Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I Think I Broke Blogger

Once in a while I write my posts in the evening and set them to publish the next morning. When I go out of town, I'll write several posts and set them to publish over several days.

Last week was such a week, except that after two days of getting no comments, I discovered that my pre-scheduled posts did not publish! I have tried daily since then including today, and nothing happens.

Has this happened to you before? Any idea what to do to fix it? Thanks, everyone!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Update on Slimline Hangers!

A week ago I blogged about the fantastic Slimline hangers. I tried them out the next day, and am happy to report that I absolutely love them! They conserve space, are sturdy and keep clothes on very well. Their texture ensures that even the most slippery clothes will stay on! For those of you wondering about these, I highly recommend them.

I got a box of 50 hangers, and need more already. I will be getting more of these as soon as I get a chance!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I Have a New Orchid!

My track record with orchids is not so good. I got one a few years ago; it was already in bloom. I could never get it to bloom again. Then I got a miniature orchid, and the same thing happened.

The new orchid is on the smaller side, and the flowers are fuchsia and white. Just beautiful. I want to hear all your orchid-growing tips and secrets!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday Receivables - Necklaces by Beanandthesprout

I discovered these stunning necklaces just a little while ago in beanandthesprout's shop, and have had my eye on them ever since! They are striking and unique, and I love the bright colors for the summer! Here are my three absolute favorites.

Friday, June 26, 2009

To Declaw or Not to Declaw?

I am trying to figure out if I should declaw the new kitten. It will be a house cat, so it won't need claws. The process sounds really painful, but my previous kitty did ruin the furniture a few times.

Any thoughts?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursday Edibles – Spicy Orange Beef

I got this recipe from Food Network and changed it up as shown below. It calls for tangerines, but I couldn’t find them (I suppose they were out of season), so I used oranges instead. I also used olive oil instead of canola. What a delicious and flavorful dish!

Ingredients
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 pound flank steak or tri-tip, cut in thin strips on the bias
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (I had black bean sauce on hand, so I used that instead)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 scallions, chopped
1/4 orange, zested
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Directions
In a resealable plastic bag combine the soy sauce and cornstarch and mix well. Add beef, cover, and let marinate for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.

Whisk together the sherry, hoisin, honey, chili sauce, soy sauce, and orange juice until completely combined.

In large pan or wok, heat oil on high. Add the ginger and beef and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add sauce mixture and cook for another 2 minutes on medium heat until sauce thickens. Serve on warm platter, garnish with scallions, orange zest and sesame seeds.

I served it with edamame because Husband is carb-conscious; this would be delicious with rice!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How Do You Like your Bananas?

I’ve never been a fan of bananas that are too ripe. As soon as they start getting brown spots on them, that’s way too ripe for my liking. Also, in addition to the change in the peel color, the more bananas ripen, the more starch is converted into plain sugars. The more brown spots, the more sugar a banana contains. If you’re conscious of how much sugar you eat or have dietary restrictions on sugar, you may want to keep that in mind.

Here is a little trick I learned recently, and have tested it out numerous times. Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday Irreplaceables – Union Square Farmers Market

One of our favorite things to do in NYC is go to Union Square Farmers Market, especially in the summer. Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, vendors from local farms sell fruits and veggies that are in season, meats, eggs, milk, cheese, fresh flowers and herbs, bread, cookies and more – all fresh and locally grown/made! The last few times we went, it was raining; I will be sure to get some pictures for you next time we go, so you can see it for yourself.

When we were settled in enough to be able to cook at home, we went to the market and got fresh produce. Here is the first salad I made in our new home using ingredients from the market!

Here is young garlic; it is wonderfully fragrant (if you like garlic, that is). :)

This is a baby greens mix I got the other day – love all the fresh flower blossoms in it! It looks so pretty that I don’t want to use it!

We also tried sundried tomato and chardonnay sausage and ground beef, and both were terrific.

Monday, June 22, 2009

jaC Procures at Bed, Bath & Beyond – Slimline Hangers

I have yet to organize my closets, but when I do, I’ll be ready to go! Before leaving NC, I made a trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond and got a box of 50 Slimline hangers. These babies are going to save space! Apparently, they take up more than 50% less space that ordinary hangers do. Here is the description:

Prevent clothes from slipping with the soft, velvety surface of these useful hangers. Chrome tone hooks complement their attractive design. Their lightweight and ultra-thin design - just 1/4" wide - holds heavy winter coats as easily as spaghetti-strapped gowns.

They were $39.99 for a box of 50, and I used a 20% off coupon that I got in the mail. I am excited to try them out!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Unreasonables – You Never Know what You’ll Find in a Moving Box

There I was, unpacking kitchenware boxes filled with pots, pans, and Tupperware. All items were carefully wrapped in paper. And then I unwrapped – are you ready? – a pack of fresh basil! I was so surprised. It was sitting on the kitchen counter in our old apartment, so the movers just packed it up along with the rest of the kitchen!

The basil came all the way to NY with us. It looked pretty good for being cooped up in a box for six days!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I Bead Shop Therefore I am

Yesterday we took a break from unpacking/putting together furniture/hanging pictures. While Husband headed to the gym, I headed to… you guessed it, the bead shops! To each his own.

I get outside. FOUR blocks later, I am there! Can you believe it? Several bead shops are only F-O-U-R blocks away. What a treat! I didn’t realize just how close we live to them.

My life (at least in the near future) will never be the same again. In a good way.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Master of Space

As of two days ago, I am a self-proclaimed Master of Space! Well almost. Fitting our kitchen contents into 1/3 the amount of cabinets we had in our old apartment was a challenge, but I did it! So what I can’t reach half of them? That’s what Tall Husband is for. Every time I need something from a cabinet that is out of my reach, I’ll just yell for him (a chair won’t fit in our teeny kitchen, and we don’t have a step stool). It’s going to be great.

Challenge #2 was the bathroom. We had this bright idea to stock up on face wash, sun block, tooth paste, etc. at Sam’s before moving to save money. Did we save money? Yes. Do we have space for 923487 tubes of tooth paste? No. Do not fret. It took some maneuvering and manipulating, but I made it all fit!

The next challenge? Clothes and shoes and purses. MY clothes, shoes and purses. Stay tuned – I am going to tackle that issue in the next day or two!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday Edibles – Homemade Roasted Bell Pepper Hummus

We in the jaC family absolutely love hummus! It is great to put in our sandwiches and wraps; couple it with fresh veggies for a delicious snack!

Husband modified this recipe just a bit, and it came out excellent.

Ingredients
16 ounces chickpeas (you can use canned or buy them dry and boil as directed)
6 ounces roasted red bell peppers
1 jalapeno, seeded, diced
1 tablespoon fresh chopped garlic
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons chopped onion
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Juice of 1 fresh lime or lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Toasted pita bread or veggies, for serving

Directions
Mix all ingredients, except olive oil and pita bread, in food processor until pureed; then slowly add in olive oil.

Let set up for 1 hour prior to serving.

Serve with toasted pita bread or vegetables. We enjoyed it with cucumber slices, as you can see in the picture!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I Found a New Calling

In preparation for our move, I’d been purging an incredible amount of stuff we have accumulated in the last few years. It is amazing how cluttered our place had become in a short two years! We donated everything and anything that could be of use to someone else, and tossed everything else. This entailed countless trips to the dumpster and several trips to the city dump.

While I was working my way through every corner of the apartment, it occurred to me: I love getting rid of stuff! It almost makes me happier to get rid of stuff than to acquire it (notable exceptions: beads, shoes and purses). I know it sounds weird, but the more de-cluttered our apartment looked, the more liberated I felt, and it was easier to breathe!

I think I’d really enjoy de-cluttering people’s homes for a living. I’ll be doing what I love and getting paid for it – it’s the best of both worlds!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This Requires Immediate Attention!

RitterSport Chocolate While waiting at the checkout line at Trader Joe’s, I spotted a Ritter Sport milk chocolate bar with whole hazelnuts. Hey marketing genius who decided to put them there, I could just kiss you right now!  I would have never tried them if I didn’t stand in that line and happen to stand right by them.

I had been craving something sweet, but didn’t want to buy anything big. I opened it the second we got in the car, and it was gone within minutes femtoseconds. It was GOOD. V-e-r-y good. And they say Snapple is made from the best stuff on earth…If you’ve never tried one, you’re missing out (if you like hazelnuts and milk chocolate, that is).

It has done serious damage to my workout progress and set me back a day or five, but it was well worth it!

Monday, June 15, 2009

jaC Procures at Trader Joe’s – Pea Shoots

Pea ShootsI spotted these Organic Pea Shoots at Trader Joe’s, and decided to give them a try. They are fantastic! Glad I discovered them.

They taste a little like sugar snap peas, so if you don’t like those, chances are you won’t like the shoots either. I just love sugar snap peas, so it was no surprise I found them delectable.

I substituted them for alfalfa or clover sprouts in wraps.  I also added them to our salad along with goat cheese, baby greens, tomatoes, mushrooms, pine nuts and homemade balsamic vinaigrette-type dressing. So good! I saw  two advantages Pea Shoots 1to using pea shoots over sprouts: they have more flavor than sprouts, and are easier to rinse. One criticism of sprouts is that you that you can’t easily wash them. I don’t even wash mine even though I know I should. These pea shoots are big and leafy enough that I was able to thoroughly wash them before using! I will definitely buy them again!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday Unreasonables – Vase Crazy

PandoraVaseS9 In preparation for the move we cleaned out our storage unit a few days ago. You won’t believe how many vases I found packed away in boxes! Decorative vases, mind you – not the kind you’d use for flowers. That’ll require a separate inventory count altogether.

There was a red vase; a blue vase; a blue-red-tan vase; a clear vase; a white and clear vase; a brown vase; two taupe vases; a turquoise vase; a greenish beige vase. That’s nine vases, and I didn’t even count a set of three white bud vases that I left wrapped up, and another glass vase that broke when we were packing! I am not even talking about a number of vases that we have in the apartment.

I bought all these vases a little over two years ago to decorate two rooms in our townhouse. To say that I went overboard would be an understatement. We dropped off nearly all these vases at Good Will, and now they have enough vases to start a No Durham Household Left without a Vase Program.

P.S. I really want this Pandora Vase from Crate and Barrel!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What’s better than One Tub of Ice Cream?

Breyers Cookies and Cream Half GalTWO tubs of ice cream!

Imagine our delight when we showed up at the grocery store and found out that Breyers ice cream was Buy 1, Get 1 Free!

We got Coffee and Cookies and Cream. What’s your favorite flavor?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Wearables – My Favorite Color Combinations: White and…

…you name it! I love white. I love white china, white clothes, white tigers, white sheets, white paintings… You get the idea. I love everything white!

White jewelry is great especially in the summer. My favorite white components are pearls – Biwa stick, rice and keshi in particular! Let’s take a look a few jaC Jewelry pieces featuring these lovely natural creations.

This Silver Dream Bracelet - Lampwork Beads, White Keshi Pearls and Sterling Silver Bracelet is absolutely beautiful! It has all my favorite components: keshi pearls, lampwork beads and Bali sterling silver beads!

These White Lily - Biwa and Rice Pearl and Silver Earrings (Strings) featuring stunning Biwa stick pearls are delicate and unique. The White Lily collection was born last summer, and I have not stopped wearing my two very own White Lily pieces since then – a pair of earrings similar to these and a lariat. Love them!

Finally, we have this beautiful Copper Leaf Bracelet - Sterling, White Biwa Stick and Copper Coin Pearl Bracelet that features Biwa stick pearls and copper coin pearls. So natural and pretty!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thursday Drinkables – Peach Martinis

Have you tried that lychee martini yet? It’s good. Very good. Here is another delicious beverage – you’ll enjoy this one if you like peaches! I just invented this recipe a couple of weeks ago. You can probably buy canned peach juice, but I use fresh fruit as much as I can, so I improvised with a fresh peach, and it turned out wonderfully.

What you’ll need is a martini shaker, a big ripe juicy peach and a Potato Press. If you don’t have a Potato Press, get creative – I’m sure you’ll come up with something to extract the juice (a citrus juicer?). It is important that your peach is ripe, or you will have a hard time extracting the juice, and the martini won’t be sweet.

Ingredients (makes 1 martini)
2 shots vodka
1 shot triple sec
juice of 1 large fresh peach
1 or 2 fresh peach slices

Preparation
Slice a large peach in half and remove the pit. Cut one or two thin slices and set them aside. Load the remaining peach into a Potato Press and squeeze the juice. Discard the peach pulp.

Combine vodka, triple sec and peach juice in a martini shaker. Add ice cubes until the shaker is ¾ full.

Shake for 30 seconds to a minute, pour into martini glasses, add peach slices and serve!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Beautiful Magnolias

I did not realize how early magnolias bloom in the South! I remember waiting until June or even later for the beautiful large blossoms to open up in MD. Here in Durham they started to blossom in May! They have the prettiest scent.

Note to those who have allergies: do NOT put your nose too close to the center of the flower to smell them! I did that, and was in Sinus Hell for a full day. They sure smelled pretty, but in the end, I’m not sure it was worth it. :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Adult Supervision Needed

Last week we went to Maple View Farm because we heard they produce ice cream. Have I told you I love ice cream? The funny thing is, I don’t care for it in the winter, but as soon as it’s hot out, I crave ice cream. Husband has a really bad case of sweet tooth; he eats ice cream no matter what season.

Let me tell you, the ice cream produced on this farm is most delicious! Here is Husband modeling a Cookies and Cream cone for you. (He was giving me looks because I was taking my time taking these pictures, and he just wanted to get on with it and eat his ice cream. I don’t blame him.)

We discovered all kinds of dairy goodness at the Maple View Farm Country Store, including fresh butter, milk and cheese! Without even thinking about it, we bought a healthy portion (1 lb to be precise) of butter. We worried it would melt on the way home, but it didn’t.

Then we realized we only have a little over two weeks until the big move. We are definitely NOT going to use all that butter by then. Just what are we going to do with all this butter?! Maybe what we need is adult supervision, as we are incapable of making forward-looking decisions when we go shopping…

Monday, June 8, 2009

jaC Procures on Etsy – Cat Toys from Casbah Kitten

Ladybug cat toyTwo adorable toys for our kitten arrived recently, and they are terrific! Actually, we don’t yet have the kitty – I will announce her arrival as soon as she is here, but her adoption is in the works. :)

Back to the toys. Casbah Kitten, a fully cat-run business, offers a plethora of toys stuffed with all-natural catnip grown by the cats’ parents. I couldn’t resist this bright and cheery Ladybug pair and the cute Fatberd Cat Toy, the Goldfinch.

Bird cat toyNow that I think about it, the ladybugs are more appropriate for a small cat, but I am sure she will grow in no time and be ready to play with the Goldfinch!

I will give you a full report, complete with pictures, as soon as the kitten gets here and starts playing with the toys! I am sure our little fur ball to be named later will love them.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Moving Sale Ends Today!

Black Helix and Sterling Silver Earrings 1Just a quick reminder: if you haven’t purchased your favorite jaC Jewelry pieces yet, you have until midnight tonight!

It will be a long while until the next sale, and it is unlikely to be as big as this one. Visit my shop and save – you may find something you can’t live without!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Saturdays are for Laziness and Naps…

...would say Tuck and Cookie if they weren’t napping right now.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Check Out my New Blinkie Button!

Yini of redrubyonfire was kind enough to make this Blinkie for me! Thank you so much, Yini. Clicking on the button will bring you straight to my Etsy shop. I can use it on others’ blogs and websites.

Jacjewelry Blinkie

Yini makes banners, avatars, digital graphics, logos, business cards and tags. If you’re looking for any of those, check out her shop!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thursday Drinkables – Lychee Martinis

As promised earlier this week, here is a recipe for the most delicious martini ever – lychee! Never heard of lychee fruit? Don’t worry, I hadn’t either until I had one of these cocktails a few years ago. Recently Husband learned how to make them – just for me – and I’ve been enjoying them every so often. According to Husband, those martini glasses can be tricky (he says the martinis spill if you look at them wrong), but I call it on operator error. I know all you ladies out there will have no problems handling them. ;)

What you’ll need is a martini shaker and a can of Lychee fruit in syrup as shown in the first picture. You can find it at Asian markets.

Ingredients*
2 shots vodka
1 shot triple sec
8 tablespoons lychee syrup (adjust to taste - the sweeter you like your martinis, the more syrup you should add)
3 canned lychee fruits

Preparation
Combine all ingredients except the canned fruits in a martini shaker. Add ice cubes until the shaker is ¾ full.

Shake for 30 seconds to a minute, pour into martini glasses, add canned fruit and serve!

To add a little color, you can add a little pomegranate or cranberry juice.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Blue Bird Fly

A few weeks ago we went to see an air show in Beaufort, SC! The highlight of the show were the Blue Angels – an incredible group of six Navy pilots who performed choreographed maneuvers during an hour-long flight demonstration. They were really something!

BlueAngels 2 BlueAngels 5In this next picture, the airplane on the right is upside down!

BlueAngels 6BlueAngels 7BlueAngels 8 BlueAngels 9BlueAngels 10

These pictures don’t capture the full experience; you have to go see them for yourself! To learn more about the Blue Angels and view the 2009 season schedule, please click here. Bring a hat and plenty of sun block!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tuesday Irreplaceables – Martini Shaker!

BarwareHusband gave me this fantastic Hampton Forge 7-piece barware set for my Birthday, and I have been anxious to share it with you! Truth be told, I have never used the set myself, so I cannot share the experience first-hand. I do, however, attest that it results in the most delicious martinis! So far, Husband has made two kinds for me: lychee and pomegranate martinis and both have been delicious! As a result, I give this set two thumbs up! A peach martini is next on my list.

Without giving too much away, I will tell you that a post containing a recipe for one of the aforementioned beverages is in the works; it will appear right here on my blog later this week…

Monday, June 1, 2009

Moving Sale is Here!

Purple Turqouise and Hammered Bead Necklace 3Did you hear - jaC is moving! That’s right, ever since I finished grad school over a month ago, we have been impatiently waiting to pack up our bags and move to The Big City! Movers will be here soon to pack up all our possessions and transport them 500 miles north. The only thing I I do not trust them to take is over 120 finished jaC Jewelry pieces.  Instead, I'd love to send them to as many of my wonderful customers as possible!  I am having a sale that is the biggest yet!  Are you ready for the deals?  Here they are:

Get 10% off when you buy 1 item;  15% off on 2 items; 20% off on 3 items; 25% off on 4 items or more!

The discount does not apply to the Clearance and Supplies sections.  This is the first sale of its kind, and there is no telling when I will hold another one, so you definitely want to take advantage of these prices!  Now is a great time to pick up new summer pieces for yourself or purchase a few gifts for your friends and loved ones. 

Simply complete your purchase in my shop, pay via PayPal, and I will refund the discount amount right back to you!  Or let me know which pieces you'd like to purchase, and I will adjust the price for you. 

The sale starts today and will end on Sunday, June 7. All pieces are one-of-a-kind, so don’t let your favorites get away!