Conversation with (almost) vegan green tea cupcakes

 [Green Tea Cupcakes with Green Tea Glaze from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World]

Dear (almost) vegan green tea cupcakes I just made,

As your maker, I'm going to be the first one to admit that I didn't really do you justice. When I checked up on you after 20 minutes and saw how gorgeously green and puffy you were, I thought "Sweet! These are gonna look great!" 

But after I took you out of the oven, you sunk on me. Right in the middle. How could you do that? Were you punishing me for not doing the toothpick test? Were you upset that you weren't purely vegan cupcakes because I substituted soy yogurt with cow yogurt? I guess I wasn't the best supporter, I mean, I did keep yelling "Stop sinking you a**hole!" which probably wasn't the most constructive thing I could have done to help you reach your fullest potential. I just pushed you too far and too fast. I'm sorry.

And let's face it, as a result of my impatience, you're kinda ugly. There's this little pool in which the glaze just sort of sits and sloshes over the sides, and even though I know it's sugar, margarine, and matcha powder, it just kinda looks like...slime. No one wants to eat slime. Not even if it's on a cupcake.

It's a good thing you taste incredible (not greasy, just the right amount of sweetness,) and that your glaze, even though it kinda looks like slime is so good you just want to eat it straight out of the bowl. Otherwise, I would disown you. 

The boy and I look forward to consuming all 12 of you. 

Green Tea Cupcakes with Green Tea Glaze
Makes 12 cupcakes
From the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

1/2 cup soy yogurt (I used regular plain yogurt)
2/3 cup rice milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3 to 4 tsps matcha tea powder (I used 4 and got my matcha at Mitsuwa but I also saw it at Whole Foods)
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with liners.

2. Whisk together yogurt, milk, vanilla, oil, and almond extract, beating well to blend yogurt. Sift in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Beat to break up lumps. Fill liners two thirds of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes (or insert a toothpick into one and see if it comes out clean) and cool on racks before spreading glaze on top. 

Green Tea Glaze (a.k.a. YUM)
2 tbs magarine
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/8 to 1/4 tsp matcha powder (I used a 1/4)
1 to 2 tbs rice milk
1/4 tsp almond extract
Drop of vanilla extract
With a fork, beat margarine to fluff, then mix sugar and matcha to form a crumbly mixture. Slowly beat in milk, almond, and vanilla extract. Generously dollop on top of cooled cupcakes and enjoy!



My Holiday in Sweets

[From top to bottom: chocolate tart with kumquats from Esquire Grill in Sacramento; earl gray tea cupcake from Esther's Cupcakes in Sacramento; creme brulee cupcake also from Esther's; tree sugar cookie from Dolores Park Cafe in San Francisco]

I had a pretty crazy holiday break, but in between hugs and catching up, I managed to do what I do really well--eat sugar.

Originally I went to Esther's Cupcakes to try their green tea cupcake, but was sorely disappointed when there weren't any. We settled on the earl gray and creme brulee cupcake, and friends agreed that the frosting was the stand-out component of the cake. Mmmmm...

To make up for my green tea cupcake fascination, I'm actually going to ::gasp:: attempt to bake today. If you've been reading this blog you know cooking and baking are scarce. Eating is plentiful, making the food is not.

I'm lacking in domesticity, so send your best baking vibes my way--wish me luck!


A Rainbow After the Storm

[Taken by the boy from his work desk]

While I am with my family eating a lot of food and watching movies I've missed (Julie&Julia, loved it!), the boy continues to toil away at his desk. Today he sent me a photo of this rainbow from his work window, and it made me really miss him. This past week, when I've had time to slow down and actually screw my head on properly, I've realized just how important he is in my life. It sounds stupid, really, because of course he's important! He's your husband!

But every now and then, in between our hectic schedules, I need a reminder. Recently I went into crisis mode, and every time that happens I get the warm fuzzies by how my family and friends, especially the boy,  rally by my side. In all my times of neediness, I am reminded of what loving people I have in my life who really care about what is best for me.

I honestly  haven't been doing so hot these past couple of months, but after talking to and seeing family and friends, I see greener pastures up ahead. And they include bright rainbows.


Batting Short Straight Eyelashes

[Ohhh to have lush thick lashes. If you have lots of lashes, cherish them because I might steal them from you. Photo from here.]

After a grueling quarter, I'm ready to just sit, eat cookies and not think about anything academic. So let's talk about something more fun, something that I personally love playing with--makeup.

I didn't blog about this at the time because I had a million things going on, but I got eyelash extensions for our honeymoon. They were fantastic but expensive. I didn't have to put any makeup on, and for the first time, my lashes were LONG and CURLED. They were really noticeable in person (my boss saw me and said "well don't you look beautiful,") and if it weren't for saving money, I'd be at the salon every month to have them retouched.

Since I'm strapped for cash these days, I'm in the market for a new mascara. So far I have tried...

 -MAC Prolash
-Benefit Bad Gal

I've been using mostly the Bad Gal, but it always smears on me and I'm thinking I need something with more oompf so my eyes pop.

What's your favorite mascara? Can I have your eyelashes? 


Etsy Gift Ideas for Facebook Friends

I saw this on Etsy and thought it was clever.
If you let Etsy connect to your Facebook account, it will generate gift ideas for the friends who have left tags in their interests section.

Let's see it in action!

 [Click here to generate some gift ideas for your friends]

My fellow future librarian Stacey likes the designer Orla Kiely. Therefore, Stacey might like:

My friend from college, Angie, put Pride and Prejudice under favorite books, therefore she might like:

And my music obsessed audiophile friend Paul might like some Wilco handcrafted items...except for that polishing cloth, it doesn't fit in the bunch. (It's okay Etsy, I don't expect you to differentiate between the band and a vintage brand name.)  

I wish I could have done my own, but my profile doesn't pop up as an option...not that I need anymore things for myself this year. :)

Here's to all your shopping endeavors this holiday season! 

Getting Away and Where To Go

[This beautiful print is by Nidhi Chanani. I love everything in Nidhi Chanani's Etsy shop!! Please check out her work here, and you can buy this print now for 15% off for the holidays! I think it would make a great present to anyone appreciative of illustration and cuddling. I'm still trying to decide which one I want for our apartment.]

Sorry. I've been delinquent, I see that my last post was on Sunday. It is finals week, and the mean scary monsters called stress and anxiety overtook my body and made me do some scary things, like eat In N' Out multiple times, leave coffee cups all over my desk, and wallow on the couch with my favorite procrastinating question--what am I doing with my life and am I fulfilled? Let me sit here and ponder that for three hours while I watch episodes of Gilmore Girls I've already seen and eat out of this bag of Craisins.

While I've been unproductive, it occurred to me that our 6 month wedding anniversary and our engage-a-versary fall on the same day--January 3rd! To get me out of my funk, I've declared that we celebrate, with possibly a weekend retreat where we don't sit on the couch and wallow because I am so done with that. 

I just don't know where to go or what to do. 

Where do you go to regain strength and find clarity? Any suggestions for a weekend getaway in Southern California?


Warehouse Sale Recap

On Saturday, I had a blogger date with Brandi of not your average ordinary to go to the Warehouse Sale, which had two of my favorite things in the whole wide world: stationery and cupcakes. I had a chocolate mint cupcake from Vignette Patisserie and bought a few treasure bags filled with letterpress cards from Delphine Press, which was a great start to a really nice Saturday. Here are a few photos from our lovely morning!

[Chocolate mint cupcake made with organic ingredients--really yummy--courtesy of Vignette Patisserie]

[Brandi had this pumpkin walnut cupcake and loved it, and this girl knows her food! Check out her food blog, Pizzelles.]

[The Delphine Press table had every stationery lover's dream, an entire table filled with printed goods at a discounted price. I think I picked up about 25 different items before settling on a few treasure bags.]

[Fun little bags filled with cards, tag, ribbons, and other cute treasures]

[That stack of cards was a mere $3, and these soy candles smelled really good. The cute thing about them was that a small pack of matches is tucked inside the packaging.]

[Can I buy the entire table?]

Thank you to Delphine Press and Vignette Patisserie for letting me shoot some photos, and to Brandi for driving and hanging out with me!  I think every Saturday should be reserved for stationery shopping and cupcake eating.


Adventures in Furniture Shopping

The IKEA incident of 2006 turned me off from furniture shopping with the boy for life. There really isn’t much to the story--if you can imagine the boy looking at a couch amorously, and me with my head buried in one of the cushions repeating “this...is...so...UGLY”--then you know the story. I don’t know what it is about furniture that makes me hyperventilate, but apparently this couple got a divorce over the furniture (scroll down to the "The One Child Policy").

Post wedding, we ditched our old futon with the intent of buying something the cat wouldn’t destroy (heh, if possible.) After almost six months (wow, has it really been that long since the wedding?!) of sitting on the floor with pillows propped up against our coffee table, we finally bought a real live couch.

[Huzzah! A place to sit!]

And it wasn’t even #1 on my list, it’s the one the boy wanted the most. And I didn’t even hyperventilate this time. Or pout. Aren’t you proud of me?

...it could just be that I was tired of sitting on the ground. But for now let’s just think that I let the boy have the one he wanted because I’m growing, k?

It also afforded me the opportunity to buy this ruffle-licious pillow from Target, which is super fun to play with.

While we're on the topic of our apartment, I went ahead and took a photo of my really messy desk, and the knick knacks that surround it, where I do all my blogging.

[My natural habitat]

I'm really glad to have a new place to take naps and cuddle. Thank goodness it didn't turn into another Ikea incident!


Warehouse Sale, 12/4, 9-1 PM

Letterpress stationery? Graphic design books? ORGANIC CUPCAKES?? And just one freeway stop away from me? I'm totally there. For more details, see the Delphine Ephemera blog


Pink Argyle Gets a Facelift

This month, I reached 500 posts. Can you believe it? For someone that gets tired of shoes after a few wears, three years and 500 posts--that's real love.

As a treat to myself and the blog, I contacted Joy of HoyJoyful Design Studio, to spruce up what I originally designed in 2007, and she designed this beautiful layout for me. The space is much wider to accommodate bigger photos, and I now have links up at the top so that popular posts (like our wedding) can be retrieved with more ease.

There is going to be some construction around here (ie, actually tagging posts...you'd think a someone studying to become a librarian would be more organized, heh...) as I move things around and add content, but I am very excited about all the changes around here in my cyber space.

Stay tuned for more changes! Thanks Joy!



Cardstore.com Review, Sweet Street Gals Gift Tag

Well girls and a few boys, it's officially the holiday season. *cue the bells chiming* Despite my holiday blues and inordinate amount of time spent lying in bed, I take refuge in the visual feast of gift wrap, ornaments, pretty baked goods, glittering lights, and trees that have proliferated all of the retail spaces I like to call my third place. I swear, any holiday that promotes hot chocolate, velvet wrapping paper, and loads of glitter gets two thumbs up from me.

My first piece of business on my holiday to-do list? Gift tags!

[Tag from Cardstore.com, design by Sweet Street Gals]

Cardstore.com had me choose a gift tag to review, and I chose this adorable design from Sweet Street Gals, a creative duo that has the cutest of designs. Check out their blog for more!

For $15, you receive
1. 25 gift tags, 2 x 3 (about the size of a business card), with color on both sides
2. Options for personalization (in some cases a photo, and your signature)
3. a case to carry your cards

I used it to decorate my first wrapped present (I LOVE wrapping presents!) to my niece:

[This case keeps them safe.]

[And here is the back of the card, which I think is just as cute as the front]

For those of you still hemming and hawing about where to get your paper goods, here's my two cents about cardstore.com:

+Love love love the design choices from a lot of different designers
+I also appreciate the good amount of "holiday" vs. "Christmas" designs
+I really liked the design I chose, especially that there are two sides of color
+The packaging was really cute, with a sturdy box and the carrying case shown above
+All of the printing is eco-conscious. For more details, see here.
+Changing the photo and text was easy on their website.
+Hooray for Berkeley, California companies!

+I would have liked a heavier weight, and I realize that it probably isn't printed on a heavier weight because 1. then you can't punch a hole through it and string ribbon through if you want to, and 2. the price point would go up, and 3. it makes it harder to put the tag on a fridge, if the recipient wants your pretty faces on the fridge with other cards. Maybe another option for designs on, say, a kraft board or thicker spongier paper, would be a nice addition to the collection?

+I think the tag is a little small, but maybe that's just because I think we're really cute and it's hard to tell on the tag. :)

Overall, cute product that will bring more holiday cheer to all your wrapped goodies this season.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you to my coworkers, who did not finish the pumpkin tart (above) I brought for yesterday's party. Mmmmmm....

(For your own pumpkin tart, visit Opera Patisserie in Sorrento Valley.)

I'm going to be spending time with the boy tomorrow at Disneyland, where we're spending Thanksgiving dinner at Blue Bayou and eating Mickey beignets. I can't wait to spend some quality time together before the work rush hits us both before the holiday season. Oy.

Happy Thanksgiving my lovely readers! Hope it's full of lots of good food and loved ones.


On Not Doing Chores

Chores are an issue in our home. I wish I could write that the boy does just as many chores as I do. I wish I could say that he actually knows how to clean the shower and that he cleans the litter box on a whim just to surprise me. I'll admit, I think he's better than some--he'll take out the trash, vacuum, do his own laundry. But it's minimal work, and as a result, I've just stopped caring as much too. What has happened is that neither one of us puts much effort into making our apartment more...homey. It makes me explode periodically.

This week, in an effort for more chore equity, the boy made a Google spreadsheet with all the chores that needed to be done. [This is how much we're tied to our computers. While I was doing work at home, and he was doing work at work, we were chatting in Google docs and filling this spreadsheet out online. I'm sure normal people would sit down with a pad and pen. In the same room. Face to face.]

So far, the cat has finished her chores (cuddling and cleaning herself) but I'm slowly working through mine. I think I managed to take out the trash and do some laundry. *pats self on back*

How do you divide up chores? Anyone track your chores on Google docs like us nerds? How do people keep their homes clean??


20% Off Personalized Holiday Tags and Cards

I started my holiday shopping today, and like any paper lover, I need a cute piece of parchment to let that lucky someone know that she has been gifted. Earlier I blogged about Tiny Prints, but was unaware of Cardstore.com, which carries customizable products from a few of my favorite letterpress printers: Hammerpress, dutch door design, and (San Diego-based) Delphine. I've been given the opportunity to review their personalized holiday tags and can't wait to get mine in the mail and check out the print quality and design.

[Both tags from Simple Te (a new fave designer of mine, check out her blog here) for Cardstore.com]

If you are looking for cute holiday tags or cards, for Pink Argyle readers, receive 20% off at Cardstore.com with the code CSHOLIDAY20.




Thanksgiving Plans

[See how to make a turkey-shaped cake, and other Thanksgiving recipes, on the CRAFT blog]

CRAFTzine has a whole slew of recipes on its blog in time for Thanksgiving (click here to view how to make the adorable turkey above!) and it got me thinking about last year's turkey that we made. We were so domestic, I almost can't believe we did it. I still remember, 1 in the morning, the two of us arguing with turkey goop and ice water up to our elbows, which end was the front. (I was right, by the way.)

This year, we're staying close to our apartment again and spending Thanksgiving at Disneyland, mainly because we only have a few days to spare and don't want to fight everyone else at the airport, and also because...well...we like Disneyland. :)

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Anyone else escaping to the magic kingdom?



The Boy Has a Birthday + Happy Monday

I love these new shoes of mine, and yesterday I paired them with these purple tights for the boy's birthday at Sushi Ota, which you should all try if you're in the area (just make a reservation at the sushi bar!) He absolutely loved it--a no-fuss, sake-filled gourmet birthday without any cheesy singing.

[Top: salmon belly and unknown white fish, Middle: red bean ice cream, Bottom: stuffed persimmon, organic vegetables, lobster, urchin mixed with spicy cod, and a cracker with sardine eyes (no joke!)]

I was reminiscing about his very first birthday with me. We had just started dating, and I gathered people together for a party, even though I didn't know anyone. Back then I didn't obsessively take pictures of my food so I don't remember the exact details, but if I tried to organize something after only dating for one month, I must have really liked him. :)

Hope everyone has a great week!


French Toast Friday

Today's French toast is brought to you by the fabulous peeps at Lockwood Table in Solana Beach.
I had a wonderful morning there with my girlfriend, whose birthday is tomorrow! We LOVED it, the coffee was great, the french toast with agave syrup (yuuum!) was delicious, and it was peaceful and sunny. Definitely a good stop for San Diegans looking for someplace unique and quaint.

[Grilled brioche french toast from Lockwood Table]

[A birthday bouquet of gerbera daisies]

[Lockwood Table had this cool vertical garden next to the seating area. I could hear the trickle of water from where we sat and it was very soothing while we dined.]

Sigh...and now it's back to doing my dreaded research paper. Can't I just eat french toast in the sun while telling stories and giggling all day long? What an unfair world.
Well, enough of my complaining, I hope that you have a wonderful weekend, and please think of me while you're out having fun. =)



You Don't Look Like A Spouse

"You don't look like a spouse."

That's honestly what someone just said to me when meeting me for the first time. I was introduced as the boy's wife, and this is what that person decided to say to me. Not hi. Not nice to meet you. Not what's up? He decided to address me with clearly the most logical greeting you would give someone you just met: "You don't look like a spouse."

Le sigh. I've complained about looking young on here before (I'm pretty sure that's what this person was referring to, unless of course he thought I looked like no one would possibly want to marry me, then that's an entirely different complaint,) and I'm constantly told it's a compliment, but really, I don't know when it's a compliment when the person thinks I look like I'm in high school. One embarrassing time in high school when I was on a date, the person at the ticket counter assumed I needed a child's ticket. Mmmm...compliment? I think not.

Has anyone ever told you you're too young to be married?

Our Donated Wedding Flowers

[Our flowers, ready for a new home!]

[All packed up in the mini-van]

[A Blooms From the Heart volunteer dropping the flower pots off at a local nursing home, photos courtesy of Blooms From the Heart]

As recommended by our florist Rae Florae, we donated our mini potted roses to Blooms From the Heart. It was super easy to work with them. I just left the flowers under the tent, they came and picked them up, and brought them to a local nursing home. If you're having a wedding in San Diego, I highly recommend working with them as it was a piece of cake and you know your flowers are going to a worthy new home!

But, if you are donating, I also recommend making an announcement at the reception! What I didn't anticipate was that people actually wanted to take the flower pots home. Back in 2009 at my sister's wedding, I was begging people to take flowers. Pleading. A couple of people even gave me attitude. As a result, flowers got trashed.

But at our wedding, I had to ask my Mom and sisters to request that people put a couple of the pots back, as I had told the organization we would have 75-90 pots for them. We ended up donating 25, but probably could have donated more if I had said something (whoops, my bad).

In any case, if you can, donate your flowers! Ours ended up in a very happy home.

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