17 May 2017

DIY Yarney

I think it was sometime last year when Alex bought the video game Unravel for me. He's always trying to find video games that I would like and Unravel seemed to be right up my alley. I mean, I'm not really into video games, but when there's one that speaks to me, I get hooked. Unravel is a side-scrolling puzzle game (applied physics, too!) that is not only heartwarming and emotional, but also beautifully made with a lovely soundtrack. Several weeks ago, we finally finished the game and that day we made our very own Yarney. It's really simple (three easy steps!) and even if you haven't played the video game - it's still pretty cute.
Here's what you'll need:
  • scissors
  • red yarn
  • white yarn
  • bendable wire
  • a paper clip
Here's how to do it...

Step One: Make the Skeleton
Take your bendable wire and start making Yarney's wire skeleton. We made ours using three different pieces: the head, arms and legs. We attached each piece together with more wire. It doesn't have to be perfect. Just make sure that his legs and arms are both the same length. As for his head, the goal is to have it crescent shaped on the top. Ignore the little dragon on ours, Alex added that for fun. ;)

Step Two: Start Wrapping
Take your red yarn and start wrapping Yarney's skeleton. Don't worry about being precise here. The more chaotic it looks, the better. As for where to start, it's really up to you. We started with the head and worked our way down. However make sure that wherever you do start that you finish there before moving onto a different area. So finish the arms first before moving onto the torso. A little tip: when you are wrapping his torso make sure you go down a little past where his legs start. The key here is to make a little "shirt". Which you can see in the photo above. Once you're done wrapping, cut the yarn and tuck it underneath. Here's what you'll have once you are done...
Step Three: The Eyes
I'm not going to lie. This was super frustrating for me and I still feel as though I could have made the eyes better. You're going to want to take your paper clip and thread in the white yarn. Yarney's eyes are almond-shaped, so try to aim for that. Once you are done making the eyes, simply tuck the white yarn underneath the red.

So there you have it. A super easy way to make your own Yarney!

10 May 2017

When He Makes Her Dinner

In our house Alex does the cooking and I do the cleaning. It works for us too. I mean I'm good at cooking, but I like baking more. Besides that, Alex has been a professional chef for over 15 years and his meals are always way better than what I can make. So last week, while I was stuffing my face with some salmon fishcakes that Alex had made us, I told him that I really needed to start photographing the dinners that he makes us, like I used too. If you're interested, I posted all of the meals on Instagram under the hashtag: #whenhemakesherdinner.

Somewhere along the way, life got busy and I stopped taking photos. Which sucks because Alex really does make the most delicious and pretty looking food. So, instead of filling up my Instagram with photos of the dinners he makes, I'm turning it into a series here on the blog. Which I'm excited about. Please say hello to, When He Makes Her Dinner.
Here's what Alex made us last week:
Featured meals: salmon fishcakes w/ mango salsa, grilled steak w/ garlic rice and veggies (w/ mango salsa), homemade guacamole and mini burger sliders topped w/ a fried egg and my homemade pickles and a side of roasted potatoes.

Oh and by the way, I completely forgot to take a photo of the pesto/alfredo fettuccine and grilled chicken that he made us last night and I'm still kicking myself. Hopefully I won't forget next time. It's just so hard because whenever he puts a plate in front of me the food looks and smells so good that I want to eat it as quickly as I can.

09 May 2017

Free Comic Book Day 2017

This past Saturday was Free Comic Book Day and it was actually the first time I had ever participated. Mainly because Alex was at work and I wanted to make sure he got the free comics that we wanted. But also because I wanted to support our favourite comic book shop, Uncanny Heroes. I really love that shop... Mike, Clark and Art are super knowledgeable and really friendly. They even put up some artwork in the shop that Alex made. Which is always really cool. Anyways, back to Free Comic Book Day. I had a great time and also ran into George Lowe aka Space Ghost.
I got a pretty great haul of free comic books too. Including a Tingey print signed by George and some Space Ghost buttons. Now running into George isn't anything new. We actually already know each other (I met him at the museum I work at over seven years ago) and we've ran into each other quite a bit in this small town. And since it was Free Comic Book Day we figured an obligatory photo together was in order. George is also the reason that I stayed pretty much all of Free Comic Book Day at Uncanny Heroes. All because I was helping him take payments. We spent most of the time cracking jokes and talking about art. And honestly the day would have been a thousand times better if Alex had been there with me. At least there's always next year... 

Also, I'd like to give a huge thanks to Uncanny Heroes for taking some of those photos you see up above (you know - the ones with the logo on the bottom left). They are just great!

Did you take part in Free Comic Book day this year? Have you in the past? Let me know in the comments below so we can discuss!

02 May 2017

Swedish Apple Cake w/ No-Churn Honey & Sea Salt Ice Cream

Yesterday Alex & I popped over to IKEA. We didn't really need anything, but we just felt like going. I know - we're weird. Either way, we discovered a little cookbook of theirs called, Food's Ready! and we found a salmon fishcake recipe that we ended up making for dinner that night. As for dessert, I made their Swedish Apple Cake and instantly fell in love with it.
I tweaked this recipe just a little bit and it still turned out delicious. Alex was pretty stoked on it too. Which isn't that much of a surprise because Alex is a sucker for apple pie. In fact for our first Thanksgiving together we made a bacon latticed apple pie. But this cake gave that pie a run for it's money. Even though this recipe originally called for vanilla topping, my homemade no-churn honey & sea salt ice cream hit the spot. Just a heads up, you'll need a 9 inch springform pan to make it. Oh and since the recipe called for milliliters, it's best if you have a measuring cup that does both. If you don't have one, I included the cups next to the milliliters.

SWEDISH APPLE CAKE

INGREDIENTS
2 red delicious apples
1 fuji apple
3 eggs
200 ml sugar (about .84 cups)
150 ml neutral oil (about .63 cups)
300 ml flour (about 1.26 cups)
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp allspice
sprinkle of ginger on top
oil for the pan

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350°F. While it's preheating, peel and slice the apples - don't forget to remove the seeds and core. Then line the springform pan with parchment paper and oil the inside walls of the pan.

Then beat the eggs and sugar until it's light and fluffy. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Then slowly fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Add in the vanilla extract and pour the cake mix into the springform pan.

Next you'll want to push the apples slices down into the cake mixture. You can do this a variety of ways. For me, I just lined the apples next to each other. I started on the outside and worked my way in. Don't worry about overlapping - it's fine. Just go with it and if you have to cut some of the slices to fit into any gaps, go for it. And if you can't fit anymore apples, eat 'em! Just be sure you push them down. The further they get pushed, the more apples you can put in.

Then place the pan on the middle rack in the oven and let it cook for 60 minutes. It's done when a skewer comes out dry. Leave the cake in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then let the cake cool out on a rack. You can serve it cold or hot with no-churn ice cream (recipe below).

Seriously, look at the layers of apples in this thing. Delicious! It's even good for breakfast with coffee.

Alright, so if you're still reading this I'm pretty sure that you want to make the ice cream. Which is awesome - because it's really easy! Now, I don't have a photo of this - but just trust me - it's good. And if you don't trust me, just google it. Just an FYI, I used a stand mixer, so I'm not sure how it will turn out with a handheld mixer. And P.S. you'll need to make this the night before, because it needs to stay in the freezer overnight.

NO-CHURN HONEY & SEA SALT ICE CREAM

INGREDIENTS
14 oz can sweetened, condensed milk
16 oz heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup honey

DIRECTIONS
Add the sweetened, condensed milk and heavy whipping cream together in the stand mixer's bowl. Whip the mixture until it's light and fluffy. Then quickly fold in the sea salt and honey. Pour the mixture into a freezer safe container and stick it in the freezer overnight. If you really can't wait that long (I couldn't) just let it chill in there for at least 6 hours.


Let me know if you try either of these recipes! I'd love to know if you like it or not.

14 April 2017

DIY Earl Grey Coconut Face Scrub

Sometimes we all need a little hydration and I've found that coconut oil provides the best hydration out there. I made this earl grey coconut facial scrub for my best friend's bridal shower last year and since then I fell in love with this scrub. Since I love finding new beauty tricks, I figured I'd share it with you too!
Ingredients:
2 cups granulated sugar
4 packets of  Earl Grey tea
1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil
An airtight glass jar

Directions:
  1. In a medium sized  mixing bowl, pour in the sugar and black tea. Mix together and make sure that it is completely mixed before you add the coconut oil.
  2. Put the coconut oil in the microwave for 20 seconds. The goal  is to turn into a liquid.
  3. Pour the coconut oil over the sugar/black tea mixture and quickly stir until everything is covered with the coconut oil.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the airtight glass jar for safekeeping. Want a refreshing facial scrub? Keep the jar in the fridge until you're ready to use it.
When you're ready to use it dampen your skin and apply the coconut and earl grey sugar scrub. Gently rub it into your face, rinse off, pat dry and say hello to lovely skin! This would make a great gift as well. So do something nice and make one for a friend or coworker!

07 April 2017

Our French Quarter Travel Guide

Our French Quarter Travel Guide is finally here! I mean, no one was really expecting this... but finally I wanted to create this since we got back from our honeymoon. Now, three months later... hah. Life, right? If you've been following this blog for awhile, it should come as no surprise that I love New Orleans. So I was thrilled when Alex said he wanted to go there for our honeymoon.
I had a blast showing him some of my most-loved places. Unfortunately, we had to leave two days earlier than we had planned, but I still managed to show him the "real" French Quarter. So, if you're thinking about heading to New Orleans for a few days keep the following places in mind.

Alex & I stayed at Hotel St. Marie, in the heart of the French Quarter. What made this hotel cool was the fact that Vacherie was the hotel's restaurant. Since I had frequented their Cafe a lot during my previous trips, I knew that we'd have great food to take up to our room - which we did. But what made this even cooler for me was the fact that the outside of the building was featured in American Horror Story's Coven - which you can see above. Fan girl, I know. But it's my favourite. Anyway, let's move on to some other cool places, shall we?

COFFEE+DRINKS


Cafe Du Monde - If you go anywhere else for beignets and chicory coffee, we're not friends. ;) Cafe Du Monde started all the way back in 1862 and best of all, you just sit down at a table and a waiter comes to take your order. The beignets are perfect, doughy fried pillows and their chicory coffee is something I dream of.

Vacherie Cafe - Luckily for us our honeymoon happened in February, right before Mardis Gras, so we drank a lot of their King Cake lattes - which were incredibly delicious. But their other lattes are great as well.

Tujague's - This is the second oldest restaurant in New Orleans (160 years) and they have the best Ramos Gin Fizz in the Quarter. If you're curious as to what a Ramos Gin Fizz is, it's a gin cocktail with egg whites and orange blossom water. It sounds weird, but I promise you that it is delicious. Even if you're like me and don't care too much for gin.

FOOD


Brennan's - We went here for brunch and indulged on their super fancy eggs benedict. We we're also given free champagne in honor of our honeymoon. One thing we regret not going back to try their famous bananas fosters. Maybe next time. Here's a tip though, ask someone there if they can give you a quick tour of the upstairs. It's incredible!

The Grill - If you're craving diner food, which I do at least once a month, The Grill is the place to go. It's classic diner food at it's finest - with a great price point. They also have the perfect cherry cokes (they add grenadine) and the sweetest, sassiest servers. P.S. Their rubens are to die for!

Vacherie Cafe & Bar - Somehow we managed to not make it to the actual restaurant - every time we made it there it was closed. However we did make it to the Cafe and the Bar to order food, which we took up to our room. The Vacherie Bar's broiled brussels sprouts with fried pork belly is soo good. Also, their roast beef debris po'boy was incredible! As for the Cafe, I'm addicted to their homemade granola and greek yogurt bowls and have been for years now. Their breakfast sandwiches are pretty awesome too.

Coop's - Sadly, we didn't make it here on our trip, but I've been here several times before. It's so good that you have to wait in line for this place, but it is totally worth it. It's a tiny bar with big & delicious meals like marinated lamb ribs, the best fried chicken - hands down - and rabbit jambalaya (don't tell Olive). Seriously, the food served here is unexpected and top notch.

Stanley - Delicious Cajun food with a cool atmosphere and pretty, Instagram-worthy white marble tables. If you sit by the windows you can get a great view of Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral. They have great food and outlandishly decadent eggs benedict with boudin. We went here for brunch the first day we got into town and really enjoyed ourselves.


SHOPPING

Bottom of the Cup Tea Room - This place has been around since 1929 and has the best loose tea. Every time I come to New Orleans I buy some tea to take home with me. This time I got Strawberry Shortcake Black Tea. Last time it was Blueberry Black Tea. All of it is delicious. If you're looking for sage bundles, they have that too!

Esoterica - I go to this place everytime I'm in New Orleans. They have all the supernatural stuff a girl like me could ever want. I've gotten a lot of rare and hard to find books from here too. It's definitely must see place if you're into that kind of thing.

Marie Laveu's House of Voodoo - A French Quarter essential. What more could I say?

Beckham's BookShop - Located on Decatur Street, this awesome bookshop was on our list, but sadly we didn't make it. I've been here before so I can attest to how awesome this place is. Two stories tall with so many books that they overflow onto the floor into random stacks.

Royal Street - Just head down this street for a ton of antique shops and art galleries. Alex & I stopped into so many places that we can't remember all of them. We viewed all of these like museums - it was pretty incredible the items and art pieces that we came across. There are so many to choose from too. You won't be disappointed.

French Market - Tons of vendors and shops.

AROUND TOWN
Jackson Square - This is my favourite place to head to early in the morning whenever I want to feel as though I am in the middle of it all. The view is perfect with the cathedral on one side and the river on the other. Most days there are artists selling their work, tarot card readings, and live music.

Audubon Insectarium  - I'm pretty sure this was Alex's favourite thing that we did while in New Orleans. He loves bugs and this insectarium was incredibly awesome. It even gave you plenty opportunities for hand on experiences. Which we both took advantage of, like the Madagascar hissing cockroach. I even rescued a butterfly who tried to escape.

St. Louis Cemeteries 1, 2 and 3 - Sadly Alex & I didn't make it, but since I've been to all three before, it was on our list.

"Touchdown Jesus" - You have to check this place out late at night. It's located on the back on St. Louis Cathedral. The shadow of the statue reflects itself on the facade of the church. Here's the story behind it.

The Riverfront - It's always nice to walk right alongside the riverfront. We started from where the Insectarium was and made our way back to the French Quarter. It offers views of the bridge and steamboats.

Latrobe Park - If you're looking for a little getaway from the hustle and bustle of the Quarter, this park offers a nice reprieve.

And that's it. Well, for now! I hope you guys enjoyed this travel guide. I had a lot of fun putting it together! If you enjoyed reading it, let me know and I'll keep making them!

If you've been to the French Quarter before and have any suggestions that I missed, I would love to hear them (because honestly, we have to start planning our next trip!). Let me know in the comments below!

31 March 2017

How To Hygge In the Spring

Last year, in the throes of winter, I wrote about hygge (re: coziness). With a few weeks into spring, hygge looks a little different. Especially in Florida, when daily highs have a tendency to reach over 85. Luckily the nights are still cool... So, yes, spring is here, but that doesn't mean that hygge should be left behind. In my opinion, a home should always be cozy - no matter what the season. So, with that in mind, I wanted to share how I hygge in the spring.

Bring Home Fresh Flowers

Flowers have a lovely way of making any home feel peaceful. However, steer clear from artificial flowers, it just doesn't give the same effect. Simple, colourful bouquets will keep you connected to the natural world. If you have a green thumb, opt for indoor flowers like hyacinths. Don't forget about the greenery with easy to maintain pot plants, like succulents or cacti!

Let In Some Light

I am a sucker for natural light. If it were up to me I'd have multiple windows in every room. Throw open the curtains or open the windows. Natural light is a great mood booster and now that it's getting darker later you can enjoy it even more!

Delve Into Spring Scents

Candles aren't just for fall and winter. In springtime, the key is to find fresh scented candles. Candles that remind you of well, all things Spring. Using candles will help you to add that feeling of hygge. Scents of fresh linen, light floral scents, or sweet fruit are perfect for this time of year. This Coastal Palm candle from Target is both fresh and sweet.

Spend Time Outdoors

Spending time outdoors means you can take in all of the blooming flowers and enjoy nature. I mean, even if it's means having dinner on the back porch, it's still hygge. Think fresh pico de gallo and tortilla chips with homemade margaritas. Any time spent outdoors is a good thing. Go on a picnic, spend time at the park, take a walk around a lake. Whatever it is, go outside and enjoy it.


What are some of the ways in which you can bring hygge to springtime? Let me know in the comments below so we can discuss!