Weekly Love Letter for September 19th, 2014

Alyssa's Week

dessert terrine

“This was a week with TWO very memorable meals.  The first was a restaurant specializing in terrines.  We had a course meal with 3 savory terrines, a few non-terrine dishes, and a gorgeous dessert terrine (pictured, with white peaches, raspberries, vanilla ice cream and mint).  They were absolutely delicious, of course, but what surprised me was how spectacularly gorgeous they were. The terrines, even the savory ones, looked like little miniature stained glass windows with colorful garnishes.  I already want to go back to try some of the terrines that we didn’t get.

The second amazing meal was an impromptu date night with my husband to a sushi restaurant.  We tried a new spot, expecting the standard (but incredibly high quality) Japanese sushi.  We were pleasantly surprised when the lovely waitress set down a few grilled dishes and a savory, custard-y dashi dish.  Then we moved on to the sushi, which was also less traditional.  The rice was more seasoned than normal and there were some really interesting sauces brushed onto some of the pieces.  It was exciting to see a sushi chef being more inventive and daring in a country where tradition is usually the focus in meals.”

*These pumpkin pie cupcakes look like a lot of work. But they’re sooo pretty and I bet they’re delicious.

*Pinning this tutorial for the rapidly approaching holidays.  Make sparkly hair combs from cocktail rings! 

*Drinking Trend Watch! Have you seen any of these? More cherry, please!

Carla's Week

Carla's Weekly Love Letter for 9.19.14 “Check out this corn on the cob from Lolo’s last night: doesn’t it look AMAZING?  Sarah and I headed over to the Mission after a blogging event downtown last night and it’s a good thing she’s one of the very best people because I’d estimate about half of that crema ended up all over my face.  Apart from the corn, my favorite dish at this Jalisco-inspired restaurant was their handmade corn tortilla vegetable quesadillas.  I tasted sweet zucchini and chard mixed into their Oaxaca cheese!  HEAVEN.”

* We had a speaker come in to my office this week who blew my mind with some work the science community is doing with biomimicry: solving a problem by looking to nature’s design first.  Learn more about it here.  This research has huge implications for how we evolve design in so many areas, but I was especially thrilled to learn about the impact on food.  Fishing by mimic-ing the hunting behavior of whales?  AMAZING.

* Have a little one who digs treasure?  Maybe YOU just wanna be a pirate for Halloween?  Here’s an easy DIY tutorial to crochet an eye-patch!

* FYI: my current favorite smudgy eyeliner pencil is this one by Cynthia Rowley.  Bonus polka dots on the packaging!

One year ago: Cocoa Pumpkin Spice Granola using coconut oil.


DIY Lap Desk with Storage

I’ve had some neck issues lately, and have started to see a chiropractor. It seems like constant looking down is causing the problems: looking at my phone, looking down while cooking, looking down while crafting, and (most importantly) looking down while on the computer. Working from home means that I’m terrible about sitting at a desk or a table while on the computer, but even when I do that I’m still looking down at a tiny laptop screen. I needed a solution, so I bought a stand that elevates my computer screen and a separate keyboard that attaches by USB port. But even then…I still love to sit on the couch or in bed and read blogs, write posts, browse Instagram, etc.

DIY Lap Desk

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Weekly Love Letter for September 12th, 2014

Alyssa's Week

alyssa's weekly love letter photo for september 12 2014

“Pumpkins and candy corn and tassels made of colored twine!  I’m working on our fall Etsy shop assortment and having way, way too much fun with it.  Fall is my absolute favorite time of year, and I’m extra-excited for it this year.  If you haven’t signed up for our shop newsletter, do it now!  We’re sending our first one out soon with these new goodies and maybe a promo code or two…”

*These salted caramel apple cinnamon rolls just moved to the top of my “make as soon as the weather even remotely resembles fall” list.  Which is a real list. Actually a Pinterest board, but close enough.

*This is a pretty ridiculous end table makeover.  I love everything about it, from the hardware to the color to the table shape to the lining.

*The House that Lars Built published a post with the most creative dessert “sushi” I’ve ever seen, right down to whipped pistachio cream for wasabi and sculpted pink Starburst for ginger.

Carla's Week

Carla's Weekly Love Letter for 9.12.14 “Have you ever taken a trip just to see a favorite artist?  I headed to Las Vegas this week with some former coworkers to see (wait for it) BRITNEY SPEARS.  The show was amazing, the trip was epic and I was so happy to say I’ve finally seen the show.  (P.S. Britney is a TINY, TINY person.  WAY tinier than any magazine will ever have you believe.)  This trip was just the most recent in a long line of music trips and I can’t wait for my next one!  Is there someone I need to see playing near you?”

* Incoming Vegas dinner recommendation: Cut at The Palazzo.  Ridiculous steaks, amazing starters and dynamite drinks (try the Show Me Love especially).

* Honesty alert: I’ve never seen Gilmore Girls.  But it seems my time has come+6.

This video of Adam Levine and Jimmy Fallon doing impressions is super fun.  (My favorite is Jimmy Fallon as Bob Dylan.)

One year ago: Arroz con leche, a Mexican version of rice pudding. Perfect if you’re feeling that fall nip in the air!


Love This Pic included our Pumpkin Face Mask in their Fall Inspired DIY Pumpkin Spice Beauty Recipes roundup.


Japanese Pork Cutlet Sandwich (Katsu Sando)

This such a simple sandwich, but it’s so satisfying and soul-warming.  Katsu sando just a piece of breaded and fried pork with pre-made tonkatsu sauce between two pieces of fluffy white bread (the bread is important, so don’t try to get fancy on me here; we’re talking about Wonderbread-style).  You can find a version in every Japanese convenient store, grocery store and bakery, not to mention in bento boxes sold from the windows of many tonkatsu restaurants.  I tend to buy katsu sando, rather than make them, because they’re so ubiquitous in Tokyo. But the other day I had a leftover boneless pork chop, so I thought I would throw this Japanese pork cutlet sandwich together for an easy lunch.  And it was so delicious that I HAD to share it with you guys.

japanese pork cutlet sandwich from www.alyssaandcarla.com

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Happy Birthday Banner with a Silhouette

A friend had a birthday recently, and I wanted to do something special to celebrate.  To decorate our apartment, I made a balloon garland and a happy birthday banner.  The ballon garland was so much fun! I blew up about 35 balloons to different sizes and tied them closely onto a piece of twine.  That yielded about 5 feet of garland, and I would have done twice as many if I’d had more balloons! (Terrible iPhone photo of the balloons at the end of the post.)

happy birthday banner from www.alyssaandcarla.com

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Weekly Love Letter for September 5th, 2014

Alyssa's Week

tres leches cake from www.alyssaandcarla.com

“I hosted my first HIKER on KitchHike this week!  Have you heard of it?  There are a few other companies doing the same thing, but it’s basically like AirBnb for lunch or dinner.  You find a menu online that you like and arrange a meal at someone’s house.  I made a lunchtime arepa feast with my shredded chipotle chicken, and this tres leches cake was the dessert.  It was really, really fantastic.  I’m excited to cook for more HIKERS!”

*I NEED THIS LE CREUSET PHONE CASE. I love, love, love cooking with Le Creuset, and even my dishes are Le Creuset.  What’s funny, though, is that the care instructions on their website are the care instructions for cooking with enameled cast iron, lol!

*Tokyo people! Does anyone want to go to this MT Washi Tape exhibition with me??

*I would like it to cool off for many reasons, but primarily so I can wear boots and jeans again and make fall food.  Like this Thai curry butternut squash soup.

Carla's Week

Carla's Weekly Love Letter for 9.5.14 “I know I’m late to the party, but I just discovered podcasts,  Alyssa has been telling me about her favorite NPR shows for ages, but I’ve always used an Android phone and needed an app with a download option that would work on the train when I lose cell service.  (Spoiler: as far as I can tell that doesn’t exist.)  And then… I got an iPad.  One point for Apple and making podcasts easy for the whole world.  Any recommendations for your favorites?  I’ve got a lot of catching up to do over here.”

* If Andy Dwyer quotes were motivational posters.  Yup.

* Cooking Light has an amazing guide with how to solve some of the most common cooking mistakes.  There are SIXTY ONE solves.  

* I bought the cutest sweatshirt at Forever 21 last weekend, but since it’s not online I’m sharing this adorable polka dot sweater instead.  Ring me up!  (These sweatshirts are similar to mine too: giraffes and T-REXES.  T-REXES.  SAY NO MORE.)  (Is “t-rexes” a word?)

One year ago: Beef chow mein. Who needs takeout? Make your own!

Earl Grey Tea Pops

You guys, I’m going to talk about tea.  Again.  I mean, I think we talk a lot about tea here- it’s one of the major contributors to the fact that Alyssa and I became best buddies at work: gossip over short walks to refresh our tea.  On her first day of work in the desk next to mine, she opened her moving box and took out this tea warmer and I KNEW.  Anyone with a tea warmer is a quality individual, you know?

Earl grey is one of my very favorite teas.  In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with a bit of citrus in anything and bergamot is no exception.  Did you know that earl grey tea traditionally refers ONLY to black tea that has had bergamot oil added to it?  In honor of this delicious, fresh tea, I decided I HAD to mix it up with some coconut milk and make a refreshing treat that’s creamy and delicate.  

Vegan Earl Grey Tea Pops from www.alyssaandcarla.com  (3)

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Quick Pickle Carrots & Cucumbers

A tiny side dish of varied, colorful quick pickles is standard in most Japanese restaurants.  And grocery stores have an entire refrigerator case dedicated to them.  Quick pickles are a great way to introduce crisp texture, vibrant colors and a salty/sweet/sour palate cleanser for rich foods such as fried pork (tonkastu), tempura, or grilled chicken thighs (a must-order at any yakitori restaurant).  

carrot and cucumber quick pickles from www.alyssaandcarla.com

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Weekly Love Letter for August 29th, 2014

Alyssa's Week

tomato and whipped feta tart from www.alyssaandcarla.com

“I put my own twist on this whipped feta and tomato tart by adding a thin layer of kalamata olive & preserved lemon tapenade, and I used my lemon & basil infused white wine vinegar in the crust.  It was a huge hit with both the vegetarians and carnivores at our dinner party!

The photo was taken by the very talented and creative Damian Major.  He snapped some great pictures with our camera, which it made me realize that I don’t document our parties well enough.  Between making sure everyone has a drink and putting the finishing touches on the meal, I just don’t take the time to stop and take photos. That has to change!”

*Pretty excited about the Hyperlapse app from the Instagram people.  I played with it a little bit today but can’t wait to take it out and about to share more of Tokyo with you guys in a new way!  I wish there were more editing options in the app, but I imagine they’ll get there eventually.

*Our already enormous crush on Rifle Paper Co. just got bigger with these classic book covers.

*Must. Find. Pomegranate Molasses.  This muhammara recipe from 101 Cookbooks looks like the perfect late-summer dish.

Carla's Week

 “I discovered this week that next month’s work trip to Austin coincides with the first weekend of ACL and I COULD NOT BE MORE THRILLED.  Have you been to Austin?  Do you have a million tips for my first ever visit?  I would like to eat and drink my way through the city, if that’s not obvious.  

P.S. Alyssa was on Twitter earlier this week looking for NYC restaurant recommendations for her anniversary- maybe help her out too if you happen to know of a great spot?  Thanks, folks, you’re gems. :)”

17 Secret Problems Every Foodie Has While Trying to Lose Weight.  HA.  HA!

* I hurt my back something awful this week and was fixed up by a BRILLIANT trainer at work using techniques from the Feldenkrais Method.  If you have back pain, check out this NYTimes article which highlights a few of the exercises he instructed me to complete daily.

* A collection of baby gifs where they’re experiencing things for the first time?  SOLD.

One year ago: Cannoli Bites with Nutella Filling.  Kind of all the info you need right in the title.


Time for this month’s contributor post at Bright, Bold and Beautiful: you’ll find yourself drooling over this ridiculously tasty Peach Crisp Ice Cream!

Nordic Treats featured our DIY Colorblock Cone Ring Holder in a round up of DIY jewelry organizers.