Wednesday, February 27, 2013

travel bug

I have been badly bit by the travel bug. I'm just dying to hop on a plane and explore a new city! Ultimately I would love a trip to Europe, but that's going to take a few years of saving and planning, and I don't think I can wait that long.

 I'm considering taking a week of vacation this fall...but where should I go? I'm thinking either Washington D.C. or New Orleans. I would love to eat beignets all day long in New Orleans, but it would be amazing to visit the Smithsonian in DC. Both sound like so much fun! Hmm, decisions decisions. Have you been to either city, or maybe live there and have some suggestions/advice?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Style: Windy Rose

Sweater: Forever21
Skirt: Consigned
Boots: Steve Madden
Belt & Tights: Delia's
Scarf: Urban Outfitters

This scarf is kinda ginormous, but it's the coziest thing ever. I joke that it's my sheep scarf because it's like wearing a small, soft sheep around my neck! I love it.

A little late on this one, but what did you think of the Oscars? I'm not a huge Seth MacFarlane  fan, but I thought he did a pretty good job. Jessica Chastain was definitely my favorite on the red carpet, and Naomi Watts and Charlize Theron both looked crazy gorgeous as well. Not gonna lie though, I was underwhelmed by Anne and Jennifer. Anne's dress made her look very, um, cold all know what I mean. And Jennifer is such a cool girl, it just seemed a little too princessy for her. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

life lately

I started feeling a little icky on Thursday at work, and by the time I got home I knew a mean sickness was coming. Sure enough, I spent all day Friday and Saturday in bed with aches, a stuffy nose, sore throat, and mild fever. Yuck. By Sunday I felt a little better, and today I am heading back to work. Being sick and working in cosmetics is difficult, constantly having to blow your nose and sneeze is kinda gross, haha. 

Here is a little peak of my life lately through instagram. You can follow along @amandakerz

1. Chopping brussel sprouts for dinner a few nights ago. Love brussel sprouts!
2. Atticus was my sick-day nap buddy all day Friday! Such a sweetie.
3. Atticus is quite fond of the new couch.
4. Making Valentines.
5. Pretty roses downton Bellingham.
6. Seattle for the day for Clinique school.
7. My favorite thrift find so far this year! 
8. Yummy cheese plate.
9. Paper shopping. I could have bought all of them!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Out and About: Brandywine Kitchen

I had heard a lot about Brandywine Kitchen, so when Tommy and I realized we had nothing in our house for lunch, we decided to give it a try. Located downtown Bellingham, Brandywine Kitchen's motto is "from seed to plate," and the food definitely speaks to this. Everything we ordered was fresh, well seasoned and very flavorful.

The inside was spacious yet cozy, and I absolutely loved the colorful origami cranes hanging from the front window. The large brick walls are stuffed with small pieces of rolled up paper (the paper which holds the silverware/napkins together) featuring little messages. I wasn't sure what they were at first, so I took one out and read it. Hopefully this doesn't jinx the message inside because it was the cutest! It read "Someday I will marry the man sitting across from me. Yes, someday! <3 you honey!" So sweet.

My only complaint was the service, or lack there of. Customers are instructed to place their order at the front, choose a seat, and bus their own table. This is all fine by me, but when two sandwiches and two mimosas come to nearly $40 after tip...a little table service would be nice. Or at the very least, a cashier who greets you and doesn't make you feel super awkward! Haha.

Overall though, I would definitely eat here again. The food was great, and I'm willing to give the cashier the benefit of the doubt and assume she was having a bad day. Plus, I want to put my own little secret message in the wall!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Interview/Giveaway at Jenny Highsmith

I'm really excited to be featured on one of my favorite blogs, Jenny Highsmith. Not only is Jenny super sweet, but she is also a really talented graphic designer and co-owner of Maiedae. Head on over to Jenny's blog to read my interview and enter to win a new Clinique product, and one of their best sellers! Yay!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 22, 2013

Ham Cheddar and Mushroom Frittata

Frittata is a fun word. It's also delicious, and really simple to make. I started chopping things up for a scramble yesterday morning, but decided to try something different. So glad I did! Tommy and I ate two pieces each, and I seriously considered having a third.

You need:
8 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tbsp. sour cream
1/2 cup chopped ham
Approximately 8 sliced mushrooms of your choice
1/2 tomato, diced
1 tbsp. chopped parsley
1 tbsp. chopped green onion
Salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Add ham and mushrooms to skillet on medium-high heat and cook until mushrooms are soft. Season with salt and pepper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs until combined and slightly fluffy. Add milk, sour cream, parsley, green onions and whisk until well combined. Stir in cheddar cheese and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Grease an oven-safe skillet with butter/oil and turn on medium heat. Combine ham and mushrooms with egg mixture, then pour mixture into heated skillet.
4. Let cook for about 5 minutes without stirring until edges start to set.
5. Transfer skillet into oven, and cook until egg is set (about 15-20 minutes).
6. Allow to cool for a few minutes, cut and enjoy! I topped mine with a bit of avocado.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

peplum & panthers

Top: Big Star
Jacket: Ralph Lauren, consigned
Jeans: Else
Boots: Corso Como

I try to avoid putting my hand on my hip when taking outfit photos, I really do. But I think my hip and hand have some sort of magnetic attraction. It just feels natural! I mean, I can't check my phone, so what else am I supposed to do with my hands? I need to practice my "naturally walking in front of the camera," pose.

I finally joined the gym a few days ago, and it feel so good to be working out again! Getting to the gym is the most difficult part, but once I'm there, bring it on. I hit play on Jay-Z's "Watch the Throne," I'm good to go. Such a good album.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cookies

Peanut butter and jelly is pretty good. But peanut butter and chocolate? Now that is amazing. These cookies are the perfect combination of crunchy and chewy, peanut butter and chocolate. And they look so cute...what's not to love?

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker
You need:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tbsp. cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

1. Mix together sugars, peanut butter, shortening, butter and egg in larghe bowl. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cover and refrigerate for two hours, or until firm.
2. Preheat oven to 375
3. Remove all dough from bowl, and split into two equal amounts. Place half of dough back into ball and mix in cocoa powder.

4. Take a small amount of chocolate dough and peanut butter dough and roll together to form 1 inch balls.

5. Roll balls in granulated sugar, and flatten in crisscross pattern with fork.

6. Place in oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until just slightly golden.
* Note: Don't make the mistake I did and slightly overcook a batch! The chocolatey flavor got cooked out a bit. Still tasty, but not as chocolatey. 
7. Allow to cool 5 minutes and transfer to cooling rack.

Monday, February 18, 2013

a little jungle

Dress: Bar III (Macy's)
Cardigan: Urban Outfitters
Belt: Delia's
Shoes: consigned
Necklace: consigned
Tights: Forever21

So, I just finished the finale of Downton. What. The. Hell. Gahhhh. This season has been such a bummer! The first few episodes were totally boring and all the major events were just depressing. I'm kinda glad it's over actually, I can't take anymore sadness! I'm glad I have The Walking Dead and all its glorious zombie slashing to make me feel better. 

When I bought these orange shoes I was worried that I would never wear them. I was so wrong! I tend to wear a lot of dark colors, so they are perfect when I need a little pop of color. I'm also surprised that these tights have lasted this long. They were about $6 and have lasted months, while somehow I always managed to rip my $15 tights in about two days. 

Taking these pictures in my backyard definitely made me realize how much I need to mow the's like a little jungle out there! 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

purple couch

My beautiful couch arrived on Valentine's Day which couldn't be more fitting because I am in love. Now if I could only redo my entire living room! I've been so worried about Atticus scratching it, that I have even considered covering it in plastic a la "My Big Fat Green Wedding." Luckily he hasn't left any markings other than cat hair.

Purple and green have been my favorite colors for a long time, especially when paired together. I would love to paint my walls green, or at least get some emerald green curtains and new pillows.

top left, clockwise: 1// 2// 3// 4

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

lazy brunch

Quiet, late mornings spent with my love are my favorite. 


Monday, February 11, 2013

Homemade Almond Milk

While juice cleansing, I was itching for something a little rich and creamy. I also wanted to get some protein. I had seen plenty of juice cleaning companies that included almond milk, so I decided to try making it. I was surprised how easy it was, you don't even need a juicer!

Recipe from Frugally Sustainable 
You need:
1 cup raw almonds
Water for soaking
4 cups filtered water
*vanilla, spice and sweetener optional

1. Place almonds in a large bowl and cover with water. Let almonds soak up to 48 hours, or overnight. The almonds will absorb the water, making them larger and softer. I soaked mine overnight and they were perfect.

2. Thoroughly rinse almonds, and discard the soaking water. Place almonds in blender, along with 4 cups of fresh water.

3. Blend together until the mixture becomes frothy and contains no large almond chunks (1-2 minutes)

4. Place mesh strainer over a large bowl, and put cheesecloth over strainer. Slowly pour mixture through cheesecloth/strainer. Squeeze the cheesecloth to get out all possible milk.

5. Add sweetener/vanilla/spices as desired. I added a few dashes of pumpkin spice. Yum!
6. Store milk in an airtight container (I used a mason jar) and place in fridge for up to 3 days.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Juice Cleanse: Day 3

Hooray, the torture session is over! Just kidding, it wasn't that bad, although there were definitely moments where it felt like torture.

Yesterday I woke up early and made a trip to the store to get more veggies. If you hadn't guessed already, let me tell you, juicing gets expensive. Each day I juiced about one large bag of spinach, two cucumbers, one-two apples, several stalks of celery, five satsuma oranges, and one beet.

There were other things thrown in there too (like carrots, ginger, pomegranates,  pineapple and kale), but the most expensive thing was definitely the leafy greens. Each bag of spinach was about $4 and I went through three of them. I probably sent around $60 total, but I do have quite a bit of fruits and veggies left over. Making juice yourself is definitely cheaper than buying pre-made juices.

After I drank my first juice, I started making some fresh almond milk to take to work. Before heading out, I drank my first juice made with kale instead of spinach. Blech. A quarter of an apple, lemon, and three satsumas couldn't conceal the nastiness that is kale juice. It tasted like drinking grass, and left a bitter aftertaste in my mouth for almost an hour. It did keep me feeling full for over two hours though.

I was a little nervous about going to work while cleansing, but it turned out to be fine. I drank my yummy almond milk on my break and felt really satisfied. If you decide to cleanse, I definitely recommend making almond milk, it's really easy (post coming soon) and its such a nice flavor change from juice. Your body will thank you for the protein as well.

When I got home from work, I was flippin' starving and not feeling all that well. I have read to "listen to your body," while that's what I did. I ate a salad with spinach, cucumber, orange slices and balsamic. It felt a little weird to chew, but oh my lord, salad never tasted better.

So, I kinda made it to three days. I mean, it was almost 10 pm when I ate my you can be the judge. I'm going with a score of 9 out of 10. Maybe a 9.5.

This morning I woke up and actually wanted juice! I'm debating between coffee and fresh pineapple, orange and spinach juice. Normally, this wouldn't be a tough call at all! But here is the thing about doing a juice cleanse; you put in all that hard work and when it's over it motivates you to keep eating healthy. You don't want all that suffering to be for nothing! A cleanse shows you just how strong your will power truly is. If you can drink juice for 3 days or more, you can say no to those french fries or piece of cake.

Would I do it again? Maybe, although probably not for a while. I do feel lighter and more confident in my ability to control cravings, but it was pretty difficult. If you're thinking about doing a cleanse, I would recommend it. Challenge yourself! If you're nervous, try it for one day and see how you feel.

Here are my overall thoughts:

  • At the end I feel lighter, and more control of my body and mind.
  • The juices (for the most part) are really good, and after you may just start craving fruits and veggies! 
  • I want to keep eating healthy now that the juice cleanse is over.
  • Crazy dreams! This could go in a neutral category, because some were awesome and some were not.
  • Heightened senses. At one point I told my coworker I felt like I had "vampire senses." Vision was better, smells were stronger and my skin felt more sensitive.
  • Energy without caffeine! I haven't had coffee for three days now, and haven't felt my normal grogginess when I go without.
  • It can get pricey. I would recommend doing a juice cleanse during a week when you will have a little extra cash.
  • You're hungry. Really, really hungry. But, I could list this under the pro category, simply because you remind yourself what it's like to be truly hungry and not "bored hungry."
  • You can't go out, and socializing can be hard. Food and friends go hand in hand, so I recommend cleaning when you have a fairly empty schedule. That being said, I also recommend trying to keep yourself busy with non-food related projects. If your mind is busy, you aren't thinking about food!
  • Headaches and being cold. During the nighttime especially, I was much colder than usual. I ended up sleeping in wool socks and a sweatshirt! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Juice Cleanse: Day 2

End of day two, and it has been rough. I've read that day two is the worst, and those people weren't lying. I was able to sleep in again this morning, and took full advantage of sleeping rather than thinking about food. When I finally got up around 10:30, I wasn't hungry at all. I felt really alert and motivated to get some things done.

I drank my first juice which consisted of one cucumber, lots of spinach and two satsuma oranges. Not the tastiest of juices, but I wanted my juices to consist of more veggies today. I started cleaning my room and doing laundry because I felt pretty energized, but also because I didn't want to watch Tommy eat his egg sandwich.

I continued cleaning, took a shower, got dressed and did my hair/makeup. By this time it was about two hours since my first juice and I started feeling some pretty severe hunger pangs. Juice time! I drank a slightly smaller glass of juice with half a cucumber, lots of spinach, half of an apple and one quarter pineapple.

This held me over for about, oh...and hour. Whoever says, "Juice is so satisfying! I wasn't even hungry during my juice cleanse!" is a big fat liar. I simply don't believe them, unless they consider some apple juice lunch. "Wow, that apple juice really filled me up." SAID NOBODY, EVER.

I drank my third juice around 5:30, along with some green tea and lots of water. Soon after I started feeling pretty tired, a little dizzy and just kinda out of it. I started to seriously consider stopping the cleanse and eating a salad or even some broth. But after reading about how the second day is the worst and the third day is much better...I'm sticking to it. It's about 7:30 now as I write this, and I'm still feeling kinda icky. Time for more juice I guess, *sigh* (Update: after my fourth juice of pomegranate, beet, lemon, cucumber and spinach, I felt better. You can see it in my face below. Har har)

If there is one thing I've discovered during this cleanse so far, it's how much food dominates my thoughts. I start thinking about breakfast soon after I wake up, I read food blogs, surf subreddits like "cooking," "food," and "52weeksofcooking," look at food on Pinterest, and start planning dinner in my head hours in advance.

When Tommy and I have days off together (like today) we usually go tot lunch. There were so many times today where I though, "I wish we could go get some lunch! Or a drink! Or even a cup of flippin tea!" But I knew I wouldn't have the will power to sit in a cafe and only order tea.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I love food. I love eating it, I love making it, I love thinking about it. I'm not sure if my relationship with food is healthy, but I know I don't want to reverse it completely. That being said, I would like to view food more as fuel rather than an activity. This doesn't mean I want to stop considering cooking as a hobby, or having fun when going out to eat. But I do need to find other things to think about besides going out to eat, making food, eating food, or filling my fridge with food. Bottom line? It's complicated.