Monday, June 29, 2009

save the bananas!

my friend, lovelola, has this joke that i like to "save bananas." it's true.

there's only short threshold when i think a banana is good to eat fresh (basically, just past green-- otherwise, it's too mushy). in an effort to not throw perfectly edible food in the trash, i have been queen of the banana bread, asking people for mushy bananas and making baked goods in return.

i've had a handful of people to thank for volunteering for the red cross waterfront festival and since i've been obsessed with cupcakes (see here, here, here, and here), and i just happened to have 4 bananas just past their prime, i decided to try out martha's banana cupcakes.

originally, i was going to make what i started calling banana splits - banana cupcakes w/ a chocolate ganache topped w/ a maraschino cherry - a theory that chrys at P4D and i had while at work last week.

banana bread + chocolate ganache glaze = FAIL (pretty! but not so yummy)

so i opted for a regular buttercream with a drizzle of caramel topping instead of going through the trouble of martha's caramel buttercream recipe that requires a candy thermometer.

sorry martha, as jessie spano said "there's never any time!"

operation save bananas + thank the volunteers = mission accomplished!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

to do: eastern market

vintage or nothing's awesome tag | eastern market | june 14, 2009

a couple weeks ago, in between dc's noah's ark reenactments, i spent a lovely day at eastern market with a good friend. besides finding a few antiques (more on those later), we just wandered around looking at all the beautiful wares and enjoying the sun (sans humidity).

for those that don't know the history or have never been, eastern market is big open air flea market. besides antiques, handmade stuff, and artists, there is a food presence of butchers, farmers and their seasonal products, and local artisans focusing on meats, cheeses, and baked goods (and an awesome diner-esque fish fry place) located in historic south hall. unfortunately, south hall was devastated by a fire in april of 2007.

friday, june 26th is the grand re-opening of the south hall. from what i hear, there will be food specials and other fun things.

here's what you can look forward to:

suitcases: vintage or nothing| eastern market | june 14, 2009

stamp pendants: lilypad designs| eastern market | june 14, 2009

keys | eastern market | june 14, 2009

letters [from a printing press] | eastern market | june 14, 2009

felted booties | eastern market | june 14, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

"good" publicity

photo from welovedc (another of my favorite dc blogs)

There's this great little custard shop in my fav local neighborood of Del Ray called The Dairy Godmother (formerly the Del Ray Dreamery).

They make only one flavor of custard a day in addition to vanilla and chocolate (and some select sorbets). You can check flavors on their website calendar or on their twitter. With that, you have many sundae options. It's super yummy. It's in Alexandria, so they are definitely dog friendly with puppy pops on the menu also.

As far as atmosphere, the place is cute. Liz Davis, the owner, is usually there with her fun staff sometimes handing out magic wands to the kids. Along with a working jukebox, there are a few inside tables including a picnic table usually with a half-finished puzzle on top for people to play with while eating. Most people hang out on the benches outside the shop with their dogs.

It's a been summer staple of mine since I moved to Alexandria and I've taken many a people there despite the long lines. It's my cute neighborood ice cream shop and I love it!

But you don't have to take my word for it -- Obama and the girls went there this past weekend:

I'm so happy for the owner and the neighborhood, but selfishly, I'm pretty sure the lines have just doubled. This is what happened to another local fav, Ray's Hell Burger, when Obama and Biden went a month ago.

Don't get me wrong, I love that the Obama camp keeps going to local favorites but with the tourists and bandwagoners, it's just not going to be the same local vibe.

Le sigh. I'll never finish that puzzle!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


mini coconut cupcake at bittersweet | alexandria, va

i've talked about my obsession with [making] cupcakes here, here, and here.

as of late, my friends (especially k) have fed into my cupcake obsession and now, we're on grilled cheese; we go to the local diner more often than not. so on my break from the waterfront festival, i stopped into bittersweet catering to pick up their happy meal, which consists of a half sandwich and a mini cupcake.

grilled cheese + mini cupcake = leah's more than happy meal

Friday, June 19, 2009

eat. eat. eat.

picture from the children's harbor tent | waterfront festival 2007

it's gorgeous out.

i'm headed to oronoco bay park to help set-up for the waterfront festival. you're coming right?

since i'll be out of pocket volunteering (and drinking beer and watching fireworks) all weekend, i wanted to leave you a link to one of the best foodie blogs of dc, metrocurean.

she's featured liveleah on five bites friday. yay and yum!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

miss this

no rain + fruity drink + clear water = happy leah

it's another dreary day in dc. i miss this place.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

see you this weekend?

who doesn't love pirates, fireworks and live music?

this is hilarious:

it goes without saying that the red cross means a lot to so many people. your attendance at the waterfront festival helps fund any disaster programs that happen in the dc metro area and helps train people to go where they are needed most (i.e., katrina, the midwest floods, etc.)

besides, the kids will love the rides and games, the adults will love the beer and bands and both will love some cotton candy (natch - pink, then blue)! win. win. win.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

wolf trap on a perfect saturday night

saturday was the perfect night to sit outside and watch some live music. i went to see the gipsy kings with a friend (and met some new friends). and even though we didn't get prime seating, the music was gorgeous, and we even got a little bit of dancing in.

look at the crowd go!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

in the land of roses (and tevas)

shadows on the columbia river | portland, or | june 8, 2009

the northwest always has a way of grabbing my semi-bohemian-granola side and pulling its heart strings. i love it here. who wants to move with me?

the columbia river at sunrise | portland, or | june 8, 2009

multonomah falls | portland, or | june 8, 2009

perch: the columbia river at sunset| portland, or | june 8, 2009

*i'm not judging about the tevas. promise. but there are a lot of them here. i don't blame them. the columbia river is absolutely gorgeous and i can see why folks are all about being outside here.

Monday, June 08, 2009

it's pronounced: ooh-bay

since i'm in portland, i decided to surprise my mom with her birthday cake over the weekend. and being that it was her birthday and not my own, i strayed away from chocolate ganache (oooh, ganache... drool).

instead, i made her an ube and coconut cake inspired in by my friends at ikneadthedough and designingurlife. for those that don't know, ube is a purple yam. it is commonly used to make desserts in the philippines. usually it's mixed with sweeteners like condensed milk and made into a soft pasty cakey-custard thing (if you could call it that). it's taste is similar to taro but it's not quite the same thing.

anyway, the cake was a ube chiffon with layers of coconut strings (macapuno) topped with a buttercream frosting and toasted coconut (the buttercream and toasted coconut was my deviation from this original recipe).

the cake ended up looking great and tasting even better!

*contrary to this post, there was no boxed ube cake. i made the cake from scratch with ube powder for the flavoring. is there even such a thing as boxed ube cake?

mommy and me

me & my mom in 1984
[i have no idea why i'm so scared of the camera person. ]

today is my mom's birthday. i'm lucky in that i was blessed to have two very awesome parents. a really cool thing about my mom though - besides the whole raising me and sister thing - is she's not the stereotypical filipina mom.

my mom grew up in the small rural town of sablayan, mindoro. eventually she went to college in manila and graduated with a chemistry degree. when she moved to the states, she found a job as a chemist with a local water company. this was pretty cool because i had a nice little upper hand when i had to do my mandatory science fair projects in grade school.

i mentioned that my dad was away a lot
when i was little because he was in the navy, but even so my mom was able to work full-time, tend to us girls, and take classes at the local community college to learn computer programming. my mom introduced us to a computer back when you needed to memorize DOS commands, when 4 inch floppys were normal, and the dot matrix printers always woke the house up. we were the first amongst our friends to have a computer at home; my mom knew this was a trend that wasn't going away. and boy was she right.

fast forward to present day. my cool mom is her moved up from chemist to the office's lan administrator (or something techy like that). according to my friends, she also is one of the few parents that can 1) use a computer (as in, not just email and word) 2) has a blog and 3) has a twitter (she's going to kill me for linking those). in fact, she always jokes around that the only way she keeps track of me is by my twitter and blog [DM: yes, mom, i've landed in portland safely]. isn't that neat? she's so cool.

happy birthday mom. [thanks for addicting me to the computer & internet.]

Sunday, June 07, 2009

to do: art-o-matic

corporate related art [forgot to note artist]

i hate to admit this, but this is the first year i've ever made it to art-o-matic. and i'm kicking myelf for never taking the chance to stop by the last couple of years. needless to say, i think it's pretty amazing. some of the installations are way over my head (see above), but a lot of them are simply beautiful and obviously, very creative.

this year, there are 9 floors so there is plenty to look at. i definitely plan on going back a couple more times before it ends on july 5th. besides the usual paintings, mixed media and installations, there's film, performance, fire (yes, i said fire, beavis), theater and spoken word. oh, and the washington post's peep diaromas are there too (not including my non-placing entry -- boo. hiss.)

here are some of the ones that was able to check out today. aren't they great?

pompeii [forgot to note the artist's name]

little monsters by monstergrrl [sp?]

paintings by liliane blom [my favorite. a must buy!]

as an added bonus, not only can you see and buy art, you can participate in various workshops to learn from the artists. truth be told, that was the main reason that i made my way into that part of town on a game day. for all you with new (or old) SLRs looking to fine-tune your photos, they are offering a good photography refresher course for all those little buttons on that big camera body. the instructor breaks the basics down pretty well and even makes time for hands on practice as well as one-on-one questions. definitely worth the trip downtown, especially since parking can be such a big deterent.

so, if you're in dc for the next couple of weeks, don't forget to stop by!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

heartfelt and simple

as you can see, i have a slight obsession with packaging (i go on and on about gift packaging here and here). since my cousin did the destination wedding thing, i decided to drop off their wedding presents after the event so they didn't have to lug too many presents (or too much cash) around.

as part of their present, i decided to frame some shots that i took of them behind their backs (literally!) so they would remember those quiet times during such an fun-filled, memorable weekend.

since the frames and colors of the photos were so handsome, there was no need to wrap the presents but instead just insert a card and tie a simple bow (a couple of times over).

easy. and pretty.