Friday, April 29, 2011

{friday cocktail: blackberry royale}

In honor of the royal wedding, I bring you celebratory champagne cocktail, a Blackberry Royale. Based on the simple Kir Royale recipe, but this one swaps Blackberry liqueur for the normal Creme de Cassis. Sweet and fruity, this cocktail would be a great substitute for brunch mimosas.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

{specialty bottle order}

Last night we got a package with our recent order from Specialty Bottle. We placed a large order from this company two years ago which included the spice containers you can see here and after two months of being in the loft, we were ready for another order. One of the best things about Specialty bottle is that everything is relatively cheap and there are no minimum order quantities so you can get a variety of plastic or glass bottles for just about anything you can think of. 

 {corked round & square glass bottles}

The corked bottles will be used for infused olive oils such a simple red pepper olive oil in the large squared size and more specialty recipes like rosemary olive oil for the smaller rounded bottle.  I also saw a really cute tutorial using the small square cork bottles for an agave nectar gift/favor. The tutorial (here) comes with a download for a nice customizable printable label using the same paper I used.

{image via ruffed}

 {8.5 oz swing top bottles}

These small swing top bottles are the part of the order I was most excited to receive since they will used to make more flavored home-made simple syrups. Already on my to-do list is lavender, rose and lemon-thyme. 

These little eye dropper bottles are going to be used to hold our first ever attempt at home-made bitters. Chris wants to try out a recipe he saw for jalapeno bitters and I want to try my hand at grapefruit bitters.

I promise to share all these homemade syrup, oil, and bitter recipes once we make them!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

{simple syrup label}

We store our Brita filtered water in glass swing top bottles (formerly Lorina sparkling lemonade bottles with the labels removed). This works out great, but the only problem is we also store our homemade simple syrup in one of these bottles. Turns out that water and simple syrup look very similar and a few our guests have poured themselves a tall glass of sweet syrup mistaking it for water. I purchased clear full sheet Avery labels and used a simple printable from one of my favorite DIY blogs, Just Something I Made (label download here). Although the labels aren't exactly as "clear" as I had expected, this is definitely an upgrade from the previous situation.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

{apothecary jars: faux succulents}

Easter is now over, so it was time for the Peeps and Robin's Eggs in the apothecary jars to go. (check them out in all their Easter glory here) Since there aren't any big holidays coming up, I decided to fill the apothecary jars with something other than themed candy.  I purchased a variety of faux succulents from Moskatel's in downtown Los Angeles. You can also find these at Micheal's Craft stores or even nicer versions at Pottery Barn. I used a little bit of dirt topped with the same moss and rocks I used in my real terrarium. I am pleasantly surprised with how real these look and I will probably keep them in the apothecary jars until July 4th rolls around.

{I even had one left over to put on the coffee table}

Monday, April 25, 2011

{blurb photobooks}

At our previous house in Silverlake, we had an entire wall of photos of our friends/family. I loved this wall and continually added to it while we lived there, but when we started talking about moving to a new place I knew I needed to figure out a better way to catalogue and display all my favorite photos. I'm not really one for scrapbooking, it is labor intensive and quite honestly, I am more interested in the photos than the themed stickers and colored paper that surround them. Chris found this amazing review of all the different photo book websites and after extensively reading through it I decided to create photobooks as a way to display all my favorite photos.

I grouped my photos into blocks of time and figured I would be making at least 8 books from the past 4 or 5 years.  Because of the amount of books I would be making, I decided on using Blurb's photobook service.  Although was not the top choice in the review I read, it did have really positive feedback and the prices are extremely reasonable for what you get.  Another selling point for me was the ability to have matte finished photo paper and a matte finished image wrap cover.

I was inspired by the clean aesthetic and simple color scheme of our Wallpaper travel guides (above) and decided to model the look of the books after these. My books are all the "standard portrait" option from Blurb with an image-wrap hardcover and matte paper. I also choose a very simple template for the interior pages that I carried through all the books, solid colored covers with only the title, black interior pages and only one or two photos per page all with white borders.  I am very happy with how these turned out and still have a few more books waiting to be finished. 

We keep these books displayed on our coffee table and I often find myself flipping through them. They bring me a lot of joy and I believe the time/money spent making them was well worth it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

{friday cocktail: signora lavender}

The gift set of Scrappy's Bitters we bought over the holidays came with a few recipes and I was really pleased with how their 'Signora Lavender' cocktail turned out. The Lavender bitters are pleasantly aromatic and remind me of springtime, making this the perfect cocktail with Easter right around the corner. This recipe includes a raw egg white and if that bothers you then just don't even bother with this cocktail because the egg white is what creates the frothy creamy goodness.

Cheers and I hope you have a wonderful Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

{easy appetizer: caprese bites}

I love entertaining during the week, it allows me to briefly pretend its the weekend and I get to eat a wonderful meal with friends. The part I don't enjoy is my commute from work in Culver City to Downtown Los Angeles which doesn't allow me much time to make extravagant appetizers. One of my go-to quick and easy appetizer dishes is Caprese Bites.

What you need:
  • mozzarella cheese
  • a few fresh basil leaves
  • tomatoes (I prefer to use grape tomatoes)
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • toothpicks or bamboo skewers
  1. drain mozzarella balls and cut each one in half
  2. cut tomatoes in half if using grape tomatoes, otherwise cut into pieces about as large as the cheese
  3. cut basil into square inch pieces
  4. sandwich a piece of basil in between a piece of cheese and tomato then skewer with toothpick
  5. place on serving tray and drizzle with olive oil and a balsamic reduction (or regular balsamic if you don't want to get too fancy)
  6. salt & pepper to taste
  7. impress your guests and enjoy. 

Here is fun idea from Southern Living of a different way to serve these bites in individual cups. Would be really cute sitting on top of each person's place setting.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    {zara home}

    One of the main places I shop is Zara and it kills me that they have an entire range of home decor products that they don't sell in the United States yet.  I cant imagine that opening up their e-commerce to US residents is that far off, but come on!!! Lets do this already Zara. Here is collection of some of the things I would love to have: