April 23, 2014
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exfoliating and moisturizing coffee & honey body scrub from www.alyssaandcarla.com


The next time you have coffee beans that are past their prime, don’t throw them away!  Turn them into this fantastic body scrub to slough away dull winter skin and get ready for spring and summer’s bare shoulders and shorter skirts.  This body scrub smells good enough to eat and leaves your skin feeling silky smooth and hydrated.  Seriously, I used this on my hands six hours ago and I can’t stop touching them because they’re so soft!  And this scrub will leave you smelling like coffee, honey and vanilla for a few hours!  That may not be for everyone, but I certainly enjoyed it.

April 22, 2014
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I love ring holders and jewelry cups (you might remember the metallic trimmed ring bowl from a few months ago).  For me, they’re really the kind of small accessory that’s simple and understated while also being useful!  Apart from using them for jewelry storage, you can pepper ring holders near any sink or craft area in the house- no one wants to accidentally leave a ring behind on a windy sill or slippery counter or hovering near an open drain if they can help it.  Add in the fact that there are so many adorable options and styles and you’ve got a winning item in my book.


You’d think that I wander aisles at craft stores just thinking of items I could re-purpose into ring holders.  And you’d be partially right!  Some of the time, though, those ideas veer in other complimentary crafting directions.  But SOMETIMES you see a product and immediately decide that it could work perfectly to fulfill a DIY ring holder dream:


DIY Colorblock Cone Ring Holder from alyssaandcarla.com


April 21, 2014
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spicy tuna hand roll at www.alyssaandcarla.com


Sushi in Japan is pretty much left up to the experts.  People might buy some sashimi at the store and eat the fish without rice, or maybe they’ll make chirashizushi from the trimmings of a different meal.  But as far as nigiri or sushi rolls go, forget it.  Someone else knows how to do it way better than you do, so you just go to a restaurant and pay someone to make it!

April 18, 2014
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Alyssa's Week


japanese wedding at meiji shrine from www.alyssaandcarla.com 

“How do you get over mistakes that you make?  I’ve never been very good at it, and I’d love to hear some advice!  I tend to get really discouraged.  And beat myself up over it for weeks, if not months!  I suppose I have a bit of a type-A personality and can be something of a perfectionist.  Help!


On a happier note, my brother and sister-in-law are in Tokyo and we went to one of the more popular shrines in Tokyo.  We happened to be there to see a wedding.  Japanese weddings are beautiful, colorful affairs and I’m glad we were lucky enough to catch one.”


* Have you seen all the amazing deviled egg recipes floating around?  We published a truffled egg one, but there are lots of other ways to use up those Easter eggs.  I’m dying to try smoky deviled eggs with Greek yogurt and frizzled shallots.  And here’s a foolproof way to get perfectly boiled eggs every time.


* Add some color to your Easter table or your Mother’s day brunch with these adorable idea: butter with sprinkles!  Put it on your French toast, pancakes or toasted brioche slices.


*It’s no secret that we love Nutella around here.  This Nutella babka recipe looks absolutely divine.  It’s not too hard to make, and it looks like it’s definitely worth the trouble.


Carla's Week

 Carla's Weekly Love Letter for 4-18-14


“Sandal weather!  Whee!  (Yes, I know I tend to wear sandals in inappropriate weather, but at least no one can ask me if my feet are cold this time of year!)


This week, my family finally booked this summer’s trip to Tahoe!  We’d been going back and forth for several weeks- it’s SO hard to coordinate so many different schedules!  The task is further complicated by the fact that my mom doesn’t usually get her summer school teaching schedule until the last possible moment, but we did it!  The trip is a month earlier this year (June instead of July), but I’m happy to get there and see a different time of year at the Lake.”


* The Satorialist is currently in Peru and posting some amazing photos of the region’s colorful fashion.  At the same time, The Bold Italic published this fantastic article about Chinatown fashion that I just loved reading.  So much happiness and color in both places!


* Elise recently wrote this post about propagating succulents and linked to this tutorial with excellent instructions.  I had NO IDEA that this was something you needed to do!  Since my tiny office plants have been stretching toward the sky with all the recent sunshine, I had wondered what their next maneuver would be.  Well, it seems if I had not come across this idea thanks to Elise the next step would have been breakage!


* I’m deeply in love with this office reveal, but can we especially discuss THAT DESK?  Sigh.  THAT DESK.



All Cheap Crafts created a roundup of 25 body scrubs to get your skin glowing just in time for spring and summer’s bare shoulders.  Carla’s oatmeal chamomile scrub is on the list.  It’s also included in Go Fashion Ideas’ 24 Aromatic Body Scrubs.


Five Star Life loved Alyssa’s DIY Hanging Watch Holder and added it to their list of Amazing DIY Ideas for Jewelry Storage and Organization.


Pear and Raspberry Sangria from alyssaandcarla.com



Don’t forget to check out the Pear and Raspberry Sangria we posted over at Oh So Pretty. (Our last contributor post! Boo!)

April 17, 2014
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I’m just going to jump right in here: you know what’s delicious?  Chinese food.  You know the kind of Chinese food that is perhaps the MOST delicious?  The CRISPY BEEF kind.


My local and favorite Chinese food restaurant has a great version called Schezuan Beef which is both spicy and sweet.  Even though I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be able to replicate that exact flavor (it’s awfully specific and I’ve never had anything similar elsewhere), I was pretty sure that I could think of a flavor that would suit me.  And ginger is hands-down that flavor: it’s sweet and spicy all at once, with a flavor that really lends itself to Asian cuisine.


I love the idea of making this Crispy Ginger Beef to top some coconut rice and a large scoop of steamed broccoli.  And if you make it at home, there’s plenty of opportunity for seconds and thirds!


Crispy Ginger Beef from alyssaandcarla.com


April 16, 2014
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preserved lemons from www.alyssaandcarla.com


Preserving lemons is one of those projects that makes me so, so happy.  It’s really easy to do, and you end up with bright, salty, acidic lemon that you can add as a secret ingredient to your dishes for months to come.  


But what dishes, exactly?  Preserved lemons are a slam dunk in Moroccan food.  You can’t go wrong with a classic chicken tagine, especially.  But they’re also a great addition to salad dressings, roasted vegetables, as a relish on fish or lamb chops, and in pasta or grain salads.   Or make these delicious seared lamb chops with lemon & tahini sauce.


April 15, 2014
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If you’ve never switched out the hardware on your drawers, you’re missing out.  There are tons of glam options, of course- you’ve probably seen several ideas at Anthropologie!  Luckily, drawer pulls are super simple to pick up at any hardware store and even easier to customize!


My bathroom is the epitome of a “rental”: a couple dings in the enamel sink, a vanity that doesn’t match the mirrored medicine cabinet, a curtain rod that was installed backward so that the shower curtain rings catch when you try to close them.  On the plus side, the room gets tons of light and is in great shape and mostly white.  Since I tend to buy blue bath towels (and striped ones, obviously) I decided I needed to make some inexpensive new drawer pulls to pull the space together.  I came up with these adorable nautical drawer pulls, featuring a freehand anchor in navy and white!


DIY Nautical Drawer Pull from alyssaandcarla.com


April 14, 2014
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lamb chops with lemon and tahini dipping sauce at www.alyssaandcarla.com


Lamb chops are so, so easy to cook.  They’re kind of fancy, though, which makes them great dinner party or special-occasion food.  And they’re a slam-dunk for Easter.  Why not go a little less traditional with your Easter lamb this year, though, and make these seared lamb chops with lemon & tahini sauce?  They hint at Moroccan flavors without being inaccessible for someone who isn’t very daring.  And if you want a little more punch in the sauce, just add a bit of za’atar.

April 11, 2014
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Alyssa's Week



tokyo sky     

“The days are getting longer and there has been some spectacular late afternoon skies here lately.  But the highlights of this week were the meals.  We ate like kings!  Amazing sushi, homemade pasta with fresh spring vegetables, a chipotle shrimp salad, a new ramen joint with curry gyoza, and beef sushi (if you’re a carnivore in Tokyo, I’ve got a great place for you. Let me know if you’re interested!).  Wow.  I think I need a week of salads to make up for this!”


Suburban Turmoil’s series mocking Pottery Barn catalogues cracks me up.  Her latest is great, but the PB Kid’s one makes me actually laugh out loud.


* Ohmygod, you guys, less than two weeks until PARIS and ROME.  I’m freaking out.  And this just made me more excited.


*I’m considering an Easter brunch this year.  Asparagus bread pudding, anyone?  And maybe some rosemary-peach bellinis?


Carla's Week


 Carla's Weekly Love Letter for 4.11.14


“I was shopping in Target with my nieces last week (a more-than-weekly activity) and when we reached the Easter section, I asked them what their favorite Easter candy was.  And then I found out that they didn’t HAVE ONE.  How do I have family that doesn’t understand the proper appreciation of seasonal candy?  Look, you can’t get those jelly eggs YEAR ROUND, kids.  Sure, Peeps have expanded to Christmas, but look, they used to only be yellow chicks.  CADBURY MINI EGGS NEED TO BE APPRECIATED.”


* Despite my desire to get through every sample and full-size bottle of beauty items in my bathroom before buying any more, I recently picked up Loreal’s Advanced Haircare Triple Resist Ultimate Strength Solution and I LOVE IT.  I spray it on before blow-drying  and it really helps my hair feel more moisturized and strong.


* Let’s face it, I love learning.  If I could, I would collect degrees like I collect magazines.  If you like learning new things too, check out Skillshare.  They offer a bunch of courses by subject or software and it’s a great way to pick up a new, well, skill.


* I may not have a whole garden to show for it, but I love plants and flowers.  Thankfully, I have a few small projects planned to add some green to my life.  If you do too, you might love these amazing DIY seed bombs from Be Crafy.  I wish you many, many wildflowers!



Energy We Bring added Carla’s DIY Blueberry Exfoliating Mask to their list of Favorite Food-Based Beauty Recipes. 


Addicted 2 Fun loved two of our crafts this week: Alyssa’s Watercolor Easter Eggs and Carla’s DIY Clay Cupcake Toppers.


Eating Well 101 added Alyssa’a DIY Mason Jar Travel Cups to their 10 Crafty Mason Jar Ideas for Spring.

April 10, 2014
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I know this isn’t a revolutionary thought, but isn’t it kind of neat how apples are a year-round fruit?  I’m just as likely to crave apples on crisp fall days as I am to shovel apple pie into my mouth all summer long.  And that feels like a Very Good Thing.  When I was making my chocolate chip hot fudge sauce a few weeks ago, I realized that apple pie is another perfect addition to an ice cream bar.  Sure, maybe you won’t need apple pie AND sprinkles AND maraschino cherries, but I bet I could talk you into a thick slice of pie with vanilla bean ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.



These apple pie bites have a few key advantages.  Maybe you just want a bite of two of apple pie flavor.  Check!  Or maybe it’s the middle of summer and hot and the thought of a pie cooking for upwards of an hour in a blazing oven is enough to make you want to cry.  Well, these bake in just fifteen mintues!  One thing is for sure: you won’t make these just once.  These guys have so much flavor and texture you’ll want to make them all the time.



Apple Pie Bites from alyssaandcarla.com