Friday, October 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Oliver!

One of my favorite annual traditions since marrying into the Maduro/Dusedau family is making our little cousin Oliver's birthday cake each year. It started with a baby chick cake for his first birthday, last year I went crazy with a green dinosaur at his request and THIS year, for his big 4th birthday, I wanted to do something that stuck with the "Science" theme of his party - thrown jointly with his best friend OB (Oliver Benjamin). 

SO...taking inspiration from Pinterest, and with advice from Sara and Keeley - who've tackled this cake for their own kiddos, I made what looked like just a nothing-fancy vanilla cake. 

Oliver and OB had to help finish it, by putting colored sprinkles on the top...(the final ingredients for this science experiment)....

THEN...I cut a slice- revealing that the sprinkles turned the cake RAINBOW inside!!

So fun to see their amazed faces and squealing excitement!


I'd say it was a hit. 

Now I need to start planning next year's cake...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Big Lou...

Our neighbors stopped me on my way to the garage this weekend - asking if we or our tenants happened to lose a GIANT LIZARD. Um, no.

Apparently, hanging out in the sun in our neighbor's for the last couple of days is a Tegu Lizard - a large Argentinian reptile. They look like this:

Apparently they are pretty harmless. They think he must have been a pet that escaped. They were canvassing the neighborhood looking for his owner, and in the meantime - have named him Big Lou. The wife imagines a future where he becomes our streets version of the Loch Ness Monster - appearing and disappearing like the stuff of legend.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Oh the bathrooms...

 While our kitchen is brand new, our hickory floors are delicious and even our patio is coming together, our bathrooms are still in their gross original state. The previous owners had a love of weird 70's tile. At least our half of the duplex has neutral colors.

We'll get around to redoing the bathrooms eventually but in the meantime, we're just trying to make them as clean and livable as possible.

First task - redo the nasty caulk around the tub.

We scraped it off...

...and applied the new stuff as neatly as possible.

I would still love to just blow up the whole room, but for now, at least the dirt we see in the caulk is OUR dirt.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A new addition to the neighborhood...

In mid-October, our Echo Park extended family gets a little bit bigger. Neal's writing partner and his wife, two of our best friends, are expecting a little boy. Nick and Chelsea live two and a half blocks away so I expect we'll have a lot of babysitting in our future.

 Last weekend, Rachel, Ashley and I threw them a "Baby Warming" - we didn't dare call it a shower.

A pile of great food, a bunch of wonderful people, cute presents and lots of advice and words of wisdom.

 This will be a lucky baby with these two as parents...and with the rest of these people as a support system.  Excited to meet him.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Neal had the awesome idea to push the planters back a foot or so from the edge of that concrete level, making a bench for people to sit on.

Before our housewarming party, I whipped up some basic pads to cushion our guests behinds. Don't look to closely at the edges, this was not a very neat job, but I think they are pretty cute.

I also made some thinner, simpler ones for the gross built in bench on the lower patio.

I used basic drop cloths from Home Depot and filled it with some polyester batting.  A little embroidery floss to "quilt it". All done while watching Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Maybe we have a new career ahead...

Neal and I cameo in our friend Amelia's latest post on her amazing blog - Bon Appetempt!

Click on the screen cap or here to watch.

Yeah, maybe we shouldn't switch careers quite yet...

Amelia, on the other hand...she is a star!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The weekend ahead...

This weekend is going to involve lots of blog post writing (have a big batch of new stuff), lots of pool floating, and LOTS of live music.

Photo from, by Todd Roeth
First off, Friday, my friend Jesse Elliott comes to town with his band These United States. They play at The Satellite tomorrow night - doors open at 8:30. Here is their newest music video for their song MAPS. The animation is amazing. 

(Apologies for the very low-rent way of linking to these videos...I have no idea how to embed stuff. Need to take a class from Amelia or Morgan!)

On Saturday, we're dragging Neal's little sister to the FYF Fest in downtown LA. Our friend Eric's band Tanlines will be playing as the sun sets and we'll be dancing along. Here's my favorite of their videos from the catchiest of their songs, ALL OF ME.

Talented friends, good music and lots of sunshine. Happy Labor Day!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Putting the kitchen to use...

I love my friends. I love having people in my life who will try anything - who get an idea in their heads and then follow through.

Rachel and Tannaz are the all-stars of making good ideas happen. Months ago, we were riffing about our shared love of cured meats...and thought, WHY CAN'T WE DO THIS!? And our club, which we named "Panacea" was born. (Apologies in advance for any photos that may be NSFW!)

Our first attempt was simple - curing salmon to make grav lax and some homemade ricotta. It was quite a success if I do say so myself. Check out Tannaz's blog - All Kinds of Yum - for pics from that glorius evening.

This time, we got a little closer to our dreams of cured sausages and animal legs (I need to get a thermometer and see if a dark corner of our basement might be right for hanging meat!) and ground up pounds of pork and fat with a lot of herbs and spices to make spicy italian sausage.

Our day began with an email chain about where to get pork back fat and some pig intestines as sausage casings. (One of the grossest things I've ever purchased.) Then we met, over white whine and some homemade potato leek soup, and started grinding and mixing.

Using Michael Ruhlman's great book CHARCUTERIE, which I'd given Rachel as a wedding shower gift, we used my kitchen aid attachment to grind the pork, fat, basil, oregano, garlic, paprika, chiles...

...mixed it up with water and vinegar, and began the process of stuffing.

Yeah, not that pretty, but man was that stuff tasty!

Rachel manned the stuffer like a pro.

I have to say - this was one of the most satisfying things I've ever done. (Warned you about potentially gross photos.)

Take the finished, um, tube of sausage and give it a twist every six inches. VOILA!

Thanks to Jared Mark for the photo of his dinner last night. Grilled up with a salad. Mmmmm...

What's next ladies?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Veggie "Lasagna"...

Did a post over at Saucy Little Dish today...go check out the super easy Veggie "Lasagna" I made for Neal's return home from a weekend in New Orleans.

Hope everyone is having a good week. We did a few little projects this weekend that I'll put up soon. AND we're finally having our housewarming party this weekend!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Kitchen!

FINALLY! Our much overdo kitchen pictures! Hurrah! Let's first remember what we started with...

Gross. And NOW (almost the same view): much better and brighter! I can't imagine having that terrible WALL where the peninsula now is. Yesterday I prepped dinner while watching the Olympics and was happy as a clam. There will soon be a dining room table in the middle there.

Here's a BEFORE of the actual kitchen - 


 I still want to put something on that back wall - maybe these cool graphic prints we got as a wedding gift in colored frames? And I will paint that wood stool something fun someday.

Here are some other details for you:

Normal size stove! (If you remember what I had before...)

Awesome flexible faucet.

Big deep drawers for storage - LOVE THIS.

Some green friends in our window.

Big ass sink.

Breakfast area.


Here's all the materials we used if you are curious:

Cabinets - Ikea Akurum Adel Off-White
Drawer and Cabinet Pulls - Pulls Direct
Countertops - Honed Absolute Black Granite
Stove Hood - Pacific Sales
Appliances - From Sears
       - Bosch Dishwasher
       - LG Convection Range
       - Kenmore Elite Fridge
       - Kenmore Microwave
       - Kenmore Washer & Dryer
Sink - Kraus
Faucet - American Standard
Hanging Lights - Restoration Hardware
Kitchen Chairs - Restoration Hardware - On Sale!
Table - Neal's Grandmother 
Map - Style De Vie inside HD Buttercup