the Foodcourt: Suite 106 Cupcakery

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a few months ago before heading home on a trip to california with my sister we popped into to this cute bakery in rancho cucamonga. usually when i travel i prep a few bookmarks on yelp but this particular bookmark was from my sister.

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right off the famous route 66 nestled in a quiet strip of shops is Suite 106 Cupcakery. if that name sounds familiar maybe you're like me and remember seeing them on Cupcake Wars. once my sis started telling me about her bookmarked bakery i remembered that i'd seen them on television. i'm not a devoted fan of the show but i did watch the first season and i usually have the food network on when i am at home so i get my fair share of episodes in. the contestants on that show always blow me away with what they are able to do in those crazy stressed time baking sessions, its just insane!

bake 4 dozen cupcakes in an unfamiliar kitchen completely from scratch, you have 45 mins AND go! pffff girl pleeease.

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i like what i see, i like it a lot.

cupcake jar? you shut up. what is that?? i obvs need like four of those.

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my sis liked what she saw too and dove right in to ordering while i took a peep around.

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someone whipped those cupcake boxes into shape! these guys are obvious professionals.

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i have a thing for couches, the more fancy and ridiculous the better. built in and velvety soft? okay, yes you're doing things right.

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my turn at the case. time to be my most annoying self and spend an obscene amount of time being super indecisive about which treats to pick. note to self, all of them is not the correct choice..ever. no matter what voices whisper otherwise.

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with two cupcake war wins under this bakery's belt their cupcake cake selection was extraordinary. i love the dark brown liners super neat and tidy. they're like a silent classic tribute to Sprinkles the cupcake shop that started it all. not to mention whose owner, Candance Nelson, is one the three main judges on the show cupcake wars.

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last photo i promise! the cuppies were too photogenic. very pristine california cupcakery, so happy we decided to make the stop. we packed up our cupcake loot with as much care as possible for the car ride home to vegas.

uh i may or may not have devoured one of their red velvet whoopie pies within an extremely small amount of time upon leaving..and it was delicious!

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my order:

1. pancakes n' bacon 2. coconut cream 3. loaded peanut butter 4. christy's southern red velvet 5. chocolate covered strawberry 6. double chocolate

number 3 & 5 were specials and are not on regular rotation so i am lucky to have tried them. fairy new fan of peanut butter i couldn't resist the loaded peanut butter coma.. do you see that beast?! nutter butters aaand reese's pieces.. oh em gee you guys.

pancakes n' bacon was probably my favorite out of the bunch. bacon, hello. yep, still riding that train.

i am also a little bit of a red velvet cake snob and must try one from every new bakery i go to. it's sad to say i get more fails then passes but i will probably continue doing it. it's an obligation and a duty! tough job.. someone has got to do it. Suite 106 gets double pass as their red velvet cake was super yummy, mm mm good job.

until my next indulgence!

xox

rita

 


an adult time out

i gave myself a five day adult time out. what does that mean? for me it meant less time getting lost in instagram spirals, no tweets out of this birdy, quality time with loved & new ones, embracing the goodness in change and really refocusing myself.

cleaning and planning my life while trying to enjoy the most out of the good bits that already exist. while the crickets whistled from my social internet corner i still was snapping away with my camera and trusty iphone sidekick.

forever always trying to save the good bits..

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planning.

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changes.

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mom.

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later.

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summer.

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nook.

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bar cart.

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friends.

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new.

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blog/life.

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breakie.

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smirk.

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baby,

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blues.

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guess?

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mirrors.

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messages.

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cider.

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poop?

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baby.

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owned.

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ootd.

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punch.

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simone.

these iphone recaps are fun right? so quick, so easy cheesy, so good.

xox

rita

 


LA weekend via iphone

i spent my last weekend celebrating in LA with a very special birthday girl and her most lovely sister who's actually MY birthday twin (september first!). i am SO happy to know these special ladies so of course i had the greatest time getting to visit.

the two planned and sprinkled in a few incredible surprises making me feel oh so special and truly making it a weekend FULL of fun. lots of laughs, food, chatting, new friends, beyonce listening, excellent coffee and really just much needed girl time.

this is my sneaky weekend recap through my iphone but don't worry i'll be sharing the good stuff soon.

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jet setter, it's in my roots. i used to be a window seater but i've converted to aisle.

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hello los angeles.

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yum, can i move in?

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milk & cookies, be still my heart.

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love at first sight, i'm moving in.

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which would you pick for the ball?

you have no power over me.

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finally! its been a long time coming but i finally found you.

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cheese on cheese on pork on cheese.

Nine

a lesson was learned at this very coffee shop and that is that dave franco is absolutely not zac efron.

Ten

shaking off my camera shame. yea i'm taking photos of you doing totally normal things.. mind yo business! i get that it's just your morning coffee or whatever. but it's just not.

Eleven

best.mocha.ever.

Twelve

pinoy pride.

Thirteen

best/worst photo of us, because we didn't take not a single other one. story of my life.

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i think my heart actually stopped when i came around the corner of the dimly lit gallery hallway, my boots sliding to a complete stop on the shiny slippery wood floors and i couldn't take another step. could this be truly what was on the other side of that tall gray wall?!

yep and then i died.

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a little over dramatic? but seriously..unending excitement i fan-girled so hard over this unexpected gem.

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had to, even if i had to break the rules juuust little. i could not NOT sneak at least a few the man of steel costumes, i mean come on its freaking superman!

FIDM's whole exhibit was stunning and was so surreal to see familiar movie attire from recent films like pacific rim, hunger games, anna karenina, ender's game, and saving mr banks to name a few.

Seventeen
found a favorite of my dad's while we were picking up things from a turkish market for our birthday get together.

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chocolate guinness cake the requested birthday choice found from bleubird blog. kels and i were getting good at kitchen dancing hustling away before and after people arrived.

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drunk in love.

Twenty

'black people + vigorous jazz hands = the female orgasm' - winner.

21+ cards against humanity, it's already in my amazon shopping cart.

how did i not know of this game?! PERF

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pure magic behind that counter.. wow.

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so nice i had to have it twice.

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see you later LAX.

xox

rita

 

 


a trip to MaximuM comics

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sunday's are the best. i don't have a typical mon-fri, 9-5 but when i do get to have a weekend day off sunday is the one i get excited about it. this coveted day usually means brunch, lazy snuggles, and really really excellent night for television. it doesn't seem to matter which month or season we are in sunday nights are when the very best come out and strut their stuff.

on this particular sunday night we welcome the return of the fourth season of game of thrones in all of it's glory. it's been many months we have been a part my friend and i can't tell you how excited i am to get reacquainted.

buuut before i head in to the kitchen and start cooking up storm fit enough for the king (or queen) of the iron throne i thought i'd share an equally nerdy adventure.

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one of my best-est pals took me to his favorite comic book store a few weeks ago - MaximuM comics. i heard a lot about this place from friends and couldn't wait to finally take a peep.

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for real.. save the date. SAVE IT! free comic book day is always the first saturday in may.

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this place was AWESOME they had something for every nerd heart that could ever exist. all of their fun accessories kept catching my eye, i am a sucker for the little items.

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archie comics were some of my first i ever read. traveling with the fam bam they were always floating around.

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the NINJABOT!

geeky, nerdy, artsy prints.

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introduced to a local vegas team doing some very crafty things and wielding some super sized talent. their website is going to get me in trouble but i have to own a few of their phone cases and at leeeast a print..or two.

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under lock and key.

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cray to the cray. did you notice her on a recent episode of arrow?

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you guys already know my obsession with day of the dead ladies.

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batman and i just hanging out.. he is kind of grump. also note to self, work on your superhero pose.

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no one can escape the lasso of truth.

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sooo how many of these do you guys already own? i spy the ones that live at my house >_<

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impressed with all the goodies and treasures that filled this comic store. the customer service was above and beyond. i was over the moon to find out one of the favorite graphic novels was released the day we popped in for a visit but immediately defeated when i heard they were sold out. magically before i left i managed to have the third volume of Saga and the hugest SMILE on my face. being the only girl that was in the store maybe really sorta totally had it's perks.

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i left one happy lady and will most certainly be back on free comic day to join in on the festivities!! perhaps a little cosplay action, uh oh.

thanks for coming with on my visit and i hope you had as much fun as i did.

happy game of thrones premiere night :)

xox

rita

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the Foodcourt: Retro Bakery

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i've been looking for the perfect moment to share one of my near and dear to my heart bakeries.. it couldn't just be a whatever whatever wednesday. no no not for this local home town hero. i needed that extra dash of sprinkles to celebrate the entirety of their goodness!

what better way than with a birthday, their 6th birthday.

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the first time i discovered Retro Bakery was a bit before their 2nd birthday right at the beginning of the cupcake craze that took over america. i was one of the many that fell victim to the cake & frosting frenzy which only grew after a visit to Sprinkles cupcakes in LA. when i returned home to vegas i was determined to seek out and destroy all cupcake bakeries that existed but to my surprise there wasn't very many in vegas at the time.

no expectations- just a name, an address and a hopeful promise of cake from google i set out to find retro.

SO happy i did, no regrets, and more importantly no disappointments!!

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i am beyond lucky to get to have seen this little cupcake bakery grow to become such buttercream superstars.

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cupcakes are their bread and butter but the cookies are unavoidably addictive.

the cinnamon sugar cookie is my FAV *drools*

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kari and brian are the owners and you can tell just how much they love their sugar baby child retro.

you can find them either ringing up your order at the register or going in and out of the bat cave. you know.. beyond the counter where the real magic happens.

always prepped with smiles and friendly hellos, they are great people.

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an amazing game that happens every birthday - hidden numbers (this year they were 6's) are placed on the bottoms of random cupcakes in the case and should you find one you win a FREE dozen cupcakes.

happy hunting!

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free mini cupcake that i totally devoured for breakfast.

this bakery is so special even Johnny Cupcakes stopped by in 2010 for his suitcase tour and YES of course i was there. there is even video proof - did you spot me? i brought him a little gift.

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my order:

1- birthday cake 2- chocolate covered strawberry 3- milk and cookies 4- cotton candy 5- apple cider 6- maple bacon 7- salted caramel 8- pistachio 9- red carpet 10- pucker up 11- coffee & donuts

not pictured, s'mores... he had an accident. accidentally fell into my mouth before the picture could happen, oopsies.

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guess what?! found a 6! wahooo.

free future cake, scoooore!

my waistline may be wanting to cry a little. however i think i have almost found my perfect yoga to dessert ratio of okay i can still fit in my clothes.

getting there.. its a journey.

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sharing is caring and i shared my love for retro's cupcakes with my family. even though i have to say it's a little sad to see one go without having had a nibble.. i can't help it! they are that good.

every chance i get i am always spreading the word and converting as many folks as i can into retro bakery fans.

friends who cake together, stay together.

xox

rita

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lala-land

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LA dreaming, all the kids in this town were way too cool for me.

sister road-tripping weekend for short and sweet trip to visit friends. a little getaway for the brain.. you know what i'm saying. change of scenery is good for you, even though this whole trip did feel a little deja-vu-y.

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6 ladies, midnight, roscoes. don't caaare.

chicken and waffles get into my MOUFFF! always a must stop.

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tom cruise..something about aliens. that's all that i'm allowed to say about it.

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the oaks. i am such a sucker for gourmet food stores.

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the most ridiculous coffee shop EVER! bourgeois pig really was the coffee shop of my dreeeams.

not to mention it's right next door to the daily planet, cute little news paper stand type store.

oh i'm sorry and did i forget to mention that it's right next door to the DAILY PLANET!! ahem

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m- o- o- n- that spells moon.

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perfect.

dim lit, dark and cozy. exactly the place to sneak away with someone for a just for two chat.

there was a special back room with the moon that makes you feel like you slipped into Neverland. there were all sorts of trees that had cut outs for shelves and these small secret nooks with tables and tiny stools. plush pillows, interesting mismatched chairs, velvet couches and did you see that purple pool table? overload of awesome.

we get it LA you are SUPER cool. sheeesh 

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we hit up melrose because i desperately wanted to check out Japan LA! i remember getting to meet the owner at the magic convention a few years ago and ever since i've been following the shop on the interwebs.

it's weird and awesome forming these little bonds just because of small moments that happen to you.

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it was so neat to see Twinkie Chan's Yummy You line in the store! so cool!! there was so much cuteness in this store, there was literally videos of kittens playing on the tv inside. my friend jess's sorta, totally kinda worst nightmare.. but that's a separate story.

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trinity of koi fish.

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such colorful shops and random eye catching candy every where. we walked all up and down this street.

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mostly because i forced everyone to go to the Johnny Cupcakes' store which was conveniently located no where near where we where we started our melrose madness. i have met the man twice now, i couldn't NOT stop by had to follow through.

did i buy anything? no. the one shirt i was set on claiming was out of stock in my size and then my overwhelming indecision kicked in and i settled on nothing. why? because i wanted eeeverything.

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the wall of ovens were surprisingly fully functional. randomly they would open and some kind of misty smoke would spray out. first time it happened i did kind of freak out a little haha

giant mint oven? but of course why not, they are just the doors to their back room. pssh no bigs that's not totally fantastic or anything. gosh, it must be so fun getting to work there. all the employees were really helpful and very laid back friendly. my cup of tea.

while we were there we bumped into a couple teams participating in an LA scavenger hunt marathon of some kind. a set of girls needed their photo taken in front of the oven back doors and a team of fellas needed a photo of them presenting a johnny cupcakes balloon to a person. jess, my darling friend who lives there, got to be the recipient of said balloon - random, right?

these are what making memories are about, allowing life to bump into you.

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records and bikes.

i can't wait to start a record collection, that's supposed to be a small future goal that i have my heart set on happening.

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we found a small corner alley way filled with the raddest graffiti art.

i went snapping crazy!

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he was everywhere, everywhere.

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..this was my favorite one, she was beautiful.

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where the wild things live.

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off with your head, dance till you're dead.

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so so true, just have to keep remembering that when it's the most hardest to.

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these photos were us trying to be sneaky and snag a photo of an actor having lunch in that restaurant behind us.

noooo we're not super creepy or anything. stalking?? pssh no. once i realized who it was my eyes were seeing i had myself a little nerd moment and we had to do a back track to make sure we grabbed photos him. if you've watched grimm or true blood he may look familiar to you too.

losers and we don't even care. putting our business on the streets!

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oops, there he is! james frain.

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a photo of me taking photos, they just will never stop.

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so sad i didn't snap ANY photos of our lunch at birds with my camera. way too involved into our conversations and shoving chicken caesar salad into my face to bother with the silly camera.

don't bother me, i'm eating.

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the adorable spot that my friends call home couldn't be any cuter. i love getting the chance to step into someone else's life. that peep into a different way of living. certainly not how i live but get to pretend for a moment that maybe i do? that's the best part about a vacation or trip. letting go of who you are for just a little bit helps give me perspective on who i'd like to become.

my hosts couldn't have been anymore gracious and welcoming. next trip i am going to aim to almost over stay my welcome.

more photos of my lala land trip and my general randomness will always be readily available on my instagram.

i'd love to get to you know more of you lovelies so if you are on instagram, please don't be shy to say hi!

xox

rita

 


Talent Show: Eliza Bennett

when i first saw that photo i wasn't sure exactly what i was looking at.

first glance all i saw was a callused hand but something wasn't right.. is that thread??

YES!

i couldn't imagine why someone would do that to their own hand? willing sew right through the top layer of your skin, ouchies. right? 

eliza bennett is an artist who deliveries a strong statement through her work of art 'woman's work is never done' by embroidering her skin to purposely look like calluses.

she used embroidery a skill that antiquatedly represents feminity and applied it to the opposite by boldy displaying her hard worked hand. eliza decided to do this to hopefully challenge the idea that a women's work is easy and delicate.

any person who has had a strong female role model in their life knows just how untrue those words are.

isn't that just amazing? the dedication, her thoughtfulness, those photos. that's what art is exactly supposed to do.. move you.

my family consists of a lot of tough, hard working, and callused hand women.

i aim to earn my own.

thanks for letting me share.

xox

rita

photos & original article by hi-fructose magazine.


on a mission, on a mission, going to get it right.

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awhile back i went on a dreamy little getaway..

who knew this magical little place was just a short drive away from vegas.


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just wishing for a little r & r and thinking about all the escaping i'll be doing over this next year. 2014 seems like it's shaping up to be quite an interesting one but shouldn't all years be interesting?

eh, no i have totally had my share of duds.. a few years where maybe my brain was switched completely off but let's not let flaws hold us back from the now.

that's why i prefer to measure my life in moments.

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the Mission Inn was anything but ordinary.

it was like getting a peek into the past tied up in a bow of luxury. certainly a place you'd want to spend with your someone special, perfectly romantic..

let's not leave out their amazing spa - the eucalyptus steam bath. um, wow. if every day would start with one of those it'd be impossible to have a bad day.

our room's windows lead out onto a terrace.


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one of my first additions to the Foodcourt was for Casey's Cupcakes who's shop was located on the property. see? just keeps getting better. not to mention that post was and still is particularly popular. people love cupcakes just as much as i do.

this place definitely was one for the books and i'm happy that i got to preserve and share it. perhaps one day a special someone will take me back here and i can make new moments in such a beautiful place.

xox

rita

always dreaming.

 

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holidays bits & pieces

my luck with computers is really terrible so it's totally funny to me that i actually want to have and keep up with a blog. i can't explain it but i am magical at making specifically MY computers, yes computerS, become pretty much non functional. but no excuses! if something is broken find a way to fix it OR throw everything away and start again new. its okay to do that. it's not giving up it's being brave.

things have been quiet on here and words have been even more difficult for me lately but i wanted to break the cycle and share some holiday moments.

starting with thanksgiving.

i love to start the day with bagels & lox, an accidental tradition that i don't mind keeping up with. popping into starbucks for the paper, latte and phone chat with the biff is must as well. we used to do that together but when life puts you in different spots you have to improvise.

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as i mentioned before i really wanted to make Joy's parker house dinner rolls and i have to say i had a lot of fun with these babies. i am super in-experienced in working with yeast so i always seem to put those recipes in the save for later pile but not anymore. it got me pumped to play a little more with things that are aliiiive.

and okay so maybe i threw away my yeast starter like 3 times because i couldn't tell if it was "foamy" enough but look, everything worked out.

a hint of sweetness with just a slight chew, warm with butter - these rolls were just perfect.

cheating.. is bad.

but it can be so SO good and easy. i try not to cheat in the kitchen, i try not to make so many dishes dirty i want to cry when i look at my sink. but when you need four pie crusts STAT break out that food processor and save yourself from unnecessary holiday stress.

the key is to keep your fat (butter/shortening) as cold as possible, i freeze mine, and use ice cold water too.

first timer at pre-baking a pie crust.

i used rice, parchment paper and crossed my fingers.

not to mention, first time making a chocolate pie too.

nifty trick i picked up while interwebs researching? wax paper helps from that weird thick filmy layer from forming on top of your chocolate pudding filling. guess what? it worked.

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action shot of goodness.

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just like that chocolate pie made with a lot of love.

oldies but goodies, sweet potatoe and cran-apple pie.

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it was a romantic affair.

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my schwester slicing up the bird.

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me and my second eldest niece. she may murder me for this photo, but i couldn't love her any less. teenagers and their aversion to smiling, i remember that. oh wait, because that was like 3 months ago for me!

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like the inappropriate photo taking blogger that i am, i assumed the postion and stood on my chair right at the dining room table to snap this.

real life.

the most amazing thing to happen to me all winter.. my hooded AND footed adult cupcake onesie.

gingerfraaaanz with their mega intense blue eyes. pssh Twinkie Chan magic, of course. Did you make it to the winter Renegade craft fair in San Fran this year?

brown butter.. dark chocolate.. fleur de sel the ingredients for one magnificent chocolate chip cook. dark, decadent and delicious.

hand candy via Stoopidgerl.

my christmas bars.

buttery shortbread crust topped with craisins, dates & shredded coconut. these are one of those holiday treats that i copied from an old and very used recipe card from my mom's recipe box.

admittedly it isn't much the same anymore. originally hers is topped with a medly of candied fruit and coconut but when you grow up you get to decide how you want your christmas bars made. sorry mom.

this year it was my turn to bring the watergate salad.

Xmas tree

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christmas cheer at my parent's house.

christmas eve is my favorite because it's the epitome of anticipation of what's about to come, what you have been waiting for all season long.. christmas.

my family decided to change things up with our normal christmas eve festivities by wearing pajamas, normally meant for the next morning but why not start by celebrating in them?

the EXTRA awesome members of the fam rocked full onesies. no waistline? yes please!

have you ever watched this film? when i was little my dad let me watch this and i was captivated, i can't count the number of times we've watched this together. Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe essentially sums up who i am.. what i'm interested in and i didn't realize that until recently. it's funny looking back on your childhood and making those little "oooh, well that makes sense" connections.

ew that means i am getting older some more right?! omg. it. just. keeps. happening.

my favorite christmas gift this year was from my sister, they usually always are, she framed and hand painted all the gold embellishments. these are the gallery cards from the sylvi ji exhibit we went to in LA, remember that?

the schwester is too talented for her own good, i keep encouraging her to share more of her art with the world. one day hopefully she'll let me do that here at PassionPending.

new years eve morning looked like this.

and new years eve evening looked a little like this.

2013 you took all my words from me. the ups, downs, discoveries, and lessons learned will all help me be a better me for the new year to come. i want to strive to keep growing and focus on finding the happy in each day. i am beautiful, you are too and so is this life we have been gifted, lets keep remembering to try and make the most out of it.

i can't wait to see what adventures await for me but first i have to create them. here's to more words, more tea and much more love in 2014.

oh and new friends too!

xox

rita


thanksgiving check listing

i feel half hearted for this year's turkey day, i am excited & grateful to be able to enjoy the day and all that it'll have to offer to its fullest. however i feel like this is going to be the last "traditional" one that my whole fam will be attending. there is so much chatter and planning for all these new adventures that will be happening for 2014 that i can't help but be left with this bittersweet feeling.

while change can feel uncomfortable it can also be exhilarating if you welcome the new-ness. i just need to keep reminding myself of that and keep checking things off of my giant life to do list of what i'd like to do and experience.

what will i be providing for our feast this year?

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cran-apple pie is my mom's favorite and usually is requested so it made it's way on to my list.

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a personal fav - sweet potato pie, hey you. yes you made it too the under dog of pies. i make mine with white sweet potatoes an accident that has now formed into tradition, its funny when that happens.

Tgives12 (2 of 2)

these unseen photos are from last year's thanksgiving hosted by my sister in law. bottom left pot, was the first time i brought my collard greens n' wild rice side dish and it will also be making a reappearance.

as far as new goes, i will be testing out this recipe for parker house rolls by joy the baker. rolls are always something that gets left out of my fam's usual spread and it seemed like such a shame. do you see how pretty those babies are?! added.

smitten kitchen's chocolate pie.

homesick texan's version of chocolate pie. don't you love that old recipe card as much as i do?

i've been inspired to do chocolate pie - never made one and i still have insecurities working with chocolate in the kitchen. when you find yourself non stop thinking about something you have to get it out and try. a spark that turned in to a fire so i'm going to put thought and a whole lot of love in to this baby and hope for a delicious outcome.

you want your food to taste good? be in love with it, think yummy thoughts through out the process and don't rush.

i'd love to know your thanksgiving favorites and if you'll be bringing anything to your gatherings this year. i want to share a recipe but gees which one??

xox

rita

i'm going to go pie prep and watch Waitress.

such a lovely movie, here's the trailer if you've never seen it.