watson & mindy – happy 1st birthday!

Yesterday was Watson and Mindy‘s 1st birthday! We wanted to celebrate this red-letter day right, so we threw them a party. Call us crazy, but I have to say: it was pretty awesome. There were pink (Mindy) and green (Watson) decorations, doggy-themed desserts, and even a cake for the dogs! Enjoy these photos of our ridiculous tribute to the best puppies ever.

Poop cupcake anyone?


The doggy cake consisted of over 5 pounds of meat (ground beef and lamb) with mashed potato frosting. Mmm… tasty…

Watson knew there was food being prepared…

… but was unamused when told he had to wait to eat it.

The cake looked awesome, as did the decorations.



Mindy and family!


Cake time!





And finally, a quick picture my mom took of me and my puppy. I love him so much. I can’t believe he’s already a year old! I am so very much looking forward to celebrating many, many more years of Watson.

keep calm & drink tea – the tea gardens.

School has been so completely insane. I have a few exciting posts I would like to put up, but I’ve been so lacking in time. I take my last two midterms today and then I will be done with school until January. I have so much to say about all of that, but for now, let’s talk about The Tea Gardens.

The first word that comes to mind when I think of this place is “warmth”. It just has such a warm and comforting vibe. Such charm and whimsy from the moment you walk in the door. Then, of course, there’s the tea. I love, love, love tea. There are so many different kinds with so many different flavors. From the light and refreshing iced teas, to the rich and soothing hot teas, The Tea Gardens really succeeds at providing something for every mood and every taste.

A few weeks ago, I was asked to take a few photos for their brand new catering menu. It was a very quick shoot with very little prep time, but I think we pulled it off.

This is their boxed lunch, which gives you the option of a sandwich, wrap, or salad, with a side of fresh fruit and a scone. They opted for the egg salad sandwich for the shoot, which happens to be a favorite of mine.

Next is their dessert gift wrap, which you can add on to any box of their tasty desserts.

Lastly, their scone box, which you can get with an assortment, or choose any two types of their scones.

Such a fun little shoot. I love opportunities like this. Last weekend, I went back for Clare‘s birthday party (I got croissant french toast, which was awesome) and got to take a look at the new catering menu. It’s so much fun to see your work in print. Such an amazing and satisfying feeling.

Speaking of print…

The holidays are fast approaching, and with it, a new year. What better gift to give than my Puppies! 2012 wall calendar? It’s full of fluffy cuteness, and 10% of the profits go to ACT V Rescue & Rehabilitation. There are some other totally adorable puppy products here, and my art prints can be found here. After you get a calendar or print, you should go get some tea and croissant french toast (oh my goodness it was so good).

Thank you, Tea Gardens, for this totally fun shoot and all the tasty food and drink! See you again soon!

The Tea Gardens
www.theteagardens.com
Santa Clarita, CA

baked mussels & green tea pound cake.

Just a quick food post, because I was looking through some of my photos from earlier this year and these two made me hungry.

I like to make dinner for my family on occasion. There was a time when the plan was for me to do it once a week, but that has never completely worked out. Still, cooking is one of my favorite things to do (aside from eating). This past February, I cooked several meals, including this one.

The main dish was Japanese baked mussels. This is one of my absolute favorite dishes. I order them so much, our favorite sushi chef puts them into the oven the second he sees me walk in the door. That being the case, it seemed obvious that I learn how to make them myself. I first made an aioli with garlic, egg, powdered horseradish, fresh lemon juice, rice vinegar, and olive oil. Just before spreading the aioli onto the mussels, I added a bit of half and half, Sriracha, and tobiko. The mussels were laid out on a foil lined baking pan, sauced, and broiled. 15 minutes or so later, dinner was served.

They turned out pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. I served them alongside miso soup, a seaweed and cucumber salad, and some spicy edamame.

For dessert, I made a green tea pound cake using this recipe. It didn’t turn out quite how I expected, but was still pretty good. A dollop of sour cream and some black lava salt completed the dish.

Nothing like pretty food that tastes good, too.
More food posts, and several other posts, coming soon!

corner table.

For my 16th birthday last month, my parents took me to Corner Table. Like many of the restaurants we favor, they pride themselves on using fresh, local ingredients to craft a unique and ever changing menu. This, however, was something special. We ordered the prix fixe and were provided with some of the most delicious dishes ever to reach my table.
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