A Little Cooking Help, Please.

Have you heard about it yet? No? Well...wait for it, wait for it...The Kitchn has a brand new "cure." Yay, it's the Cooking Cure. For those of us that enjoy cooking, but get "stuck" sometimes and need a little inspiration, this sounds like something that may be fun.
I found after doing the juice cleanse and part of the food lover's cleanse, I just haven't been as motivated to do much cooking. It's been much easier to pick something up for lunch and dinner. The downsides to that are: I haven't been sleeping as well and just feel kinda blah. everything in my life is the same except for my eating habits the past couple weeks. Why is it so hard? When you cook you're more in control of what goes into the body. It's easy to substitute and use portion control. The food is fresh and tastes better. These reasons alone should be enough motivation, right? Well, at this point and time, I need a little help so I've signed up for the Cure and am looking forward to starting.
If you're interested you can find the details here, but hurry it starts Monday, March 3rd.

Happy National Margarita Day!!!

That's right this Saturday, February 22 is National Margarita Day. it's really a day. And guess what y'all? My favorite adult beverage is a well made Cadillac Margarita on the rocks.
In order to celebrate I thought it might be fun to make two types of margaritas. The first will be a Jalapeno Margarita and the other a Lavender. I've never done this before so I won't post a recipe yet since I'll be making it up as I go. Now if I'm successful, I'll post the recipe here on the blog. Hmmm... what the heck, I'll post it regardless then that way you'll know what not to do.

Have a great weekend! xo 

Student Projects: a Handmade Book and a Broadside

Today I wanted to share the work of our students. The class is Introduction to Letterpress. The first project is an "Alphabet" book. Each student was assigned a letter of the alphabet and then had to come up with an alliteration for that letter. They printed their letter with wood type and the alliteration was handset with metal type. After printing they bound the book with a french link binding. The books are beautiful and fun to read.

Yesterday the students did this broadside. I love it. They worked really well together in coming up with words, choosing colors, setting-up the presses, printing, and cleaning the presses. It was a whirlwind. we had 3 presses running. They did it though and the print is awesome. I love how both projects turned out and am excited for their next.

xo, jen

Happy Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's day! Today we're keeping our plans simple. My plan is to write my husband a love note just to let him know how much I appreciate and love him. A nice dinner at home with fabulous cocktails and maybe stream a movie. since it's Valentine's maybe a romantic comedy. Just thinking about our simple evening makes me happy. Hope all of you have a happy day and great weekend.
p.s. here's something else that's making me happy everytime I hear it:

via youtube
xo, jen

Valentine's Week : Beauty

Hi everyone, Valentine's Day is tomorrow. Are you ready? When I was younger one of my favorite things to do was to play dress up. Now that I've grown-up, "playing dress up" is just as fun and Valentine's is the perfect occasion to "play." You get a chance to treat yourself and the special person in your life by simply looking your best!
Below I've put together an easy Valentine's Day look using the ever popular Naked Palette (version #1) by Urban Decay.... 
Whether you're going out with that special person or getting together with the girls, this look is perfect for a night out on the town. 
So without further ado, let's play....
Step 1: As always start with a clean face...wash and moisturize. Prime your face as a base in preparation for your makeup.  Here I'm using Clinique's Superprimer and Color Corrector for Deeper Skin tones.  Clinique is my go to skin care source because their products are non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic which for makeup junkies like me simply means it won't make your skin worse!

Step 2: Prime your eyelids up to the eyebrow to make sure your eyeshadows are both vibrant and long lasting.  I am using Soft Ochre prolong wear paintpot by MAC Cosmetics.
YouTube is a great source for eyebrow tutorials if you need one.  Just type in "eyebrow tutorial" and you will open a window to hours of videos!

Step 3: Fill in your eyebrows because they frame your face. (There is more than 1 way to put on your makeup...some people do their foundation & then their shadow& then brows...do whatever is most comfortable for you.)

 Step 4: Start by dipping your MAC 239 brush (or equivalent) in the color Virgin and applying to your brow bone as a highlight.

Step 5: Using a MAC 224 brush (or equivalent) dip into the color Buck and blend into your corner crease using a windshield wiper motion. Then with the same brush dip into the color Darkhorse and blend into your corner crease in a v-shape.

Step 6: Use your MAC 239, dip it back into Virgin and place on your lid. Look in the mirror and if the colors aren't vibrant enough just use the same brushes and add more. Clean up any fall out with a wipe. I love using MAC's makeup remover wipes or Neutrogena wipes to clean up the fall out from under my eyes.

Step 7: Add eyeliner (I used ELF's eyeliner pen in black) and false lashes (I used MAC 34s.)

Step 8: Put on your foundation and blend with a beauty blender sponge. I'm using Kevyn Aucoin's Sensual Skin Enhancer SX12 & Laura Mercier's Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer.

Step 9: Contour and highlight to give definition to your face. I'm using  MAC blush in Clove & Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Shape the Future (limited edition.)

Step 10: Add blush to the apple of your cheeks. Set the look with Makeup Forever HD pressed powder. The for added, I spray on NYX's Matte Finish setting spray.

Step 11: Add a vibrant red lip. Here I'm using MAC's chromographic liner in Basic Red and MAC's popular matte red, Russian Red. Done!

Go ahead, admire your handy work in the mirror and then go have some fun! Hope your Valentine's is as fabulous as you look. 

Tiffany Nelson is an LA Based makeup artist specializing in special occasion makeup and makeup for the "everyday woman on the go."  You can follow her on Instagram @TNEL_MUA.

Valentine's Week : Valentine Sugar Cookies

Most of us have go to recipes for many items. I always use the same recipes when making roasted chicken, lemon bars, chocolate chip cookies, etc. For valentine's I knew that I wanted to make heart shaped sugar cookies with royal icing. A few years ago I found a recipe on Inchmark that I tried and it became my go to for sugar cookies. it's a great one. This time though I would have to try a new recipe since I didn't have the cream cheese the recipe required and didn't want to go to the store. I was ready for baking right then and there, but it would have to be done with what I had on hand. So I asked a friend if she would share her sugar cookie recipe with me and she was more than willing. The process was long, but the results were worth the effort. my friends I made them for were worth the effort as well. I packaged up the cookies and brought them to church to give as an early Valentine.

Bake or cook something for the special people in your lives and package it pretty and you'll bring a smile to someones face. I packaged some with the striped bags and washi tape and the others I packaged in decorative baggies along with the sweet little notebooks.

xo, jen
note: the striped bags and twine I got at Oh Hello Friend shop, the washi tape was a gift, and the decorative baggies are from Daiso.

Valentine's Week :: Sweet Pamphlet Notebooks

This Friday is Valentine's day! Are you excited for it? For the most part it's just another day however, it's fun planning ways to encourage other people. We can get so busy in life and Valentine's is a great opportunity to let others know that we think of them and that they are loved. So with that this weeks posts will be dedicated to Valentine's. I'll be sharing a few ideas for decorating, gift giving, and a special makeup tutorial from an amazing makeup artist.
First up this week are these sweet little pamphlet notebooks that are not only cute, but super easy to make:
Pamphlet Notebooks
Supplies: (4) sheets of text paper 5 1/2in x 8in, (1)decorative paper 5 1/2in x 8in, needle, thread, awl, and scissors

  1. Trim your text & decorative papers down to 5 1/2in x 8in using a paper trimmer or with a ruler, x-acto knife, and cutting mat. you can trim the decorative paper slighter longer than 8in. and trim it down after you finish the book.
  2. Fold your 4 sheets of text paper in half and smooth out the spine with a bone folder. Repeat process with your decorative paper.
  3. Use an awl to punch a hole into the center of the signature (the 4 sheets of folded paper) and the cover, then punch another hole about an inch from the top and an inch from the bottom.
  4. Insert threaded needle through the center hole, either from the inside or outside of the book leaving a 3” – 4” tail of thread.
  5. Next insert needle into one of the outer holes, then skip the center hole and proceed to the opposite outer hole.
Bring thread back into the center hole and on the opposite side of the longest stitch to create a second tail. Gently pull thread taut and tie off. Cut excess thread as desired and your done.
You could make a few and bundle them together with ribbon or bakers twine. sweet.

notes: for the text paper I used a nice writing paper since I'm giving the notebooks as gifts, not copier paper. The decorative paper is actually Rifle Papers gift wrap that I found at Oh, Hello Friend. It's thinner than I would normally use, but I love how pretty it is
xo, jen

Homemade with Love : the best granola.

 A couple of weeks ago there was an e-mail in my inbox from the library that a book I had requested was available and waiting for me. My initial reaction was "oh no, what did I request and forget to cancel?" As I scrolled down the e-mail, I saw that it was the book Homemade with Love by Jennie Perillo. boy was I relieved and picked it up the next day.
Usually when trying out a new cookbook, I'll try my hand at one of the simplest recipes. The recipe of choice: DIY Granola. Super easy and I had all the ingredients in the kitchen (bonus.) Not only was this recipe easy, it was really, really good. There are a lot of granola recipes out there and it's nice that they're simple enough to adapt and make your own. Here's how I made mine:

DIY Granola adapted from Homemade with Love
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1Tbsp. flax seeds
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. cardamon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup various nuts: I used sunflower seeds, pepitas, and cashews (all raw and unsalted) and only a little more than 1/2 cup total of nuts.
Dried fruit: I used apricots and cranberries
I also added a little (dried & unsweetened) coconut flakes
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients (except for the dried fruit) together in a large bowl. Combine and whisk together the olive oil and maple syrup in a small bowl. Pour over the dry ingredients and make sure that it's all well coated. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 15min., stir the granola, and bake for another 15minutes. Add dried fruits. Allow granola to cool completely.  Granola will last for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. Enjoy.

I also added a sprinkle of chocolate sea salt with cayenne after baking. I've made the granola twice so far and will make another batch before returning the book along with a couple of other recipes. Jennie (the author) has an amazing story and a great blog you may want to check out.

xo, jen

How About We... Los Angeles

As of a couple of weeks ago, How About We for Couples is live in Los Angeles! Last summer while in New York, I heard about this "curated dates/experiences" site and was disappointed that it wasn't available yet in Los Angeles. but now it's here. I'm really excited to give this a try. There aren't as many dates/ experiences available yet, but that's probably because they just launched. Like a lot of things (like good wine), it'll get even better in time.
Often times my husband and I do the same things over and over again; not discovering or experiencing enough around our great city. Don't get me wrong sometimes the same old thing is nice, but we do live in Los Angeles and there's so much to do and see. With How About We the date planning is done for you. You subscribe (you know how i love a good subscription)to the membership, pick and pay for your curated dates/ experiences and enjoy. Some of the dates are free (one free date a month) and there seems to be some nice little rewards as well. You can try it out and cancel at anytime. Also, I think if you sign up the first month is free. xo, jen