Monday, October 31, 2011

october cake: dark chocolate layer cake with salted caramel buttercream frosting

I should have titled this post, "how to make instant friends." here's how:

1) bake a homemade chocolate cake. slice a piece out of the middle so the delicious-looking layers in the center are visible. 
2) carry the cake on a pretty cake plate into your local restaurant (in this case it was for our friend brian's birthday- but who needs an occasion for cake?). people will begin to approach you in the parking lot. they'll pretend to be interested in you husband's car - but we all know what they're really after. 
3) once you're in the restaurant, all the servers will greet you like you're they're long-lost sister. the bartenders will offer to barter drinks for a slice. they'll even ask if they can put the cake in the back so you'll have more room at your table (don't fall for this one). the people in the restaurant will also begin stare- but don't worry, they're just jealous. they are just waiting for that moment when you finish your meal & cut the cake, hoping they'll a catch a break in the form of a crumb. 
4) now, sing "happy birthday" (this step is optional - but note that this is the point when your fellow patron's jealously turns to envy & they begin thinking "I wish I was sitting at their table", so I'd recommend not skipping that part).
5) finally, cut & serve the cake. the people in the restaurant have now had a few drinks & are feeling friendly. they will take this opportunity to come up to your table & tell you how awesome you are & what an amazing baker you must be & do you think you might have a slice (or two) leftover. they're practically your friends at this point, so go for it. now, be prepared, because some more people might come into restaurant & gush over the cake (because they can see that you've served other people in the restaurant & can hear them shouting about how "amazing" it is). so you will probably make even more friends.
6) by the end of the night, the cake will be gone (hence the reason I said to take a slice out in the beginning!) & enjoyed by all your new friends. they're so ecstatic & their bellies are so happy, you'll feel like scott in the final scene of "teen wolf" where he scores the winning basket & gets hoisted up on everyone's shoulders to be revered & praised.  

so if you're interested in making this actual cake (although any chocolate cake will do, really), I highly recommend it. the recipe can be found here (thank you, pinterest). the only modification I made was using hazelnut-flavored coffee instead of regular coffee, because I love the flavor.

*true story. and also just a side note that I did call ahead to make sure it was cool with the restaurant that I b.y.o.c.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

aqua mason jars: diy

I've had a crush on these vintage aqua mason jars for years, but every time I see them in antiques stores, they are always expensive. I really wanted to use them for robert's birthday party, so I figured I'd just try to make them myself. I found this tutorial online & followed the steps exactly, using the same turquoise vitrea paint & paint thinner. there were still some streaks, even after baking, but you don't notice them at all once the jars are filled with water & flowers. a pretty cheap + easy substitute, don't you think?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

the corn maize

robert & I took a lovely little ride out to the country on saturday in his vw bus. and I mean country. like, no stop lights, cell towers, anything. we wanted to walk through the giant corn maze at conner's a-maize-ing acres (get it?). it's a family farm, complete with with a two mile corn maze (ok, it's supposed to be "maize" with a corn stalk for the "i"), bon fires, hayrides, homemade ice cream & live music. we had such a great time walking through the maze with flashlights at night (and perhaps pretending to be harry potter in the tri-wizard challenge).  see if there's one in your area.

{the two mile maze at dusk}

Friday, October 21, 2011

station tavern

another delicious restaurant on our trip to san diego: station tavern. back in the 30s & 40s, there was a trolley line that ran over this piece of property. the owners have incorporated that trolley theme into the design of the restaurant. the space is totally open and almost all outdoors (ah, san diego weather!). plus, the food was really good, too.

{check out the foot rest- it's an old rail from the original trolley line}
{local beer: green flash}
{and a tasty margarita}
{who knew a turkey burger could be so delicious}
{gimmie some of your tots}

Thursday, October 20, 2011


robert & I stopped in a great store in san diego called pigment. they have really unique home deco, stationary & gifts. but one of the coolest things in the store is the make-your-own-terrariums. they sell these beautiful hanging glass orbs, which you can fill with sand or rocks & then a plant of your choosing (miniature succulents, a cactus, etc). wish I had snapped a photo of them - they were rad.

I felt like I
needed to leave with some sort of treasure, so I picked up these pretty little stacking ceramic bowls. they are handmade, so each one is a little different shape & size. they'll be perfect for jewelry or buttons or even to use in the kitchen. I love finding awesome stores in new cities.

Monday, October 17, 2011

king's highway diner + lounge

as if the ace hotel photos I posted didn't make that place look hip enough, they also have this restaurant on the property that is  just as awesome. the owners restored an old denny's restaurant & turned it into a super-hip diner, serving the most delicious food, most of which is organic & locally grown. one of the best parts is linda, "the singing hostess", who slienced everyone in the restaurant so that she could sing to us (and apparently she also hosts bingo on monday nights!). pretty rad.  

 {our great hosts for the week, eric + megan}
 {these ricotta pancakes were heavenly. I fully intend to make them at home}
 {and breakfast chilaquiles}

Friday, October 14, 2011

ace hotel, palm springs

so in case you are ever feeling down-in-the-dumps about yourself, do not visit the ace hotel in palm springs. you will leave feeling old, lame & extremely uncool. I have never been surrounded by so many skinny, aviator-wearing, tattooed, asymmetric-haircut hipsters in my life (I should also mention that there was a photo-shoot going on for american eagle, so there were a plethora of 95-pound models hanging around too). it was depressing. but this place is incredible. amazing design & signage everywhere you turn. it could not be a hipper hotel.

 {the pool, which is aptly named the "swim club", complete with bar & DJ}
 {great signage everywhere}
  {pool rules. I'm pretty sure there's one on there that says, "must be young & hot to enter"}
  {the rooms - some had patios with fire pits & couches}
  {how cool is this? by the second pool swim club}
  {the american eagle spring photoshoot. just look at those beauties scowl at me ;) }
  {our room}

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

sprinkles cupcakes: san diego

gosh, I like love cupcakes. and one of my favorite things to do in a new city is to explore the cupcake shops & taste test until I find my favorite. so far, I keep going back to sprinkles. I've visited the beverly hills location (here) & the dallas location (here). so when we were in san diego this past week, it was only appropriate that I cross one more location off the list. their vanilla milk chocolate cupcake is seriously the best ever. ever. good thing we don't have one in florida or I'd be broke. and fat. "not that there's anything wrong with that."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

food + drink pinterest board

I've been quite obsessed with pinterest since I joined a few months ago. it's such a convenient way to keep images & ideas organized in one place. lately my "food + drink" board has become my favorite. I've found some really great recipes that have inspired me to stop making the same old boring thing time & time again (am I starting to sound like an infomercial?). 

to celebrate making it through the work week last week, I made these fresh corn cakes, served with a little peach salad + these take five balls for dessert. very tasty.


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