Blue Star Donuts

Last November, we took a long-weekend trip up to Portland to soak in some true Fall weather (which I'm wishing I could do now, in this nonstop heat wave!).  We ate a ton of delicious food, but one of our favorite stops was Blue Star Donuts.  

Blue Star Donuts PDX

They specialize in a tasty brioche based dough and handcrafted, unique flavors. Each donut is perfectly crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  All the noms.

To my delight, they just opened a store on Abbot Kinney in Venice.  Yippee!  That made a 9 month + pregnant mama very happy indeed.  This time, we tried Mexican Hot Chocolate, Blueberry Bourbon Basil, and went all in on our favorite Portland flavor, Lemon Poppyseed (though this time it was glazed on an old fashioned style donut). 

Donuts Venice

Hands down, Lemon Poppyseed and regular Old Fashioned are at the top of my Blue Star list, but I can't wait to go back and try more flavors.  

Though there isn't any seating at the new Venice location, donuts are pricer than your corner shop, and the line was a tad long, these little bites of heaven are worth it!  Literally salivating.

Posted on October 29, 2015 and filed under restaurant, yummy.

Moscow Mules

My favorite easy summer cocktail this year was the Moscow Mule.  I think its popularity in our house ensures it will linger well into the Fall...  

Here's what you need for one Mule:

  • 1 shot (1.5 fl oz) vodka
  • 1/2 fl oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup ginger beer
  • ice (cubed or crushed)
  • lime wedge for a garnish

You could enjoy a non-alcoholic mocktail with just the ginger beer and lime if you wanted to.  Or, you can even have a Kentucky Mule, by substituting some smooth bourbon instead of vodka.  

Copper mugs are the not-so-secret key ingredient (I'm convinced the metal affects the taste). And they are oh so pretty!  Mixed metal decor is hot for the Fall, too (cb2 told me that, so it must be true).  So display those shiny beauties out on a shelf!

Posted on September 29, 2014 and filed under yummy, pretty, party.

Fireplace Makeover

One DIY house project that had immediate results (yay!) and big impact was our fireplace makeover.  

You may remember, we inherited a fireplace with orangey-red brick and the occasional rogue black zebra stripe.  It was like a nice lady with a bad perm--poor thing, just stuck in the 80s.

So, with the help of my sweet mother-in-law, we decided to whitewash it to bring it into this millennium.  It was time. 

Whitewashing was SO simple!  All you do is...

  • Wipe all the brick clean with a damp cloth and then let it dry fully
  • Dilute white paint with water (we used our leftover white wall paint, and started with equal parts paint + water--you can always adjust once you assess a test patch)
  • Start with a spot that's a bit out of the way...
  • Brush paint mixture onto the brick, then wipe away--immediately or within 30-ish seconds--with a cloth (any clean rag will do)
  • Step back and see how it looks!  To change the opacity of the paint, you can always...
    • adjust the thickness of the paint mixture
    • do multiple coats
    • or let it soak in on the brick longer before wiping away
  • There's no right or wrong way to do this, which I love!

Voila!  Here's our finished product...

Also, we didn't have a mantel--it was just a ledge, one brick deep.  Nowhere to hang stockings at Christmas?!  That's a serious problem in my book.  So, we hired a carpenter to build some built-in shelves (which you'll see more of later), and also had him do a very simple mantel.  

So here's the current state of things!

We loved our carpenter, and recommend him if you're in the LA area!  See Chapin Custom Carpentry for more info. 

More to come...

Posted on September 24, 2014 and filed under home, pretty.

Our Home: Demo

People.  Our house!  I know we are overdue for posting our After pics...  You've seen the Befores, and you're just dying to see the results.  Before we do that, though, let's continue along our journey of renovations and see Step 2 of the process.  Demo.

We did most of the demo ourselves because it saves some money, and hey--ripping out disgusting old carpet is a great stress reliever.  Wear thick gloves. That is my best piece of advice.

It only took us a few hours total for the whole top floor.  Stairs were another couple hours and were a bit trickier.  Tack strips and nails took an additional few hours with a solid crowbar (but make sure to leave those if you'll be laying down new carpet). 

Ripping out the laminate flooring downstairs was a workout.  Lots of shoveling and crumbling--it didn't unlock and come apart as easily as we had hoped.  But we got rid of it, in all its cherry-red glory.

Tearing out the kitchen cabinets was a fun project for the guys.  Our friend Jake showed up at the front door with a sledge hammer and the biggest smile I've ever seen (see pic for proof). 

We also ripped 2 bathrooms down to the studs.  In our master bath, we lost everything except the tub, which was still in good condition.

Then The Pile was born.  And our motto increasingly became it has to get worse before it gets better...Right?

We used a company called JunkJunk Los Angeles to haul away our construction debris, and we highly recommend them (link above)!

Next up...rebuilding this mess!


Posted on September 23, 2014 and filed under home.