Thursday, January 27, 2011

Red's Gear Review: Columbia Omni-Heat Jacket

The traditional puffy coat is not cute. You see people in puffy coats all over Utah. The person is so lost under all that fluff it inspires the line, "I can't put my arms down" from A Christmas Story and my urge to punch them just to see if they can feel it (and yes they can) kicks in. My number one complaint about puffy coats is that they are generally only attractive on a select few (myself not included). This is why a new non-traditional puffy has evolved, the down sweater. You won't struggle to lower your arms to their proper place at your sides. And amazingly you can still maintain some girlish curves (or masculine muscles) while staying comfortably warm, which is a big deal for a girl who is almost always cold.
Omni-Heat Reach the Peak Down Jacket
Columbia has hit the market with a down jacket of their own. Columbia's Omni-Heat jacket is stylish and it isn't puffy in the Christmas Story way. The 700 down fill Omni-Heat Reach the Peak jacket keeps you super warm. Adding a twist to their puffy jacket is the Omni-Heat technology. The heat comes from reflective cells on the inside of the coat. The idea is that these cells reflect your body heat keeping your warmer then a traditional winter coat. Blonde and I have been testing the jackets for over a month now and we can testify it is warm, even in below freezing temps (check out our frozen hair).
Blonde and I rocking Omni-Heat jackets
Columbia got it right with the design. Very slim and a great fit. The sleek design is really flattering and the technology makes sure you don't lose anything on warmth. A great jacket for hitting the resorts, backcountry adventures or just hanging around Salt Lake City. But nothing is perfect. My two complaints are both dealing with pockets. First, two snaps close the side pockets which is neither easy to open/close nor protective for any gear such as camera or phone you might put in them. Second, there is no internal pocket. In almost all my outdoor coats there is a internal chest pocket. I find this mandatory to keep my camera warm, prolonging the battery life and protecting the camera from unforeseen snow due to being tackled and whitewashed (which never happens to me).  Overall, I give the Omni-Heat a 4 out of 5.  Great style and very warm, but the pockets really dock you some points for outdoor functionality.

Slim design
Color (We tested grey)
Elastic sleeve cuffs
Stuff sack (it works)

The snap pockets
No internal chest pocket

Gear Tested - Women's Reach The PeakTM Down Jacket
Check out Columbia's Omni-Heat technology

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Seed Swap

This could possibly be the most interesting thing I have heard.  The People's Market have hosted a Seed Swapping event in Salt Lake City for the last 5 years.  This year's event is Saturday from 6-8PM.  I might have to go and check it out.

I an not sure exactly how this works, but according to their website, you can come with or without your own seeds.  If you have seeds you can trade with other gardeners for seeds you want.  If you don't have seeds, they will give you some.

Salt Lake City Seed Swap goes down Saturday, Jan 29 from 6-8PM  at Mountain Valley Seed Warehouse (455 W 1700 S).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Light Love

Sent to my inbox today was this sweet and creative proposal  by Derick Childress for his soon-to-be bride Emily. Check out how he did it here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Civil War Etsy

Did I really use the word "effective" in yesterday's post? I'm a dork. But I guess the watch does tell time, so that makes it effective.
Last night I saw The Civil Wars in concert at the State Room. It was so great. It is rare that two voices match so well. It was as if their voices were designed for this specific duet.  Keep your eyes and ears open for my full review next week.  But today I wanted to dedicate my Etsyness to them.  I present The Civil Wars.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Simple and effective wristwatch

I am over my sorrow about yesterday's post about Alt Summit and now I am moving on to shopping (a girl has to cope somehow). These super sleek and simple watches are my new favorite. I think I could accessorize anything with one of these. Designed by Laboratorio Quattro for Fullspot, the O'Clock is on my birthday wish list.

I love these colors

The O'Clock come in almost any color

Even the packaging is cleaver

First seen here Daily Grommet

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Sartorialist

Have you heard of The Sartorialist? If you haven't make your way over to the beautiful blog by Scott Schuman who previously employed by the fashion industry, started a photography blog documenting street style in 2005. It has gone on to be named one of the top 100 design influential blogs by TIME magazine.

Photo Credit: Christopher Peterson

I recently stumbled upon this documentary about the man himself. Check it out, and thank me for adding a blog to your reader that you are bound to visit everyday. He shows how fashion is real, not something for 10 ft, 100 lb models on runways. Its in the streets. Check it out:

Alt Summit in SLC

Am I really that retarded? (Don't answer that!) I blame my short attention span. I follow all these design blogs, but never realized we will be having all of my favorites right here in Salt Lake City for a little event called, Altitude Design Summit. It starts today and runs thru Friday, so I am sure all of the blogs will be talking about it for the next week. It will be like we all were there. Check out the list of talent
If only I had $400 and 3 days off work (dang why was a sick last week, when I could pretend to be sick this week). I could be there too. Maybe next year BBR will be there hobnobbing with all the blog celebs.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sickness and Bedrooms

Sorry there was no Etsy stuff on Friday.  From Wednesday to Sunday I only left my bedroom a few times. One of those times was to visit my doctor who did 4 different blood tests and a few different swab tests. By the way, have you ever had to have an influenza test?  It is truly the worst medical test they can put a person through. They take this swab which was basically a 12" long Q-tip and shoved it up my nose, pass my sinuses and into my skull to say hello to my brain. I think they were testing my brain matter to see if it had the flu.  It is the most uncomfortable test. My mom kept telling me to go to my happy place. Let me tell you, there is no happy place for this type of test. I heard rumors they are going to start using it as torture in all the new spy movies. I'd give up Daniel Craig in 2 seconds.
Surprisingly, after torturing me to tell Craig's secrets, I did not have the flu. I had strep. A prescription for antibiotics and orders to stay in bed for at least 48 hours I was back home in bed the ENTIRE weekend.  I watched movies, slept, watched Hulu, slept, took my meds with food every 12 hours, slept and slept some more. My body and my bed have now become one. And as I sat, laid and basically just lunged around my bedroom I really wanted to redecorate. Maybe redecorate isn't the right term. I want to decorate my bedroom. So I began a search. And what did I learn...
  1. I don't like 4 poster beds. I don't want to have to deal with drapery. I don't think it makes the bed or the room more romantic.  And really the "posters" are just a waste of wood.
  2. I don't want my room to be too feminine. I am not a girly girl so I don't want a lot of lace or lavender colored walls. I don't share my bed with a man right now, but someday I will. As I looked at photos of some super girly bedrooms, I instantly felt sorry for the dude who has to sleep in them.
  3. I don't want to look like I am at the beach when I live in the mountains. I like the beach as much as the next person, but I am not doing one of the many "nautical" themed rooms I see on every design show (probably not any theme for that matter).
  4. White is nice, but it isn't always right. I think white can be done well, but I would be afraid to sleep in an ALL white bed or live in an ALL white room. Touches of white - OK, but the entire room - I'd be the first kid to scuff up the walls or get spaghetti sauce on the duvet cover.
  5. And ultimately, I am a simple girl. Just a few pillows, clean lines with a little splash of something unexpected or a pop of color and I am a happy clam (ignore the nautical reference).  My bedroom should be true to my style even if (occasionally) I like the other designs.
    These are little more like it...

My favorite
Photos found on Better Homes & Gardens

Thursday, January 13, 2011

MMM Peanut Butter

Isn't peanut butter scrumptious. I have probably eaten my weight in peanut butter at least 5 times over in my short 27 years (most of my body weight is probably made up of peanut butter). Growing up my mom made us this delicious PB treat. Needless to say, Peanut Butter Popcorn was the first recipe Tina the Cook ever memorized.  If memory serves me well, I made and consumed 3 batches of the sugary popcorn in a matter of hours with my fam one chilly Utah fall afternoon.
The ingredients are simple and growing up we always had them in stock (my mom is kind of a popcorn fanatic). This is an easy go-to snack for family time. At least once a month you can find me at the stove with my handy "Whirley Pop" making Peanut Butter Popcorn for game nights with friends.

12 cups popped popcorn (no butter, so no microwave stuff)
1 cup Karo Syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Peanut Butter (I like to used the crunchy style, but creamy is great too)
1 Tbs Vanilla

Pop popcorn. Don't forget to sort out any kernels that didn't pop or that may have burned. Set popcorn aside in large mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, add Karo syrup and sugar. Bring to a boil stirring continuously. Heat until the sugar is dissolved (mixture will be clear). Stir in peanut butter. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour over popcorn and stir until all the popcorn is covered.
Enjoy immediately, careful it is hot.

Yummy plain popcorn - don't put butter on it

Karo Syrup and Sugar

I like using crunchy peanut butter  - gives it an extra crunch

Sugary peanut butter mixture

Final product - ENJOY

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My week at the movies

Last week was the week of movies for me.  From Monday to Saturday a total of 5 movies.  I love movies, but in the last year I haven't been going out to them as often.  Well, I made up for it this week.   It started...

Monday - Chick flick with the ladies
How Do You Know staring Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd.  It was funny in an awkward way.  And this song from the movie explains exactly what I mean.

Tuesday - The long awaited movie
"127 Hours" staring James Franco.  Ok I am not giving away anything in this movie, because it is a true story and it happened in Utah, so you all know what happens.  The story of Aron Ralston cutting off his own arm in Moab to save his life is one of those shocking and incredible events.  I have been wanting to see this movie for months.  Everyone kept talking about it and everyone was talking about the scene he cuts off his arm.  The scene was so hyped up that I felt it was less graphic then I had prepared myself for, but be warned people have fainted watching that scene.
Danny Boyle (director of my favorite movie, Slumdog Millionaire) did an amazing job with this movie.  James Franco was perfect.  127 Hours had my heart pounding and twisting and turning in my seat the entire movie.  Run out and see it.  Pay full price.  See it again at the dollar show, redbox it and buy it.   Here is the trailer.

Wednesday - Staying in
"Despicable Me" staring the vocal talents of Steve Carell.  This movie was deliciously funny.  But honestly Agnes stole the show.  Just one scene that made me giggle.

Friday - THIS IS IT
Yes, after months of having this on the Netflix que, I finally watched Micheal Jackson's This Is It. My favorite section was from "The Drill" sequence (see a clip below).

Saturday - Put them up
The Fighter staring Mark Walhberg and Christian Bale.  Fantastic acting (Christian Bale even got down the voice).  Interesting characters (The family is crazy).  True story (Great 90s clothing and hair).  It was emotional, intense and triumphant.  I was laughing and there may have even been some arms raised in excitement on a few occasions.  Check out the trailer.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Must have poster

I found this poster on Parlour and I must have it. It describes perfectly my creative dilemma. I want it as a reminder to stop worrying about what people will say and think and just express myself.

Joseph Chilton Pearce who the quote is by, wrote several books about child development. Check out more here. Amanda Cherie is a photographer and designer. I couldn't find the poster on her blog, at least it was really deep, but found it on her Facebook page and she has it for sale on Etsy.

Ace of Cakes pt. 2

Ta da! I think I have graduated to the 3 of clubs on my journey up the playing card catalog. Though this cake is nothing spectacular, it has most definitely exceeded my own expectations for having taken one class in cake decorating. This cake was made especially to practice my new skills.

In class number one (four classes total for the beginner session) we learned how to bake a good cake and make good icing. Those are two very essential points in good cake decorating. My friend and I also learned that these Wilton cake decorating classes are like a Wilton infomercial. And since I get sucked into infomercials very easily, I now want every bit of cake decorating utensil Wilton has to offer (my birthday is in a couple of months, just a heads up).
Notice the Christmas cookies I chose to bring to decorate
(90% off at Target, couldn’t pass that up)
And then we got to practice making stars on a practice board, and then on a real cookie. This was a very exciting moment in my life.

chocolate star-o-rama

And so, to practice my new skills some more, I made a cake. At first I was worried because the cake did not have a desirable start and I was afraid my old cake decorating luck would stick with me throughout the rest of my life.

oh dear

Fortunately, I was undaunted by the unwillingness of my cake and my stamina proved to make it somewhat decent-looking.

Ace of Cakes pt. 1

Ace of Cakes? More like 2 of clubs of cakes. As you can tell by the photo, I am no professional, so when my friend suggested we take a cake decorating class, I was more than willing. This cake comes because I had signed up for the class and was feeling confident. Apparently just signing up for a class does not actually make you any better than you were before.

Let me show you some favorite components of this cake.
There is lots of room for improvement, so I’m excited for this class. I will also be practicing my new skills often. Anyone want a practice cake?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Etsy, Ice Ice Baby

You can't beat a classic like Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby" during the winter months.  Now that I brought it up, that song may be stuck in my head all weekend (way to go Red)... I digress... It has been so cold this week and I am not one to complain about winter, but even I have been annoyed by the temperatures.  But being a trooper, I heading up Millcreek Canyon for some cross country skiing on Tuesday (a little solo adventure to rejuvenate body and soul) and I am hoping to bust out the ice tools and climb an icicle this weekend (the upside to the cold is it makes it perfect for ice climbing duh).  And speaking of ice, our swamp cooler pipe broke this last weekend causing a waterfall  to cascade from the roof and then form into a hockey worthy ice rink right in front of our door (lame landlord didn't winterize).  In tribute (of sorts) I found a few Etsy items to lighten the icy mood.  Hope you enjoy.

  1. Icicle Necklace from Sarantos
  2. Ice Cream spoons from Beach House Living
  3. Ice skates from Abbey Road Designs
  4. Ice Cube notebook from Ink Bomb

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

More Craft Night Photos

Here are some photos of Karen's projects.  Loved that she put them with scarves.  Check out more from the Second Annual Ladies Only Craft Night here.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Love Affair with Gold

It is amazing how our opinions change. As I get older, am exposed to new ideas, different people and just learn more about myself I find it interesting how things I used to hate I now love.  I was struck by how much gold I have been wearing.  I used to hate gold.  Gold anything.  Gold jewelry, gold frames, gold dinnerware, anything gold. And yet as I look back at last week I found myself wearing a new gold shirt I got for Christmas, gold earrings (several times) and necklace I purchased several months ago and I was even tempted by some gold heels I saw at the store Saturday.  Sadly, I did not purchase the glittery goddesses for I have a strict "no shoe buying" rule for the next few months (I may have gone a little crazy this last year on shoes), but I was very tempted to say the least.  Call it a trend or call it infatuation, but I have found myself in a love affair with the color gold.  I actually prefer to say that my taste buds have matured.  So what better to help a recovering addict then to post some on my resent gold obsessions.

Can't wait to hang this Easter card my mom had framed for me
 (The card was my Grandmother's)

These gold based cups and carafes from Design Within Reach

Bowl from Tse & Tse

These are true shoe love

Anthropologie Measuring cups, really

Love local jewelry artist Katie Waltman
This necklace is on her Etsy shop

Just saw this today on Creature Comfort. So want this journal

Last but not least, my Grandmother's gold frame board.  
She used to have all the grandkid photos hanging in it. Someday, I will have the perfect place to put it.