Thursday, June 30, 2011

More Style Street!

If you haven't seen our new brand of apparel and accessories, Style Street, you must check it out! We just launched San Francisco (SF Streets) and have many more cities on the way. Our original LA and NY are available as well.

AroundTown:: Das Bootin'

Das Bootin
We recently celebrated our friend's birthday with Das Boots - 28 oz. of your fave brewed bevvy in a plastic novelty boot - at the Downey Brewing Co. For returning Das Booters, you can get a glass boot etched with your name on it so you can enjoy your personal Das Boot any time you come in. We'll definitely be back for more Bootin' this fall since the ceiling is covered in flat screens and perfect for football season.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Coconut Birthday Cake

Coconut Birthday Cake
As our resident family baker, my sister loves to make cakes for all of our birthdays. This year, she asked for a new challenge so I requested a coconut cake. Not only was it beautiful, it was delicious! She found the recipe online but the pretty presentation was all her own.

Here's how she did it:
Bake the cake in a large (9") and small (4") baking pans. Ice the larger cake all over and press the sides with coconut. Then place the smaller cake on top, cover in icing and press sides with coconut. Pipe icing around the bottom of each layer. Add a small, full circle of piped icing in the center of the top layer and sprinkle coconut in the middle. To finish, add large dot sprinkles around each layer.

This made a beautiful birthday cake and I think it would make a cute cake for a baby shower or even for Easter.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Project:: Spray Paint Transformations, Wastebasket

Waste Basket Makeover
Orig Waste Basket

A simple project with significant impact is spray painting small items. It's fast with little mess. This wastebasket would have ended up in the donations pile if it weren't for this easy upgrade. The green wasn't bad but changing it to white gave it a fresher look that will now fit in any room of our home. Plus, it could even be used as storage since it can now pass as a decorative basket and not a trash can.

Here's how we did it:
1. Cover the top of the basket inside and out with painter's tape making sure all the wicker is covered around the top edge underneath the metal frame. There were little pieces of wicker woven around the metal frame to hold it together that got painted but they blend right in with the paint now and you don't even notice it.
2. Place basket in a plastic grocery bag and tape top edge to the painter's tape around the top edge of the basket sealing off the bottom of the basket for when you paint. If you want, use a plastic bag on the inside as well, but the inside won't get sprayed much and if it does, it won't be noticeable.
3. We had a flat white left from building our platform bed, which worked great for this as well. I sprayed two coats to cover up the green. Let paint dry in between coats.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Music Monday:: Wynton Marsalis

Last week kicked off our official summer of concerts (we love summer concerts!!) with the opening night of Jazz at the Bowl. The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra performed with jazz legend Wynton Marsalis. Learn more about the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis

It was a special treat when they performed "I left my baby (standing in the back door crying)." It was a great performance with Chris Crenshaw singing with a solo from fellow trombonist Vincent Gardner. Unfortunately, we didn't record it and can't find anything on YouTube yet (I hope someone posts it) but this is the original song. It's a jazz relic that any jazz fan should know. Enjoy!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Launch:: Style Street

LA Streets shirtNY Streets shirtLA Streets shirt
LA Streets bagNY Streets shirtLA Streets hat

I love style! Simple, classic and iconic trends are my fave because they really never go "out" of style. As a creative artist I am always thinking of new things to make, design, create, craft (you get the idea, it's why I have this blog) so naturally my love for style and design have merged bringing you a creative new design that I'm really loving.

Today marks the launch of the new line of iconic street style clothes and accessories for our new brand Style Street. So far we are featuring the landmark cities of LA and NYC but there are many more major cities (from the US and abroad) to come, plus more creative designs are on their way. We'll keep you posted, but in the meantime...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Must Read:: From Three to Five

From Three to Five
While blogging is my daily "work" playground - it takes a lot of planning, strategy and creativity - my daily gig is actually as a freelance book editor and graphic design artist with my company Red Inke. (Shameless plug: check out my website and recommend my business to anyone you know who might be interested in my services. Thanks!)

Now onto the point of this post:  I recently had the opportunity to work with the author of the latest political fiction masterpiece, From Three to Five by Hank Adler. This was an exciting read and I learned sooo much about our country's constitution. For someone even slightly interested in politics, I must recommend this book. The first review on Amazon, which gives it *5 stars* says it best:

"From cover to cover this book draws you into the world of a presidential election complete with all the pomp circumstance and excitement to go with it. This book is a must read for anyone who has wondered what it takes to become president."

If you're looking for a great read this summer, please support this wonderful author and pick up a copy. And if you aren't interested in politics, everyone knows someone who is and this would make a perfect gift! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What's Stewing?:: Black Bean Pesto Orzo

Black Bean Pesto Orzo

The What's Stewing? adventure continues this week with a new recipe we've never tried before and really enjoyed. I've been attempting to expand the variety of foods we eat getting my husband to eat healthier veggies of course, but also straying away from traditional boring meals. A different twist on spaghetti night is a tomato-based orzo. While orzo isn't typically a stew or casserole this recently discovered recipe brings this easy-to-make pasta into the world of stew-like dishes by cooking it in a tomato sauce.

I adapted this recipe from the package, which suggested cooking the orzo in diced tomatoes and chicken broth (two items I always have on hand), by adding black beans for protein and topping it with a zesty pesto which really made the dish great!

1 box orzo
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chicken broth
1 small can tomato sauce
Diced mushrooms (optional)
1 can black beans
Pesto (see recipe below)

Here's how I made it:
Combine chicken broth, orzo and diced tomatoes (undrained) in soup pot. Cook for the same time the package says for cooking orzo in water. Bake your beans in beer for added flavor and add at end (see my recipe here) or cook them with the orzo if you prefer. That's it! Serve with a dollop of pesto.

1 cup Lemon basil*
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic

Here's how I make it:
Combine ingredients in food processor and grind until ingredients form a paste. I use a good tasting extra virgin olive oil otherwise you can taste it in your pesto more so than cooking with it over heat. *My local market often carries only lemon basil and it adds a little extra zesty flavor but regular basil is great too.
Note:: I make large amounts of this when I have leftover fresh basil from other recipes instead of letting it go to waste. I freeze it in small airtight containers for up to a month so I always have it on hand in a recipe-ready portion. When your stuck for a meal idea it's an easy solution to toss over pasta and even bake on fish. Yum!

More What's Stewing? to come so be sure to follow us and enjoy! Share your creations or twists on our recipes for a chance to be featured on our blog. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Music Monday:: Ra Ra Riot

Ra Ra Riot rocked the stage at this year's Make Music Pasadena. I love the cello player. Not only is her cello beautiful, it gives their sound a unique quality that's classic and full of energy. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

DIY Project:: Cement Planters

Stunning Buds
A friend and I recently tackled a fun (but slightly challenging) DIY Project together: making our own cement planters. There is definitely a learning curve to this project. We discovered two things:  1) mixing small amounts of the cement mixture at a time - not even enough to fill one container - was the best way to go and 2) paper containers were the easiest to remove once dry. 

It was fun saving different containers to create various fun planter shapes. This beautiful little vase was created using a Neutrogena Rainbath bottle. I love the unique curve it has. The small opening was perfect for a little succulent plant that doesn't need much water since we didn't drill a drain hole in the bottom of this one. If I do this project again, I would place something small like a soda bottle cap in the bottom so I wouldn't have to drill a hole later.

If you are crafty (and brave) enough to try this project, here are the instructions we followed at re-nest:  DIY Cement Planters. Share your own beautiful creations with us plus any tips you discover in the comments. Thanks!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Five of my Faves:: Sunscreen

I love summer! (And it's almost officially here.) Mostly because the summer starts with my birthday but also because more of our days are filled with things I love: sun, concerts, the beach, and fun times with good friends. But what I don't like about summer is ending up looking like a lobster. While I am fair skinned and my sun exposure shows much more quickly than others, the sun can still cause your skin to age faster and much worse when unprotected. I've learned the hard way to get in the routine of protecting my skin because I want to enjoy every one of my summers in a bikini without all the sun spots and wrinkles!

Here are my favorite sun protectors:

Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Spf 30 Sunblock Lotion
I don't like having to wear sunscreen when it's thick, streaky, hard to spread into your skin and stinks! Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch is so silky soft and goes on smooth like a lotion without sacrificing sun protective power while smelling great. It even gives your skin a little glow.

Bullfrog Ultimate Sheer Face Protection, 3-Ounce Tubes (Pack of 2)
So far I love every Bull Frog product I've tried. I have to highly recommend the Bullfrog Ultimate Sheer Face Protection. I have been on the hunt for a sunscreen that is good to my face for every day use and this one makes the cut. It's soft, doesn't streak and unlike what I've sadly found with some other face formulas, it doesn't burn your eyes.

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Glow Sheers Natural Radiant Look SPF 30, Light - 1 Ea
For everyday protection of your face with some tint, Neutrogena Healthy Skin Glow Sheers Natural Radiant Look has SPF 30 so you don't need your regular sunscreen on your face but you can still stay protected.

Ocean Potion Suncare Broad Spectrum, Sunblock Lotion, Anti-Aging, SPF 30 8 fl oz (237 ml)Ocean Potion Suncare Clear Zinc Oxide Face Potion, SPF 45 1 fl oz
Ocean Potion Broad Spectrum Sunblock Lotion and Ocean PotionSuncare Clear Zinc Oxide Face Potion have been the best at keeping me protected when I'm enjoying the pool, ocean or doing any heavy physical activity where other sunscreens sweat right off.

If you can find it, Neutrogena Color Boosting Sunblock has SPF 30 and gradually boosts the color of your skin to give you a healthy glow. I even use this on my face under my makeup to give me a nice glow all year round. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What's Stewing?:: Tuna Casserole

Tuna Casserole
Our What's Stewing? adventure started off with a tried but true fave of ours, Tuna Casserole. This is so easy because when I'm stuck on what to make for dinner this is one of those recipes where all the ingredients are things we already have on hand. And because it's made with a variety of cheese, whenever we have small blocks or bits of shredded piling up in the cheese drawer leftover from other meals, it's a good time for this easy dish. Feel free to make it any way you'd like.

1 bag of small pasta (try small shells or elbows)
2 tablespoons of butter (I always cook with unsalted)
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup of milk
3 cups of shredded cheese (my fave combo is cheddar, Monterey and pepper jack)
1-2 cans of chunk lite tuna in water

1 can of peas
hot sauce (optional)

Here's how I make it:
Step 1: Cook your pasta.
Step 2: Make a cheese sauce. Melt 2 tbs. butter in a saucepan. Stir in 2 tbs. of flour. This will make a thick, light brown paste. Stir in one cup of milk making sure ingredients are fully combined. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and stir in your cheese little by little until it is fully melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Step 3: Combine your cooked drained pasta, cheese sauce, drained tuna, and peas in your pasta pot and stir until cheese covers everything. 
Step 4: Grease a casserole dish with a thin layer of butter. Fill with the tuna casserole and cover with a shake of breadcrumbs covering the top. The more you add the crunchier it gets so add as much or as little as you like. A thin covering is good to me. Bake at 350 for half an hour. Serve with hot sauce if you like things spicy.

More What's Stewing? to come so be sure to follow us and enjoy! Share your creations or twists on our recipes for a chance to be featured on our blog. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What's Stewing?:: The Beginning

Casserole Cookbook
How many of you knew a casserole is technically a stew? Due to my husband's awesome thrifty find and addition to my cookbook collection: 365 Favorite Brand Name Casseroles and One-Dish Meals, I began doing some research on this staple dish of our home as I often make these easy yummy meals and am always looking for new ideas. I pleasantly discovered the definition of casserole is "a kind of stew that is cooked slowly in the oven" and that my dictionary has a table of over 50 stews and casseroles from all over the world. Dishes from Italy, India, and Ireland, French, Caribbean, and Southern flavors, and Hungarian, Chinese, and Jewish origins. You can travel the world through the many delicious styles of stews and casseroles. 

Casseroles and Stews are such an easy, tasty affordable way to feed a family, even our little family of two. And they are a great way to make ingredients stretch and stay green by saving waste! Plus my hubby loves anything in a sauce, cream, baked cheese, gravy, get the point. I can even get him to eat his most dreaded food enemy (mushrooms) if I dice them up in something, he doesn't even taste them.

Researching the vast array that is the world of stews left me hungry and excited to try them all. That would be such a feat! But it would make a really great blog series...and since some of the dishes are already in my current cooking arsenal (some of our faves: tuna casserole, spicy turkey chili, and my mother's baked mac & cheese) I thought why not? I've already got a start on the list. 

So, stay tuned foodies as we eat our way from adobo to waterzooi, and enlighten you on our favorites as we explore What's Stewing? 

Check out our adventures in What's Stewing? to find delicious stew and casserole recipes.

Here's a taste of what's to come and links to what we've tried so far::

baked ziti
beef bourguignon
beef stew
beef stroganoff
blanquette de veau
Brunswick stew
carne guisada
chicken and dumplings
chicken cacciatore
chicken Marengo
chicken paprika
chop suey
choucroute garni
eggplant parmigiana
ful medames
groundnut stew
hunter’s stew
Irish stew
lobster Newberg
macaroni & cheese
Mongolian hot pot
olla podrida
pepper pot
Swedish meatballs

Monday, June 13, 2011

Music Monday:: Friendly Fires

Love this song by Friendly Fires I heard on a recent airing of Download 15. You can find the latest Download 15 artists at The Color Awesome

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Going Green:: Prepping to Scoot

Prepping to Scoot
In an effort to be more green and economically efficient, we are selling our oldest car and investing in a Scooter. My husband has a very short commute and I mostly work from home so why have two cars? We went to look at a few yesterday and tried on helmets and checked out the accessories we would need to travel short distances around town. We'll be able to get 100 mpg, pay much less in gas, maintenance and insurance. I can't wait to hop on our new Scooter for a day at the beach or to head to our next concert. Stay tuned for fun Around Town travels on our new Scoot!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Project Update:: Antique Window

Antique Window
So I know it's been a few days...but I have a great excuse. My mom was in town and I was busy learning fun crafty things and shopping! Fun posts to come.

This project adventure actually started a long time ago and scraping the paint from this window led me to only want to scrape the paint from one...maybe. Unless I can find a more effective way for the second. It was completely worth it though because the stain looks great. I'm excited to add legs and a clear coat soon and find a glass place and put new panes put in. I've got a few weeks left before summer to turn this winter project feat into a summer backyard treat.

View the original project post here and stay tuned for the final product and how to DIY instructions.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Style:: Sailor Knots

Sailor Knots Outfit
I love scarfs and this navy sailor knot is borrowed from a great little matching dress. (I *love* shopping in my own closet for new looks.) It makes the perfect belt to turn this grey sheath dress into a casual chic outfit with navy leggings. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Music Monday:: Sebastian

Sebasitan's new album Total released on May 29, and his featured single Embody is a great song to start off the summer. It'll get inside your head and make you want to dance. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Project:: Three Step Photo Collage Wall

Memory Lane
After several experiments we finally have our living room furniture arranged the way we want it so that means I could hang photos and decorate. I love putting photos of personal memories in my home so we can share out lives with friends and family and be inspired and reminded of life's beautiful little moments together every day. 

Here's how I did it::

1. Use string and tacks to mark a straight line on the wall at eye level. This will serve as your symmetrical line to give your photo collage balance while grouping them in an interesting way.
2. Lay your framed photos out on the ground to consider how they look together and decide on the spacing before you hang. I used 8 photos with various size and style black frames, some vertical and some horizontal. I chose my largest vertical frame for the center of the top row and arranged my photos with horizontal frames anchoring the top right and bottom left corners. 
3. Line up and hang the center photo of the top row first, then you can line up your surrounding photos from here. Line up the bottom edge of each frame on the top row a few inches above your line. Then line up the tops of your frames in the bottom row a few inches below the line. 
TIP:: I chose a center photo that most people's eye would naturally be drawn to first. I think this helps give the grouping more balance as well by pulling your eye to the center.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Treasure Hunt:: Fabric and Thrift Stores

There are few things more exciting to me than the thrill of the hunt. The known and unknown, the happened upon, the out-of-the-corner-of-my-eye spotted, the just the right price, the looks just perfect with my new shoes or the it matches our sofa so perfectly... You know...the little things in our homes and wardrobes that pull it all together. The items we love so much because of the stories behind them. Whether it's how you found it, the amazing price you paid, or the far away land you or a loved one traveled to, finding treasures is so much fun and often very rewarding! 

Treasure Hunt is my new corner for sharing my wonderful little finds with you. Here are my latest trophies::
Beautiful Blue Floral Fabric    Geo Turquoise Fabric
Two gorgeous fabrics I scored for only $6/yard. The floral I'll be using on our patio to compliment our beautiful blue morning glories. The second, I'm making a beautiful gift for a friend. She loves turquoise and has a wonderful new home she is decorating. I promise I'll share my project after I pass it on.
Today's Thrift Store Loves    Faconnable Merino Wool Sweater
Several cute skirts, tops and a string of pearls that I'll be turning into a new necklace - my favorite item being the Fa├žonnable red sweater. It's so soft and comfy!
Silky Scarf Love
And my most exciting finds...a few silky scarves. When I was a little girl I played dress up with my grandmother's scarf collection so I've been on the hunt to make my own little collection. Im super excited about the thin polka dot neck scarf. I've been adding this dainty detail into my wardrobe lately. I think they make a beautiful feminine addition to a chic, clean outfit. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Good Eats:: Beer Soaked Kidney Beans

Beer Soaked Kidney Beans
Beans are often on many an Eww Gross list due to their thick skins that provide an unsatisfying texture and the even worse unappetizing digestive effect. But there is a solution. Beer!
We enjoy a good beer and I enjoy cooking with any kind of beer. For beans, the cheep kind works well because the light flavor adds a subtle crisp taste to most recipes that include my beer soaked beans, especially my chili…recipe to be included in an upcoming blog series I'm starting on tasty economical meals that make great leftovers.
I cover my beans in beer and bake for half an hour at 350 degrees. The skins should be slightly split when they are done and the insides will be tender but not mushy. The beer breaks down the skins so they are no longer chewy or the cause of an embarrassing consequence for enjoying a delicious dish. Now that’s a beautiful thing!