Coming and Going

Reversible Jewelry | The Ultimate

Lately I’ve been on the hunt for a pair of those fun double-sided earrings that have been popping up everywhere. I saw a bunch of pretty options (although most were depressingly far from my price range…, ahem, #2 and #9 ), but along the way to finding a cheaper pair (#8), I got distracted by a few other pieces and noticed a trend!

They each had some kind a special detail in the back or inside of the piece; whether it was a tassel on a necklace clasp, or a reversible ring, they all had a little bit of flare on the side that’s normally hidden. And now that I’m aware of the possibilities, I want all my jewelry to look this great, both coming and going! Or in reverse (#1, #4). Or inside out (#3, #6). Ok so the title really doesn’t really work. But you get the point!


Brie-Stuffed French Toast with Raspberry Compote

Brie-Stuffed French Toast with Raspberry Compote | The Ultimate

SPOILER ALERT: This is about to get pretty annoying.

You know what’s really great about working from home? EVERYTHING! And one of those things is that when you’ve just had a very healthful morning workout and are looking to completely negate the good effects of said workout, you can take the time to make yourself an enormous pile of gooey brie and berry-covered french toast and snarf it all down at your leisure.

But I’m going to M. Night Shyamalan you right now and say that this breakfast isn’t just for lazy slobs like me. Even people with real jobs can make this on a workday (provided you gather the ingredients beforehand), because it only take about 15 minutes. Also I’d like to apologize for gloating, and if it makes you feel better you may as well know that I got raspberry compote all over my shirt while scooping it up with my fingers and shoving it in my mouth, which I very richly deserved.

Brie-Stuffed French Toast with Raspberry Compote | The Ultimate

Brie-Stuffed French Toast with Raspberry Compote

1 cup raspberries
1 tbs sugar
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp cornstarch
A dash of Chambord (optional)

1 egg
3 tbs half and half
1 tbs honey
Dash of salt

2 thick slices of brioche
Triple-cream brie
2 tbs butter

Combine the first five ingredients in a small saucepan, and simmer over medium heat, gently stirring the raspberries until they’ve broken down and formed a sauce. Turn off the heat, and let it thicken as it sits.

Combine the second four ingredients in a shallow dish, and whisk. Cut your brioche slices in half and lay slices of brie inside. Dredge the bread in the egg mixture (I coat every single side). After melting the butter in a cast-iron pan (it gives the best crust!), lay the toast in at low heat, turning to hit every single side.

The long cooking time/low heat/every side combo ensures that the brie melts beautifully and you get as much french toasty crust as possible :) Top with the raspberry compote and more fresh raspberries. Devour!


Mother’s Day Card Printable

Mother's Day Card Printable | The Ultimate

One of the things that always gets me as a graphic designer is that I feel like I’m not allowed to buy cards for anyone–I have to make them myself. I guess it’s kind of like how a trained mechanic would feeling silly taking his car into the shop? I just can’t do it!

This mentality can quickly get out of hand, to the point where I sometimes just don’t give people cards at all. Shameful, I know. But I’ve been trying to get my act together, and I’m happy to report that I made one in plenty of time for Mother’s Day. And if (you’re not crazy and) you have no qualms about not making one yourself, you can use it too! Just click here; you can print it straight out onto 8.5 x 11 cardstock (I didn’t include guidelines so you can cut it down to whatever size you prefer). Hurray! Happy Mother’s Day!


Trays For Days

Trays | The Ultimate

How many trays is too many trays? That was a trick question. There’s no limit! Trays make everything better!! Therefore, my goal is to have at least one on every flat surface of my apartment. I just bought #1, no idea where I’m putting it, doesn’t matter. That’s the beauty of the tray–it can go anywhere, be anything. Within reason. Don’t ask it to be a piece of cheese. But serve a piece of cheese? Yes, it can do that.

(Sorry I’m talking nonsense, I’m a bit dazed from spending three hours taping off all the fiddly little hardware bits on a trunk in preparation for painting it. The next post will be much more legitimate, I promise.) Trays forever!!


Eat Sleep Rave Repeat

Fatboy Slim | The Ultimate

There were so many amazing acts at Coachella this year that I feel totally disloyal picking a favorite. Buuttt I kind of had one. Fatboy Slim was so amazing! To be fair to all the other acts, a lot of it had to do with the crowd (excited but not to the point of being pushy and annoying), and the setup (his DJ booth was in the middle of the screen!!):

Fatboy Slim | The Ultimate

And best of all, the giant astronaut sculpture came into the tent! There’s nothing like having a 36 foot tall astronaut hovering over you while dancing around under insane lasers and listening to some truly hypnotic beats. Really, I challenge you to listen to this and not want to just go around repeating it, like a little rave-y drone. Or maybe that’s just me…

Fatboy Slim | The Ultimate


The Living Room

The Living Room | The Ultimate

My living room is 99% finished, so I thought I might as well share it! The walls are still a tad bit blank, and as I mentioned here, that little cabinet seriously needs labels. Also I want to buy another throw as ours is ratty enough at this point to have been stashed away out of sight :/ But everything else is pretty much how I wanted it, and I’m happy with how it turned out! Of course I didn’t think to take any pictures when we first moved in, but at least I found this from the original ad:

Old Living Room | The Ultimate

Clearly we painted it. This is where a legit interiors type person would talk about the shade of paint that they used. I just mixed a bunch of colors (and finishes–I know, you can cringe) until I got the shade of warm, light grey that I was looking for. Whatever, it was free and it turned out! Here’s the view from the entryway:

The Living Room | The Ultimate

You may wonder why we have not one, but two festive garlands in the room (as well as a trio of disco balls). It is possssibly a bit of an overkill. I actually stuck the little gold one, which is just some random trim I had lying around, up for Christmas and then never took it down. I might remove it once I’ve added enough art to that wall. But for right now I like it because it’s like a constant partay in the living room, erry day! I should probably strew some confetti on the floor just to complete the look.


One of my favorite things in the apartment is this little plaque above the arch in the entryway. I’m curious to know if it’s metal underneath all the paint, and what its story is! I happened to have the perfect-sized frame on hand, so adding that was one of this first things I did when we moved in.

The Living Room | The Ultimate

Fun fact: that stove is gas, and our only source of heat. And do you see a pipe for the fumes? No? That’s because they are left to spew merrily into the room. Even though we always crack the window, the fire alarm frequently goes off when we use it. But on the other hand it’s very warm and toasty! Charm > Asphyxiation.

The Living Room | The Ultimate

The french doors, by the way, lead into my roommate’s bedroom. You can see the door to my room peeking out from this shot. That print is the latest addition, and isn’t it amazing?! It picks up perfectly on the neon corally color of the console table.

Bar Cart | The Ultimate

Some sources: The couch is from Overstock. The curtains are from World Market. The library style cabinet is from Target. The mirrored side tables are from Z Gallerie. The coffee table is from CB2. The cowhide rug is from Rugs USA. The holding hands print is by Casey Ohngren. The tassel garland is from an Etsy shop called Paper Fox LA. The ikat pillow cover is from another Etsy shop, called Julia Sherry Home. The neon pillow cover is from Society6–but I wouldn’t recommend their pillows–the fabric is very rough :(

Everything else was either DIYed or Craigslisted!


Reading List: English Lit

Reading List for a UK Trip

My roommate and I recently booked a trip (our first!) to the U.K. We are alarmingly excited. We are TOTALLY those American girls who are annoyingly obsessed with English culture; their accents, their shows, their problems. But most of all (for me at least), their books! And one of my favorite ways of prepping for a trip is reading books that are set where I’m going. Usually I try to stick to ones I haven’t read before, but for this trip there are so many I already know and love that I probably won’t even bother.

So here’s my reading list! I should note it’s not really what I’d consider to be a “best of” list, which would include picks like Middlemarch, David Copperfield and (of course!) Harry Potter. I chose them for their variety and readability (self-improvement-type books can wait till we’re back : ) Because you know how there’s the kind of book you liked, but you never want to read again? And then there’s the kind you could read every year. These are all that kind. I can’t wait to get started!


Ginger Beer & Rhubarb Float

Ginger Beer & Rhubarb Float | The Ultimate

I used to be obsessed with root beer floats as a kid. We always seemed to have that shitty comes-in-a-giant-tub ice cream lying around (my mom wisely saved the Haagen-Dazs for herself), so I think it was my way of making it more edible. But then I went to college and starting buying my own Haagen-Dazs. And then I found places like Molly Moon’s and Salt & Straw. And THEN I discovered boozy milkshakes. Ohhhh lordy.

I might have entirely forgotten about floats in favor of these more recent delights, except that a wonderful friend made me one of these for my birthday. And I went CRAZY for it and made it over and over and adapted it to its current state of sheer perfection.

The ginger beer in this is so delish. I’d never seen a float made with anything other than root beer, or just beer. But now I want to try them with all kinds of sodas! Also the rhubarb vanilla jam is crazy versatile; it’s so good on scones and pancakes and who knows what else.

Rhubarb Ginger Beer Float

Adapted from Martha Stewart

2 pounds rhubarb,chopped (about 6 1/2 cups)
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice (or water)
2 vanilla beans (or a splash of vanilla extract)
High quality vanilla ice cream (no tubs!)
Ginger beer

Add the rhubarb, sugar, and orange juice to a large saucepan. Split the vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the mixture. (Add the bean as well, if you like). Bring to a boil, then cook over medium-low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until it’s fairly thick and it sticks to the back of your spoon. Ladle into hot sterile jars, and seal.

Once it’s cool, layer scoops of the jam with scoops of ice cream, then pour the ginger beer over the top. For maximum deliciousness, use way too much ice cream : )

P.S. While writing this, I did that thing where you start repeating the word over and over in your head until the spelling starts to freak you out. But “rhubarb” really is the weirdest word, right?


Winking Eye DIY

Winking Eye DIY | The Ultimate

I’m just a few tweaks away from finishing our living room! (I know, super impressive given that we moved 6 months ago and it’s about 10 square feet) I just need a bit more art and accessories, and then I’ll share it! But for now, here’s a 10-minute DIY I did to fill out one of the walls.

Winking Eye DIY | The Ultimate

I had these two round frames left over from the gallery wall I’m doing in my bedroom, and I didn’t really have a plan for them. The art they came with was kind of cute, in a way. But definitely not what I was going for. I knew I wanted something cheeky and fun but also fairly subtle–across the archway is a neon-pink print, and right next to it is our giant 48-star flag. So I didn’t want it to have any color and compete with those things.

Winking Eye DIY | The Ultimate

Inspiration hit when I saw this poster; I loved the simple, primitive shapes and sliiight creepiness (clearly I love a touch of anthropomorphic creepiness in my decor). But I thought it would be even more fun if the eyes were laid out horizontally. I whipped these up in Photoshop, and I love the way they look! Not to go all literary on you, but don’t they remind you of the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg?? I don’t know why I think that’s a good thing.

Of course, everything still looks a bit sparse. I think the eyes could do with something else above them, but I’m not sure what. Also I’ve owned that little card catalogue thing for about 2 years, and I still haven’t added any labels. (I’m afraid to commit to them. What if I run out of balloons? What would happen to my balloon drawer label??)

If you want to play around with a similar idea, you can grab the source file here!


Everyday Tees

Everyday Tees | The Ultimate

Up until recently, I worked in a regular office, and wore regular office-y clothes–skirts, silk blouses, etc. I didn’t much question my sartorial decisions, and neither did anyone else. But about half a year ago, I started to work from home. And I immediately noticed that most people when I told them about it, would say, “Oh yeah? Sweatpants all day every day?! NICE.” (Or, you know, something along those lines.)

To which I would answer with an emphatic NOPE; it is not nice. On the days that I spend sprawled braless, sweat-panted, and generally unkempt on the couch, I do not feel good about myself. AND I’ve noticed that those days seem to mysteriously correspond with the ones where I find myself shoveling off-brand Froot Loops from the box into my mouth at any moment when I don’t need both my hands on the keyboard. What I’m trying to say is it’s a snowball effect.

On the other hand, it’s ridiculous to wear anything near as nice as my old clothes when the only being that’s going to see me before nightfall is Lucy. And she doesn’t judge. (In fact, I think she likes the Froot Loop days the best…) So usually I manage to compromise, and that means a lot of soft and comfy, but still very pretty tees. I’m always on the hunt for more, so here’s a handful that I particularly approve of! Some I own and love (#2, #5), some I just bought and am quite excited about (#6, #8), and the rest I’m seriously considering (ie waiting for my next paycheck).