Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Balloons in bed

surprise birthday balloons
I like jumping out of bed in the morning to start my day, so breakfast in bed has never appealed to me much. But balloons in bed. Now, that's my kind of surprise. I've always wanted to give someone a whole bunch of balloons and figured surprising Sophie with a rainbow assortment while she was still asleep would be really fun. I think they were as much fun for me to give as they were for her to wake up to because they're so cheery! When you lay back in bed, it feels like you're in a balloon forest. 

birthday balloon surprise
balloons in bed
balloon filled hallway
Later we moved them into the hallway so we could move around easier while getting ready in the room. Aren't they pretty?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Weeklies 5/20-5/28

leopard print cake
This Memorial Day weekend was one of the longest I've ever had (a full 5 days!) and was filled with lots of adventures. For Sophie's birthday, I got her a leopard print red velvet cake which was super moist and delicious and totally matched the leopard print heels she wore that night :)

strawberry margarita jello shots
{Strawberry margarita jello shots: sweet and refreshing and a fun party trick} 

ivy on brick building
{romantic ivy on the brick buildings at SJSU}

corn on the grill
{corn on the grill at an exceptionally windy Berkeley BBQ}

surf museum in santa cruz
{leaving the house at 5:15 to watch the sunrise in Santa Cruz: painful, but worth it}

polenta and poached eggs
{polenta and poached eggs at Kelly's post 6 a.m. walk}

Friday, May 25, 2012

The best $20 you'll ever spend

lilac spa
When I was in Cambodia last year, I had the best massage of my life. It lasted an hour, loosened every knot in my body, and cost just $4! (By my calculations, that would buy you a two-minute massage at most places here). I was totally spoiled by the experience, so when I came back home I just couldn't bring myself to pay normal massage prices of $100+. But then I discovered $20 foot spas...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My secret for soft, smooth, sandal-ready feet

sandal-ready feet
smooth feet
Brace yourself—it's one of those "As Seen on TV" products and you're going to think I'm crazy, but it really works! Are you ready? Here's my big secret for baby-smooth feet...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

French cooking at home

fish fillets with rosemary
striped sea bass for dinner
This weekend, our friend Roy came over to cook us a fancy dinner. Roy's our friend who's in French culinary school and who told me enrolled simply because he loves food. Isn't that the best reason? :) He fixed up a really great fish dish called poisson en papillote served over a mushroom duxelles and tomato fondue with a side of rice pilaf. I had no idea what any of it was, so it was fun hanging out in the kitchen watching him cook.

how to fillet a fish
 The fish was a striped sea bass which he brought over whole and filleted himself. I was so impressed.

brunoise carrots
Roy says French cooking is all about being precise and meticulous. And it's true—to prepare the veggies for the rice pilaf, he first cut the carrots and zucchini into large symmetrical rectangles, then cut that into large strips, then julienned each of those strips and then cut each one of those into tiny rectangles. Can you imagine having to cut all your vegetables like that? One of the chefs at Roy's school says the hardest thing you have to overcome in your cooking career is overcoming your inner laziness. 

julienned zucchini
When chopping, Roy says you should always place your hand right next to the knife so your hand looks like a claw with your thumb and pinky fingers pulled back. This way you'll always know where your hand is at all times.

sizzling butter
An interesting thing about French cooking that Roy says is a big misconception is that there's tons of butter in everything when really there's a lot of variety. For example, he described the fish dish he was making for us as "healthy + flavor = WTF" which really had me curious.

tomato fondue with thyme
 The savory, garlicky tomato fondue was my favorite part.

poisson en papillote
Everything cooked in a parchment-paper pouch which reminded me of a calzone.

inside poisson en papillote
The fish cooked super quick (it was in the oven for just 7 minutes!) and when we cut open the parchment paper, the fish was perfectly tender and flaky. Each bite of fish was complemented perfectly by the mushrooms and tomatoes and those meticulously julienned veggies. Definitely healthy + flavor = WTF.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Borrowed from the boys

boyfriend jeans and heels
boyfriend jeans, stripes, and heels
boyfriend jeans
When Jenna Lyons describes her personal style, she says, "There is always something borrowed from the boys and something borrowed from grandma." Isn't that a brilliant style philosophy? You would never look too prim and proper, and you'd always be comfortable. I love the idea of mixing slouchy boyfriend jeans with something feminine, like a pair of sleek heels and a bright silk top.

{I'm wearing this Madewell striped top, these Madewell boyfriend jeans, Zara heels, J.Crew belt (similar here), and Anthropologie bracelets}

Monday, May 21, 2012

Weeklies 5/13-5/19

pink peony
{peony in a bubble vase}

Later this week my sister Sophie and my college roommate Sue will be visiting from out of town and staying with me for a few days. Sophie turns 21 on Friday, so I'm taking Thursday and Friday off to hang with her and do all of her favorite things. To prepare for my house guests, I've been cleaning like mad and stocking up the kitchen. I can't wait to see them. :)

{stocking the fridge with Izzes — did you know they make a watermelon flavor?! I had to try it.}

{a stash of the fruit roll-ups I remember Sue was obsessed with (to help her feel right at home)}

neon inspiration for working out and staying organized
{neon inspiration for working out and keeping organized}

vintage luggage
{my grandma's rad set of vintage luggage}

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Alan's 3-Year Milestone

Last Friday I went with Alan to one of his regularly scheduled oncologist appointments. They're just meant to be check-ups, but the fear that the oncologist might find a lump or something somewhere always freaks him out. This time, though, it was all good news. She reminded us that it's been three years since his cancer diagnosis which is great! Hitting the three-year milestone means the chance of recurrence drastically drops. I almost cried. I always knew that the five-year mark was a big deal, but not about three, so it was a sweet surprise. She thinks we should celebrate, which I wholeheartedly agree with, so this weekend I'll be researching destinations for a long weekend trip (or maybe even Hawaii!) Have a wonderful weekend, my friends, and be sure to take some time to share some love. Haha, cheesy, but true!

Swimsuits: one piece or two?

coral and green swimsuits

fun swimwear

floral, stripes + polka dot swimwear
Now that I have my summer goal set, I started looking for a new swimsuit and I realized I haven't worn a one piece in ages. I always think there'll be time to wear one pieces later in life, but I'm finding so many cute ones this season, I might change my mind. They'd be nice, too, for when you want to indulge on a little extra potato salad at pool parties. ;) Which style is your favorite?


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What do you want to do this summer?

group ocean diving
summer swimming
breaking water
ocean handstands
group swim
Summer is about a month away, and in honor of those gloriously long and lazy days, I normally don't set any specific goals or take myself too seriously. But this year, I made one: to learn how to swim better. It's not to say that I haven't tried—in high school I was on the swim team for approximately... 3 days. Ha ha. I hate to admite it, but I think I have just a little bit of ImGonnaDrownandNoonesGonnaSee phobia. Alan's an excellent swimmer, and I've always been jealous of him floating effortlessly in the water while I wade in ankle deep or cling to the side of the pool. He's promised to help me this year, but only if I first learn how to "just relax" in the water. (Which seems to be so much easier said than done!)

What's on your summer to-do list? Are you a good swimmer, a bad one, or did you improve? 

{images via pinterest here, here, here, here and here)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Scalloped Edges

scalloped shorts

scalloped lace + shorts

lace + khaki scallops

metallic and lace
I'm a sucker for a pretty scalloped edge. This top even has scalloped sleeves and is made of the most delicate lace. As I slipped it on it felt like I was snagging it in 50 different places, but once it was on it was just the thing for a hot afternoon. Nice and breezy.

{I'm wearing this lace top (now on sale!), J.Crew shorts, BC shoes, a Lulu Frost necklace, and an Anthropologie bag.}

Monday, May 14, 2012

Weeklies 5/6-5/12

{baubles from Anthropologie}

Did you have a nice weekend? I spent a lot of time with my family, and Alan and I took lots of long walks in the warm evening air (my favorite kind). We also did some cleaning around the duplex which helped me feel a little bit more sane, ha ha. Here are some snapshots from last week.

coffee table white lacquer tray
 {a lacquer tray helps keep the coffee table tidy}

birthday strawberry summercake
{a surprise wrapped in a bow + this cake for my friend Lauren's birthday}

lavender sachet
 {dried lavender from a friend's garden — perfect for crumbling into jewelry bags for fragrant sachets. I love putting them under our pillows.}

kimchi blue peachy flats
 {peachy flats for wide feet ;)}

Friday, May 11, 2012

The cutest ice block molds

polar bear and penguin ice block molds
These ice blocks would be a fun way to chill our drinks this weekend. I would have a pineapple orange spritzer, and Alan would have a Coke. :)
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