Monday, December 7, 2009

Long Beach Aquarium

A few weeks ago, Steve and I took a trip to the aquarium. I had been begging him to take me for the longest time so I finally just took charge and bought the tickets myself. At Orange Coast College you can buy tickets for a discount if you are a student so that's just what I did.

One of the best things about the Long Beach aquarium are the jellyfish. They are so extremely interesting to watch. They look so gentle and graceful, you would never think they could kill you with one touch.

The day was a little lackluster, as amazing as it is to see all of the wonderful creatures, it just isn't as exciting as I remember from when I was a kid.

This guy was huge, much bigger than he looks in the picture, and he came right up to us and stared. My favorite part about the whole day had to be the manta rays. I told Steve that if there was a place that I could pay $2 to touch manta rays I would go all the time. I was too busy playing to take any pictures of them but I did get a picture of this little guy.

All in all, it was definitely worth it to do something different from the weekly routine. Support a local establishment and spend some time with my guy. I recommend it if only for the rays and jellyfish.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ring Bowl

Paloma's Nest has been making it's rounds on the wedding blogs for awhile now so I decided to jump on the wagon and acquire one of their custom ring bowls for us.

Paloma's Nest studio is powered by 100% renewable wind energy and uses recycled materials whenever possible. The packaging was almost as nice as the product itself! We aren't having a wedding party let alone a ring bearer so our officiant, Kelsey, will just have carry it in his pocket.

Not only will this be a wonderful keepsake from our wedding day but we can use it as an ornament afterward. Steve and I have a little tradition of buying/making/getting ornaments as vacation keepsakes and significant events or things in our lives. And I can't think of anything more significant in our lives up to this point than our wedding.

I can't wait to marry such a wonderful, loving, caring, intelligent, and funny man. He really is my other half and I am so much more complete with him.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

little pumpkin

Holidays are my favorite time of year. Not only because of the parties and family and delicious food but I love decorating my home for the holidays. In past years, Christmas always gets the most attention but this year I wanted to add some new things to the fall decor.

I had an idea and didn't know how well I could execute it but I was going to try. It didn't turn out as well as I'd like and I rushed it a little so the stitching isn't perfect but I think it is a wonderful addition to the mantle until December rolls around.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I have always had a love of all things paper, especially cards. There are so many wonderful companies, big and small, making cards and if I had a letterpress I would love to be one of them. For me, working on a smaller scale at my kitchen table making cards for friends and loved ones is more than good enough. Recently I have been using scrap paper and origami sheets to make shapes and then using a glue stick to adhere them to blanks I have gotten from Michael's. Here is a last minute card made for my friends' wedding. I would use rubber stamps for everything if it wasn't so tedious.

Once again the theme of making something yourself which you could easily buy comes up. A beautiful screenprinted or letterpressed card can cost you upwards of $3 but a pack of 12 blank cards and envelopes cost about $5 with the paper either being free from your scrap pile or a couple bucks for a pack of origami paper.

I also have a stack of creme postcards from Papersource that we used for our Christmas Cards last year that I have been slowly going through. Here, I whipped up a little Halloween card to send out with a gift. When it comes down to it, not only am I saving money but I am being creative and making things for people that I love. I know that I love receiving handmade goods so I might as well give them too.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I was reading a post on The Tangled Nest about making your own pita. It turns out the recipe she uses is from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison which is a book I have acquired through Steve. It is chock full of fabulous recipes and is also a great reference for different vegetable cooking techniques. Looking over the recipe I realized how easy it was to make. I swear I will never buy pita again.

The recipe makes ten fairly large pitas but you could easily break that number down into smaller portions. Since the are not baked in the oven (which they can be) they aren't puffed and therefore not able to be filled. I did these in the cast iron which makes them more along the lines of flat bread. Plus they only take 30 seconds on each side.

Next time I will roll them a little thinner. They were a little too bready for the dinner we had planned with them. Hummus, olives, tomatoes, and chive yogurt dip. I can't wait to make more.

There is something about not only growing your food but making things fresh with your own hands that you could easily buy from the grocery store. We took a couple over to my parents and it is so much more satisfying to give and eat what you made than what you bought. They were so fresh tasting and tasted just as good the next day heated over a flame. Delicious.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I am always on the lookout for cute gifts, things to have on hand when you need that little something. Awhile back I was shopping and happened upon Keel's Simple Diary at American Rag's Maison-Midi.


They came in all the right colors, have a wonderful leathery feel, and the best pages. Aside from this blog I do not keep a journal. I have tried at many points in my life but came to realize it's just not for me. But then this pops up and it's like it was made for me. Little detailed questions, boxes to check off, and a quirky sense of nonsense that makes me want to fill up all the pages.


I quickly snapped up the yellow one for myself and the brown one for a very special friend in mind. I knew she would be just the one to appreciate something like this. I definitely need to go stock up on a few other colors for the time when I need just the right gift.

(images via Nordtrom)

Monday, October 19, 2009

japanese goods

One of my favorite things to do when I am bored (who am I kidding, I cancel errands) is to go to one of three Japanese markets in my area and shop around. I mostly hit the non-food areas of the store for little gems. My favorite finds are always the different paper goods and pens and clips. An office supply lovers dream!

I absolutely love making lists. I make them for everything and anything; groceries, projects, things to blog about, to-do's. I also love little notebooks, I have about a thousand. If you can't think of anything to get me, buy me a cute little notepad, and when I saw this one it was like two wonderful things colliding to bring me joy!

I've already used it to make two lists! Also, I saw these on the lovely blog of Miss Jordan Ferney awhile back and just about died at how cute they were.

I couldn't really justify buying them at the time seeing as 1. I didn't need them and 2. paying for shipping (for paperclips I might add) but once I saw them in person, the next thing I know I am being handed my change and I am walking out the door with them in my purse.

Even though my first reason for not buying them hasn't changed, I will find some papers that need clipping together. And if I don't, they make for cute storytelling.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

band camp

I know I have been a bad blogger.

I am trying to take care of some little things for the wedding that can be done now and one of those is getting my wedding band made. I found one online and fell in love with it but then remembered that my parents gave me a ring when I was 16 that has four small diamonds in it that I never wear. Bario Neal was featured on Snippet & Ink and I was just enamored with their rings. Once I saw that they do custom work I emailed them right away with a picture of the original ring I loved and they said they could easily make it with the diamonds I have. It is going to be much cheaper and better for the environment. Bario Neal uses only recycled gold and they donate 1% to charity.

I am so excited to get my wedding band and show it to you all. We haven't looked for Steve's band yet but he wants something simple and silver so that shouldn't be too hard, right?

(images Bario Neal , Melissa Joy Manning , and Yoon Jungyun)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

cute card

Last weekend, we were lucky to enjoy two of our lovely friends getting married. Since we were going to be in the San Luis Obispo area (the wedding was in Parkfield ) and that is where are wonderful photographer Jeff Newsom is from, we decided to do our engagement photos while we were up there. I am so excited to see how they turn out!

As much as I love all the wonderful letterpressed cards out there, I have been dying for an opportunity to make this lovely card from Lovely Morning.

Also on our way to Parkfield, there were these adorable baby cows right on the side of the road. I hope their cuteness brightens your day!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

save the dates

Now that everyone has (hopefully) received theirs, I can finally post about our save the dates! This was my first time ever using my Gocco and it was definitely a challenging experience. There are a lot of "learn-as-you-go" aspects to the process but I was happy to learn along the way. I originally was only going to use two screens for the postcards but by taping on the screen to prevent ink bleeding, I ruined another part of it so I ended up using three for this project.

We are getting married in Palm Springs and we wanted to bring that into play with the save the dates but also wanted them to be fairly simple. I hand drew the cacti, banner and "save the date". The rest was done on the computer, printed, and gocco'd. There are two layers to the cacti that had to be printed separately and since we wanted them to have a handmade feel, I didn't worry too much about the imperfections.

The second round was the banner. I definitely could have done the font on the front during this printing as well but with trying to get all of the elements on only 2 screens, I kind of screwed up in the process. This was one of those learning moments that I hope I don't have to learn again.

Here is a close up of the postcard before the writing and with the second layer of the cactus printed.

Lastly, the finished product. The fonts I used are Air Conditioner (found here )and Modern No. 20

I honestly think that the back turned out to be my favorite. I am not super computer savvy so I typed out my own calendar and ended up using a red pen to draw a heart around our date on each card. The labels are from Paper Source and addresses were printed on. The finishing touch is the adorable King and Queen stamps that everyone loves. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Monday, September 28, 2009

long time coming

I've finally gotten my camera back so I can finally post about Steve's birthday! I'll start off with his gift. Steve is really hard to buy gifts for. I am pretty good at buying him clothes but other than that, I am usually at a loss. Since this was his big thirtieth I wanted to make sure it was something special. I thought of a few things we had talked about getting or him wanting and decided I would let him choose which of the three he wanted. Now my only problem was figuring out a way to wrap these momentary intangible things. First, I took apart an envelope I had and traced the shape onto three different pieces of scrapbook paper and cut them out. Using my bone folder I folded the four sides so they would close up nicely.

I had some old card stock lying around from our Christmas postcards so I drew each gift option (3 fruit trees, a kindle, a home brew kit), carved it out, and glued a piece of origami paper to the back. These were then glued to the envelopes.

They were all closed up, each tied with a ribbon...

...and bundled together with these wonderful paperclips. (he chose the home brew kit, by the way)

The second little gift I made for him was a birthday button. I had seen this birthday boy badge on a blog somewhere (I'm sorry I don't remember which one!!) and thought to myself "I can make something similar." So I did. Steve bought me a little wood burning kit for Christmas and this was the first time it was put to use. ($20 at Michael's) It definitely took a lot of practice. For the writing I simply printed the text on paper, colored the back with pencil, laid it on top of the wood circle and traced the text. It transferred to the wood so I could easily burn it. You could use carbon paper if you have some but this works if you don't.

I had some scrap felt lying around, so I cut them into little petals and laid them out in a pattern I liked. I hot glued around the edge of the petals and stuck the circle on top. I also glued a piece of felt on the back to secure it all and finished it off with a pin.

It was so great to see Steve wear this all day, all around LA. He was such a good sport. His birthday party was a success with homemade tacos, delicious treats, ladder golf, and an outdoor screening of The Big Lebowski complete with horchata White Russians. The absolute BEST part of the whole birthday celebration was a custom pinata we had made of Steve's head. It was so great to see everyone's reaction and to watch the real Steve knock down pinata Steve.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

vacation home eggplant

Our good friends hosted Steve's birthday bash at their lovely home two weekends ago and they have an absolutely amazing garden that I would kill for. It's a hundred times larger and better than ours. Every time we go up there (which is often and now considered our "vacation home") we reap the benefits. Whether it be fresh tomatoes eaten off the vine or being sent home with a bag of beautiful japanese eggplant. These are the same variety that we had grown but I think we left ours on the vine a little too long. Rachel had mentioned that she sliced her's thin and used them in a lasagna instead of the noodles. It sounded so delicious that I had to try it myself.

I sliced the eggplant on my mandoline and used some leftover marinara from Trader Joe's. For the filling I sauteed some spinach and mixed together some ricotta with salt, pepper, chili powder and nutmeg; sprinkled some Parmesan throughout and baked it for 40 minutes. It was so good. It didn't have the structure to it the way lasagna does so I would say it is more of an eggplant bake than anything.

We have been eating the leftovers for days.

angel's food

I know I didn't blog at all this past week and I am finally getting around to it on Wednesday but I was hoping to blog about all of Steve's birthday crafts but I left my camera at our friends house in LA and have yet to get it back. So, I used Steve's camera that is old with no flash (not that I use it anyway) to take some pictures of a delicious lemon angel food cake that I made for my parents.

Since they are being more than generous and paying for our wedding the deal was I have to make my dad lots of yummy desserts. He didn't specifically ask for this one but I made it for him anyway. At work we make our brioche and it requires a ton of egg yolks and we never have anything to do with the whites so I decided to take them home and make angel food cakes with them. The recipe is super simple and from the lovely Donna Hay. Her book is so wonderful and there is a picture for every recipe (my favorite!).

I didn't turn it upside down as soon as I removed it from the oven (because I took this picture) so it fell a little but I heard it was still delicious. While it was baking I rode my bike over to Grower's Ranch and picked up a pint of raspberries to go along with it.

As soon as I get my camera back I will post more on Steve's big birthday bash.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

crafty day

I have been busy all day doing crafts and running errands for Steve's big thirtieth birthday bash this weekend. While doing these things at my dining table I realized that I need to get my studio in working order. I would love for things to go from this:

to this wonderful craft room bliss:

More on Steve's birthday next week! I can't wait.

photos from fathershood and martha stewart via casasugar

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Our good friends Eddie and Wayan have us over for dinner quite often. Wayan is a fantastic cook and always makes us the most delicious meals. Last night was one of these times. We were asked to bring some pre-dinner/bocce snacks and I wanted to make something that would utilize the bell peppers from our garden.

I just love the way these purple peppers looked with the tops cut off.

A bell within a bell. Almost as good as getting a double yolk.

Once again, Ina came to the rescue. I decided to make her sweet pepper and Gorgonzola bruschetta. The peppers are sauteed in olive oil until soft and then mixed with basil (I used lemon basil from our garden) and capers. Top the toasted baguette with the peppers and finish with a small chunk of Gorgonzola. I assembled everything at home and then popped them in the oven for a few minutes once we arrived just to melt the cheese and warm the whole dish. Yum yum!