Join Studio B
You'll get exclusive deals, the latest info and a special welcome gift when you join. Trust us, it's worth it.
Now trending on Twitter. Let's talk.
Where we like to play and share.RSS Blog
If I'm going to be honest, cookies just might be my favorite thing about the holidays. Sure, family is great, presents are fun, but ginger snaps have my heart. My mom's ginger snaps are so dangerously good, and this year I found way to make them even better. I blew my own mind. Peanut butter chips. Why not? I'll admit, I tested two little nuggets before I attacked the batter wtih the peanut buttery goodness, but I mean, seriously. Why I shrugged an ounce of doubt is really quite puzzling.
I ate half a dozen cookies fresh out of the oven that night. And I didn't even feel bad about it. I've just accepted I'm going to exist in constant sugar coma until 2014. Denying myself a single cookie this holiday season is simply not on this girl's agenda. And I'm not saying no to pie. I'm not saying no to cheese. So clearly, getting into a consistent work out regime come the new year is making it on to the list of resolutions, but for the rest of this glorious month of December, I'm participating in all festivities, con cookies. Who's with me?
Wow- I really sidetracked on an indignant cookie monster rant there, my apologies. Onto the recipe, which I'm proud to share, my mom texted to me from her ipad. She's so hip, it's really quite impressive. (This recipe looks like it could have been written by Betty Crocker herself, am I right?)
I had to share this old school version, but I understand it's not so easy to follow, so I took the liberty of transposing for you.
2 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves (i omit) *that's my mom, not i. i added those cloves right on in & i didn't regret it.
1/4 tsp. pepper
6 oz. (1/2 stix) butter
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup molasses
granulated sugar to roll cookies in
walnuts & pecans, halved sliced, or coarsly chopped (optional) i did these sans nuts
Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, and black pepper, set aside.
In large bowl of electric mixer cream the butter. (I did not have an electric mixer, so I did all of this by hand. I was too tired to make a second batch, but I survived and the cookies did not suffer.)
Add brown sugar and beat well.
Add egg and molasses and beat a few more minutes until light in color.
On low speed gradually add sifted dry ingredients, scraping bowl with rubber spatula and beating until incorporated.
Refridgerate dough briefly until it can be handled. 10-15 min may be enough. (and in my case it certainly was)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut tinfoil to fit cookie sheets.
Spread granulated sugar on large piece of wax paper.
Use one round tablespoon of dough for each cookie.
Roll buttered hands, then in sugar, and place 2 1/2 to 3 inches apart on cookie sheets.
Bake almost 13 minutes, reversing cookie sheets if necessary to insure even browning.
Transfer to wire racks to cool.
Makes 24 large cookies. (Ok, maybe I had more than a half dozen cookies.)
And there you have it.
Not sure what to do with those xmas tree scraps? We went to pick up a tree for our office holiday decorating party and couldn't bear to part with the extra scraps of pine. We decided to make a little holiday chandelier to put up in our ecomm office! It was super quick & fun and now we have some extra smells & cheer wafting through the office. Quite lovely.
Here's how to do it:
1. Go get a tree!
For us LA folk, that means drive over to the nearest lot. Though, I would definitely recommend you walk through the forest and find a few fallen branches, if that option is available.
2. Save your scraps. Duh!
3. Gather your supplies.
For us we had some string & candy canes lying around, but feel free to get creative. Gold glitter, fun ornaments, or popcorn garland would all make excellent chandelier flair.
4. Layout your branches & decide on a shape.
I ended up taking some of the scraps and breaking them in half until I was able to get them in a nice arrangement. You can get creative with the shape of your chandelier depending on where you want to hang it and what you're going to jazz it up with.
5. Tie together your chandelier with some holiday ribbon, yarn or string.
6. Add flair.
We added candy canes and then added some hand crafted snowflakes. If you've forgotten how to make your own snowflakes, click here for a quick tutorial.
7. Hang it up.
Make sure your connection is sturdy, or you have your tree hung over a safe space. Be wary of falling branches!
Last week I shared my tips on saving money this holiday season, and one of my tips was getting crafty wtih your wrapping. Well, now I'm back with a quick & simple tutorial on how to make cute & festive wrapping paper for next to nothing!
We used butcher paper, stamps & ink, but you can sub butcher paper for newsprint, or recycled paper grocery bags! You can also use potatoes dipped in paint or ink if you don't want to buy stamps! We spent $50 on all the supplies and wrapped up 60 presents with tons of supplies to spare.
Step 1: Measure out & cut your paper
Step 2: Stamp the paper with festive stamps or designs! (We did a lot of snowflakes & jingle bells!)
Step 3: Wrap it up
Step 4: Add some string & your done!
The holidays are my favorite time of year, but it can also be expensive if you're living on a tight budget. With parties, gifts to buy, houses to decorate... etc. The expenses can be a bit overwhelming. I've been getting really into recycling, repurposing and making as much as I can by hand this year, so I am here to share a few ideas on where you can make some adjustments and save some of those precious dollars. :)
1. Make your own wrapping paper.
With Pinterest, there are a plethora of DIY gift wrapping ideas. I usually save any gift bags I get throughout the year and for any gifts that fit better in a box- I make my own wrapping paper. This year, I have been saving all of the butcher paper that comes as packing material in my Amazon Subscribe & Save deliveries. (Yes, I'm totally obsessed with Amazon) It's a little bit crumpled, but I figure this will add to the 'rustic' look. I plan on tying these up with some red twine and a sprig of rosemary. I expect they will smell and look quite lovely.
2. Recycle those boxes into a Christmas tree.
If you are going home for the holidays or can't afford a tree, there are plenty of ideas to get the feeling without dishing out big bucks for a tree that's really going to create a lot of mess for a short amount of time. I love this idea for a cardboard Christmas tree! I've been saving my boxes (I just break them down and store them behind the couch with the spiders) and I plan to just paint the tree when I'm finished! They kept the cardboard look, but I personally am tied to the whole green tree thing...
3. Learn oragami for some DIY ornaments.
My family is coming to Palm Springs to celelbrate Christmas this year, so my Mom asked me to come up with some ideas on how to make our rental house look a bit festive so we didn't feel totally disconnected from the spirit of Christmas while lounging by the pool. I've always wanted to learn to make oragami, so I got this book from amazon that came with paper & holiday inspired oragami how-tos. We're going to learn to make these as a family, and the nerd in me is really excited about it.
4. Gift your friends something handmade.
No one wants to be the only friend not participating in the gifting rituals of Christmas time, but there are ways of giving without breaking the bank. This year, I got a canning kit (Yes, from Amazon) and I am planning on making a bunch of caramel sauce & canning it with some red bows on top. This way I will fulfill my dreams of learning to can AND all my friends and family will have a little something sweet to ring in 2014 and I'll still be able to pay my rent come January.
5. Eat in when possible and never turn down leftovers.
There are going to be some holiday celelbrations where you end up going out and spending money on some food and drinks. Expect that- and try to cut out eating out when you're alone. Pack your lunches. Stay home, make soup, drink tea and your bank account will bless you with a much larger available balance. Another sneaky little tip: If you attend a holiday party, stick around and help the host clean up! When you're putting away the scraps and the fridge is full... don't say no when they insist you help eat the leftovers. ;)
all images via Pinterest.
Feeling like a Turkey after that Thanksgiving Feast?! Well, I don't know about you, but I sure am! Don't fret- I've got 5 ways to get you back lean and in shape. Here's how I got back in action!
Yoga is a great way to calm down and slim down. Don't have a membership to a yoga studio, don't worry! I take advantage of Youtube's many free videos and all I need is my laptop, yoga mat, and small space in my living room. Here you can find a cool 30-minute yoga video to enjoy right at home! http://youtu.be/KU2uj7W08wo
Have a Hike!
Hiking is not only an awesome way to workout but it also gives you the chance to enjoy the outdoors and take in all the beauty fall has to offer. I like to hike with friends, that way I can interact with company and nature. But don't forget to put on a good pair of hiking shoes and climb those calories away!
Shop Till You Drop!
Shopping is one of my favorite things to do, so why not add some cardio to the mix. I like to get to the mall early when its a bit quiet and walk while window shopping. Also I choose to take the stairs instead of the escalator or do some extra squatting when picking up an item i've been eyeing off the shelf. Scouring for that parking spot closest to the entrance, how about trying to park a little further and carrying your items instead of pushing them in a cart. Get more ideas for shopping while shaping here.
Go For A Run!
Running is my favorite workout, there's no extra workout equipment needed and its great to get off the couch and out the house every once in a while. Running can be very theraputic, so if you need to clear your mind after Thanksgiving chaos, just tie your laces and hit the pavement.
Juice it Up!
Can't even think about food after stuffing your face all week? Well, what about juice?! Juicing is a great way to cleanse your body or jumpstart a weightloss regimen. Juicing allows me to experiment with my favorite fruits and veggies and create a not only delicious, but healthy drink! Here's just one example of the many juicing recipes you'll love:
I hope I've shared some good ideas to help motivate you to work off that turkey!
*Images via pinterest
Can you believe we're only a few days away from Thanksgiving? This year has gone by so fast! I love Thanksgiving, because not only do we get to get together with our closest friends and family to eat copious amounts of delicious food, but it also gives us a chance to reflect on what's going right and what we are thankful for. In our everyday routines it's so easy to focus on the negative, but a whole day to put that aside, come together and reflect on our blessings is so refreshing.
This year I am thankful for so many things, I don't know where to start. I'm giving thanks for a wonderful job that allows me to live in sunny California, amazing coworkers, a strong group of friends, a loving family, a new cousin, and weekends for adventuring.
Celebrate your blessings this week & always!
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means it's time to start thinking about holiday shopping. Crazy how it always sneaks up on us so quickly, but I find it's best to take care of business rather than procrastinating. There's nothing I love more than the satisfaction of knowing my holiday shopping is done while all my friends are scrambling.
We know it's not easy, which is why we're helping you out with some great ideas for you, for mom, for your sister & for your friends!
For you, because you're special! The WANDERLUST backpack is one of a kind. Whether you're headed to class or out to the shops, this backpack will fit all of your belongings and keep you looking cool.
For mom, because she's given you the gift of life. The GLO flats are festive in the red cord fabric and they are super duper comfortable. The round toe and cushioned footbed will keep your mom on her feet and looking hip.
For your sister, your second hand, the IDRA wedge is where it's at. Get her a wedge that will make her stand out at holiday parties, out on a date, or out on the town! She'll love you for this, even more than she already does.
For your BFF, the INSPIRE scarf. This scarf is lovely and festive, and fits any budget. Perfect for grab bags & secret santas as well!
So I have a confession to make... I'm addicted to soup. Like, for real. (see above photo) My freezer is so full of soup and I can't stop making more. I see a squash (keep in mind- they are everywhere) compulsion takes over and I scoop it up and run home to my oven and my immersion blender. Let me tell you, my immersion blender is my number one favorite purchase of 2013, and that is no exaggeration. I highly recommend you purchase one if you plan on trying out this whole make-your-own soup thing. I used to be that person who bough the boxed soups from Trader Joes and then just doctored them up with excessive spices, cheeses & breads for dipping and the results always proved sub par to the homemade soup experience.
Most recently I have made a Potato-Leek Soup with thyme, a pumpkin-persimmon soup with curry, and a sweet-potato pear soup with ginger. All of them delicious. Ok well, to be totally candid, every once in a while you might make a flub of a soup. In my case... I started out making beet/black bean burgers and when it turned out more like a mashed potato consistency, I decided to add vegetable broth and make it a soup... and let's just say it needed goat cheese, a fried egg & some avocado to make it edible. Don't let that horror story discourage you, I have faith in your abilities. If you're nervous, my advice is just keep it simple. There's nothing wrong with butternut squash, veggie broth and a little sage, salt & pepper. Mmmmm.... Now I'm hungry for soup! Per usual...
Here's How to Make Any Veggie Soup:
1. Roast your veggies (1-2 lbs. of anything you fancy)
2. Saute some garlic, shallots, ginger and/or onions in some oil of your choice
3. Add in roasted veggies sans skin if it can't be blended (ie. remove the hard squash skin, potato skins are a ok!)
4. Add in the broth (veggie, chicken, almond milk... the choice is yours)
5. Pull out the immersion blender
6. Add spice & broth until the soup is the right flavor & consistency
7. Pour yourself a bowl and eat up!
8. Let the leftovers cool while you nom down, and then transfer them into mason jars to be enjoyed at a later date. Freeze 'em up if you would like to take your time in consuming the leftovers.
Reasons to Make-Your-Own Soup:
1. It's tastier than canned soups & BPA free.
2. Also, less sodium and more flavor.
3. You'll feel accomplished.
4. Your house will smell amazing.
5. You'll make your mom proud.
6. You can customize it for your taste buds.
7. You can freeze the leftovers.
8. Soup is awesome.
Hello Blowfish Buddies!
So I just recently celebrated my 26th birthday and it was definitely a birthday to remember. I decided this year I wanted to do something fun, yet relaxing, so I gathered up some friends and took a road trip to the desert, aka, Palm Springs. The weather was just perfect and the scenery was amazing! There was a lot of laying out at the pool, eating, and shopping going on, I had a blast!
Here are some of my favorite pics from the weekend...
I kicked off my birthday with a dinner with all of my friends and a red velvet cake! (my fave... yummm!)
The most memorable part of the trip, horseback riding! My horese' name was Cinnamon, pretty cool name, huh?
Looks like a postcard, right?!
Had dinner at a delicious mexican restaurant where they sange me Happy Birthday and gave me a sombrero to wear! :)
I couldn't get enough of this!
Well, that's all folks! Now I feel like I got to celebrate my birthday with you guys!
Hey there, Valentina here. Like everyone else come this time of year, I am obsessed wtih... pumpkin! Pumpkin lattes are my favorite, as is pumpkin pie. And pumpkin this, and pumpkin that... I know you've probably been reading all about how we're all so happy autumn is here and we can get cozy and sip hot tea (or pumpkin latte) by teh fire, and make warm meals to fil our tummies. We're all getting ready for that marathon called Thanksgiving. I can't wait to try my hand at a couple pumpkin recipes. How about you?
Here's some of the best of what I've seen:
I can't wait to try each and every one of these (probably not all in the same week. I'll spread it out over time... maybe. I'm quite the obsessed, you see). You can visit me over here to check in and see if I've succeeded or not.