Wednesday, December 25, 2013

DIY Dipped Wooden Spoons

T'was the night before Christmas Eve... and I still didn't have gifts for the rest of the family.  Not a creature was stirring (except me, rushing through the mall ashamed that I didn't plan ahead). But low and behold, wooden spoons appeared and the light bulb went off. 

So, I did what any insane craft person would do.  Paint them.  Because hey, why not make it look like you spent weeks planning this gift, instead of 24 hours? Not to mention, it is super easy and super trendy. 

I chose Martha brand (*surprise*) because I love the selection of colors and the quality of the paint is always on point.  If you want all of your painted tips to look the same, get matching textures. I decided to add in pearl and high gloss in with the satin paints to add a little something, but the difference is very slight.

All you need to do is tape the ends off, squirt a little paint, foam brush it on, and let it dry. 

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Annual Holiday Kiki

Kiki: noun \kē kē\ - slang for a party including good music and good friends, held for the express purpose of calming nerves, reducing anxiety and stress and generally fighting ennui. 

Every year for the past three years I've hosted a party for my closest girl and few guy friends.  It's a great time for us to get together after the stress of finals and relax.  This year we collectively decided to name it a 'kiki' because that's basically what it is.  Friends, food, gossip, (and a little late night dance party).  To be honest, I've been pinning for this party since October...  Call me crazy, but it's a chance to embrace my inner Martha.

Here's a little taste of this last weekend...

Caprese Bites

Pear Pancetta Crisps

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus 

Sweet Potato Casserole

And for the main course we had prime rib.  
This was not just your any prime rib.  This was a dry aged prime rib that was cooked in a Traeger Wood Pellet Grill, and for those of you don't know it is a magic machine.
A Traeger is a wood burning oven/grill that slow cooks meat to perfection with your choice of either oak, hickory, pecan, apple and cherry wood pellets.  For this meal I chose oak and lathered it with cracked pepper and kosher salt.
Unfortunately when it was time to eat, the prime rib went so fast I didn't get a chance to snap a photo.  But trust me, it was the perfect shade of pink throughout and the most delicious piece of meat I have ever tasted. 

The food was great and all, but what really makes a party are the people.  I am so lucky to have such amazing people to laugh with and call my close friends.  The only thing I regret was not taking enough pictures... I guess that just goes to show that we we're having too much fun fighting over who gets the D.I. jean jacket trench coat as their white elephant gift (yes, that was an actual gift) than documenting it all.  Overall, "Operation Holiday Party" = success. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Moab Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving.  I know it has been almost a whole week since we deliberately induced ourselves into a food coma, but some of us are still waking up to turkey sandwiches and mashed potatoes.  So there really isn't a reason not to drag on this holiday. (Or it might just be I'm just slacking a bit on keeping up with this blog...).

In the summer, Moab is like Disneyland for grown ups.  The martian landscape and adventure vibe create a very exciting environment.  People from all around the world come to bask in the desert sun and explore the natural beauty of Southern Utah.  But this time, there was no sun. There was four inches of snow.  Either way, this quaint tourist town has a special place in my heart, and so do the people.  Like my Aunt, Julie Fox. 

I took this photo of her when we came in after-hours to hang in her restaurant, The Eklecticafe. Just as you enter onto Moab's Main Street, on your lefthand side you'll see a giant mosaic coffee mug and a little cafe strung with lights. And you've found the Eklecticafe, a Moab staple.

Maybe I am a little biased, but this is definitely my favorite place to visit whenever I'm in Moab. There is a special cozy feeling you get when you walk inside.  The Eklecticafe attracts people from all walks of life passing through the Utah desert.  Even some celebrities have been known to hangout here (ahem, from the likes of Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, just to name a few)

The eclectic interior (pun intended) is covered in jewelry, pottery, paintings and photographs by local artists that are all for sale.  Even inside the tables are gorgeous pieces of jewelry and art on display.  

Although inside it's relatively small, the outdoor seating makes up for it.  In the dead of summer the patio is lush with greenery. With a water feature in the back, it's the perfect place to cool off.

They have everything from their famous huevos rancheros to a crowd favorite banana nut pancakes.  Along with a full range of gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian items, it's hard to find something you won't like.  
Did I mention the coffee? 

Because it's fantastic. The coffee is robust and full of depth. My personal favorite is the Mexican Mocha. It's has a unique spiced flavor unlike any mocha you've ever tasted.  

Everyone who works here is down-to-earth, genuine, and friendly. And if you happen to give your order to this short silver haired lady, she'll get you chattin' right up about this, that and whatever.
Eklecticafe on Urbanspoon
If you do live in Moab and you don't know Julie Fox, I'll tell you right now you're doing something wrong. She is honestly the most fun, engaging, and animated person you will know. So there is no wonder why my dad and I drove three hours to spend Thanksgiving with her and her family (aka my family). Whenever I step into her cozy little a-frame house, I always feel right at home.

Her home is filled with vintage, antique and modern flairs. Her taste is eccentric and unique. She expresses her personality and her own experiences through decor and the little accents that make up this space. Here's a little peak into Julie's home:

I kid you not this woman has a recipe for everything...

Since becoming recent empty-nesters, Julie and her husband Ken have started raising chickens in their backyard, along with a brand-new hot tub and outdoor shower. So cool!

Being here for the holidays has such a comforting feeling and a lot has to do with where we are and who we're with.  Julie's home has such a pleasant environment, with the bright walls and little trinkets make it so warm and inviting. But a space can only go so far. Being with the people you love and surrounded by good food and conversation really make the holidays worthwhile.