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I got this text from a friend of mine, Ayesha. The flowers in this arrangement are Celiosa, flowers that looks like brains. Esh got this arrangement from the Eastern Market, a public farmer’s market in DC. The flower is also called cockscomb. Ummm yeah…The arrangement is cool, regardless.

Enjoy!

~ Dana

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I got this email from my lovely friend, Jen. Not that I endorse brie that isn’t ripened in the hands of an affineur, but I love the idea of a brie bite. Totally keeps people (me) from eating the entire wheel of cheese. #lovemyfriends (Can you hash tag a blog post? I’m gonna…)

Subject: Um, whoa

Bite-sized Brie in their own packaging. *swoon*

Love, Jen

Enjoy!

~ Dana

I mentioned in a previous post that I’m all about crafting these days. I’m constantly on the hunt for crafting ideas and do-it-yourself projects. Last weekend my friend Ani and I drove down to Orange County to visit our friend Christine and her family. I thought it would be fun for all of us to work on a DiY project one afternoon so we made a trip to Michael’s for supplies. Michael’s is a great store to go to if you have no idea what you want to make but you know you want to make something. They have aisles and aisles of supplies and all sorts of fun things you never knew existed.

We discovered blank canvas totes, aprons and other items that can be personalized using paint, pens, iron-on decals and more. We decided to go with the totes. I’m guessing we spent a good hour just deciding which materials to use to decorate our totes (the pressure!). Ani has two dogs so I think it was pretty easy for her to decide on a theme. For me it was not so easy (although Ani was not at all shocked to see that I had chosen some “green”-themed decals). Christine has two young daughters so their tote design was very girly.

My materials: flower iron-on decals, “green”-themed iron-on decals, “peace”-themed ribbon, fabric glue, fabric markers and an organic cotton tote bag.

First I placed my decals on the bag just to see how I wanted to arrange them. I ironed the flower decals onto the bag and then drew stems using the fabric marker. Once all of my decals were attached, I measured and cut the “peace”-themed ribbon and used the fabric glue to attach the ribbon to the top of the bag as a border. The whole process was really easy. Ironing on the decals takes about 10 seconds for each. The most time-consuming part of the process was waiting for the glue to dry on my ribbon.

I’m planning to use my tote as a shopper but a bag like this will come in handy in so many situations. They can also make great personalized gifts for friends.

Ani’s and my finished totes…

Christine’s daughters’ totes…

~Christina

I stumbled upon these curved rainbow glasses at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) design store.

The concept behind the MoMA store is that everything is designed by artists or industrial designers, and are meant to be really cool as well as functional. When I saw these glasses, I immediately thought about all of the colors that showed up in the Spring/Summer 2011 Fashion Week shows. (Working in the beauty industry, you find all sorts of ways to link random things to fashion…)

Ignoring the skinny legs and the stone faced models, I pulled out some of my faves. Yes, okay, so I picked two Tibi looks, but that’s because I adore the fact that the fashion house didn’t just do dresses, but shorts and pants for the summer. Remember culottes? Yes, I had a pair, and so did you.

While there was a lot of color on the runway, there were also pops of neutral colors to contrast. You can see this on the DKNY and Lanvin models, with khaki belts and bags, which is so much more summer than using black to contrast. I just wanted to point out two super awesome details: Alexandre Herchcovitch had models with matching shoes, glasses and biker gloves. Awesome! And check out this Marc Jacobs necklace, detailed below. Seriously, tell me this man isn’t a genius.

Enjoy!

~Dana

Ah, summer! The greatest time of the year and particularly for the delicious fruit and vegetables that are in season. And summer adds grilling to the variety of cooking methods available to us which makes it all the more fun. If you’re not one to load up on produce and it’s rarely seen on your plate, now is the best time to change those habits and start incorporating more healthy foods into your diet. Besides being delicious, most fruits and vegetables are low in fat and calories, making them a great way to lose weight and they can help decrease the likelihood of developing chronic diseases.

May I suggest shopping at a local farmers market at which you can see a wide variety of fresh, in-season produce. Find one here: http://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/

Community Supported Agriculture

What is it? Essentially, a great way to get local, fresh, in-season food in a way that benefits both you and a farmer. If you’re thinking about purchasing a share or want to learn more about them, click here: http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

So, what’s in season? Plenty! Here’s a sample:

 Veggies:

Black-eyed peas Peppers
Corn Potatoes
Cucumbers Radishes
Eggplant Rhubarb
Garlic Spinach
Green beans Squash
Lettuce Sweet potatoes
Okra Tomatoes
Onions Zucchini

 

Fruits:

Apples Peaches
Blueberries Pears
Cherries Pineapple
Figs Plums
Kiwi Raspberries
Mango Red grapes
Melons Strawberries
Nectarines Valencia oranges
Papaya Watermelon

 

Raspberries

If you’ve ever bought raspberries you know how delicate they can be. They will go badvery quickly. When you buy them fresh you’ll need to use them within a couple days, stored in the refrigerator. Rinse them gently with a light spray as they will break up under heavy flowing water.

Recipe

Try this refreshing raspberry cocktail, courtesy of Gourmet

Strawberries

Love, love, love strawberries. They are still my all-time favorite fruit (and I’ve already explained my pesticide issue). Did you know that strawberries are good for your skin as well as teeth-whitening?

When picking out strawberries, go for bright red. You don’t want to see green or white tips because they may be bitter or bland. Store in the refrigerator and wash before you eat them. I usually fill a bowl with a mixture of water and veggie wash and swish those babies around to give them a good cleaning.

Note: If you start to see some of your strawberries turning moldy, remove them immediately from the bunch as the mold will spread to the others.

Recipe

Who are you calling a fool? Courtesy of bon appétit

Peaches

Peaches are proof to me that there is a God. What could be better than a sweet, juicy peach. Really? Peaches are also a great source of antioxidants and beta carotene, as well as vitamins A, C and potassium. So, how do you pick ’em? Smell ’em! Peaches should not be green or hard. When ripe, they should be just slightly soft when you press on the flesh. Store ripe peaches in the fridge. Not-yet-ripe peaches can be set out until ripe.

Recipe

Plum and Peach Crisp, courtesy of Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks (one of my favorite sites)

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are another good source of vitamins A and C. When purchasing, look for potatoes that are firm, dark in color and smooth. They should not have “eyes” bruises or wrinkles. Sweet potatoes go bad quickly. Store them in a pantry, not in the fridge. If you store them at room temperature, use them within a week. Before using, wash well and peel the skin off after you’ve cooked them (unless your recipe doesn’t allow for it).

Note: Sweet potatoes are sometimes confused with yams. They are not the same.

Recipe

What else? Courtesy of Alton Brown

~Christina

Casa is participating in Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

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