Thursday, March 29, 2012

Join Me

I've made the hop, skip & a jump over to another website. 

Come play with me here

You won't regret it. 

Carpe Diem, 

Monday, March 12, 2012

More & More Gold.

Who doesn't love chic & fun drinking glasses, right? Right. With a stash of 250 Mason jars, I was determined to incorporate these fun drinking cups into our New Years Eve, Black Tie wedding. Cue the gold spray paint....again. Oh ya spray paint works magic! 

This is a beyond easy DIY. All you need is a mason jar, gold spray paint & ribbon + some extra time (easily the hardest ingredient to acquire in this recipe). 

-Keep the lids tight on the jars (this protects the interior and top section from paint). 
-Flip jars upside down, so lid is facing down. 
-Line jars on a table covered in a paint cloth. 
-Spray about 12" away from jar, covering all surfaces. 
 * I used Design Masters 731 Gold. 
-Touch ups may be required along bottom portion. 
-Let dry. 
-Remove lid & tie ribbon.  

Voila! It's always in the details & these chic mason jars are so much more adorable than regular, old drinking glasses. 

Carpe Diem, 

PS. I love the last photo for many reasons, one being that the "M" in "Mr." fell off. Just goes to show not all weddings are perfect, but in the end...nobody cares :) 

Photography by Niki Rhodes

Friday, March 2, 2012


You know when you just need to escape and leave whatever current city you're in? Whether it's driving an hour south or hoping on a plane, getting out of your comfort zone & daily routine can be so refreshing. I'm off for a hot minute to South Lake Tahoe with the family (fam-vacay, woot!) this weekend. I have a serious soft spot in my heart for Tahoe; it is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to and one of my favorite cities in the entire world. Having grown up frequently visiting our family home in SLT, I have fond memories from summers & winters in this beautiful little haven.

I've come to discover how truly refreshing traveling can be. I've always had a travel bug in me and never stop wishing I was frolicking around Italy or eating crepes in Paris or swimming in Thailand...I don't think I've ever returned from a trip without dragging my feet back home. It's an issue sometimes...why can't a girl just travel her whole life? Oh wait, ya I kinda need an income.

So, a 3 day trip to Tahoe will suffice! The mere act of boarding a plane gets me all jazzed, regardless of how many times I've been on one or where I am going. I am looking forward to truly un-plugging and spending quality, albeit short, time with my family.

How do you recharge and un-plug?

Carpe Diem, 

PS. Thailand pictures coming soon! 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Vintage Finds

Portland has some pretty darn good vintage stores. As of late, I've been spending lazy Sundays perusing these said stores. The amount of goodies I dreamt of bringing home is much larger than what actually came home, but alas I am still pumped about my recent finds. 

A Knight helmet ice bucket...seriously?! If this is not the coolest vintage piece I've ever scored, then I don't know what is.

Someday, I'll serve home-made cappuccino's to over-night guests after their stay in an immaculate guest bedroom equipped with spa quality bathrobes & organic soap. Until then, these itty-bitty cappuccino cups will sit pretty in my cupboard for me to stare at. 

I didn't impulsively buy this vase at first & I am thankful it was still available a whole week later...sure sign it belonged to me! I love it's girly qualities and it's the perfect low vase to set on a dresser or nightstand.

Oh, the Man Chair. As I currently sit in this beauty, I have been engulfed by it's perfectly worn in cushions. This is the furniture vintage find-of-the-century...because it was only $50. BOOYAH! Didn't even bat an eye-lash for it. 

Carpe Diem, 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Breezy Mid-Century

Big news in this newlywed household: we're buying a reaaaal nice media console from Crate & status fo sho. This has promptly allowed me to finally get rid of the old and slowly bring in the new & fabulous & stylish. With the fancy media cabinet and Mr. Riggar's new vintage Man-Chair grounding our space, I've officially decided our style is "breezy mid-century." Airy & fresh with clean lines and a dash of vintage vibe. Okay, now to translate that into a rug, light, sofa & artwork...

Vintage Man-Chair: check. 
Artwork: check (although, really always in the making...).
Media Console: check. 

I'd like to say we lounge on a B&B Italia Sofa, but currently Ikea is suiting our 700 sq.ft. apartment just fine. That's going to have to wait....

Although designer by trade, this rug situation has me in a stand-still. I adore the beige knotty chevron rug, but I also dream about this Charcoal Moroccan Trellis rug. When I saw Jessica Constable's living room, I knew I had to have that charcoal rug. Until I stumbled upon the knotty chevron and then I saw how gorgeously Emily Henderson styled a space with a similar rug. 

Considering we'll most likely end up with a light colored sofa in the near future, I think the Charcoal Moroccan Trellis rug is the best option. 

I know you want to give me your opinion....because I know you care just as much about our future rug as I do. So, what do you think? 

Carpe Diem, 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pantone: Warm Red

I'm having a love affair with this "warm red" color right now. Well, mostly now that I am keeping an eye out for it on furniture. My closet would beg to differ, considering this "warm red" color dominates. The above photos go to show how rad a statement "warm red" furniture piece can be. I adore the eclectic-modern vibe happening in each space. I've spotted a few pieces myself lately, all found in the treasure box that is Lounge Lizard PDX. Eventually a "warm red" furniture piece will be rockin' in my home, but until then I'll keep day dreaming...

Jessica Marx of J.Marx Atelier perfectly combined bold stripes with a bold desk. 

Jenny Komenda of The Little Green Notebook whipped up this gorgeous DIY dresser with new fancy hardware.

A "warm red" desk grounds the funky home office of J.Crew legend, Jenna Lyons. Image found via A Lovely Being from the September 2011 issue of British Vogue. 

How would you incorporate "warm red" into your space? 

Carpe Diem, 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Eat Drink Portland: Dick's Kitchen

Dick's Kitchen is new to NW Portland and I could not be happier! The classic diner with milkshakes, cheeseburgers & a bar with red leather stools. Except with gluten-free, vegan & Paleo dining options...this is Portland, people! The "Elvis Burger" is hands-down one of the best burger I have ever eaten. Let that statement sink in! I constitute this to the ridiculously good quality ingredients. It seems simple, right? You will understand when you take your first bite. Their version of french fries are actually air baked & the yam fries are to die for (way better than the still delicious french fries). Also, a Kalhua Milkshake?! Yes, please! Thank you for making "adult milkshakes" so I don't feel like a 6 year-old when only faced with a normal milkshake...which I will order, no matter what. The signature "Dick's-a-rita" combines jalapeno-pinapple infused vodka & tequila with house made sweet & sour. For a "diner" this margarita is far over par in deliciousness and has just enough spice to make it extra special. It's the ultimate trifecta: quick, well priced & ridiculously yummy! 

Carpe Diem, 

*Insta-gram photos by me (MandyJae), DK logo photograph by Joseph Bergantine. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Whoopie Love

Holidays allow for over-indulgence. Maybe that's why I love them so much. Either way, I'll take any excuse to bake sugary treats! I headed over to a dear friends house who has a kitchen equipped with frosting guns...frosting guns, people!! 

I'll forgive you if you think these look like tiny butts & not hearts. Because I agree. 

You may be wondering why we're pouring Jack Daniels into the frosting, so here goes: While touring the Jack Daniels Distillery on a whirlwind Nashville weekend trip, our 80 year old tour guide named Betty, gave us her baking secret. Directly replace vanilla with Jack Daniels in all things baking & it tastes just as good, if not better. This may be a direct result from all employees receiving a bottle of Jack  the first of every month...blame it on the booze! 

Inspiration found here and recipe found here. Bon Appetit! 

Carpe Diem, 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Celebrate Love

I am a sucker for all holidays. I'll take any excuse for a celebration- champagne, decor, oodles of candy & gifts. I think Valentine's Day is a fantastic reminder to tell the special people in your life just how much you love them. Of course, it would be ideal to celebrate those people all year long, but how about you treat them extra special on February 14th? Celebrating love is a glorious occasion & a girl can't complain if it's accompanied by flowers and breakfast and chocolate and jewelry.....

Speaking of love, I adore Instagram. Above are a few of my favorite photos lately, all lovey-dovey themed of course. 

1. Ombre heart inspired by Valentine's Day while creating Vanillawood's window display
2. Red Velvet Woopie pies (recipe coming soon!)
3. Almond French Toast stuffed with Vanilla-Coconut Blueberry cream cheese filling (recipe here)
4. My new Bevin bronze ring gifted from Mr. Riggar for our first married Valentine's Day <3 

What's your take on Valentine's Day? Love it? Hate it? Hallmark Holiday?

Carpe  Diem, 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Breakfast

With Valentine's Day being on a Tuesday this year, we decided to indulge in a lazy Sunday morning breakfast instead (thanks for the inspiration, Camille!).

I added some twists to the recipe I found here (via Pinterest) & they were well worth it! We ended up with a Brioche Almond French Toast sandwich stuffed with Vanilla-Coconut, Blueberry Cream Cheese. Naturally paired with an Orange Mango Mimosa, of course. Living above a Starbucks means we start nearly every morning with some soy lattes & this special occasion was no different. Plus, those Valentine cups are just adorable...I can't resist them!


French Toast 
3 eggs per 6 slices
Brioche loaf (Lovejoy Bakers is delicious!)
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 cup Almond Milk

The French Toast drill: Slice. Mix. Dip. Grill.

Cream Cheese Filling
12 oz. Whipped Cream Cheese
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/3 cup coconut
Pinch of granulated or powdered sugar*

Whipped is the-way-to-go for this recipe. It is beyond easy to mix up & even easier to spread. Don't waste your time with regular cream cheese! Add ingredients, mix together & spread over the french toast. Garnish with additional blueberries & more coconut inside & out of the sandwich.

Drench with maple syrup & enjoy!

* The original recipe called for powdered sugar, which we did not have, so I mixed in vanilla & coconut for the sweetness.

Side note: I barely cook. I am a total beginner, so these directions are easy-peasy because that's the way I like it!

As beautiful as this sandwich looks, it's also ridiculously indulgent. I'd like to try the same recipe again, but use the cream cheese as a "frosting" rather than filling & keep the slices separate. Either way, it is a delicious breakfast!


Carpe Diem, 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Eat Drink Portland: Oven & Shaker

My favorite Italian restaurant in Portland recently shut down to my dismay. In its spot though, came Oven & Shaker, a combination of Nostrana Chef Cathy Whims & NW Native bartender, Ryan Magarian. As disappointed as I am to see yet another local business shut it's doors, the saying rings true in this instance: "when one door closes, another opportunity opens." 

Needless to say, this restaurant rocked my socks off! From the sexy atmosphere to mouth-watering food AND cocktails, I will without a doubt be returning. Part oven, part shaker, this restaurant offers mind-blowing pizza AND out-of-this-world cocktails in one sitting. Served family style, it is perfect for groups & for a saucy date night (Lady & The Tramp style...). 

From the classic Margarita Pizza to a Bacon Brussel Sprout Pizza, the options range from one spectrum to the other, with perfection in between. 

As the signature cocktail, the Pineapple Trainwreck is sweetness at it's best (aka: sans the sugar-high & hang-over). This baby is lovingly hand made, down to the fresh, house-squeezed juices. 

I rarely leave new restaurants without trying their dessert (shocking). This past weekend, the homemade gelato was  Dark Cherry Buttermilk & yes, it tastes just as good as it sounds. 

Every detail of this restaurant has clearly been executed to perfection. I look forward to heading back & trying out their late-night happy hour as well. 

Also, any classy restaurant that serves fried mozzarella is fantastic in my book. Don't let that discredit my opinion though.... 

Carpe Diem, 

*Instagram photo taken by me (@Mandy_Jae). All other photos taken by Oven & Shaker photographer, John Vallis. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cookie Bombs

Let's talk about sweets. I get my sweet tooth from my grandmother & father and boy, when I have a hankering I am unstoppable. It's an issue some days. When I saw these cookies on beloved Pinterest, I had to eat them immediately. So began my dive into the baking world.

These are very simple: homemade chocolate chip cookie dough, wrapped around an Oreo. For convenience matters, I also tried with store bought cookie dough and it was an epic fail. Domestic-fearing cookie addicts, the "quicker" route is not the solution this time (I will not even show photos, they are that terrible). So, roll up your sleeves & start pouring the sugar because theses babies are all homemade.

These make a great party favor & are easy to transport to a pot luck. Most think they are traditional chocolate chip cookies at first sight, until the first person eats one...and then those cookies become the life of the party. I did not win the Super Bowl cook-off, but I totally think the contest was rigged anyways. I don't believe it one bit.

Recipe found here.

Carpe Diem, 

Eat Drink Portland: Smokehouse21

NW 21st has two new restaurants in town, both featuring local yumminess, true Portland style. Aka: local meat from a nearby farm, local bread from the neighboring bakery & menu's listing exactly who, what & where. I'll admit it...I love everything about this! Welcome to the 'hood Smokehouse 21 & Dick's Kitchen!

First up  is Smokehouse 21, a tiny BBQ hot spot with a short, but delicious menu. Choices are simple: meat & sides with spices/sauces already on the table. The meat is served dry, allowing you to pick & choose at your convenience. Talk about a man's heaven, right? My particular favorite is the beer list: only requirement is it's served in a can (with a coozie...duh). Also, don't forget to try the Bacon Molasses Cornbread with warm honey butter syrup & the homemade Mac & Cheese. So good, I refused to waste any....I wish I had Mac & Cheese to-go every day!

More to come on Dick's Kitchen soon!

Carpe Diem, 

*Instagram photos by me (@Mandy_Jae). All other photos taken by Smokehouse21 photographer Erin Berzel. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Cafe Nell

Is...that....a...meal in a drink? Why, yes, yes it is. Equipped with a fantastic (medium-priced) menu paired with their signature "Mary Nell" & "Man-Mosas" (mimosa in a pint glass),  Cafe Nell is my new favorite breakfast joint. With so many delicious breakfast hot-spots in PDX, it's hard to find a spot without a the rain. Cafe Nell is tucked away in lower NW Portland and, hear me out, there is never a line. I cross my heart! Even at 10am on the weekends. My particular favorite is the Creme Anglais French Toast with a Man-Mosa. Warning: Afternoon naps will taunt you after downing a pint glass of champagne topped with orange juice. A full pint glass; straight up college style! But, of course, classy because this is Portland and we're weird foodies here. 

Try it out next time you're craving delicious breakfast food. You won't regret it. Unless you have more than one man-mosas and an afternoon date with grandma on the schedule. 

Carpe Diem, 

Image credit clockwise: Cafe Nell, Mandy Knapp, 365 Things Portland, Instagram Mandy_Jae

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Life's short, eat dessert first.

Not only do I utilize every excuse to eat what should be desserts (french toast, sugar coated pastries...) for breakfast, but now Kate Spade agrees with me. I adore this size clutch (7" wide) because it fits all my unnecessary items I carry at all times, yet still fits snuggly under my arm. Well, technically it is a cosmetic case, but it's far too cute to sit in a drawer or suitcase. I will wear it proud & loud, late into the evening with a cocktail in hand. 

This bright & sassy item is just the tip of the Kate Spade iceberg that is dominating our winters with drool worthy spring items. 

Oh, and their Tumblr? Even better. 

Carpe Diem, 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Power of Gold


That cake topper had an identity crisis. It used to be a pencil sharpener. How, you ask? The answer to far too many of my questions: gold spray paint. After only finding "Love statues" or "Love cake toppers" for at least $80 anywhere & everywhere, I was determined to create a cheaper solution. Cue the sketchy souvenir website that I doubted giving my credit card information to. Thirteen dollars later, I had found a solution! Design Master spray paint in Brilliant Gold 731 became my uber fantastic side-kick whilst planning the biggest party of my life (and best, might I add). Next time you're unsure of a solution, I'll bet my bottom dollar  that gold spray paint will be the answer. 

Carpe Diem, 

*Wedding photography by Niki Rhodes