Thursday, December 29, 2011

Post Holiday Stress Disorder

Christmas is done with! I hope everyone's holidays were merry and bright! I got most of my shopping done last Thursday. In the morning, Anna and I went to yoga and Jamba Juice. For the remainder of the day, we watched Glee and wrapped presents and then my mom and I went to Torrance to deliver them. We visited with my cousins for a little while until we headed to Marukai to get kamoboku, sweet potatoes and ramen for my grandma. I also found a present for Jeremy! On the way home, downtown was all lit up and festive so I had to snap a picture. 
When I got home, I ate dinner and changed to go to 2 holiday parties with Lena. The first one was in the Hollywood Hills at my friend, Sydney's. We talked outside on her adorable patio, catching up and drinking wine. The second stop was Sam and Jeff's Mexican Christmas party. I was too freezing to get in the spirit of Navidad but I put on a Day of the Dead tattoo (an armadillo). I completely froze due to the fact that we were sitting outside in the gazebo with only a tiny little space heater to keep us (mostly Anna's hands) warm. I got home and went to bed, but since I was cold inside and out, couldn't sleep restfully and spent the night in a ball. 
On the 23rd, our family friends had their annual holiday/birthday extravaganza! I wore my Alexa Chung leopard boots and got many compliments on them. I hung out with my sister and my friend Grant, who goes to school in Maine. We basically grew up together so it was especially funny to think about how we used to run around this party but have gravitated towards sitting on the couch drinking wine and beer. 
On Christmas Eve, we loaded up my mom's BMW 3.25 to drive 3 hours to Santa Maria. Unfortunately her car is too tiny to hold all of our stuff comfortably, so I complained until we switched to my dad's Suburban. Much better! I arrived at my grandparent's hungry and needing to pee (drinking coffee and ginger tea wasn't such a good idea). My uncle came over for dinner, we did a puzzle and finished the wrapping of the gifts. 
On Christmas morning, I woke up, showered (in case of photographs), and ate my weight in fruit before we opened presents. I got money, a blanket, a fox scarf, a Hello Kitty iPhone case, Jack Purcell Converse, Missoni for Target flats (too big :( so I don't know if I can keep them), Sees Candy mints and lollipops, Chan Luu bracelets and a butterfly scarf.  My sister liked her gloves and my parents liked the dressing maker, mustard, and fig jam. My cousins from San Diego came over for dinner and we talked about school and music festivals. 
Boxing Day/1st day of Kwanzaa was spent going to the mall to buy an on sale calendar. I picked out an Ugly Doll one and my sister got Marilyn Monroe. Anna worked on college apps for the next couple of days and finally submitted them on Tuesday. During one of her breaks, my dad got her a Thai iced tea boba while my mom and I went to CVS. 
The second puzzle that we worked on was 2 500 piece puzzles in one box. Both of cats and both were ill represented by the pictures on the box. 
It was so intense and we didn't finish it until late Tuesday night. 
We printed accurate pictures and separated them into bags for easier puzzle making next time. 
On Wednesday my family got up and drove over to Arroyo Grande to make mochi. Many people think that mochi is the same thing as mochi ice cream but that is actually incorrect. Mochi is the chewy, sticky, rice covering the ice cream. It's not sweet like the ones at yogurt places, it just tastes like rice. In the Japanese culture, it's made to be eaten on New Years and I believe it's said to bring good luck. While many people simply put the rice into a machine, we make it the old fashioned way with mallets and sticks. 
You can't really see it but there's a stone bowl in the middle of the people filled with the rice and they're mushing it with the sticks. It's very tiring but is excellent for working the arms. I had to do it twice but it was fun. The farm was filled with many many hapa boys in their 20s (hapa is Asian and white btw) which my cousin, Emma was excited by. Also they're all really buff and countryish which is just so adorable. Thankfully, I didn't have to use the mallet (I've done it once and was put to shame by my lack of strength) but I made the actual mochi balls so hopefully I've got good luck for the new year!
These are some big ones for the snowmen looking towers everyone makes. 
I helped make this batch!
There was a huuuge bbq afterwards and I got all this yummy food (salads and a steak sandwich). We sat with my cousins from Idaho, who I see about once a year but are always fun to hang out with. Also, my cousin Grant looks like Mike Chang from Glee. He hates it but it's totally true. 
We went out to Japanese food for dinner with my Torrance cousins. I got miso soup, wakame sunomono, and spicy tuna rolls. We came home around 7ish, watched some Family Guy and went to sleep around 10, which is early for us. 
I woke up this morning at like 6:15, ate a tangerine and banana and left to come home around 7. Upon coming home, I ate a bowl of cereal, downed some coffee and opened presents from our neighbors and Hawaii. 
Lena turned 21 today! To celebrate, we went to Aroma and got a salad, Diet Coke and iced tea. Because the weather was 75 DEGREES WTF we walked and went shopping in Urban and later Target. We exchanged presents (I owe her uno más) and got a really cool necklace, a shirt/dress, a knitted snail ornament and salted caramel apple pie taffy from Brooklyn. And they legit taste like pie. 
Ahhh New Years is just around the corner! I hope everyone has a safe and fun New Years Eve and that you've got someone to kiss at midnight! 

xoxo Saraaa

Friday, December 23, 2011

Katey and Laura's Annual Christmas Extravaganza (and other happenings of the Christmas season)

Today was the day of the Christmas party! Lots of fun and lots of fantastic recipes to share! But first, let's see what's happened up until then. It was mainly visiting with friends and going back up to Seattle for work. Oh plus a parental/neighborhood xmas party that went heavy on the holiday drinks (of the non-Starbucks variety).

Zoolights yesterday was probably the most blog-worthy adventure, so here are some photos:
This is a dragon. One of my favorites. And one of the only ones that photographed well.

Weird animal things are also a highlight. My friend Matt is particularly obsessed.

This was Laura and I in front of the hippos but with the flash off (ooooops). 
Did I mention my ringtone is "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas?"

Alright, party time. It was a good one, although we weren't as prepared as we had hoped. Here are some of the best recipes and photos:

These are a pumpkin spice cupcake with plain cream cheese frosting. Super easy:

2 cups all-purpose flour1 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon baking powder1 teaspoon coarse salt1 teaspoon ground cinnamon1 teaspoon ground ginger1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg1/4 teaspoon ground allspice1 cup packed light-brown sugar1 cup granulated sugar1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled4 large eggs, lightly beaten1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin pureePreparation:1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.2. In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Just mix it all together!
To do the Santa feet:

Just get Tootsie Rolls in regular, strawberry (technically "Frootsies") and vanilla
then melt them a teensy bit and shape them!

These were tricky. Bakerella told us to to them with candy cane stems. HA. False. They don't stand up right and you have to saw off (literally) the ends of the cones to make the cane show (way too risky), so we ended up just setting most of them on the cupcakes.

Here's the recipe we used for the EGGNOG cupcakes and frosting we used:

Eggnog Cupcakes
1/4 cup dark rum or bourbon
1 cup soy eggnog
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
scant 1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground
1 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350F. Fill a 12-cup muffin tin with liners.
In a small bowl, mix together rum, eggnog, vegetable oil, vinegar and vanilla.
In a large bowl, mix together nutmeg, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour in rum mixture and whisk until just combined. Divide evenly into muffin tins (a 1/4 cup measure is a good tool for this).
Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed.
Cool in the pan for 3-5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Eggnog Frosting
1/4 cup butter or nonhydrogenated shortening, softened
3 tbsp soy eggnog (or regular)
2 tbsp rum
generous pinch of nutmeg, freshly ground
2+ cups confectioners’ sugar
coarse sugar for “rims”
Cream together butter/nonhydrogenated shortening (depending on whether you want the frosting vegan or not), eggnog, rum, nutmeg and 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar. Add in more sugar if needed to make frosting stiff, but spreadable.
Spread on cupcakes and garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Here are the decorating instructions (brace yourself!):

Sugar Cones
White Candy Melts
White Sugar crystals
Pink Sugar crystals
Candy Canes
Icing colors (I used Wilton Dusty Rose & )
Snowflake Sprinkles
Confetti Sprinkles
Cut off ends of the sugar cones, so the tree section is around 3 inches long. Use a serrated knife to carefully saw through without shattering the cone.
Dip cone sections in melted white candy coating. If you use a tall plastic cup, it will be easier to coat the entire cone.
Remove and let excess coating fall off.
Sprinkle white sugar crystals or sanding sugar over entire surface of the cone. Sprinkle over a large bowl and you can reuse the sprinkles.
Set on wax paper to dry completely. When dry, you can redip the bottoms to make sure the cone is completely coated.
Use 6 inch long candy canes and break the handles off so you are left with a straight piece that’s around 5 inches.
Cover cupcakes with tinted pink frosting.
Fill a small dish with the pink sugar crystals or sanding sugar and press cupcake tops into the dish until the entire surface is covered with sugar cyrstals.
Dip one end of the candy cane in some of the melted candy coating and insert the other end straight into the cupcake.
Place a Christmas Tree on top of the candy cane and let the candy coating dry and work like a glue.
If you want decorations, it would be a good idea to add them before you attach the tree. Just dot a small amount of coating on the surface and attach a colored sprinkle.
For presents, tint white fondant and shape the fondant into small squares by hand. Then use some of the white fondant, roll it out and use a knife to cut thin strips for ribbon. Attach the white fondant ribbon to the presents with a small dab of water. Then attach the snowflake sprinkles the same way.
Remember, use dense cupcakes instead of light and fluffy ones so the trees will not want to tip.
Or skip the candy canes, use the entire sugar cone and make big trees. Then you won’t have to worry.

Our snowman cake pops were a heinous disaster. We made like six moderately cute ones (and delicious according to those who ate them), but there will be no pictures. Word to the wise: do not experiment with cake pops when you're entertaining. Try it (and PRACTICE) when no one will have to see them. Whoever claims they are easy is lying.

One last super strong recommendation: bite-sized baked brie. Whitegirlproblems would die of awe at these. The recipe speaks for itself:

2 sheets puff pastry, thawed but still cold
1/2 wedge of brie, cold
1/3 cup cherry jam (or any flavor you fancy!)
1 large egg, beaten
splash of milk

I erased the instructions because literally you just put brie in some puff pastry with jam (optional) and bake it. Easy peasy. But recipe is bellow if you're a stickler for instructions.

I don't have a picture of ours but check out Joy the Baker's photos at

I'll leave you with a photo of the hosts and a friend at the party itself:

Now goodnight, Merry Christmas, and happy baking!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cup of cheer

I can't believe Christmas is already this weekend! I still haven't completed my shopping...
The weather in LA has been so strange this past weekend. On Thursday, I was out shopping at the Americana when it started pouring rain complete with lightening and thunder. Luckily, Seattle has conditioned me not to freak out in the event that I don't have an umbrella in the rain, so I didn't mind getting wet when I had to meet my mom to pick me up. I've gotten stuck at UW enough times without my umbrella going to class, that this was fairly normal for me. 
The next day was the complete opposite weather-wise. I didn't have a car so I walked to Ventura in the warm sunshine. I bought my sister her present (gray gloves) from Urban and picked up molasses from Vons. Upon returning home, I began to make ginger cookies, when I realized that I didn't have any applesauce, so I had to walk to the corner market. On the way there, I saw some cops handcuff a guy on a bicycle which is always exciting. Except I saw him riding his bike down the street when I was walking back so I guess they worked it out? Anyways, the ginger cookies are fabulous! And they're fat free, so I can feel better about eating them, I guess?

Vegan/Fat Free Ginger Cookies  - slightly modified by me
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup apple sauce (or 1/4 cup oil)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tbsp. flax seed + 3 tbsp. water stirred till thicker (or 1 egg)
some minced fresh ginger (like 2tbsp.)
- Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment
- Sift dry flour, baking powder, salt, spices and set aside.
- In another bowl, combine brown sugar, molasses, apple sauce, vanilla, almond and mix till smooth. Add flax seed mix and stir. 
- Slowly stir in dry ingredients till incorporated and then stir in fresh ginger. 
- Make dough into balls and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture before putting on the sheet. 
- Bake for 13 minutes. 
They're spicy and warm and perfect with a cup of tea! Also my dog loves them!
On Saturday, the weather teetered back to shitty and it was gray and drizzly all morning and afternoon. Ok, fine, it's not shitty, I actually like this weather in winter. Anyways, it was quite busy on Saturday and I had to bag about 600 tons of fudge for a bunch of huge orders. I eventually ran out of ribbon so I couldn't do it anymore but I continued to make boxes and other fun housekeeping things (not). I also took home 3 dozen cupcakes this week. 1 of the boxes went to my friend Niccolo who promised me a ride in the famers market golf cart he gets to drive. He said we can probably drift in it too, which I'm especially looking forward to. 
During my break from work, I passed the dog adoption people on Ventura and saw the cutest baby Australian shepherd puppy. I want it so bad, look at that coloring! I also got a delicious soy chai latte from Coffee Bean (it might be better than Starbucks!) and I love them because they have sugar free and totally get vain Southern California bitches. 
My sister and I began our yoga classes on Sunday so I'm sore but excited for my next class! The room was totally beautiful, with yellowy walls and this gorgeous door at the back of the room with a view of green plants that looked like it led to Bali. Our teacher was funny too and spent half the class saying "Fuck Sundays" and letting us dance around our mats. We went to Pinkberry afterwards which was sooooo perfect. After showering, we went to the mall to buy presents and got my mom and salad dressing mixer and my dad some French mustard from this place we went in Beaune. 
Yesterday, I got coffee with Audrey and Sasha and hung around Sasha's store on Ventura until I had to go to dance. Since it was our last dance class till next year, 4/6 of us were there, so we did a quick stretch class, got Starbucks and helped take down the Nutcracker decorations. Also, I have to add that parking yesterday was a fucking nightmare because of all the shoppers. I spent a good 15 minutes going around 2 lots until I gave up and parked by CBS. 
Today, parking was just as horrid but thankfully, I didn't have to deal with it because my mom drove and picked me up from work. I wasn't scheduled to work today but my boss asked if I could help out today and tomorrow due to the obscene amount of gift boxes (and cause I could use the funds for Seattle and NY). It was crazy and I took more orders than I'd have liked to but I got to take home a mini pumpkin loaf, which is adorable and yummy. I also went to the hospital to check out Xander's new room since he's moved out of the ICU! He can also talk much better and he has lovely red toenails compliments of Jazzy. 
I also watched Rudolph and Wallace and Grommit this weekend! Such good movies, even though the latter is not Xmas related. 
Tomorrow I really don't feel like going to work because I think I'm coming down with a cold, so I'll see how I feel in the morning. And Lena's coming home also! We've already planned on possibly going hiking and also have a party on Friday. I hope everyone's shopping is going better than mine and that you're all avoiding those crazy crowds and parking lots! And are staying healthy! 
Ah I almost forgot! Happy Hanukkah! I need some matzoh ball soup or some good Jew food. 
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! 

xoxo Sara

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year :)

I'm getting a head start (ish) on December.

AND good news for the future of my blogging: my dad found my camera!!!!! I had thought that I recycled it by accident last January, so I've gone all year camera-less. BUT HE FOUND IT! Now I will have much more to share and much better ways to share it.

My first picture since finding the camera:
I made these spritz today (first day home after finals!), and I must say they're delicious.

1        cup butter, softened
cup sugar
2 1/4
cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
teaspoon salt
teaspoon almond extract or vanilla
Heat oven to 400ºF. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl. Stir in flour, salt, egg, almond extract and a few drops of food color.
Place dough in cookie press. Form desired shapes on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 6 to 9 minutes.
So, very very easy! And super delicious. 
As for other aspects of the first half of December, they involved lots of studying as finals were (and technically still are) this week. But there were lots of fun things as well. 
Michela had a fabulous dance performance the first weekend, and the next Friday we watched Love Actually.
Favorite Love Actually relationship:
Saturday was my extended family's Christmas party. That's always an adventure. Lots of fun and even more people with a competitive gift exchange as well. The next day was more studying so that I could go to my mentee's Christmas dance recital on Monday (night before my final). It worked! Lots of Starbucks hours paid off....although I guess I haven't seen my grade yet. Anyway, let's give Starbucks holiday cups a shout out for getting me and all the other college students out there through finals and into the holidays!

Also, I've developed an affinity for dark red nail polish. I'd add a picture, but it's starting to chip :(

Happy Holidays and enjoy your baking! Laura and I have a Christmas party coming up, so expect some yummy and beautiful recipes (and photos too!)


Belated Memories of November

Dear Sara:

I am so sorry for my shortcomings as a blog partner!!! I feel so bad! I am thinking my New Year's resolution will be to blog once a week, and as long as I can find a set time each week, I think it's doable. Also, thank you for being the best and giving us a good blog!

Now for November:

I actually had started a blog post for November, but I can't figure out how to find saved I'll start fresh.

Honestly, most of November was spent getting ready for a super huge Dream Project event. Seriously, worst Veteran's Day weekend of my life. Meetings literally ALL day. Ew. Early November (actually Nov. 1-20) seriously damaged my sleep schedule and my complexion. The event was, however, super successful and helped lots and lots of kids. Always worth it.

The next event after the first half of the month was gone was THANKSGIVING. Always fantastic :)

I went to Portland for a couple of days before the fan headed back up to Seattle for the actual day of Thanksgiving (spent with family friends and tons of delicious food).

My friend Lizzie and I kicked off my only full day there with breakfast at Mother's aka one of the most fabulous places in Portland. I had this fabulous french toast, which I believe is dipped in corn flakes:

Then my only friend I've known longer than Lizzie, Alex and I headed to Hawthorne area in search of bearaphernalia, yes, bearaphernalia. As in bear paraphernalia. I have some friends who very much want to decorate their basement ("the bear den") with bear things. Needless to say, the primary stop was House of Vintage.
It truly is a wonderland.

Of course, House of Vintage came through with a plate, a hat, and a sort of weird mini-tapestry thing that said "Trees of Mystery" on it with an embroidered bear. If I had been thinking at all I would have taken photos.

After a long night of chat with other friends, lots of Katey-mocking, and my mom's delicious chili, it was Turkey day and time for my parents and I to move on to Seattle for food food food. It was a successful endeavor and overall a fairly lazy weekend. Until Saturday when we went to the Apple Cup to watch the Cougs and the Huskies face off. Not a super exciting game, but a Husky win is always a plus. The next day I ended up home and studying away. 

...I think that ends November?? Wow, my life is boring without Sara! Slash I really need to document it better when it seems exciting at the time! 2012 resolution! Promise promise!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Done with the semester!

I had my last final today and am officially on winter break! Granted, I only had 3 classes, but this weekend was spent getting ready for all of them. 
Last Thursday, I had my last Radio Voice and Diction class and turned in my take home final. I'll definitely be getting an A in that class, judging by the grades I got on my last 2 projects :]
On Friday, AJ and I picked up our friend Ella from the Canyon store (hippie central) and drove over to Cedars to visit Xander. Although he had surgery that morning, he was actually awake, so we stopped at Jamba to pick him up a smoothie. I was a little sad to see that Ebenezer wasn't at the front desk but the little old Asian lady that was, was just so gosh darn adorable! She reminded me of my own grandma and I wanted to reach out and give her a hug! Upon entering Xander's room, we had to put on these snazzy paper gown covers  and gloves so we didn't contract a bacteria that Xander could potentially have. 
I pretty much felt like I was in Grey's Anatomy (they were these yellow covers)
Xander can only whisper but he seemed very glad to see us and liked the Magna Doodle I brought for him. He also made us promise we'd never get a motorcycle. He's lost about 25 pounds from his already small, muscular frame, so it was a shock to see him look so gaunt. I almost fainted (still no idea why!) but we talked until Xander decided to take a nap. 
For the next few hours, we sat in the lobby with his parents and Jazzy, talking, drawing and making shapes with pipe cleaners. When we were hungry, we left to go to Swingers, where I had an almond milk cappuccino, Ella got avocado toast and quinoa and AJ got a tuna melt. From food, we went to Ella's mom's studio in West Hollywood, which is super artsy and cool.
The lights in her 'living room' were beautiful. We listened to the Doors, among other rock'n'roll, drank mint tea and sat outside smoking cigarettes and making friends with the neighbors. I wanted to continue hanging with Ella and AJ but had to go home to start my homework for this week. 
On Saturday, my parents went to Irvine to visit my grandma and her boyfriend, Jack, who turned 97! Anna had too much homework and I had to work but we called and wished him a happy birthday. Work was busy for the majority of the day and then got incredibly dead for the last 2 hours. I actually think we had one customer in that span of time. But I still took home 2 dozen cupcakes and 2 donut muffins. After work, my dad and sister picked me up and we went to Thai BBQ for a late dinner. I got the papaya salad that I'd been craving and felt like my mouth was on fire. 
On Sunday, my mom, sister, and I went to the Nutcracker at my dance studio. My friend's grandfather donated homemade latkes and these amazing cheese filled puff pastries. The show was very nice and short. It was the first performance I'd seen in about 2 years, so it was interesting to see how everyone had grown up. 
We had a banana muffin, which rode all the way to Menchies and nearly all the way to the 99 cents store. It met its fate on the floor of my car and was too dirty to eat. My dad made a curry for dinner, which smelled divine but tasted like I licked a volcano filled with molten hot chili peppers. However, I ate a good amount of it and cried too, but it wasn't that bad. 
This week I've also been eating up this vegan cake my dad made over the weekend. It's a chocolate spice cake made with prunes and other vegan-y stuff (it sounds gross but it's honestly delicious). I'm only hoping I don't gain a gazillion pounds since I've eaten probably half the cake by now. 
All day Monday was spent painting and writing my 25 page screenplay. It also rained Sunday night and Monday! Very exciting! 
I turned in my painting on Tuesday, which was fun, I think people liked my piece. My teacher also gave us apple cider as a celebration of our last class. Justin and I slightly felt like throwing it in this one guy's face because he felt the need to comment on everyone's work. 
And today I turned in my 25 pages and took my final for screenwriting! Unfortunately, I forgot my pencil case but thank god I got to school early because I was able to stop in to the bookstore and buy a pack of purple pens. 
After school, I came home and watched Love Actually, my favorite Christmas movie of all time. 
I don't know what to do for the next couple of days because I have no school! Maybe I'll do some baking! I'm mostly excited for Sunday yoga! My sister and I will finally begin our 24 classes and I want to try and go everyday. I hope my boss didn't schedule me a lot because I don't really want to work all that much anymore, I'm good with once a week...

Good luck with finals to those still in school and I hope Christmas shopping is going well!

xoxo Sara

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tis the Season

Holidaze. There's so much seasonality, I love it! On Monday, my mom and I decorated our lemon tree and some bushes by my windows with little red ornaments. Good thing we waited because last Thursday, Southern California was hit with some really strong winds, knocking over trees and even destroying some houses, so our festivities would be scattered across my driveway and front yard otherwise. 
I went to the sample sales with my mom on Friday. She ended up with some scarves and necklaces from Chan Lu and a vest from White & Warren. I contemplated buying a red and white thermal that reminded me of Santa Clause and searched Tarina Tarantino but came up with nada. My reward for going shopping was lunch at Bottega Louie, where they had an adorable macaron tree displayed in the window. I had a salad with chicken, celery, scallions and other foods of pale green color and my mom had a club sandwich which had egg (I'd never heard of that before). I almost opted for a macaron but was too full, otherwise I would have tried the earl gray flavor.
Later in the afternoon, my sister and I went down to Ventura so I could buy a hat and look for Christmas gifts. I also wore my Alexa Chung leopard boots! God, I love them, they're so much fun to wear! I was also a good 2 or 3 inches taller, which was exciting. The hat that I wanted from Urban was $35 BUT when I got to Urban, saw that it was in the sale section for $9.97! And then, it was 50% off sale items, so my total came to......$5.49. Best deal ever! The next part of our plan was to go to Art's for matzoh ball soup. 
It was perfect for the weather outside and exactly what'd I'd been craving all summer. It also reminded me of Katey and my quest for matzoh ball soup last Christmas season. After dinner we headed home to see our parents off to a party in Korea Town for an ex-neighbor. We stayed in and caught up on Psych and Glee from that week and sat in front of the space heater. 
On Saturday, I had plans to go to Sasha's and make dinner but unfortunately, I was called in to work from 2-9 (my regular shift now). I was doubly mad because I was watching Elf when I had to leave but at least I got paid. It was actually a good day at work, I like to gossip and joke with the bakers and watch the time pass with my co-worker. I also got to cut 200 pieces of ribbon, which took a good 2 hours, I think. My boss said she would donate the extra food to the fire department and I think they deserve the cupcakes more than me, so I only took 1 dozen plus 2 donut muffins. I took the cupcakes to Sasha's, where I came late but had fun with her, her dogs and our other friends. 
On Sunday, it was cold but we went to Costco and I came home and made this:
It's soba noodles in a miso broth with cabbage, scallions and tofu. Well my dad and sister made it, I just arranged it but still soooo amazing! And it's in my cute Snow White bowl.
I also took some leftover sweet potatoes from Thanksgiving (they have a maple syrup, buttery streusel on top) and put them in some puff pastry to make turnovers. I was unsure of what they would taste like/how they'd come out but I am proud to say they were a success! My family loves them, even my vegan dad! He claimed he would eat them all if he could. I have some pie crust in the freezer so I figure I could make some mini pies or a tart with the remainder of the potatoes if I have to. 
I also roasted some chestnuts this weekend! Not on an open fire, sadly, but they were still delicious nonetheless.  
Oh, I forgot all about my exciting news last week! First of all, I won an art show at my school! I submitted a photo for this show, "Night and Day" and apparently the Art Club really liked it so I got $50! The second piece of news is that I got a lead in a radio play we did in my broadcasting class. It's not actually on the radio but we recorded it in class, which was pretty fun!
Last night, I went to a benefit for Xander at Space15Twenty in Hollywood, so I took the subway with some friends, watched AJ and Kaleik (I don't know how to spell his name but that's my stab at at it) shotgun 2 beers and caught up with many friends. And drank a ton of coffee with some hot chocolate in it. It was absolutely freezing but we decided to go to the park and go on the swings, on this carousel and I slid down a slide that happened to have frost on it. And after that we went to the skate park and then finally went home. They came in for hot chocolate and a cupcake and I ate some dinner because I was absolutely starving.
I hope to go to the hospital again this week because I have a gift to give to Xander. Also he's hopefully going to be moved out of the ICU in the next week or so! And he's able to breathe on his own a little more each day!

Enjoy your scarves, hats and gloves! I'm going to get mine out!
xoxo Sara