What a Hoot

This ranks up there as one of the quirkiest night lights created. This white porcelin owl lamp gives off a warm glow while adding a hoot of character to your room.


Pretty Penmanship

I spent a good portion of my Saturday afternoon addressing invite after invite with my friend Heather for our friend's upcoming bridal shower. As our hands tired, and our degrees of perfection lessened slightly, we toyed with different wordings and styles of writing.

While I can say that my handwriting is nice- it's nothing distinctive and original. It's "teacher handwriting." I make sure to clearly form and connect all of my letters, and take my time (just as I remind my students). I think that's why I am so captivated by the penmanship of Betsy Dunlap, her scripts are unique, inventive, and exuding character.


March Madness Munchies

With the NCAA Final 4 just around the corner, I'm anticipating get-togethers with friends to watch the final big games (my money is on underdog UCLA). Since sporting matches always call for comfort, stick-to-your-ribs fare, I scouted out some killer recipes that go hand-in-hand with an edge-of-your-seat evening.

Emeril Lagasse, 2002

2 1/2 pounds chicken wings, tips removed and cut in half at joint, rinsed and wiped dry
1/2 cup red hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups vegetable oil, for frying
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce, recipe follows

In a large shallow, non-reactive bowl combine the chicken, hot sauce, pepper, and salt, and toss well to combine. Cover the chicken with plastic wrap, refrigerate, and let marinate, for at least 1 hour, and up to 3 hours. In a heavy pot, heat the oil to 360 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and 2 tablespoons Essence. Remove the chicken from the marinade and add to the flour 1 at a time, tossing to coat evenly. Add the chicken in 2 batches to the hot oil and cook, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the chicken wings from the fryer with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with the remaining Essence and serve immediately with Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup

Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce:

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup heavy cream

8 ounces blue cheese

1 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire

1/2 teaspoon salt

Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process on high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour into a decorative bowl.

Enjoy with friends!

Two Peas In A Pod

Two peas in a pod...literally. These ceramic salt and pepper shakers are too cute! Sold in individual sets, this would be a lovely accent to a wedding gift for the couple who truly sums up the expression "two peas in a pod."


Six Degrees of Separation

I'm sure by now most people have heard the story that our Democratic hopefuls may be related to Hollywood's power couple - Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt...While I do enjoy a good round of "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon," I'm not quite convinced that Barack and Hilary are actually distant relatives of the Jolie-Pitt clan. But then again, in the grand scheme of things, aren't we related to everyone on some level?

So now my question is....do any of YOU have long lost celebrity relatives? I'm curious to know! And even more of a challenge: can anyone connect their lineage to one of these 4?


Invite Me

This afternoon, my fellow bridesmaids and I from summer wedding #1, are having an "Invitation Party" to make our bridal shower invites. For those who want the elegance without the effort of making them yourself...I am quite taken by these elegant wedding styles from Dauphine Press.


Spring Lights

Festive, spring shades of glassybaby votives are in. While these glass-blown votives are a tad pricy, the website's tag line sums up their longevity pretty well: Flowers wilt, chocolates melt, glassybaby forever...

I concur. Check out my previous shout out...


Too Good To Pass Up

While I realize many of the people who view my blog are not native to Seattle, my latest Seattle dining experience was too impeccable to pass up! The food, ambiance, and service at Monsoon, a cozy, Capitol Hill neighborhood haunt was absolutely amazing! Featuring an inventive blend of traditional Vietnamese food paired with Pacific Northwest touches - Monsoon's menu results in an eclectic, diverse menu of sweet, savory, and spice. Literally every dish my aunt, uncle, and I ate family style was simply wonderful, and I don't feel I can truly make that statement about many establishments. Don't believe me? Check out these rave reviews!


"Grown Up" Luggage

As my excitement mounts for my upcoming trip to Las Vegas, I'm reminded that I have no "grown-up" luggage. I use the term "grown-up" to denote the luggage I would ideally want to be lugging around. I think the term stemmed from conversations with my work friends. We often joke that someday, when our teaching salaries somehow skyrocket, we will play host to "grown-up" furniture in our homes, in lieu of the sturdy, dependable but oh-so-recognizable pieces from IKEA.Right now, this is my dream "grown up" carry-on...(sigh)...


Party Foul

The Hills returned last night, after a long hiatus. I had been pumped all day for the 10:00pm debut of Season 3, when, alas...I fell asleep. Yes, you heard me right. I missed the long awaited season premiere! For all you fellow fans who were able to stay awake until 10:00pm, mad props to you! I plan on catching up tonight on mtv.com so I can stay in the loop.


Dine Around Seattle

My friends and I took advantage of the superb Dine Around Seattle deal this past Thursday evening. The concept behind the name is "30 restaurants for $30," essentially 30 notable Seattle area restaurants participate in offering a gourmet meal-deal: an appetizer, entree, and dessert for $30. Partcipants are eligible to select from 3 options for each course. This Dine Around Seattle program is offered Sundays-Thursdays throughout the month of March (and I believe November as well).

This is extremely exciting for all of us budget-conscious foodies, who would to dine at these fine dining establishments, had we the petty cash to do so. Taking advantage of this opportunity, five of my friends and I ate at the Barking Frog, at Willows Lodge in Woodinville (home of Seattle area wine country). The food was amazing, delicious...everything I hoped it would be, and more! We even managed to order a few glasses of wine and still wrap up the evening in under $50 per person!

Not sure if other cities have similar offerings, but if you happen to frequent our lovely city in March or November, definitely take advantage if you have the appetite!


Strawberry Locket

Ever since I wrote about my dragonfly locket find on etsy, I've kept an eye out for additional lockets boasting charm and character. I thought this one was especially sweet.

The Question: Easter Brunch or Dinner?

I've been trying to convince my friend Kostas (born and raised mostly in Greece) that many Americans celebrate Easter in similar fashion; church, followed by brunch, and perhaps then a festive event such as an Easter egg hunt.

He argued that in Greece, Easter dinner is the norm - sans our added commercial elements of Easter egg hunts, bunnies, and pastel colors. This entire discussion was prompted by me trying to organize a gathering of friends for an Easter celebration, which in turn led to the discussion of which is better - Easter brunch or dinner? I am now curious to hear what others consider "the norm," for this holiday - if there is in fact a norm.

Long story short, I conceded and my friends and I are now planning what to bring for our "Cathodox" Easter dinner (a combination of Catholic and Greek Orthodox which sums up the majority of our friends). Though I still side with brunch being better, I've decided to bring an arrangement similar to this, so at least my Easter traditions will be represented - pale pink and bunnies all the way!



When I was little, I remember my Aunt and Uncle had a spiral staircase in their house that lead up to the upstairs Master bedroom. All I can recall it was black, especially narrow, and as a child - difficult to climb.

But there is something to be said about the fluid and aesthetically pleasing nature of spiral staircases - they always prove to be a captivating piece of architectural design. I liked the vantage point in this print, and the contrast of the white walls to the black trim.


Pairs and Pears

Since we've already covered the topic of pairs, I thought I'd add pears to the mix. The timing seemed especially perfect since my students are currently learning about homophones (words that sound the same, but have different spellings and meanings).

I thought these blown glass fruit sculptures were very eye-catching. I especially like the pairs of pears.


Perfect Pair

Today is my Mom and Dad's 26th wedding anniversary. To honor their special day, I sent them this very fitting perfect pair card made by Alyson. Congratulations on 26 wonderful years!


Spring Has Arrived!

Hooray! Winter is officially over - although given our recent weather in Seattle, I might revise that statement and say it has ended in spirit, not necessarily in weather...


Sweet Memories

My grandma is joining the tech revolution! She just bought a brand new Mac laptop, and is taking weekly lessons at the Apple store. I am extremely proud of her progress, she has come leaps and bounds from where she started. I have been going over to my grandparents condo about once a week to ensure my grandma stays up to speed and familiar with all of the functions of her new toy. I recently uploaded an album of old black and white family photos, for her personal viewing pleasure. Overall, this has been an incredibly rewarding project, it's been a great way to look back and see my mom and her brothers as a child, while also preserving precious family memories! Here are a few from the bunch...

My uncles playing in a wading pool with a friend.

My great-parents house. In this picture is my grandma, my great-grandma, my mom (the baby) and two of her brothers.

My grandpa hugging Uncle Pat and Uncle Tom.

A romantic picnic (taken on one of my grandparents first dates).

Dose of Jim

I have truly missed The Office, during the writers strike. Granted I did have a healthy dose of reality TV to keep me going those late nights. A special shout out to Project Runway, America's Next Top Model, and The Hills... But you can't help but miss the loveable goofball Jim Halpert, a.k.a. John Krasinski. Thank you soo much to I Heart You for giving me an Office fix, by sharing these debonair shots from a Best Life Magazine photoshoot of John Krasinski. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did...that's what she said... images/iheartyou

Fashion Is Not A Luxury

Who doesn't love SJP? I mean come on? I love this promotional ad for her new clothing line Bitten, tailored to her manifesto "It is every woman's inalienable right to have a pulled-together, stylish, confident wardrobe with money left over to live." While her line isn't quite Carrie Bradshaw caliber, some pieces are worth a look.

P.S. In case you're keeping track...a little more than 2 months left until the Sex & the City movie debuts! Woot Woot!


Oui, Mon Chéri

Oui, Oui Mon Chéri! Calling all Francophiles, here is your opportunity to channel your love of France and French things into jewelry. J'adore this vintage French charm, converted into a stylish little ring!


For Your Summer Soles

I would like myself a pair of these! Flirty, floral, and perfect for summer. Unfortunately the Coach stamp of approval bumps these little darlings up to $188 a pair. I'll currently on the prowl for a knock off style at a cheaper price. I'll keep you posted...


Cheep Cheep

I think I have an addiction to holiday arts and crafts. I was on a green St. Patrick's kick and now I am captivated by all things Easter. How cute are these? Honestly I can't even imagine trying to model this project in a classroom...but for those of you with patient, responsible children, might be a fun activity to try at home!


Easter is Near!

My mom always goes all out when it comes to holiday decor. I grew up having friends whose parents, though festive, only put up decorations for the "big holidays," i.e. Thanksgiving and Christmas. But at my house, my Mom invested in ALL of them, Valentines Day brought 'round hearts, cupids, X's and O's...St. Patrick's Day shamrocks and leprechauns, and Easter - eggs and bunnies galore! I've been trying to infuse my new apartment with a few Easter touches...this Easter egg tree is my next hopeful project.


Jellybean Art

Don't you love these speckled tree prints? There are so many crush worthy jellybean prints, you may have a tough decision deciding which ones are your favorite! These prints "Wishing Tree," "A Spring of Love," and "The Apple Tree," are a few of my faves.


The Key to Being Unique

Skeleton keys are intriguing because of their distinct uniqueness. One is never quite like another. As goes for skeleton key inspired pendants, crftyscrapper has turned an affinity for skeleton keys into innovative jewelry.


Where the Green Grass Grows

I've never been a big advocate of wheatgrass. I guess I just prefer the sweeter, fruitier blends a la Jamba Juice...but I've done my research and learned that this vitamin-rich, brilliant green wheatgrass really does wonders your health. Who knows, it might be a healthy addition to an fruit smoothie.

Still excited my the novelty of my new apartment, I find myself searching for unnecessary accessories to add to it's newness. I'm enjoying the splash of green color these wheatgrass buckets add to this kitchen. I've never been known to have a green thumb, but supposedly wheatgrass is no-fail easy to grow. Bright light, moisture, and enough potting soil to put down roots—that's it. According to the experts, a 1-lb package of winter wheat (at health-food stores for about $3) yields an healthy plot of grass.

Good luck with that green thumb!

Just Fondue It

Another way to put that Irish stout to good use! Rich and hearty and undoubtedly Irish, this Irish cheddar and stout fondue would be an ideal appetizer for St. Patrick's Day dinner.

Irish Cheddar and Stout Fondue

Prep: 30 minutes; Total: 45 minutes
Servings: Makes 6 first-course servings.


2 cups 1- to 1 1/2-inch-diameter red-skinned potatoes halved
2 cups cauliflower florets

2 cups very small brussels sprouts
2 apples, cored, cut into wedges
1 pound Irish cheddar cheese grated
2 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 cup (or more) Irish stout (such as Guinness)
6 tablespoons frozen apple juice concentrate thawed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


Steam all vegetables until tender, about 15 minutes. Arrange vegetables and apples around edge of large platter.Meanwhile, toss cheese with flour in large bowl. Bring 3/4 cup stout, juice concentrate, and mustard to simmer in large saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add cheese mixture, stirring constantly, until cheese is melted and smooth, thinning with more stout, if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer fondue to bowl. Place in center of platter with vegetables.

Market tip: Sharp white cheddar is a great substitute for the Irish cheddar.


Flower Power

These accessories by pipnstuff have an elegant, old-Hollywood glamor feel. The bobby pins seem that they would add the illusion of live flower buds to your up-do, while the rose ring and blooming daisy brooch retain a simple but chic old world elegance.


Shades of Green

Check out this festive "shades of green" bouquet. Would make a perfect centerpiece for a St. Patrick's Day shindig!


Going Green

In case you don't have any green clothing to wear on St. Paddy's Day, here's a lovely green necklace to keep you pinch resistant for the day!


This Little Piggy

I love this piggy bank! Made from 100% recycled leather, this little guy is super easy to empty too. When this little piggy is full you can empty him through the back by pressing the rear flap inwards and then down until the leather hook unlatches below the tail. How sweet!


Birthday Princes and Princesses

When you're a kid, birthdays are a BIG deal! The crown, the cake, it's all part of the production. I love these little details that truly enhance a child's special day.


Wedding Season

Wedding season is just around the corner. Spring hits, the birds start chirping, and brides suddenly start popping up all around Seattle sporting the big white dress. I saw the work of Steven Moore Designs in a past issue of Seattle Metropolitan, and love his ideas. His weddings seem to exude that effortless glamor every bride is striving for.


An Irish Float

How cool is this - the cocktail version of a root beer float. A heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with your favorite Irish stout (in this case Guinness). The ice cream works as a sweetener to the rich beer, resulting in a delicious, drinkable dessert.

Scoop ice cream into a pint glass, and pour in enough stout to fill it. One pint of ice cream and one 12-ounce bottle of beer will yield 2 servings.


Lovely Lockets

As a kid, I used to be fascinated with lockets. I loved the idea that a piece of jewelry could have a dual personality; that from the outside it would appear a shiny, beautiful necklace, but the inside could hold personal, intimate secrets or pictures. Perhaps this is why I am so taken by this delicate dragonfly locket by birdsNbeez.


A Dash O'Green

In keeping with my "green" theme, here is a mouthwatering savory tart with a dash o'green. Can't wait to try this recipe! Yum...

Asparagus-Ricotta Tart with Comte Cheese

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
1 egg, beaten to blend
1 pound slender asparagus spears, trimmed
1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 ounces thinly sliced soppressata or other salami, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2/3 cup grated Comté cheese (about 3 ounces), divided


Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out pastry on floured surface to 13x10-inch rectangle. Cut off 1/2-inch-wide strip from all 4 sides. Brush strips on 1 side with some of beaten egg, then press strips, egg side down, onto edges of pastry to adhere, forming raised border. Brush border with egg; reserve remaining beaten egg. Transfer to baking sheet. Chill while preparing filling.

Steam asparagus just until crisp tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain. Cut off top 2 to 3 inches of asparagus tops; set aside. Coarsely puree remaining asparagus stalks in processor. Add remaining beaten egg, ricotta, 3 teaspoons oil, and salt; process until thick puree forms. Transfer to bowl; stir in salami and 1/3 cup Comté cheese; season with pepper. Spread mixture evenly over pastry. Sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup Comté cheese. Toss asparagus tips with remaining 1 teaspoon oil; arrange tips over filling.

Bake tart until filling is set, about 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Market Tip: Comté cheese is a semifirm, Gruyère-style cow's-milk cheese. It is available at some supermarkets, cheese shops, and specialty foods stores.



I adore black and white prints, but was breathless upon viewing these! Photographer Rodney Smith is featured in the latest issue of Elegant Bride, regaling these lovely brides around Paris proper. Absolutely exquisite!