Thursday, May 31, 2012

what i'm working on

So it's been a year since I got married and moved to IL and a year of being graphic design-jobless. It has been hard not being in a workplace environment. Albeit, I really don't miss the drama. LOL! I guess I miss being paid to design haha but I hope to be back working. Above is another pattern from the same family of designs from a previous post, here. I love foxes ....

And the two below have been created from some doodles made in my dusty sketchbook. 

Anyone looking to take a risk and hire a young designer? ;P

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

unsolicited wedding advice wednesdays : bridesmaid dresses


I've always found it hard to know how to dress for my body type. In fact, I'm usually confused as to what body type I am. If you're on the prowl for a bridesmaid dress but you're usually wandering aimlessly around stores like me then maybe this post interviewing the founder of Weddington Way on Ruffled will help you narrow the search field, here.

I have never purchased anything from Weddington Way nor am I suggesting you do but sometimes it helps to see what's out there and available before you purchase something that is right for you.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

book review : the cookie dough lover's cookbook, part 2

So after a successful eggless cookie dough recipe I thought I'd try my hand at one of the other recipes. I wanted to try something with minimal baking (it's been SO hot here in IL lately) and with ingredients that I already had on hand. Soft Sugar Cookies with Cookie Dough Frosting seemed like the right choice. I am not a huge sweets person however I have a soft spot for those soft sugar cookies with the bright frosting with sprinkles at the market. I don't know what it is! The recipe was easy to make and easy to follow, which is always a plus. And the finished product tasted just like the store-bought version except with the cookie dough twist. 

A detail that I really like about Landis' cookie dough recipes is that she uses miniature chocolate chips. They can be found next to the normal sized chocolate chips but they are SO much cuter and I will say MUCH easier to stir into the dough. They also give a better dough : chocolate ratio, in my opinion. They're so cute ...  but I digress ...

One thing I will say about this recipe is that it makes A LOT of frosting. But this is coming from a pretty non-sweets person who usually scrapes off the frosting from cakes. If you are also such a person I would suggest cutting the frosting recipe in half because I have a container full for leftover frosting in my fridge. :/  I am going to sneak in a container full of them to share with friends as we watch Marvel's The Avengers tonight for the second time, what a great movie!!!  LOVE Joss Whedon!

Monday, May 28, 2012

memorial day

On this Memorial Day, thank you, to all the service men and women and their families who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. We all owe so much for their acts of bravery.

I remember my friend, Army Spc. Louis Kim, who was killed in action in 2007 while serving in Iraq. He was just 19 years old when he died. It was his dream to train to become a sniper but that dream was never realized.

book review : the cookie dough lover's cookbook, part 1

Full disclosure, I received a free copy for Lindsay Landis' new book published by Quirk Books, "The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook" in order to do this review. You can purchase it here.

Man, it's hard to believe but this is my sixth book review for Quirk Books. Thank you, Eric at Quirk Books for letting do yet another fun review!

So the author of this book, Lindsay Landis, is the person behind Love & Olive Oil which is also a fabulous website to frequent. Landis is not only a food blogger but also a graphic designer so with that being said can I just say how much I appreciate the information organization of this book and the beautiful photography that Landis also did. Also being a graphic designer I can tell you that the simplicity of how all the text in the book is laid out does not mean that it was easy to do so. Simple ≠ Easy, let me tell you Mr. Man. 

The inspiration for the cookbook was a Cookie Dough Truffle recipe that has been and continues to be the most popular post on her food blog. And so, the foundation of the cookbook is an eggless raw cookie dough recipe that is safe to eat as-is without the fear of salmonella poisoning. Seeing how my sweet hubby is a HUGE fan of cookie dough I decided that the first thing I'd want to make was the basic Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough recipe. Because c'mon, if the cookie dough recipe is no good then what's the point of making the other stuff, right? 

The cookie dough was very easy to make and I appreciated the different versions that Landis suggests as well.  Such as a Vegan/Dairy-Free version, Gingerbread version, or Gluten-Free version. I used a 1 oz. ice-cream scoop to help me portion out the cookie dough balls.  I decided to roll some of them in my hand to to leave others looking like tiny scoops of ice-cream with the rough edges. I thought the eggless cookie dough was pretty dang good. It was a tiny bit different from the real-deal but not enough for it to really matter.  And the real cookie dough fan in the house thought it was very good too! If you're a fan of cookie dough, I'd definitely suggest you check out this book!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

organize my life

My friend Mary used to always say, "Augh, I need to organize my life" when things got a messy and needed to be controlled. For a lot of people an organized desk or home helps their mind tackle all the different tasks in their lives. For others it doesn't really matter. But if you're part of the first group then there never seems to be enough organizational tools or gadgets to help keep things tidy and ready for action ... and if they're cute, all the better!

Two websites with just such items are Present & Correct and See Jane Work. Both sites have things that will help corral and contain, organize and create order for your work area, home, purse, or all of the above! I could spend hours just browsing through all their lovely items. 

(above top) Patterned Planners
(above middle) Button Push Pins
(above bottom) 60s Metal Tube Tidy

(below top) Vintage Wall Pockets
(below middle 1) Sticky Tab Dividers
(below middle 2) Semokolon Sticky Page Markers
(below bottom) Bamboo Desktop Dry-Erase Board

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

unsolicited wedding advice wednesdays : more monograms

Everyone loves monogram stuff. It's cute, it's fun and you get to claim your territory (this is often helpful in a workplace environment and even at home!). They also make cute "his & hers" gifts for yourself or for others. Here are some beautiful monogram mugs from Magpie. They also have these in paper plates and cups as part of their "A to Z" collection

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

icebox strawberry pie

I have NEVER been a sweets/dessert kind of person. I've always said that I'd much rather order another entree than order dessert. However, Mark is not that way. He will order two entrees AND order dessert! LOL But after we got married his taste has rubbed off on me a bit because now I eat dessert and even crave it from time to time. Augh, I guess that's called marital bliss.

This past weekend the dessert I made to serve with the Filipino chicken adobo was Icebox Strawberry Pie from Cook's Country (which is part of America's Test Kitchen, my fav). I watched the episode where they made this pie and I've been dreaming about it ever since so I was quite happy to finally make it. This is a pretty easy pie to make. The only part that is actually baked is the pie shell and if you're like me and you end up buying the pie shell it's even easier. I will mention that if you decide to buy the pie shell I'd buy the "deep dish" size pie shell. My experience with the Pillsbury pre-made frozen pie shell was that the strawberry filling was too much for the regular pie shell so it actually filled both pie shells that the package came with.

Since this pie was for guests I wanted to go the extra mile and pipe on the whipped topping with a pastry tip to make it look pretty. I actually do own a pastry bag but I really didn't want to have to wash it at the end of the day so I used a ziplock sandwich bag instead. If you don't have a pastry tip you could still use this method. Just fill the bag with the topping and cut off a corner of the sandwich bag and pipe. If you do have a pastry tip then cut off a corner of the unfilled bag and then slip the tip through the hole from inside the sandwich bag then fill with topping. With or without a pastry tip what you want to do next is push as much air out of the bag as possible and lock it closed. When you're ready to pipe pleat the top of the bag in your hand and hold it like that (second picture below) and twist the bag until it pushes the topping out the tip or cut opening. Holding the bag pleated like this will keep the topping from oozing out the top of the bag when you squeeze. Lastly, store the bag in the fridge nestled in a jar until you're ready to use or the next time you want a slice of pie.

Monday, May 21, 2012

year one

So hard to believe but one year ago today Mark and I were married. I still have nightmares about all the logistics and planning that went into the big day. I remember it was such a hard time for me with planning the wedding, moving to IL, dealing with both of our families, and still being long distance with Mark through it all. But all the good, the bad, and the ugly was worth it to finally be together for the rest of our lives. I'm happy to celebrate this milestone and am looking forward to many more years to come. 

Our fantastic photographer, Nina of Love & Lemonade, took the picture above (I added the white embellishments to the corners of the photo). She, along with her friends, Howard and Teresa were our wonderfully talented photographers. 

filipino chicken adobo

Mark and I had some company come over this weekend and I wanted to make something instead of ordering out. After some thought and blog window shopping I decided I would try my hand at Filipino style chicken adobo. Mark (who is Filipino) says adobo is an everyday staple food kind of like meat and potatoes on the table for an American family. It's actually a really easy dish to make and the magic is in the salty/vinegary sauce. Funny enough, my mom (I'm Korean) makes something VERY similar to this dish but just with less vinegar. Interesting, huh?

I've been informed by Mark that there are many different versions of Filipino chicken adobo... some are more soupy, some are less soupy, some have veggies added, some don't, etc. The version he's accustomed to is totally simple - just chicken and sauce. I asked if I could add some carrots and he said no. I asked if I could top the cooked chicken with some cilantro and he said no. He then commented by saying, "I don't try to change your Korean food. Just leave it alone!" Haha, but for the photo I added some cilantro for color. Sorry, Mark!

Anyway, there are lots of recipes online for this dish but the one I used is from Budget Bytes. I like how the recipe instructions are organized on this blog and the final product was Filipino approved by Mark. I doubled the recipe to have leftovers to eat for the week. I will mention that if you have a fat separator this would be a good recipe to use it because a good amount of fat is rendered from the chicken in the sauce. Or what you can do is make it the day before and store the sauce in the fridge to let the fat coagulate and just skim it off with a spoon and reheat to serve. Another extra step I did was strain the peppercorns from the sauce just so it's easier to eat. If you don't do this just warn your guests that there are whole peppercorns that they could chomp on.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

diy wall starburst decor

First off, I'm sorry these pictures are grainy and lame. I had to use my point-and-shoot because of the focal length on my D-SLR. Anyhow, I wanted to share a quick and easy DIY room decor idea. My inspiration was from this beautiful wallpaper called Moonlight from Wallpaper Direct, pictured below.

Inspiration plus something paint chip circles and twine that I still had on-hand from Mark's birthday garland turned into a colorful starburst pattern on our bedroom wall. 

I used thumbtacks to haphazardly create the starburst pattern with twine and I taped the paint chip circles on the head of the tack. This way it's an easy DIY project that can also be taken down quick and leave the wall of our apartment relatively unblemished. This was important because I know we won't be living in this apartment forever. I want our deposit back, baby!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

unsolicited wedding advice wednesdays : 1145 lill studio

1145 Lill Studio is an company that allows the customer to create their own bags choosing from over 40 styles of bags and accessories and then choosing from over 130 different fabrics. Or you can purchase something from their collection (all bags shown). They have two boutiques, in Chicago and Boston but you can do everything online too. I'd love to visit the boutique in person since the Chicago location it's pretty local for me. These would be perfect gifts for your bridesmaids and mothers because you can tailor each bag to each person or you could create the perfect purse to match your bridesmaids' outfit. These would also make wonderful baby shower gifts as well because they have baby bags made for moms!

The bag and accessory styles are simple and modern however where the real fun happens is with the fabric choices. The colors and patterns are so beautiful. Depending on the style bag/accessory you select you will get to customize the interior, exterior, strap, and even accent trim. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

new at ikea!

I am eyeing some new items at Ikea. How cute is the Raskog turquoise kitchen cart (top)?! I can imagine that little cart everywhere in the house, inside and out. Great for a dinner party to hold extra cups and plates. Or how about a mobile bar with all your liquor and bar essentials. But it would also a great little game cart to house all your board games. Or how about a traveling herb garden? Perfect for a bathroom to hold extra T.P. and towels. 

Next, we have two rugs. One for the adults and one for the kiddies. I've been thinking about buying a rug for like 6 months now but they're so expensive. This Malin Figur rug might be pretty enough to convince me to fork over the dough. I think the colors are brighter than pictured. Lastly, we have a really fun Vandring Spar rug for the kiddies. I used to work in a preschool and I can just imagine story time sitting around this cute rug and kids playing with toy cars on a rug like this. And for $24.99 what's not to love?

Monday, May 14, 2012

make a statement

I love a good statement necklace. I still dress like I'm in Junior High so I usually don't wear necklaces but bold and colorful ones on other people always seem to catch my eye. One day when I don't have to worry about budget I will dress my age and wear a beautiful statement necklace. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

unsolicited wedding wednesdays : fun monograms

Monograms are always so fun especially at a wedding. Here are some really cool and cheap letters from Urban Outfitters. The top and below are Acid Etched letters. The aluminum letters ($10/each) are etched with a different pattern but as you can see they're more on the smallish side (approximately 6.5"w, 6" h). The bottom Around the World letters ($12/each) are made out of cardboard and cotton and are slightly bigger (approximately 8"w, 8" h). Both would go really great with any wedding style and after the wedding they would be really cute in the newly wed home!

Obviously, a DIY monogram could easily be made. Craft stores like Michael's and JoAnn sell big cardboard letters that could be dressed up any number of ways however these guys are so cute and cheap that I'd just go and buy these suckers up!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

online love : blik

Ok, so there's Blick and there's Blik. Today we're talking about Blik. Wall decals galore! Some are originals, some are from famous designers, some are borrowed from Threadless. In fact, I own some of the shirts that are now made into wall decals. ;P

These wall decals are a very cool and relatively inexpensive way to spruce up an apartment that you don't want to take the trouble to paint only to have to paint back to beige when you move out. Or it's a great way to decorate rooms that have design expiration dates, such as kids' rooms, baby/wedding shower events, birthday celebrations, even wedding receptions. The decor you might have up when your kid is a newborn isn't necessarily the thing they'll want when they're school-aged. Or maybe you have the extra cash to make your best friend's bridal or baby shower extra spunky.  Or maybe you're a bride on a budget and have booked a blank slate for the wedding or the reception hall and could use all the help you could get to transform it from sterile to something special. 

Here are some decals that caught my eye:
(below, row 1) Night Owls, Skyrides

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