Five Things Friday: Spice Up Your Life


When I was having some conversations, I used the phrase “spice it up.” Apparently, the phrase is dated and reminds everyone of the Spice Girls. Hey, it’s still one of my favorite Pandora stations.

1. I hardly ever go to a place more than once (except work, the grocery store, and home). I am spoiled here in Southern California with tons of restaurants and shops and I want to try them all.

When I do frequent a place, it has to be amazing. Around here, I have been to Zimzala (for drinks and the cute bartender) and Frostbites (for the best Italian ice and because my friend Christy loves it).

*I can and do eat the same thing every day at home.

2. I will almost always go with a flight: beer flights, bacon flights, ice cream flights… I can’t decide which is my favorite.

My cousin and I shared this ice cream from Salt & Straw: gooey brownie, almond brittle & chocolate ganache, malted & salted chocolate chip cookie dough, and Stumptown coffee & Compartes love nuts.

On the other hand, I have some staples.

3. I watch “Love Actually” every Christmas. Otherwise, I never watch the same movie or read the same book twice.

This year, I also watched “Home Alone” and “Elf.” There’s room for everyone on the nice list.

Another great one: National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation.”

4. I will never ever use a regular sized towel again. I have a Aztec-y towel and a luxurious beach towel turned shower towel that are just all encompassing. No need to ever be cold or have to run around the house half naked again.

5. Of all the expensive designer bags out there, Kate Spade is my favorite so when mom brought home this wallet, I had to have it. Thanks mom! It was really a gift from her sister though. 🙂

Merry Christmas & Brie En Croute with Pecans & Fig Jam (recipe)


Merry Christmas from me and my family! This is my little cousin Catherine.

Guys… sick again. I think I’ve been sick once per month since starting this new job/school. Christmas cocktail: cranberry pomegranate Emergen-C.

That didn’t stop me from going to yoga though. I even managed to put on this cute outfit from Fabletics!

Brie en croute with fig jam, pecans, rosemary, & brown sugar served with fig & olive crackers. See recipe at the bottom!

We won some puppets from playing Taboo at the family get-together.

Baron got some turkey for Christmas!

We got Starbucks, which was the only store open in Old Towne Orange.

Then we squatted outside to bask in the California [sunshine] Christmas.



  • 1 round of brie
  • 1 Trader Joe’s puff pastry square
  • 1/2 c. fig jam (I used Trader Joe’s of course)
  • 1/2 c. pecans, chopped
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp rosemary
  • Salt & pepper, as needed


  1. Defrost one puff pastry roll.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Unroll the puff pastry and place brie in the center.
  4. Spread a layer of fig jam on top of the brie.
  5. Place a layer of pecans on top of the jam.
  6. Sprinkle the brown sugar and rosemary evenly on top of the pecans.

  7. Starting with one corner of the puff pastry, fold to the center of the brie.
  8. From that corner, slowly fold sides to the brie. Don’t stretch too much because the brie will leak!
  9. Bake for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Mine was undercooked but we liked it that way!

I served mine with Trader Joe’s fig and olive crackers. I was surprised that my Asian family and their friends ate it all!

How did you spend Christmas Eve and how are you spending your Christmas Day?

Am I really a “healthy living blogger?” (Holiday Crafting, Baking, & Gifting)


I’m a healthy living blogger. At least that’s what the business cards I ordered say.

What does that mean? Balance.

Lately, I’ve posted about cookie swaps, craft events, blogger meetups (food bloggers and general blogging), and today’s post is about holiday gifting.

So after some thinking, I decided that I can still be a healthy living blogger. How? This is all a part of finding balance and living life healthier.

Crafting is healthy and therapeutic, as is baking. Joy the Baker found a post that supports this theory. If you read this post, no wonder I picked it up in 2010 when I was anorexic/exercise bulimic and depressed.

Crafting and baking yield something satisfying, almost immediately.

Giving breeds happiness. See, it’s #4.

So I mixed them up and for the holidays, I crafted and “baked” my way to holiday gifting.

Cake batter chocolate bark Everyone will want these so make a few extra batches. Take care and don’t rush because you’ll burn the white chocolate, fail to let the white chocolate melt and glue onto the dark chocolate, and the sprinkles will fall off. I used Ghirardelli (2 bags for $5).

DIY Sharpie initial mug I used Sharpie paint pens! Michaels always has a ridiculously good coupon. The mug was $2 from Michaels too!

Ceramic tile coasters This was a 5AM project. It took an hour to Mod Podge. Then I went to work and came home to put on the EnviroTex seal… now they have to dry for 72 hours?! I used paper from Paper Source that I got from a co-worker.

Cards I’ve never had personalized cards made. I usually go and pick out the best one.

When I had more time (at TJ Maxx)…

When I was in a crunch and Target’s selection was lacking…

Gift wrap I never quite plan ahead enough for gift wrap so I just pick the best ones at the store. I look for quality paper (TJ Maxx and Marshalls have good ones) because I hate struggling with ripped paper.

Other gifts: chocolates from Trader Joe’s, local food items (from all those craft events), and Starbucks because it’s a staple and I got 3 of them as gifts.

What are your go-tos for people you must get gifts for but aren’t sure what to get them? I’m usually a pro at getting good gifts. 🙂 However, this is a struggle when the other person doesn’t talk as much as I do.

What’s your favorite holiday DIY?