73 posts by ZoeP

final_4This look says it all!

If you have not noticed, we have not been serving up new content this January season. I have to admit that January is not my favorite time of the year. I have a habit of burring my head in the sand in January and catching up the latest HBO series, sleeping in late and overall lacking both creativity and motivation. It does not help that the darkness sets in before the end of the workday and my household seems to always be catching one cold after another. This January the days turned into weeks and finally I decided that I had to dig myself out of the darkness (with some help of great friends and family).

I also realized that I need this blog as a creative outlet more than I expected and in-order to get back into the grove I had to find my creativity again after the drain of Holidays and motivate for my own sanity and personal mental well-being.

Strawberry Blonded’s face above summarized my mood this January and I am so happy to say that the smile and creativity has rushed back into my soul. The days are getting longer, the sun is shinning and I am so grateful for the laughter this little one brings me everyday. She cheers up my dark days and I am now ready to embrace 2015.

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As my first real post of 2015, I wanted to acknowledge soft shades of color that are trending this early spring. I love the soft pinks that are so neutral they mix with just about everything in your wardrobe. I am especially drawn to the contrast of soft pinks mixed and matched with gray.

I found this wool woven coat at Zara semi-annual sale (sold-out) and loved it as a transitional piece for Strawberry Blonded.

Unfortunately, she thinks it is a bit itchy!

It was effortless to pair this woven coat with her gray moto jeans that she has worn out practically. Her Gray UGG Boots are just too easy to throw on as we walk out the door. Plus she can put them on her self. The best part of these pictures are that she finally has hair long enough for a messy bun (four years in the making).

final+6We made it though January! And we are both smiling. Much more to come in February.

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> GINGER GREYHOUND / February 4, 2015
Written by Posted in Eat + Drink Comments 1

final_1Deal of the week 10 for $10 grapefruits!

It is that time of year again, citrus season. My favorite part of citrus season really is fresh squeezed greyhounds as known in our household as “healthys”. There is really nothing more refreshing than fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. When grapefruits are fresh they are a brilliant pink and the citrus scent is intoxicating. It is a luxury to sip on fresh squeezed greyhounds and at a dollar each, I will be serving up a Ginger Greyhound for happy hour this weekend.

Ginger Greyhound

Ingredients: to make a bigger batch – squeeze grapefruits first and store in pitcher. Nobody can stop at just one!

Grapefruit // Ginger (1” root /peeled) // Lime (wedge) //Rosemary (fresh) // Agave Nectar or simple sugar // Vodka // Ice

Prepare:

Muddle: Ice, ginger, lime wedge, 1” fresh sprig of rosemary

Transfer: remove excess ginger, lime wedge and rosemary sprig and transfer muddle to cocktail grass, add more ice

Pour: 1 shot of vodka on top and add ½ cup of Grapefruit juice. Top off with a teaspoon of Agave Nectar (stir)

Garnish: Wedge of lime and 6” sprig of fresh rosemary

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> NEW GOODS ON ESTY / February 4, 2015
Written by Posted in Design Comments 0

final_1We have finally updated our Etsy Site with a few new designs for Spring. We are constantly adding new items so if you don’t see anything that fits your needs today – check back. You can also shoot us a email and place an order directly from us.

Enjoy!

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final_5_FRAs we move deeper into January, the weather seems to be getting colder on both the West and East Coast. Coming off our Holiday visit in France and Germany, Strawberry Blonded leaned a valuable lesson  – how to bundle up for the cold weather. While we were abroad the average temperature never drifted above forty degrees. Growing up in San Francisco, this cold snap meant having to layer up every time you left the apartment. This is something new for us and took some practice.  By the third day in France, Strawberry Blonded leaned to embrace the cold weather and layer up with a hat, scarf, wool jacket and leg warmers.  She insisted on getting all bundled up in the hallway (not to get to hot inside) and absolutely fell in love with wearing mittens.  Once she realized that she could be outside and still be warm, she embraced the extra layers and the cold weather.

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I have had a difficult time writing this blog post because these shots were taken in Paris at the Luxembourg Gardens. Given the recent terrorist attack in Paris, I am finding it challenging to write about such an amazing place. My heart goes out to the city and the country and I feel especially connected after just visiting Paris a week before the attack.

The day these photos were taken was a beautiful cold winter day in the gardens and the sun was shinning bright.  Strawberry Blonded was recovering from a bad cold most of the trip and it was the first real day that she got back her energy and just wanted to run free. I loved watching her run though the gardens laughing enjoying her Parisian moment. She would run past the camera and yell ‘Merci’!

Accessories: GAP KIDS // Jacket: Janie and Jack // Shoes: UGG Australia

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After the gardens we ran into a old carousel that was free to ride, and we all took turns ridding around and around, laughing and snapping photos. Strawberry Bonded could have ridden her horse all day – but eventually we made her get off to get some lunch!

I wish I had more photos to share from this amazing Holiday adventure both in Paris and Germany, but what I found was that I just wanted to live it outside of taking photos and documenting every moment. I wanted to be in the moment and enjoy Paris – the sights, the smell, the art and architecture. It took me thirty-five years to get there and I wanted to selfishly enjoy every second with the family. We walked the city from side to side (15 miles a day), enjoyed the Christmas markets, ate at recommended bistros, climbed the Eiffel Tower and shopped French labels.  It was a magical trip that feels like a dream.

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Growing up, the holiday treats would start to arrive the middle of December. My grandmother had a way of sending the best Christmas treats and we would look forward to getting them in the mail. There were the most delicious roasted peanuts, syrup straight from Vermont and Sweet Sloop (Harbor Sweets). The Sweet Sloops were my absolute favorite – I would rip open the box and have two or three before handing them over for everybody to enjoy.

While I was looking though my cookbooks this Holiday season, I remembered how much I loved that butter crunch toffee sloops and decided that I wanted to make homemade caramels to gift this holiday season. I was planing on sending out a bunch of gifts and wanted to make them personal by including a homemade holiday treat.

Full disclosure – I have had a few caramel fails. I just started to make candy and so it took a few attempts to get this one right. I even tested out a few different recipes and landed on Ina Garten’s Fleur De Sel Caramels. They only take about fifteen minutes to make and then they have to set for a couple of hours. These caramels are the perfect balance of creamy and salty all in one bite. They wrap up great in parchment and are easy to ship. I have even made a few extra batches to have in the house for guest during the season.

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FLEUR DE SEL CARAMELS (Ina Garten’s recipe)

Ingredients:

– 1/4 cup light corn syrup
– 1 cup heavy cream
– 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
– 1 teaspoon fine fleur de sel, plus extra for sprinkling
– 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions
Prep: A baking pan with parchment paper (covering the sides) and brush the paper lightly with oil.

Boil: In a deep saucepan (6 inches wide and 4 1/2 inches deep), combine 1/4 cup water, the sugar and corn syrup and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until the mixture is a warm golden brown.

Heat: In the meantime, in a small pot, bring the cream, butter and 1 teaspoon of fleur de sel to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Finish: When the sugar mixture is done, turn off the heat and slowly add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Be careful — it will bubble up violently. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F (firm ball) on a candy thermometer.

Fill: Very carefully (it’s hot!) pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate for a few hours, until firm.

Roll, Cut & Wrap: Starting with a long side, roll the caramel up tightly into an 8-inch-long log and then cut into pieces. Lastly, wrap with parchment.
final_4Happy Cooking!

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> SANTA’S LITTLE HELPER / December 13, 2014
Written by Posted in Eat + Drink Comments 0

santa's little helperIt is crunch time – the final countdown to Christmas!

Gifts still need to be wrapped and holiday treats still need to be cooked. It is the time of the year where there are people everywhere, slow traffic and just overall heightened anxiety. With the final few weeks left this Holiday season, I just want to sit back, admire the lights and the tree and enjoy the Holiday without worrying about what I need to do next. With all this stress, it is time to whip up a Holiday favorite – Santa’s Little Helper. This warm cinder is the perfect treat for this weekend.

It is great to make a few cups before bed or while you are up late assembling gifts for the kids or wrapping presents for family.

Santa’s Little Helper:

  • 2 cups of Apple Cider
  • 1/2 cup of spiced rum
  • 1/2 lemon squeezed (juice)
  • 1 tbs of honey
  • Lemon and cranberries as garnish (if you want to infuse cranberry into the cinder boil them along with all of the liquid)

Combine all of the ingredients into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer – serve hot with cranberries and lemon. You can also add cinnamon sticks, cloves and a touch of nutmeg.

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Best of luck getting though your list this weekend and hopefully you will have some time to enjoy the Holiday season!

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> DECK THE HALLS / December 12, 2014
Written by Posted in Design Comments 0

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This Holiday season my decor inspiration was rooted in handcrafted holiday elements mixed with vintage treasures. I went to Salvation Army two weeks before Thanksgiving and fell for stacks of pink, silver and gold ornaments that were all on discount. I even found a few boxes of Shiny Brights! I bought up the whole lot (everything I could find) and friend suggested I use them to create a vintage ornament wreath. Multiple trips to The Salvation Army, Past Perfect, Shabata Floral yielded just enough ornaments to tackle such a large project. I wanted big impact, so I ended up with a 26″ Styrofoam wreath starter which produced a 30″ wreath!

Once I had finished the wreath, I was lucky enough to find a small snow village from the 1950’s crafted in Japan. It fit perfectly with my vintage ornaments and bottle brush trees. Next year I am going to die my bottle brush trees fun colors, but this year I just ran out of time for that extra step. I love the look of felted ball garland so I decided to top off the mantel with a hand felted snowball garland piece. I found out quickly that felting takes longer than it looks. I am going to keep working on this garland piece and hopefully it will double in size next year. Bellow is a quick guide to creating an ornament wreath and now it is time to sit back, sip on some cider and enjoy the Holiday decorations.

final_1DIY: Ornament Wreath

Materials needed: Styrofoam Wreath started // tinsel // various size ornaments // hot glue gun

Part I: The Hunt

As I mentioned above, I collected all of the ornaments at various Salvation Army locations, Antique markets, Flea markets and resources at the San Francisco Flower Mart. I have already started a collection for next year. It will take double the amount of ornaments you think you will need and you have to have all different sizes.

The bigger the wreath the smaller size ornaments you need because the small ornaments sizes act at the binding that keeps it all together. Even with second hand ornaments, the wreath does get pricy so you are better looking for ornaments in the off season or buying the lot right after Christmas when everything is on sale. I wanted to use mostly vintage ornaments because I love the way the glass ages, but you can really use anything and make these gorgeous wreaths.

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Part II: Assembly

1. Wrap your Styrofoam wreath started with tinsel (this will help hold the first layer of ornaments)

2. remove all the tops of the ornaments and discard

3. Heat the glue gun and apply hot glue to the edge of the ornament

4. Start with the outside circle and then the inside circle as you build you may have to go back and add glue to the sides of the ornaments to get everything to stick together. Don’t worry if it is not sticking perfect at this time the next layer will just reinforce the base.

5. Keep adding ornaments (larger first) around the outside gluing both the base and the sides as you build the wreath.

6. Fill in gaps with smaller ornaments. These will act as the binding that hold the whole wreath together. Don’t be afraid to use more glue when you get the final small pieces. You need the wreath to feel secure before you hang it. Once you go to hang it you may notice that it feels loose in areas. You can go ahead and re-apply glue to any areas that may need to be reinforced.

– The final layer of ornaments you can see the best so it is fun to put the special ones on this layer (for example my vintage pine cones that I added at the top of the wreath). This project can get frustrating and it will not feel finished until the end, but it is so much fun to put together and admire once it is up. I can’t wait to work on my next one. I already have a collection for next year!

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And if you need help – there is always Mr. and Mrs. Clause cheering you on!

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Homemade Hot Coco in the morning is real treat. Not only does it taste sweet, it brings me right back to my childhood.

Hot Coco with a fresh batch of cubed marshmallow toppers (recipe posted yesterday) today, was the perfect beverage to end this cold and wet week. With fresh marshmallow toppers it is impossible to have just one cup. I found myself topping off my marshmallows a few times before I reached the end of the cup! Bellow is the basic Hot Coco recipe that I use when I want to make Hot Coco from scratch, but most of the time I use William Sonoma Hot Chocolate mix and just warm up my milk on the stove.

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As I mentioned in the post yesterday marshmallows keep for weeks, making them a great homemade gift idea. I have come up with two quick options for Hot Chocolate kits, but you can also make smore kits with these delicious treats. I am planning on giving out these mugs/Hot Coco kits to all of Gjelina’s preschool teachers. They are also great to have around the house just in case you need quick gift solutions this Holiday Season. Here is a quick list of super cute mugs that would pair wonderfully with fresh marshmallows and hot chocolate.

Paper Source (Peace/Love/Joy)
Anthropology Limited Edition Golden Monogram Mug
West Elm Tiny Heart
Mark and Gram Heart Mug

* William Sonoma Hot Chocolate (premade) packets to add to mugs or to Marshmallow package

All you need is some cute packaging such as red and white twine, gold bells and a snip from the Christmas Tree to create these cute Homemade packaged treats!

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> HOMEMADE: MARSHMALLOWS / December 4, 2014
Written by Posted in Eat + Drink Comments 0

final_2_marshmelloIt has been raining all week, so I decided that I would get a jump-start on cooking some holiday treats. Let it be known that baking is not my strength in the kitchen. I have been reading up on homemade treats for the Holidays and marshmallows keep coming to the front of my list. I also just received my Fine Cooking magazine, which highlighted a marshmallows recipe so I decided to embark on this new cooking adventure.

These fluffy, delicate beauties will amaze you. I am obsessed with the success from my first batch of homemade marshmallows and I am looking at ways I can incorporate them into other baked goods such as cupcakes with marshmallow frosting, Hot Coco toppers, smores, homemade rocky road ice-cream and caramallows. They were so much fun to bake and they were finished in less than 30 minutes. You don’t even have to turn your oven on and they taste like nothing I have ever had and certainly not like a store bought marshmallow.

Marshmallows are fun share with your family and friends and despite their airy consistency, they are surprisingly sturdy, stored in an airtight, dry place they can last up to a month which makes them a great homemade gift idea!

Strawberry Blonded loved helping out with this kitchen fun recipe almost as she liked stealing a taste of the marshmallow fluff before it went into the pan.

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Vanilla Marshmallows

Preparation:

¾ cup of convection sugar

¼ cup of cornstarch

Cooking Spray

Mix together sugar and cornstarch. This mixture is just for coating the greased pan and the marshmallows. This will prevent the marshmallow from stick together (coat the bottom, top and side of pan // top of mixture //and used once marshmallows are cut). Cooking spray is to coat the pan before you add the sugar and to coat the knife when cutting into your marshmallow.

1 box of unflavored gelatin (usually includes four ¼ oz packets of gelatin)

Pre-mix 4 – ¼ oz packets of gelatin with 3/4 cup of water and let sit for at least five minutes. Do this before you start on your syrup.

Heat:

2 ¾ cups of sugar

¾ cup of light corn syrup

½ cup of water

candy thermometer

Mix all of these ingredients in a 2-3 quart saucepan and put on high heat. This mixture will start to boil. You will be heating this syrup up to 250 F.

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Combine and Whip:

2 egg whites

2 tbs vanilla

In a mixer or using a hand mixer whip the two egg whites (4-6 mins) on medium speed. You can start whipping when the syrup reaches 240 F and then when the syrup reaches 250 F slowly add the syrup to the egg whites whipping at medium speed. Once all syrup is added it is time to start adding the gelatin, which is now hard and lumpy. You slowly add piece-by-piece of gelatin broken into small lumps. Once it is all incorporated, beat the marshmallow at an high speed for another six minutes. You will notice that the marshmallow is now thick and triple in volume. Add vanilla.

Pour the marshmallow into your pan and let sit for at least three hours or preferably overnight. If the sides have been greased and sugared the marshmallow will pop out by cutting the sides and flipping the pan. Cut the marshmallow as desired and sugar each side to prevent sticking.

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Coming up tomorrow – adding homemade marshmallows to the best Hot Coco receipt and great holiday gift ideas for these treats!

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final_jewerlyJust in time for the Holidays:

New styles and colors of jewelry are up on our Etsy Shop. Blonded By Style is now selling a limited run of Duzy Necklaces in great fall/winter colors. These pieces are easy to wear with just about anything. If you can also purchase directly by email.

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