Father’s Day Gifts

Father's Day 2014

1. Globe Spirits Decanter $50 / 2. Epic Projection Keyboard $150
3. My Paris Life by David Lebovitz $22.14 / 4. Clapper Board Alarm $Request Price
5. X-Men and the Wolverine Collection $38

Whether it is his birthday, the holidays, or Father’s day, fathers can be really hard to shop for. Hunting down the perfect gift can be a challenge, but I feel like you can’t go wrong with a quality cookbook or DVD collection. Your dad will also have a hard time saying ‘no’ to his favorite movie and a fine bottle of scotch. If all else fails and you just can’t find anything your think your dad would like, give an experience gift and plan to spend the afternoon together and cook a meal or head to the theaters for a new release.

What are you getting your father this Sunday?

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Exploring Pike Place Market

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No matter what time of the year, Pike Place Market is amazing to explore. These photos are from last weekend’s quick trip to gaze at the colorful and vibrant fresh vegetables, fish, and flowers. There’s never a dull moment at the market.

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{Photos by Lauren}

My Life Lately

april 2014

Last weekend involved a quick trip to the East Coast to support my rockstar sister and watch her run a half marathon. I was exhausted just watching her cross the finish line, but it was such a proud sister moment. 13.1 miles – that is no easy feat. Anyways, the trip involved a lot of eating, as usual. As told by instagram (you can follow me here!), this has been my life lately.

1. Warm salted caramel apple pie with vanilla bean ice cream just might be the perfect Friday pick-me-up.

2. Almost finished with Ariana Huffington’s ThriveThis quote stood out to me: The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. – William James. Important (but not easy) to remember.

3. These D.C. townhouses are stop-dead-in-your-tracks-stunning. The basket of flowers on the door is too pretty. When can I move in?

4. You can’t not get cupcakes when you walk by Sprinkles. I mean, come on.

5. Room service is one of life’s overlooked luxuries. Just look at those cookies!

6. Stopping for a quick picture of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial while trying to find my sister as she ran 13.1 miles. No big deal.

{Photos by Lauren}

Holiday Cheer

xmas 2013

1. Onion Basket $30 | 2.  A Story Lately Told $17 | 3. Wishbone Bottle Opener $14 | 4. Robinson Nutcracker $95 | 5. Game of Thrones: The First Season $30

This year, give special items that are both functional and entertaining. This onion/fruit basket would be super useful and look great in any kitchen. Do your friends keep telling you they want to start watching Game of Thrones? Get them the complete first season on DVD – maybe they’ll even let you watch with them. You can never go wrong with gifting a book, especially when it’s a memoir. Anjelica Huston’s recently released A Story Told Lately is a fascinating read. You don’t have to spend too much to spread holiday cheer and make someone’s holidays even sparklier.

How are you going to spread holiday cheer?

Red, White, Blue

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How can you celebrate the 4th of July without some red, white, and blue treats? Whether you are preparing for a family or friend party, a low-key BBQ, a picnic in the park, or just plan on enjoying some snacks while watching the fireworks, these three red, white, and blue recipes couldn’t be better for one of the most patriotic days of the year. Click on the pictures for the recipe link, and have a happy 4th!

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{Photos by Lauren}

Japan Photo Diary

As I mentioned in this post, I recently visited Japan. I fell in love with Tokyo and Kyoto and all that these two great cities had to offer. Here is a glimpse into my days there…

photo diaryStrolled through the bamboo forest on a rainy afternoon || Walking through the old town in Kyoto || An unbelievable variety of soft serve flavors || Ramune cart with chilled Japanese sodas || Strawberry and green tea slushies and mocha || Mini dim-sum almost too cute to eat || Totoro, the best little buddy ever || Ate an unreal dinner at Jiro || Me thrilled to be at one of Kyoto’s most beautiful temples

{Photos by Lauren}

Homemade Cheese-Its

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Cheez-Its, as bad as they are for you, will always be a guilty pleasure. The rich cheezy flavor and perfect crunch are so hard to resist. You can imagine my excitement when I came across a recipe (below) for Homemade Cheese-Its, which meant I could have them all the time and somewhat control my salt intake. These Homemade Cheese-Its are surprisingly simple, yet time-consuming, to make. Mixing the dough is easy, but rolling the dough out thin enough and transferring all of the delicate little cookie cutter letters (I used these) to the baking sheet requires patience and time. However, the end result is delicious, and having little cheese letters is perfect for soup and snacking throughout the day. If you are a cheese lover, you will enjoy these homemade treats.

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Homemade Cheez-Its Recipe (Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens)

Ingredients

8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature (4 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ice water

Directions

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the cheese, butter, and salt. Add the flour and mix on low (dough will be pebbly). Slowly add the water and mix as the dough forms a ball.
2. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into two pieces and roll each into a very thin (1/8 inch or less) 10×12 inch rectangle. Using a fluted pastry cutter (or cookie cutters to make fun shapes), cut the rectangles into 1-inch squares, then transfer them to the baking sheets.
4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until puffed and browning at the edges. Watch carefully, as the high fat content of the crackers makes a fine line between golden delicious and burnt. Immediately move the crackers to racks to cool.

{Photos by Lauren}