Monday, February 25, 2013

"Begin Again" - Taylor Swift (Alex Goot, Megan Nicole, Piano Guys)

Sometimes I fixate on a song and just listen to it over and over again.  This would be one of them!  I have no great affinity with "Begin Again" by Taylor Swift, but I absolutely adore this version by Alex Goot, Megan Nicole, and The Piano Guys.  :)  I love love love The Piano Guys -- amazing piano and cello!

Listen with me  :)  And then go listen to everrrrything by The Piano Guys.  :)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Milk Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate mousse was my present to Tim this year. :) And some yellow tulips since he claimed prior that nobody's ever gotten him flowers before. :oP Now he can never say that again!

We love chocolate creme brulee but I didn't really want to go buy a torch kit and all (maybe someday!) so I decided to try one of our second favorites, chocolate mouse! Granted this isn't legit mousse at all and it's adapted from Pillsbury... it was tasty and super easy to make. It would probably be a great last-minute dessert idea if you have everything handy.

Milk Chocolate Mousse
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1 box (4-serving size) chocolate instant pudding and pie filling mix
1 container (6 oz) vanilla yogurt
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat whipped topping
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries

• In small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of the milk and the chocolate chips. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended.
• In medium bowl, combine remaining 1 1/4 cups milk and pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture is well blended and thickened; stir in yogurt.
• Blend melted chocolate into pudding mixture; fold in whipped topping. Spoon into individual dessert dishes. Top each serving with additional whipped topping and strawberries. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving time. Store covered in refrigerator.

* Adding some crumbs of chocolate/Oreo cookie to the bottom of the dish or sprinkled on top would make it extra magical.

1) The original recipe was for "Dark Chocolate Mousse" and called for dark chocolate chips, but I didn't have any, so I used milk chocolate chips.
2) It called for 1 container (6 oz) of Greek Fat Free honey vanilla yogurt, but I didn't read the "Greek" part when I was at the store so I bought regular yogurt and I couldn't find honey vanilla yogurt, so I went with regular vanilla yogurt.
I ended up using HAND WHIPPED cream because.... we had whipping cream, a whisk, and no mixer. :oP It was pretty hard work! It took quite a while and required Tim to help with his own dessert. :oP But hand whipped cream is an amazing thing when it starts to form peaks and stiffen. It's like... yeah, I made liquid into THAT. And then you have a whole new appreciation for churning butter and such. (One time we over whisked the cream and it turned into BUTTER. O_O)
For the chocolate mousse, I really liked it! It was not too sweet and nice and light. My only complaint is that it had kinda of a funny after taste, which I'm pretty sure is from the pudding mix (and I love chocolate pudding!) So... yeah, it's not "legit" mousse and I'm not quite sure whether the yogurt was necessary, but it was easy and tasty! :) I definitely want to try it with dark chocolate chips someday --- I think it will make it even better!

It made a pretty big batch and as I was bringing some over to Tim... it occured to me that some Oreo crumbs would be amazing! So I will probably add some to the leftovers. :)

Did you have a special Valentine's day dessert? Or what's your favorite dessert in general?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Valentine Cards 2013: Teacup!

Valentine's Day crafts! Sorry didn't get to post these before Valentine's Day, but that was partly due to the fact that I made some of them the night before. :) And some inspiration struck while I was standing in front of the candy at Target. The night before. :oP
I made two kinds of Valentine's for friends/coworkers and a book Valentine for Tim! Today, I'll cover the first one I made today.
The first Valentine was a "teacup" with a teabag. This was originally inspired to be sent to my college friends in LA. When we lived in the dorms, we would have "tea parties" together in the evenings. (The wild, wild college kids we were.) :oP So I was thinking we could have a "virtual tea party" since three of them are in Southern California and one of them plus myself are in Northern California. :)
This Martha Stewart teacup valentine was my inspiration. I think I could've jazzed mine up a bit, but I used what I had and people seemed to enjoy them. :) I also drew some red hearts floating next to the teabag, so it wasn't as boring as it looks here.
The base was white cardstock and a pink piece of piece

I free-handed the teacup and then traced a few copies to cut out by hand, since I don't have those fancy-pants shape cutter machines. ;)
I'm usually worried that glue will come loose later on, so I used double sided tape to adhere everything together.
TIP!  Before gluing/taping the teacup down, place a teabag inside, and then press down around the edges of the teacup!  That ensures there's enough space to insert the teabag.

Did you make Valentines this year?

Friday, February 8, 2013


Lukas Van Dyke, a photographer, recently posted about his "new Instagram photo policy." He wanted to "put more effort" into his pictures. It could be from his work, from life, from his dslr, from his phone, could be edited, could be not, etc. It got me thinking about MY Instagraph photo policy. You know. If I really had such a thing. As a photo policy. o_O

But I do. It's not written and it's most often not said or stated. But I mentally do have "policies"! (For a lot of things in life, actually.)

Bringing it back to Instagram... I like to use Instagram for capturing life... which sometimes takes a lot of effort and sometimes doesn't. Which also means some pictures are great and some aren't. I am one who thinks Instagram photos should be taken only with the phone! That is because when I see someone else with a beautiful photo -- it gives me hope that I too can capture that on my phone too -- when I happen on it in life -- without a lot of fancy camera equipment or set up time/effort. I understand that some people may see Instagram as their photo gallery so anything is fair game, but for me it's like... oh well, if you took that on your $2,000+ DSLR and spent 5 hours editing it, of course it'll look THAT AWESOME. I just love it when someone uses just their phone to capture something super awesome and it's like, "Yes... 95% talent, and 5% equipment."
Do you Instagram? If so, do you have a Instagram photo policy? What is it?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Blanket the World in Love - Recap

So I posted about the *Blanket the World in Love* event a little over two weeks ago. It was a day to basically bless other people! To make someone smile or to make someone's day by doing something unexpected.

Since I only found out about it the night before, I didn't have too much time to hash out something brilliant or creative. And sadly, my plan of treating two particular co-workers actually fell apart! Well, I ended up treating another co-worker to a Jamba Juice, but I was disappointed I wasn't able to treat everyone! (There was a battle at the register.) Next time! And I must say, sometimes it is even more fun to bless a stranger. :)

Fun finds about making a more generous, awesome world:

1) I recently found out from this coffee-lovin'-site that there is a coffee shop in South Carolina where people pay it forward and pays for the next person's drink. All the time! :)

 2) This YouTube video, "A Pep Talk from Kid President to You," has gone viral lately. It's pretty cute and my two favorite lines, that I think are quite relevant to this post are:

"I want to be on [the path] that leads to awesome!"

"You've just been pepped talked! Create something that will make the world awesome."


Did you participate in *Blanket the World in Love* day? Was there a time someone blessed you unexpectedly?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

PSSA: The Most Comfortable Flats

I have a terrible time buying shoes since I have wide feet. And let's not talk about how much $ that has been thrown down the drain in search of good flats! You would think flats would be easy! (Verses heels, at least.) I usually think oh, maybe I can break these in, or maybe these soften with a few more wears. NO! No more. I have learned that unless they are 100% comfortable in the store --- I will not buy them. Cause for all the money I've spent on flats hoping they would work out, I probably could buy some ridiculous designer lots-of-hundred-$$$ shoes!

All of my current flats were either uncomfortable/pinchy or just ugly. Mostly uncomfortable. So I went on a hunt to find some! Especially since my job requires some occasions of looking presentable. :) In the winter, I can wear boots, but in the summer, that would be silly! (I think I also need some need boots... there's a knick in my current pair. Sad!)

Anyway --- I went to DSW and went up and down all the aisles. I stumbled upon these Me Too Nini flats! In WIDE! YAHOO!!! A 7.5 fit perfectly! (I'm normally a 7.5.) No pinch on first try! I was looking for black flats since they go with everything, but there was only one pair in the store and it was kinda beat up, one foot was bigger than the other, and there were some weird stuff stuck to the bottom. Gross. BUT THEY WERE SO COMFY. What to do. I quickly checked online on my phone and they didn't have any black wides left! Nooooo. But they did have one pair at two other locations in the City. I was slightly concerned that those other pairs would also be tried-in, worn, and yucky.

So I ended up just buying a bronze pair online! :) (Which arrived new!  Yay.)  I still would like a black pair but bronze is kinda cool and not boring right? (I'm trying to break out of black and boring.)
me too nini flat in bronze
Since it's so hard for me to find comfy shoes, I'm thinking of buying another pair in a different color. (They actually just sold out of bronze!)  I don't think I want the pewter pair, so I'm contemplating the navy pair. It looks pretty dark online, which I actually don't want cause I don't want to have an almost-black pair of flats that I can't quite wear with black dress pants. It would be a frivolous pair and not fulfill the black flats "need." But maaaybe they aren't that dark in person?  What to do?
me too nini flat in navy
What do you think? Should I nab the navy pair since it's so hard for me to buy shoes?  Do you have trouble buying shoes?  Or is it easy breezy for you?  What are you favorite brands of flats?
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