A Seattle-Brooklyn Gal

diy adventures & beyond

Starting 14 Adventures

Fourteen new places, fourteen adventures for the new year.

Last year, my time, focus, and energy was consumed by my job. I got a lot done. I collected more air miles in one year than I may have in my adult life to date. I visited exotic places like Des Moines, IA and sweet-talked a pool keeper in Dallas so my coworkers could get a well-deserved 15 bonus minutes of pool time. I spent more time at my parents’ house last year than any since moving to New York, joining conference calls at 6am Pacific from my dining room table office.

It was go, go, go as I achieved the promotion I sought. Then I got an offer I couldn’t refuse and started at a new job in October. The last quarter of the year was a work whirlwind. I came into the new year craving more time to devote to living.

With less cross-country travel ahead of me this year, I’m excited to do some exploring closer to home. I’m thrilled to have more time to cook, get to yoga classes, and just be. But to make the most of this year, why not have a project in mind?

Here we go: #14adventures. Neighborhoods I haven’t explored, places I’ve been wanting to experience, friends to share the memories. More than anything, I am looking forward to rekindling and building the relationships with the people I missed while I toiled at the office to the sound of the vacuum.

This year of adventure kicked off with a crisp winter evening in Gravesend, Brooklyn. More on that soon, but for now, a couple of photos are on my Instagram @celiabadelia

Maybe you’d like to join the party with your own explorations? Tag your outings with #14adventures. Let’s do this!

A little January Cure

I’ve been loosely following along with Apartment Therapy’s January Cure, a guide to getting your home in order for the year ahead. It came as perfect timing following a busy December and I’m surprised at how it’s helped me tackle smaller projects around my home. I may need to extend this apartment “cure” into February!

 

Step one: scrub the floors! I did this with gusto, powered by almost-instant gratification and my Madonna station on Pandora. Thank you 80s hits and microfiber cloths! Man, nothing makes me feel better about my apartment than sparkling floors – so satisfying.

 

20130124-124834.jpg

January Cure time

 

I’m super pleased to report that I revisited my filing system, making it more functional and current after over a year of collecting a file of items “to file.” I’d completely forgotten that I’d packed and moved unfiled stuff, like you know, my new lease… Whatever! I love organizing, but I do not love filing. The easiest it is to manage and maintain, the better. The true test of this will come this time next year…

 

Also pictured above:

  • Moved all the partial bags of chocolate and nuts into easy-to-access storage containers. I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner. It’s much easier to see what I have on hand, and should prevent buying extra chocolate chips when I can see the stash better. Wait… “extra chocolate chips.” Sorry, I didn’t really mean that!
  • Made granola for the first time. It’s delicious and the first recipe I tried from Deb’s delightful Smitten Kitchen cookbook. I doubled the cinnamon and used honey instead of maple syrup. Now I have a big jar of wheat germ to make… even more granola?? What does one do with wheat germ? It sounds like pioneer food.
  • Got an art supply toolbox to store my jewelry. You better believe that black box of wonder is getting bedazzled soon! This was another long, long-standing to-do. Most of my baubles were still in the random boxes I moved them in last year. This 3-tiered bin stores everything except some bulkier necklaces, which are now displayed in my closet.

Email lists were ruthlessly unsubscribed-from, easing my morning email cleanup, and my blog reader is also more streamlined after more unsubscribing. It feels great to have more mental space in my online space.

 

My months-long magazine backlog is almost entirely culled during Netflix marathons. My functional landing zone got some tidying up. Some kitchen appliances got prepared for use, so I am on my way to more cooking adventures by way of a big food processor and my autographed – and now sealed for posterity – KitchenAid.

Kitchen

Joy the Baker says it all

Can you tell that I’ve been a homebody? It’s amazing! To me, there’s really nothing better than being comfortable in your home and taking good care of it. Are you following along with the January Cure? Is your home already perfect, so you don’t have need for this kind of thing? Please share.

 

And worry not, I have left my home at least a little this month.

BK-MOMA

The Clock at MoMA & golden hour at the Verrazano Bridge

If you see Christian Marclay’s The Clock listed at a museum near you, GO. It’s an amazing 24-hour feat of video and sound editing. Clips from silent to modern films with moments featuring time, like a person checking their watch or a clock in the background, are strung together in a continuous loop. I find it so human, humorous, and intriguing and managed to see 7-9:45am and 12am-2ish am in addition to catching 8:30-9:30pm or so last year at Lincoln Center – here’s a review with more detail on that installation. The hour of the day corresponds with the time in the movie, so you can imagine all the late-night startling phone calls in the 1am window. I’d love to see the whole thing, just maybe not in one sitting.

 

An Abundance of Riches

The Second Annual Dessert Party redux: dessert galore and a great community.

20121217-192603.jpg

Super cute & easy to use cocodot invites

The past couple of months have been consumed by yoga teacher training. The past few weeks have been consumed by party planning. I can’t even tell you how many lists I made or grocery and supply runs I made, but all of the preparation was so worth it.

Surrounded by sparkling hot pink garlands, roses, and at least two pounds of sugar, the highlight of the event was sharing my home with New York-based friends new and old. From my first job here to some of my fellow yoga teacher trainees, I was honored to share a festive evening together.

The spread:

20121217-192620.jpg

photo by Carlo

Beverages in the kitchen, a table laden with desserts, and a great big tray of crackers surrounded by cheese. Party time!

The menu:

A few time honored recipes, a couple that had been tested and approved by office guinea pigs, an angel food experiment, and successful  wild card beverages.

20121217-192503.jpg

(1) Peppered Goat Cheese Truffles from Joy the Baker’s Cookbook (2) Roasted Rosemary Almonds (3) Cranberry Rosemary Spritzer with Rosemary Simple Syrup (4) Champagne Punch x3 batches (5) Baked Brie Bites with Fig Butter (6) Secret Recipe Cheesecake (7) Angel Food Cake with Lemon Curd (8) Ginger Bourbon Balls (9) Orange Hazelnut Bark (10) Coconut Macaroons from Bittman’s How to Cook Everything (11) Death by Chocolate (12) Zebra Brownies

I couldn’t find the same Death by Chocolate recipe I used online, so here’s my version – a family favorite from one of my mom’s cousins:

Death by Chocolate

Ingredients:

  • Family size brownie mix
  • 2 packets Dreamwhip (This was hard for me to track down, but I eventually found it. It’s like make-your-own chocolate Cool Whip. Optional, but will make your mousse more fluffy and less like pudding.)
  • 2 3/4C milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 packages instant chocolate pudding (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • A handful or so of mini chocolate chips
  • 12oz Cool Whip, thawed enough to spread
  • 1 bag Heath Bar pieces, or about 3 bars crushed

To make:

  1. Bake a batch of brownies in a 13×9 pan. Let it cool and then cut into 1″ squares. Place 1/2 the squares into a trifle or large mixing bowl.
  2. Make the chocolate mousse by beating together the Dreamwhip, milk, vanilla, and chocolate pudding mix.
  3. Layer 1/2 the mousse over the brownies, toss on some chocolate chips.
  4. Add a 1/2″-3/4″ layer of Cool Whip.
  5. Sprinkle on a layer of Heath Bar pieces.
  6. Layer on the rest of the brownies, then mousse, then Cool Whip. Top with the remaining Heath Bar pieces.
  7. Cover and chill at least an hour before serving, but best made the day before.

 

Key party supplies:

  • 9oz beverage cups – festive and helped keep the party from getting too… sloppy. Gold stars helped my friends “make their mark” on their glasses.
  • A great big punch bowl with an orange slice ice float made in a Glad container. Next time I’d add more fruit to the float. This was so much prettier and more effective that room-temperature or watery punch!
  • My new favorite place for cooking gear: Webstaurant Store! I got my punch bowl, ladle, cups, and more here at great prices with super fast shipping.

DIY decor:
Sparkly dessert cards, pictured above. Pink and white paper poufs and medallions decked out the kitchen. A strand of lights around the bathroom mirror kept the party mood consistent.

20121219-133223.jpg

A giant bouquet of roses from a cross-country friend surprised me as I was still cooking (and still had rollers in my ‘do). And what’s a party without a disco ball or two? I might leave these out all year. Dollar store hot pink tinsel sparkled with white twinkle lights all the way around the living room.

New party best practices to keep doing:

  • Set out the extra tp so folks aren’t compelled to dig around your bathroom (party real talk).
  • Don’t worry so much about making 120+ truffles, even if they are completely delicious. I had plenty of leftovers to send home with friends, bring to the office, AND stock the freezer!
  • I adored my cocodot invites and definitely recommend them.
  • Relax the day of the party, but start plating everything a little earlier… (A big thanks to the on-time guests with cutting cakes, assembling bouquets, and bringing out dessert. I swear I was ahead of schedule before you arrived)

Special thanks to Joy the Baker and Tracy Shutterbean for answering my party prep question on their podcast! You ladies are the best and you are totally invited to my next soirée. Your recipes were big hits.

20121217-193018.jpg

As an adult, I think many of us lose the carefree abandon of literal kids in a candy store. This party was a little nudge back to the joy of discovering a new favorite treat. While I have (almost) more leftovers than I know what to do with, nothing was better than walking into my kitchen to top off the punch bowl and seeing new friends being made around my little kitchen table.

Thank you to my New York family for eating the sweets and sharing your wonderful holiday spirit with each other! If you couldn’t make it, you were missed and are invited over for impromptu leftover consumption before I eat it all myself. Seriously.

20121219-133234.jpg

Like you don’t want a piece of this!

Do you have any must-dos in your party planning? Any favorite recipes or short cuts? Do you want to know more about how I planned for this event? Be careful what you ask for!

10 Ways I #YOLO

I’m hooked on the Joy the Baker podcast. Such a pleasant way to enjoy my commute at the end of the week! Last week’s episode discussed the concept of YOLO – You Only Live Once. Joy and Tracy – thank you for inspiring this post!

The good, bad, ugly, silly… so many things fall under the YOLO umbrella, and it got me thinking. Do I yolo?

The answer is yes!

1. A few years ago, I asked my hairdresser to chop my hair off. After saying farewell to the bun, I was ready to say ciao to the ponytail and go for a pixie cut before Ginnifer Goodwin made it the thing to do. I loved short hair! I’ve grown my hair out, but recently I’ve been wondering if it’s time to go back to a ‘do that is ponytail-free.

2. Yoga. It’s about being in the present moment. Breathing in, breathing out, moving, being still. Maybe yoga is like an endless yolo moment? Here is what I found by Googling “yoga yolo” – it’s a thing?!

3. Earbud dance parties on my morning subway commute. Straphangers do not care if you’re doing a little AM party for one, just so other people can’t tell what you’re listening to.

4. I tried out a nail polish trend! Sally Hansen Golden-I nails with Essie Trophy Wife on my ring fingers. Sassy! Boom boom pow/yolo.

20120823-173707.jpg

On trend

5. Lipcolor is a great place to yolo. Pantone tangerine, interference purpley-pinkey-red like NYC Blue Rose ($1.99!), matte red Lady Danger. Go for it!!! Get your clear lipliner and try something surprising. Lipcolor is easier to change than a weird nail color.

6. I stayed up allll night: to paint my living room “Anonymous” grey, to watch the sunrise from my apartment roof, to wait for the next bus from Tarifa to Cadiz. So sometimes these aren’t the smartest ideas, but hey, they happened. There’s usually a good story or memory, and they were all related to yolo.

20120823-175002.jpg

“I will just see how it looks on this one wall…”

7. Sometimes I dress up to vacuum. It makes it much more delightful. Add a tiara and/or beautiful high heels. I’ve found this is also a good trick to aid in dusting.

8. Yolo = treat yo’self. I got a fancy-pants facial because I could. I highly recommend it!

9. In addition to cookie butter testing, yolo has also been responsible for: ice cream for breakfast, cheesecake for breakfast, inhaling 1.5+ lbs of blueberries in one fell swoop, putting spinach and/or kale in a blender and turning smoothies green or weird brown, buying ground flax. I think these food consumption yolo decisions got progressively more healthy. Hooray!

20120823-181118.jpg

Extreme options for yolo breakfast

Too bad the store was closed, so the Holy Crap remained behind glass.

10. My biggest yolo to date was moving from Seattle to New York City four years ago. I figured if not now, when? “Yolo” is what I was thinking and I didn’t even know it. This decision spurred high-intensity saving, major purging, and all kinds of moving rigamarole. It has been an outstanding learning experience, that’s for sure.

20120823-173655.jpg

Rivington & Ludlow, Lower East Side, August 2012

YOLO means YES. It can be big or small, a good or more questionable choice. You Only Live Once.

20120823-180804.jpg

How NYC says “YOLO”

What makes you go YOLO? Do it.

Beginner’s Luck – Big Summer Potluck 2012

Big Summer Potluck. I had no idea what to expect, but the entire weekend was just right.

It was inspiring. It was humbling. It was affirming. It fun. It was perfect timing.

Being surrounded by food bloggers was not dissimilar from major knitting events, but with more delicious food and maybe more fancy cameras. I wondered how many of these pro bloggers were live Tweeting the weekend. Answer: fewer than I thought, based on the #bsp3 feed.

Outdoors at BSP3

It felt like I was in the right place at the right time. The very first night, I won a KitchenAid mixer. What?! I was floored. I will never, ever say “I never win anything.” I can’t wait to break in my amazing appliance and whip up treats that I was too hesitant to try with my beloved hand mixer.

KitchenAids as centerpieces

Being new to blogging for what could grow into a wider readership than my mom and a handful of friends, the program of speakers was stellar. Joy the Baker, Brooke of Food Woolf, Molly of Cooknscribble, and the wonderful 3 Many Cooks organizers facilitated conversations that spoke to my concerns with blogging and really seemed to jumpstart thoughtful dialogue among all the participants. I’m not alone in my fears or insecurities as I head out into the internet, sharing my point of view and amateur photos. It’s ok to start and be where I am! And it’s ok for you too, but maybe you already know that.

The food demonstrations were informative and so fun to see happening right in front of us, rather than through a tv or computer screen. Beyond the eating, the demos, and even the gorgeous countryside scenery, the highlights of the weekend were making connections with people that will make my blogging, Tweeting, interneting more personal. I’m not just writing into a void, and I’m excited to see where it could go.

Since it was a potluck and all, I brought Lavender Shortbread Cookies, for which I tried out my mini food processor and broke out my rolling pin. They turned out great and now I’m excited to pulverize even more stuff with my kitchen gadgetry! I didn’t make any changes to the recipe aside from using regular granulated sugar and cutting the dough into squares.

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

They got eaten

Brooke’s talks on mindfulness and recognizing the moments that sparked your Big Idea really resonated with me. It’s something that applies to everyone, anyone who feels stress, or has a full or busy life. It made me think about where I’m going next and how my choices fit into my bigger picture.

;
One of the highlights was definitely presenting Joy and Tracy of Homefries renown with “boom boom pow” tshirts. It was kind of a project, but so much fun (tutorial to follow now that I have a blog for this sort of thing…) and even better seeing their faces. I was so relieved they weren’t creeped out! Listen to their podcasts to get in on the joke. They keep me company on my morning commute.

Boom Boom Pow

Boom Boom. Pow!

I made matching shirts for me and Emily too – quadruplets (Joy’s was in the car)! It’s not weird, it’s the magic of the internet.

It's real

Boom Boom Pow for everyone

Important next questions:

1. What to make with my KitchenAid mixer? I can’t decide! Something that’s too hard/intimidating to do with my beloved handmixer… Cinnamon rolls? Bread? A fancy-pants meringue? So many options!

2. How am I integrating mindfulness into everything I do? It’s one of those things that can truly reflect in any aspect of life, from writing emails, to saying hello, to deciding how much cookie butter to consume in one sitting.

3. How am I staying connected with my new internet community? What’s next for my internet life?

Loving New York

Last weekend was one of the best I’ve had in my four years as a New Yorker. After balmy, humid days followed by a fabulous thunderstorm, Saturday dawned mild and sunny.

I slathered on the sunblock, broke out a new bikini for the occasion, and donned a floor length skirt, tshirt, long sleeve plaid, and sunhat. I’ll always have a healthy fear of sun burn, but I was ready for the beach in my full-coverage getup! Snacks packed and water procured, I idled on Riis Beach with two girlfriends. A clean ocean beach right here in NYC! Some wading and beach strolls rounded out a lazy afternoon people watching and magazine reading.

Sunday, I had a day full of activity: midmorning yoga, brunch, then an upscale mani/pedi followed by cocktails. It was a perfect day with wonderful women. If my life was my own version of Sex and the City every day, that might be it.

I’m endlessly grateful to my New York family. Enjoying the weekend in pairs and groups of threes with smart, generous women was such a gift. I suppose this weekend of fun could be viewed as preparation for the weekend of fun coming up at the Big Summer Potluck, where I worry that being around experienced, established bloggers may get intimidating. Time to download the Twitter app so I can get my act together with web 2.0!

Maybe there’s nothing to worry about when I find messages like this one.
20120727-073207.jpg
Oh, New York, you’re perfect too, in your own sometimes frustrating way.

Bicoastal DIY – Hello!

I’ve been reading Super Sad True Love Story. It tells the story of a middle-aged New Yorker struggling to adapt to a near-future where streaming updates, statuses, and high-tech nutrition and clothing are the new normal. I think part of the relatability comes from being able to compare life before and after Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and all the other avenues to “follow,” “like,” and “share.” How much of your life do you put on the internet, a place that is at once temporal and permanent?

 

Well, I don’t intend to use this blog to explore that question in particular. Let’s keep it a little lighter! I’m excited to use this place to make connections and share some of my Bicoastal DIY experiences. I’m heading to The Big Summer Potluck this weekend, and I’m so excited to meet new people and enjoy a fun weekend away from the city. 

 

Four years ago, I packed my bags and left my native Seattle for the glamour of NYC. It was kind of an experiment, but it seems to have worked out so far. I work at a bustling 9-5 and outside of work, I’m planning new recipes to try, blending up green smoothies, making my own face cleanser (crazy but amazing!), and researching yoga teacher training programs. Now I’ve got a place to keep track of it all and share it with the internet!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.