Banana Chocolate Chip Cake


My little sister celebrated her 26th birthday (26th!!!) last Friday and I wish I could’ve been there with her in Virginia, where she’s currently attending med school. But not so much because I wanted to spend time with her…mostly because I wanted to devour the Banana Chocolate Chip Cake she made from The Baker Chick. :P

True to form, my baking-obsessed sister—she used to intern at Sweet & Saucy Shop, the amazing Orange County bakery with hands down the best cupcakes, in my humble opinion—made her own birthday cake. And it also has a peanut butter frosting! (She texted me photos of her creation just to torture me, of course.)

“The cake was really moist and a perfect combination of all three flavors—the bananas tasted delicious and the chocolate and peanut butter complemented it perfectly without being too overpowering,” she said about the recipe. “The mini chocolate chips were also super cute and anything with buttermilk is bound to be amazing.”

Did I mention she also made Magnolia Bakery’s Banana Pudding without me? She gets a birthday pass, but just this once…happy 26th to my sis!!! :)

UPDATE: My sister says this recipe for Magnolia’s pudding is even better!

{photo via The Baker Chick}

73 Questions for SJP

Have you guys seen this Vogue interview with Sarah Jessica Parker? She powers through 73 questions fired off by a reporter at lightning speed and it’s so much fun to watch. I’m equally impressed by how the interviewer memorized (I imagine) all those questions and how quickly SJP answers them! Some of them would have stumped me for a bit for sure, such as “Can you write down your favorite word that starts and ends with the same vowel?” She thinks of a beautiful word in a flash! It’s also an unintentional mini-tour of her amazing apartment in NYC, a city she describes in the interview as “Symphonic, tiny, real.” She is quick with words, that one.

{via Vogue America}

Filmmakers For A Day

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Last Saturday, Stephen and I took a one-day course on 16mm filmmaking. I’ve always been fascinated by filmmaking and even wanted to major in it in college, but I was intimidated by the technical aspects of it and how unrealistic job prospects might be in the future—also, I have to admit, I was pretty into journalism back then and was sure my fate would be in the publishing world. But now, nearly 7 years out of college, I can’t stop thinking about the world of movie-making (helps to also live in Downtown LA and drive by a film set pretty much every day, which always gets my heart racing a bit). I’ve been reading up on independent filmmaking a lot but I think I just needed to start taking classes so this new pursuit/hobby/I-don’t-know-what-yet would feel a little more legitimate.

Stephen is personally fond of documentary filmmaking and loves cameras, so we signed up for the class together at Echo Park Film Center and it ended up being an awesome day learning the art of 16mm film and playing with a Bolex and a Scoopic (names I know now!).

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photo 2Our teacher, Cosmo, (in the cool hat) hand made our instruction booklets (top left photo). He wrote, illustrated, and bound all 9 copies for our class! In the top right photo, you can see an open 16mm Scoopic—apparently named because journalists often grabbed these handheld cameras when rushing out the door to get the “scoop” on a breaking story. In the bottom left photo, we also learned how to use a light meter, which, after fiddling with a few dials and holding it up in front of a camera lens, tells you what the proper exposure should be. I really loved using that instrument in particular because I’ve seen it in so many behind-the-scenes looks at photo shoots and movies! (I felt like I was truly “on set” for a few minutes there.)

The first part of our class was spent getting familiar with the cameras and learning how to put film in (which is actually pretty tricky), and then we walked over to Echo Park a few blocks down to film.

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Stephen going around the park with the Bolex, which was my choice camera over the Scoopic. It’s compact and the design just looks so classic. How Hollywood does Stephen look here with his camera, the blue skies, and the palm trees? ;)

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We needed a subject to film, and found our star of the day in the form of this adorable miniature poodle named Terry, whose owners kindly let us borrow her for a few scenes. We shot her frolicking around the park, running around trees, and then got a few close-ups of that furry face.

photo 1After some time at the park, we went back to the film center and hand processed all of the film. It was a process, indeed! There was a lot of measuring, mixing, waiting, hanging, and drying (even outdoors, as Stephen demonstrates). I have so much respect for films made the old-fashioned way now. We actually didn’t get to see our film at the end of the day because it was still drying when class ended, but we’re supposed to get DVD copies of it soon. I personally can’t wait to see all the cute footage of Terry!

The majority of the class felt a little over my head—as I suspected it might—and there were even a couple of students from USC’s graduate film school in attendance, but I’m so glad I took it. Whether this continues as a hobby or something more, it’s funny how when you’re really taken by something, it’s like you can’t get away from it…even years later, it finds you. And for now, I’m more than happy to be the novice in all of this, taking baby steps and learning as I go. I still have so much to learn, so I’ll be planning another trip to the library soon to check out a bunch of books. And filling up my Netflix queue with as many classic films as I can possibly find. And slowly saving up for a new camera. Kind of perfect timing for that tax refund, right? :)

Yurt Living is the Life for Me

The Yurt!

I think my next apartment might be a yurt.

This weekend, Matt and I took a road trip to Yosemite National Park to stay, for the first time in the ever-popular and ever-peculiar yurt village near the park. (For the uninitiated, a yurt is a traditional Mongolian dwelling — sort of like a teepee on steroids.) Yurt camping options have been popping up in scenic locales for a few years now and it seems there are always waiting lists for the things. I can see why after spending my first weekend in one. We were lucky enough to get one of the brand-new “Meadow Yurts” at Yosemite Lakes. It was stocked better than a hotel, with pots and pans and cooking utensils, a full-size bunk-bed and a futon. It even had a fireplace!


We stocked up on wine and games, bought some groceries on the road and had a pretty fabulous home away from home.



After traipsing around Yosemite on a 10-mile hike (2 miles of which was us getting lost and/or going around in circles), we built a decent fire in our yurt’s outdoor fire pit and made a nice dinner of kabobs and cous-cous. Then we topped it all off with some good ol’ smore-making — debating whether it’s best to toast or totally incinerate your marshmallow. (I go for the later.)


Overall, it was a great way to be in the great outdoors without the commitment required of a camping trip. And both of us found ourselves saying, honestly, “I could live in a yurt!” by the end of it all.

Yosemite Evening

I, for one, have my eye on these ocean front properties in Big Sur.

Magical Butter Sauce


My friend Jessica—a major foodie and cooking queen—swears by this magical butter sauce to pour over any protein. Just melt some butter with balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and your choice of fruit preserve such as apricot or blackberry (her secret weapon is Mick’s Hot Raspberry Pepper Jelly straight from Seattle) and you’re golden. She particularly loves it with salmon, roasted chicken drumsticks, or roasted chicken thighs. Microwave it in 30-second intervals and if it’s too sweet, just add a little more balsamic vinegar, she says. I’m actually planning to bake some chicken tomorrow night for dinner so this sauce is exactly what I’ll finish it off with!

Do you guys have any staple sauces you always turn to? As I’m starting to cook more, I’m really learning how valuable and life-saving a quick, delicious sauce can be!

{via Tasty Kitchen}


How You Glow

About Jessie   Tara   How You Glow   All things GLOW  positive vibrational energy that radiates from the inside out.

I’ve become slightly addicted to How You Glow, a lovely new website dedicated to all things healthy, healing, nourishing, and beautiful by Tara and Jessie. It’s both a lifestyle how-to guide and a behind-the-scenes look at a standard of living that I only wish I could emulate: days filled with fresh pressed juices and homemade smoothie bowls, garden yoga at what’s called the “How You Glow Treehouse”, and dress-up adventures at vintage boutiques. And Tara and Jessie get to essentially live and breathe this lifestyle 24/7—Tara is a natural foods chef and holistic nutritionist, and Jessie is a certified yoga instructor and art therapist.  


Through their site, you get to come along on private yoga sessions with instructors such as May Che…


…into the kitchen to make these vegan and gluten-free Raspberry Crumb Bars


…out and about town to profile equally fabulous women like Ali Kay and her backyard full of organic produce and fruit…


…on a beauty date with braid extraordinaire Ashley Streicher


…and of course model amazing pieces for new online vintage boutique The Neck Down.

What a life! You can peruse more stories, features, and tips on their site here. Plus, if their website isn’t envy-worthy enough, their Instagram feed will make you want to quit your job, do yoga all day, and just frolic around hip L.A. spots.

{photos via How You Glow}



I’m pretty excited about today’s post because it’s all about my wonderful friend Supattra! I met her a few years ago through our mutual friend Mike, and ever since then, we’ve gotten chummy over dinners, happy hours, bar nights, and even a sumo wrestling competition! I love her for so many reasons: she’s always up for something fun; she seizes the everyday but isn’t afraid to admit her fears and mistakes; she’s lived abroad and went to Kenya last year (pictured throughout this blog); and it’s so easy to have hours-long conversations with her about life, relationships, ambitions, and all the complications of growing up and figuring out what on earth we’re here for. Our talks always leave me inspired.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, Supattra was being her usual inspirational self again. ;) She reached out to a bunch of her friends and asked them to join her in completing a “30×30” list she had created. It’s a list of 30 things she wants to do by the time she’s 30—and 30 still counts, she says! (She’ll turn 30 in May 2015.) I thought the list was so fun—it’s full of big goals (hike Yosemite’s half dome), small goals (watch the full Star Wars trilogy), and playful goals (stomp on grapes like in I Love Lucy).

Supattra kindly let me share the list, plus a Q&A with her on what she’s learned from her 20’s and what she’s looking forward to about turning 30:

Supattra’s 30×30

1. Defy gravity (skydive or paraglide)
2. Hike the half dome (Summer 2014 anybody??)
3. Visit a continent I haven’t been to (planning for South America 2015! Who’s with me?)
4. Experience Coachella (planned for April 2014)
5. Go to something big somewhere else (Burning Man, Carnival, Oktoberfest, La Tomatina)
6. Go laser tagging for the first time
7. Learn to ride a motorcycle
√ 8. Hike to the hollywood sign to see the sunrise over L.A. < CHECKED 1/19/14
9. Learn to play and sing a full song on my ukelele or guitar
10. Stomp on grapes like in I Love Lucy
11. Buy my own first car
12. Host a dinner party and cook for friends
13. Take a spontaneous Jetsuite trip somewhere, anywhere
14. Go skinny dipping
15. Run a marathon
16. Learn at least 10 family recipes
17. Learn how to do an oil change, jumpstart a car, and change a car tire
18. Attempt to get over my fear of birds…
19. Go on an epic road trip with friends
20. Surf and snowboard on the same day
21. Watch the full Star Wars trilogy
22. Learn a new dance
23. Aprende Espanol (at an advanced level)
24. Get certified in something
25. Eat unprocessed foods and go gluten-free for a full month just to see how it feels
26. Clean out my storage and donate all unneeded things
27. Fall in love
28. Be a mentor
29. Quit a job I hate to follow my dreams
30. Look and feel my best at 30

And now…a Q&A with Supattra :) Continue reading