Thursday, March 25, 2010

Double posting.

I'm normally against double posting in one day... but I was so excited about this piano that I had to show you. It's mustard. And it's got all sorts of fun cameras on top. Maybe when I have official ownership of my parent's piano I'll paint it a crazy color too!

I just love Design*Sponge before and afters... But I've mentioned that before. (Below is the before... obviously.)
Happy Thursday!

Guest Blogger.

A good friend of mine named Bethany is always giving people ways to save money on things by doing it yourself, especially when it comes to food and drinks. (E.g. Me: "Man, I love passion tea lemonade from Starbucks." Bethany: "You can make that at home for cheap, here's how...") I have felt convicted by Bethany's wisdom in this area on many occasions. :) Someone the other day told her to start a blog to get all of that diy-money saving goodness off her chest... So she did!

Her blog is called "Our Healthy Desire" and is all about living healthy and saving money while you're doing it! Here is a bit from her post entitled "The Cost of Living":

"We believe that a meal is only as good as its ingredients. It is helpful to know about the food at the grocery and the food behind the door at your favorite restaurant. We will be exploring the definition of efficiency and ways to help our lifestyles become cost efficient."

There are many cool things about Bethany's blog and one of them is that she is inviting her friends to get involved and write for it as well. So I did! I'm a guest blogger! (That's so funny to me...) I wrote about baking. (Baking? I can just imagine the shocked look on your face right now.) If you're interested, check out what I wrote here, but more importantly just check out Bethany's blog. She has a lot of great things to say!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A bit much?

Last week was busy so I took a bit of an hiatus from baking... not on purpose, it just never crossed my mind. Saturday night Cory said, "Abby, you haven't baked anything this week... what's going on?" Can I just say that I love my brother... I love that he missed my baking. Somehow I've tricked him into believing that I'm a decent baker. But oh well... I was flattered.

So you know the second he said that I had to bake something. I was originally going to try to bake some phyllo dough brownies like the ones from Addison's. But: 1. I couldn't find phyllo dough at the grocery store, and 2. I'm not sure the recipe I had was very good anyway. So as I was walking around Price Chopper at midnight with Cory I came up with the idea (well, I wouldn't say it was original to me, it was more remembering someone else's idea)...

Cookie sandwiches! Two cookies... with frosting in the middle. So I started with my favorite combination: chocolate and peanut butter. I made some chocolate cookies with peanut butter chocolate chip frosting. I thought they were a bit much but luckily when I woke up the next morning my family was raving about them.

I'm a slacker really... I just stole other people's recipes and put them together and wahlah (how do you spell that?) a chocolate peanut butter cookie sandwich was born. I got my chocolate cookie recipe here (although I'm searching for a better one) and my peanut butter frosting recipe here (and I added some mini chocolate chips.) I am also currently working on some snickerdoodle cookie sandwiches using this snickerdoodle recipe. I'll have to let you know how it turns out...

Sunday, March 21, 2010


As you may know, I graduated from college in December and moved back home with my parents as I'm transitioning into this thing called adulthood. I haven't had a chance to make it back to Columbia since the day of my graduation... until this weekend. I was silly to only plan a day and a half long visit. I didn't have enough time to see everyone and do everything that I wanted to see and do. But overall... the 29 hours that I spent there (cut short by the ridiculous, untimely snow storm) were awesome.

My return to Columbia this weekend was just incredibly encouraging. I think everyone deserves the chance to leave somewhere and return later to be excitedly received by the people they love and that love them. That's what happened to me. My friends loved on me more than I deserved... and it was one of the coolest things I've experienced in a while.

I've heard it said before that people don't tell you how much they truly appreciate you until you are moving or dying. Thankfully, I'm not dying, but I did move... and the encouragement that I received from the people I love was powerful. I hate that we wait to say the things we hold back until tough circumstances arise. My goal, after returning to the place I recently moved from, and being on the receiving end of the love, is to tell people regularly the things that I wouldn't say unless something hard was about to happen. I want to love on people the way I was loved on. So that's my goal... Maybe you can make it your goal too and we can all love on our loved ones a little bit more.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


No, not the condiment. (I actually really dislike mustard-the condiment.) I'm talking about the color. The rich, yellowy, beautiful color mustard. It's currently my favorite. I know, I know... it's in right now, so I'm not alone, but gosh I love this color.

Today I was browsing Etsy and almost all of the showcased items on their homepage were mustard. Talk about temptation. I couldn't resist it... I bought the card pictured above. Do you really think I could withstand a $3 card that is mustard AND has a tree on it (and bonus: a kite!). I don't think so. I also ended up purchasing a purse that I've been debating over for about a month. After months of dreaming and drooling, I have finally made my first purchase(s) from Etsy. Woohoo!

So while my bank account and responsible part of my brain are kind of disappointed in me right now, my mustard loving heart is full of joy. So I guess it's ok...

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Bright Side Project.

The other day I came across a website called The Bright Side Project. I found it because Sseko Designs (where I got my sandals) announced on Twitter that they were giving away a free pair on the site. It's a great site... I could explain it, but I will just let them explain it. Here's their mission:
"The Bright Side Project is here to bring you sunshine every day with themed, daily giveaways. We hope to inspire you to stop for a second and remember life is (still) beautiful and there is goodness in the world."

How great! Another place that's all about pointing out the fun, cute, beautiful, etc. things in life. Their approach is a bit more "things" oriented, but I'm not complaining. :) I was tempted to not blog about this... because the more people that know about the site, the more people that put their name down for the giveaways, and the less of a chance I have of winning anything. But you're worth it. You should check their site out. Now.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Perks of waking up early.

This morning I had an earlier start than normal... I woke up at 7:30. Now I know... a lot of the world has to be in work by 8:00 so that's not that early... BUT, it was earlier than normal for me. Anyway, two great things happened out of this early morning:

1. I walked the dog (it's not actually my dog, I'm housesitting for some people with a dog) and it was BEAUTIFUL outside. The sun was in the process of rising and it was foggy outside... a little chilly, but only enough to make you appreciate it, not resent it. It actually looked a lot like the scene in Pride & Prejudice were Darcy and Elizabeth finally decide they love each other.

2. I woke up early enough to grab coffee and a bagel from Panera. I shouldn't have... with the diet and all. But I went for a french toast bagel and honey walnut cream cheese. A-mazing!

3. (I decided there was a third great thing about waking up early.) I'm blogging and it's only 9:00 in the morning. That's great!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dear Spring, Please come faster.

The sun hadn't shown its face in about a week... until this afternoon! It was glorious! Today I found out that I need a $500 car repair and was a bit bummed... but the instant the sun came out it was like I didn't have a care in the world. I'm amazed at what a mood-lifter a spotting of the long-lost sun can be.

So the sun came up, the temperature rose a bit, thanks to daylight savings time the moon didn't appear as early as it had been... I was over at some friend's for dinner and we went outside and played basketball at dusk. It was wonderful! Today was a glimpse of the spring to come, and I loved it.

The calendar says that spring comes in 4 days. (Although as I was typing that I'm recalling a debate that I had with some people about the true first day of spring. Does anyone remember the verdict?) Anyway... I'm ready for it: the flowers, and warm breezes, and longer days, and the list goes on and on. But especially the flowers.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Love Happens.

I watched the movie Love Happens with Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart last night. I decided to stop by Red Box on my way to the place where I'm housesitting. It randomly became the winner because I was in the mood for a chick flick and it was one of the few that I hadn't seen. It was good... a bit cheesy at times, but it's a chick flick... so what are you to expect?

The movie wasn't quite great enough to blog about (although now looking back on it, I enjoyed it more than I realized) but its soundtrack was amazing (for a chick flick). I was pretty surprised that it had the songs that it did being the type of movie it was. It had The Postal Service, Helen Stellar, Explosions in the Sky, and a song by this girl named Priscilla Ahn that I'm currently obsessed with.
Anyway, I was just impressed with the soundtrack and really liked this song, so I thought I'd share it with you.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Today's post brought to you by...

The letter A! (Please tell me you remember how they do that on Sesame Street...) Joel posted recently about Letter Cult, a blog about custom lettering. They are doing this thing called Alphabattle where they have artists submit original letter designs for each letter of the alphabet. They are going through the alphabet so they, of course, started with the letter A. A just happens to be the first letter of my name, so I was pretty excited. I loved looking through all of the designs and seeing how each person's creativity inspired them to create totally different designs for a single letter.

I'm excited to see what everyone comes up with for B... and the rest of the alphabet. It's going to be a long time waiting for them to finish all 26 letters but I'm pretty excited. I've posted a few of my favorites of the letter A.

Friday, March 12, 2010


I love lemons. Ok, well, that's a false statement. I love the flavor of lemon... (I've never actually eaten a lemon.) I feel like it's either a flavor you love or you hate. I lean on the love side... the rest of my family not so much. I think it all started with my love for lemon drops and the times that my friend Mary and I would walk across the field to the nearby gas station to get them. I remember my mouth would be raw in no time with the combination of the sugary coating and citrusy juices... Anyway, the other day I was perusing Martha Stewart's website and saw one of her feature stories was on lemon desserts and it inspired me to bake a lemon cake. Talk about amazing! (I used her recipe. It and others like it can be found here.)
Many great things came out of this baking experience. One being I found a wonderful, moist, lemon cake recipe. (Tonight I used the same recipe to bake some cupcakes... We'll see if they turned out as well as the cake.) Two being that for the first time I successfully made a fluffy/meringue-y frosting. A while back I attempted to make a frosting and it never peaked or whatever and I've never tried again out of fear of failure... until the other day. This time it peaked and I was ecstatic. (Although I was successful, I think I still prefer butter based frosting recipes. It was still an accomplishment.) Mmm... I just love lemon!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Nice day for a...

I have always been fond of Wednesdays. I know most people don't like them... but for some reason, I do! I have written about my like for Wednesdays here and here but the current reason why I love Wednesdays is because I get to hang out with Jessie, Liam, and Eli. The day normally goes like this: they go to story time at the library, I sleep in, they come over to my house around 10:30, the boys play with marbles and cars while Jessie and I chat, then we do something for lunch, whether that is my house, her house, or out.

This week we packed some sandwiches for the boys and went to Le Monde, a French bakery, in North Kansas City. The baked goods are just ok (when I can see your croissants look visibly burnt, it's not good) but they have this amazing chicken curry soup that I was craving (and am again craving now as I'm thinking about it) and I really wanted Jessie to try it. So we picked up some soup and headed to the park down the road. The weather was beautiful and we had the park all to ourselves so we had a great time. Good food, nice weather, quality company, and cute boys (being the little ones, not guys in their 20s...) I got to practice using my camera a bit, too!

I just love Wednesdays...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Lately I've had some people comment on my blog that I don't know... and I love it. I love that more people are reading than the small group of maybe 15 friends and relatives that I thought. Part of me thinks, "Man, my blog isn't THAT great. Why do they want to read my blog?" I started reading over the last few posts to see why, and am still a bit baffled but for sure am honored that people read this... so thanks. Your audience inspires me to write more.

Anyway, while reading back over my last few posts I read "note to self: write about simplicity" and was reminded that I need/want to do that. (I always just thought "note to self" was a funny phrase, who knew that it actually can function as a reminder...) So anyway... I love simplicity (sometimes to a fault... but I love it.) I love the cleanliness of it. I love the lack of drama. I love how it gets straight to the point. I can't think of a single facet of life where more complicated is better. Ok, well, maybe baking... because you can bake cookies from a mix or you can bake homemade cookies which truly is more complicated, but ultimately better. So, I guess sometimes the simple way isn't the best way... so we'll just say that I love it when things are simple that can be simple.

Anyway, for the sake of simplicity, and honoring this wonderful concept that I love, I thought I'd show pictures rather than express in words. I prefer the picture above (courtesy of Design*Sponge) over the picture below...
(Yikes. Are there cats climbing on the walls next to the virgin Mary?)

I prefer this dress... (The train's a bit long, but whatever...)
... Over this dress. (Holy. Cow.)

I prefer this painting... (You can buy this on Etsy for $3)
... Over this painting. (Or you could buy this hideous thing on Etsy for $35)
I prefer these sunglasses... (So classic.)
... Over these sunglasses. (Apparently these are Lady Ga Ga's...)
So anyway... you get the picture. That's me. I love to keep things simple. So I hope you are having a wonderfully simple day...

Monday, March 8, 2010


The weather is starting to trick me into believing that spring is here. Because I live in Missouri, I'm not getting my hopes up because I know that it could blizzard tomorrow. But the weather has been nice for about a week now. The second it hit above 40 degrees outside I busted out my sandal collection and haven't looked back.

Speaking of sandals... I love them. Particularly flips flops, but pretty much any kind of sandal makes me happy. I love the freeness your toes feel when wearing them. I love the funny shaped tans you get on your feet. I love having to paint your toe nails because they finally get they're time to shine after a long winter. I love that they're casual, but I wear them for all occasions anyway. I just love them. And I love that the weather is looking up so I can actually wear them.

I got some sandals for Christmas that I haven't been able to wear until this week. They are my current favorites. They are called Ssekos and they are from a non-profit "enterprise" Sseko Designs that supports the education of some girls from Uganda. I love the actual sandals but I also love what they represent. You should get some if you love sandals as much as I do...

Happy Sandals Weather!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Google Revisited... again.

So you know how I have a passion (well, maybe not passion, but I really like) Google logos? I found one today that I love maybe more than any that I've seen... 1. Because it looks cool. 2. Because my brother Cory designed it!

I guess Google has a scholarship contest where you can submit your design and if you win you get $15,000 toward school. You had to design around the theme of finishing the sentence, "If I could do anything I would..." Cory chose, "If I could do anything I would live in black and white." He used some of my other brother Joel's photography and came up with this design. Pretty great.

What can I say... I have some talented brothers. (If you want to read about Cory's design or see more of his work, go here. If you want to see more of Joel's photography, go here, or read his blog, go here.)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Fondue Party.

Last night I had the pleasure of hanging out with some great ladies and eating some great food. My friend Corrie's sister was in town from Portland so we got some friends together so she could meet everyone. We ate chocolate fondue and boy did we have a spread to dip in it: pears, strawberries, bananas, brownies, pound cake, rice krispie treats, and cheesecake. It was delicious and we had a great time!

Part of me felt a bit guilty for eating junk food but part of me thought that it's cool how we can gather together and enjoy good food. At church we have been talking about food and how we all struggle with it. Last week our pastor ended the series with a sermon about how food isn't bad (the over-consumption of food is bad), and that Jesus used it to gather people together. I like that about food... So while, yes, I will admit that last night I might have given in to my gluttonous tendencies a bit... I had a great time fellowshipping (yep, it's a word) with some friends. And I'm thankful for that... I'm just pretty blessed.
(The ladies, before Dana showed up.)
(Dana enjoying my (cracked) cheesecake!)
(I tried to document this dinner party like Annie's Eats documents hers. Maybe someday I'll be as good as she is at throwing and capturing parties.)

Friday, March 5, 2010


I have quite a few aprons. I have received most of them as gifts (like the two depicted below given to me by my aunt Kay and friend Jessica respectively (modeled by my friend Emily.)) And while all of my aprons are special... none of them are totally me.
So I decided to make my own apron. A simple apron. (Have I mentioned that I love simple things? Note to self: blog about your love for simplicity.) A simple pattern and a relatively simple fabric. While it should have taken me less than an hour to pull this thing off, it took me about... 3. But considering the last time I've sewn was in 8th grade home ec, that's not THAT bad, right?

The apron for sure isn't perfect, but I'm pretty excited about it. I used it tonight while baking a cheesecake and it worked just wonderfully. So if you see specs of nasty in the pictures, you'll just know that it was doing its job while I was baking away. (P.S. Thanks to Jessie who lent me her sewing machine, kitchen, and expertise so that I could pull off this project.)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Google Revisited.

I like this one. Apparently it's Antonio Vivaldi's birthday... Happy birthday, Antonio!