…because i just do.

thoughts and things that make me happy

Month: February, 2013

Happy Valentine’s Day.

(below are some of my favorite images from this year’s holiday of love.)

Homemade Play Dough Valentines for Mack’s classmates.


An Exterior Wall @Smashbox Studios.

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Sugar Paper at the Brentwood Country Mart with their sweet (free!) photo booth valentines.

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A stash of letterpress cards from Abbot Kinney’s Urbanic.

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Felt Heart mobile from Santa Monica’s Goods.



Perfect White Chili

Last Friday as New England braced itself against the weekend blizzard I decided that out here on the West Coast we would hunker down in honor of the accumulating snow and our friends back East.  Appropriately, it was a chilly, rainy day in LA so it was a perfect evening to build a fire and satisfy my chili craving.  My brother, Charlie is an amazing cook and has been perfecting this recipe for some time.  I was happy he so readily agreed to share his recipe for White Bean Chicken Chili.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.  With the addition of a dark, hoppy beer and smoky chipotle chili powder it will definitely keep you toasty on a wintry day.


A simmering pot of chili.

Uncle Chuck’s White Bean Chicken Chili

2½ pounds shredded boneless, skinless chicken breasts (poached, see below)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 bottle beer (I used New Belgian Brewing “Snow Day”.  Sam Adams Winter Lager or Guinness are good choices too)
Juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon cumin powder
½ tablespoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
2 11 ounce cans white, shoepeg corn
2 16 ounce cans Great Northern Beans, drained
2 16 ounce cans Butter Beans, drained
¾ bunch of cilantro, chopped

chicken chili

Dark beer, fresh lime juice and cilantro round out the flavors.

To Cook the Chicken:

I poach the chicken.  Place 2-2½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a large stockpot of lightly salted water.  Bring water and chicken to a boil.  Once boiling, cover (leave cover slightly askew) and cook for approximately 20 minutes (until chicken is fully cooked). Once cooked, let the breasts cool for approximately 30 minutes.  Then, using a fork shred the chicken.  (I usually cook the chicken a day in advance and just store it in a GlassLock container in the fridge until needed).

The Chili:

Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in bottom of at least a 5.5 quart stockpot over medium to high heat.  (I prefer using this Cast Iron Oven) Add both chopped onions and garlic and cook until tender (approx. 6-8 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Once the garlic and onions are tender add all ingredients except chicken and cilantro.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes.

Add chicken and taste seasonings.  I always start with the above measurements but usually end up adding another ½ tablespoon of chipotle chili powder, another teaspoon of sriracha and few more shakes of cumin powder and a little extra salt.  If you prefer a spicier chili you may want even more chili powder and sriracha.  Once you have adjusted the spices, let the chili (with chicken added) simmer another hour.

About 30 minutes before serving add chopped cilantro.  Serve hot and with the following toppings: tortilla chips, sour cream and shredded cheese (I usually use a blend of Monterey Jack and Cheddar).


Soup’s On!


Friday goodness via Instagram. Click on individual photos for additional info.


1) Starting the morning off with real, organic, hazelnut flavored half and half with my coffee…

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2) Reading the Winter 2013 Anthology in bed before my 4-year-old wakes up…

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3) A feel-good movie with an ending that rivals “When Harry Met Sally”…


4) The delivery of a new, cozy (and 50% off) crew neck sweater…

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5) Purple blossoms from the flowering vine behind my house in this little vase…


6) Ending the day with the Barefoot Contessa’s “Perfect Roast Chicken”…