DIY Washi Decorated Hanger

Ah, washi.  The latest work horse of crafts- is there nothing it can’t do?  What did we do before we covered everything in it?  (Pretty sure I spent a lot more time with masking tape and colored Sharpies, honestly.)  The tough part is- it’s not always a simple matter of peel and stick and smooth with your fingers.  This project stumped me a bit!  Stay tuned for some real talk on washi tape and curved surfaces.

When I bought this pack of hangers at Ikea a while ago, I got started on several ideas for making statement hanger pieces.  I love the idea of something pretty to display an outfit or favorite piece- even if it’s just in your closet!  Since I often try the iron-using-steam-from-the-shower trick,this particular hanger will live on the back of my bathroom door.  But how fun would this hanger be using glitter washi for a wedding or special event?  So many uses, seriously.

DIY Washi Decorated Hanger from

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Andy’s Izakaya in Tokyo

A friend took my husband and I to one of his favorite restaurants in Tokyo.  Andy’s Izakaya, aka Shin Hinomoto, is one of the top rated izakaya in the city.  It’s is tucked under the train tracks of the Yurakucho Station on a dark side street near the high-end shopping district of Ginza, away from the bright lights of central Tokyo.

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Weekly Love Letter for August 22nd, 2014

Alyssa's Week

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“Back to Tokyo! And it’s just as hot as I was afraid it would be.  In fact, I think I came back just in time for the worst of it.  I’m doing my best to not leave the house, and even the evenings aren’t bringing much relief!  Ok, this is the last time I’ll complain about the weather.

Is anyone else ready for TV shows to start again? They have to premier soon, right? I love my late night boys (Jimmy, Stephen and Jon), but I miss my sitcoms.  Can you tell I’m ready for fall?”

*Speaking of fall, I’m filing this apple and rosemary hand pie recipe away for October & November.

*Mesmerized by these animated gifs.

*Oh my goodness, it’s a real-life Beauty and the Beast library.

Carla's Week

Carla's Weekly Love Letter for 8.22.14 “To give you a little peek into my week, let me tell you about the stress dream I had early Wednesday morning.  I was CONVINCED that my mom was instructing me to change the time on my alarm clock because I absolutely could not be late (to what?) and I had to delete all my notifications (because I was doing it wrong if not) and the alarm portion of my phone is hidden in settings and requires coding (probably don’t have to tell you it doesn’t.)  Do you get stress dreams too?  My coworker admitted that the same morning she dreaming of needing to make 100 baskets for her high school basketball coach, but he kept subtracting successful shots rather than adding.  STRESS.  IT’S SO WEIRD.”

* You wouldn’t necessarily know it, but I’m totally an introvert.  This post could be titled “Things You Should Know About Carla” just as easily as Things You Should Know About Introverts.

* You know how we feel about ampersands.  If you’re a fan too, check out these Top Ten Free Fonts with the Best Ampersands!  

* This page of cake baking tips is bit text-heavy, but has great info for your next treat.

One year ago: mushrooom garlic cream rigatoni.  This soul-warming dish is not for the calorie-conscious but we’re sure you won’t regret the indulgence.  


Apartment Therapy included our pom pom magnets in their roundup of 10 Easy & Adorable DIY Magnets.

Brit & Co put our diy fabric-covered notebook in their post of 17 New Ways to Cover Your Books.

Double Vanilla Cream Coffee

I’ve always been a vanilla kind of girl.  I’ll pick a vanilla cupcake over red velvet any day.  As a kid, my sister would branch out with Black Cherry and Butter Pecan ice cream cones, but of course I’d get vanilla.  She might have thought I wasn’t getting much out of my cone, but she seriously had no clue.  Sure, vanilla is a simpler flavor, but in my opinion “simple” means comforting AND full of flavor.  If you’re using Vanilla as a synonym for boring, you’re doing it wrong.  Vanilla is ANYTHING but boring.

When Coffee-Mate put out the word that they have two vanilla flavors (Classic Vanilla and French Vanilla), I was already a fan.  Their vanilla creamers remind me of the years when I was living with two close friends and their two little boys, running on cups of coffee spiked with sweet vanilla cream.  This delicious Double Vanilla Cream Coffee is a nod to those exciting, fast-paced days.

Double Vanilla Cream Coffee from

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Porchetta Recipe with Parsley & Caper Sauce

Warning: this porchetta recipe is intended to feed a whole bunch of hungry people.  And still have leftovers.  It’s a party recipe, perfect for Christmas, New Year’s or a special birthday.  It requires some planning ahead and possibly ordering a specific cut of meat, so this is not an easy weeknight dinner (although the leftovers can provide several days of delicious weeknight dinners).  When I last made it, we served 20 people with healthy appetites.

porchetta from

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Weekly Love Letter for August 15th, 2014

Alyssa's Week

greetings between people of different nationalities from

“This Huffington Post article about how to greet people from different countries is great for travelers, but it doesn’t help people that live in expat communities!  We have a wonderful group of expat friends in Japan, and we always laugh about how awkward our greetings are with a group of really varied, mixed-nationality people. The Japanese bow, the French/Belgians/Italians kiss 2-4 times (depending on where they’re from), the Americans USUALLY hug people we’re familiar with (which sometimes turns into an awkward one-sided kiss depending on whom it is that you’re hugging), but then we also shake hands when we meet newer people.  It is a hilarious mess, and when we get together in a big group I have to actually think about what I’m going to do with each person before I go in for the greeting or goodbye.  And whose custom do you follow when people of two different nationalities face off? The combinations and interactions can be really funny; Japanese man + French woman is a particularly awkward one! #expatproblems”

*WHIPPED FETA. In a pie crust. With beautiful ripe tomatoes.

*Calligraphy & Coffee.  Who’s in? I’m addicted to calligraphy-ing (lol, what’s the verb form??) and I will totally organize this for people in Tokyo.

*Painted polka dot balloons. So easy! And so happy!

Carla's Week

Carla's Weekly Love Letter for 8.15.14 “On Wednesday, I took a quick trip down to the Ferry Building to do some sampling for my company.  There’s something really fun about giving stuff away and it’s EXTRA fun when you’re in such a tourist-y area with folks from all over the world.  People seriously did NOT know how to react and there were some pretty adorable responses from folks.  Hope I didn’t scare anyone!  The most interesting thing about giving free things to people?  If one person in a group says no, chances are high everyone in the group will say no.  Same goes for the first person saying yes.  Group think, folks.  It’s real.  (And reminds me to be the person saying ‘yes!’ more often!)”

(P.S. Pictured above: the Five Spice Chicken Vermicelli from the Out The Door shop in the San Francisco Ferry Building.  Pair it up with a iced black tea boba.  Just trust me.)

* I’m embarrassed to remind you all of how I don’t eat much fruit (thanks, horrible fruit texture with wonderful fruit taste!) so I’m dying over this homemade strawberry syrup recipe that looks pretty darn seedless to me!

* SUPER digging “Last Love Song” by ZZ Ward.

* Think I need all twenty of these washi tape storage solutions.  Seriously- just ask Alyssa!  I do believe the word “hoarder” was used.

One year ago: Carla’s update to Lemon Supreme Pie from Baker’s Square. It’s better than the original, we know because we sought out a Baker’s Square when Carla was in Ohio last year!


Little Red Window included our Dollar Store Serving Tray Makeover in their roundup of 20 Unbelievable Dollar Store Crafts.

DIY Upcycled Striped Top (with Eyelet!)

I don’t want to give you guys the wrong impression, but I own about 16 striped tops.  I maintain that they’re DIFFERENT and that I NEED that many versions.  They vary by color and stripe width and sleeve length.  Plus, I like stripes!  (STOP JUDGING ME.) I was placing an online order recently and needed just one more item for free shipping and after lots of searching I chose… a striped top.  Online.  In a “tunic” shape.  It arrived and I liked it enough, but it just wasn’t very special.  Which made it the perfect candidate for a little DIY action: Upcycled Striped Top from Continue reading

DIY 2 Ingredient Refreshing Face Mist

Listen, guys, it’s really hot in Tokyo right now. I’m heading back there on Monday and I’m honestly a little scared of the weather.  It’s been practically fall-like here in Ohio, and I’ve been enjoying it so much!  We eat dinners outside, take evening walks, we went to the zoo and a few baseball games.  But I know that bliss is about to come to a screeching halt.  Not only will it be in the 90′s and very humid, but most Japanese buildings are kept at a much warmer temperature than American buildings.  So there’s really no relief from the heat until you make it back to your own apartment and crank up the AC.

wild orange honey refreshing mist from

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SPONSORED: Beauty Tips for an All Day Look with Neutrogena

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

Gather round, folks.  We’re talking about an easy, #AllDayLook (courtesy of #CollectiveBias) with Neutrogena today!  While I love experimenting with all sorts of makeup colors and types, I DEFINITELY have an every-day kind of look.  And it’s such a simple one!  Here’s a few beauty tips create this look:

Neutrogena All Day Beauty Tutorial from

out of these few items!

Neutrogena All Day Beauty Tutorial from

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