Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ride with Pride

Nothing’s better than easy-riding on a beautiful bicycle on a sunny day. And nothing is more beautiful than these guys: meet our Linus bikes!  (Mine is the one with the basket, of course.)  Instead of the classic beach cruiser, these bikes were inspired by European city bikes.  We like to take these puppies for a picnic in the park or just a loop around the neighborhood.  This year we’re hoping to take them to the beach to ride along the bike path.  So excited!  It’s funny how amped we get about a simple bike ride.  Perhaps it’s because the culture that surrounds this leisurely sport is infectious.  I sometimes wish I lived in a more European-like metropolitan city where transportation via bicycle was the norm.  Hmm…

Linus Dutch I
Linus Roadster
Cruisin' in Catalina
Aaaah, the Parisian life.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Perfect Artichoke

…is easy!  Sometimes we have artichoke dinners on a weeknight when my appetite is hiding (which is rare).  Here is a GREAT artichoke preparation that we use that is super easy, yet super tasty:

  • Rinse the artichokes and snip off all of the pointy leaf spears with kitchen shears.
  • Cut the top (about an inch) off and the bottom stalk, so it has a flat and sturdy base.
  • Fill a large stockpot with about 1 inch of water and stand the artichokes up in the water.
  • Add a couple slices of fresh lemon, two are three whole garlic cloves and two bay leaves.
  • Cover and let steam for about half an hour, or until the stalk is soft when poked with the tip of a cutting knife.
While the ‘chokes steam, I like to whip up a dipping aioli with whatever I have in the fridge.  Be warned: it’s not very precise in terms of measurements and tastes different every time.  It usually tends to be:

  • A heaping table spoon of greek yoghurt
  • A little bit of mayonnaise
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • A generous amount of dried dill
  • Garlic powder to taste

Monday, February 27, 2012


…the Fall 2012 J. Crew Collection!  Little words are needed here. I love everything about this;  the mix of color, pattern and lux materials used to give these classic silhouettes a modern twist is simply apirational.  What Jenna Lyons has done for the brand over the past few years is nothing short of astonishing.  Spring is just beginning, yet now I’m already excited for Fall!
J. Crew Fall 2012
J. Crew Fall 2012
J. Crew Fall 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

Cheese It

Anyone that knows me knows that I absolutely LOVE cheese.  Any kind:  goat, sheep, cow, blends, hard, soft, ripe, stinky… I love it all.  In fact, sometimes we just enjoy cheese and wine for dinner.  Why not, right?!  When Nick and I got married, we received the BEST wedding gift from one of my bridesmaids:  Cheese of the Month membership from Murray’s in New York.  It was amazing!!  Each month, we would receive a featured cheese along with an artisan pairing (such as fig jam) and it was such a treat.  If you’re looking for a unique wedding gift, I would highly recommend it.  They ship almost anywhere via a perishable shipping company, so it’s workable for almost anyone (that likes cheese or meat).  Speaking of weddings and cheese;  have you ever seen a wedding cake made from wheels of cheese?!  What a genius idea!  I just discovered this on Murray’s blog, but apparently it’s a popular thing in the UK… what do you think?  Have a great weekend and enjoy a little cheese (with the Oscars!)!

This is how we roll. Must. Have. Truffles.
Mmmm... "cheese" cake wedding cake.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I find things from the past fascinating;  I always have.  I definitely wouldn’t call myself a history fanatic, but I love a good story or picture or object from yesteryear.  The street we live on in East LA is a hidden gem, in our eyes, and we are lucky enough to have a neighbor that feels the same and has been researching and documenting our street for the past decade or so.  She is known as “the Mayor” and she even keeps a blog about her findings, what’s going on in the ‘hood and announcements, etc.  One of my favorite sections of her blog is titled, “Historic Neighborhood Photos”.  Some of the photos date back to the late nineteenth century and it’s fascinating to see the lay of the land before we (kind of) destroyed it.  One of my favorites is from April of 1950 when it snowed; how fun!  This is why I love a good picture:

Our neighborhood, 1905.
Same shot, 25 years later.  Circa 1930.
Our street (a corkskrew cul de sac), 1922. 
Yes, that is mini-golf being played.
LA River flood of 1927.
Snow! April, 1950.
Then and now.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ahoy, Matey!

Here it comes again… my intrigue in that “Prepster” style!  This time it’s calling for something more specific: nautical!  Perhaps it’s the gorgeous 74-degree weather we’ve been having in Los Angeles lately that screams, “go to the beach!”. Or maybe it’s my suppressed dream of one day living on a boat and traveling the world like Joan Wilder and Jack Colton in the 80’s classic The Jewel of the Nile rising to the surface.  Or it could even be from these Life magazine photos of Jackie and JFK that I found on my computer recently while cleaning out my folders (how aspirational!).  Whatever it is, I am totally in to these preppy, yacht-y styles with a twist:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mardi Gras!

It’s Fat Tuesday for all you Catholics out there, which means MARDI GRAS is in full swing!  Some of my family lives in the Gulf region (Mississippi, to be exact) and they are celebrating at this moment with good food, good drinks and an all-around good time.  I’ve never had the privilege of being in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, but when we do make it down that way I’m always obsessed with the food.  My uncle makes a mighty-mean Crawfish Étouffée and we usually stop at Café Du Monde for a few beignets.  Since the LA Times blogged about 10 Mardi Gras recipes from their test kitchen, I think I might give these guys a try:

LA Times

Crawfish Spinach Pie

Active Work Time: 40 minutes

Total Preparation Time: 2 hours

Note: To clarify butter, microwave 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) of butter until melted, skim off the foam from the top, then pour off the butter and discard any milky water on the bottom. You'll be left with about 1/2 cup. You can find frozen cooked crawfish tails at some fish markets.

1/2 cup clarified butter

1/2 cup flour

2 cups cold milk

6 green onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup cooked, drained and chopped spinach

Pastry for 1 (9-inch) single-crust pie

3 eggs

1 pound cooked crawfish tails, shelled

Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the flour and stir, cooking until the mixture is a pale yellow and the raw flour taste is gone, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly. When it is thick and beginning to bubble, about 4 to 5 minutes, add the onions, garlic, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, white pepper, black pepper, paprika, salt and spinach. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring all the while. Remove the saucepan from the heat and cool the mixture completely.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Roll and shape the pastry to fit a 9-inch pie pan. Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and fold them and the crawfish into the spinach mixture. Pour into the pie shell.

Bake the pie until the crust is golden and the center of the pie is set, 60 to 70 minutes. Cool 15 minutes before serving.

LA Times

Total time: 30 minutes, plus rising time for the dough

Servings: 12 (Makes 3 dozen beignets)

Note: Adapted from a recipe by chef 
Bryan Gilmore of the Creole Creamery in New Orleans, from "86 Recipes."

1 teaspoon plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided

1 envelope active dry yeast

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

4 cups flour, plus extra for work surface, divided

1 cup whole milk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom, nutmeg or cinnamon (untraditional and optional)

1 large egg, at room temperature

Peanut or vegetable oil for deep-frying

At least 2 cups powdered sugar for dusting

1. In a small bowl, combine one-fourth cup warm water and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture. Let sit 5 to 6 minutes; if the yeast is not absorbed, stir lightly until the mixture is creamy.

2. Combine the remaining one-half cup sugar, salt and 3 cups of the flour in a large bowl with a whisk, or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.

3. Combine the milk and butter in a small saucepan and heat over low heat just until the butter is melted.

4. If you are using a standing mixer, swap out the whisk attachment for the dough hook. In a slow, steady stream, mix the milk mixture into the sugar-salt-flour mixture. If mixing by hand, stir with a fork or wooden spoon. Add the egg, the yeast mixture and the remaining 1 cup of flour. Mix until a soft dough forms (you may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot until the dough doubles, 1 to 2 hours.

5. Heat about 3 inches of oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven until the temperature reaches about 370 degrees.

6. Divide the dough into thirds. Working in batches on a floured work surface, knead each piece briefly. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle less than one-fourth-inch thick. Cut the dough into roughly 3-inch squares and gently drop them, 2 or 3 at a time, into the hot oil. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, until golden brown, then flip them over carefully with a slotted spoon. Cook 1 to 1 1/2 minutes longer, until the beignets are puffed and evenly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beignets to paper towels to drain off excess oil. Dust thickly with powdered sugar and serve hot or warm.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Lubashka! Created by a fabulous mother-daughter team, each piece is one-of-a-kind and made by hand with beads and materials from around the world (like desirable, artisan places;  not cheapy-China).  If you’re looking for a true “statement necklace”, these are the ones you want!  Anastasya (the “daughter”) is a stylist in Los Angeles, so sometimes these works of art are worn by celebrities like Kelly Roland or are used in editorials for magazines, such as Bloom and Surface.  Stay tuned for where to buy!
Kelly Roland in Lubashka and editorial for Surface Magazine.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Off to the desert today to spend some time with my parents and grandmother, who is visiting from Missouri!  Although it’s only for the weekend, I am SO MUCH looking forward to escaping the hectic city and relaxing with a margarita in Sunny Scottsdale.  Have a great weekend!

Christmas in Arizona, 2011.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pouf Me!

To finish filling that awkward space in our living room, we’ve added a fireplace and now want to add a couple of “poufs” or ottomans to complete the project.  We definitely need more seating and like how casual, small and mobile poufs are.  It’s also a great way to add a little pop into the room.  There are so many options available today, such as different shapes, sizes, fabrications and prints.  I really like the idea of the cowhide, especially how it counter-balances our super-shiny, spaceship-like fireplace.  Cowboy meets alien!

  1  2  3  4

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Black & Gold

Last weekend, I bought these black suede sandals from Zara and absolutely love them, but am wondering what to wear them with.  Yes, Spring is fast-approaching and pretty pastels are in abundance at most retailers, but I’m kind of liking the more “vintage D&G" approached to warm-weather wear:  glitz!  I came across this Antipodium skirt while on-line “researching” at work and it sparked my idea for the below get-up.  Now if only I could successfully pull off wearing a bralette…
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Heart Day!

Like I mentioned before, Nick and I don’t really make a big deal about Valentine’s Day.  We like to think it's the little things that count (like the "mixed" cd he gave me this morning, - which I LOVED!). So tonight we will spend at home in front of our new fireplace, noshing on our favorite new “Easy Weeknight Din-Din”: Veggie Taco Salad!  (Thanks, Angie!) This is so tasty and so easy to make. Once again there is no meat, but I don’t think you even miss it with this flavor-packed, recipe.  We also like it because it contains ingredients we have in the house at (pretty much) all times, so it's kind of a no-brainer.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

  • Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips
  • Mixed Greens
  • 1 small bunch of Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 can Organic Black Beans
  • 1 can Organic Yellow Corn
  • 1 Avacado
  • Crème Fraiche
  • Pico de Gallo (we like Medium in spice level)

Makes 2.5 Servings

Step One: lay a thin layer of tortilla chips on a plate.

Step Two: chop up the mixed greens cover the chips.

Step Three: drain the corn and the beans, then add them on top of the mixed greens.

Step Four: chop and add the avocado.

Step Five: spoon on the pico de gallo (this is kind of like the dressing, so I like to be a little generous when spooning).

Step Six: add a dollop of crème fraiche to the top.

Step Seven: coarsely shop the cilantro and sprinkle over the entire salad.

Monday, February 13, 2012

POP Events

Here's an interesting concept: a proposal planner.  Ever heard of one?  It's someone who helps their clients plan the absolute perfect wedding proposal and create a dream scenario that will be remembered for a lifetime.  And a friend of mine has started a company that does just that! POP Events (Proposal of Perfection) will assist with proposal ideas, planning, prep for the big day and can even help throw the engagement party once she says, “YES”! Happy Valentine's Eve!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dreaming of...

SPAIN!  Work has been absolutely crazy the past few weeks and the weekends are virtually non-existent.  I’m longing for a little quiet time and relaxation and what would be more perfect right now than siestas in Spain.  Nick’s parents have a vacation place near Malaga and we met them there last October for a few days on our way back to the States from Italy.  What a serene place!  My favorite was a day trip to Alhambra of Grenada.  Talk about heaven!  Here are a few pictures from our trip that are keeping me going.  Happy weekend!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Let's Get Cozy

We did it!  We got the Aeris fireplace by Cocoon Fires on Saturday and hung it as soon as we got home!  Yes, it was a little more difficult than originally thought (especially since it didn’t come with any of the screws or anchors needed to install it), but considering we had a fireplace in our home in less than two hours, not bad.  Below is our step-by-step documentation of just how “easy” it was to add this little bit of coziness to our Humble Haus. We are still hoping to add some crushed glass or some sort of decorative element to the basin in order to camouflage the fire unit, but that should be quite easy to find.  And since the fire unit is removable, in the Summer months we can fill it with other decorative elements, such as succulents, spider plants, etc.  Can’t wait!
  • Step 1: Get excited.  You’ve got a new fireplace!
  • Step 2: Unpack everything and make sure you have all the right pieces.  Depending where you are installing this, you will need to have the proper screws, anchors, etc.
  • Step 3: Drill your pilot holes.
  • Step 4: Insert your anchors.
  • Step 5: Secure the mounting plate to the ceiling.
  • Step 6: Screw the extension rod into the mounting plate.
  • Step 7: No, that’s not a stripper pole;  only a few more steps!  The hardest point is now over!
  • Step 8: Adjust the height of the extension pole depending on how low you want the opening/mouth of the fireplace.
  • Step 9: Position the fireplace at the end of the extension pole.
  • Step 10: Secure the fireplace to the extension pole with the included butterfly bolt.
  • Step 11: Remove and fill your Cocoon fire unit with the APPROPRIATE biofuel.
  • Step 12: Carefully return the fire unit to the fireplace.
  • Step 13: Tadaaaa!  Light and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

For Him

Like most ladies, I like my man to smell good and look good.  So for the final Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas post, I thought I would share some of my favorite goodies Nick has/uses.  Unlike the other posts, I feel some of these might need a little explanation: 
  • The first is the Recover real-wood “skin” for his iPhone.  These are nice because they don’t add any bulk to the phone and they are BEAUTIFUL.  Available for the iPad as well.
  • The next is a body balm that we actually bought at Anthropologie… I guess you can say it’s unisex?  Regardless, it smells amazing and he needed something for his super-dry skin (due to swimming).  Ladies, you can use it, too!
  • Then there’s the candle.  I know, I know;  it’s not normally a gift you would buy for a guy.  But he actually wanted this after seeing/smelling it in the bathroom of Il Sole last Fall.  It’s perfect for his office (or man cave).
  • Finally, the undies.  Yikes!  My mom gave these Ted Bakers to Nick this past Christmas and they are so cute!  There’s nothing worse than your man in ill-fitting underwear, so do him (and yourself) a favor and get him some that look good!
Recover iPhone Skins

Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Balm
Feal Mor Candle
Ted Baker Undies
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...