baking, dessert, DIY, drinks, friends, Valentines

30th Birthday Celebration!

Three of my girlfriends from high school all turned 30 within a month and a half, so I had a mini celebration for them. Granted, they’re all now 33 but c’est la vie.

Courtney loves gin and tonics, so I made her lime flavored cupcakes with gin frosting and candied limes on top. In high school, Lori was packing for a trip to Guatemala and I came over to help her pack, bringing over her favorite Rite Aid ice cream- pineapple coconut. It still makes me think of her, so I made her pineapple cupcakes with coconut frosting. Erin loves coffee, so I made her caramel frappuccino cupcakes. It ended up just being me and three birthday ladies, but we managed to finish of A Lot of the cupcakes.

I choose pink, red and hearts for the decorations since my house was already decorated for Valentine’s Day. I made this fun window display with doilies, glitter and wax paper crayon hearts. It looked prettiest with the sun shining through.
A 30 and more hearts from paper from the dollar section at Target.
the birthday cupcakes
Caramel Frappuccino cupcake: chocolate mocha cake (chocolate cake mix with a tablespoon of instant coffee added) filled with coffee mousse and Trader Joes salted caramel sauce. Topped with coffee mousse buttercream (regular buttercream with a few tablespoons of the coffee mousse added) and Trader Joe’s chocolate/sugar/coffee bean grinder and heart sprinkles. I think we unanimously agreed that this was the best.
Gin and Tonic cupcake: lime cupcake with gin mascarpone frosting, topped with a candied lime and heart sprinkles.

And the individual picture of the Coconut Pineapple cupcake went missing: pineapple coconut cupcake with coconut buttercream frosting, topped with a little bit of pineapple and heart sprinkles

I used a silver sharpie to decorate some cheap paper cupcake toppers
friends for over half of our lives
I served Palomas with little tags so that we wouldn’t mix up our drinks.
my mom’s glasses with a pretty sugared lime slice and a ribbon with an initialed card stock heart

DIY, dress, handmade, new look, sew, sewing

Graduation dress

This is the other dress I sewed from my other bit of dreamy fabric from some Mood LA. I wore it for a few graduations- this is the perfect Spring fabric. I used some leftover polka dot fabric to make a sash to go with it. I really love how this dress turned out. I have tons of extra fabric so I think I’ll try to make a pair of Grainline shorts with it. 

Photo location: Occidental College 

Pattern: New Look A6020 B

Alterations: shortened a few inches

Outfit deets: flower hair pin- handmade, shoes- Payless, watch- Bulova, bracelet- Tiffany & Co

By Hand London, concert, DIY, handmade, jersey, Lady Gaga, leather, pattern, sew, sewing

A dress for Mother Monster

the card I made my sister before the concert to let her know what her birthday present was

Last May, my sister, friend and I saw Lady Gaga in concert. It seemed like the best time to learn how to sew cups and to sew with leather for the first time. Gaga’s worth it 😉 And luckily, it was far easier than I expected. I found this dress pattern from By Hand London and though it was quite an expensive pattern after international shipping, I had never seen anything else like it (*unfortunately, they are out of the printed pattern, but you can still buy it as a PDF download). It’s certainly not an everyday style, but I would love to make it again, though a bit less flashy. 

Being busty, I had to add a lot to the cups to make the dress decent. I made up my own alteration, which thankfully worked. But afterwards, I discovered that they actually had done a blog post on how to modify the cups based on your bra size. I used a purple metallic leather and a jersey floral print from

Right before the concert- super made up!

please excuse the akward pose on this one- I was channeling my inner Gaga, I think. 

I hand the stitched at the neckline as I was short on time and didn’t have time to figure out how to feed leather on leather through my machine. I also hand sewed on the straps. 

I was so worried about buying the fabrics online, but I think they worked great together. 

Fabric: Gunmetal Leather, Jersey knit (similar
Alterations: I made thicker straps and had them meet in the middle back instead of going straight down the back. Modified the bust to have larger cups. 
Outfit deets: earrings, bracelet- Forever 21 (old), shoes: Aldo (old)

DIY, handmade, mood, new look, sewing

Easter dress

Last year, I took my first (and so far, only) trip to Mood LA. It was dreamy- I had no idea that amazing fabric existed! Sewing with thick cotton blends with a tiny bit of stretch is the best. My first dress from high quality fabric: 

A selfie in front of extra fabric. I need to get better about not buying so much extra. 

Photo location: my aunt and uncle’s house in Orange County
Alterations: can’t remember. oops.
Outfit deets: earrings- Anthropolgy, shoes: Audrey Brooke, watch: Bulova, bracelet: Tiffanys

fabrics, fashion, OOTD, recycle, sew, sewing, upcycle

The queen of upcycles

A few weeks ago, I was at my parents and my dad was about to saw their old (20+ years) couch in half to fit into the trash can. It was covered in a bold floral, which I had been wanting to make a skirt for about a year. Bold floral apparel fabric has elluded me however. I love making clothes with upholstery fabrics. Living in San Diego, I’m not often enough in LA or San Francisco to find good apparel fabrics and I prefer to feel them before I buy them, so online shopping is out. My favorite back up is Ikea. Their upholstery fabrics are relatively thin, but lend more structure to clothing than cheap, thin, quilting cottons. 

All that to say, I made a skirt out of my parent’s old couch. The pattern I used was from SEW: The Sew Everything Workshop, the first sewing book that I bought when I taught myself to sew a few years ago. It was the naughty secretary skirt (a very simple straight skirt with back vent and zipper, no waistband). 

an old shot of the couch before it was cut up
and laying on it with my little one 8 years ago ! !

*added a 4 inch wide waist band with long tails to tie in the back
*shortened about 6 inches to knee length
*had to add a front center seam due to cutting from odd shaped couch fabric remnants 

Photos taken at the Balboa Park cactus garden

Outfit deets: body suit, earrings- F21, shoes- Vince Camuto from Nordstrom Rack, sunglasses- BonLook, necklace- Anthropology , purse- Fossil

And a few more shots for fun:


Boozy Root Beer Float

After the bar cart was assembled, we went on a drinking blitz. By blitz, I mean that we each had one drink a night for maybe a week. Then I remembered that I can’t drink that often and returned to the drink a week that I’m used to. However, having it all out and visible has inspired to me to try some of the cocktails from my boozy pin board or try to recreate drinks that we’ve had out. We’ve had a few winners so far: Thyme Gin Lemonade, Habanero Cucumber Lime Margarita, Curried Mango Rum, and the Boozy Root Beer Float. 

The first drink we made after we got the bar cart was this fun concoction from A Beautiful Mess. Turns out, I find it was better without the whisky. I picked up some  Blackmaker Root Beer Liqueur at BevMo, IBC root beer, vanilla ice cream, and whipping cream. I tried two different versions. Each one had root beer liqueur and root beer (equal parts or to taste). Then I added vanilla ice cream to one and a few ounces of whipping cream to the other- both delicious. The ice cream version is more fun, but the whipping cream version is easier to drink and not as sweet. Both were delightful!

Speaking of root beer. I am on a quest for the perfect root beer. I like it spicy and not too sweet. Any suggestions? I’ve tried Sprecher and another one that I’m blanking on right now. There is a cool beer shop near to us (Bottle Craft) that has a great selection of root beers. I’m buying one each time we’re in the area and hoping that one of them will be that dream root beer that I am sure exists.


I don’t always drink beer…

and when I do it, it is so rarely Dos Equis. But I do enjoy commercials with the Most Interesting Man in the World.


I posted a picture of my new {empty} bar cart on Instragram a few weeks ago. It is finally stocked and ready to be enjoyed.

Somehow kegs of Natural Ice at house parties in college turned me onto beer. It was all I would drink for years (to be clear, good beer, not Natty Ice), then slowly we started keeping wine at home and somehow we amassed quite a collection of liquor. Our liquor was kept high above the sink. Not that big of a deal, considering that we didn’t often drink it, but I’ve been craving a bar cart recently. When I found this one at Ikea, I knew that it was just meant to be. It is small, on wheels, and fits a small space next to our couch, where the kitchen and living room meet.

It has three levels. We have the liqueur on the top, bar tools, mixers, coasters, and napkins on the middle, and fruit and the ice holder on the bottom. It’s the perfect size for everything that we already had.

because up next is a fun cocktail recipe.


2 years!

Today’s my 2 year anniversary with my beloved. And a treat for you, a picture from our faux Malaysian wedding.

Despite our lack of smiles, we were having a lovely experience. We were staying at a family’s home. They dressed up in traditional dress for weddings, ‘performed’ the traditional rituals and then some of the locals came to join us for traditional wedding foods. It’s one of my favorite honeymoon memories. Oh, and we weren’t smiling because the pictures of Malaysian weddings that we saw, all of the couples were stoic.
Marriage can be tough but feels just right. We are indeed living a lovely life.

dessert, summer

Summer Sundae

We enjoy having friends and family over for barbeques during the summer. We had been busy when we were having the last one, so I was looking for an easy dessert to serve (though I am hoping to soon find a reason to make the chocolate-cherry-bourbon buttercream cupcakes that I’ve been dreaming up). A cooling grill is perfect for peaches.
Grill them for a few minutes on each side until they’re a bit soft. Once they’re soft, it’s easy to pull the skins off. Then find your favorite little sidekick to assemble the sundaes- vanilla ice cream, salted caramel sauce, chopped walnuts, and waffle cookies (our caramel sauce and our caramel waffle cookie sandwiches were from Trader Joes).

 And there you have it, a perfect summer sundae.
And just because, a photo of the sunset from our backyard on the night of our bbq.