my survival kit

If you guys have been around my blog for a little while, you know I really like lists and themes. Mostly themed parties, but also themed gifts. That’s why I really dig Man Crates, an online shop who delivers awesome gifts for men. Ladies of the world: your dudes will love this stuff. Check it out.

When the Man Crates team asked me to come up with my survival kit, I had a harder time coming up with things than I thought. I love a lot of things and get easily excited over stuff like purple cauliflower, but what are my must haves? After careful thought and consideration, here are my favorite favorites.

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NUT BUTTERS

Some of my favorite podcasters (Alie & Georgia) say they know it’s been a crazy week when there are only spoons in the sink. I think could live on spoonfuls of peanut butter and cups of coffee. When I feel like being more of a domestic adult, I use nut butters for topping my favorite pancakes and making dipping sauces.

MY iPHONE

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m completely reliant on my phone. On a very basic level, it helps me wake up in the morning, check my email, and find the quickest route to work. I’m really fascinated, though, but how much our phones have changed the way we look at the world. We find more opportunities to create and share moments captured on our phones. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like can sometimes be all-consuming, but they’ve also done a great job at making the world a smaller and more beautiful place.

NOTEBOOKS

I talked about my love for notebooks back in this post. That was one year and three moves ago, and that love is still going strong. I never leave the house without at least one notebook and a pen, because ideas are fragile little guys who like to leave at a moment’s notice.

COFFEE

A good cup of coffee the next morning is something that can motivate me to finally go to bed, which is really good when it’s 2 AM and I WILL NOT log off of Instagram. We all know coffee is made of magic, but if you’re looking for further explanation, watch this.

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summer fruit pie

Summer doesn’t feel like summer without a little Midwest stirred up into it. I need a couple rainstorms, some humid air hair frizz, a porch swing, and some pie.

Life has been on excitement overdrive lately, and while I’m loving it, it’s also really nice to slow down a little. I’m sleeping in, making pancakes, reading books, baking with my mom. It’s what I wanted and I needed.

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I’m going crazy over the corresponding colors going on here. My mom picked about a million blueberries and froze them so she’s forever ready for pancakes and muffins and pie. This, combined with the amount of beer my dad has in the basement, is why I would like to be nowhere else in case of a tornado or winter storm or really any sort of precipitation.

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Do you have a summer food? Is it corn dogs from the State Fair or a huge swirly ice cream cone from the Santa Monica Pier? Tell me what it is and then go eat it. Summertime: we’re in it!

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summer fruit pie
adapted from smitten kitchen

for one double pie crust:
2 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks very cold butter
3/4 cup ice water
milk & sugar in the raw for topping

for the fruit:
4 cups berries or sliced stone fruit
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons butter

Combine flour, sugar, salt in a bowl. Slice the butter into one-inch cubes and toss into the bowl. Using a pastry cutter or fork, work the butter into the flour until you have pea-sized cubes. Drizzle 1/2 cup ice water into the dough and gather with a rubber spatula. Knead a little with your hands to bring the dough together, adding up to another 1/4 cup of water if necessary. Roll into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and let chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 425. For the fruit, combine berries or stone fruit, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Roll out your pie crust, place in the pie dish, and pour in your fruit mixture. Top with a few pats of butter before laying on the top crust. If you’re not making a lattice crust, make sure to cut some pretty slits into the crust. Brush with milk and sprinkle with a little sugar before popping into the oven for 35-45 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

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weekend link party!

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my LA partner in crime added this blog to her friday faves!

today I’m trying out this pie crust recipe

do any of you use the tastemade app?

a really nice list of outdoor movies in LA

my best friend went to vancouver for the 4th of july and wrote about it

how much every country spends on food

lovin on the dinner party download

this show was so much fun!

have we talked about the ban.do blog? good stuff

this diner in chicago is one of my new favorite places

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june was rad!

I was just writing about May and boom! We’re looking at July. June was delicious and totally fun. I’m gearing up for a trip back to the Midwest this month and a big interview (eek!) at work. If it looks like I drank a ton of coffee in June…get ready for July.

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wine at a hermosa beach event I was covering for spoonwest magazine
strawberries at the larchmont farmers market
pretty graffiti
my new favorite beer

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piƱatas and penthouses in downtown LA
santa monica looking really pretty
birthday parties at the hotel shangri-la
mariana makes the best-ever zucchini noodles with cauliflower & cashew alfredo sauce

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pre-breakfast sandwich coffee at playa provisions
iced coffee and girl talk at broome st general store
espresso ice cream cones at carmela ice cream
my favorite coffee, with love from iowa

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kimchi and koreatown

Have we talked about Koreatown?

For as much as I talk about it in real life, I’m surprised about how little I mention it on the blog.

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Koreatown is my hood. It’s a unique spot in the middle of LA that isn’t quite downtown and isn’t quite West Hollywood. It’s where Angelenos go to get lost in a fog of Korean barbecue smoke and off-key karaoke songs. I moved here last summer after a quick and confusing home hunt. I was new to LA, didn’t have a lot of money, and had even less knowledge of the city I was living in. I found a cheap studio with wood floors, checkered kitchen tile, and zero people to share a bathroom with (the things of my dreams). I bought a couch and made a really big deal about it.

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I’ve been here for almost a year and have developed a pretty giant crush on my neighborhood. The cool bars, the 24 hour tofu joints, the asian market, the kimchi. Where else can you get a dried up fish and bimbimbap at 3 in the AM for less than 10 bucks?

In the spirit of crossing things off my summer list, I made kimchi this weekend. It’s sweet and charming and a little intense, just like my neighborhood. Just the way I like it.

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homemade kimchi

2 pounds daikon radish
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
2 stalks green onion, chopped
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/3 cup hot pepper powder (available at asian markets)

Peel and chop the radish into 1 inch cubes. In a bowl, toss radish cubes with salt and sugar and let sit for 30 minutes. In the meantime, mix garlic, ginger, green onion, fish sauce, and hot pepper powder. After 30 minutes, drain water from the radish bowl into the garlic mixture and stir to combine. Mix in with the radish cubes, making sure to coat evenly. Put your kimchi into a glass jar, pressing down to remove air from between the radish cubes. Let ferment outside the refrigerator for about three days. Your kimchi will bubble and maybe even overflow, so be careful! Store in the refrigerator after three days.

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