Sunday, June 28, 2015

July 4th Round-Up!

I'm a sucker for any holiday, but the Fourth of July is just so summery and magical!
Sunshine, Fireworks, BBQ, Cocktails... 'merica!



Red, White, and Blue eeeverything!

Here are a few of my festive faves:

Flag Aviator Sunglasses - need! done! mine!



Flag Print Tank - must have!





Aztec American Flag Print Tank - obsessed with this one!

Photo Cred: The Pink Lily Boutique


 Flag Print Bunting Banner - so cute! Could use printed burlap or just scrapbook paper!




Patriotic Mason Jar Painted Lanterns - omg, these are soo freaking cute!!!!!

Photo Cred: Addicted 2 DIY


 Festively Colored Fruit Salad - Yes, please!!

Photo Cred: Two Peas & Their Pod



Fruit Pizza  - I forgot about these! Ah, childhood. Yum!!

Photo Credit: HERE



You can use a circle of scrapbook paper, fabric, or a cupcake liner, shown here! to replace the metal part of the mason jar lid, for a festive cup! Just poke a hole through for a straw and you're good to go!!




Patriotic Paper Straws - and for said paper straws....!




Fruit Ice Cubes  - Ahhh, these are perfect!! For water, lemonade, or cocktails!!

Photo Cred: Pip & Ebby


 Check out my 4th of July Pinterest Board for even more fun ideas!









Friday, June 26, 2015

Fried Ricotta Squash Blossoms

I hesitantly ordered the stuffed fried squash blossoms appetizer at dinner once, tried one bite, and was hooked!! They are a delicate flower stuffed with an herbed ricotta cheese, fried, and topped with a pesto and lemon aioli.
Have you local friends ever been to Cucina Enoteca, at the Irvine Spectrum? They opened one at Fashion Island, in Newport Beach, too. It is such delicious, inventive Italian food!
These squash blossoms were so interesting and amazing, but not really something you could re-create at home, unless you grow your own squash. Or, so I thought! Until I spotted some zucchini squash blossoms at the farmer's market one day! I had to try to recreate this yummy dish!



I totally lucked out. I had never seen them before, and cruising the tail end of the Laguna Beach Farmer's Market one Saturday morning, I just happened to see one lonely section of squash flowers over in a corner, on a table with zucchini and other produce. I ran over, and asked if they were for sale! They sure were, and they were like $.50. I was so stoked! I could finally attempt this dish.

Squash (Zucchini, or otherwise) Blossoms are the flower on the plant, and they look kind of like a closed up lily or hibiscus flower.
You have to handle them very delicately, washing them, and removing the pollen stem in the center.
But they are so fun and interesting, it is worth it once in a while!
They have a light squash taste, but are more just for fun, and a good vessel, in this case, for cheese!


Recipe:

Adapted from:
Mint Green Apron &
Bon Appetit

(see here for recipe photos)


and Inspired by:
Cucina Enoteca Restaurant

Ingredients:

8 squash blossoms
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp finely chopped herbs - parsley and basil
salt
pepper

1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 egg + 1 egg white
olive oil (or coconut oil)

Dipping sauces:
Homemade or store bought pesto
Lemon aioli: Martha's recipe


Directions:

Carefully wash the flowers, and dry well. Remove the stamen, or pollen covered center, down in the middle of the flower, trying not to tear any petals.






Mix together cheeses, herbs, and salt and pepper.
Transfer into piping bag, or ziplock bag, with the corner snipped off.

Hold a blossom with one petal pulled back, and gently pipe about 2 Tbsp of these cheese mixture into the flower. Close flower petals, and twist ends closed.
Repeat with all remaining flowers.

Heat 1-2 inches of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-high heat.

Whisk eggs until frothy in a bowl.
Put breadcrumbs into a shallow dish.

Dip one blossom at a time in the eggs, and then into the breadcrumbs, then gently place into the hot oil.
Cook for about 3-4 minutes, turning once.
Lay on a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle with salt.

Serve with pesto and lemon aioli, or simply a lemon wedge.

Such a unique and fun appetizer!
Have you ever tried or bought squash blossoms?











Sunday, June 14, 2015

Moving & Packing Tips

So, I moved. Just down the street. But, far enough for me to scour Pinterest for purging, organizing, moving, cleaning, and decorating tips for the past couple months!  And I found some gems, I tell ya.

So! Moving and Packing Tips!

#1. Watch This.
Buzzfeed: Moving Hacks

Yes, you have a minute and a half to spare.
This video list is definitely a good start.

If you hire movers, they should give you wardrobe boxes (tall box with metal closet pole across them), otherwise use the trick of wrapping clothes on hangers with garbage bags - ain't nobody got time to pack, then re-hang all their clothes.

#2 Read these.
Buzzfeed: Brilliant Moving Tips

Just do it.  They are ALL gems.  I will repeat my faves below.
Gotta love Buzzfeed!

First. Number 28.  Start changing your address everywhere, now.
ALL those magazines, Amazon, Paypal, credit cards, ETC. You'll keep thinking of more. Start early.
Buy new address labels. And email all your friends and family with your new address.

This link below is a good moving tip round up, as well!

Listotic: 33 Helpful Moving Tips Everyone Should Know

More Tips!
Keep an overnight or large tote bag for your essentials like daily toiletries, a change of clothes for the day after moving day, as well as your laptop, charger, and phone charger.

Ask Trader Joe's or another grocery or liquor store for a couple empty wine boxes, the kind that hold 12 or 16 bottles, with cardboard dividers.  Use them, not only for packing wine and alcohol bottles, but for wine glasses, vases, and any other decor items of similar size. (You know, like all those empty wine and beer bottles we have painted and now use as decor? ;)  )


Buy paper lunch bags at the Dollar store and use them to safely pack glasses and small bowls.
Saves on tissue paper or bubble wrap!



Buy styrofoam disposable plates (Dollar store!), and use them to safely pack plates, putting a foam plate in between each real plate.
Pack plates vertically, on their sides, not upright, too.



Also, use every single towel, tshirt, and sweatshirt in your house (if needed) to pack breakables; again, to save on bubble wrap and tissue paper.
Plus, newspaper is gross, because the ink can get on everything.
If your items and boxes aren't dusty, you won't really need to wash all those after using them to pack, either.
Also, if you pack your dishes and kitchen items without anything dirty or dusty, you won't need to re-wash those either. You're welcome.

I packed sharp kitchen knives in oven mitts!

Cover the tops of all your bathroom/shower liquid bottles in plastic wrap, then screw the tops back on.
This is a great travel tip, too! Shampoo-covered everything, no more!

Your moving company should also have a huge roll of shrink wrap, so they can wrap all the drawers of desks and dressers in tact, so you don't have to pack all the drawer contents into boxes.
If you are moving yourself, or for smaller items like your flatware divider, use Plastic Wrap or Press and Seal to safely transport the contents, again without having to pack them all. We are going for efficiency here, people.

Pack all your heavy books in rolling suitcases. Try to evenly distribute the weight, and don't pack them quite all the way full if your books are super heavy.
Smile apologetically as your movers realize how heavy you have packed those suitcases. Don't worry - those guys have a dolly and super human strength.

Pack your necklaces like this, using empty toilet paper rolls, to keep them from getting tangled!



Also. Something I did that didn't work - I bought these colored labels. Um, labels like this don't stick to cardboard boxes very well. They started peeling off immediately.
You should use duct tape or something with a stronger adhesive. (Or put a piece of clear packing tape over each label.)
Wuah wuah, no color-coded labels for me :(

I just used a super thick Sharpie pen to write the room name on my boxes.




To Do / To Buy Lists:  (I live in a world of To Do / To Buy lists, ha ha)

PRE MOVE IN:
Clean the new place, especially the kitchen and bathrooms.
Buy new shower curtain liners and hang those.
Buy new toilet brush and plunger (ain't nobody gonna pack those!)
Buy toilet paper and paper towels.

MOVING DAY:
Bottles of water
snacks - trail mix
trash bags
ziplock bags
pen
tape
paper towels

As you disassemble last minute moving day items, like bookcases and headboards, you wind find you have a lot of loose pieces.  Keep a pack of small plastic ziplock bags handy on moving day to keep all the screws, shelf pegs, etc. organized and separated so you can find and identify them later. Bonus points, if you also keep a roll of tape and a Sharpie pen, so you can label each bag with what item it belongs to.  You can keep these separately, or you can tape the bag to the actual item it belongs to.

Unless you end up having an awesome AT&T Uverse tech come out to re-set up your cable tv, (added moving weekend surprise! They are always so hit or miss...)  it can't hurt to take a photo of the back of your TVs/cable boxes, so you remember which cords went where. More bonus points, wrap each set of cords that go to a certain item together with tape, rubber band or hair tie, and add a tape label.




POST MOVE IN:
Ok, so, the movers are gone, and you are left in a new space surrounded by a moving box fort.
Now what?!
Well, as the movers are bringing boxes in, I actually like to right away start unpacking them! Try to have one box unpacked and empty, before they bring the next one in! Even if you have piles of stuff, it is much less daunting than boxes, and easier to find everything. Put the contents in the correct room at least, and you are off to a good start.  The only boxes I left packed were the ones labeled Decor, that I knew I wouldn't be ready for yet.
Decide which kitchen and bathroom stuff you want in which cupboard and drawer, then put away accordingly.
All clothes should be easily hung back in the closet (see tips above - they stayed on the hangers)

Leave the couch open, and wash your sheets and make your bed as soon as you can.
That way when you hit a wall you have a place to relax!

My last tip is pack your wine opener/bottle opener in your overnight bag :)
Then, order delivery pizza, have some wine, and keep trucking along.

Enjoy your new space!







Monday, June 8, 2015

Mayday, Mayday!




Hey remember me? I used to blog sometimes. Sorry to fall off the face of the blogging earth.
So, let's get caught up. What's been happening around here?

Well, we moved!




Just down the street. But, far enough for me to scour Pinterest for purging, organizing, moving, cleaning, and decorating tips for the past couple months!  And I found some gems, I tell ya.

I will share some Moving/Packing Tips in my next post!

Same with cleaning. I cleaned the new place, and my old place, and I found a couple new (are there really new cleaning tips? Yes! Yes, there are.) cleaning tips I am pretty obsessed with!  Again, another upcoming post.

What else?
I am a fraud, and didn't ever get around to making that Watermelon Margarita on Memorial Day that I shared on Facebook last week. But I hope you did!  I was knee deep in cleaning my old apartment, and after 10 hours of that, I definitely deserved a blended cocktail, but was too tired, and the blender, alas, was still not unpacked. Rookie move.  But, the wine cork was!! Non-rookie move! So I had a glass of wine, and passed the eff out.
But I still plan on making that blended refreshing goodness of a cocktail sometime very soon!

Had some very indulgent first meals in my new place - blaming the not yet organized kitchen. I may have taken a few too many liberties with that, ha ha. 



Went to the farmer's market in Laguna Beach this weekend, and it is spring/summer time galore there! So many fun fruits and veggies.
Stay tuned for some produce-heavy recipes soon!

I think I have been to Ikea every weekend in the last month. My most recent trip, I was in and out in 12 minutes. I'm kind of an Ikea champion! Tip: Enter through the Exit ;)  And if you need a warehouse item, look up the Aisle/Bin ahead of time online, so you can make a beeline straight for it!




Well, there you have it! A lot of promises for me to uphold! Stay tuned :)
Hope you all had a great weekend!




Friday, April 24, 2015

Easy (and Healthier!) Homemade Fudgy Brownies

Who doesn't like a good brownie?! I was craving them yesterday, so I picked up some eggs, and got to work.
Stop buying the box mix.
Yeah, I know you can get them for almost free with coupons, but seriously, you don't need to!
Get yourself some good quality cocoa powder, flour, and salt and your dry mix is complete!
Then, add melted butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs, and you're good to go!
No chance of unhealthy ingredients (artificial flavors, soybean oil, corn syrup, etc.), and you can alter the recipe, sub pure maple syrup for some of the white sugar, and wheat flour for some of the white, to make it a bit healthier!
Bake for 35 minutes, and you have quick, easy, and slightly more healthy homemade fudgy brownies!
YUM.



Recipe:
(adapted from Tina's Chic Corner)
Makes 12-16 brownies (double recipe for a 9x13 pan)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, melted, then cooled to room temp. (so it won't cook the eggs)
1 1/2 cups white sugar (or 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup maple syrup)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used half white, half white whole wheat)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease an 8x8 baking pan and set it aside.
In a large bowl, mix the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla extract together.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Set the wet ingredients aside.
In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.

Pour batter into the pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until toothpick in center just comes out clean.

Allow it to cool before cutting. (This step never happens, but it is good for one to have lofty goals)







Enjoy!
What is your favorite homemade treat?






Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Mixx Yoga / Fabletics Event

I was provided a free cardio yoga class and workout merchandise in exchange for this blog post, and social media posts.

I was invited to attend a yoga event a couple weekends ago, hosted by Fabletics and the Mixx Yoga studio in Newport Beach.


It was so fun! I thought it sounded like something right up my alley, and I was right. Yoga and workout swag. Count me in!

Photo Credit: Golden Hope Studios


Photo Credit: Golden Hope Studios

If you are local, you have to check out a class at Mixx Yoga. It is on the border of Costa Mesa/Newport Beach, off Bristol St.

Combinations of yoga with cardio, plyometrics and interval training make for an exciting and challenging class that leaves you feeling healthy and balanced.  They offer many levels and intensities of classes, including yoga-only sessions.  The owner, Mitra, and all the instructors are amazing women who make the classes and studio even better.




Photo Credit: Golden Hope Studios
And regardless of where you live, you have to give Fabletics workout gear a try!
Two words: Kate Hudson.  How amazing is she?! Am I right?! I'm so sold on anything she does or likes, LOL. This is her workout clothing line, and it definitely does not disappoint. So many cute colors and styles!

Fabletics, along with Mixx Yoga, sponsored this event because the instructors that day in the studio were certified Fabletics Masters teachers.


I have been wearing these Salar Leggings non stop since I got them, and the non-slip, cushioned heel socks are amazing!

Fabletics

Fabletics

This fun event was such a great way to meet some new blogger friends I had never met before and to try out this local fitness studio. I'll definitely be back for another bootie-kicking class!



Photo Credit: Golden Hope Studios
Sweaty post-class group photo!

Follow along with the event: 
#FabloggersMixx 
#FableticsMasterClass 

Mixx Yoga:

Fabletics:






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