EAT // Souvla: Mission, SF

When I traveled to Greece with my brother after we graduated from college, we had this AMAZING gyro at a corner store for dirt cheap. Despite the price, it was one of the most delicious gyros I’ve ever had. I remember it was after we had come down from Acropolis and it was hot as Hades. We were covered in dirt and sweat and were HUNGRY as wolves. A quirk I noticed was they put the fries IN the gyro– still do it to this day when I get gyros. 

Fast forward to 2017.. SOUVLA.  I initially saw the Greek-inspired cup design and then was lured in by the frozen yogurt pictures because I love frozen yogurt, friends. The tart kind, not the sugar filled ones… and if you like that too, Souvla’s got your back.

Aside from the Insta-worthy interior, they have great food. A and I tried the lamb and pork shoulder gyros, which were both good, but we both preferred the lamb in the end. (Funny, because I don’t like lamb…perhaps because the taste was covered in an amazing tzatziki sauce.) We also got the Greek fries, which were a tad underseasoned, but the cut and fry of the fries were perfect.

souvla valencia interior
souvla valencia interiorEvidently, you can get yourself a $20 chicken after 6pm. Look at them chickens get their rotisserie on.souvla greek fries gyros lamb pork Here I am, so excited to finally try this place I’ve bookmarked for months. souvla greek fries gyros lamb pork closeup
souvla greek fries gyros lamb pork souvla greek fries gyros lamb pork souvla greek frozen yogurt baklava honey

EAT // Lasagna x Bacon Egg Hash x Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

My friends, I’ve figured out my personality as an eater after a friend spoke the word: GRAZER. I am a grazer.. little eating here and there. She totally got me defined in one word!

Homemade turkey/beef marinara sauce for lasagna and 4 clove garlic bread. Yummmm
Prebaked graham crackers and fresh pureed strawberries in the batter.

Fresh strawberry puree <3
Celebrating A’s new job!
A and I love brunch, but brunch is insanely expensive… so we try to make brunch whenever we can! This is bacon, red bell peppers, onions, red potato hash with fried eggs on top. We love a good one cast iron pan dish.

Ice cream at TinPot Creamery in Palo Alto during A and my midweek date. We got malted chocolate and Cookie Monster to share.

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing food and location from Souvla, a restaurant A and I tried for the first time this weekend in the Mission!

Ann

EAT // Memorial Day BBQ x Beer Chicken x Brazilian Food!

Here’s a fun fact about me: I love to cook and bake, but I do not really like to eat! I love the process aspect and making food beautiful, but when it comes time to eat it… I’ll take a few bites and nibble here and there! Granted, I’m a small and VERY PICKY eater… I’m definitely a eat to survive type girl. Of course there are exceptions — anything matcha and brunch basically!

Anyways, I thought I’d try something new and share highlights of what I ate every week! This won’t be a food recipe blog by any means, by the way.

Beer Chicken IPA Lagunitas I bought a few different beers to photograph for my design project and decided to use them to cook since I don’t drink beer (I don’t drink anything carbonated — not just a picky eater.. also a picky drinker. 😛 ) The chicken turned out super tasty, but nothing beats the cranberry balsamic chicken I made last winter!
Chicken Salad Apples Grapes Cranberries Onions Celery Greek YogurtRotisserie chicken is my savior. I dislike cooking meat because I get sick to my stomach after dealing with raw meat for more than 2 minutes pretty much. Not my forte.
Brazilian Fresh Squeeze Cafe Berkeley Tritip Steak Chipotle Chicken Tacos Next up is Brazilian food from Berkeley! A and I went to thrift shop and ended up trying Brazil Fresh Squeeze Cafe across from UCBerkeleyExtension building.
Memorial Day BBQ Pesto Shrimp Skewers Steak Bites Last week’s Memorial Day BBQ.. we skewered beef and shrimp kabobs! Also made bacon potato salad, chicken wings, corn, and grilled pineapple for dessert.
Baked Parmesan Potato Wedges4 clove garlic and herb roasted potatoes.
Greek Yogurt Corn Flank Steak Fajitas Bell Peppers A collection of leftover produce and foods in our fridge… plus new additions of corn (5 for $2! and the flank steak was only $10!!! WHAT?!) I love a good meal that is budget friendly.

Until next week,
Ann

Why It’s Been Quiet Around Here

Hello all!

It’s been insanely quiet around here and for an exciting reason! I have been taking graphic design classes at night for the past 2 years and I’m finally on my last class- portfolio!

It’s been the most challenging class. I’m creating 8 projects to include in my portfolio. I am create a full project with 4 components (sometimes more!) EACH WEEK. It’s CRAZY/SCARY how many hours I’ve logged on the computer doing work…

Due to the workload, I had to put designing products for Adventure of Letters on hold, but I hit an exciting milestone — 100+ orders! Never did I think that I would be selling that many cards or have so much freelance work opportunities. It’s been a great experience and I can’t wait to be done with Portfolio class and be able to make all the creative ideas in my head a reality!

Hopefully more posts soon! 2 more weeks!
Ann

EAT x MAKE // Belated Valentine’s Day Celebration

You know what? I had a belated Valentine’s Day celebration. It was actually a birthday, Valentine’s Day, and anniversary celebration all thrown in together. But it actually doesn’t even matter what the occasion was– this was one of the most fun things I’ve done.

It took a little planning and time to bake up most all the goodies, but once that was all aside, throwing a tea party is really a cinch. You could really buy little treats at your local store too, if you don’t have the time to bake. (I recommend Trader Joes!)

I made:
– strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting topped with fresh fruit (baked them 2 weeks ago and froze them– still super moist!).
-blueberry orange zest scones (doubled up on the orange zest!!!)
-Earl Grey shortbread cookies
-lemon dill cucumber finger sandwiches
-roasted bell pepper bleu cheese roast beef finger sandwiches

My boyfriend made:
-tomato ham finger sandwiches
-tomato lettuce turkey finger sandwiches

We bought:
-macarons (TJs)
-tart, eclair, cannoli (Whole Foods)

We made:
-London Fog lattes (Earl Grey)
-Bliss Tea (Peppermint Tea Latte)

My mom joined in on the fun too, and we ended up cutting everything you see into even smaller portions so that we could taste test everything! It was such a fun experience and definitely cost far less than going to a tea party place!

tea party high tea finger sandwiches scones fruit pastries patisserie
What are your favorite tea party treats? Do share! 🙂
Ann

Happy New Year || 2017 Intentions and Goals

Happy New Years, everyone!

2016 was an extremely busy and challenging year, but one full of learning and growth! There was so much disappointment, sadness, and upset… but there were also so much to be joyful about!

new years adventure of letters

My 1 word intention for this year is: RELAX.

2016 was full of firsts in starting my own small business called Adventure of Letters, selling hand lettered and illustrated greeting cards (most of which were either pun filled or pop culture related). It was a lot of hard work and learning on the job. Walking into this year, I have a better idea of how to do things.. but I know I have a lot to learn still! Last year, I spent most of my time creating designs; this year, I’ll be focusing more on social media/marketing/blogging… and expanding products beyond cards!

But wait… didn’t you say your intention was to RELAX this year, Ann?

Yes! I really started to find a better work/life balance a few months ago… and I’m stoked to continue fine tuning that balance. In August, I started a new job teaching PE (I taught 1st grade only prior) on a whim… and I also started taking night classes again. I was EXHAUSTED, but finally started to get used to things probably a month ago. Transitions and change are hard, but I’ve learned to be patient with myself and trust the journey.

I’ll slowly be sharing my mini goals this month.. but for my blog, look forward to a wider variety of topics: more DIY projects (some freebies!), more food related posts (meal planning, sharing recipes, etc), fashion (capsule.. since I’ve transitioned further into sustainable/ethical fashion), and hopefully more travel/adventure pictures!

I’m so excited for what 2017 has in store. Cheers to a new year!

Ann

LIFESTYLE | 7 Tips to Survive Being Outdoors All Day

My side hustle is basically designing and creating cards and stationery for Adventure of Letters, but my day job is teaching PE! It’s a new thing this year since I was teaching 1st grade for 4 years prior, but so far, I love it! I get to be outdoors, running around and getting kids active too. Win-win for me since I love being outdoors and I value staying active. Here are a few things I’ve learned about having a job that is outdoors!

  1. Wear and REAPPLY sunscreen.
    1. I can’t stress reapply enough, really. I use this for face SPF and this for my body. The former has serum built in, so that helps with keeping my skin healthy, not just protected. Being out in the sun all day dries your skin out, so I need that serum. The latter, I love because it’s not too sticky and the coconut scent is divine. It’s like you’re on a beach on vacation. It also doesn’t leave a chalky residue on you.
    2. I also use hand SPF! I wash my hands A LOT throughout the day because handling sports equipment that has come across a lot of students’ hands.. gets plain dirty. Regular SPF will wash off quickly with soap, but this one has proven that it stays on for at least 2 more washes than with normal SPF! It also is very moisturizing. Handling sports equipment with dry cracked hands is actually fairly painful.
  2. Wear a hat and sunnies.
    1. Don’t think you’re good to go with SPF only. Your eyes need protecting.. and if you’re constantly squinting.. you’re gonna get wrinkles on your face after a while! Most days, I wear a baseball cap because it makes it easier to move around, but I prefer to have a big hat with a wide brim that can cover my shoulders too!
  3. Hydrate.
    1. More than you think you need.. and throughout the day. I made this mistake thinking I was fine my first week, then ended up with a massive headache.
  4. Exfoliate!
    1. When I get home, I’ve got 3-4 layers of reapplied sunscreen on me, so exfoliating is a big deal to me. I need to slough off all that sunscreen and moisturize. I use one of those dry brushes to scrub off the caked on sunscreen and dead skin.
  5. Moisturize.
    1. Immediately after getting out of the shower, I slather on coconut or almond oil. It absorbs into my skin rather than sitting ON my skin as most lotions do. I’ve noticed I need to put on oil/lotion 2-3 times a day now because the sun really does dry out your skin.
  6. Change up the cut/length of your tanks/tees/shorts/pants.
    1. If your’e like me and you tan very easily.. you get lots of different farmers tans. My tans also stay for a pretty long time before it fades. Change up the cut/length of your tops and bottoms so you don’t continue to tan the same every day. My tan evens itself out eventually, with the exception of my sock tan. I wear low socks, but my foot is definitely a lot lighter than my legs! HAHA
  7. Stretch + Soak.
    1. I stand all day on hot asphalt. My knees, ankles, and feet are so tired at the end of the day… so I take the time to stretch while my students are active. I also do an Epsom salt foot soak every night to soothe my aching feet.

 

That’s it! Whether you work outside, or you’re on vacation and spending days out in the sun.. those are my 7 tips to surviving being outdoors all day! Hope they help you out!

Ann

TRAVEL | Apple Picking x Fresh Fall Fruit

It is no secret that I LOVE picking fruit. Why? I have good memories of picking fruit in the summer as a kid with my family– that simple. Something about being driven to find the ripest and plumpest fruit appeals to me. Let’s not lie here.. I also like the feeling of the fruit snapping off its stem. Anyone else find gratification in that?

This past weekend, I went up to Clearview Orchards in Watsonville to pick some apples. I chose this orchard because their website said they have an abundance of Fuji apples (my favorite variety)! Another thing I was looking forward to was freshly pressed apple juice.

It’s a small orchard, but there are plenty of trees to pick from. My favorite part was Jethro the tortoise and that they have a guest cottage you can rent!! Let’s start the photo roll with the GOODIES I bought. 3 jars of local honey (I drink 2-3 cups of tea a day on average!), an apple popsicle, a small apple juice, and an apple turnover. That turnover was gigantic, but more importantly, delicious. Enjoy the photos!

Apple Picking Harvest Goodies Clearview Orchards Watsonville

Apple Picking Fresh Fuji Clearview Orchards Watsonville

Apple Picking Views Clearview Orchards Watsonville

Apple Picking Clearview Orchards Watsonville

Apple Picking Fresh Fuji Clearview Orchards WatsonvilleApple Picking Fresh Fuji Clearview Orchards WatsonvilleLocal Honey Apple Picking Clearview Orchards WatsonvillePumpkin Patch Apple Picking Clearview Orchards WatsonvillePumpkin Gourds Squash Apple Picking Clearview Orchards Watsonville

Apple Picking Honeycrisp Clearview Orchards WatsonvilleApple Picking Lavender Sprigs Clearview Orchards WatsonvilleApple Picking Bag Sprigs Clearview Orchards Watsonville

Apple Picking Fresh Fuji Denim Bag Clearview Orchards Watsonville img_1584 img_1589

Until next time,
Ann

EAT | Dan Tat

If there’s one thing I actually enjoy eating at dim sum, it’s gotta be dan tats. Dan tats are basically egg custard tarts. There are different versions of them such as the po gok tat- the Portuguese version I had in Macau, China. Different bakeries also make the tart crust differently. Some have it more dense like a shortcake, but my favorite is the puff pastry like crust with tons of flaky layers.

I’m not much of a recipe blog, but I do cooke/bake because I DO eat. For now, I won’t be posting recipes or directions (unless I used a link). Treat this as more inspiration!

First you make what I call puff pastry Chinese style. I make my pastry dough from scratch. It is way more work intensive, but worth it. I rolled and folded this one 3 times with a total of 10 new layers. More layers = more layers of flakiness. I don’t fold too many times because the dough starts to break down with the new addition of flour and it either gets too mushy or too tough.

dan tat pastry dough

dan tat putting it together

I rolled out the dough and cut it out to the size of my mini tart tins. I use aluminum tins, so you don’t ever have to spray or flour them. They don’t stick for me.
dan tat fresh out the oven dan tat fresh out the oven 2
dan tat layersdan tat time to eat

Hope you’re having a great Labor Day weekend!

A

TRAVEL | Alameda Point Antiques Faire

Earlier this month, I ventured out to the Alameda Point Antiques Faire. It’s held the first Sunday of every month with scaffolded pricing. The earlier you go, the more expensive. I didn’t get that at first, so I went for the $5 admission, which was after 9am.

Once I got there, I realized why. EVERYONE is bustling and grabbing the great deals early in the morning!!! It was way busier and packed than I expected. I’ve been to the San Jose Flea Market before and it’s dwindled since I remember going as a kid. I thought it’d be like that, but NOPE. I guess Alameda’s Flea market is the place to go!

I wasn’t searching for anything in particular, but it was fun looking at all the stuff that was there. There were tons of vendors with a lot of useful stuff. I was looking for some cool lettering things or antique art supplies, but didn’t find much. I was also looking for  Le Crueset  dutch oven to add to my kitchen!

My favorite as you’ll see were the record players, suitcases, and vintage signage! I like the idea of having those suitcases stacked in my living room because it doubles as STORAGE, but looks presentable! What do you look for when you’re thrifting?

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