Wednesday, December 19, 2012

diy pomegranate tea

I have fond memories of eating pomegranates as a kid. I would stuff handfuls in my mouth and savor each seed as it popped with juice. As I got older my mom would give me a mug full of Korean Pomegranate tea on cold winter nights. When I say "tea" I mean that in a very loose way because there are no tea leaves. It's basically preserved pomegranate syrup added to hot water. Pomegranate juice as we all know is a good source of antioxidants and in Asian cultures it is said to be very good for women in particular. Usually what the means is that it's good for women's reproductive organs or it makes you pretty haha.

This would be a great thing to have in the fridge during the cold winter months and it would also be a great gift to give.  And it just so happens that I'll be giving one batch to my boss for Christmas. If this sounds good but too much work you can also find commercially made jars of this stuff in Korean markets.  ;P

Korean Pomegranate Tea
- a sterlized and completely dried airtight vessel, I used a Slom jar from Ikea with a rubber gasket (sold separately)
- pomegranate seeds (one whole pomegranate seemed to be enough for one Slom jar)
- white sugar
- honey (optional)
- vodka (optional)

**warning: pomegranate juice will stain your clothes so be careful!
1. Sterilize your container with hot water and dry completely. Wash your rubber gasket too.
2. With clean hands open up the pomegranate and carefully release the seeds with your fingers into a clean bowl. Don't use any seeds that are brown and squishy.
3. Cover the bottom of your vessel with sugar and add a layer or seeds. Drizzle the seeds with honey if using and cover completely with a layer of sugar. Repeat until you reach the top.
4. If using vodka, carefully pour vodka until it covers the top layer. Close and refrigerate.

Essentially we are preserving the pomegranate juice with sugar and the enemy is mold. Should you find mold in your jar it means it's time to toss the batch. With time the seeds with break down and release their juice and mix with the sugar. The tiny pits in each seed will fall to the bottom and that's just fine because they're not for eating.

We want to reach the point of making a syrup with the juice and sugars. At that point we make the tea by adding this syrup to hot water. The amount of syrup is definitely to taste (I usually add about 3-4 Tablespoons) but you always want to use a clean dry spoon to retrieve the syrup so that the rest of the batch isn't contaminated. This tea is meant to be enjoyed as a winter treat (think Asian Hot Toddy) and can also be used medicinally especially if your batch has vodka. I would drink this when I had a sore throat or cough and it would give relief. If a hot drink is not your cup of tea (see what I did there?!) then this syrup would be a great addition to a winter cocktail, sparking water, or even to make your own flavored champagne.

Monday, December 17, 2012

what i'm working on : uncommon, update

Here's an update on a previous post. During my hiatus the hubby and I changed phone services so I got an iPhone. I must say I do miss my BlackBerry's physical keyboard. It fit the hand so well and was easy to type. But still, on to the dark side I have come. One good thing was that I was finally able to order one of the iPhone cases that I had designed for Uncommon for myself. I got the iPhone 5 Deflector case with my Woodland Friends design. I think if I could do it over I would have gotten the Black Bezel Deflector case to match the black bezel around the camera area. But whatever.

Another fun update on my cases is that four of them have been picked up by Apple Europe! The four below are sold on Apple Europe websites and I assume in stores as well. If you live by an Apple store in Europe check for me! I'm really excited about it and I hope they sell well.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

roasted chicken

I've been trying to cook more at home lately and one easy recipe was roasted chicken from Ina Garten, here. I didn't have the fresh thyme, lemon, or fennel on hand so I added a little dried Italian seasoning instead of the thyme and I brined the bird in beer a couple hours before cooking. Even with no lemon or fresh thyme it still came out tasty and buttering the bird on and under the skin didn't hurt either. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

rain drops keep falling on my head


I had never experienced hard water until I moved to IL and when we moved into our current apt the shower head was so clogged that it resembled a leaky faucet more than anything. It was getting difficult to shower and annoying as hell so I knew something had to be done. I wanted to try to clean the shower head using products as natural as possible and after doing some research online I decided to try a few methods.

Method #1: So one method I found suggested that I pour a mixture of white vinegar and water in a plastic bag and then tie that bag around the shower head while submerging it for at least an hour. Result: Fail, 2% clear. I guess maybe "Fail" isn't an accurate description. This method helped as much as a 10 year old can "help" you with your taxes ... maybe a little but not much. Tying the bag around the shower head while keeping it submerged was actually really difficult because of air bubbles and gravity pulled the bag down little by little.

Method #2: I figured the degree of hard water built up on this bad boy needed full strength, 100% white vinegar with no dilution.  So the next method I tried I unscrewed the shower head, tapped out any debris from the back end (by the way, YUCK!, see picture below), put the shower head in a tall cup, poured baking soda inside the back end of the head, poured enough white vinegar (slowly) to submerge it, and let it set for a couple of hours. Result: A little better, 50% clear. It still wasn't the free flowing shower head that I knew it could be.

Method #3: Last thing I did was to repeat the baking soda +100% (non-diluted) white vinegar method but this time I let it sit submerged over night, 8+ hours. Result: 98% clear! There were only a few holes that were still slightly dribbling water so I used a safety pin to poke through the last remaining clogged holes and after that I was golden!

After proudly announcing that I had successfully unclogged the shower head to my sweet hubby he then immediately suggested we get a brand new shower head with a hose so we could wash the dog in the tub. Bastard.

Friday, December 7, 2012

pantone color of the year : emerald

First of all, yes, I'm still alive. Second of all, it's been a while! I think I lost my blog mojo during fall when the hubby and I were apt hunting, moving, unpacking, quitting old jobs and getting new jobs, swapping out the car, adopting the in-law's dog, etc etc. A lot has happened in a short period of time but I think the dust has begun to settle and I'm getting used to my new life schedule and now I feel better about posting again. 

Ok, onto other frivolous matters like the new Pantone color of the year for 2013, Emerald! Green is my favorite color (even my engagement ring is green) and I'm very excited about 2013. I picked out some pieces on Polyvore for a little Emerald inspiration.  Even though Pantone's Emerald might remind you of cooler seasons like winter different lighter tones can be drawn from it for the perfect spring or summer pop of color. If you're wondering what 2012's color of the year was, click here.

Oh! And I've been forced to join the dark side ... I have an iPhone now (RIP BlackBerry, how I miss your wonderful keyboard). If you're on Instagram search for me under, MIXANDMATCHY. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

sprinkles ice-cream

Ok, so I've got to be honest. I am not a fan of Sprinkles cupcakes. I find them to be generally dry and too sweet. Having said that, I do love their branding and I'm super curious to try Sprinkles ice-cream next time I'm home in CA. Some flavors I'd like to try are Cherry Vanilla, Cap'n Crunch, and Strawberry Sorbet.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

we interrupt the regularly scheduled program

Well, you've notice the pause in posts. Sorry for being MIA. August is hectic with friends visiting, moving to a new apt at the end of the month, and hours watching the Olympics (oh the sorrow and joy!).

Hope to pick things up in a couple of weeks! Keep checking back!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

unsolicited wedding advice wednesdays : olive manna

Ok, so I'm not saying that this place has the best prices but boy is the site pretty to look at. Check out Olive Manna for lovlies like these.

row 1: Industrial Metal Tray ($46), Barkboard Rustic Chalkboard ($38 small, original size sold out)
row 2: Ruffled Tin Cake Stands ($25 small, $32 medium, $45 large, $95 for all three), Ballonoff Kitchen Tins ($36)
row 3: Twill Ribbon (20 color options, $8 for 5 yards, $60 for 72 yards), Solid Baker's Twine (12 color options, $8 small 50 yard spool, $30 large 800 yard spool)
row 4: Scalloped Hanging Chalkboard Sign ($18), Wood Gift Tags (8 color options, $9, pack of 8)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

local wildlife

One of the things that I really appreciate here in IL is the amount of green space carved out of the suburbs. It's definitely different from Southern California where green space is planned and created by man with designated parks using non-native plants. It's hard to believe that Southern California is actually a mild desert climate because of all the green plants that are kept up thanks to the use of modern irrigation (aka, sprinklers). Squirrels and geese are common animal friends found anywhere in IL but this weekend we got to see a less common sighting of a Black Swallowtail Butterfly outside our apt.

Monday, July 16, 2012

omd : mulberry

I love sturdy leather bags ... part masculine, part feminine. The current OMD (objects of my desire) are these bags from Mulberry. The top one is the Brynmore for MacBook Pro, it has a compartment specifically for a 15" MacBook Pro which would be perfect for me except for the fact that it costs $1,200, holy cannoli!

The bottom two bags (East West Bayswater and Alexa bags) are a little more mature-looking but still beautiful. I guess I'm thinking about trying to dress my age more.  I'm gonna be in my mid-30's in a couple of years, yikes!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

unsolicited wedding advice wednesdays : little borrowed dress

I saw a beautiful post on Style Me Pretty in May for Little Borrowed Dress and I thought I'd share the vendor with you too!

Little Borrowed Dress is a company that rents (or sells) dresses for bridesmaids.  How awesome is that?! Basically you (or the bride) choose a style/color, you pick a size, they mail you the dress, and you mail it back when you're done. For more info, check out the website, here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

cork board makeover

Here's a fun little project that I did in one day.  I made-over an old cork board that I've had for years and years. The poor thing was looking a little drab and the holes were becoming too noticeable so I thought I'd paint it to give it new life. Here's how I did it.

white and neon orange acrylic paint (I mixed the two to make the third color)
plastic container to hold paints
plastic bag or damp paper towel (to wrap brushes and palette when not in use to keep from drying out)
old newspapers
ruler, pencil
masking tape/painter's tape

1. First, paint the entire cork board and frame with white acrylic paint and let it dry.

2. Next use a pencil to mark off the measurements of how you want your board divided. I chose to divide the board three sections high and eight across but you can do whatever you'd like. As far as the colors go, follow the repeating pattern of 1, 2, 3 across each row. Assign a color to each number and follow the pattern. I chose to let 1 be the darker color, 2 the medium color, and 3 the background color (white). I pencil marked the measurements directly on the frame and on the masking tape so the pencil wouldn't show.  Just paint over the marks on the frame at the end to erase.  

3. Use masking tape to paint sections at a time. I taped off the top and bottom rows (leaving the middle row for last). Then, I taped off all the dark colors and painted them first and let it dry.  Then I did the same with the medium color. Paint several coats for an opaque look or keep it streaky like I did for more of a watercolor effect. 

4. Remove the masking tape after finishing the last row and you're done!

Friday, June 29, 2012

what i'm working on : uncommon

So I've been patiently waiting to share this with you but I have sold 6 of my designs to Uncommon which is a company that sells custom and designer iPhone and iPad cases! Order online here! Haha I'm just kidding (unless you really are in the market for a new case).  Big thanks to my friend A who works at Uncommon and opened the door for me to send in some designs.

I hope they sell well so I will be asked to submit more work ... oh, and get paid.  LOL!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

unsolicited wedding advice wednesdays : shapewear

I think every girl wants to look her best whether it's on her wedding day or just going out for the day. All of us have some part of our body that we're not happy with but sometimes it's nice to get a little help if we can. Shapewear has come a long way over the years and could potentially make you look way thinner than you actually are. I say, if you can trick the eye into making yourself look thinner, why not?!  I happened to catch a re-run episode of Dr. Oz when he had Janie Byant who is the costumer designer for Madmen and some of her recommendations for shapewear that she uses on the show.

If you're more of a pear shape (more weight in hips and thighs) she recommended two products from Rago.  First is the Upper Body Extra Firm Shaping Long Line Bra ($44) and the Leg Shaper Firm Shaping ($37). Bryant simplified the names of the products on the show but I think these are the ones she showed. Both of these are the two images below. If you'd like to see some of Rago's products in action there are some YouTube videos of women before and after wearing different shapewear by Rago, here.

If you're more of an apple shape (more weight in the belly area) Bryant recommended Flexees Easy-Up Strapless Unitard from Maidenform ($38.99-$44). Ok, so if you're like me the first thing you'll think when you see the picture below is, "Why are there straps when the product is supposed to be strapless." Well, the straps are removable so I guess it's both. 

If you're in need of some help all around, Bryant recommended Bodysuit with Legs ($92, comes with or without an underwire) by Lipo in a Box (image below). This is supposed to suck and shape everything from the bust all the way down to the thighs.

Lastly, (or firstly?) the image at the very top of this post is shapewear recommendation from a different episode of Dr. Oz from Emme the plus-size model. She recommended the Flexees Ultimate Slimmer Wear Your Own Bra (WYOB) Torsette Body Briefer ($36) from Maidenform. She liked that you could wear your own bra while still getting be benefits from shapewear. You can check out the video from the episode, here.

Also, I'd like to include a short clip also from the Dr. Oz (I swear, I rarely watch this show!!) show that rather convincingly explains why you should always wash worn shapewear after every use. It's kind of gross but it's informational, here.

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