Saturday, December 31, 2011

for auld lang syne

{image source here}

Work is in crunch mode as we make preparations for our first ever New Year's Eve event. Despite the busyness, I'm so glad that BF and I were able to have a somewhat spontaneous dinner with some dear friends/mentors of ours tonight. They invited us over for a home cooked meal (that included a warm winter salad which I will definitely be making again!) which made the long day kind of melt away. Simply put, I love being with them. Their drive to always be learning, try something new and challenging (they just got back from doing a triathlon in Hawaii!), spark great conversation and ask poignant questions...and laugh and have fun all the while--goodness oozes.

As the end of 2011 approaches, we got to talking & reflecting about the past year, which I realized I haven't given myself much room to do these past few days. My mind got to spinning as conversation continued. And now, it's 1:14am and I'm up, tracking back moments (significant, memorable, happy or not) that I don't want to forget.

Anyways, I just wanted to write a quickie note. Reflection time is becoming delirious time. So I'll end by saying I'm grateful for this space and for all of you who stop by to pay a visit. Happy New Year to all!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas around the world

Merry Christmas to all!
This kind of reminded me of what we do on [most] Wednesdays.
What this season looks like around the world:





Check out the rest here!

{link via Cup of Jo}

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

{holiday eats}



Photobucket and cookies for good measure: Photobucket

Thursday, December 15, 2011

do good

I am always curious to hear people's stories...random, true, funny, or other. 100% of the time, there is something incredible, inspiring, or something that I would have just never imagined. Work has proven this very true--as I have discovered I work with people that have trained for the Olympics, published books, experienced some really awful and painful things, have been to interesting places, held crazy jobs...sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction friends.

Anyways, Rebecca is one such person. Her mind seems to continually spin out new ideas. She takes Polaroids of all her house guests and posts them on a wall, has a keen eye for the quirky & little things, has lived in Australia (and ended up working the 2000 Olympics), is on the board for Friends of El Faro, started LA Guerrilla Gardening, and in an old fashion kind of way, just works hard for what she wants. A lady of action and overall creative type in a few words or less. Oh and her brother is rock star. Literally. She recently got back from a 40 day tour with her brother's band, Foster the People, where she organized volunteer projects in every city they performed, via another one of her projects, the Do Good Bus (watch the video and believe).

I took advantage of the opportunity to pick her brain and ask her a few questions so you can get to know her as well. I don't think she tries, but she's pretty darn inspiring.

What is the Do Good Bus?

The Do Good Bus was an idea inspired by a party bus on my 30th birthday where groups of friends from various circles came together to celebrate. And by the end of the trip, whether they initially knew each other or not, had created a little community. My business partner, Stephen, and I met each other volunteering and over the years have continually been asked, "How do I get involved? How do you know where to volunteer? How do you do it?". So we took the idea of creating community among strangers and giving back in your own neighborhood -- and threw people on a bus to show them how to do both.

What inspired you to do this? What drives you in general?

For me personally, I wanted to "do good" and give back, but more importantly I wanted to create an experience for people; a way to meet like-minded people in a city that typically doesn't make that easy. I really felt like Los Angeles needed (and still needs) a sense of community. What drives me in general? Creative projects and overcoming challenges. I thrive on a little stress and an urgency to make something happen.

What are you most looking forward to?

In life? Falling in love. Professionally? I'm notorious for always looking for what's next. Even to a fault sometimes. So I think I'm most excited for whatever my new project will be. And what's most exciting about that statement is MY. It's been so amazing to have something that I can call mine and implement exactly the way I feel is best.

What is the craziest thing/or most memorable thing that has happened since you Do Good Bus fruition?

Being a part of the Foster The People tour and having the opportunity to travel with my brother has been pretty crazy. But in the best sense of the word. We came with an idea, we worked hard to make it happen and then it did. That's crazy to me when I really sit and think about it.

What's been the hardest?

Knowing when to take a break. There's so much work behind what we do and I'd like to be better about taking some time to just breathe.

Where do you tell visitors from out of town they must visit when they visit Santa Monica?or Must east restaurants in Santa Monica/LA?

My favorite thing to do in Santa Monica (well, it's not technically Santa Monica) is hike the Misha Mokwa trail. It's up by Neptune's Net, a great biker bar on the PCH. So you spend a half day climbing the highest peak in the SM Mountains and then end the day with peel-and-eat shrimp, corn on the cob and cold beer at Neptune's Net. Also, when people are in town I try to encourage them to just ride their bike around Santa Monica -- it really is gorgeous.

Learn more about the Do Good Bus and upcoming rides (12/17!) here. You can also follow Rebecca's adventures, funny stories, and epiphanies on her blog, Sunshine of the Day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011



{image source}

I remember a time when Christmas could not come sooner. I’d countdown with my crafty felt advent calendar and decorate the door handles with Carl’s Jr. Holiday Stars. I think for 2 years I tried to “trick” my family members that there really was a Santa by staying up late and stuffing the stockings with candy. In the morning, I’d act just as dumbfounded as the rest of my family…"wasn’t me!” *snicker to self*

These days, it’s a different story. Cliché, but I can’t believe we are less than 2 weeks away from Christmas. I’m way behind on all the to-dos’s, card writing, post office visits, etc. and am strangely feeling not too frazzled about it at all. I'm looking forward to holiday get-togethers, birthdays, dinners, etc. but I've made my laundry list of to do's much shorter this year: 1) cook good food for the people I love and 2) avoid the malls/Target as much as possible. As for any holiday shopping...I'm making one stop to

Here's what's been on my mind...and a few gift ideas if you need them.

Watching: Coming to America...Just let your sooooooul glooooooooow. I forgot how awesome this movie is. Remember Samuel L. Jackson's cameo? I laughed to tears when I saw it this time around.

Listening to Florence over and over...doesn't she look like she should be in an old Victorian painting?LinkLink

Eating: Trader Joe's Steelcut oatmeal with an over easy egg on top everyday for breakfast. Sounds weird, but it's so good. So good it's making me crave breakfast right now. Thank you Trader Joe's and Chris for bringing your Griddler to work.

Feeling: chapped lips no more. This works as an amazing lip balm, I kid you not. My sister who's happened to try pretty much every product out there, is also my personal face/skincare/make-up consultant. She let me in on this little secret. And she finally started her blog! Get the scoop here.

Smelling: 'Tis the season for peppermint and gingerbread and cinnamon everything. If you need a little holiday pick me up or indulgence, might I recommend this? Thank you Chick fil-a.

Friday, December 9, 2011

All Hail Kale Salad


I'm addicted to kale. Or I should say...I'm addicted to this salad.
I first had it at the Veggie's healthy, filling, and so beautiful don't you think?
I'm kind of in this phase where I'm eating this salad more than I'd like to admit, for no other reason than that it tastes so good. (the good for you part is just an added bonus, as is the pretty presentation--look at all those colors!). Anyways, I love the Veggie Grill, but daaayam, ordering salads a few times a week was getting expensive. So, I was happy and eager to try this recipe when I found it online.
My palms were sore from juicing so many limes, but the result was so worth it. I have dressing to last and have been able to eat my kale whenever I want.

Another reason to love this salad? Leftovers taste great. Kale is incredibly resilient and its leaves won't wilt on you day 2, 3 or 4 (so feel free to make a big batch to last you). In fact, letting it marinate in the dressing for a few hours before eating is recommended. I changed it slightly, but here's the recipe below!

Enjoy :)


Ingredients - 8 servings
6 bunches kale (Trader Joe's is great and has pre-washed, pre-cut Kale)
2 cups red cabbage
2 cups cooked quinoa
shredded carrot for garnish
2 cups corn salsa (see below)
Walnuts (optional) - The restaurant also glazes them in agave (here's a good recipe)
Ginger Papaya Vinaigrette (see below)

Corn Salsa
8 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup cilantro
1 cup roasted corn (canned also works)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 oz. lime juice (about 4 tbsp)

Ginger Papaya Vinaigrette
(I cut the sugar and oil in my dressing and really liked the way it came out; my proportions are in parentheses)1/3 cup fresh ginger root
1 cup lime juice
1 1/2 cups fresh papaya
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 T sea salt
1 1/4 cups Evaporated Cane Juice - which is just a 'healthier' alternative to sugar--looks just like sugar. (1/2 cup)
3 cups canola oil (1 1/2 cup)

Peel ginger root and papaya and chop into blender friendly squares.
Combine all ingredients (minus the oil) and blend until smooth. Slowly drizzle in oil and continue Linkto blend until dressing emulsifies.

Remove spines and stems from Kale and chop into 1" squares. Wash and dry.
Place kale, chopped cabbage, and cooked quinoa in a container tossed with the dressing. Let marinate and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Corn Salsa:
Chop ingredients and combine in a large bowl.

To assemble salad, toss marinated kale and corn salsa. Add 4 cups to a plate, walnuts, and an extra drizzle of dressing. Garnish with shredded carrot and cilantro.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

the dinosaur + the penguin {easy screen printing}

I learned a screen printing method a while back that I was able to teach at work ( of the random but fun things I got to do). The process is not quite your traditional screen printing method, but it's a relatively quick and easy one to do at home, with clean results. I have been going a little screen print happy on my side, so just thought I'd share the process so you can too. :)
Step 0: Pick a design/image/logo. My wondrous design was inspired by two in my small but mighty work family (all of whom I love so dearly). They've become like brothers to me over the past 3 1/2 years when we first started work together. They induce what they've dubbed "Anabel's rage face" on occasion, but mostly they are making me laugh, inciting interesting conversations, teaching me new things, and making work a better place. Anyway, their friendship has totally inspired me to add "write a children's book" onto the bucket list...and somehow these character representations totally make sense.


You'll need:
Embroidery Hoop (bigger than your image)
Organza (big enough to cover over your hoop)
Mod Podge (or other non-water soluble glue. You don't need the gallon bottle; 8 oz. will go a long way. Optional: drop a little food coloring in the Mod Podge and stir. This helps show where you've painted since Mod Podge and other glues generally dry clear)
Various Paintbrushes
Screen printing ink (I like Speedball--Eco-friendly and non-toxic)
Squeegee (a used gift card or hotel room key work great)
Piece of cardboard or magazine
Pencil + Scissor

Step 1: Layer from bottom to top:
The Inner hoop, organza, and the outer hoop. Tighten the hinge while pulling the edges of organza to create a very taut screen (as pictured)
Leaving a 1-2” perimeter, trim the excess organza around the hoop.
Step 2: Place your hoop, screen side down, on your image and trace all lines onto the organza with a pencil.
Next you’ll need to determine your negative & positive space. (Shout out to my 10th grade art teacher, Mr. Hamel) Your positive space being all the areas you want printed on your bag, and the negative space being just the opposite.
* You can place an ‘x’ or other indicator in the areas that are positive space or vice versa. –this will prove helpful in the next step.
Step 3: On your workspace, flip your hoop so it’s sitting screen side up. Use various brushes to paint Mod Podge on all the negative spaces of your hoop (meaning all the spaces you DO NOT want ink to go through).
Working in thin layers and allowing each layer to dry in between helps here. Also, the mod podge tends to puddle on the back. Turn it over on occasion and smooth out the ‘puddles.’ This will also help expedite the drying process. Do enough layers so there are no holes in the negative space (i.e.: purple areas in the image above)
Step 4: Once the Mod Podge is completely dry, place your hoop screen side down on the item you're printing on. Make sure to place a piece of cardboard or a magazine in between the two layers of fabric to prevent ink from seeping through during the screenprinting process). Scoop ink on one side of your hoop.
Step 5: Using gentle but firm pressure (note how bent the card is in picture 4), move your squeegee in sweeping motions to press ink through your design.
Step 6: Remove your hoop slowly with both hands to reveal your printed image. Use a paintbrush to fill in any holes if needed.
Set image with heat after ink has completely dried. Make sure to wash screen in between uses. Screen might need occasional tightening if you use it over and over.
Optional Step 7: Make your friends (design inspirations in my case) model your creations.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

{black + white}

(via Brandi [Wyoming] on vacation]





Friday, December 2, 2011

Pothole Art

People are so creative. Something beautiful out of something 'broken.' Pete Dungey's Pothole Art. Image via here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

baked pita chips


I'll never buy pre-made pita chips again!
I had a version of these at Les Amis restaurant in Fullerton and loved them. They were thinner, lighter and crispier than your normal pita chip...which made them taste all the better. Homemade pita chips are a revelation to me...they're so simple to make and healthier than the ones I'd buy at the store. Why didn't I think of this sooner?

Simply cut round pita bread in slices (like you would a pizza) and split open the two layers.
Brush each slice with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. (You can also flavor these with garlic powder or other herbs, or even cinnamon and sugar. MMM.)
Bake in a preheated oven at 4o0 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

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