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It is not sunny in the Bay area today. In fact, it’s been gloomy and rainy since yesterday. Perhaps this dreary weather is the reason why I find this Southern California bungalow so appealing.The rooms are filled with bright sunshine, there are lots of green plants, and the earth tone color of the interiors are calm and inviting. Not to mention that closet space (a wide open room dedicated to colorful maxi dresses and a seat lined with fur?!?!) is what dreams are made of. But probably my favorite part of this house is the outdoor living space – which looks perfect for soaking up those glorious sun rays. Now someone get me to SoCal stat!

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commuter essentials

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Desktop14Today marks a milestone in my life – I start my first full-time job and I couldn’t be more excited! But because my new position is outside of the city, I’ll be doing some variation of walking/busing/riding the train everyday. So what better way to celebrate my new commuter lifestyle by going shopping for some of the things that will make my transition into the real world easier? After consulting with numerous friends who have been doing the whole commuter thing for a while now (I’m so late to the game) I came up with this list of must-have items for my new morning and evening routine. Some of them I’ve already purchased (like the Fossil bag – it was so hard to choose which one I wanted, Fossil has totally upped their game recently!) and some of them are still wants (the bike – hello, Christmas present!) but I’m convinced all of them will make my new full work day that much better.

1/a bag that can carry it all :: 2/a travel mug for on-the-go tea :: 3/a lightweight bike :: 4/a cute lunch bag :: 5/a comfortable walking shoe :: 6/a stylish pouch to hold train tickets/bus passes :: 7/extra phone chargers :: 8/grab + go snacks

I live in an apartment on the top floor. Even though my building has an elevator, getting a normal sized Christmas tree (I prefer the living kind) up here would require more effort than I’m willing to put in. But alas, all is not lost. There is a great alternative: the tiny tree. A pint-sized baby fur, cedar, or evergreen is the answer to my ‘I-want-to-decorate-my-apartment-for-Christmas-with-a-real-tree’ prayers. Portable, easy to decorate, and oh so cute, a tiny tree is a great option for those of us living in small spaces or who don’t want to invest the time or money into a full size tree. Here are some easy and adorable ways to use them as part of your winter decor:

 source

How are you guys decorating for the holidays? Anyone using a tiny tree? xoxoxo

So ever since I’ve had this blog I’ve been doing a weekly feature on Wednesday’s that gives you a little glimpse into my life and what’s been going on lately. My hiatus from blogging last week interrupted that pattern and today I’m too excited to show you my latest crafting project to do another ‘my world wednesday’ post. Oh well!

I’ve been seeing pom poms all over the internet forever now! Martha Stewart Living even did a whole feature on using pom poms in decor last month. I had seen something on Pinterest about how to make pom poms with a fork and after many attempts, had given up on my pom pom dreams. It’s harder than it looks people!

So along came the Saturday after Thanksgiving when my Dad dropped me off at Michael’s while he ran over to the local Lowe’s. I wanted to buy yarn for a new scarf I’m making and while I was perusing the needles I saw this little gadget called a pom pom maker. At first, I was skeptical because I’d struggled so much with the whole fork ordeal. But I ended up buying the maker and have been so pleased ever since! I recently made this garland to give my apartment some holiday cheer and knew I had to share with you guys!

DIY Pom Pom Garland:

Start with these materials; a ball of yarn (I used a cranberry color because I was making a Christmas garland but you could use any color), scissors (make sure they’re pretty sharp so they cut the yarn well), hemp twine, and a pom pom maker (which I  got at Michael’s)

Start by wrapping the yarn around the prongs of the pom pom maker. There are two sets of prongs and you’ll want to wrap the yarn completely over one set…

Before moving on to the next. Wrap the yarn completely around both sets so that you have a full circle

Cut the yarn so it’s no longer attached to the rest of the ball of yarn

Take your scissors and cut down the middle of each side of the maker. This is when it’s super important to have sharp scissors. I tried cutting with at least three pairs before I found a pair that were sharp enough to cut the yarn yet small enough to maneuver the pom pom maker

Take a piece of yarn or string and tie the pom pom together. Make sure you double knot it!

Open both pairs of prongs to release your pom pom

Pop open one side of the pom pom maker and pull the pom pom out

Trim the sides to make sure they’re even and then roll back in forth in your hands to fluff the pom pom. Then viola, you’re done! Repeat those steps until you have enough to make a garland.

To make the garland I used a plastic needle that came with a knitting kit I have. It has a big hole for the twine to go through so it makes it easy to use for garlands. Take a long piece of hemp twine and feed it through the needle

Thread the twine through the center of the pom pom and gently move it down to the end of the twine. Repeat with desired number of pom poms

Then you’re done! The finished product is so cute, easy, and versatile!

One of the many garlands I plan on making now hangs behind my couch! xoxox

Posted in DIY

Happy week of Thanksgiving! It’s a time for food, family, and friends – many of the things I am most thankful for. Typically, my Thanksgiving consists of decorating and setting the table for my family and then socializing and eating the rest of the day. Last year, after finding these great templates from Martha Stewart, I decided we were having a dress up Thanksgiving at my house. I decided who would be a pilgrim and who would be a Native American and then made them their respective hats, bonnets, or headdresses which were waiting for each guest at their place setting. My whole family (especially the kids) loved dressing up and it was truly the most fun Thanksgiving in recent history. Here are some snippets from last year’s celebration:

{the dining room table set with each person’s hat at their place set. I tried to have an equal ratio of pilgrims and Native Americans around the table}

{the place-cards I made from mini gourds, thick brown paper, and cute pins}

{a better look at the mens pilgrim hats}

{my sister, grandma, and uncle donning their hats post-feast}

I have a weird relationship with bananas. I like them, but only if they’re still sorta green. The minute I see ANY brown spots, I can’t eat them. I know this may be unfair to the banana, and to my wallet since I can never go through a whole bundle without throwing at least two away, so I’ve tried using these older bananas in recipes.

I made banana chocolate chip muffins not too long ago and recently I tried freezing bananas. They (people on Pinterest) say this tastes like ice cream but I never really bought into that. But that was before I tried freezing them after they’d be coated in a delicious mixture of peanut butter and chocolate. Enter: frozen banana bites! *Applause*

They may not be vanilla ice cream, but they are super easy, super creamy, and super delightful as a dessert. Plus, they’re still fruit and they still have fiber! So they’re good for you right? Right?!

*side note=these pictures were the best I could take at 8:45 in the morning when I decided to make this recipe even though I was still in my robe with my hair in a towel and I had to be at class in fifteen minutes. So I apologize for their quality but I wanted you to still get the picture, get it?!?!

This recipe is super simple and I sort of just eyeballed it. Start out with these ingredients: bananas (I only used one because that’s all I had on hand but you could definitely use as many as you wanted), chocolate chips, and peanut butter.

Place chocolate chips (I used about half a cup) and peanut butter (I used maybe 1 tbsp) in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for about 1 minute, stopping every 30 seconds to stir.

*Note=learn from my mistake and follow the “stop every 30 seconds to stir” tip. I didn’t do this. I suffered burned fingers as I tried to take the bowl out the microwave after 1 minute. Ouch.

Cut the banana into 1.5 or 2 inch chunks and place on foil, wax, or parchment paper. Stir the chocolate mixture until it’s completely creamy.

Dunk banana chunks in chocolate mixture. I found that it was easiest to dunk and then spoon more chocolate on top of the bananas so they were evenly covered.

Place bananas on foil or wax or parchment paper in an air-tight container and freeze for at least 2 hours. Then enjoy! xoxoxo