Monday, March 28, 2011


Oh, I have had a crazy couple weeks: a visit to NYC for work and fun, sake and sushi, karokee (pictures too embarassing to share here), shopping galore, and a few new projects! I'm trying to get myself in order but thought I'd share a couple of pictures from my trip so I'm not not totally stagnant on here!

Visiting friends ...

and vintagey NYC views from my hotel ...

Friday, March 18, 2011

For Japan with love

Today I'm joining with many others in a bloggers day of silence for the victims of the disaster in Japan. You can help them and the victims of other natural disasters by donating here. Have a happy weekend and keep Japan in your thoughts!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

They call me mellow yellow

When I posted about this Chloe couch last week, my friend Kayla text me that she was considering the same piece! It's a small sofa world out there people, and while Derek and I have yet to commit to the Chloe, Kayla is ready to take the plunge with the beautiful couch in sleek granite.

Yesterday, we talked paint colors and agreed we both love the soft but modern combination of yellow and grey, so I thought I'd pull some images for inspiration! Which do you like best?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cherry swirl cake

Awhile back, I picked up a cookbook called 101 Things to do with a Cake Mix at a thrift store for about cents. It's a cute little book and all the recipes are effortless - involving cake mix and just a few other ingredients. When I was craving something sweet the other day, I thought I'd whip up one of these simple recipes and was delighted with the result! It took almost no time to make and was just as quickly gobbled up.


Cherry Swirl Cake
from 101 Things to do with a Cake Mix

1 white cake mix
3 eggs
2 cans or 21 ounces cherry pie filling
Whipped cream or powdered sugar

1. Prehat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix cake mix and eggs together and stir in half of the cherry pie filling
3. Pour batter into a greased bundt cake pan and bake 40-50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
4. Invert hot cake onto a platter and dust with powdered sugar
5. Serve with reserved pie filling and whipped topping

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Want to see something cute?

Miss Chelsea in the above video is a Teach For America corps member, one of 8,200 teaching this year to change the lives of over 500,000 students growing up in some of our nation's most impoverished school districts.

Want to help students like the super scholars? All you have to do is shop! That's right! This weekend (March 17 - 20) when you use the coupon at this link, you receive 30% off at Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic (outlets included) while 5% of what you spend goes to support Teach For America's efforts to close the achievement gap.

Just click, print, and shop! And feel free to pass the link onto friends, family, and your own readers. You can even pass the coupon to the shopper behind you in line after you check-out and ask her to do the same!

So spread Spring style and help our kids get an excellent education.

Thanks so much!

Monday, March 14, 2011


The sun was out this weekend in full force and we made sure to soak up plenty of it! Friday we went to the drive-in movies, our favorite way to watch a new flick since we can bring as much candy as we want and a bottle of wine.

Saturday we drove up in the mountains to Julian, an old mining town that has retained much of it's historic charm. We even ate at an original drug store soda fountain! Yum!

And Sunday, I was majorly spoiled as Derek insisted on doing all our chores (vacuuming, dusting, laundry, etc), while I lounged in the sun with a book. He even managed to be a sneaky photographer in the process.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Have pure joy

During last weekend's stroll on the beach, Derek and I wandered onto the leash-free dog beach so I could drool openly over how much I want one of my own, and not even look out of place! And I must say, there is nothing more joyful than a dog at the beach - frolicking in the waves, chasing toys, and meeting new friends - it reminds me of a book called Dog Heaven I read as a child.

So this weekend, I hope you're as joyful as a dog at the beach! Here are some links I liked this week to help the happy factor.

Black and white and read all over!

I simply can't wait to have a non-community laundry room, but if I had this one, laundry would feel glamorous!

This pasta dinner we made this week was light, easy, and absolutely bursting with flavor. Mmm, baked goat cheese!

Be prepared for astonishment, these are real people, painted!

Oooh! I think I'll wish for an herb mill in my Easter basket.

I'm quite jealous of this find and DIY art idea! Fabulous!

Couch potato

When Derek and I moved in together, I left the limited furniture I had in NYC behind, shipped my small belongings, flew across the country with a couple of suitcases, and agreed to use Derek's acquired (mainly free stuff he got from friends who were moving/deploying) furniture as we slowly and frugally worked to acquire pieces of our own.

Thus far, we've been incredibly fortunate with some awesome Craigslists finds including a kitchen table, desk, and stereo cabinet, but the pieces I'm most eager to replace are our very oversized couch, loveseat, and chair which are not only too big for our space, but require annoying couch covers which slip, slide, and constantly look disheveled.

This past weekend, we started the hunt for a new couch and loveseat (we'll do a separate set of patterned chairs) and fell head-over-heels for the Chloe set from Macy's. As far as furniture costs go, it's pretty reasonable (will be about $1,200 with coupons and can be financed) but Derek and I aren't positive it's the right time to make the investment.
I've been on the hunt for a less expensive but similar alternative, but everything I see pales in comparison to this set. Do you have any tips on where to buy a stylish sofa? Seen anything like my Chole set out there? Please do let me know!
images from

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Marsala mushroom pizza

One of my favorite veggies out there are mushrooms - when cooked, mushrooms take on the flavor of whatever they are mixed with, making them delicious little morsels that can serve as a "meaty" substitute in a vegetarian meal.

So when I had some leftover Marsala wine from a chicken dinner, mushrooms were the clear ingredient to soak up some great Marsala taste. And thus this mushroom marsala pizza was born! Delicious, filling, and bursting with mushrooms, it was a great weeknight meal!

Mushroom Marsala Pizza


One, 12 inch thin pizza crust (I created this mine from this recipe using half whole-wheat flour)

20 ounces mixed mushrooms (I used cremini, baby portobello, and portobello)
1 cup Marsala wine
3 TB butter
3 TB heavy cream
Pinch of fresh herbs (I used sage but thyme or rosemary would also work well)
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese (you could use a variety of cheeses you have on hand: asiago, fontina, etc)


Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

1. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat than add in the mushrooms - this will look too many mushrooms at first but they cook down.

2. Continue to cook and stir the mushrooms as they release their moisture (it will look like water is filling the pan) and stir to thoroughly coat them in their own juice.

3. When most of the liquid has boiled away, add a pinch of salt, butter, and fresh herbs. Cook for about 3-4 minutes or until nicely sauteed and browned.

4. Add Marsala wine to the pan and increase the heat to high. Boil until most of the Marsala has evaporated.

5. In the last minute, add in the cream and stir well until coated.

6. On your rolled-out pizza crust, pour out the mushrooms and any remaining sauce and spread around until evenly coated. Top with the cheese.

7. Bake either on a pizza stone or baking sheet for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and brown. Bon appetit!

Monday, March 7, 2011


Ah weekend, I miss you so much already. Friday night Derek and I made a scandalous maneuver when after seeing an early (and disappointing) showing of The Adjustment Bureau, we decided to walk unabashedly into a showing of Rango that had just begun. It was a very daring and deceptive maneuver, but Rango was a much, much better movie and it gave us an excuse to eat more candy.

After such a sugar rush on Friday, Saturday morning we went for a bright and early hike, then got dressed and went down to Coronado Beach and the Silver Strand for a bike ride. We worked up such a sweat we decided we deserved some chips, salsa, and margaritas. I was particularly tickled pink when Derek's prickly pear margarita turned out to be the girliest looking beverage on the menu.

We finished our day off with a stroll along the beach, some shopping, and dinner at a wine bar. A perfect Saturday I must say!

Sunday was full of errands - particularly the hunt for a new place to live (we're out of this apartment at the end of May and are picking the perfect new neighborhood) and a sofa/loveseat living room set. If you have any ideas on where to get an affordable but stylish set please let me know! I think we've exhausted all our options.

Friday, March 4, 2011

10/30 So nice to see you, Friday!

Shirt: Old Navy, Jeans: Old Navy: Belt: thrifted: Shoes: thrifted, Necklace and bracelet: gifted

Ah Friday, it has been too long. Thanks by stopping by!

I hate to make my cold weather friends sad, but I must confess it is predicted to be in the 70s and very sunny all weekend, and Derek and I intent to spend every moment outside. The weather we've been having lately has left me with a serious Vitamin D deficiency and I plan to cure myself all weekend long.

For those of you lacking this sunny luxury, I feel for you. You have two options. 1) Come visit me ASAP or 2) Check out some of these springy images to get you through. Happy weekend!

Oh la la! Can I have my birthday dinner here?

You'll never feel down surrounded by sunny yellow! All these images are amazing but I'm particularly enamored with the stairs.

I love, love the application of wallpaper to this nightstand.

Please someone try to make this lamp!

Did I mention how much I love yellow?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

9/30 Who needs TV when you have customer service at Barnes & Noble?

Shirt: Elle for Kohls, Jeans: Old Navy: Shoes: Steve Madden: Scarf, Ralph Lauren, thrifted

Yesterday morning I awoke to a downed Internet and a repair guy who couldn't show up until "sometime between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and midnight, never," so I was forced to scramble over to the nearest Panera to mooch off their free wi-fi and gorge myself on pastries.

After several hours in my booth, I ran out of things to order, and the Panera staff ran out of patience with me stealing table space from their dining customers. So I picked up my computer, capitalized on free refills at the coffee carafe for the 20th time, and headed down the road to Barnes & Noble to see how long I could stay before the magazine section caught my wandering eye.

Turns out, I was not the only one turning the bookstore into my office, and the sole open seat I could find was a recliner set directly next to the customer service counter. And in this position, I discovered it wasn't the magazines that I had to worry about, the customers at the counter were a far better distraction.

Here's some highlights:

- Middle-aged man approaches counter looking for a book called Magnetics. Employee asks who it's by. Customer: "No one that I know of, I'm just hoping there is one."

- Man in construction gear looking for The Sourdough Cookbook. Looks like someone's aiming to please at the company bake sale.

- Mohawk man in search of The Ultimate Pregnancy Journal. What a sweetie, right? And please, oh please, give your baby a matching 'do. See here for why.

- Middle-aged woman looking for a book with a title I couldn't make out. Employee says they don't have it, but she can put it on order. Customer: "No thanks, my book group is meeting to discuss it at 6:00." Tsk tsk procrastinator.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Black cow cupcakes

Growing up, on special TV watching nights in our house, my mom, dad, sister and I would curl up in our pajamas on the couch, skip dinner, and instead have black cows (aka root beer floats) and popcorn. It was my very favorite thing - no vegetables, no table, and TV! How good does it get?!

So with the Oscars approaching last Sunday, I knew I wanted to serve up something special for a TV night-in, and to give my old favorite a little kick, I transformed black cows and popcorn into a cupcake! Complete with popcorn bucket!

They were delicious, fun, and the perfect mix of salty and sweet. Here's how I did it.

Black Cow Cupcakes
Adapted from Baked Perfection
Makes 24 cupcakes


2 cups root beer
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs

whipped cream or ice cream
popcorn (I used a sea salt variety)

1.Preheat the oven to 350F and line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners (this will prevent the moisture of the cake from leaking onto your "bucket")

2. In a small saucepan, heat the root beer, cocoa powder, and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.

3.In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together.

4. Whisk eggs into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined. Gently fold the flour mixture and cocoa mixture together. The batter will be slightly lumpy.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a fork inserted in the middle of a cake comes out clean.

6. Once the cupcakes are cool, wrap each in a popcorn "bucket."*

7. Add a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream to the top of each cake, inside the bucket.

8. Sprinkle popcorn on top so it looks like the whole bucket is full and enjoy!

* I created my buckets in inDesign, printed them, then used a scalloped edge scissor to cut them out. I then wrapped each cake in one and secured it at the back with tape so it could be easily unwrapped and eaten. Let me know if you would like this and I'll send you the PDF!