Sick-Day-Saturday

summer1 (image taken from HERE )

Greetings from my bed. Unfortunately, today is a sick day for me. It’s painful losing a weekend day to being sick but it’s given me a chance to catch-up on home stuff, do a little bedside crafting and lets face it.. sick days are made for netflix documentaries.  One of my favorite blogs, Design Love Fest, posted two netflix recommendation posts HERE and HERE. My favorite documentary is by far Bill Cunningham New York. Hope everyone is out celebrating it being one of the last Saturdays of summer.

The Secret

TheSecretLogo

I saw The Secret on Netflix recently, and I can’t get it out of my head.It’s about the power of positive thinking and asking the universe for what you want. The film tries to make it feel magical/mystical but at a basic level it’s about taking time to figure out what you want so you can work toward it. It’s got me thinking about my 5 year plan, my 10 year plan and even what I want to be doing at 60. This all comes right around my birthday (9 days from now) and I always think about my future around my birthday.

When I was a kid I couldn’t wait to be an adult, watching shows like Dawson’s Creek and 90210 made me want to grow up fast. At 30 I figured I’d be married with kids and a self-made millionaire…. or at the very least I would own a house. I have 3 years until I’m 30 and I’ve decided to get my life on a track to something new. This is all leading into me spending a Saturday afternoon making vision board. Call it silly, but I think making a board of goals can only lead to a positive outcome. Positive thinking.

Happy Weekend!

Visiting Home 1: Getting There + Father’s Day

CTtrip1

After my last day at work, I hopped on a Burbank 9:45p Jetblue flight to JFK airport. It was a busy day, but thankfully it made me exhausted, so I slept nearly the entire flight.

CTtrip2

Once I arrived in NYC, I took the bus shuttle to Grand Central ($16? one way, no reservations required). It would have been cheaper taking the subway, but it involved transfers and would have taken extra time. Also, it was 6am and I was pooped.

CTtrip3

From Grand Central I took metro north to New Haven. Once on the train I closed my eyes, rested up and awoke to this view. How beautiful is that? It’s an excellent train ride along the coast.

CTtrip4

CTtrip5

After a day of napping, seeing family and catching up with the three hour time change, it was Sunday! Father’s Day! We decided to spend midday visiting Grandma for lunch at her new facilities. Isn’t Grandma Trudie a cutie?

CTtrip6

They gave flowers out to all the dads on their special day. This dad was no exception.

CTtrip7

The next day I got to see my cousin Elena and meet her new baby Everett. He’s such a sweetie.

CTtrip8

I’m holding a baby!!

BabyEverett

Don’t these pictures just make you melt?

CTtrip10

I made it home before the clouds rolled in. About 5 minutes after I took this photo it started downpouring. It was such a treat for this LA girl. And such dramatic clouds!

CTtrip11

Rain, Rain, RAIN! We decided to use this indoor time tackling our object filled basement. This has been my parents project for a long time, so it was nice to come home and help them clear out a lot of my old belongings.

CTtrip12

Warning: Cleaning out the basement takes an emotional toll. Going through childhood treasures and having to decide what has value and what doesn’t, man it’s rough. There were certain boxes that were an automatic keep. My dad put these Mickey ears on my head and I was pretending this doll was my child. My lazy-eyed child. Sigh, what has it come to.

CTtrip13

In going through my old RISD boxes I found this homemade card from dear Ms. Sally Funn To (best middle name ever). This was in the “keep” pile of course 🙂

The Oxnard Strawberry Festival

This is several weeks late, but my friends and I went on an Oxnard adventure one weekend to check out the Strawberry Festival. It was fun to get out of LA for the day and visit a fair filled with locals. Our original plan was to park at the train station in Oxnard and take a shuttle bus in (so it’s free parking), but the school bus we were on wouldn’t start and time was ticking. We decided to just drive ourselves and pay the $10 to park right by the fair. It wasn’t the easiest to get to (signs were misleading) but once were parked the day started going right.

Strawberry1

You can see there were plenty of local craft booths. One problem I had with the festival was the lack of strawberry jam! Not a single strawberry jam booth (from what we could find).

Strawberry2

Thankfully there were booths with puppets. Phew.

Strawberry3

Wendy herself was out and about serving up free goodies.

Strawberry4

The first strawberry themed booth we found was (white) chocolate covered strawberries, which of course I ate before I could take a snapshot. It was amazing. We then decided to share a bag of strawberry popcorn. Why go to a strawberry themed festival unless you’re open to eating crazy themed foods. Note the Bungee Jumper flying around.

Strawberry5

Yumm.. we got a fresh batch!

Strawberry6

Eventually we made our way to the food court area. We had to hit-up the make your own strawberry shortcake. Note the signs behind are advertising “Strawberry Nachos”, Strawberry burritos, and other odd strawberry themed meals.

Strawberry7

Strawberry pizza!

Strawberry8

After having our fill of strawberry margaritas, strawberry popcorn, and other strawberry themed treats, we took strawberry photos and went on our way.

Leisurely Sunday Brunch

Happy Sunday everyone! There’s nothing like a relaxing free Sunday to enjoy a leisurely girls brunch to help rewind the life batteries. If you haven’t visited LaMILL in Silver Lake, you are missing out. It’s pricy, but it’s definitely worth the cost as they are coffee experts. It’s also a hipster-actor-celebrity hotspot. I love coming here to people watch and today we saw (in addition to lots of hipsters in wild print adult onesies) Fitz (from Fits and the Tantrums) and an adorable actor from The League.

After a super fun brunch and successful fabric shopping trip downtown (near the fashion deal mecca Santee Alley), I am home baking up a quiche (see the recipe here) while breathing in the scent of apple spice to get me in the fall state-of-mind. Happy Sunday everyone! May your week ahead be mellow and positive!

DIY: Repainting a Side Table

Once again, I’m working to revamp my blank canvas. Another item my roommate graciously left behind is this fun little side table.

The shape of the table is clean and minimalist, which I like. But the scratched up top and orangey colored wood, I don’t like. Why live with something you don’t like? How about an easy fix?

Note: If your table has a finish on it, I recommend sanding it a little so the paint will stick.

I love the revamp of the side table. The black and gold make it feel very glam-Hollywood. And all it took was a touch of gold spray paint. Since this table is mostly for looks and not one that gets a lot of use, I’m not going to put on a top clear coat to protect it. If your side-table does get a lot of use I suggest doing a clear top coat to help protect it from the elements.

If you liked this post, you might also like these!
DIY: Decorative Plants
DIY: Renovate An Old Centerpiece
DIY: Backing a Bookcase

DYI: Frosted Windows

I live in Los Angeles, which means when I look out my window.. I look directly into a neighbors window (about 10′ away). As you can imagine, this means there’s not a lot of room for sunlight and privacy. My shades are always down, and for someone like me who loves sunlight (vitamin d!), it’s hard to handle. I’ve been at my place for several years now and I’m about to embark on another year there, so it’s about time I solved this issue… the cheapest way possible. Here’s the BEFORE:

This was taken at 4pm in the evening (unedited). Notice the IT Crowd on my tv- awesome right? Anywho, there’s zero light, as my shades have to stay closed. I made an exploratory trip to Home Depot and realized the “real-life” frosted solutions were too permanent for my rental property (I need to have it eventually come off clean) and also too far above my budget. I realized that all I needed was a large sheet of vellum (you can get at any proper art store) or even as a temporary solution, trace paper, which I already own. This DYI project requires trace paper, double stick tape, and scissors  (or an exacto blade).

I just put the smallest amounts of tape in the corners of the windows, and then stretched a large piece of trace across it. Leave extras along the edges that you can trim away later. Fill the window and then use the exacto to clean the edges. I had to piece some trace paper together so I have a few small seems, but if you spent some money and bought a large sheet of vellum, it would be seemless.

Below is the AFTER shot taken at 6pm that same day. Isn’t the difference astounding! I went from needing my lights on any time past noon, to not needing to use electricity until 7pm! It’s such a difference. That’ll help my wallet, and my sanity!

Risotto

So last night I decided to try something new and actually make a recipe from the magazine Real Simple. I subscribe to this magazine, which means every month I read about a lot of recipes I never have time to try making. I also love to read the blog Smitten Kitchen, which posts new recipes and amazing photos of the cooking process. Yesterday I had time to buy ingredients and actually cook, so NO EXCUSES! I woke up early to get all my ingredients from Trader Joes, and started making my Baked Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash around 5pm that night while listening to Christmas music and indulging in a chocolate stout (also from TJ’s).

The one thing this article leaves out is the time it takes to peel, cut, and dice all the different veggies. I jazzed up the recipe by adding in mushrooms, which also took a lot of time to cut up. But I do believe they added in a nice flavor.

Other than the mushrooms I followed the recipe to a T. It all came out delicious and while the recipe said it makes 4 servings, I willbe set for lunches and dinners for the week. No human being should eat 1/4 of that giant casserole dish full of risotto in one sitting. My final shot isn’t as pretty as the magazine photos, but it’s pretty tasty!

Find the recipe in this month’s Real Simple (I suggest buying it also for the holiday gift ideas) or online HERE.

Miceli’s

On Friday night, my sister invited me to Miceli’s to use one of her Groupons. The deal was a 3 course meal for $15 (1 appetizer, 1 salad, and 1 pizza). If this deal comes up again, get it!

We made reservations for 8pm at their Universal location. Parking was a little tricky as it was Friday night along Ventura Blvd, but they offered valet (for a cost) or you could search for a spot along the narrow winding side streets leading up into the hills (like I did, because Im a proud cheapskate). I was running a little behind because of an accident on the 101 (per usual), so when I finally found a parking spot and walked half a mile down to the restaurant I was about 11 minutes late. As I walked up to the door of Miceli’s, a family was exiting the restaurant with the mother saying “Im glad we got here when we did, because if you get here after 7p, forget’aboutit!” I continued in, thankful Erica made reservations because the waiting area was packed with people. I apologized for being late and she said that even with the reservation she was told it would be a 15 mintue wait, which was perfect timing given my tardiness. After a few minutes of chatting, Erica’s name was called out by a man with a cone shaped bullhorn. We made our way through a packed restaurant to a back area where they gave the 2 of us a table for 4, which was great because it gave us room to spread out (a rarity at a packed LA restaurant).


This place was like being in a cartoon. The walls are covered in murals representing “old Italy” and hundred’s of chianti bottles in signed straw baskets strung around the restaurant as decoration. In the center of the restaurant a band was set-up. Occasionally the wait staff would get their 15 minutes of fame, jump up there and belt out a song. While singing they also walked around the restaurant with the microphone to make all sections feel included. On this Friday night there was a tween birthday party happening in a section behind out table, which meant the songs karaoke’d were mostly Miley and Bieber (not my favorite, but it made them happy).

When using a Groupon you have to present it while ordering, which basically implies to the waitress, I’m a cheapo that uses coupons. Don’t get me wrong, I love Groupon but when presenting it right off the bat, it always makes me think the service will be less than stellar because the waiter knows we won’t be spending a lot of money. At Miceli’s I was proven wrong, the waitstaff was excellent. Our waitress was a woman in her late forties (?), and she was extremely attentive constantly refilling our drinks and checking in with us. Considering it was a packed restaurant, it was all the more impressive.

Our Groupon allowed us one appetizer (we chose the fried zucchini), one salad (perfect for 2 people), and one pizza. We chose the large veggie pizza, but the deal was even good on their fancier pizzas (up to a $22 regularly priced pizza). What a deal! The food was delicious, the live music and crowds were entertaining, and the service was great. My sister and I each left with a doggie bag of 2 pieces of pizza each, and the total spent on the Groupon and tip came to $22. I highly recommend Miceli’s for families and groups, and remember to make a reservation!

Photo taken from Yelp.com

Lola’s and Taix

Last night I hit up two fun, very different venues: Lola’s and Taix.

Lola’s in West Hollywood

Lola's and Catie's Hello Kitty cupcakes.

Yesterday was my roommate’s birthday and she loves Lola’s martinis, so she hosted a little get-together at Lola’s bar. They don’t let you reserve tables unless you’re ordering food (and this was more of a stop-by-for-a-drink event) so when the gathering ballooned to maybe 20 people it got a little tricky, but we made it work. Lola’s calls itself the “home of the apple martini” and has an extensive martini list. I indulged in the the “Red Caramel Apple Martini” and it did not disappoint. It did set me back $13 (not including tax and tip) so these drinks aren’t cheap, but you get a lot of bang for your buck. The drink was large with such a unique flavor. It smelled like an apple so I was expecting something tart but the caramel flavor really evened it out making for a very smooth drink. I also enjoyed the apple slice garnish. This place is a great “girl’s night out” bar and a fun excuse to put on a cute dress, hop into some uncomfortable shoes and debate which friend is the “Samantha” or the “Carrie”.

Taix in Echo Park

After Lola’s I switched gears from snooty WeHo to hipster Echo Park to meet up with my good friend Amber at the French Restaurant/Lounge Taix. She suggested we see the band May Stands Still which was giving a free show in the Taix Lounge (Lounge 321) that night from 10:30-11:30p. We got there around 9:30p to chat and enjoy a beer before the show. They didn’t have a large beer selection but I thought I would try the only beer on the list I’ve never heard of before: The Taix Pale Ale. Im embarrassed to say, I have no clue how to pronounce the name of this French restaurant and when ordering this beer I had to refer to it at the “titular drink”. We ordered a small cup of sweet potato fries (perfect for 2 people) and they were so delicious we didn’t need ketchup or the curry/mustardy dip they came with.

As it approached 10:30 and the room was still fairly empty, May Stands Still started their set. They were delightful. Amber and I both really enjoyed them. The lead singer, Emily Herndon, has such a lovely melodic voice that deserves a way better description than I could ever give. They have an indie acustic sound with only 2 guatarists and a back-up vocalist that dables in many instruments (including violin). It was hard to believe all that music was coming out of only a three-person band. Check them out HERE and listen to their tunes HERE. They were so nice that they gave Amber and I each a free copy of their EP, Matter of Time. I signed up for their mailing list, so I’ll keep you posted on shows to come and I highly recommend seeing them around town.