Friday, November 30, 2012

Dressing For Fall

fall outfits
Left: #polkadots #toptobottom; Right: #cozy #leopardbelt

red corduroys
 #corduroys #velvetloafers #merrymaking

What I wore to work this week: an oversized army jacket with a zillion pockets, a leopard-print belt (a recent favorite from Target!), matchy-matchy polka dots, and soft corduroy pants.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Easy Gift Wrap Ideas

easy DIY gift wrap ideas
easy gift wrap idea
mini tassel gift wrap
Anytime I get a present from my friend Jennifer, I always take a moment to marvel over her gift wrap. She adds pretty little touches so that unwrapping a present from her feels like a whole experience in and of itself. I wanted to do something special for the gifts I'm wrapping this year and came up with two ideas that are easy and fun.

You'll need:
  • a roll of kraft paper
  • streamers
  • string or twine
  • construction paper and/or glitter paper
  • hole punches in various sizes
Wrap up your presents with kraft paper and decorate with mini tassels or a strand of circles.

Mini Tassels
Follow these instructions for mini tassels. You can use regular streamers instead of crepe paper since it's easier to get your hands on at Target or Michaels. (p.s. I'm really having a tassel moment—remember the giant ones I made?)

Circle Strand
Use hole punches to cut out different-sized circles from construction and glitter paper. Using a tiny hole punch, punch two holes on opposite sides of each circle. String them together with twine. 

That's it! Pretty easy, right? I hope you and your gift recipients enjoy :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Birthstone Rings

gold birthstone rings
unique gold rings
sapphire and emerald rings
My mom is quite possibly the best gift giver ever. She never waits for an occasion to give a gift so on any ordinary day you could be surprised with something spectacular she thinks you might like. (Isn't that the best gift-giving philosophy?) When I saw her on Thanksgiving, she had just returned from a whirlwind trip to Cambodia the week before. From her purse, she pulled out these pretty gold rings for Sophie and me. They're made with our birthstones: sapphire and emerald. I love how they're similar but not completely matching—just like us in real life.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Do You Know Your Neighbors?

Are you friends with your neighbors? I always thought it'd be fun to have the kind of neighbors who chat over the fence or bump into each other at the market. But, since San Jose's a sprawling city, we usually see our neighbors outside their houses and rarely anywhere else. So, I'm always tickled whenever we find out someone else we know lives nearby. Last year, we found out our friend Brandon lives seven houses down from us. Then, this past weekend, Alan's co-worker (also named Alan, funnily enough) from his new job was standing on our doorstep with a package the mailman accidentally delivered to his house. His house is just five down from us! What are the chances?! We don't have block parties or dinner dates, but it still makes me feel really happy to know people in the neighborhood. It's almost like we live in Stars Hollow ;)

How are your neighbors? Does it make you feel as weirdly happy as it makes me to know them?

(Top image by Roost, bottom image via Pinterest)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Music: Love It or Hate It?

Christmas trees
red leaves
With Thanksgiving come and gone, it's officially time for Christmas music! I think it's funny how people either listen to it all the time (me) or dread it (Alan). It instantly puts me in a peppy, cozy mood. :)

What's your verdict: love it or hate it?

(photos from an evening walk this weekend)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving + A Last-Minute Recipe

the easiest one-bowl pumpkin cake recipe
easy homemade pumpkin cake
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a cozy day with lots of mashed potatoes and the people you love the most. Are you cooking dinner or did you sign up for a side dish? I'm bringing our favorite homemade bread and dessert. I got the recipe for this pumpkin cake from my friend Lauren, and I promise you it's the moistest, easiest pumpkin cake recipe ever. So, for anyone still in need of something to bring to dinner, this can be made in under an hour with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

And last, but not least, thank you so much for reading Quiet Like Horses—I am truly grateful for all your support!

One-Bowl Pumpkin Cake
By Lauren

2  cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2  tsp. baking powder
1  tsp. baking soda
2  tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves (optional)
1 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 cups pumpkin (1 small can)

Add all cake ingredients in a large bowl and beat for 2 minutes or until well blended. Pour into greased and floured 11x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 min or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. (Alternatively, line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy removal from pan).

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 pkg cream cheese (8 oz. at room temp)
3/4 stick butter (room temp)
1 tsp. vanilla
1-2 tbsp milk
2 cups powdered sugar (adjust the sugar to suit your taste; I cut it in half)

Beat cream cheese and butter in bowl. Add vanilla and milk and beat until well blended.  Slowly add powdered sugar. Frost cooled cake and cut into squares to serve.

Note: the cake and frosting can be made a day in advance. Wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap and place frosting in an airtight container. Store both in the fridge and remove when ready to assemble. Let the frosting come to room temperature and re-beat with electric mixer until smooth. Frost cake and cut into squares.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Snack of the Day: Golden Raspberries

golden raspberries
How pretty are these golden raspberries? I saw them at the grocery store and fell in love with their gorgeous color. Sophie and I ate them with strawberry mochi  one lazy afternoon.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Classic Camel Coat

classic camel coat
If there's one thing I don't mind splurging on for fall, it's a really nice coat. When it's cold out, they're all some people will see of your outfit and can be staples in your closet for years. I've been searching for a classic camel-colored wool coat for such a long time, I was starting to think I'd never find one. But then, on a random shopping trip with my friend Roy, we strolled past this coat hanging out in the Aritzia store window. It's made of a crazy thick wool/cashmere blend which makes me feel like I'm under one seriously toasty blanket when I wear it. (Cozy central). I also love the slightly masculine cut balanced by a tailored fit and stand-up cocoon collar.

Which fall coats do you have your eye on this season?

(Cocoon Coat by Wilfred)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ali's Baby Shower

giant tassel garland
This weekend, I helped throw a baby shower for my friend Ali who is expecting a little boy early next year. We hosted the party in her charming apartment (Remember when I featured it here? People still comment about that post all the time). Ali didn't want any fussy games or baby blue decorations, so we kept everything simple and fun. Here are a few pictures from the day.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Two Beauty Picks: Clever Lipstick + Maracuja Miracle Oil

the prettiest lipstick case
Sophie always introduces me to the coolest stuff whenever we're at Sephora. Here are two of my recent favorites: The first is this Guerlain lipstick which comes in this super pretty silver tube. As you pull the lipstick out, the cap—which is secretly a mirrored compact—opens up. It would be such a great holiday gift! (Made us think of our mom who is forever looking for a mirror to refresh her lipstick). 

tarte maracuja oil review
The second is this tarte Maracuja Oil (otherwise known as a miracle oil). At first, I was hesitant to try it because I already have oily/combo skin, and wearing an oil sounded, well, oily, but Sophie convinced me I would love it. I've worn this to bed every night this week instead of my regular moisturizer (just two drops is enough for my whole face), and my skin looks and feels awesome. It might just be in my head (Sophie says it's not) but my skin is brighter and more even-toned than before. I'm hooked!

Would you try either? What are your favorite beauty products lately?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Do you have a frenemy?

the frenemy solution
The other day my friend was talking to me about her friend Carrie. Carrie was often overly sensitive, demanding, jealous and competitive. In short, she made my friend miserable. At first, I tried to give her some advice, but upon closer inspection, I realized this was no ordinary friendship problem: this was a case of The Frenemy.

Almost everyone I know has at least one frenemy she regularly hangs out with. What's up with that? I'm the type to hope that these relationships will just fade away on their own, but that—judging by the sheer number of people who tell me about their frenemy problems—doesn't seem to happen very often.

So, if you're in this situation, what to do? My friend Marie has a foolproof solution...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Snack of the Day: Fries with Kalamata Dip

athena's grill french fries
I could eat fries with pretty much every meal. I like 'em skinny to extra skinny and, with rare exception, don't think much about the squishy steak-cut variety. These fries from Athena's were plenty flavorful on their own but made it to my favorites list because of the creamy, garlicky, Kalamata olive dip they were served with.

Reading Light

modern gold lamp
I've been searching for a new lamp for our bedroom since reading in bed at night by the glare of the overhead ceiling light was a bummer. At first, I wanted to put up sconces but couldn't find any affordable options that I really liked (although Anthropologie and Restoration Hardware had some amazing ones). I found this vintage-meets-modern gold lamp from The Land of Nod and love how chic it makes the room look. It also attaches with a clip so it's easy to move around and adjust. Do you read in bed at night? It has to be one of my favorite ways to end the day. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Doppelganger Sheets

dwell studio crosshatch sheets
I just had to share: These Dwell Studio crosshatch sheets reminded me of a certain blog. ;)

Floral-Print Wedding Dress

floral print wedding dress
black glitter and emerald heels
My friend Kim recently got married and walked down the aisle in this stunning floral-print dress. Her mom actually made it for her which I found incredibly sweet. Here's her story behind her gorgeous, non-traditional wedding dress, and more pictures of her big day below!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weeklies 11/5-11/11

bulldog puppy
{Say hello to Lil' Ma. I wish she were mine—I would re-name her Squiggles.}

This week was an exciting one—Alan took a new job, I met a baby bulldog, and I saw a lot of my favorite people over delicious dinners. In other news, I'm trying really hard not to listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving, and I almost caved, but I'm still holding strong. Is anyone else out there feeling tempted?

melted brie and roasted garlic
{from Alan's celebration dinner: melted brie and roasted garlic from The Pastaria}

tuna poke
{dinner with my designer friends: poke and sushi at Sushi Maru}

momo tea from lupicia
{new favorite peach tea from Lupicia}

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Flicks: First Position

First Position, the documentary about a group of kids training for an elite ballet competition, has been on my to-watch list for a long time. Happily, it's now on Netflix Watch Instantly! We watched it last weekend, and I was so amazed by their passion, skill, and dedication. (Although watching some of them practice en pointe freaked me out). Getting a peek into the pre-professional world of ballet was mesmerizing. By the end of the movie, watching the competition results was almost too much to bear. I totally started crying tears of joy like I was a ballet mom. 

Have you ever danced ballet? Would you watch it?

Giveaway with Abacus Row!

delicate handmade jewelry
Abacus Row handmade jewelry
Today's giveaway is from Abacus Row, a handmade jewelry line based in San Francisco. The pieces are both delicate and vibrant and are so pretty for fall. I have the Draco necklace which I wear all the time (especially to dress up a plain white tee). Abacus Row is giving away the Auriga necklace—with a plum silk cord and gold and Labrador crystal beads—to one lucky winner.

For a chance to win, please visit Abacus Row and like the Facebook page, then leave a comment with your favorite Abacus Row piece and your email address below. A winner will be chosen at random and notified on 11/13. Good luck!

Update: Sarah D. is the winner. Thank you for entering!
handmade jewelry in San Francisco
p.s. Each piece comes in a handsewn pocket for safekeeping—brilliant :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tiny Donuts

tiniest donuts
tiny pink donut
Speaking of cute things found in Japanese markets, how adorable are these itty bitty donuts?! My friend Amanda found a kit to make them at the store by her house. The tiny sprinkles kill me.

(photos by Lauren)

Snack of the Day: Fruit-Flavored Mochi

fruit mochi
Do you ever go to the Japanese grocery store? Walking through one is a great practice in self-control because I always want every snack in sight. Everything is so cute! On our last visit to Mitsuwa, I bought fruit-flavored mochi for an afternoon snack. They're just slightly sweet with a wonderfully soft, doughy, chewy texture. It's what I like to imagine big fluffy clouds would taste like. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Breakfast at Tiffany's Tea Party

breakfast at tiffany's accessories
breakfast at tiffany's sunglasses
jeweled cigaretter holder
breakfast at tiffany's party
My cousin Denise had a Breakfast at Tiffany's tea party this weekend. Everyone wore a little black dress and pearls, but one fashionable lady had a killer hat, gloves, and a cigarette holder! I had to try on her hat and am totally holding her cigarette holder backwards in the above picture. At one point someone wanted to tell a story about her bulldog pooping in the house, but briefly reconsidered after looking around the table and seeing us all sipping from dainty cups. Haha, I love how teatime will do that. (She ended up telling the story anyway :).

Did you have a good weekend?
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