Thursday, August 25, 2011

When In Doubt, Tree Pose

These past two days have been utterly fantastic. I've just been completely happy, enjoying life.
It all started on Saturday when my sister and I went to yoga at Lululemon (good things come out of this class, I swear). The featured teacher that week was from CorePowerYoga and after class she gave us coupons for a free week of unlimited classes. My sister and I finally picked a day to go, when we were invited to hang out with her friend, Megan and some British boys that she wanted us to meet. Megan expressed an interest in yoga, so we agreed to go (Wednesday) and meet up with the boys afterwards.
Oh, I forgot to mention that CorePower is hot yoga so we practiced in a 103 degree room, so it's like being in a volcano. My top was completely soaked and I looked like I jumped in a pool when I walked out of the room. But we felt so cleansed and pumped!

We showered and changed and went to pick up the guys so we could go to Malibu Creek State Park. Ahhh the guys were adorable! So sweet and funny and alright, cute too. And they brought us snacks and water! Anyways, Malibu beach is typically a good 20 degrees cooler than the valley but the park is in the hills and more inland, so it was about 94 degrees as we walked from the road (no way were we paying for $12 parking) to the river/lake/body of water? This was my first time swimming in a non ocean or swimming pool and it was really fun! Despite the moss.
We swam, jumped off a rock and caught tadpoles. Then we proceeded to scale walls, climb boulders and explore caves for a good hour or so. And all barefoot and in bathing suits. After a morning of intense yoga. Needless to say I am incredibly sore right now. I was slightly terrified (I don't like heights) and I have zero upper body strength so climbing around deep pitfalls was a little scary but I feel proud of myself that I actually did it and didn't quit. The whole thing was like if 127 Hours had a baby with SpiderMan. Getting back to our stuff was easier and felt quicker and I immediately jumped into the water and swam around some more. We also practiced tree pose on the less mossy rocks and threw some stress stars at each other (don't ask).
Lunch was Monster sandwiches (that's what they were actually called, I swear. I guess that's America for you) from Ralphs, super healthy tasting muffins, apples, and Cliff Bars. And lots and lots of water.
When we finally decided to leave, we noticed a bunch of police cars, helicopters and fire trucks because apparently there was a fire on the next hillside or something but luckily, it didn't keep us from leaving and returning to the main road, which was hell because of all the traffic. We made a stop at Starbucks before getting on the freeway (which didn't have any coconut syrup, much to James and Ollie's sadness) and headed home, tired and bruised (fine, just me) from a long, but good day.
This morning, all of us went to yoga + Megan's older brother and I think I sweat more today than I did yesterday. I wore shorts so I guess I didn't have enough fabric to soak the sweat because it was running down my legs (ew, I'm sorry to gross everyone out but it's true). I think we may be going again tomorrow.
My mom left for Vegas today so it's just me and my sister at home right now, chilling out and watching Psych. I start school on Tuesday boohooo so I'm so thankful for these past few days giving me a good end to my summer. And I really hope I get to see them again soon. Not for obvious reasons, only!

hope everyone finds a foreigner of their own ;]
xoxo, Sara

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Postcards from Hawaii = highlight of my week

But seriously, the postcard I received from Sara was super exciting and a wonderful surprise! Also there is not much else to report on from Seattle. Work work work, some bike riding, a sunburn! which is actually quite exciting as it is a sign that there is in fact some summer here.

Oh I do have two tasty restaurants for any Seattle goers: Chinook - super wonderful seafood and Lunchbox Laboratory - unbelievable burgers and even better milkshakes (I recommend the Nutella milkshake)

Other than that, I'll offer some excellent recipes from the Garden Party. Not a huge crowd this year due to adventures abroad, early returns to school etc. But the regulars came and partook of delicious food.
Other portland adventures included Pine State Biscuit, the Waffle Window, and Powells. OOh and also a new super cute place called Noun: A person's place for things. VERY COOL. (

Fabulous recipes from the party:

Creamy Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcake

recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Peanut Butter Filling
3 ounces peanut butter2 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
Chocolate Cupcakes

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/3 cup (1 ounce) Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup hot coffee
3/4 cup (4-1/8 ounces) bread flour
3/4 cup (5-1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Frosting, recipe to follow
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1. Combine peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar in small bowl. Mix well with rubber spatula, set aside.
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-size muffin pan (cups have ½-cup capacity) with baking-cup liners. Place chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl. Pour hot coffee over mixture and whisk until smooth. Set in refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
3. Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate-cocoa mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
4. Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Place one slightly rounded teaspoon peanut butter filling on top of each cupcake. Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to touch, 16 to 20 minutes. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before frosting, about 1 hour.
5. Pipe frosting on cupcakes or alternatively spread frosting with small off-set spatula. Garnish with chopped peanuts.
Peanut Butter Buttercream

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Pinch table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoon heavy cream
1. In standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter and peanut butter at medium speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until sugar is combined, about 1 minute.
2. Scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
This all adds up to a super delicious chocolatey cupcake with an amazing peanut butter surprise in the middle.

and if you prefer gluten free:


  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips)
  • 6 large eggs, separated, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Ice cream, for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Melt butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water. Stir to combine, then remove bowl from heat and let cool slightly. Whisk in egg yolks.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until peaks are stiff and glossy but not dry (do not overbeat). Whisk one quarter of the beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten; gently fold mixture into remaining whites.
  3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cupcakes are just set in centers, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes (their centers will sink). Cupcakes are best eaten the same day they are baked; keep at room temperature until ready to serve, topped with scoops of ice cream, if desired.

Hope you enjoy some delicious cupcakes of your own!!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hawaiian Adventures!

Aloha, everyone! I will try as best as I can to recount my past 10 days of vacationing on the island of Oahu with my family without boring anyone!
Day 1: Take off from LAX 45 minutes later than expected due to a missing part of the plane wheel (!) but end up arriving in Hawaii 5 hours later unscathed. We went straight to our family friend's house, whom we were housesitting for and were greeted by their cats, Amigo and Kitty.
After settling in, we took a trip down to the supermarket to buy dinner, food for the week and of course, look at all the interesting (but expensive!) goodies and explore.
Our dinner consisted of somen poke (which I actually ate!), brocolli, cold tofu and pineapple. All quite healthy!
Day 2: I woke up earlier than normal (6:45ish) due to my body being ahead in time. We hiked up to a park in the neighborhood and found chickens, sticks, and a passion fruit.

In the afternoon we took a trip to Byodo-Inn which is a replica of a temple in Japan. I've been going there every trip since I was a baby. Besides housing a large Buddha, it's also home to koi fish, swans, geese, ducks, turtles, and peacocks. I was disappointed to see that the large pond in front of the temple had gone slightly green, a sign of still water and algae, and by the lack of fish. We lit incense, rang the bell for good luck and left to begin searching for some spam musubi.
These steps are on the side of a mountain on the way to the temple, called the Stairway to Heaven. Unfortunately, you're not allowed to climb them yet (despite all the renovations) but someday I will.
On the way back from lunch, at my sister's insistence, we drove over to Kailua beach, which happens to be a favorite of Obama's and ours. Since we were going there on the later side, not to mention a weekend, parking was hard to come by. After circling the lots and neighborhood, we were on our way out, when much to our luck, someone pulled out of a space right in front of us on the highway! Although I didn't feel like swimming, I went in anyways and swam in the surf for a good hour.

Day 3: Due to my enjoyment of the hike the previous day, my dad and I went again this morning to get our blood flowing and get some fresh air early in the day. The rest of this day, however, was dedicated to Waikiki. We started off with breakfast at Bogart's in Diamond Head, a place my dad found when he was working on LOST. They have amazing blueberry pancakes and last time I got banana waffles but that day, I decided on an acai bowl (acai/soy milk blend, granola, fruit, and honey) and oh my gosh it was good. I still crave it.
From breakfast we walked to the Waikiki aquarium (another tradition!) where we love to see the Hawaiian monk seal. For as long as I can remember I've loved aquariums and all things underwater (including swimming pools and the Little Mermaid), so visiting aquariums is always an interesting and beautiful experience.

I was very glad to see that the monk seal was still there, although if I remember correctly, last time I think there were two :(
It had gotten hot and the aquarium is only so big, so we headed off towards the center of Waikiki, stopping off at multiple ABC stores so that I could find souvenirs, gifts and postcards. On the walk through downtown, my mom, sister and I were fascinated by all of the plumeria trees lining the streets and searched the bushes and sidewalks underneath for fallen flowers that we could wear in our hair. Our search (and my dad) brought us to the Hilton Hawaiian Village and Hotel where we rested (or slept in my sister's case) and looked in a few shops. On the way out, my dad led us to a penguin enclosure right on hotel property! As penguins are my favorite animals, this was especially exciting and I had a really great time watching them swim around and stretch their flippers.
We said goodbye to the penguins and continued to the Ala Moana, a large mall. I shopped in Longs, Hello Kitty and the ABC store and looked at luggage in Louis Vuitton (I dream of owning an old fashioned chest or steamer trunk).
Half pies at Foodland, such a good idea!
We were all tired, hot and had sore feet but we still managed to walk back to Waikiki so that my mom could see this famous ukelele player's free concert. My sister and I sat on the floor and explored the duty free mall where the event was held. We got free samples of tea, chocolate covered macadamia nuts, and shortbread cookies. While my mom stayed in the crowded concert, my dad, sister and I walked to the Moana, a beautiful plantation style hotel, to sit on the back patio and have drinks. I didn't get anything but my sister got a pina colada, which was not only delicious but also got points for having an umbrella, cherry, pineapple AND orchid in the glass. Finally the concert was over by 9:00 and we trudged wearily back to our car to go to sleep.
Day 4: My plan to go hiking everyday was put on hold because my feet were so sore from walking all over Waikiki. We ended up resting and doing errands in the morning while my sister made some duct tape wallets for gifts. At around 2:30, we left to go to the set of Hawaii Five-0. We met many workers, played with dogs, walked through sets and watched a scene being filmed. I'm not familiar with the show, having only seen it once, so I can't comment too knowingly on the characters and plot that I saw. I do know, however, that the two main characters were there and also Jin from LOST (I'm sorry, I don't know his real name!). When they were done filming, one of the stars kept looking at my sister and I (perhaps because we were playing with his dog? or he just was wondering who these random people were) and as he walked out, he stopped in front of us, clapped his hands and his dog jumped straight up (and he's not a little thing) into his arms. I was so surprised and impressed that I may have clapped (hopefully not) but I definitely laughed and expressed my delight.
During filming, we were allowed to sit in the room with the director, script supervisor (an old friend from LOST) and other people of probable importance, which was exciting, not because of their power, but because I could witness and now appreciate how they did their job and why I find this line of work so interesting. On our way home from downtown, we stopped at the Aloha towers, which was sadly closed, but still got in a view of the harbor.
Day 5: Today's theme was the North Shore, our plan being to go to Waimea Bay and Haleiwa. Since we went early, there was plenty of parking at the beach and we were able to easily find a spot and get in the water. I ended up going in and out of the water, interspersing it with stretches of lying on my towel, soaking in the sun. Too much soaking in the sun and not enough sunscreen, though. Later on, when we got home, I found that my back and thighs were pretty burned.
When we'd had enough of the beach, we drove into Haleiwa, where another one of our spots is located: Matsumoto's Shave Ice. I got a snow cone with vanilla ice cream and strawberry, lime and blue raspberry syrups. 

We shopped around a little bit and then decided it was time to head home to shower and get changed for dinner. Dinner was in Kailua at a country club with some family friends. I got pea soup, caprese salad and fruit salad (pineapple again!) and raspberry sorbet. And I had a bite of haupia ice cream and some of my mom's dessert, which she had to get because it was called Cherilyn's Trio (her name is Cherilyn). 
Day 6: We went to Hana'uma Bay, which is a protected reef designed for snorkeling and swimming and observing life under the waves. I wasn't that practiced at swimming with flippers and I think I may have ended up kicking a few people but I tried my best to keep my feet to myself and not damage any of the reefs, many of which housed sea urchins! Although the current was strong and kept pushing me towards shore, I managed to see lots of fish, including a humuhumunukunukuapua'a (I hope I spelled that right) and best of all, a sea turtle! Yes, it swam right up to where my mom, sister and I were floating, and after much pointing and trying to grab their attention, we all watched it until it swam off. A truly wonderful spectacle. When we were tired (and in my case, more sunburnt), we went home to clean the house and get ready for our friend's return (the ones that live in the house we stayed in). 
My dad and sister picked them up from the airport and it was really wonderful to see them all. The last time I saw them I was going into 12th grade, it's funny how time flies like that. 
Day 7: Almost a whole week of island life! My dad had work meetings so my mom, sister, JoAnn and I went shopping. We started at Target in hopes of purchasing Hello Kitty duct tape but they were out and instead I bought some Shaun White Stride gum and Starbucks. I was intrigued by the big selection of SPAM themed things that they carried. Next we hit up Costco, where my sister hunted for samples and my mom looked for shirts. We also ended up with a Red Velvet Cake for dinner. From there we went to the Ala Moana again and then to Nick's school since it was time for him to be picked up. By that time, we were sort of hungry so went to Menchies (yes! my addiction can continue across the Pacific!) and looked at puppies in the shopping center (nothing to do with hunger). Nick needed some new board shorts so off we went to Macys, where I also bought a Volcom shirt with an owl that says Hoo Farted? Sooo random but also so funny. I couldn't stop laughing when I first saw it. Incidentally I'm wearing it as I type this. For dinner, we picked up Thai food and had coconut fruit bars and cake for dessert.
Day 8: Nick, Anna, Robert and my dad went to Waimea Bay in the morning to do more swimming, go spearfishing and to jump off this giant rock. I was not in the mood for sand and more sunburn, so I opted out and stayed with my mom and JoAnn. At around 11, we drove over to Haleiwa to meet up with the rest of the group for lunch. There was some confusion and we didn't end up meeting them, but shopped (more souvenirs and gifts!) and got our own food. I walked almost all the way to the end of the road for a smoothie shack that I saw earlier in the week but had never tried. I was temped to get the acai bowl but didn't have enough cash (it probably would have melted anyways). I got a blueberry, banana, soy smoothie, really really good and I could go for one right about now. Once we got our food, we met them at another beach close by. They wanted to take us there because if you look out in the water, you see turtles swimming back and forth in the waves, sticking their head out to breathe every so often. And once in a while, they come up on to the sand to rest, making perfect picture and viewing opportunities. We were very lucky to have 3 waddle onto the shore.
Eventually we had to say goodbye to the turtles and go home to get changed and showered for dinner with the same people we saw last time but with JoAnna, Nick and Robert included. We went to Shokudo, a Japenese restaurant in Honolulu, another one of the LOST spots and a place that my family really likes. The adults ordered a bunch of random appetizers for the table and I also got miso soup (I've been wanting this since July) and spicy tuna crispy rice. For dessert, we got the famous honey toast with chocolate syrup. Being picky I don't really eat it (I don't like honey or Japanese bread) so I ate the ice cream and the chocolate sauce. 
Day 9: We had company over at JoAnn's house and they brought a ton of tasty Japanese and Hawaiian food. The get together was in honor of Tiffany, a family friend who recently had a baby. His name is Easton and he's absolutely adorable. I ate an abundance of spicy soybeans and broccoli and obviously, pineapple. Later that afternoon, my mouth stung a little bit, which I thought was sort of strange but brushed it aside. When our guests had gone, Nick, Anna and I ended up watching snippets of movies on tv such as Yes Man, Final Destination 3, Nacho Libre, Pirates of the Caribbean 3, and some weird movie with Keanu Reeves. Before everyone came over, the three of us went on a hike to the same park but from a different, steeper and muddier direction. We saw a teepee at someone's house from a distance and I accidentally stepped in mud. 
Day 10: Sadly, our last day in Aiea. Robert and JoAnn went to work and Nick went to school so my family and I went down to Pearl Harbor, because I haven't been there since I was about 4 and don't remember a thing. We got a 12:00 ticket to go to the Arizona and therefore had 2 hours to look around at other things. 
We toured an old submarine, which I really enjoyed because of all the hatches and quirky equipment. In one of the rooms, there were bunk beds resting above torpedos. All of the spaces were extremely small, so it's amazing that people were able to run important operations down there while being cramped inside. We took some photos off the sub on various guns and in front of torpedos and looked through a periscope. Finally, we went to see an educational movie on Pearl Harbor and the attack and were allowed to get on a boat and go over to the memorial site. 
It was crazy how big the sunken ship and the list of victims were. 
We walked through the museums on site and looked in the gift shop and made our way home. 
For lunch, we had some leftovers and Anna and I found a Psych marathon on tv. We also got one last pineapple. Remember how my mouth stung the day before? Well, this day it started stinging and burning while I actually ate it. I love pineapple so I ate through the pain but eventually couldn't bear it anymore. I looked in the mirror at my tongue and found 3 little cuts on it, which was pretty weird. Apparently the acidity was too much for me to handle after a while. I don't know how long I'm going to have to wait to eat it again, which is disappointing. When Nick came home, he, Anna, and I decided on one last hike before we had to leave that night. Also because we had to return some walking sticks that my mom had brought back to the house earlier in the week. 
Hawaii has many homeless or permanent outdoor cats roaming through jungley areas. I'd spotted a few cats here and there during the week but this outing took the cake in terms of the amount of cats I saw. I'm going to estimate that I saw about 30 cats during the walk, from little gray ones to fat orange ones. We spent a long time trying to coax them out from the leaves and branches of hillside brush but most of them just stared and ran away when we got nearer. 
We returned home to a dinner of rice and cooked leftover poke (3 kinds of tuna). I hate fish but I had eaten some of the poke during the week. I didn't like the texture, though, it was kind of gummy, so cooked was much better and actually tasted like chicken. I feel stupid writing that but it's true!
Around 8, we said goodbye (so sad!) and went to return the rental car and go to the airport. Our terminal was incredibly far from everything and there were no open Starbucks in the area (!!!) but I still managed to buy an Us and Glamour from the only store. I managed to sleep on the airplane for a good chunk of time (not well, I kept moving around and changing position) and woke up with the sun rising in the distance. After that I stayed up to watch the oranges and pinks and purples and the thick layer of clouds down below us. We landed at LAX at around 7:30 am, and made it home by 9:30. 
I was starving and was so grateful that we had some peanut butter puffins and milk in our house for me to eat. I vacuumed and went to Trader Joes with my sister because we had guests coming over at 4:30. Crazy, right? 
The guests are old friends, my friend Elliana, whom I've known since kindergarden, and her mom, Jan. They moved to Davis during middle school and haven't been in SoCal for a while. They were only stopping by for a brief visit in between visiting family and other friends. It was fun to see them, we used to be pretty close growing up and I hope that we visit with them again soon.
Yesterday was my last day with Lena :[ She moved to her new apartment in Brooklyn and is getting ready to start another year at Parsons. Obviously we went to Aroma for iced tea and chai lattes and hung out with some other friends before we had to part ways. It's sad that she's gone but at the same time, I'm so proud and happy that she's enjoying school and living in NY. And I want to try and visit her at some point, I've always wanted to see an East Coast autumn so we'll see....

Phew! I'm so sorry for the long post but I had so much to recap on! I hope no one fell asleep or wants to punch me in the face!
xoxo, Sara

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Party Preparations! *recipe included*

And so we have another week sans macbook. Luckily, Maximum has been so kind as to lend me his so that I don't fall too far behind Sara's bi-daily (is that the term for every other day) adventure updates.

First though, I should say that I'm very sad to have missed the Nutella cookies and hope to be able to replicate them up here in Seattle. Also, I had a dream that I received some in the mail from Sara, and they were delicious.

Luckily my infrequent post does not equal missing out on lots of cool stories. I mean, there are some interesting stories from my work, but I don't think it's legal to tell them. Sorry :(

The exciting bits from the past week revolved primarily around one of my best high school friends coming to visit. She was not, however, available on Friday, so Max and I helped his best friend Ethan celebrate his last weekend in Seattle. These festivities consisted of yummy Banana Leaf Thai food, lemon Skittles jello shots (which the two of them worked very hard on all day), and many many delicious beverages with many attempted toasts to Katey for no apparent reason. A solid Friday evening.

I somehow managed to awaken for early morning (and by that I mean 9 AM) espresso (much needed) with Marguex, the aforementioned friend. We stopped at a cute (ish) little French place on Capitol Hill. Not le Fournil, but I had a very espresso is espresso type of mentality.

I then had to dash off to lunch at Ivar's with Maximum's family. A beautiful view, lots of indecision about what to eat that resulted in the classic fish and chips, and just as we were leaving the Blue Angels flew over (it's a Seafair tradition...Seafair is like this thing where people with boats go out on the water or something and I still don't really understand the rest).

I met up with Marguex and her sister, and we attempted to go to Cafe de Lion. The cafe has, however, been closed for like EVER since a death in the family and the reopening date is tbd. So we went with Fremont Coffee (Sara's been there!) instead where I had Mexican Coke! Much yummier sugar. I think the trick is that it's real.

Then we decided that some mimosas and guacamole were in order down by the lake. We improvised a bit by smashing an avocado in a cup and adding salsa, but it was delish. The evening concluded with Maria (Marguex's sister) and I grabbing a vegan chocolate chip cookie from Starlife on the Oasis Cafe, and then my meeting up with Max and Ethan for a really strange movie during which I fell asleep.

Sunday! Sunday began with breakfast at Gallerias (Marguex, Maria, etc.). Yummy. and Extra Yummy because while you wait for brunch you get to have cake and yogurt and fruit and granola from a buffet. Very incredible. Then we moved on to the Fremont market, always always a good time (highlight = you can grow mushrooms in a box!). Next was getting ice cream (Molly Moon's of course!) and swimming on Mercer Island (well in the water next to it)! The evening ended with some homemade ravioli (no recipe but delicious) and some not homemade pizza.

All in all a successful weekend, but what I'm most excited about is the weekend ahead! My friend Laura and I are preparing for our garden party! It's always a fabulous time with wonderful treats! I bought flowers today at Pike Place about which I am quite enthused for sure.

A fun bouquet, dahlias, and sunflowers oh my!!!! 

Also, here's a sneak peek at one of the things we'll be serving:

Note: This is Martha Stewart's recommendation for Strawberry Hand Pies, but we plan to make a variety of flavors :)


  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and cut in half or quarters, depending on size
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • All-purpose flour, for work surface
  • 1/2 recipe Pate Brisee for Strawberry Hand Pies
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Sanding sugar, for sprinkling


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat (a French nonstick baking mat). In a medium bowl, add strawberries, sugar, and cornstarch; stir to combine, set aside.
  2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough into a large rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. Using a 5-inch cookie cutter, cut out 6 rounds. Transfer rounds to prepared baking sheet.
  3. Place about 2 tablespoons of the strawberry mixture onto one-half of each round. Lightly brush egg around the edge of the covered half of each round. Fold remaining dough over to enclose, forming a half moon. Gently press edges together to seal. Brush the tops of each pie with egg. Using a paring knife, slash the top of each pie. Sprinkle generously with sanding sugar.
  4. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer pies to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving. Or let cool completely, and store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 4 days.
    Try it for your own Garden Party! 
    That's all for now but party pictures will be on the way along with our other recipes! Have fabulous weekends and keep enjoying August! 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Stay Cool

Yesterday ended up straying from the plans that I previously wrote. Right after posting it, my friend Xander asked if he could shoot me and Lena (with a camera!) for a project that he's helping a professional photographer with. The job consisted of driving around famous/cliched, traffic heavy spots in LA and putting up signs created by the photographer. Our first stop was West Hollywood and I went onto a median in the middle of a busy intersection, smiled at some curious drivers and put up the sign while Xander stood on another corner taking pictures. We then made a pit stop at El Pollo Loco and afterwards, picked up Lena from her house. From there, we drove up Beachwood into the Hollywood hills, in search of a good view of the Hollywood sign.
We put up a sign in a residential, but popular viewing spot and continued on. We eventually found this scenic viewpoint with many tourists and views of Lake Hollywood and a quite green mountainside.
Another sign went up and Lena and I pretended to have a jolly ole time (although of course, we were) while the shutter snapped a mile a minute. Finally, after harassing some tourists, we drove down to Hollywood and Highland. This time, Xander got pictures of us crossing the street with yet another sign (that a bum asked me about) and put it up on a corner in front a hot dog vendor. We chatted with the guy at the cart about clubs in the area and we apologized that we didn't frequent any and therefore had nowhere to recommend. Because parking is expensive, we went to get our card validated at Starbucks and saw this beast old man sitting outside writing on an electric typewriter. Soooo gangsta.
After sitting in traffic, I got home and was immediately put to work on getting dinner ready for an employee of my dad's who is going to housesit for us while we are away. This guy was pretty hot (and only 25!), tan, and probably pretty ripped. And he was nice, if a little quiet. But the most important thing is that my dogs liked him. Prior to him coming over, my mom told me "Be nice to him." to which I replied "What is that supposed to mean?!" and she explained that there is no need for all of my sarcasm, which just makes me feel like a girl Seth Cohen. But also makes me wonder if I am a scary person. Oops...
Today I actually ran errands with my mom and packed for Hawaii because we're leaving at like 6:30 in the morning or something equally ridiculous. And praise Allah everything fit in my little tiny REI suitcase! So next time I post, I will have tales from Oahu!

xoxo (Gossip Girl)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Nutella Cookies

This week I received an exciting package from Katey and our friend Jeremy! I got Breakfast at Tiffany's, delicious orange chocolate, a book on astral travel, another book on obscene Australian slang, a bird dish, money candle, toy skunk, and a brick from Red Square.
UW Red Sqare, Jeremy is the best
So it's quite obvious that my day was made. In return I baked a batch of Nutella cookies to send up to them. The cookies turned out surprisingly well and everyone at my dad's office loved them and wanted the recipe. Unfortunately, it turns out that Jeremy is in Chicago (where I don't have an address) and by the time I got Katey's, it seemed kind of late to send the cookies and have them be still fresh.
However, every cloud has a silver lining and I ended up taking the cookies in the package to my friend's house for a pool party. The day of the pool party, Lena and I did a double hike, which felt like walking through an oven, but we did it because we knew there were going to be mojitos at the party.
The mojitos were delicious, the pool was fun and my feet got burned from walking around the patio barefoot. There were also some intense games of beer pong (or rum&lemonade for when the beer started to heat in the sun) and gaucho and eventually the biggest pizza I've ever seen. 
Yesterday my mom, sister, and I drove down to Costa Mesa for a family friend's birthday party at a place with all these trampolines. 
I did normal trampolin-ing, played dodge ball and went in a foam pit. Soooo much fun! And probably good exercise since when I got off, I was sweating profusely which is kind of gross but oh well. It made me want to resurrect my trampoline/ask my dad for a new one. Today I will be running errands with my mom to Trader Joes, the bank, JoAnns, this Argentine market and possibly the library. I also have to vacuum the house in lieu of a dinner guest who will be housesitting for us while we are on vacation. 
Hope everyone is staying out of the heat or beating it with mojitos!

xoxo, Sara

Monday, August 1, 2011

August has arrived!

Bonsoir my petit blog readers! The heat in southern California has increased and I felt the sweltering-ness of it today when I sat outside of Pagliacci's/Starbucks. It apparently also rained yesterday a little bit but I was at Cardio Barre when it happened and when I drove home, for some reason I just assumed that everyone in my neighborhood had their sprinklers on at the same time. Speaking of Cardio Barre, my sister and I had our last class yesterday and I was actually pretty sad because not only was I getting good exercise, but I made friends with the receptionist girls and my favorite teacher. But my mom promised to treat us now and again for a class, so I have that to look forward to!
I also have done a few yoga classes here and there, one of them in particular was really fun but so incredibly challenging. My friend Steph works with an ex-yoga instructor who still practices for herself everyday and invited me to come over one evening and join them. I was dripping sweat because she turns on this humidifier thing so that was kind of gross but I felt so cleansed afterwards that I didn't really mind. I was also quite proud of myself for doing a headstand!
Last weekend my dad's friends came into town from Bethesda, Maryland and we took them over to West LA for a Japanese obon festival. We watched dancing and met up with my cousins. After shopping around a bit, we went out for noodles at a restaurant with the most informative bathroom ever (it told me the benefits of barley tea)
We sat behind this curtain thing outside
Sunday, I hung out with my friend on Larchmont and we went to this really good vegan restaurant called Cafe Gratitude and a beauty supply store which had the most amazing skin care and hair products. Oh and every color of OPI Shatter nail polish. We spontaneously decided to go see Midnight in Paris, which I absolutely adored! I am contemplating seeing it again with my mom. And it definitely made me want to go to Paris and cut my hair/do my makeup/embody? Marion Cotilliard. 

This week Lena and I decided to go picnic at the Griffith Observatory and watch the sunset. It has spectacular views, with the Hollywood sign on the next hill and overlooking downtown and all of Hollywood. 
Our picnic included chicken, hummus (spicy and sun dried tomato), tomatoes, carrots, grapes, strawberries, brownies, Diet Pepsi and some yellow jackets.
view of downtown
Today I met this lady at Starbucks who told my sister, my friend and I about our numerology in accordance with our birthdays; apparently I'm selfless and need to say no more often (I always knew I was like Katherine Heigl's character in 27 Dresses) and I have the memory of an elephant. On Wednesday I'm going to a birthday party at a trampoline place so I shall report back on that later! And I'm going to Hawaii this weekend!

xoxo Sara