Saturday, March 30, 2013

Re-Upholstered My Dining Chairs

Hooray, I finally found a fabric I loved (Thank you Hobby Lobby. Best store ever.), and got around to re-covering my dining chair cushions.

Step 1.  Bought a legit staple gun. Eek!
Step 2.  Follow Lauren Conrad tutorial.  ;)  

For real! 
It was fool proof!
Check out the uber helpful video below, and full website tutorial HERE

I got a few more specific tips from Linda at Craftaholics Anonymous.  She has a wonderful tutorial HERE.
I didn't mean to use almost the same fabric as her, too! Haha!

Gather your supplies, and follow either of these tutorials.

The corners are a bit tricky - try and figure out where you want the inevitable pleats to be, and make the same folds on all four corners. (or at least the front two!)

And ta da!
Easy peasy!

A whole new modern, refreshed look, with just two yards of fabric!
So there.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Things I Love Thursdays

I will be making my Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cream Pies this weekend to take to my cousin's Easter potluck brunch.

And you best believe I will be using this amaze-balls tip I found for my frosting piping bag.
Plastic wrap!!
Check it out in this video:

In the past, I have brought these other desserts that have gone over well, too!

Skinny Coconut Cupcakes - Photo Credit & Recipe: Skinny Taste

No Bake Cake Batter Truffles - Photo Credit & Recipe: Chef in Training

I am sure these would be amazing, too!

Homemade Reese's Eggs - Photo Credit & Recipe: The Recipe Critic

or These, my friend Molly made!

Espresso Truffles - Photo Credit & Recipe: Espresso Truffles

In other news, and confessing my cat lady status, I have a nice little balcony patio now that my cat and I enjoy, and I was wanting to add a few plants out there, that are safe and non-toxic to cats.
So if you browse my recent Pinterest pins, and see a lot of catnip, and other cat grasses, like barley and wheat grass  that's the reason!
But the wheat grass caught my eye, because I could use it, too (if I had a juicer). And it looks so pretty when I see it in Jamba Juice!

Photo Credit: Today's Fabulous Finds

There are so many succulents and other plants that can be harmful to pets if eaten, and knowing my dumb cat, she'd try to eat them all!
So, I am on a mission!

I have also been obsessed with learning all about all natural face cleansing ideas, like oil cleansing.

Photo Credit: Breakthrough Beauty

The Oil Cleansing Method: 100% Natural Moisturizing Face Cleanser

From Our Homemade Happiness: "Yeah, you heard me right. I wash my face with oil. Sound like an oxymoron? Here's how it works: like dissolves like. The clean oil dissolves the dirty oil from your face, all without stripping your skin's natural protective oils."

So fascinating, right?! I am intrigued!

OK, and I use this body wash all the time after the gym, and now we supposedly can use a similar oil cleansing method instead, for that, too??

DIY Acne Body Wash - from Eat, Breathe, Blog

Another resource I've found:
Natural Makeup Remover - from Crunchy Betty

Also on the All Natural kick, I am loathing marshmallows lately for the gross non-vegan gelatin they use (more like a love/hate relationship, because I do really like marshmallows...hmph.), so I wanted to pick up one of these to use in my canister of brown sugar.

I WAS using a marshmallow, like I saw on Pinterest, to keep my container of brown sugar nice and soft. It works great!
But for the more vegan-friendly (Do you KNOW what gelatin is?...yeah. Google that shit...yikes.), 
these terra cotta disks soaked in water say they work as a great alternative! Win!

And finally, Boom! Cocktail hour!
Dreaming of Summer!

These look delish! So pretty, too!

The Black Swan cocktail: vodka lemonade with muddled blackberries. yes, please.

Blueberry Lavender Mojito: ah-mazing! I have been dying to buy some lavender syrup to bake with, and use in cocktails like this!

On that note, Cheers!

So There.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cream Pies

I scoured Pinterest for a dessert recipe to make for Easter this year, and found this gem: Carrot Cake Cookie Sandwiches from Liz at A Whisk and a Prayer.

You know what these remind me of?

Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies.
But with a carrot cake twist.  Carrot cake feels festive for Easter, too. ...Is that just because bunnies eat carrots? Is that where I am getting the tie in? Whatever.
Just make these. They are awesome!

Plus, you can call them WHoopie Pies! Which are just a cookie sandwich.  And if your sister is anything like mine, she will repeat that name over and over as if it is the funniest cookie name in the world.  It very well might be.  Whoopie!

On to the recipe:

Get the specifics here from the recipe I mentioned above:

Whisk and a Prayer: Carrot Cake Cookie Sandwiches

And the Cream Cheese frosting used is Martha's, so you know it's good.

This recipe makes about 32 cookie sandwiches. (Or about 64 single cookies)

I definitely recommend using a Silpat or parchment paper as mentioned, instead of just a greased cookie sheet. I speak from the experience of my first batch crumbling and breaking a bit, when I tried to pry them off the greased cookie sheet with a spatula. Literally. Pry. My arm muscles are a bit sore.  Live and learn.

And also do allow time to throw the cookie dough in the fridge for about an hour before baking.  This will help keep them puffy, and not spread out too flat while baking.

Willy Wonka over here decided to make about a million of these to bring to an Easter brunch...!

Once the cookies are totally cooled, mix up the frosting and also chill that for a bit until it firms up some.
The frosting tends to be a bit thin, and you want it set up so it will stay nicely between the cookies when you make the sandwiches.

Store cookie sandwiches in the fridge if not serving in the couple hours after preparing.

Yum! These are delicious, and a perfect combination between a cookie and carrot cake!!

So there.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Woolzies Dryer Balls Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review Woolzies Dryer Balls. These are pure wool balls, about the size of tennis balls, used instead of a dryer sheet, or fabric softener.

It was actually perfect timing! I have recently become more interested in natural alternatives for household cleaners, etc. (White vinegar works awesome as a disinfectant and for stubborn stuck-on food in the kitchen!)

As stated on the package, Woolzies Dryer Balls claim to soften clothes, reduce static, and even reduce drying time. I was interested to test out the "noise free" claim, as the balls do seem pretty dense.  I also was wary of the claim to be safe for people with wool sensitivities, because I AM in fact allergic to wool and acrylic. (Which makes it so hard to find sweaters to buy!!. Boo.)


I was excited to test out these dryer balls! I was hoping the did live up to their claims, because I would love to stop buying chemical-filled dryer sheets, both for environmental and health concerns, and because these are more cost effective!

Someone else was excited, too! 

Sorry, kitty. Not a new toy...

Onward, and upward!

So, I followed the directions on the box and tossed all six balls in the dryer with my laundry!

Verdict time!

OK, so, they definitely were not "Noise Free". My laundry room is right by my living room couch, and it definitely sounded like there were some balls bouncing around in the dryer.

That being said, (and avoiding laundry possibly while sleeping or watching a particularly gripping tv show on my living room couch...!) these dryer balls did reduce the drying time a bit, seems to help control static, and overall seemed to replace the need for a dryer sheet.

Pretty cool!

You might miss the scent of your freshly washed and dried laundry if you use scented dryer sheets, but I always bought sensitive skin, fragrance free, so this didn't matter to me. I actually really liked that they weren't dried in a chemical solution, and I kind of felt that the laundry was 'cleaner' because of that.

I'd give these about an 8, and I think I will definitely use them in my dryer!

Plus this little guy is really cute.

Check out Woolzies on Facebook and Twitter.

To buy a box to try for yourself, head on over to Woolzies' website to buy these now.  They are $34.95 with free shipping for a set of six.  Now, if this seems a bit pricey, I did some math for you. An average box of Bounce dryer sheets is about $6.00 a box for 120 sheets. For 1,000 loads, you'd need 9 boxes, which would be $54.00. So, these are much cheaper than that, plus Eco-Friendly and chemical free.

Sorry, Giveaway has now ended.

Now, on to the fun!
Woolzies is giving one lucky reader of mine their very own set of these dryer balls to try out for yourself!! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway Rules: This giveaway will end at 11:59pm on March 31.  A winner will be randomly selected via RaffleCopter and notified via email. Emails will not be sold and will only be used to notify you if you've won so please provide a valid email address. Winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize or a new winner will be selected the same way. Not liable for unclaimed prizes or fulfillment.  Good luck, Readers!

Disclosure:  I received a box of 6 Woolzies Dryer Balls in exchange for my honest review.  I received no further compensation, and was not influenced on my opinion of this product.

So There!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Lunch and Dessert of Champions! - A Review of Porto's Bakery & Cafe

Some fellow blogger friends and I met up this afternoon in Downtown Downey at Porto's Bakery & Cafe.
OMG you guys, more sandwiches on amazing bread and beautiful pastries than you could ever imagine! The dessert cabinet went on for days!

Porto's is a family-owned and operated Cuban Bakery, specializing in Cuban sandwiches made on fresh bread, beautiful cakes, and tons of other fancy pastries and desserts.  Their menu selections of sandwiches and salad are huge, as is their full coffee bar, and like I mentioned, giant dessert section!

I ordered their turkey melt sandwich served on fresh sourdough bread. The meat was fresh-deli quality, and the delicious sandwich was topped with melted provolone cheese, roasted red peppers, and thinly sliced red onions. It was so good! Their sandwiches are served with plantain chips. I loved this Cuban twist to regular potato chips.

But, don't forget to save room for dessert!!
I got back in the Bakery line to make my selections. How you are supposed to choose, I had no idea!
I settled on a Dulce de Leche Napoleon and a Chocolate Eclair.
Everything is very reasonably priced: My desserts were just $2.95 and $1.60 - and worth every penny!

You should definitely check this place out if you are in the area. ..And even if you aren't!! I drove all the way from South Orange County, which isn't thaaaat far, but I'd still consider it a special trip. And sooo worth it!
Yum! Such a fun lunch with some great ladies!

Photo Credit to Mary @ Let's Play OC.
Check out my friends' blogs, too!

Let's Play OC

Organized Island

Horsing Around in LA

Minnesota Girl in LA

(This post was not sponsored, it is just a great place to eat, and new to me!)

So There.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Cold Busting (and just Delicious) Miso Soup

I've been feeling like I am getting sick lately; I think it is just annoying allergies.
But either way, I made myself a big bowl of miso soup last night, and the Pinterest pin I bade it off of has gotten quite a following.  Way to go Men's Fitness Magazine for sharing this recipe, Haha!!

It basically gave healthier alternatives for snack cravings, one being Ramen Noodles.
I just boiled about 2-3 cups of water, added a touch of apple cider vinegar, a couple dashes of soy sauce, and a crushed clove of garlic or two.
Add some cubed tofu, and some chopped spinach (instead of the seaweed), and any other finely chopped veggies you have on hand. Mushrooms would be great.
If you'd like, add in some buckwheat soba noodles and let those cook for a minute. 
Then turn the heat to low and add a couple big spoonfuls of mild miso paste ( I found this in the refrigerated Asian section of Whole Foods, by the tofu. Note: don't buy the $18 non-refrigerated kind in the regular Asian food aisle. I don't know what that's about. I found the other one for like $4).
Simmer and stir until the miso is dissolved. Top with a few sliced green onions, and serve.

The fresh garlic and apple cider vinegar have great healing and immune boosting benefits if you feel a cold coming on.
And the rest of the soup is just comforting and delicious!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Things I Love Thursdays

Wow, sorry, I haven't posted since last Thursday! Oops.

What am I loving lately? Greek yogurt!
I am so obsessed with Chobani Greek yogurt!
It is the most 'real' and fresh tasting of the Greek yogurts - some are too sweet or fake tasting; like the ones that taste like kids' yogurt. Yuck.
But Chobani is rich and delicious!!
My favorite flavor right now is the pineapple. Tastes like real, fresh pineapple stirred into your yogurt. Delish!

I guess I'm not the first one to mention the 'real' taste, as I saw on Twitter they just launched a "Taste Real" campaign! Haha
Makes perfect sense.

I checked out their website for a product list, and there are SO many yummy flavors and varieties I'd love to try, that I haven't seen in my local stores yet. Boo. Not even at Whole Foods, which stocks quite a few flavors!

Check these out! How amazing do these sound?

**All photo credits:**

No, they did not sponsor this post, I just am loving Chobani! They even replied to my Twitter post, which I thought was uber cool.
Anyone want to somehow messenger me some of these amazing varieties I have so far had no luck locating?! Eh? Eh?!!

OK, fine. Moving ON!

Besides, yogurt, uh, hello, THESE Lemon Ricotta Fritters from White Lights On Wednesday look so amazing! And somehow refreshing, even though they are pretty much just fried doughnuts!
I need to make these soon! Yum!
Photo Credit:

I have been considering buying some of those wool dryer balls, as an alternative to buying dryer sheets or fabric softener.
Then I stumbled upon this great tutorial on how to make your own from Love, Pomegranate House!
Pinterest for the win, as always!
They seem pretty easy to make.
Photo Credit:

Well, well, well, I always wonder why I didn't think of these easy and genius tips myself, when I come across them on Pinterest.
This one is no exception.
Glue a magnet to the bottom of your hammer, so you have a place to hold your nail, besides in your teeth! (You know we all do that, and it is so gross.)

Photo Credit:
Dream a Little Bigger's Allison shares a lovely post about tool tips her Dad has shared with her over the years. As someone with an equally handy Dad, who I call before I attempt every DIY project, I love that she wrote this post, and the tips are great!
Another one is, when painting, apply petroleum jelly (or thick lotion, or coconut oil) to arms and legs (and in my case, face! oops.) so, when if the paint splatters on your skin, it will wipe off easily, and you won't have to scrub your skin until it is red! Bonus, your skin will be very well moisturized when you're done!
Check out the rest of the tips here.

I am currently rocking this Essie nail polish today,

and I just bought this other awesome blue one, I can't wait to try out! Such fun colors!

Happy Thursday!
So there.