Monday, July 21, 2014

Reads * Daughter of Smoke and Bone

I'm loving this unique and thankfully non-sappy story about angels and chimera. Reading as fast as I can!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Scrappy * She's Here!

I love this layout for so many reasons. These photos are from the day my niece was born. It was a long, and at times, difficult road getting her here so it was a really important day for our family. My sister texted me when she went into labor and we kept texting up until the moment my little niece was born. As soon as I got the text "She's here!!!!" I flopped on to my bed and started to sob. My Mr. thought it was hilarious and snapped a photo to send to my sister. I couldn't be there for her birth so the texts that my sister and I sent each other mean a lot to me and I wanted a way to preserve such a huge sister moment.

I took several screenshots and arranged them in rows in a Word document. I made sure to leave a tiny space between each screenshot so that there was room for a fold. Then I printed the document onto white cardstock and cut the rows into strips. I taped the strips together so that they formed one long strip then folded it like an accordion. Depending on how many screen shots you have, you may need to fold it differently. I had a lot and didn't want a two inch stack on my page so I created a fold after every other screenshot. I also had an odd number so since I was folding in twos, I had the backside of one of the screenshots on display. But that actually worked out well and it became the perfect spot for embellishment. I hope that makes sense.

I hope I get to share this page with my niece some day and that it will show her how much we've loved her since before she was even born.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Eats * Catalyst

My Mr. and I usually hang out in Boston so we admittedly we don't know much about the food scene on the other side of the river. But my Mr. recently started a new job in Kendall Square and we're learning that Cambridge has some really great food. Feeling adventurous, we hopped on our bikes and had a dinner date at Catalyst.

We were really impressed. Love the modern but comfortable style of the dining room. There's also a beautiful bar and a fireplace which would be nice and cozy for cold New England winters. The food was delicious, inventive but not in a frightening way (you know what I mean right?). And the staff was so friendly and welcoming. It was way warmer than we thought it would be so when we entered, we were kind of gross, sweaty and out of breath. They still greeted us with a smile and patiently waited for us to settle in and take off our helmets.

Fried green tomatoes with pickled jalepenos, arugula and buttermilk-dill dressing.
I was all set to order potato puffs but then our waitress said that the fried green tomatoes were her favorite and well... I'm easily swayed. The breading was perfectly crisp and the jalapenos nice and hot. But the best part... the buttermilk-dill dressing. The cool dressing went really nicely with the tartness of the tomatoes.

Grilled polenta with baby artichokes, king oyster mushrooms, roasted red pepper Sicillian pesto.
My Mr. took this photo and he wanted his drink into the photo. He usually a pretty solid meat eater but this dish grew on him. He loved the mushrooms. The pesto was really flavorful and the grilled polenta was a good base for it.

Corn ravioli with swiss chard, roasted peppers, basil, ricotta salata.
This is one of those dishes that changes your life a little. I've never had anything like it. I'm a midwest girl. I love my corn. I know good corn. This is good corn. The ravioli filling has a creamy filling with crisp, fresh off the cob, sweet corn kernels. The roasted peppers, swiss chard and seasonings bring in the savory and keep the overall dish from being too sweet. So much flavor! They were little bundles of tasty joy.

Catalyst's menu changes based on the seasons so everything tastes very fresh and real. I'll be back a few more times before summer ends to get my hands on some more corn ravioli but I can't wait to see what they have planned for fall and winter.

Kendall Square
300 Technology Square
Cambridge, MA 02139

Monday, July 7, 2014

Scrappy * Nail Art

This is an older page and it's up in my Two Peas gallery but since that will be going away soon, I thought I'd share it here. I followed Shimelle's 4x6 photo love sketch for July. It's such a fun subject, I wanted to use really bright, whimsical colors and patterns. And yes, those are tiny robot and tiny tuxedos on our nails. If you want to read more about our girly nail art day with local nail art celebrity, Nina Nailed It, you can view this older post.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A love letter to Two Peas in a Bucket

Last week, scrapbookers received some very sad news. Two Peas in a Bucket, an online scrapbooking store, will be closing their doors. To me, the news was unexpected and made me so sad. I know it may sound a bit silly being so down about a shop closing but Two Peas is so much more than just a scrapbooking store.

I started scrapbooking in high school many, many years ago. My cousin was a Creative Memories consultant and I learned to scrapbook from her. Over the years, my scrapbooking style remained the same. I didn't know any other way of scrapping other than the Creative Memories way. Which wasn't a bad thing at all. I love those scrapbooks. But it was a very specific way to scrapbook. After graduating from college, I poked around the internet for scrapping inspiration but nothing really caught my eye so I went back into my bubble and kept on scrapping the only way I knew how. I didn't see the internet as a good source of scrapping inspiration because I just couldn't find anything that really called out to me

One day, in 2012-ish, I stumbled upon Two Peas in a Bucket. I don't remember how I found it but the moment I entered the site, I knew it was the place for me. I had found my scrappy home. So many pretty products! Endless videos! The Garden Girls! The Garden Girls completely changed how I scrapbook. I was learning about techniques, patterned papers, paint and mist, design principles... so much to learn!! The Garden Girls all have different styles but they all called out to me. Two Peas had a great eye and brought the very best talent out there together in their Garden Girls team. And all that top notch inspiration was free and open to all. It boggled my mind. I wasn't very active in the gallery because I'm pretty shy about my scrapping but I did post a few things here and there and the support and feedback I received from fellow peas made my heart swell. I don't have any friends who scrapbook and I've never socialized in scrappy ways (never even been to a scrap) so to have that kind of interaction was so meaningful to me. I participated in the NSD and CHA celebrations which was so much fun I couldn't believe I had been missing out for so many years. Until Two Peas, scrapbooking had been a very solitary and private hobby. Two Peas really opened up the world of scrapbooking to me.

I loved shopping there not only because they had such a wonderfully curated shop but because I loved knowing that I was supporting this amazing company. For two years, I purchased nearly all my scrapbooking supplies from Two Peas because it was a way for me to support them and thank them for all the free videos, workshops, forums, everything. On top of all that, their customer service was so great I often wished I could hug someone through a support ticket. Really, this company makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

I can't imagine how difficult this must be for the owners and staff of Two Peas and the Garden Girls. I doubt they'll ever read this but I just wanted to say thank you. I love to scrapbook and Two Peas has had such a huge influence on me. It breathed new life into my scrapbooks and introduced me to some amazing scrappers. It really opened my eyes and has completely changed scrapbooking for me. The day of the announcement, I filled my bucket with a few things I didn't really need and made my last purchase just for the sake of making one last purchase at Two Peas.
Thank you Two Peas... I'll miss you!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Eats * San Francisco

Last September, my Mr. and I took a trip to SF for a wedding. We took a few extra days off to enjoy SF with some of our friends. And by enjoy, I mean eat the entire city. I am always amazed at how good the food in SF is. Everything is so fresh! I don't think I've ever had a bad meal here and we were averaging about six meals a day.

Ike's Place
3489 16th Street
San Francisco CA
Sandwiches galore! Our friend took us to this place right after he picked us up from the airport and it was the perfect meal. Their menu is massive! I wish I worked by this place so that I could try a new sandwich a day. The sandwiches are generously packed with fresh ingredients and there's something for everyone.


Hard Knox Cafe
2526 3rd Street
San Francisco, CA 94107 
I had a random craving for chicken and waffles and lo and behold, our friends live right around the corner from an awesome southern comfort food place! Their chicken and waffles were lovely. The waffles were fluffy, the chicken crisp and juicy. And their sides... so tasty. I accidentally filled up on their cornbread before my chicken and waffles came out but I didn't even regret it. It was that good.

Bi-Rite Creamery
2526 3rd Street
San Francisco, CA 94107  
Salted caramel. Lives up to the hype.


Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot
215 S. Ellsworth Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401 
I'm pretty sure that their broth is made of crack. Usually when you eat hot pot, you have a little sauce on the side to dip whatever you fish out of the broth into before popping it into your mouth. No sauce necessary at this place. The broth is so flavorful and anything you put into the pot just soaks up all that deliciousness. It's a must eat for us when we visit SF.  My favorite add-ins are a-tsai and dduk (rice cakes) and my Mr.'s is fish tofu.

2901 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
Pie! It's the new cupcake. Super charming place and friendly staff that are happy to point you to their favorites. We bought a mixed berry to share with our friends and a turkey pot pie for a snack. Delicious!

This was only a handful of the places we ate at during our trip. Can't wait to go back and discover more tasty things to eat!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Reads * Graceling

I cannot get enough of this series. The last time I read this fast and sacrificed this much sleep to read was when I was reading Harry Potter for the first time. Strong but real women, imaginative fantasy worlds, sweet but not too sweet love stories. Kristin Cashore is my new hero. I read these when I was feeling blue and stressed and these books provided the most perfect and complete escape from reality. As soon as I finished Graceling, I wanted to flip to page one and start all over again.