Friday, March 29, 2013

March Photo Project: Spring


The March photo theme was spring, but it very well could have been flowers since that's what most of us went for, and I love every bit of it! There's nothing better than beautiful blooms after a long, cold winter. I had to go all the way to Seattle to find mine. Here are some of the wonderful images y'all shared.


Wendy of Young Heart sent over this lovely dandelion pic.
The beautiful blossoms were captured by Hollie of n'est-ce pas?
Ann of Oh Beauty photographed gorgeous ranunculus.
The flowers and sunshine are courtesy of Erika at Seventeen Perth.
Andra of Fox Lane took a photo of some sweet sheep and goats.
And my mama snapped a picture of these happy tulips.

If you want to share one of your spring photos, just leave a link below! I'll announce April's photo theme next week.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Garden and Glass


While in Seattle, Jonah and I paid a visit to Chihuly Garden and Glass. It's an indoor and outdoor exhibition featuring Dale Chihuly's colorful, playful, breathtaking glass work. I loved seeing the pieces mingled with flowers and plant life. And the centerpiece of the exhibition, a glass house with an enormous suspended sculpture and the Space Needle overhead, is one of my new favorite things in Seattle.

Speaking of favorite things from Seattle, today is Jonah's birthday! Happy Birthday to the cutest, funniest, best guy I know. Party like you mean it!


[Jonah pic courtesy of Reams Photo]

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Carrot Cake Cupcakes


I've always wanted to try the full-on carrot cake making experience, down to the mini marzipan carrots. I bought pre-made marzipan and used my new food coloring kit, and they were actually a lot of fun to make, basically like working with playdough. My favorite touch: making lines in the carrots with a toothpick coated in cocoa, so they look more like actual from-the-dirt veggies. Almost too adorable (thank you, Martha). With my favorite white chocolate cream cheese frosting and a cake that's even better on the second day, I think these carrot cake cupcakes are a tasty project worth the effort and would be a perfect ending to an Easter lunch.


Carrot Cake Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe adapted from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups canola oil
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups finely grated carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Fill muffin pan with cupcake liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the oil, eggs, both sugars and vanilla and whisk until the mixture is pale in color. Fold in the flour mixture in thirds until just combined. Gently fold in the carrots and nuts. Divide the batter evenly among 24 cupcake liners, until each is almost full. Bake for 22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool for 20 minutes over a wire rack, then remove cupcakes from pan.

Frosting
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), softened
6 ounces white chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until blended. Add melted white chocolate and vanilla extract. Measure 2 cups of powdered sugar, then sift. Add sifted sugar to mixture gradually until combined. Frost cooled cupcakes.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Seattle in Photos


Our trip to Seattle was just perfect. The sun was shining, cherry blossoms were in bloom, every meal was delicious, and we had a great time visiting with family and watching our friends get married. Jonah and I spent some time in our old neighborhood. It was fun to reminisce and see how things have changed since we moved back to New York. We enjoyed meals at restaurants that were new to us, The Whale Wins, Hot Cakes and Gaudi, and visited old favorites like Volunteer Park Cafe and Top Pot Doughnuts. So much food and so many of our favorite people, no complaints from this happy, jet-lagged girl today.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Thoughts of the Week


This speckled egg cake blows my mind.

The bright and happy living room of my dreams.

Nothing better than an indoor adventure on a snowy (or rainy) day.

Wine and fruit. Yes and yes.

I loved peeling up dried paint when I was a kid, and apparently, I still do.

I eat eggs a lot, so thank goodness there are always more recipes to try.

This would make hauling my laptop around a little more bearable.

Finding my inspiration with spring colors (and doughnuts).

I'm in Seattle now for four brief days, hoping to make the most of it and drink many, many lattes. Just a reminder to send your spring photos my way before next Friday. Happy weekend!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Flower Shop


I love a floral print, but I'm especially fond of this painterly floral look since the next best thing to a real flower is a painting of one. Maybe I'll just stay inside and wear flowery pajamas until spring decides to come to New York. It's like a form of protest.

[found here: dress; tumblers; lounge pants; scarf; heels; pillow cover; flats; bag; bowl]

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

New York Subway Easter Eggs

new york city easter eggs
subway line easter eggs

New York City is full of inspiration, even on a crowded subway, so here's my Easter egg tribute to the city's transit system. The trains are labeled by different numbers, letters and colors, so with some food coloring and stickers, I created egg versions of the 22 subway lines. I used this food coloring kit and these 1-inch number and letter stickers (you'll need black letters for the yellow line). It's a fun spin on basic egg dyeing and my way of saying, "I love you, New York ... yes, even you, sad, little, unreliable G train."

A couple of tips if you want to make your own subway Easter eggs:
  • I really loved using the food coloring kit since it has all the colors you need, even grey and brown.
  • You can dye the eggs with the stickers already on them and remove once the eggs are dry. The colors may seep through a little in some cases, but this method was pretty successful for me.
  • For a more foolproof method, just attach the stickers after the eggs have been dyed and are dry.
  • Instead of Easter grass, I used a shredded subway map.
  • And wouldn't these be fun for an Easter egg hunt? "Find the 6 train!"
food coloring easter eggs
dyeing easter eggs
new york easter eggs

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

At-Home Avocado Spa Treatments


The good people at Avocados from Mexico sent me a case of their avocados to put to use in a unique way. Their directions were to think outside the kitchen, so I decided to create a few beauty treatments using every bit of the avocado, peel to pit -- plus, a yummy smoothie to enjoy while your skin is soaking up all those nutrient-rich avocado benefits.

Avocado Moisture Mask

1/2 avocado
1/2 banana
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Avocados and bananas are packed full of nutrients and are moisturizing, honey is an anti-inflammatory and lemon is brightener and exfoliant. Mash all the ingredients together or combine in a blender, and apply to face and neck. Leave on for 10-15 minutes and then rinse off.


After you scoop out an avocado, the half-shell usually has a little fruit left in it, and it's the perfect shape to moisturize your heels and elbows, which are especially susceptible to dryness. Use it to rub avocado into your skin and then rinse off.


Avocado Pit Scrub

2 teaspoons of ground avocado pit
2 teaspoons olive oil

Don't just toss those avocado pits. Rinse, dry and quarter them. Leave them out for a few days until the pit pieces are dried out. Then, use a coffee grinder to break down the pit until a fine grit forms. Add two teaspoons of olive oil to two teaspoons of ground avocado pit and use as an exfoliant for skin.

And while you're getting beautified, sip on this:


Tropical Avocado Smoothie

1/2 avocado
1 banana
3/4 cup pineapple chunks
1/2 cup orange juice

Combine avocado, banana, pineapple and orange juice in a blender or with a hand blender until smooth. Add ice or additional orange juice for a thinner consistency.

Update: Carol of Everyday Delights is the winner!

Want a chance to experiment with (or just eat) some Avocados from Mexico? Leave a comment below before noon on Saturday, March 30, and you could win an avocado prize pack, including a copy of Chef Roberto SantibaƱez's cookbook, "Truly Mexican," an "I Heart Avocado" t-shirt, an avocado slicer and a $10 gift card to an area retailer where Avocados from Mexico are sold. One winner will be selected at random.

This is a sponsored post for One2One Network and Avocados from Mexico. All opinions stated are my own.

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