Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Homemade Sprinkles

You know how much I love holiday themed baking, be it cupcakes or cakepops or full on cakes. Holidays just don't seem complete without customized treats. This morning I stumbled across a blog tutorial showing how to make your own sprinkles. Never more will I have to visit every store in town to find just the right color! And just think how far you could take this with flavors!

Homemade Sprinkles

8 ounces powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla, or other extract
Assorted food colorings
As many piping bags as you have colors, each fitted with a small pastry tip

Mix the first four ingredients until a semi-thick paste forms. Divide the paste into as many portions as you have colors, tinting each batch with the color of your choice.
Put the colored paste into a piping bag and, on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, pipe out long, thin lines. Take care the lines do not touch each other.
Repeat the process with the remaining colors and allow the piped lines to dry for 24 hours.
After the time has elapsed, use a bench scraper or knife to scrape off the dried sprinkle lines and then to break/chop the lines into little pieces.
Store in an airtight container, indefinitely.

(Photos from The Kitchn's version of the above recipe)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How to Tie a Bow Tie

The Big To-Do SF List

It always drives me nuts when people say they hate the city, because there's so much to do here outside of the clubs and tourist traps! For being "the city," San Francisco is relatively small, and is made up of very unique neighborhoods. There really is something for everyone, whether you're a tatted up hipster shopping for vinyls or a sorority sister looking for a good place to be seen sipping wine spritzers. In San Francisco you can take a jog on the beach, a hike with a view, catch an indie film, watch your favorite band play, order world class cocktails, finger through the racks at thrift stores, stroll through a museum on a rainy day, enjoy food from every corner of the world... How can anyone not be a city person?

I'm loving 7x7 Magazine's list of 100 things to do in San Francisco before you die
How many have you done?

1. Listen to your friends’ first gig at Hotel Utah
2. Walk under the waterfall at Yerba Buena Gardens
3. Shop for urban menswear at Rolo
4. Be a woman among men and go dancing at the Stud
5. Feather your nest at 411 Vermont Street (Obsolete, Blackman Cruz, Therien & Co.)
6. Have some watermelon wheat beer at 21st Amendment
7. Rush the sales at Jeremys
8. Meet your match over a glass of wine at District
9. Soak in the art and some Blue Bottle on the new SFMOMA rooftop
10. Have a quiet moment in the Contemporary Jewish Museum plaza
11.Pick up some Italian roast at Graffeo Coffee
12. Remind yourself that Tommaso’s old-school pizzas are still some of the best
13. Attend a reading at City Lights
14. Grab the perfect gift for your girlfriend at Eden & Eden
15. Light a candle in memory of someone special at Sts. Peter and Paul Church
16. Have pumpkin ravioli at L’Osteria
17. Catch a show at Bimbo’s
18. Take a seat at the counter for a meatball sandwich at Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store
19. Climb the Filbert Street and Greenwich Street steps
20. Don’t miss the Coit Tower murals
21. Use the general password (“books”) to drop into the library at Bourbon & Branch
22. Do dinner and view a show from the balcony at the Great American Music Hall
23. See what’s on display at the Shooting Gallery
24. Hang out in the smokers’ cage at Rye
25. Grab a Vietnamese sandwich from Saigon Sandwiches
26. Sing and clap on Sunday morning at Glide Memorial
27. Get a lap dance at Mitchell Brothers O’Farrell Theatre
28.Shop for cool kicks at Huf Shoes
29. Then cross the street and have dinner at tiny Canteen
30. Watch naan being pulled straight from the tandoor at Shalimar
31. Do dinner at A16 and a movie at the Presidio Theatre
32. Load up a Let’s Be Frank grass-fed dog with devil sauce
33. Fly a kite at Crissy Field
34. Be a lady who lunches at Balboa Café (but get the burger)
35. Get hit on at the MatrixFillmore
36. Find a deal at My Rommate’s Closet
37. Make friends with someone that owns a sailboat
38. Conduct an ethereally quiet wee-hours grocery run to Marina Safeway
39. Have a beer on the back patio of the Tipsy Pig
40. Follow up a run through the Presidio with a hearty brunch at Rose’s Café
41. Reserve a private karaoke room at Doremi Music Studio
42. Find a drop-dead, Aussie-designed dress at Elizabeth Charles
43. Check out the southern view from the top of Alta Plaza Park
44. Get a taste of the Mission at Pizzeria Delfina
45. Grab a free poster after a show at the Fillmore
46. Take your laptop to the Grove and pretend to work
47. Get naked at Kabuki Springs & Spa
48. Indulge in an almond croissant from the original Boulangerie Bay Bread
49. Check out the adorable puppies and kitties up for adoption at Pets Unlimited
50. See how many times you can jog the Lyon Street Steps
51. Choose from the 50 selections on tap at Toronado, pair it with a beer sausage from Rosamunde
52.Time yourself at Kezar Stadium’s track
53. Play fetch with the dog at Buena Vista Park
54. Order an old-fashioned at the Alembic
55. Get a T-shirt designed by local artist Sam Flores at Upper Playground
56. Have barbecue and sake at Memphis Minnie’s
57. Catch an indie flick at the Red Vic
58. Take advantage of happy hour at Uva Enoteca
59. Shop for quality vintage wear at Held Over
60. Be a tourist and snap a pic of yourself at the convergence of Haight and Ashbury streets
61. Find love over fixed gears and coffee at Ritual Roasters
62. Drink rosé at Dolores Park
63. Buy a heap of cheap avocados at Casa Lucas
64. Shop for emerging artists on a minigallery hop at Creativity Explored, Needles + Pens, Adobe Books, Michael Rosenthal and Jack Hanley
65. Drink a cheap, 16-ounce margarita at the Latin American Club
66. Wake up to a bowl of bread pudding at Tartine Bakery
67. Ogle the mid-century chandeliers at Monument
68. Have a breakfast of huevos rancheros at Los Jarritos
69. Buy something beautiful at the Bell Jar
70. People-watch on a warm afternoon at the Revolution Café
71. Check out a gay-fabulous flick at Castro Theatre
72. Wait in line for a Superman sandwich with dirty sauce at Ike’s Place. Follow with Tums.
73. Sit at the piano and sing along with the boys at Martuni’s
74. Spend Sunday trying to keep count of the all-you-can-drink-for-$6 mimosas at Lime
75. Shop for feather boas and tool belts at Cliff’s Variety
76. Strike a pose at Friday’s happy-hour dance party at Badlands
77. Catch a concert at Café Du Nord (or a little acoustic at the adjacent Swedish American Hall)
78. Have a 3 a.m. post-clubbing breakfast at Bagdad Café
79. Pick up some social criticism at A Different Light Bookstore
80. Hook up over coffee at Café Flore
81. Watch the surfers at Kelly’s Cove
82. Browse the art books at Park Life
83. See a double feature at the 4 Star Theatre
84. Be thankful for Green Apple Books, the ultimate independent bookstore
85. Pick out a fish from the tank for dinner at New May Wah market
86. Have a bowl of ramen and listen to the Shitones at Halu
87. Jockey for position at Pizzetta 211
88. Drop in on a seisiún (a kind of Irish open jam session) at the Plough & Stars
89. Bike the length of Golden Gate Park on Sunday when JFK Drive is closed to cars
90. Check out the California Academy of Sciences and the de Young
91. Rent an obscure European film from Le Video before video stores are extinct
92. Order a Rotten Robby at The Pizza Place on Noriega
93. Build a fire at Ocean Beach
94. Read the Sunday Times and have blueberry pancakes at Park Chow
95. Go with a big group for dumplings and beer at San Tung
96. Buy a custom silk-screened T-shirt at Mollusk Surf Shop
97. Snack on Nick’s fried fish tacos at Underdogs
98.Get freshly roasted coffee at Henry’s House of Coffee
99.Pick up some magic tricks at Misdirections
100. Take a couple of kids to the SF Zoo

Monday, March 26, 2012

For the Love of Chairs

I have a mild obsession with armchairs. I wish I could tell you I owned a variety of fabulous ones, but my credit card is grateful that I have managed to keep the obsession limited to drooling on my laptop and lusting through storefront windows. Here are some delicious ones I wouldn't mind accumulating at some point when I have more space for such things.

Friday, March 23, 2012

How to Undress

In case you were curious what the proper way to undress is, Life Magazine enlightened us way back in March of 1937. Interesting that they used an overweight, disheveled man for the example of improper undressing, but a younger more fit gentleman for the example of how to undress with "dignity and charm."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Belated St. Pattie's Day

My coworkers had been giving me a hard time about not bringing them any baked goodies lately (it had been since Halloween!) so I promised them St. Pattie's Day cakepops. But, I wound up being out sick with bronchitis most of that week and it didn't happen. I decided to make it up to them with a belated batch of vanilla-almond cakepops dipped in green chocolate and topped with sugar crystal sprinkles. 

Better late than never!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Oh my sweetness!

Sprinkles' 24-hour "Cupcake ATM" opened for business in Beverly Hills last Tuesday outside their flagship cupcake shop on South Santa Monica Boulevard. The "world's first cupcake automat" dispenses cupcakes, cake mixes, pet snacks and Sprinkles' apparel. The machine is clearly an instant success, dispensing an average of 1000 treats a day! 

Sprinkles has already announced plans for three Manhattan locations expected to open this summer, and has been asking their Facebook followers where they'd like to see Cupcake ATM locations pop up in the future. My diet is very grateful that the location closest to San Francisco is far enough away that there's no chance I'll sneak out for a midnight treat!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Low-calorie Cocktails

I've been trying to cut back on my calories so I can slim down a bit before my upcoming trip to Jamaica, but working in adult beverage sure does present extra challenges to weight loss! 

I stumbled across this Shape article offering up some low-cal cocktails. I might have to give some of these a try!

4 oz. sparkling wine
1 oz. pomegranate vodka
Pour chilled pomegranate vodka into a flute.
Top with sparkling wine and garnish with a strawberry.

Fiji Apple
2 oz. sake
1 oz. spiced rum
1.5 oz. apple juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice.
Shake and strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass.

Cranapple Cobbler
1 1/2 oz. TY KU Liqueur
1 oz. apple juice
Splash of sugar-free cranberry juice
Stir ingredients together in glass.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Dollar Shave Club

This is maybe the funniest commercial I've ever seen paired with one of the most genius marketing strategies of my time. I can personally attest to the frustration of buying overpriced razor blade refill packs. I usually wind up buying those massive refill packs at Costco to save a few bucks. 

The razors are generic brand overstock the company probably purchases at a steep discount, but it appears that customers can count on getting the same blade each month, since what they send is a blade refill to go with the free handle delivered upon enrollment. They are not one-piece disposable razors.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Life's a Beach

Last week it rained and it poured and it stormed, although we Californians can't really complain considering the Midwest got ripped apart by tornadoes for two days straight. Nevertheless, we sure were ready for some sunshine come Saturday, and that's exactly what we got!

There is a beach right down the road from my house in San Francisco, but on the rare occasion that the weather is nice enough to enjoy it, every square inch of sand is covered with blankets and bodies from sun up to sun down. I prefer to cruise down the coast an hour to Santa Cruz where there is more beach to go around.

If you haven't been to Santa Cruz before, know that it can be sketchy, so make sure you stay on the right side of it. The Boardwalk is expensive, crowded, and highly overrated. If you have never been, give it the obligatory touristy walk-through, but once that's out of the way cruise over to one of my favorite beaches, between Woods Lagoon and Schwan Lagoon, off of E Cliff Drive. During tourist season, which begins the first weekend of April, only residents with a neighborhood permit can park on the street, but if you arrive early it's not impossible to find a free curb space or a reasonably priced lot.

Friday, March 2, 2012

I lie-ca this!

What photographer doesn't want a Leica of their very own? Probably not all those wanna-be portrait photographers who bought their SLR starter kits at Costco and make side cash snapping their friends' graduation photos for $50 a pop... But don't get me started on that. Back to Leica... or, well, in this case, Lie-ca!

Matt Nicholson is basically my hero as of five minutes ago when I discovered his website, where you and I can purchase the ten page .pdf download for assembling a Lie-ca M3 Pinhole Camera! 

*Pause to jump around in your cubicle and shoot 
"you amateurs wouldn't understand" eye darts at your coworkers*

You're welcome, darlings. You're welcome.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February Photo-a-day

I've always liked the idea of doing one of those photo-a-day for a year things, but never could manage to follow through. When I saw fatmumslim's photo-a-day challenge go up on Instagram, I couldn't help but join in the fun. Not only was it only one month, it was the shortest month in the year, and that I was sure I could manage. I posted my daily updates on Facebook and Instagram, but decided to wait until the end to post it on my blog. Here are some of my favorites.