Rhinestoned Vanity

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My roommates birthday was at the beginning of April, so naturally I waited until the end of May to start her birthday gift. This post is a two parter, so be sure to check back for the final result.

For this first part (the part where you apply the rhinestones), you’ll need:
-rhinestones (there are over 10,000 on this 4’ish by 1.5’ish desk)
-a silicone spreader
-industrial strength glue (I used E6000)
-a sharpened colored pencil
-a TOOOON of time (applying the gems alone too me about 12 hours in total.)

Start with a desk, coffee table, end table, or any sort of surface that you think could use some rhinestones (so basically anything, as we all know rhinestones make everything better.)

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To start, apply some glue to a small area of the desk. (I did mine in about 4×4 inch squares.)

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Spread it out evenly with the silicone spreader, and then sprinkle on some of the rinestones. Some will lay flat (yay!), but most will be on their side, or upside down.

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With your sharpened pencil, begin flipping the rhinestones, pressing them into the glue. After you’ve finished an area, repeat the process until the entire surface is covered. Don’t worry about getting bits of glue on the tops of the rhinestones, or in between the rhinestones. Once it’s covered in resin (which comes in step two), it won’t be apparent. The idea behind it is super super simple, but the task of applying that many rinestones by hand is certainly daunting. Totally, totally worth it though.

Here’s a super quick video of the beginning process. Stay tuned for part 2!

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Rain in Southern C.A.

You heard me. It’s RAINING. In Southern California. If you need some reference for what it’s like when mysterious water droplets fall on our usually temperate area, watch this buzzfeed video. It’s pretty accurate. Needless to say, I have almost zero use for rain gear, aside from the few days a year that we manage to get some rainfall.

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Despite the complete lack of need, I actually do own a fair amount of rain gear. So, naturally, I took the opportunity to break it out at the first sight of precipitation. I LOVE my rain boots. The rain boots that all of my friends laughed at me for buying, because, I live in Southern California. They had a good point, but now I have the ability to splash in puddles, so I think we all know who’s winning in this scenario. (Me.)

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I bought the umbrella for similar reasoning that I bought the boots. My necessity level for an umbrella is pretty low, but it’s super cute, has a watermelon print, and somewhere deep down I knew I would one day put it to good use. Taking this photo was the good use. I haven’t actually ever used it to keep me dry…

DSC_0188.jpg I got this Michael Kors rain jacket from Nordstrom’s Rack yearssss ago. I think I snagged it in Las Vegas during my last year of high school. It’s actually gotten some decent use, as I break it out whenever it gets cold here (so like… below 65…).

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Bonus to humid weather, my hair unleashes its wavy potential and I get these super cool mermaid curls.

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And hey, if I ever travel to a place that’s rainy, I’ll be all set. I think that’s a good excuse to buy a plane ticket.

Italian Deli Meat Wrapped Asparagus

I will admit, this creation came about as a “I have ingredients in my fridge that I need to get rid of.” Some of the best (and also the worse…) culinary creations have come from that particular predicament, but this definitely turned out to be one of the best. Yay!!

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1) Clean and trim your asparagus, and sautéing it in a pan with a bit of olive oil. I didn’t season these (not even with salt!), because the cured meat is going to bring in the extra flavor.

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2) Prepare your assembly station. Be sure to let the asparagus cool before you start wrapping it!! Lay a few spears of asparagus across the meat slice, about 1/3 of the way up.

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3) Begin wrapping, keeping your roll as tight as possible. Place your newly wrapped veggies into a dry pan on medium low, seam side down. Press and hold it for a few seconds until the roll will stay in place without any pressure. You don’t need toothpicks, as the meat will cook together at the seam, although you can use them if you’d like.

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4) Roll the wrapped asparagus around the pan until all sides of the cured meat are browned. Remember, you’re not really cooking anything since the asparagus was cooked already, and the meat was previously cured. You just want to add some of that golden brown caramelization to the meat.

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5) That’s it! You’re done. These turned out a lot better than I expected actually.

I think these are great as a special side dish. If you trimmed the asparagus up a bit and used toothpicks, I think it would be a great hors d’oeuvres for a party too! Let me know what you think these would go with!

Antiquing

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Old Towne Orange, California is like the mecca of antique stores in Orange County. There’s a huge variety too, from tiny little Army & Navy stores, to HUGE antique markets with tons of different lots. The photos from this trip are from Country Roads Antiques.

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I really like going to antique stores and browsing. Although there’s always the temptation to make a purchase, I started visiting and using it as an opportunity to snap a few photos of the things that I like and enjoy, as opposed to buying them. I’m always have my eye out for really pretty kitchenware or midcentury colors, but putting myself in the mindset that I’m going to browse and not to buy can really limit my frustrations if I don’t find anything to take home.

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Antique hunting on the west coast is very different than in other areas, so I understand. Although they’ve become more popular in So Cal, the number of vintage or antique shops is really limited. It can be really frustrating at times. Now that “old is in,” I’ve seen a lot of lots that pad their shops with new items that have that old/mid century feel to them, something that I find REALLY ANNOYING. Things like pillows, quilts, glassware, and “vintage” clothing make their occasionally appearance, which totally throws me off.

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Frustrating as it can be sometimes, I feel like there’s always a lot of gorgeous, beautiful items to look at, touch, and smell. It’s a really cool experience, wondering who owned the item, what it was used for, what it looked like new, etc.

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My favorite item from this trip were these little glass bottles with old writing on them. I’m not sure the purpose of these bottles, as the writing is in a foreign language, but I definitely felt drawn to them. Although I passed on purchasing them, I’m glad I took a picture to remember them.

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I died when I saw this old Hamilton Beach stand mixer. It certainly made me appreciative of my current stand mixer, with the different attachments and stainless steel bowl.

Magic Hour

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The hour just before sunset or just after sunrise is definitely called magic hour for a reason. It really, truly is magical.

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My mom, dad, and dog Lillie went down to Newport Beach and were able to catch the sun setting over the ocean.

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One of the best parts of living in Southern California are the sunsets. I’m more of a sleeping in person, so I miss most of the sunrises, but I try to catch as many sunsets as possible.

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I love how Lillie’s floppy ears blow up in the wind. As a Las Vegas dog, she definitely enjoyed the newness of the beach.

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I sometimes forget how easily accessible this view is for me.

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Currently dying over her little paw prints in the sand. Alllllll of the heart eye emojis.

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I’m trying to soak in all of the special moments, and appreciate the little, daily things that are in actuality so magnificent.

Chinchilln’

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I have two Chinchillas, Baxter and Basil. Baxter has his own instagram account, which sometimes features Basil, that you can follow here. This is the story of how they came to be in my life.

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Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted a chinchilla. The first time I encountered the uber soft little nuggets of fluff was when I was at a birthday party that featured an exotic animal display, which included a couple different reptiles, birds, and most importantly, A CHINCHILLA. I still remember being a mesmerized 6 year old, watching as the chinchilla took a dust bath in a fish bowl.

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When I moved into my first apartment, I lived with two friends who owned a cat, so I had some pet action in my life. However, after we moved to different apartments, I was definitely left missing a furry, pawed creature. A chinchilla seemed like the best option for my lifestyle.

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I bought my future chinchilla a GIANT cage. Seriously, like, a giant cage. It’s easily 5 feet tall, and has four different stories. I threw in some huts, tubes, chew toys, a marble slab (chinchilla’s like it coooold), some extra shelves, water and food dispensers, bedding, and a dust bath to recreate the scene from my 6 year old epiphany about how awesome chins were. (Chins meaning the abbreviated version of chinchillas, not the human body part at the base of the face.)

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Baxter joined the family and took over the chinchilla mansion on November 17th, 2015. At first, he was very shy, and definitely not very interested in me. I slowly built rapport with him, feeding him dried cranberries out of my hand to try and get him used to me. After about a month or so, Baxter finally got to the point where he’d come over to the side of the cage when I walked in the room, and would let me scratch behind his ears on occasion.

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Flash forward to a year later, and I decided I wanted to add another chin into the mix. I brought home Basil, a little baby chinchilla who was like half the size of Baxter. I started by keeping Basil in a separate cage that was right next to Baxter’s, so that they could smell each other, talk to each other, and recognize each other’s presence before meeting directly. After a few days, I brought Baxter and Basil together in the bathroom to meet each other in person. They were definitely a little cautious at first, but after about 10 minutes of sniffing, chasing, and interacting, Basil started to get a bit scared, so I separated the two back to their separate cages. I repeated this process every day or so, watching carefully and separating the chinchillas at the first sign of distress. After about two weeks, the two were getting along really well, happily playing. Baxter even began cleaning Basil, caring for him like his own little baby.

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I knew Baxter would be territorial over his cage mansion, so I started by putting Baxter in Basil’s cage, as Basil wasn’t as territorial, having only lived in in for a few weeks. They got along really well at that point. After another few days, I combined them both into Baxter’s cage, which was much bigger and where the two would ultimately live. It definitely took them both a little getting used to, but before I knew it they were playing, cuddling, cleaning each other, and getting along really well.

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I think adding Basil to the family was a really cool thing. Baxter has definitely been happier and less stressed since Basil moved in, and it makes me feel better knowing that Baxter isn’t alone all day and has a buddy to hang out with when no one is home.

Cleaning Burnt Food off a Pan

If you’re like me, there is on VERY RARE OCCASION (that’s sarcasm…) a time when I will burn food onto the bottom of my pans. Whooooooops. This happens a lot with my Le Creuset pans, and other pans that aren’t nonstick.

In the past, I’ve tried scrubbing, and scrubbing, and scrubbbbbbing, only to end up frustrated and either not using the pan, or letting it “soak” in the sink for the next week. However, when I discovered the miracle that is baking soda, and it’s magical all-purpose cleaning powers, I solved the problem to my ever burnt pans.

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Start with a burnt pan. If you don’t know how to burn a pan, may I suggest: 1)cooking food on too high heat because you’re inpatient, 2)cooking with sugars – like honey – and turning your back for .0332 seconds, or 3)getting distracted by watching 13 reasons why on netflix and forgetting that you were cooking. I’ve seen great success with all of these methods.

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Spread baking soda over the bottom of the dry pan, just enough to get an even layer across the burned area. Adorable pig measuring up is optional, but highly recommended. I used 1/2 of a cup. Then, add the same amount of water (1/2 cup).

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Gently mix the baking soda and water into a paste.

DSC_8846Let it sit for 15 minutes, or when you reconnect with reality after watching 5 episodes of 13 reasons why.

DSC_8853Scrub. Watch as all of the burned junk comes off. Be amazed.

DSC_8856Woo hoo! You now have a clean pan that you can burn food onto again. Repeat cleaning process as necessary.

The Grand Californian: Coffee Shop Alternative

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I suppose if you’re an Orange County local, it’s more thank likely that you’ve made a trip to Disneyland at least once. However, one of the more relaxing (aka, less lines and less stickiness thank the park…) spots is the Grand Californian. The Grand Californian is the hotel onsite that is accessible through Downtown Disney. So why on Earth would I recommend a trip to a hotel? A hotel lobby, to be exact?

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Well, I’ll tell you why. It embodies those cozy-cute, ultra-classy coffee shop vibes. It’s everything that I want for an afternoon of reading, internet browsing, or blog writing. As I type this, I’m sitting in a comfy lounge chair listening as the grand piano sends an acoustic version of a Beauty and the Beast song through the entire lobby.

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Each part of the hotel is beautifully detailed, and elegant, and comfortable. These lights that hang over the entrance show off some of my favorite details.

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The place is seriously huge. And I’m not talking only about the hotel and the hotel rooms, the non-guest access is ridiculously large. The whole main floor of the lobby is giant, with lots of really comfortable seating, and some access to tables. It has everything that I look for in a coffee shop work space area (sans coffee, unfortunately. However! The downtown Disney starbucks is a short walk away, so you can always bring your own coffee. There’s also free wifi, which is awesome.

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This outdoor seating area is off of the third floor, and it’s gorgeous. There’s plenty of tables and chairs, the wifi is still really strong. There’s rarely people out here, so it’s a really great quiet space if that’s something you’re looking for.

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In the center of the lobby is a giant bouquet that changes regularly. During holiday time, there’s a huge Christmas tree that’s decorated in true Disney style.

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My roommate Lauren works from home, and visits this place pretty frequently. (You can see her in this photo, next to the piano!)

If you’re looking for a different sort of place to hang out, or work from ‘home,’ the Grand Californian lobby is a really neat alternative.

‘Grammin

Every good blogger needs an Instagram just for their blog, right?? Right. If you feel so inclined to follow mine, please click here!!!


I’ll be posting when I update my blog, when I see something post-worthy while out and about, or when I want to post an artsy photo that my friends don’t want to see on my personal page.  (See the photo of a light ring reflected in my lens for an example. Don’t be like my friends; care about the artsy stuff.) 

I’d love to follow all of your blogs too!!