencil or stick and cut it to 1/2 inch above the wax line.
  9. Wrap it up cutely and give it as a gift. Punny tea references encouraged.