Weekly Love Letter for Friday, January 23rd

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Alyssa's WeekThis was a really eventful week! I had coffee with a few other Tokyo-based bloggers (Universotokyo and The Spendy Pencil).  I’m hoping to get something of a blogging community going here, so please let me know if you read any Tokyo-based blogs that I need to check out.

I also hosted a KitchHike lunch for a mom’s group.  I had 5 wonderful women and their 5 adorable babies over for an arepa lunch.  It was slightly chaotic in happiest way!

We rounded out the week with a lovely dinner with friends at the beautiful Nodaiwa, a restaurant that specializes in unagi.  I hope the rest of January is as great as this week was!”

*In love with these pretty little etched monogrammed glasses with a silver rim.  And they’re surprisingly affordable!

*Baby bloomin’ onions.  Absolutely brilliant.

*I’m a little obsessed with preserved lemons, but sometimes I don’t have a stash ready to go.  I pinned this shortcut to quick-preserving lemons for one of those days.

Carla's Week“You guys!  Hawaii!  It’s so great.  Seriously.  I have so much to say!  I’m compiling a travel post for you all about the trip and my favorites (…and a not-so favorite or two), but here’s a brief sneak peek: GET SOME KONA COFFEE, stat.  There’s volcanic rock everywhere!  It WILL be 30 degrees on Mauna Kea so, yes, it’s weird, but PACK A JACKET.  

All that and more, coming soon!  ;)  Right after I unpack this house.  Did I mention I MOVED?  I’m super duper excited to have tons more space, but whoa.  Holidays and work and vacation and packing all at once sure does take it out of a girl.  Have any great tips for stress-less unpacking and purging?  If I had a genie, I’d be asking him for one perfectly minimalist household with about 1/4 of my current belongings, please.”

* Free printable goal sheets!  I got goals, I know how to use them.

* I don’t know about you, but January always makes me super excited for tax season.  (I know, I’m a weirdo.)  I just discovered this tip that lets you easily find purchase records in your gmail inbox and it’s SO HELPFUL. 

7 Surprising Ways to Score on Etsy.  (Just a little shopping enablement for your Friday.  And we’d always love another “Favorites” click on our little shop, if you’re so inclined!)

One year ago: DIY burlap coasters and Thai Fried Wonton-Wrapped Shrimp.

DIY Origami Heart Garland

The title lies. This is actually kirigami, but I’m not sure if that would have grabbed your attention! If origami is the art of folding paper, kirigami is the art of folding AND cutting paper.  There are just two little snips involved in making these adorable little puffy hearts, so it’s not a very elaborate project.  And since our origami star garland was so popular over the holidays, we thought you guys might like this origami heart garland just as much.

origami heart garland from www.alyssaandcarla.com

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Weekly Love Letter for Friday, January 16th

Alyssa's Week

weekly love letter photo alyssa

Has anyone else noticed how hard it is to get motivated in January? It’s the month we’re supposed to exercise but it’s FREEZING outside and the sun has disappeared.  We’re supposed to eat healthy food, but the produce is meh.  I find it difficult enough to get out of the warm bed in the morning, let alone get up to go for a run and eat rabbit food.  And I’m failing; headed out soon for beer and pizza with friends. Ugh.  Any advice?”

*Harissa Macaroni & Cheese.  Sorry, I’ll be right back, guys, I need to go make this.

*Darkhorse smoked brown sugar.  Dreaming of baking with this.

*Must find a way to DIY these agate coasters from Anthro.  I’m dying over them but can’t possibly imagine spending $98 for 4.

Carla's Week

Carla is in sunny tropical paradise this week!  Check in on her adventures on our instagram page.

One year ago: DIY monogram soap (anthro hack!).





We love Nancy at Spiffykerms!  She posted about some of her favorite bloggers, who also happen to be ours ;) Check it out here.

DIY Pom Pom Slippers

Some of our favorite DIYs are the ones we get to dream up together.  When I went to visit Alyssa in Cleveland last month I took along some slippers for us to jazz up.  We ended up skipping them at the last moment in favor of ice cream sundaes (brilliant choice), but decided to complete the DIY on our own to show you two fun and different styles!Untitled design

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Weekly Love Letter for Friday, January 9th

Alyssa's Week

soup dumplings from din tai fung in shinjuku

This week’s favorites were hard to come up with! I spent entirely too much time oogling everyone’s “best post” posts from 2014.  I have dozens of recipes to try and lots of fun DIY ideas!  We didn’t do a roundup post, but I wanted to share some of my favorites anyway!  There are honestly too many to list, but I’ll narrow it down.  

The most fun projects of the year were the peppermint oreo ice cream sandwiches that Carla and I made with my nieces and my mom, as well as the floral crowns from my summer trip to Ohio.  

My absolute favorite recipe is Carla’s two chili salsa, which I made countless times this year.  It’s my go-to salsa (although I add a squeeze of lime and a pinch of salt).  My vanilla bean strawberry rhubarb jam is the gift that keeps giving.  We’ve carefully rationed out the jars for the last 6 months to make the most of this fantastic jam!

My personal favorite DIY was the origami star garland.  And Carla’s pom pom magnets are basically the cutest thing ever.  The award for most useful DIY is a tie between the no-sew pillowcase and the etched spice jar with shaker top.”

*Useful: how to chill wine quickly, for those dinner parties when someone brings an irresistable bottle of white or bubbly that’s at room temperature.

*Bacon boursin green beans. Let’s focus on the “green bean” part of that title and pretend it’s New Year’s resolution-friendly.

*Copper tealights.  I want these on my dinner party table, stat.

Carla's Week

Carla's Weekly Love Letter for 1.9.15“I mean, PHEW.  Am I right?  Things are more or less back to normal.  My holidays were a whirlwind- yours?  It was wonderful to see so much family and have so much fun and rest and relaxation.  The theme seemed to be ‘how low key can you be?’ which ABSOLUTELY worked for me!  It’s a little embarrassing to be going and on about how much rest I’ve had recently since I’m… well… leaving for Hawaii on Monday.  I KNOW.  I’M A TOTAL BRAT.

MY favorites for the year?  Alyssa covered so many of them in her list, but I’m adding this adorable DIY Wooden Cell Phone Stand and this DIY Metallic Trimmed Ring Bowl!”

* Got goals?  Gotta write em down?  Heck Yes.

Let Me Entertain You.  Both a gorgeous print and a lyric from a favorite musical.

* A neat tip for scoring some Sorel boots if they’re on your to-buy fashion list.

PS- Amazon links above are affiliate links!

One year agoTwo chili salsa.  Don’t scoff at the ingredient list, when it comes together it’s addicting.

DIY Chalk Lettered Placemats

We host dinner parties pretty regularly.  It’s a great way to spend quality time with people, whether it’s 2 guests or 8.  We change up the attendees and mix groups of friends.  Everyone gets to meet people, relax, and enjoy a (hopefully) good meal.  And I get a chance to try new recipes on unsuspecting victims.  So you can imagine that I was shocked to realize that I’ve never had Carla over for a dinner party!  She’s visited Tokyo before, but we were so busy sightseeing and blog-planning that we didn’t have a party.  So sad.

chalk lettered placemats from Alyssa & Carla

This is my attempt to lure Carla back to Tokyo.  It’s an imaginary dinner party, spurred on by these fun DIY chalk lettered placemats that double as place cards.  We received a package from the good people at Party Pail with these great black placemats.  They are sturdy, with a subtle scalloped edge (not too girly) and a slight textile texture.  They come in a variety of colors, but the black called out to me.  They are just dying to be treated like a chalkboard.

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Scallops with Farro & Mushrooms in Lemony Tahini Dressing

I believe in eating healthy food.  I do NOT, however, believe in eating anything that’s less than delicious.  And these two things can sometimes be at odds with each other!  When that happens, I’m only a little bit sad to say that I will choose to follow the “delicious” angle over the “healthy” one 10 times out of 10.  So this year, I’m going to make more meals that meet both of these criteria.  Starting with this insanely delicious farro meal. 


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Crispy-Chewy Nutmeg Oatmeal Lacies

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

Ah, January.  The time of year for snuggly fires and resolutions and planning beach vacations where your toes won’t freeze.  I always set a fitness resolution or two for the New Year and give it a few weeks to marinate.  Historically, the results from this approach have been a bit lackluster.  Throw in the fact that I’m headed to Hawaii next week and I’m thinking I need to jump on the fitness train with a little more vigor.

That’s why I’m thrilled to be partnering with Truvia (low cal baking sweetener!) and Bigelow Tea (tea!  TEA!  Need I say more?) to come up with a yummy, easy cookie to brighten up my mornings with a little sweetness.  I LOVE baked goods with my tea and decided that this Crispy-Chewy Nutmeg Oatmeal Lacy, with it’s low carb flair (75% less calories than sugar!) and spicy flavors would go perfectly with a big mug of Earl Gray.


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DIY Beaded Hair Accessories

My mom has short, very curly hair.  When I got married, she wanted to do something to dress up her look but couldn’t put her hair in an updo.  I made her a few little hair combs lined with a row of sparkly Swarovski crystals so she could make her outfit a little bit fancier.

DIY beaded hair accessory at www.alyssaandcarla.com

These pretty little beaded hair accessories are a fun and customizable way to add some sparkle to your look.  And you can make a hair accessory just in time for New Year’s!  The sparkle is subtle but really lovely when it catches the light.  Match your outfit or just make a clear one to go with everything.  Black is also a beautiful but really understated option.

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