Dec 30, 2011

New Years Eve, what to wear...

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The black lacy dress that says I can party if I want, but I am also sophisticated. I would wear this to a fancy low-lit New Years party. I would wear it to look nice and classy, yet comfortable since I will be up moderately late and probably eating a lot of good food.

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VavaVoom New Years! I feel like you can get away with wearing any kind of dress on New Years, but it is always fun to have an excuse to wear red. This dress says I'm here to party with a glass of spiked eggnog in my hand. I would wear this dress to any New Years party or dinner.

The sparkle affect. I am not a huge fan of shine and sparkles, but I do feel the need to wear them on New Years. They may be in the form of earrings, a purse, or in this case a whole dress! I love this sparkling dress, it has a bit of sexy and a lot of fun to it. I would wear this dress to a party where I can cheers my champagne at midnight, and then to a bar afterwords where I plan on dancing till dawn.

Dec 29, 2011

Old Photo Thursday

These lovely people are Andy's Grandparents. They were in their 20s when they got married and it is obvious because they look young. They are also dressed so simply because they were (are) Mennonites. In fact, if you look close I think she is wearing a bonnet or head covering on the back of her head. I bet her mother, or some family relative made this dress for her. I should really get these details straightened out before I post these pictures. I do love having these old family photos though. They really get me thinking. I wonder all sorts of things like what the wedding was like, and how they felt, how was the rest of the family involved, how much did it cost...etc. Those times were so different from now, it is just hard to imagine.

Dec 28, 2011

What's cooking?

I have always been scared of pie crust. I was into using store bought crusts, until one day I was randomly disgusted by them. My mom taught be how to cook, so I should put that to use! Over the last year I have been on a search for a perfect pie crust recipe that I could file away for future use. Now that I have found it I'd like to share it. :)

I found this recipe at Simply Recipes and I have adapted the techniques used from a variety of different places.

Perfect Crust for Sweet and Savory Pies
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 to 8 Tbsp ice water
1.) Combine flour, salt & sugar on a flat surface. 2.) Add cubes of butter. Use a pastry scraper or other flat device to cut the butter into the four mixture.

3.) Continue cutting butter into flour with pastry scraper. Slowly add water 1 Teaspoon at a time to help the dough clump together. 4.) Once dough is mostly clumped together form into a round disk.

5.) Begin to roll the clumpy dough adding flour to keep it from sticking. 6.) Fold the dough over a few times and continue to roll.

7.) Roll the dough very flat, using flour to keep it from sticking. 8.) Fold the dough up into a square.

9.) Wrap dough in plastic and place in refrigerator for 1 hour. Dough can be used after 1 hour or frozen for future use. (I love to freeze a couple of these for when the spontaneous need to bake arises.) When you want to use the dough, simply take it out, let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes and then roll it out to the size needed.

10.) Pie (or pi) is complete with flaky crunchy crust. It's perfect, I told you!

Dec 27, 2011

Sugru

"sugru is the exciting new air-curing rubber that can be formed by hand. It bonds to most materials and turns into a strong, flexible silicone rubber overnight."

This incredible silly-putty type of hardening rubber can be used for anything. People are using it to fix things, adjust things, make things stronger. Some people are putting it on their shoes, on their cameras for better hand holds, on their tools for better grip...etc. It is like the cure-all flubber. I love to find new things like this that we are able to create with science and technology!


Dec 26, 2011

Egor Shapovalov

Well Christmas is over, but there is still plenty to look forward to! Like New Years, pretty dresses, sunrises, and of course a world full of art and new artists!
Egor Shapovalov is a new artist to me. He is only 23 years old and comes from Russia. I love the lonely yet calm feelings he evokes from his photographs. I also enjoy the color and depth, and how each one is very different, yet alike. Enjoy!





Dec 23, 2011

What's cooking?...Christmas Cookies

Making roll-out Christmas cookies is an all time favorite activity of mine. I have been a huge fan of making them since I was a little girl. There is something about all the flour, the sprinkles, the finger-licking good icing, and the whole artistic aspect of it. Then at the end of the day you get to eat them, what could be better!

I found this recipe on the Peppermint Plum blog. She calls them 'thick soft sugar cookies', and that is exactly what they are.


Perfect Christmas Cookies
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
5 1/2 cups flour

In mixer (or bowl), cream butter and sugar, and then add eggs and vanilla. Add sour cream. Combine salt, soda, and flour, and add to mixture.
Roll out on floured surface to about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick.
Use a spatula to carefully slide under each cookie and place onto greased cookie sheets.
Bake at 375 for 7-8 minutes.
THEY WILL NOT LOOK DONE, but take them out anyway.


Buttercream frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4-1/3 cup milk
In a mixing bowl, cream butter. Beat in sugar and vanilla until crumbly. Gradually add milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add desired food coloring.


ENJOY!


Dec 22, 2011

Old Photo Thursday

I took this picture from Andy's Grandma's photo album. (A picture of a picture) This is Andy's Grandma and Grandpa driving on their wedding day. It looks like Grandma is driving, so I don't know if she was just practicing in this picture, or if she was driving to or from the ceremony. I should have asked her because I'm sure she would have a great story to tell. Next time I see her I will be sure to ask. I love these family pictures, it makes 'Old Photo Thursday' so much more personal. I will have to go digging for some more. Stay tuned for their wedding picture next week...

Dec 21, 2011

Healthy Stocking Stuffers

Andy and I are pretty healthy people. Yeah we like occasional junk food, but like I said it is very occasional. We eat fast-food maybe once or twice a year. I loove to bake, so that is usually where we eat our sweets and unhealthy foods.

So that said, Andy and I enjoy filling each others Christmas stocking's with healthy fun snacks. I have so much fun going to Yes Organic Market or Whole Foods and perusing the isles for fun munchies. We're also not huge on stuff and junk, so by doing snacky stocking stuffers, we don't clutter up our house. Rather, the stocking-stuffers are eaten in the follow weeks after Christmas.

Here are a few of the things that will go into Andy's stocking this Christmas:

Mango-Jalapeno dip, I also got him some flax chips to go along with this.


Sea-salt dark chocolate. This stuff is amazing!


Superfood Bar. He can keep this in his truck for last minute meals.


Soy Ginger Ramen. He can keep this in his desk at work for a snack.

Wrapping Paper


Wrapping paper is just a part of the Holidays. It is never something I give much thought to, and is usually just newspaper. I love the look of gifts wrapped in black and white newspaper with a colorful bow on it! Unfortunately, we have just moved so we don't happen to have any newspaper laying around...and if we did, we tossed it on a trash spree while unpacking. So I went to Target in search of wrapping paper. Let me tell you, I was overwhelmed!! There where three whole isles just for wrapping paper! Finally after looking at ALL of it...and almost buying some $10 stuff that was silver with a beautiful design on it, I decided since it gets thrown away at the end of the day I'd opt for the cheap stuff...$2. I like it enough, it is colorful with peace signs on it. When I went to start wrapping though, I noticed two things right away, 1. LINES, and 2. it is recycled paper. How cool! I am so satisfied with my wrapping paper purchase. I don't know if I'll ever use newspaper again if I can buy paper with cutting lines on it.

Dec 20, 2011

Special Utensils

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I am a huge fan of kitchen gadgets! While this utensil set isn't really a gadget, it does have something cool about it. The handles are weighted so the ends don't flop down onto the counter top. How wonderfully awesome! I have such a hard time with my utensils making a mess on my counter when I cook. I have one of those utensil holders, but it only holds one at a time. So I end up putting too many in it, which causes everything to fall over and make an even larger mess. Ohh goodness! These would be perfect for me. The only downside to them is that I think they are plastic. I am not a fan of plastic kitchen things, but I may be willing to put that aside for these weighted beauties.

Dec 19, 2011

Proteigon

PROTEIGON from BURAYAN on Vimeo.

This short stop-motion film is great. Steven Briand created this stop motion video with paper animation. I love the things that you can do with film and stop-motion. He has created a whole fantasy world based around paper and shapes.

Modern Gifts

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Architect Sigurd Larsen created this record player of sorts called, "The Shrine". It is a labyrinth of drawers for everything record relating. Records, earphones, knickknacks, and even a compartment for booze. This would be a the perfect modern gift for that pal or relative who is into vinyl, but still appreciates the modern world.

I think this is so cool. I want one for myself! This is a Clap USB Mini Camera available from Paul Smith for $55. I think that is a decent price for a little spy camera that can be quickly plugged in and uploaded. It runs on a little lithium ion rechargeable battery and can shoot 1280x1024 resolution images. Not too shabby, and the perfect gift/stocking stuffer for almost anyone.

Dec 16, 2011

What's cooking?


Andy and I have been in huge vegetable moods these days! I would say we are about 90% vegetarian. Not that we try to be, it just happens that way. So this weekend we were driving around Maryland and we came across a Korean market. We've been to a few before and they have awesome produce for great prices. So we bought a shopping cart FULL of vegetables! Yes, we're just a little out of our minds. So I am pretty excited now to cook up some simple yet tasty veggie dishes.

This is a favorite that I like to whip up because it is so simple. We can actually make this a meal, and no we are not birds, we like to pile it high on our plates with maybe a piece of whole grain toast. Mmmm!

Stir-fried Zucchini & Mushrooms
-2 large zucchini
-1 package mushrooms
-3 tablespoons olive oil
-salt & pepper to taste
-about 1 teaspoon dill
-about 1 teaspoon dried basil

Slice everything and place it in a wok with the olive oil. Once things get to simmering add the salt, pepper, dill and basil. Cook until everything is tender. And of course the seasonings can be adjusted to taste. Enjoy!

Dec 15, 2011

Old Photo Thursday

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What fun!! This is Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck on a Vespa in the movie - "Roman Holiday". I'm sure they had just as much fun filming this scene as they did in real life. The picture says it all. He is happy to be with her, but very unsure about their little ride. She on the other hand, is thrilled and terrified at the same time...all the while thinking, this guy is in for the ride of his life! Check out the movie clip below.



Dec 14, 2011

The ORB

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This is the future folks. Check out this thing called O.R.B. It is a wireless mobile communication device. Pretty much a cell phone that is an ear piece, but can turn into a ring. Get this, it provides bone conduction audio, so that you can hear it without putting it in your ear. It also has military grade seals and gaskets so that it is waterproof and can be worn anywhere!

How does it work you say?
The website says this:
"The ring vibrates, alerting the user to an incoming call, text message, or event reminder. The user can glance down at the finger and see a horizontal streaming message of caller I.D. or meeting schedules. If accepting an incoming call, the user twists open the O.R.B., slips over the ear, and begins the conversation. If declining incoming calls or texts, or dismissing event reminders, the user can simply push the cancel button with the O.R.B. still idle on their finger. When not in use the ring serves as a time device/alarm clock. If the user would like to silence a call he/she can simply touch a button on the band."

Pretty crazy! I'm sure we'll all be using these things in 5 years. We all knew it was coming...

Dec 13, 2011

My Projects: Mosaic Plant Table

Mosaic Plant Table

Andy and I had quite the busy summer. We have an active alley behind our row-house with all sorts of trash. We love it! It's like they say, 'One man's trash is another man's treasure.' You won't believe all the valuable furniture people throw away. At one point our back porch was overloaded with bits and pieces of furniture that we had hopes and project plans for. Alas, we only had so much time, so unfortunately a lot of that was sent back into the alley by the end of the summer. This is one particular project that made it though. I call it my plant table.

The main part of this table was a counter-top that had been tossed in the alley. Andy sawed it in half for me with some curves...at my request. Then we nailed Home Depot legs on it and put up some barriers around the edges so that I could have a well inside to pour concrete. Then I mixed the concrete (with my hands, I will NEVER do that again!) poured it inside and laid out my mosaic work. The concrete was pretty fast drying, especially in the heat of the summer, so laying the mosaic tiles happened quickly. I wasn't able to be as much of a perfectionist about it because of that, but it still looks ok.

Costs:
-old countertop: Free
-wooden legs: $2 each, $4 total
-wooden edges: $4
-cement: $8
-tile, old plates found in thrift stores: $4
Total: $22

Dec 12, 2011

Dec 9, 2011

What's cooking?


Parmesan Roasted Acorn Squash
I found this on the Modcloth blog, but they got the recipe from Real Simple

This recipe was so enticing that I had to try it for myself. It was easy too! It makes the perfect snack, or side dish for a meal. Since today was rainy I thought this would be the perfect thing to make. Unfortunately I used my husband's (Andy) acorn squash that apparently he was saving...for what?! He was upset to find out that I was using it, but once he tried the finished product he wouldn't stop raving about it.

Try it and love it!

1 2-pound acorn squash — halved, seeded, and sliced 3/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 sprigs fresh thyme
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1. Heat oven to 400°F.
2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash with the olive oil, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle with the Parmesan.
3. Roast the squash until golden brown and tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

Dec 8, 2011

Old Photo Thursday

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This is actress Ginger Rogers (1911-1995), with dancer Fred Astaire (1897-1987), in Mark Sandrich’s film, “Top Hat,” 1935. I love this photo sequence! It always looks like they had so much fun in the 30s and 40s. I have often said that if I could go live in any decade it would be around then. I enjoy the fashion, the lifestyle, the glitz and glam.

Dec 7, 2011

Mustache Gear!

Bah humbug! It is another dreary, rainy, no good, very bad, day here in DC! Sometimes I like the rain. Like when it has been sunny for a few weeks straight. Then it is a cozy welcome thing. But when it rains every other day for months on end I become grumpy. I need one of those UV lights that are supposed to help brighten your mood in the winter. I'm sure DC is hardly the place to need one of those, but I may just ask for one for Christmas. Then if we end up moving to Canada or Alaska I'll already have it!

So to brighten this ugly DC day I have picked mustache gear! I can't believe how much mustache stuff is out there. I know that hipsters are all about rocking the 'stache, but now it is everywhere! I'm glad my husband can't grow one because I think they are butt ugly. I do enjoy the fake mustache gear though, what fun!!

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Mustache Cookie Cutter

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Mustache Mug...so you can try them all out


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Mustache Bandaid

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Mustache Gift Wrap


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Large Mustache Magnet...nice!

Dec 6, 2011

Holiday sparkle!


On a happier note from the last post, here is a fun sparkling frock! I have a few Christmas parties to attend in the next few weeks and this is just what I am looking for. With all the lights that the holidays have to offer...tree lights, house lights, candles etc... I feel that a sparkling number would be perfect. It will reflect the lights making the holiday cheer all that much brighter. Aren't I getting into the season!

Most Powerful Images of 2011

Two lights from the former site of the World Trade Centers shine for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
(Reuters / GARY HERSHORN)

A University of California Davis police officer pepper-sprays students during their sit-in at an "Occupy UCD" demonstration in Davis, California. (Jasna Hodzic)

An aerial shot of the damage immediately following the Japanese tsunami.
(Reuters / KYODO)

Chile's Puyehue volcano erupts, causing air traffic cancellations across South America, New Zealand, Australia and forcing over 3,000 people to evacuate. (Reuters)

A distressed bride attempts suicide in China after her fiance abruptly called off their marriage. Still in her wedding gown, she tried to kill herself by jumping out of a window of a seventh floor building. Right as she jumped, a man managed to catch and save her.
(Reuters / CHINA DAILY)
(See all 45 most powerful images of 2011 here)

Wow, I found these images on the link to the sight above and was left speechless. I picked a few that stood out to me, but there are so many more images worth looking at. It was a big year, and a sad year. I feel as though our years are becoming more tragic. Or maybe that is just the media showing us every little bad thing that happens out there. In all 45 of the pictures on that website, not one of them was joyful. An image doesn't have to be tragic to be powerful. I hate that about media these days. Here is to making the best of 2011 and looking back on the positive and uplifting events and moments in our lives.
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