Back to Blogging!


So much has happened since I last blogged!  I moved into the best house ever with my two best friends, got to know and started dating Adam, finished my first semester of my sophomore year at Pitt, started (and stopped) training for the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon, found a church in Pittsburgh that I love, completed a semester of psych research for the Pittsburgh Girl’s Study, and decided to go to Uganda for two weeks in the summer!  It has certainly been an eventful couple of months, but the biggest thing that happened to me was that I discovered a newfound love for food and cooking!

This semester I took an awesome class called “The Politics of Food and Gender”, where I started actually examining and thinking about what I eat and how I eat it.  Preparing all of my own meals in my own South Oakland kitchen gave me a newfound interest in cooking, and it quickly became a new hobby (or maybe obsession…?).  For the month of April, my roommates and I decided to become vegans (crazy, I know!) to try and be more intentional about our food consumption.  All of these things  made me want to come back to blogging, so I can share my recipes, crafts, adventures, and mishaps with anyone who wants to listen (that means you, mom!).   Expect more recipes, more ramblings on food, and more Pittsburgh adventures.  Thanks for reading! 🙂

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Dad’s New Milkshake: Peanut Butter-Cinnamon-Graham


In my family, my dad is famous for his love of dessert. He has such a sweet tooth, and one of his favorite treats are milkshakes! Every since I can remember, Dad’s been whipping up his famously sweet and sticky peanut butter and banana milkshakes. The last two years, he’s been trying to merge the flavor of his classic milkshake with another one of his favorites, cinnamon buns. One night we got to experimenting, and this is what came of it!

To make Dad’s New Milkshake, you will need CINNAMON honey grahams, vanilla frozen yogurt or ice cream, milk, creamy peanut butter, some more cinnamon, a blender, and a spoon.

Ingredient Lineup

First add the milk and the ice cream, and then the peanut butter, and blend.

You may need to stop blending to push the peanut butter down into the blender a little bit to get the milkshake to be an even consistency.

Then, crush up the graham crackers. I put them in a Ziploc bag and smashed them with the heel of my hand. The consistency you end up with is completely up to you, I smashed some to a pulp and just cracked others up a little so there would still be some chunks in the milkshake.

Add the graham crackers and blend.

Pour and drink!

This was definitely the best milkshake my dad and I have made to date. The cinnamon really complements the peanut butter and adds a bit of complexity to the taste and the graham crackers add a doughy texture.

-Dominique

Let’s Chat!
What’s your favorite milkshake flavor?

My Ghetto Palace: Bedroom Makeover Part 1


The Painting Begins!

I love my bedroom at home. It is my sanctuary, where all my stuff lives and where I go to work, rest, and revive myself. I knew that my bedroom in Pittsburgh was going to have to live up to those lofty expectations if I was ever going to call my new house home. This is what my room looked like when I moved in:

View from Door Before
And that was after a ceiling to floor scrubbing! (Who ever knew that you had to wash walls? Not me!!)

I definitely had my work cut out for me, especially since my parents did not want me bringing any of my current room furniture out to Pittsburgh. They graciously got me some great new bedroom furniture that my dad picked out with me at one of our local Care and Share thrift store.

Bedside Table

Armoire

Dresser

Isn’t it epic? It’s very Pennsylvania dutch. I have so many clothes (and not much closet space) so all the drawers in the big armoire are amazing!!

The furniture was the jumping off point for the rest of my room. I liked that the wood was really cozy looking, and that it evoked a sort of old world feeling, and I wanted to run with that for my bedspread. I liked the boho-chic look of Urban Outfitters apartment stuff, so after much deliberation, I got the “Romantic Floral Scarf Duvet”

Romantic Floral Scarf Duvet from Urban Outfitters

I knew I only had about a day and a half to get my room ready to go, so when my mom, my aunt (who just happens to be an interior designer!) and I got there we set some goals and decided on what we were going to do.  Here’s what we knew needed to happen:

Day 1

  1. Go to Target and Lowes to shop for anything we needed (paint and painting supplies, full length mirror, area rug, curtains).
  2. Scrub and clean entire room (it was FILTHY, the previous tenants didn’t clean anything), replace light bulbs.
  3. Get bed delivered by ABD Mattress, they were great!  Awesome student discounts and packages, they came right on time, and the bed and frame were up the stairs and set up within 5 minutes of their arrival.
  4. Paint the walls (Benjamin Moore’s Ash Violet).
  5. Paint the trim, AC unit area, windows, and doors.
Day 2
  1. Finish painting trim and doors.
  2. Put up curtains and area rug.
  3. Make up the bed.
  4. Move up and arrange the furniture.

When it was all said and done, here’s what it looked like!
View from Bed After

I tried to take some pictures before to compare with the after…please pardon all our bags, I took them right while we were packing up to leave!

Before

After

View Into Back Corner Before

View Into Back Corner After

Windows Before

Windows After

All in all I am EXTREMELY happy with my new room! I think everything really came together, and the new paint job made a world of a difference. I can’t wait to get back to Pittsburgh and spend more time in it!

This is only part one of my room makeover though, because when I get back I still have a tiny bit of work to do:

  1. Move in my desk and chair.
  2. Move in my clothes and all my stuff, and put it away (this is a big one, I have way too much stuff!).
  3. Figure out additional lighting in room, perhaps above the armchair!
  4. Organize closet using storage devices.
  5. Hang art!

All that said and done, the hardest of the work is over!  I have to thank my mom and my Auntie Suzanne for helping me so much, especially my Aunt because she had a lot of great ideas and expertise regarding color schemes, curtains, lighting, art placement, and room arrangement. Basically she rocks! Like I said, she’s an interior designer based out of Arlington, Virginia, but she does work all over the country. Check out her website here!

Easy Desk Makeover with Spray Paint!


I knew I needed a good workspace for my bedroom, so I ventured out desk shopping. When I realized how much a new desk would cost, I was shocked. Definitely time to DIY! I went to my local Habitat for Humanity Restore and picked out this desk for 10 bucks. It’s missing a drawer, but I really only wanted a table workspace, and the cutout for the printer was just a bonus! The entire desk was pretty dirty, written on, and shiny, but it was just the base I was looking for. I cleaned it off and sanded it down.

Desk Post Cleaning and Sanding, Pre Painting

Then I painted it with two coats of Krylon “Nouveau Champagne” Spray Paint! I used one and a half cans to get the coverage that I wanted, and I’m really pleased with the end result!

Completed Desk!

I’m still not sure if I will end up spraying a desk chair or not, for now I think not but I might sometime in the future! This was definitely a really simple project that probably took me an hour total once I had the materials. I can’t wait to see how it looks in my room with the violet walls!

-Dominique

High Tea at the Talking Teacup


Emma and I LOVE tradition. We have been neighbors and best friends since middle school, so we’ve had a lot of time to develop special things that we always do together!  One of our most treasured traditions is going to The Talking Teacup, a wonderful little teahouse in Chalfont, Pennsylvania.

Christmas 2010 at the Talking Teacup!

Last weekend we visited again, the occasion being Emma’s 20th birthday (a little belated, I know, but this was the only time that we could do it! Check out Emma’s other birthday festivities here and here). My mom got her a groupon for 2 high teas for her birthday, and surprise, she decided to ask me to go with her.

Happy Belated Birthday, Emma!

We started out by selecting our teas, I got a vanilla chai and Emma got an immunity booster. Each pot has about four or five cups, which is great! Way better than the Willow Tea Room in Scotland that I just recapped.

Our first course was scones, hot out of the oven!

Walnut Cinnamon and Chocolate Chip Scones w/ Jam and Devonshire Cream

I LOVE Devonshire cream, I could lick it right out of the bowl!!

Then came the soup of the day. We were in luck, it was tomato bisque! (Actually, every soup I’ve had there has been out of this world, but the tomato bisque is one of my favorites!)

Tomato Bisque Soup

Then the sandwiches! Emma got vegetarian, I got omnivorous.
So many yummy sandwiches
I always forget what kind of sandwiches there are, but I distinctively remember cucumber with herby mayo spread on white bread, ham and dijon mustard on cinnamon swirl bread, egg salad on wheat, chicken salad, artichoke, sundried tomato, and lots of other yummies! I would rather eat a million different mini-sandwiches than one amazing big sandwich. There’s just something about mini food that really excites me!! Especially mini food shaped like teapots…
CUTEST SANDWICH

Something Emma and I love about the Talking Teacup is all of the little details, like the mismatched dishes…
We love the mismatched dishes and cutlery!
and the scone tray that is really just a plate hot glued to a candlestick!! I gotta get on that craft.

NEED TO CRAFT THIS

Lastly, dessert. I told myself I’d just eat half of each, but I couldn’t help but eat the whole thing! High tea only happens twice a year, after all 😉

Trio of Desserts (Sugar Cookie, Chocolate Chip Pound Cake, Vanilla Cake with Marmalade Layers)

Overall it was a great time at the Talking Teacup as usual (and even better because we didn’t have to pay! Thanks mom!). I already can’t wait to go again!!

If you want to read Emma’s recap, you can here!

-Dominique

New York Photo Recap!


A couple of weeks ago, Andy and I went to visit my friend Jamie in New York City, where she was interning for Hunch.com.  We had a blast, but I was a bad blogger and didn’t take nearly enough pictures. Here’s a little look into our time there…

Waiting for the show to start at the Upright Citizen's Brigade


Shopping at Whole Foods and Making Big Breakfasts


Eating at Chelsea Market


Devouring this Amazing Crepe: Apples, Brie, Mixed Greens, Balsamic, and Honey


Walking the High Line

We also did a lot of walking, shopping, walking, dancing, pizza-eating, and walking! Seriously my feet were worn ragged by the end of the weekend. Note to self: DO NOT WEAR ONLY OLD NAVY FLIP FLOPS IN NYC!

All in all it was a great trip. Thanks for hosting us Jamie, and for making us delicious popsicles!

Kiwis and soymilk!

-Dominique

Scotland Recap: The Willow Tea Room in Glasgow


We spent our last night in Scotland in city of Glasgow, near the airport.

Glasgow, Scotland

We did some last minute souvenir shopping, and then stopped at the Willow Tea Rooms for lunch. The Willow Tea Rooms are done in the style of the Scottish artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh. I’m not a big fan of the look, but my mom is!

Tourist Trap Ahead!

The coolest features were the dramatic high backed chairs. They closed off the tables like dividers! I’m not sure how I felt about them, but they were certainly different.

Signature High Backed Chairs


I ordered Earl Grey tea, which was actually a huge disappointment.

My Earl Grey Tea

They served the pot of tea with the leaves steeping in it, and then gave me a teacup with a small strainer to catch the leaves as I poured it from the pot. The first cup was great, but, as I knew would happen, by the time I had my second cup the leaves had over-steeped and the tea was bitter and awful. What a strange mistake for a tea room to make! You think they would know better than to just put leaves in a whole pot of tea with no way to remove them. Oh well, I’m a bit of a tea snob.

I should have just went with a mocha like Nicole did. It looked so yummy!

Nicole's Mocha

To eat I got French toast with some yogurt, which was pretty tasty, but definitely overpriced for what it was.

French Toast with Yogurt

I would definitely NOT recommend the Willow Tea Rooms, unless you are a Mackintosh enthusiast and can absolutely not pass it up. The tea (that was drinkable) was mediocre, the food was decent, and the prices were sky high. Willow Tea Rooms is clearly a tourist trap! We still enjoyed our time there though, and my mom liked looking at the art.

This is the last of my Scotland recaps! Hope you’ve enjoyed them, and that they’ve been helpful in planning your own travels.

If you need to catch up, here’s all of them:






-Dominique