Monday, November 26, 2012

Recipes : Strawberry Pretzel Salad

We spent Thanksgiving with J's family up on the mountains, at his grandfather's house. I love it up there. They have no internet access, or cell phone reception so it feels like we're escaping from reality, getting away from civilization.

Instead, we spend our time playing board games, catching up with one another, cooking and preparing for the Thanksgiving dinner.

This year J and I are tasked with desserts, so he made a pecan pie, while I tried my hand at Strawberry Pretzel Salad. I don't know why they call it a salad, but it was pretty easy to make. I'll share the recipe with you today!


For the crust / base, you need:

2 cups of crushed pretzels
3/4 cup melted butter
3 tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Melt the butter, add it to the crushed pretzels and sugar. Mix well.
Spread mixture into a 9 by 13 inch pan and bake for 7 minutes.
Set aside and allow to cool.

For the cream cheese layer you need:

1 8oz tub of whipped topping
1 8oz package cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with the sugar.
Fold in the whipped topping evenly into the mixture.
Spread over the cooled crust, making sure there are no holes in the layer of cream cheese mixture. (This is ensure the next layer of jello/ gelatin does not seep through, into the bottom crust layer)
Refrigerate until well chilled.

For the strawberry gelatin you need:

2 pack of 3oz strawberry gelatin dessert mix
2 10oz packs of frozen strawberries
1 8oz can of crushed pineapple
2 cups boiling water

While waiting for the frozen strawberries to thaw, bring water to a boil
Dissolve gelatin mix in the water.
Allow to cool slightly.
Add the strawberries and pineapple to mixture.
Pour over the cream cheese layer.
Refrigerate until it is time to serve!!

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture when I was done. But here's a picture of J's pecan pie. It's a pity I don't like pecans, so I couldn't tell you if his turned out great. But according to the family, our desserts were awesome, so yay!


If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you had a great one! Next up, Christmas!! Can't wait!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Found: More books!

Going on a book craze here, but found these awesome pictures on Pinterest and just wanted to share with you book buddies! Enjoy, and happy week ahead!



Now wouldn't this be an awesome nursery?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Count your blessings, and give thanks!


Today, I give thanks and count my blessings, focus on what I have, instead of what I have not. In light of the recent Frankenstorm Sandy, this Thanksgiving is made even more poignant.

I am thankful for J and Scuffy and how their presences bring so much joy into my life. This is the first thing i see when I wake up in the mornings, and it starts my day off right. I am thankful for my family here who loves me, even as my own is missing me on the other side of the planet.

I am thankful for a healthy body and a sound mind. I want to be in the best condition I can possibly be in, so I have kept alcohol consumption to a minimum, and have not touched a cigarette in the last month. It's amazing how we abuse our bodies and call them pleasures. I don't smoke a lot, but it is a bad habit I have. Whenever we go out for drinks, I find that it's nice to have a cigarette with a beer. In the last month, instead of drinking beer, I opted for sweet tea, then I don't even crave a cigarette (why didn't I think of it before!) With the holiday season coming up, it's going to be tough, but I'll be able to see how strong my determination is. I want to keep up with my yoga, to keep myself flexible and strong. I've also recently picked up running again, in hopes of building my stamina. Maybe in the coming year, my only problem would be my sweet tea addiction!

I am thankful for a roof over my head. Our water pipes burst last month, because of rust (the house is at least 60 years old). We were without running water for a week, while waiting for the plumber to fix things. I realized how comfortable and easy life is for us, living in this modern day. Imagine winters without central heating, drawing water from wells when we need a drink, reading at night without electrical lighting!

I am thankful that in times like these, I have a job, that pays me enough, to make ends meet, and a little extra for simple treats, like eating out, or buying crafting supplies to indulge in my hobbies. I am growing more conscious of the simpler luxuries in life - things that do not require much or any money to give pleasure or happiness. Taking Scuffy for walks, reading in my favorite armchair, watching birds at my feeder, a little bit of embroidery!

I wish for you, this Thanksgiving and hereafter, to be able to count your blessings, and be a little more contented with life than before.
Happy Thanksgiving my friends!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Color Run Charlotte


We did it!
Dubbed the happiest 5km fun run, my friends and I were doused in color at every 1km of the race. And at the end, we all gathered for a final color party, throwing packets of color at one another. There was no timing, no pressure. You can walk, run or dance your way through.


My fellow color runners, team name : Your Face, Our Rear.


Rock on! See you next year Color Run!!!

*Photos courtesy of Lauren

Saturday, November 17, 2012

On the bookshelf: Holiday reads!


As an extension of my Kindle vs Paperback post,
I'm curious to know what you're reading this holiday season.

Thanksgiving is coming up. We plan to spend a quiet weekend with J's family up in the mountains. They have no internet access, so holidays spent there are always challenging. I'm so reliant on the internet for the news, finding answers to random questions, check my Facebook. Whenever I don't have the internet i'm at quite a loss!

On the upside, no internet access = more human interaction! We play board games (*gasp* remember those??), catch up with one another, and take walks outdoors.
And we'll also get the bonfire going!!

Aside from gorging myself, and watching Thanksgiving football, I am going arm myself with a few books, just in case things get a little slow and drowsy
(you know how turkey coma gets to you...)

Right now I have Pride and Prejudice and Murakami's 1Q84 on my Kindle, but I'd like to add a

(1) Science Fiction
(2) chick Lit
(3) Travel fiction / non-fiction
(4) historical fiction

to my list.

So, some suggestions pretty please?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Kindle Bueno!

Hello friends,

Let's do a little survey in this post - the good ol' fashioned paperback vs the electronic readers.

I was pretty resistant to e-readers in the beginning, preferring to leaf through a book, owning actual copies, collecting books with pretty and/or vintage covers.

But then, I got a Kindle for my birthday this year.

And i'm slowly falling in love!

Can i just be a nerd in this post and list the pros and cons, the book vs the ereader?



1. I hoard books! I sometimes buy books for their beautiful covers. Like the pretty Penguin Clothbound Classics I've been drooling over...


2. I dream to one day own a little library. As a kid, I watched Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and always wished to have one of my own, complete with the gliding ladder.


3. I love the feel of a book in hand - the weight, turning pages, using a bookmark!


4. Going to the library! Well, if i can't own one, i go to one! Or a used book store!

But then the Kindle came into the picture and...

1. It's so light!! Gone are the days when my wrist gets tired holding thick book spines.

2. It holds a gazillion books! No more difficult decisions about which books to stuff in my carry-on, to bring on a short weekend getaway, on a picnic. I download a few books and then read whatever catches my fancy at the moment!

3. I know that buying e-books can be just as expensive (it's only a few dollars cheaper than an actual copy), but I can still borrow from my local library!! I don't go to the library anymore, but I loan from their digital collection. So it's free, and I can borrow and return books without having to step out of my house!

4. You can also download a myriad of apps, play games, listen to music, get on the internet. Although it's pretty simple for me, all I need are my books and Words with Friends. LOL.

So before you think I'm going over to the dark side, what matters most is that I'm still reading! I love my books, but now I love my Kindle more!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Crafting : Travel map garland


No, that's not the garland I made for my sister's wedding, although it's real pretty!

Mine's even simpler -- it can be done in 1-2-3 easy steps!

You'll need:

Old maps
Ribbon / twine
Pen-knife (Exacto knife)


(1) Create a template of the shape you want your garland to be. I made triangles, but you can just as easily make hearts, or any other shape you fancy.
Trace template onto a map, and cut them out. I couldn't get a hold of older vintage looking maps, so I used an old street directory my dad wasn't using.


(2) About one inch from the base of the triangle, I used a pen-knife and made two tiny slits about an inch apart.
This is for you to thread your ribbon/twine through to string the triangles together.


(3) Thread all your shapes together, and get ready to hang your garland up!

With all the holidays around the corner, this is such a simple but great way of sprucing up your home for the festive season! You could use wrapping paper in place of the maps, and cut out some simple Christmas tree / candy cane shapes and string them up! Q.E.D!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Celebrations : Travel-themed Wedding

My sister and her husband had a travel-themed wedding. She had asked me to help her with some decor ideas, so I went and did some research. I shared them with her and now I'll share them with you too!





For their wedding, I made a travel scrapbook for their guestbook, and also a garland made from maps. I was too busy that day, so I didn't take any pictures of them (!!) but I will share a real simple garland DIY with you in my next post, so keep an eye out!

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Crafting : Owl Wings and Mask tutorial

Here is a list of Halloween costumes I had in mind:

1) Gypsy fortune-teller
2) Geisha
3) Bird / Owl
4) Fairy

I had my heart set on making my fortune teller outfit, I even bought a caftan pattern from Etsy to make my outfit!! Then i chickened out of the pattern :(

But then i found this easy-to-make Owl wings tutorial on Burda Style, and I figured I could easily make an owl mask. So that was decided!


To make the mask, you'll need:

2 pieces of brown felt
Scrap Yellow felt
1 piece of sturdy interfacing
Coordinating colors of embroidery floss
Embroidery needle
Hot glue gun
Head band

1. I drew a template of an owl mask, alternatively you can google owl mask templates,
or get one from the Martha Stewart website

2. Trace the template on the brown felt and on the interfacing
to cut out three owl mask shapes. Like so.


3. Sandwich the three layers so that the interfacing is in between the two pieces of brown felt. Pin the layers together.
Then thread your embroidery floss and blanket stitch the three layers together, all around the edges. I love using the blanket stitch because it a pretty stitch but it binds layers together very well! Functional and aesthetically pleasing.
I also used a running stitch to add a little outlining detail to the mask. You'll want to use a thicker needle and 6-count embroidery floss. Pushing the needle through 3 layers of felt and interfacing and be quite a challenge!


4. Attach the head band to the mask using a hot glue gun.
Press and hold head band in place until the glue dries.
Now, where you place your head band is a matter of personal preference.
I attached my band in the middle of the mask above the eye holes because after playing around with different placements, this was most comfortable for me.
You should experiment too, before permanently attaching the band to the mask.


5. Cut out a diamond shaped beak from the yellow felt. Leave one of the edges slightly rounded or plateaued. Hot glue this piece onto the bottom of the mask where the beak goes. Ta-daaa!! And you're done!



Now go be a HOOT, and take someone under your wing! *guffaws*
(Insert your own owl joke here for laughs)
And I'll be the gypsy fortune teller next year!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Happy November!

Here's a track that keeps coming up on my Pandora, both the original and the remix, that I thought I'd share.

Two Door Cinema Club || Something Good Can Work

I'm not usually one for re-mixes, but this remix by the Twelves really make me want to boogie, and makes the original even more fun! I want to go dancing tonight!

Happy Friday!

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