Sunday, December 28, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
- Seasonal candy, movie sized candy box
- Trail mix, energy bars
- Tins of flavored peanuts or almonds
- Hot sauce
- Gourment snacks
- $5-15 gift cards: iTunes, In N Out, Best Buy, Home Depot, Sport Chalet
- Movie tickets
- Tire pressure gauge
- Pocket knife
- Corkscrew, bottle opener
- Nerf football
- Golf items: golf balls, golf tees, golf towel, divet tool, ball bag
- Fishing supplies: lures, bait, hooks, line, weights
- Camping accessories: compass, first aid kit, poncho, tin cup, utility knife
- Small tools: screwdriver, measuring tape, wrench, pliers, stud finder
- Deck of playing cards
- Poker chips
- Gaming accessories
- USB drive
- Rubik's cube
- Hacky sack
- Travel games
- Wood airplane gliders
- Wool socks
- Shoe horn, shoe polish
- Money clip
- Sunglasses case
Friday, December 12, 2008
- Gum, mints for purse
- Seasonal candy, movie sized candy boxes
- Trail mix, energy bars
- Gourmet snacks
- Specialty chocolates, small box of See's
- Large peppermint stick
- Tea bags in travel tin, tea infuser
- Small coffee pouches
- Gourmet hot cocoa
- Lip balm, lip gloss, eye shadow
- Purse sized hand lotion
- Face mask
- Hair clips, headbands
- Nail polish, nail clippers, nail files
- Travel mirror
- Travel sized toiletries
- Luggage tag
- Sunglasses case
- Earrings, bracelet, necklace
- Scarf, mittens, beanie
- Christmas ornament
- Wine stopper
- Small cooking tools: cookie cutters, measuring spoons, spatula, hand juicer, grapefruit spoons, cheese knives, spice grater
- Small gardening tools: hand trowel, knee pad, flower seed packets, shears
- Sewing notions: scissors, tape measure, seam ripper, thimble
- Scrapbook supplies: pinking scissors, paper punches, brads, colored pens, rubber stamps
- Trendy designed office supplies
- $5-$15 gift cards: iTunes, Starbucks, Target, Golden Spoon, Pinkberry, Corner Bakery
- Note cards, thank you cards, note pads, magnetic fridge pads
- Scented tea light candles
- Coin purse
- Pocket calendar
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
But if you don't like to cook, I highly recommend Trader Joe's 4 cheese mac & cheese. It's in the freezer section, and it's phenomenal. Maybe you should stop reading this post and go out and buy it right now. It really is that good. I keep one on hand in my freezer in case I get a craving.
Here's how to make my favorite mac & cheese...
Mac & Cheese
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2-1/2 cups milk
- 1-1/2 pounds Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 pound dry elbow macaroni
- 3/4 cup Panko or plain dry bread crumbs*
- Cayenne pepper**
*Panko is a Japanese bread crumb, look in the Asian section of supermarket
**If serving to children or guests, don't make dish too spicy
Preheat oven to 350º. Bring a large pot of water to boil for macaroni. Generously butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish.
While water is boiling, melt 3 tablespoons of butter on low heat in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat for 2 minutes, whisking constantly until lightly browned. Ensure mixture does not burn.
Add the milk and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly until thickened, about 3 minutes. Add mustard. Add cayenne to taste. Stir in cheese and cook over low heat, stirring until melted. Salt to taste.
Cook macaroni until al dente. Drain well. Return macaroni to the pot. Add the cheese sauce and stir until combined. Spread the macaroni in prepared baking dish.
In a small glass bowl, melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in microwave. Add breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, stir until moistened. Sprinkle mixture over macaroni.
Bake for 45 minutes or until it's reached perfect bubbly yumminess. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
The prices are a couple dollars higher per plate than Coco's or Mimi's but the food is better and the portions are large, plus you're at the beach! If you sit inside, it can get noisy as the tables are a bit crowded and the floors are wood. The little indoor porch is a nice area to sit if you don't want to be outside.
We also noticed this time that they have a few parking spots behind the restaurant in the alley. Now we know to check there first before we search for a metered spot on the street.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
If you don't normally get down to the beaches in winter, November/December is actually a great time to go have breakfast or lunch outdoors and go for a walk on the weekends. The sky is usually clear this time of year (less morning fog) and there are less crowds.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
P.S. Apparently you can even create a list for your pet. I was just looking at our family site and it appears that my brother-in-law made one for his dog. One of the doggie's wishes - a pass to spend the night at my house - too funny!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The hot cocoa items above are from Crate & Barrel, you can give the whole collection for just over $20: Holiday cocoa $3.95, Mini Mighty Marshmellows $6.95 and Peppermint spoons $9.95.
Other ideas for service providers: Ghiradelli peppermint bark bar $3.95 or holiday squares collection, fresh fruit basket $39.95+ Harry & David, gift card to their favorite lunch or coffee stop, pair of movie tickets 2 for $15 (in store) Costco, homemade cookies in a holiday tin, mulling spices & stirrers $19.95 William-Sonoma, set of red votives $14.95 Cost Plus, tin of Peppermint bark or Enligh toffee $9.95 Cost Plus, homebaked pecan pie, Holiday bar towels 4 for $15 Pier 1, set of tea-to-go tins $4.50 each Pier 1, or a bottle of wine.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Go big: Franklin Covey laptop bag him $79.95 or her $129. Ok so that was WAY big!
Other ideas for travellers: travel candle $5.95 TravelTins.com, leather luggage tags $38 for set of 3 Levengers.com, Fossil coin purse for all those coin Euros $30 Macy's, cross-body bag to avoid purse snatchers $18.95 Target, travel manicure set $8 Bath & Body works, passport holder $14.95 Barnes and Noble, mini wireless mouse $44.95 Best Buy, Logitech portable iPod speakers folds up into a convenient travel case $129.95 Apple.com, Quilted pink travel bags $45.99 set of 2 Target, travel train case for cosmetics $65 Fossil, men's accessory case $50 Fossil, leather travel jewlery case $39 Pottery Barn, lingerie bag $16 Anthropologie, shoe bags to keep your shoes from dirtying your clothes $16.99 set of 2 Target, shoe shine kit $17.95 Gifts for Professionals, and travel tie case $30 Amazon.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Go big: Add these cute and cozy slippers by Roxy for $24.
Other ideas for her: An elegant bangle bracelet from Banana Republic $39, Evening clutch from Ann Taylor Loft $49, Argyle crewneck sweater $49 Gap, Toggle coat $98 Nordstrom, Wool pea coat $59 Target, Pair of comfy winter PJs (see Gap), Classic jewerly box (see Pottery Barn), Oakley purse $40, iTouch $229+, make up brush set $60 Sephora, Cupcake Jar Candle $16 Anthropologie, Set of dessert plates Anthropologie, jersey robe $14.99 Target, Sleep aromatherapy $5-35 Bath & Body Works, warming face mask $16.50 The Body Shop, Origins lip gloss set $27.50 Nordstrom, facial certificate, mani/pedi certificate, oh and MelliB jewelry of course! $8-26.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Go big: Buy two. One for him, one for a friend. Otherwise he might spend all day shooting at you.
Other ideas for him: Sanuk sidewalk surfer shoes $55, Sony Home Theatre Soundbar $329.99 at BestBuy, Barbeque Bible by grillmaster Steve Raichlen $10.36 on Amazon, an outdoor grill, a pair of Oakley sunglasses, nice watch, iPod touch, iTunes gift card, GameStop gift card, Car and Driver or MotorTrend magazine subscription, or a bucket of car wash supplies (large sponge, squeegie, chamois, towels, hose spray nozzle, wax, carnauba wash, tire foam, wheel brush, detailing spray).
Friday, November 14, 2008
Go big: Maybe something a little more serious like this plush throw blanket for $49 or matching down slippers for $20.
Other ideas for co-workers: Instead of sugary treats that the office is already filled with, why not a home baked quick bread such as pumpkin or banana. Not a cook, but your co-worker is? A nice bread mix $8.95 wrapped in a holiday dishtowel $4.95 at Crate & Barrel. A stylish leather business card case $10.95+ Gifts for Professionals, Bodum tea press to brew a proper cup of tea at the office $24.95 Target, travel mug $14.95 Coffee Bean & Tea leaf (add a bag of chocolate covered espresso beans), classic ornament $8 Anthropologie, cool file folders $10.50 Paper Source, Puzzle Calendar $12.50 Paper Source, Hand Lotion Trio $25 L'Occitane, Mini Crocus Set $15 Restoration Hardware, 50 Best Excuses and Lies $10 Restoration Hardware, or Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Workplace $8.97 Amazon.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Go big: Pick a frilly nostalgic apron $24-38 or Christmas potholders $12 to go with.
Other ideas for hostesses: William-Sonoma Holiday Entertaining Book $34.95, the best Christmas tree candle ever - it actually smells like the real thing $2-29 at Illuminations, Pottery Barn Condiment Set $49, Holiday spreaders $20 at Sur la Table, Holiday guest towels $14 at Pottery Barn, Jazz Christmas CD - see Diana Krall, or almost anything from Crate & Barrel: hot cocoa spoons $2.95, cheese plates, knives, picks, or platters, Whimsy serving bowls, punch bowl set $36.95, appetizer spoons $19.95.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
With that said, I hope you dad is easier to shop for! These fun Monopoly car cuff links are $20 at Lizzie Blue's Shop on Etsy. Not quite his style? A quick search on Etsy brings up all types of individualistic cuff links.
Go big: Buy him personalized cuff links. Try cufflinks.com or Things Remembered.
Other ideas for dad: A monogrammed steak brand from William-Sonoma for $39.95, gift certificate to Omaha steaks, spice rubs $24 for set of 4, power tools, sporting equipment, camping gear, MP3 player, digital video camera, flat screen TV, a new leather wallet, sporting event tickets, concert tickets, or a gift basket of his favorite snacks & drinks [like cashews =)].
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Go big: Get the Jumbo Wood Pull Toy Train for $89.oo. It's sure to be a keepsake item.
Other ideas for baby: Plush giraffe $12 at Anthropologie, a special holiday outfit from Janie & Jack boy or girl $60+, a collectible book (see This is New York $14.36 from Barnes and Noble), ABCs block cart for $12.99 at Target, a unique onesie $12 from Inklore.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Go big: Accessorize with a mixing bowl, bamboo wooden spoon, tea towel or multiple baking mixes.
Other ideas for the cook: Sprinkles cupcake mix, a good set of paring knives, Cuisinart Food Processor, Kitchen Aid Mixer, a Wusthof Santoku knife (it will their new favorite if they don't have one yet!), subscription to Bon Appetit or Gourmet magazine, a classic cookbook to add to their collection: The Silver Spoon, The Joy of Cooking, How to Cook Everything, or the Gourmet Cookbook.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Go big: Girl's Jewelry Box from Pottery Barn Kids, or Skyscrapers Building Blocks for boys from Oompa Toys.
Other ideas for kids: Superhero in a box, princess dress up clothes, art supplies, craft kits, educational books, sports equipment, Legos, play kitchen toys, or a fold up play tent.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Fill this cheerful popcorn bowl full of treats! $16.95 from Crate & Barrel. What to fill it with?
Microwave popcorn packets, movie sized candy boxes from Target, a favorite movie or two. Look for old classics on DVD at Target that sell for only $5-6. Wrap in clear cellophane and a big bow. Who wouldn't be excited to get that!
Go big: Buy gourmet treats at Trader Joe's or a local upscale grocery store: macadamia nut caramel corn, chocolate truffles, assorted chocolate bars, peanut butter filled pretzles, toasted almonds, trail mix, or cookies. Add decks of card games such as UNO, Skip Bo, Old Maid, and Go Fish.
Other ideas for families: A board game they don't have yet, outdoor game equipment such as croquet or bocce ball, movie tickets, an annual museum or zoo pass, or an ice cream sundae themed gift basket including sundae dishes, candy toppings, sprinkles and sauces.
Friday, November 7, 2008
This precious tiny house pendant is $18 + $4 shipping from J. Davis Studio on Etsy. I thought it would be a sweet gift for mom, as home is close at heart for many of our moms.
Go big: Add a pair of coordinating tree earrings for $21.
Other ideas for mom: Spa treatment, custom jewelry with children's birthstones (try Things Remembered, Red Envelope, Limoges), a calendar with family photos each month (Shutterfly or other photo website), L'Occitane skincare products, or create a custom Tastebook full of family recipes.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Anyways, if you happen to be going to NYC anytime soon, my "hits-the-spot" late night hotel pizza was from the Ray's Pizza on 7th Avenue between 53rd and 54th. For a nicer sit down experience I'd recommend Angelo's, my husband & I ate there 3 times the first time we went to NYC, they use real buffalo mozarella and fresh basil on their pizzas - amazing!
Tonight I tried to curb my craving with two slices to go from Gina's Pizza in Corona Del Mar. I forgot to request thin crust so it didn't really do it for me. But Gina's is my favorite pizza so far down here in South Orange County. Do you have any local pizza recommendations?
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
The warm glow. I was wishing for rain but it ended up being a bit warm out - oh well!
The mantle centerpiece was my "spooky" tree...I bought branches from Michael's and spray painted them black. The crows were cut out from black cardstock scrapbook paper using pictures of crows I found on Google Images as templates.
The dessert table. Candy is displayed in glass jars and dishes. Cinnamon popcorn balls are piled high on the right.
These skull cookies are a modification from a Martha Stewart idea. They didn't turn out quite as pretty as the magazine! I used Keebler Grasshopper cookies instead of making my own madelines and coating them in chocolate - seriously, who has time for that! They tasted really good, like a minty smore.
The graveyard. I'd been eying these tin black haunted houses this season, $60 at Pottery Barn (pass!), $30 at Target (still a bit much), $10 on sale at Von's 3 days before Halloween (sold!). The brownie coffins are also a modification of a Martha Stewart idea. I ran out of time to try the rolled out marzipan topping (the fleur de lys frosting decoration was never going to happen) and settled for a simple cross piped on with royal icing.
The pumpkin I carved during the contest at work earlier that day. My team won - yay!
The fruit that didn't make it into those cute chocolate covered pumpkins and ghosts from my post on 10/23.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Here is my most recent purchase, a Fleur De Lys sugar and creamer from Anthroplogie for only $10 each! They don't have these items listed online. I found them at the Irvine, CA location. They do have a sweet matching teapot and serving dishes listed.
I'm pretty happy with my new find. I don't have a matching set and this $20 spend was a good compromise from the $47 it would've cost to buy the set from Crate & Barrel to match my White Pearl wedding dishes (that I love!)
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
2. Holding stems, dip 10 Seckel pears in untinted chocolate and 10 Lady apples in orange chocolate. Refrigerate on a parchment-lined baking sheet until set, 20 minutes.
3. Microwave 4 ounces semisweet chocolate at 50 percent power, stirring, until melted but not hot. Transfer to a plastic bag, and snip off corner. Draw faces onto white-chocolate-dipped fruit; refrigerate until set, 10 minutes.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
It's that time of year where events start getting booked for next year and I don't have a calendar to write them in! So I thought I'd share a few calendars that I love in case you need to buy one too.
1. Wall Art Calendar by Paper-Source $26.95
Beautiful modern art for your wall.
2. Desk Calendar by Modern Art Everyday $19.00
These desk calendars in jewel cases seem to be the rage on Etsy.com.
3. Around the World Easel by Cavallini $12.95
I usually pick a new design each year to keep at my desk for quick reference.
4. Curious George Mini Calendar from Calendars.com $6.99
Can't find something you like? Calendars.com claims to have the best selection in the universe.
5. Weekly Pocket Planner from Barnes and Noble $9.95
I've carried one of these in my purse for 3 years now.
6. Google Calendar online FREE!
My hubby & I share an online calendar using our gmail accounts so we always know when each other is busy. It's made our calendaring so much easier!
Friday, October 3, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
We got to spend this past weekend in Big Bear with my husband's brother and his wife. The weather was perfect, in the high 70s, which was a nice treat as we left the scorching 90+ weather in Orange County. Our two favorite activities of the weekend: kayaking on Big Bear Lake and bike riding on the paved trail around the lake. My favorite meal: pasta from Paula's Pasta Mia, a quaint little Italian resturant in Blue Jay. What can I say...an Italian can never have too much good pasta!
Monday, September 29, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Fair warning to all, I LOVE dishes and might bore some of you with too many postings of them. My little kitchen, hall closet and even garage are too full to house any more dishes so I have to resign myself to looking. I saw these black and white dishes and decorative canisters on sale today at PotteryBarn.com and thought they were fun designs, especially for those of you who already have B&W in your kitchens.