Friday, January 29, 2010

D.I.Y. Black Table

When I first moved to California ( 4 years ago) I had a zenish/rustic feel for my house. Now my tastes have changed and I wanted to spice things up. This side board was acctually the first piece of furniture I bought in California and it works pretty great for what it is and I need a little table in my dining room to store mail/lamp/keys/phones/etc so rather than purchase a new one and get rid of this one I decided to spruce it up a bit.

Before picture of the table

The hideous fruit pattern on top that was always covered up with crap because I hated the pattern:

Now the final piece refinished in black medium gloss paint :

Also my boy dog decided he wanted to help model in the pic. Its kind of a bad picture but you get the idea of what it looks like now. On the wall to the left of the table I have a giant black ikea cube cabinet that houses all of my crap that I have no where to put because of lack of closets / basements in these houses out here!

Now I believe my little black side table will fit in much better with the whole dining room area. Phew that only took 10 months to get around to doing!

Cost -

Black Table - Free
Black Paint - Free ( leftover from J&T project)
Paint Brushes - $10 ( for a 2 pack)
Total - $10 plus maybe an hour of time total over 3 days

Way cheaper than buying a new side table for $50-100 from Ikea/WorldMarket/Pier1/etc..



Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Homemade Pizza Adventure #1

So as previously discussed on my blog here. I love pizza a lot. I've been on the quest to find a super thin crust pizza. Back in my hometown they are famous for cracker thin crispy pizza crusts ( think Domino's thin crust but with flavor). I've been reading blogs and searching on the web for crispy pizza crust recipes. I finally found one and I am really happy with the results. The pizza I made last night wasn't as thin and I wanted but that could be my lack of ability to read directions or that I can't spin pizza on my hands like the pros do but it was crispy, sweet, salty, and delish.

This is what our finished product looked like. Since I couldn't throw it to make it thin. I took out a giant glass bowl dusted it with flour and placed my dough over it and stretched it out to as thin as possible.

The Recipe and the blog I read to find the recipe. Kathleen's been inspiring me to try cooking outside my comfort zone. Her homemade ravioli's look ahhhmazing! I've been reading her blog for a long time and finally got in touch with her to find out about the pizza. Pretty nice little information highway this blogging thing creates!

Another few tips! I did buy a misto and a pizza peel. I did already have a pizza stone and I cooked my pizza at 550 ( the hottest my oven would go!) Now I feel super professional when I make my pizzas! Just a word of caution. This recipe needs at least 1 day to ferment so you gotta plan ahead but one batch makes 6 individual servings ( the pizza in the pic is of one crust so enough for 2 people if you have a nice little salad/veggie dish with it).

let me know if you have any tips/ideas for me on pizza



P.S. Don't forget to sign up for our craft valentine swap - deet here

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Valentines is coming my loveys!

via weheartit
I'd love to do a Valentine's Day Craft Swap if anyone is interested. I could have everyone's names distributed by the end of the week and that would leave us a week to make something and a week to send it! ( even if it comes a few days late it'd still be fun to get a little giftie!) Also, if you're not interested in crafting something that's OK too! You can just buy a little gift that will make your valentine swoon!

Please let me know if you're interested in swapping!! You can email me at


Submit your Name by 1/29/10
I'll email you with your swappy by 1/30/10
Mail our pressies by 2/8/10

New Valentine Etsy Merchandise!

I've just updated our little Etsy Store - Jack and Till with some new Valentine's Day Cards. They're pretty sweet little stories depicted through ink drawings on craft paper cards. These cards are from our "Akward Love Series"

The Swing-

The Flower

The Carving

They are $3.50 plus s&h and measure approx 4.5" x 5.75" or A2 size . If you're interested in a batch of them let us know! Also you can click on either Jack and Till at the top of this blog posting or our Etsy store on the side to go directly to our Etsy Store.


Raechel (Till)

Sweet Crunchy Curry Bread

I've been on a bread baking kick. So this weekend Jack and I made another batch of bread. This time splitting 1 recipe into 4 mini loaves. We made 2 sweet Curry Breads and 2 White Breads with crunchy oat toppings. They're so good and easy! So the recipe for white is the same except use a little less sugar and omit the curry/cardamom/spices. In the pic below is the sweet curry bread on top and the white oat bread on the bottom.

Sweet Curry Bread
3/4c. warm water (check temp per yeast directions)
1 package yeast (we use instant/rapid rise)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp shortening
1/2 c milk
3 cups flour (approx)
1/2c yellow curry powder (approx)
1 tbsp cardamom (or 4 pods freshly ground -recommended)

Crunchy Sweet Topping
1/4c. rolled oats
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp raw sugar ( preferred raw/turbinado)
Cinnamon and Nutmeg to taste

Combine water and yeast in mixer bowl. Using a bread hook, combine salt, butter, milk, curry,cardamom and sugar into yeast/water mix. Add the first 2 cups of flour. Mix well and start to add remaining flour until dough chases itself around bowl in almost a single lump ( this step you might have to add more than the last cup of flour ).

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead with hands until the dough is soft and doesn't stick to hands.

Butter/oil a bowl and return kneaded/non sticky dough into the bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm place for at least 1 hour.

Remove bread from bowl and place back onto floured surface and punch 1x to remove air and then knead a few times. Sprinkle with flour so the dough isn't sticky.

Grease a loaf pan well with butter and place your dough inside. Sprinkle the sweet crunchy topping on top of the dough at this point and press into the top of the dough lightly. Cover dough again and let rise for another 30 mins in loaf pan.

Bake 30-40 mins at 375. Your bread will be done when the inside temp reads 190 or when you tap on the end of the loaf and it sounds like a hollow tree.

Yesterday for lunch we decided to make sandwiches and ended up with tuna salad and since the loaves were so mini I decided to do open face sandwiches with little tiny cherry tomato slices. It was quite delish. Also, just tried Trader Joe's tomato basil hummus and its awesomely delish.



P.S. I'm thinking I need a new blog name. I'm not really ever blogging about makeup...Any thoughts?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Best Investments of 2009

Ok. I know that January is almost over and I'm still talking about 2009 but today as I was washing stuff to be put in the dishwasher I glanced at my rice maker that was dirty from dinner last night. I thought in my head " oh rice maker you've made my life so different". Then I realized that I should really blog about my favorite investments of 2009.

First up, is my little 3 cup rice cooker. Before this I was making rubbery/crunchy/failed rice. I could never figure out what I was doing wrong. You boil water, add rice/oil, cook until done. What could go wrong? I think its the steaming that you get with a rice cooker that turns out perfectly steamed yummy rice everytime.

I picked up this one at CVS for $15. It literally has saved me from throwing away tons of batches of ruined rice. I :heart: you rice maker ( and so does the doggies..b'c now they get yummy brown rice added to their kibbies)

Next is my espresso machine. I know you're probably like "enough already! we are soo sick of hearing about your espresso machine!" but truth be told every morning when I walk in the kitchen I am so happy to see my little machine ready to use.

This bad boy I picked up for around $100 with tax and a 20% off coupon at Bed Bath and Beyond. The stupid part was I had to buy a milk frothing pitcher and a little stamper to push the grounds down. Why not just include those and sell the coffee maker for $110?

I'm looking for some tools that I can add to my kitchen for 2010. So far we bought an electric knife.

Its awesome for slicing homemade bread into normal slices instead of having big old hunks of bread ( which are good but makes the bread go away sooo fast!!) .

One of our big Christmas presents was a kitchen aid food processor.

Which I adore. This weekend I made 2 large batches of homemade soup base ( A potato soup and a broccoli soup) and was able to get 8 pints ( i think..they're about 2 cups worth of soup each). The basic recipe I use involved boiling the veggies and then processing it until its smooth and adding about 1-2c of chunked boiled veggies. At this part I can can them and when we are ready to eat them take them out and thin them with a little bit of milk and cheese. I was really frustrated after going to the grocery store and looking for some canned soups to have on hand and they were $2.50 and up for 2 people. I knew I could make something with way less sodium and tastes better! My other project this weekend was buying a few blocks of cheese and shredding them in the processor. Now I have shredded mozzarella, colby cheese, and cheddar.

Anything else that I should add to my kitchen repertoire?



Saturday, January 23, 2010

Its amazing

how much money you can save when you concentrate on doing it. A big goal of mine is to pay down a lot of debt this year. I'll admit when I had a job I used my credit card more than I should with the intention that I can always pay it off next month when I decide I'm ready to stop living a luxurious lifestyle. FYI. This never happened until I was laid off..EEK. Now what? Well, we've figured out how much we need to spend each month on necessities and bills and what we have left. Being laid off did a lot of positive things for me.

1.) I started to save more $$ ( go figure.)
2.) I ate out less
3.) I shopped less
4.) I bought coffee shop drinks less ( The latte's I make at home cost us $.50 a piece vs. $3.95 Starbucks price tag)
5.) I started to cook at home more

A few unexpected expenses came up this month and luckily we've been frugal for the past few months and managed to continue to stick to our plan, even go out to dinner a few times/dates and still have some money left over until our next pay period.

So in my frugality I've been cooking at home more. Which I should do. I'm a great cook and this way I can control what goes into my food. We had 2 slices of leftover potpie so that became the main component for our lunch. Since its a veggie pot pie I felt like it needed some protein. I decided to experiment and make homeade quickcook baked beans. So the recipe is below. You might want to adjust it to your personal taste.

Raech's BBQ Beans in a Jiffy
Serves 2-4

  • 1 can of beans ( I used white kidney beans), drained
  • 1-2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • A few nice squirts of BBQ Sauce ( p.s. I think baby ray's is the best)
  • 2 Slices of Vegetarian Bacon
  • A few nice squirts of Ketchup
  • A little bit of vinegar depending on what type of bbq sauce you have

Mix all ingredients together in a little saucepan (so that the beans are sitting in enough sauce you might have to play with the amount of bbq/ketchup you add). I added the veggie bacon frozen and let it cook in with the sauce. I would probably recommend cooking the bacon separately so it gets that crispy flavor and add it to the sauce/bean mixture. Cook until the sauce/beans are hot and serve.

via we heart it
For me it was about convenience. I had all of these ingredients at home and I didn't need to make a trip to the store. I'm pretty sure that this was a lot cheaper than what I pay for at the store. I think a small can of bush's baked beans is around $1.99-2.50. I think I paid $.79 for the can of white kidney beans and the rest of the ingredients are things I already have. If you wanted to get fancy you could chop up onion and add that. In the past, I would have said "oh eff it. Lets just go somewhere for lunch"( and end up spending $30.00.) Don't get me wrong. I still love trying new restaurants in my area but its amazing how creative you can be when you're forced to use what you have. This ends up saving you more too because you're not throwing out spoiled food which I am hella guilty of doing.

Cheers and Happy Weekending!


P.S. In case you're new to my blog

1.) Add me if you enjoy reading my blog - I love seeing who's reading and reading yours in turn!
2.) I add links to a lot of my blogs. If you click on the words in my blog that are in a different color they lead to other blogs/or past posts I've done.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Some exciting news...

Today was a momentous occasion. I bought my first pair of pointe shoes. It might not seem like a big deal but its such a right of passage. Basically at any time I could go buy shoes but the fact that I waited and let my feet develop and mature for the past four years I believe that I will have an easier time learning pointe. Its not an easy task but I'm hoping my patience and skills will help me to master this skill.

Just thought I'd share with you what a special day I had today. If you're a blog reader for a while you will know that I'm obsessed and this is really important to me.



Its Raining Cats and Dogs..

I enjoy being a modified vegetarian most of the time but there are a few comfort foods that I absolutely miss as a vegetarian. One of those recipes is pot pie/stew. I think homeade chicken or beef pot pie rocks. Today with this being the 3rd or 4th day of rain I really was craving something hearty for lunch. After a quick google search I found what appears to be a pretty darn good pot pie recipe. This recipe is awesome but I modified it to what I had on hand. Sooo my version is below:

Raechel's Modified Pot Pie Goodness


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or as much as you need so the veggies don't stick when sauteeing
  • 1/2-3/4 onion
  • 5-6 crimini mushrooms ( if they are bigger than a .50 piece)
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 small rutabega chopped
  • 1/2 c. frozen peas
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or I used Not Chik'n vegetarian boullion to give it that chicken flavor
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 pie crust ( either homeade or store bought)


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet or saucepan. Cook all hard vegetables ( carrots, rutabega, potato, garlic) in oil for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in frozen peas and Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer. Cook until vegetables are barely tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch, soy sauce, and 1/4 cup water until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Stir into vegetables, and cook until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.
  4. Pour the filling into glass dish ( I used a bit of spray oil so it wouldn't stick). Arrange over the filling, and seal and flute the edges. Poke a few holes for steam.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the crust is brown and I put mine on a cookie sheet because it usually bubbles over.

This recipe is awesome. It was a bit liquidy when we ate it for lunch but the flavors were all there and sooo good. Now that its been out of the oven for an hour or so the sauce has thickened. So maybe it needs time to rest before cutting into it. If you're worried about the pot pie being runny you could make little individual pot pies in small bowls/ramekins.

Kind of a crappy pic of the pot pie and I'm not sure why my pillsbury crust split. I know that I cooked it a bit longer than normal but it seemed dry ( luckily lots of pot pie goodness to help keep the crust moist.

If anyone else has any suggestions for good comfort food on a rainy day I'd love to hear about it! My other favorite is macaroni and cheese. Speaking of...dinner is only a couple of hours away! I have a plan now



Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A weekend in review....

Our weekend started out with getting this little early V-day present in the mail. I got a sweet little wood brooch with a cuckoo clock screen printed on it, a little recycled notebook and a ball of orangish up cycled yarn all tied up with pretty blue tissue paper, grey string and a wood tag! That says "wood you be mine?"...awwsss!!

We spent most of the weekend bumming around. Finally got to see Avatar. I loved it. I'm a huge fan of fantasy movies. I have to admit that I wasn't a big fan of the end fight scene. A bit too Hollywood for me.

Monday was Martin Luther King Day of observance. Jack had off of work so we decided to head out to The Getty Villa in Malibu. Its insanely beautiful grounds. We were lucky that the rain subsided and we were able to walk out on this beautiful garden area. If you walk all the way to end you can see the ocean from the balcony. Quite breath taking. The best part of the Getty Museums is that its free to get in. The bad part parking is $15.00. So take a group of friends and split the cost of parking.

Before going to the getty we decided to have breakfast at home. We had oatmeal and when I added a slice of banana to it. Later on I went in the kitchen and found that I had un counciously thrown the peel of the banana and this is the shape it landed in.

What a beautiful surprise. After the Getty we had lunch on Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice at Gjelina.

Love the rustic/industrial/modern feel of this restaurant. We had a yummy smoked trout salad and a margherita thin crust pizza. It was great and reasonably priced for the area. After lunch, we headed towards Santa Monica and bought a treat at Vanilla Bake Shop.

Jack had an insanely delish smores nutty bar and I stayed with my old standards of vanilla chocolate baby cupcakes and a raspberry chocolate baby cupcake.

We scooted down over to the promenade and stopped at Old Navy. I snagged this kelly green top for $1.50.

Yes one dollar and fifty cents. They were having a major clearance event (50% off already reduced prices.) No lies. I've been checking out their online store this morning. Its really good deals even with shipping.

Tonight is cake night and I can't wait to see all my girlfriends!



Friday, January 15, 2010

Sweet Deal

First off, I'm really sorry if you are one of my friends and if you've seen this 3 or 4 separate times about the same thing. I'm just trying to spread the words out to all of my friends. Its such an awesome deal that I don't want anyone to miss it!

Jack and I love to go out but the hefty bills are hard on our wallets and we can eat at home for a fraction of the cost and we know what's going into our food but for those times when I'm lazy or we need to get out of the house these little gift certificates will come in handy!

I found this website on and its been accredited by the Better Business Beaureau and also been features on many morning news shows.

so here it is!

coupon code - indulge

good until 1/19th

Buy any $25 gift certificate for $2 ( normally $10 purchase price) . Just put the code in the discount box when checking out and you can pay paypal and they will immediately give you a link to print out your certificates. My only word of caution is to read the fine print on EACH restaurant. Some are valid certain dates, times, minimum food amount, etc..

I hope you can find some good deals. I've noticed that more populated areas ( ie..LA has 65 pages but some smaller towns have 1 or 2 or no pages) have more selections. I hope that you can snag some certs to your favorite restaurant or even try some new ones! I think we might try to use one over the weekend to see how it works and buy some more before Tuesday !!

Cheers and happy dining!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

10 Things That Make Me Extremely Happy!

I haven't been blogging because quite frequently I was stumped. I try not to fill my blog with useless prattle so instead of blogging about junk I waited. Today, in my inbox one of my fellow bloggers and new friends provided me with a challenge. To post 10 things that make me extremely happy.

1. Records

2. Anthropolgie - maybe this should be my #1. I have a serious hard on for Anthropologie. I almost die every time I go into one of their stores. They're so amazing beautiful, etc..

3. Letterpressed Objects

4. Tarsem Singh - one of my two favorite directors at the moment. He's done movies such as The Fall and The Cell. Such a visionary and love his beautiful areas he films at.

5. Guillermo Del Torro - My other favorite director at the moment. So far I have really enjoyed his amazing characters and stories that he provides such as Pans Labryinth. Really interesting he did makeup in the early 80's and 90's. I have always admired a lot of his characters whom happen to usually be makeup and not CGI effects.

6. MAC Makeup

7. Wine and cheese

8. Bonfires

9. Big Beautiful Houses like this one below

10. Lastly, Cooking

Thanks Jo for giving me a great inspiration for today's blog. I had so much fun finding coordinating images on Now to follow in the footsteps I'd like to nominate these 3 bloggers to do a top 10 favorites list.

Leslie, Jules and Nikki

I look forward to hearing your top 10 favorite things!



Thursday, January 7, 2010

Coco Chanel - the movie

Yesterday afternoon I watched the Coco Chanel movie with Shirley McClaine and Malcom McDowell. I honestly was expecting it to be a bit boring but it was acctually a really tragic love story. Speculation is that people aren't sure if the early years of Coco are true or if it was stories she fabricated to make her life more interesting. She does stretch the truth a bit in the movie and you can understand why there would be concern that she actually told the truth about her childhood. Anyways, the movie is great running a bit over 2 hours. It was such a sad romance story she had. I absolutely loved the love of her life " Boy." He is so handsome and right up my alley of looks in men.

Anyways, a couple of movie stills. If you have a couple of hours to kill and you're a big fan of fashion. Its definitely worth checking out this movie.

Young Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel and Boy

The movie poster/advertisement

Old Coco Chanel in front of her famous Paris apartment/showroom

Young Coco and Boy

Hope you enjoy the movie as much as I did if you decide to check out this movie.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Edge of Love

Just finished watching this movie on netflix. Not sure how I felt about it. I really like Matthew Rhys ( brother and sisters!) who plays Dylan Thomas but I absolutely can't stand Keira Knightley. She always looks like she has her nose sucked in. Go look. Now next time you watch one of her movies that is all you will see. Plus this movie is set during WWII. Didn't Kiera already just make a love story set in WWII. Come on lets get some fresh beautiful actresses hollywood! To make matters worse she marries Cillian Murphy ( barf) what a creep after watching that scary movie where he stalks a girl on a plane! Buuuuuuuuuuuuut, I loved that Sienna Miller played Dylan Thomas' wife. She was amazing and tolerant! What a cheat Dylan Thomas was!!

Check out these gorgeous stills from the film! It looks like they're clothing came straight from an Anthropologie store! Love it!!

And the trailer in case you've never heard/seen of this movie! I seriously get the best use out of watching netflix movies on my computer. We have the $18 package per month and I think that maybe we watch 2-3 movies a month on disc but through instant watch, I see at least 10-15.

Ciao for today unless I find something else brilliant to blog about! but I think I'm going to go pop in season 3 of Dexter and watch those while Jack is still working.

Product Review

Sally Hansen Insta Dry Nail Polish

I am horrible at painting my nails. I can do a mean left hand paint job but as soon as I switch hands and try to paint my right. I look like I let a blind 4 year old paint my nails.

So I've discovered two tricks that really help me to look somewhat presentable when I paint my inkers.

I have this color and also black. It literally is dry within a few seconds of painting it on. The only problem I sometimes have with it is that its very thick and sometimes hard to manage because of that. Also, it doesn't last really long but I really don't put on a top coat or do any of that. Its about the same length as how long my manicures last anyways. Washing dishes, crafting, dogs, and life always seem to help ruin my perfectly manicured nails.

My second tool is the Sally Hansen Make No Mistakes Manicure Pen.

The pen works pretty well at first but its a bit dry now that I've had it for a while. I wish it was a bit more juice. Its nice that it comes with a bunch of different tips depending on what exactly you are trying to do with it but at a price tag of $9.95 its a bit steep for how long it lasts.

Anyone else has any other tips for an impatient gal who loves to have manicured inkers?



Monday, January 4, 2010

Color Trend for 2010

Turquoise! Let me just start off by saying I'm a huge turquoise fan. I can never figure out how to incorperate the color into my wardrobe but its around me in my life. My office is painted a beautiful blueish turquoise, I have turquoise bowls/coffee mugs, turquoise in my dinner plates, etc.. My final portfolio for design school was turquoise and red. I love this color seriously. Just incase you are thinking turquoise and red? Say what! See this beautiful natural example of it. Its such a beautiful combination.

Here's a few beautiful pieces off etsy to get anyone wardrobe started with Turquoise

via etsy

via etsy

These lovely other turquoise inspirations if you are like me and can't really incorporate it into fashion but love to bring it into your home.

Absolutely love this molded plastic chair. I think I'd die for my kitchen to look like this.

Beautiful little pom poms for a quaint party. Its so pretty especially in this beautiful bright color.

I'm also a sucker for peacock feathers. I love the rich jewel tones that come from the feathers.

I hope this post brings some beautiful inspiration to your Monday morning. I imagine a lot of people need some help getting back in gear after the holidays and for those of you who are stuck in a blustery cold place may these pictures help you dream of exotic warm places to be this summer.



P.S. All images found unless otherwise noted.