Strawberry Ja-lap-eno Jelly

My bi-weekly CSA boxes of local, organic yummies are encouraging me to look up fun recipes I would otherwise never make.  Parmesan Chard?  (Yum)... Cucumber soup? (too many onions... yuck)... Jalapenos?  What the heck am I going to do with a dozen of those?!

Strawberry Jelly. 
Strawberry Ja-lap-eno Jelly!

Or Jam
(is there a difference?)

It was my first time 'canning' and after a trip to la casa de mis padres, I stole borrowed my mom's canning supplies and went to town.  

 fabric via my fabric stash
jars via OSH

It was surprisingly easy 
Oh so Sweet... I mean Spicey... I mean Sweet... I mean...?


4 cups crushed strawberries

1 cup minced jalapeno peppers

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 (2 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin

7 cups white sugar

8 half pint canning jars with lids and rings


1.Place the crushed strawberries, minced jalapeno pepper, lemon juice, and pectin into a large saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Once simmering, stir in the sugar until dissolved, return to a boil, and cook for 1 minute.

2.Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pack the jam into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Run a knife or a thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids, and screw on rings.

3.Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 10 minutes.

4.Remove the jars from the stockpot and place onto a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart. Allow to cool overnight Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). Store in a cool, dark area.

Thrift Store Refashion: The Maternity Shirt

This is one of the three shirts I picked up at the thrift store the other day.  Unfortunately I do not have a before picture of this... BUT what I do have is a picture of the tag

You see that?!
this is the 10th time I uploaded this photo
and I CANNOT get it to the right composition...
Learn to read sideways.. you get the jist
 MOTHERHOOD Maternity (size L)
Picture your basic button up, long sleeved, collared shirt that some respectable knocked up chick expectant mother would wear to the office.  Add some extra fabric in the 'belly region' and voila.. you have a maternity shirt (don't get excited boys mom/dad)  I'm not ready to shop for these kinds of clothes just yet...)

I 'thrifted' it because I liked colors on the fabric.  I'm a BIG fan of pink/green - ok, any color... and I'm even coming around to the color Purple (Alison)

Now that Summer fall  hot weather is finally here (YAY!)... I just might have an excuse to wear it...

out tonight...?

maybe with a cute skirt and belt? 

What did I do to make this transformation?
  • Chopped off the collar
  • Cut off the sleeves
  • took it in several inches at the sides
  • With the excess fabric from the sides and sleeves, I tore those into strips to add ruffles around the neckline. 

homegirl to honkey tonk

This is what happens when homegirl goes honkey tonk...

Yee ha!  Yo.


this is a snapshot of a page in my Italy scrapbook

In Venice

It was before the days of digital pictures...

Way back in 2001


This is my parents


in Venice.

I'm jealous

Tube Socks

Not a fan of little dogs (sorry to all you little dog owners)… If its smaller than a cat, it’s not a dog it’s a rodent. Scientifically proven – Look it up.

Also not a fan of people who dress their little dogs up in little outfits.
Its not cute.


Its a fact.
Look it up.

(and don't even get me started on doggy strollers or doggy Bjorns!)

Dressing up a big dog.

its still stupid...

But for some reason, funny...

And medically necessary
(True story - his allergies make his paws itch like cRaZy!)

For Halloween we think we might dress him up as Tom Cruise in Risky Business

Thrift Store Refashion: The Dress

I swung by a thrift store yesterday after work to:
a) find a ratty heavy metal shirt for a white trash party (fail)
b) find a discarded pedistal table that I may refinish and display proudly in my entry way (fail)

What I did find was 1 gorgeous wool coat, 1 dress, 3 tops and a scarf.  The coat and scarf I will leave be... the rest will need a little love and care at the sewing machine...

And here I present my first thrift store refashion:

The Dress:

As you can see the lining leaves a little too much to the imagination, so I took the flimsy sash meant to tie around the waist; took it apart and used it to extend the lining by about six inches.  I also took about six inches off of the sleeves and added a belt from my wardrobe...  Voila!

A whole new look! 
Perfect for a night out on the town!

Stand Up Paddleboarding!

Last weekend in honor of our bachelorette friend Adriana, I hopped on a surfboard, grabbed a paddle and on our individual boards, we each paddled our way out of the docks and into the ocean. 

The weather couldn't have been better on this early Saturday morning... In fact within an hour of de-boarding the clouds came in and didn't leave for the rest of the weekend.

See the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in the background?
We were within feet of otters and seals and various other ocean wildlife.  So beautiful. 
So serene!  Definitely worth another trip!

Our paddle guide was Neil Pearlburg and his pup.  Photos courtesy of Neil via 


So I try not to get too personal on this thing… I mean aside from discussing free lingerie, my crazy pets, sewing, fashion and the house, but the deep stuff.  Its partly because I feel like it’d make you uncomfortable and partly because, well, I don't want you to know my weaknesses.

Via Live-Inspired

 So here’s the deal. I’m always trying to figure out how to be bigger, badder, better! Always forward looking. I prefer memoirs and self-help, professional and personal development books to novels or fiction. There are SO many brilliant people out there and I just can’t help but soak it up! And then there are all of the projects and interests I have that I could make TWO full time jobs with those alone!

 I remember walking down the street in college - the time of year, where the sun was, what I was wearing, which way the wind was blowing. I was in the process of getting business degree. I was thinking of what I want to do and where I want to work and then it hit me. Out of nowhere.

 I want to work for myself.

 At that point in my life I didn’t know many self-employed people. Of course I had done business studies on those who started with something small and expanded to something great… but I didn’t know anyone personally. Now, I’d say a good fraction of my personal network is self-employed and successful. I observe their struggles and witness their stresses… but they’re happy. They’re strong! They’re doing what they love.


 That feeling has never altogether left me. Never. I graduated and did what any good college grad does… Spruce up my resume, interview and get a job with a strong company. Did working for someone else ever inspire me? NO. Did it ever motivate me? On occasion. But it paid the bills.

And that’s not good enough for me.

I get too comfortable and being too comfy gets me restless. I get a bug up my butt and I fidget. I talk, I dream, I wish. I take on projects and my creative juices start flowing OMG! there’s no stopping me! I’m on the right track. I’m making progress… My goals are unfolding before me.

By Eida Lee - found via Kind over Matter

Then a little life hiccup happens and I stall… and lose momentum and I settle down a bit and I get comfy again … and thus the cycle starts over again.

Deep down I know it doesn’t happen overnight. Deep down I recognize that as long as I’m doing SOMETHING towards my goals, it is still progress and eventually it will all add up and work out… but I need to figure out a way to get beyond the stalls. I need to figure out a way to remain focused and side-step the hurtles life hurls my way. I know where I want to be. But the method in which to get me there eludes me.

But man… when I get there, it will be awesome!

 I had lunch with an old friend just gave his notice at his boring corporate job to start his own e-marketing business. He’s pumped. He’s excited. He’s terrified. And I cringed to myself because this is what I’ve been wanting to do for the last decade.

He said “I just needed to be inspired”


I need to be inspired and with inspiration will come motivation. My inspiration doesn’t come from my CEO’s manifesto or the latest praise from my boss. It comes from within. My internal drive. My internal desires.

 “You just have to do it, Anne” he said to me as I slurped my Vietnamese soup and fumbled with my chopsticks. “ Give yourself a deadline. You just gotta do it”

 And days later, while not even thinking about it, a deadline popped in my head. Its far enough out where I can map things out and create a timeline but close enough where – HOLY SMOKES, if I’m lazy, it will be here before I know it! And with that deadline there are certain things I need to do to keep me accountable along the way.

Currently awaiting a frame and place in my room

 But By Golly!  I'm on it!

Planning a bachelorette! (LINK NOW LIVE!)

I just returned from a bachelorette party...  Considering the topic... It only seems fitting that this week my  guest post on the wedding lens is on planning the bachelorette party! 

Check it out!

Labor Day Weekend

Every year on Labor Day weekend, my friends (and then some) gather for a weekend-o-fun

And Fun… it always is…

Sometimes there are costumes
Most of the time there are games
Maybe a prank or two
Always laughs
And definitely
Good food
Good friends
Good times

We try to add a little educational component or community participation to the mix. The last few years we’ve participated in the Capitola Begonia Festival. Our favorite event is the nautical parade… Pick begonias, decorate a barge and float down the river. It’s a lot of work, but the crowd loves us.

In 2009, we were asked to take 2010 off because THIS:

Turned into THIS:

The Begonia Committee was not amused – something about the capsize being a direct violation of festival permits with both Fish and Game and the City of Capitola.


SOOOOO… this year, we entered into the Sand Castle competition

Grand Prize (not us)

our entry - 4th place

Not nearly as exciting, but it gave us more time to play croquet

Go for a swim

and enjoy the event

Annie get yer gun!

I went shooting a few weekends ago. As was typical for this particular California summer, it was overcast and cold.


Without the sun, I chose your standard issue safety goggles to protect my purty li’l eyes..

goggles via thompson net

And then the sun came out
So I swapped out for the big guns