Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Beach Kind of Day

Yesterday I had an unexpected visit to the beach.  A professor (an old old friend from my PI's old post-doc days) was invited to give a lecture at our school and with any visiting professor, lunch is always provided by the department and the graduate students are usually forced to attend and "eat" with them.  By forced I mean they are usually not people who's research we have anything in common with and why would you want to succumb to boring/intimidating conversations.  But this casual meeting was nice, she was particularly down to earth (for a Harvard graduate) and quite interesting to listen to.

Anyways, my PI wanted to do something special for her and to have her get a change to see the OC a bit.  So, rather than having a graduate student lunch in the dark, dingy conference room with pizza or sandwich's with shelf after shelf of dusty old 400 page theses from every graduate student from the age of the dinosaurs staring down at you, he had us take her out for lunch by the beach.  It was me, 2 other members of my lab and another student from another lab who volunteered to come out.  We had lunch at The Beachcomber at Crystal Cove.  The weather was in the high 70's (yes, it's winter remember this is SoCal we're talking about here) and it really was a perfect day (a bit warm for my taste though, haha).  This is when living by the ocean has its perks!

All in all (minus some flubbing of experiments) it was a nice day. was deelish!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Key Cap

I have too many keys on my key chain: my house, parents house, in-laws house, lab key, lab building key...aaaah...list goes on.  The thing I hate the most is when you're trying to get into your house and you can't find your key...especially if you're carrying tons of grocery's or its cold.  But but but...I now have a super cute adorable key cap and now, I will never lose my house key again, amongst the jungle of other keys.  YAY!
Organized keys :)
Check out the different styles.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Shawl Re-Sizing

As a hijabi, i'm always on the lookout for cute shawls (I prefer shawls over scarves) but sometimes the shawls are way too big for my taste.  I have a few that are extra extra large/long but that I still buy because they were really cute and colors I need (you know...outfit matching and all).  I was getting tired of having to figure out ways to wrap them so that they sat well and at the same time avoiding the extra puff around my neck.  So, I decided to cut them...I mean DUH right, but I was worried about them unraveling since they are a knit cotton.  But, I decided to give it a try.

Here's what I did:

 I have a handful of these that are super cute but big.

 Like SUPER SUPER big.

I took a shawl that I always wear (a size I like) and lined it up with the larger shawl.  I cut about an inch away from the size I wanted to add a small hem. 

 I sewed a small zig zag pattern the length of the cut hem, to prevent it from unraveling.  Keep the fabric really tawt on both sides while sewing as this kind of fabric can tear very easily 

 See those stringy things...yup that stuff can cause the whole shawl to unravel.

 I rolled the hem over twice and ironed it down.

I re-sewed using a straight pattern and ironed the hem down again to remove the "bumpy" look.

 They feel like new :) I can now wear my favorite scarves comfortably!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

My Weekend

I hate Mondays and I especially hate this one because I didn't do anything productive this past weekend no thanks to Downton Abbey and I didn't get through Season 3 and it's killing me and all I want to do right now is go home and watch it.  I'm having dreams about's's brain is on a Downton Abbey high. 

I went out for a bit on Saturday to see some friends and made a quick stop at my favorite store.  It really rejuvenates me, even if I don't buy anything.  Then I raced home and spent the next 6 hours getting through season 1 and then spent all day Sunday watching season 2.  I tried to do things while I was watching it, like fold laundry, but it's one of those shows that I really have to pay attention to because they all speak in code.  God...what is with these British! And, Mary will you marry Matthew already...GEEZ!   

And, I made the mistake of wikipediaing the show to get the cast names down in the beginning, and what do you know...spoiler alert.  Now, as I watch the show, I know who's going to marry who, who dies and so forth and it's really upsetting.  Damn you Wikipedia.

Here are some pictures of really cute pieces I found at TJMaxx that I would totally have bought had I had the space :) My hubby's lucky we live in a tiny place.

Totally a piece for a library bookshelf.  
Oh...I want these blue cups!
Wouldn't these large candle "lamps" be adorable in a garden?

 I really love this table, especially the cute curled legs.  I think it would look adorable in a girls room or even in a study :) Maybe painted white??

Oh I love thee!

 My new obsession: ceramic/porcelain filigree jars.  Me totally wants one in white and teal.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Quote of the day

I have many worries (as do many) and some that are harder to deal with than others.  Here is to the strength to get through it all.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Nuttella Chcolatey Goodness Cookies

My chocolate cravings have forced me to make cookies I promised I never would, because I know I would finish them in one sitting.  But alas, I can't keep myself away from anything Nutella.  Here is a recipe for some easy, quick, and uber yummily (my new word!) moist Nutella cookies, adapted from this recipe.  

13 oz jar of Nutella (generic hazlenut spread DOES NOT taste the same, FYI)
2 tbsp unsalted butter - softened, not melted
1 extra large egg
1 cup unbleached flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Note: The recipe this was adapted from called for self-rising cake flour, which I did not have. I had no intention to buy some just for these cookies, so instead I substituted by adding baking powder and sifting the flour mixture.   
 *Makes about 20 cookies.
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sift and set aside.  
  3. Beat together 3/4 cup of the Nutella, butter, and egg in a medium bowl.
  4. Slowly add the flour and beat.  
  5. Roll the dough into small balls and place on the baking sheet.  
  6. Bake for 10 minutes (cookies will puff).
  7. Remove from oven, cool on baking sheet then transfer cookies to cooking rack and let cool completely before devouring. 
Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sift and set aside. I have a makeshift sifter that I use from a small colander that I removed the foot off of.  I don't like regular sifters as they take too long, cleaning is a pain and it's hard on the hands.  

Beat together 3/4 cup of the Nutella, butter, and egg in a medium bowl.

Slowly add the flour until a moist clumpy dough forms.  I think I could add a bit of milk to get more of a dough like consistency...couple teaspoons maybe?   

 Roll into small balls and place on a cookie sheet.

 Let them cool before moving them as they are really soft and squishy.

Once they cool, they are crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside.  Perfect with milk or tea :)

Bon Appetit :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Best Way To Clean A Microwave

I can hear my mother's voice everytime I open my microwave to heat something: "put a napkin over it so it doesn't get all over the place."  Ya, ya I say...but, of course, never do.  I actually hate to put anything over food i'm warming in the microwave for many reasons.

1.  Warmed napkins give off chemicals I don't need in my food.
2.  Napkins are expensive and i'm cheap.
3.  My hubby's method is to put a plate over food, but that's just another dish to wash.
4.  I'm really lazy...that's what it really comes down to. 

So, of course after a few months of heating food my way, my microwave looked pretty bad.  It was so bad, my hubby actually pointed it out..."what is that?".  Ya...pretty bad.  I'm also lazy, did I mention that already, so it's taken me forever to clean it, but after today, I had enough.

In comes pinterest and a post I came across on how to clean your microwave quickly and easily.  Apparently this is common knowledge...but I live under a rock.  The last time I cleaned my microwave, it took me almost 20 minutes of scrubbing, so I was willing to try anything quick and easy.

Here is what I did:
1.  Add 1 cup of white vinegar to 1 cup of hot water (in a pyrex bowl/measuring cup).
2.  Place it in the microwave and heat for 10 minutes.
3.  Remove the cup mixture carefully as it is extremely HOT.
4.  Quickly wipe down the guck with a sponge or rag.  You want to work fast so that the guck doesn't dry up, but if it does, just dip your rag in the leftover solution and wipe away.

Note: the water did explode in the microwave, but most of it steamed off so there wasn't a puddle to clean up.  You can place a wooden spoon in the bowl to prevent this from happening according to the post, but I didn't really care too much...actually I kept away from the microwave just in case :D  

The cleanup was so fast, I was amazed.  It took me less than a few minutes to clean the entire microwave and inner door.
 I know're shaking your head.

 It's so beautifully clean, I could lick it!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Weekend

Albeit short, it was nice to be with family.  I already miss my mommy :(

I still have so many mixed emotions in my head, but accepting that it's ok to move on and enjoying the little things in life is slowly beginning to help.

Ladies tea party with home made pecan pie.

Kisses from Mimi for my mommy.

Visiting a friend and her cute apartment.

 Chinese food with terrible service...but the tea was great.

Catching up on my TV shows while enjoying the thin layer of fog taking over the yard, with a cup of tea.

Tea time with my family and a nice warm fire.
Can you tell, there is an ongoing theme with all these pictures: TEA (haha!).

Airport nick nacks are so cute.
 For about 30 seconds, I considered buying this tea pot set, but then I realized it was $60. Scratch that thought.

Hope everyone had a restful long weekend.


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