Friday, June 22, 2012

Sphynx Cats


Can we just talk about these for a second? Sphynx cats are amazing on their own, but these two photos make me want to pet my computer screen like a crazy cat lady. One day, I'll have enough money to justify dropping a grand on a cat that needs sunscreen to go outside. Totally worth it, right?

PS - I cannot find original sources for either of these images, and it's driving me crazy. If anyone can help, I would love you forever.

Oh, and my future Sphynx cat will be named Clarissa Vaughan after Meryl Streep's character in The Hours, but I'm sure you knew that.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

WATCH THIS: Bunheads


Did you watch the premiere of Bunheads last week on ABC Family? From the moment I heard the seven magical words "From the Creator of the Gilmore Girls", I was obsessed. I was also furious at myself for cancelling our cable subscription, but luckily ABC Family understands that it's 2012 and posts current episodes on their site (there's also an iPad app).

My favorite "bunhead" so far, Sasha and Mrs. Emily Gilmore herself, I mean Fanny.

So far I've only watched the pilot, but Bunheads has all the makings of an instant-obession: major Gilmore cred (starring Kelly Bishop, aka Emily Gilmore and don't miss an appearance by Rose Abdoo, aka Gypsy), a small town filled with quirky residents and if the first episode is any indication, intense, cliffhanger-style endings.

Sutton Foster is no Lauren Graham, but thankfully Parenthood has been picked up for a fourth season (starting Tuesday, September 11th), so she doesn't have to be.

Did you watch the pilot? What did you think? Are you also obsessed with Switched at Birth (Simone and Emmett whaaaaaat issss uuuuuup??)? Someone take this iPad away from me.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

EAT THESE: Blueberry Muffins Edition


For the past two weeks, our local grocery store has had blueberries on sale, which means that I currently have pounds of berries in my fridge, literally spoiling by the minute. Luckily for me, I have awesome friends that suggest amazing blueberry muffin recipes without even knowing of my predicament (thanks Shannon!).

This weekend was the first time I ever made a muffin from scratch, and they were surprisingly easy. I don't know what I expected, but it really is foolproof. You don't even need to break out the mixer — all of the ingredients can be easily combined by hand (and the blueberries most definitely should be).

So believe me when I say these crumb-top muffins are absolutely delicious and if you need any blueberries, you know where to find me:

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
 
Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder.

Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup.

Mix this with flour mixture.

Fold in blueberries.

Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork*, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

[recipe source]

*I recommend combining the crumb topping ingredients with a pastry cutter, but if you can't find yours, a fork and a whisk work well too (ask me how I know this).

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

BUY THESE: Funko Figurines

1. Flying Monkey  |  2. Wicked Witch  |  3. Ursula  |  4. Ninja Batty  |  5. Cruella DeVil  |  6. Jack Skellington

I'm not very into toys, but Funko makes the best vinyl figures — their Pop! line takes famous characters and turns them into the cutest, large-black-eyed creatures you've ever seen.

They've added a ton of new ones lately, and I especially love the Disney villains and of course, the Wizard of Oz set (but why no love for the scarecrow, tin man or lion?).

Funko is currently having a sale on Fab (oh hey, so am I!), where you can save 10% on a few of these guys for a limited time, otherwise they're always available on Amazon.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Blue Carrot Shop on Fab.com!


Today is the day! The Blue Carrot Shop sale on Fab starts today, at 7pm est. — go to there for nearly 100 new items, most of which have never been available in the shop before...

In the meantime, check out the regular shop — it's been updated too with a ton of new treasures including cameras, plaid and mantiques galore!

Friday, June 15, 2012

To-Do List: California Edition

In less than a week, I'll be on a plane to California. I've never been further west than Las Vegas and I couldn't be more excited to finally meet the Pacific Ocean after being strictly an Atlantic girl my entire life.

My good friend Anna recently moved to Santa Monica to attend grad school, so I have a free place to stay and a road tripping buddy (is there anything else worth having??). We don't have much planned (by my usual leave-no-moment-free vacation standards), but a few things have managed to sneak onto my to-do list. We had initially planned a road trip to San Francisco, but in the interest of time we decided to stay a bit more local.

Speaking of local, Anna's apartment is about one mile from the...

[source]
 Santa Monica Pier

While I've never considered myself much of a beach person, I realize that at least half of my California vacation will be spent either on one, driving by one or looking at one. But between the piers, aquariums, rides and boardwalks it looks like I might become a beach person after all.'

I'm secretly hoping the pier looks exactly the same as it does in this photo from the 60s, but I think it may have changed just a little since then...

Venice Beach

Speaking of boardwalks, I've been told that Venice is a must-see. In between drum circles and people watching (I really, really hope I see at least one rollerblader), I'm planning on grabbing a bite from the original Jody Maroni's Sausage Kingdom because any place that calls themselves a Sausage Kingdom has to be good, right?

[source]
In-N-Out Burger

I've had a Shake Shack burger and I live literally a mile from Swenson's (I ate it yesterday, in fact) but I'm still eager to see what this In-N-Out fuss is all about. The indecisive yet picky eater in me already appreciates their four-item menu but did you know that there's an entire "secret menu" available? Should I try anything specific?

Pinks

After my sausage and burger exploits, I might need a salad — but not before I try Pinks. I passed on an original Nathan's last summer in Coney Island (after watching the hot-dog-eating contest, they weren't too appetizing) and I don't want to make the same mistake with Pinks. If their website is any indication, I'm going to love it.


Hollywood

I'm not ashamed of the fact that I love celebrities, but I am somewhat ashamed that this will be my first time to Hollywood. I grew up requesting autographs from my favorite stars (Leslie Nielson signed "Allie - Luck and Laughs") and I feel wrong if I don't read trashy gossip magazines at least once a week.

Meryl Streep's star and hand/foot prints will be my first stop, followed by a tour of the Kodak, Grauman's and maybe the Egyptian Theater. I would also love to see the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and my uncle tells me that I absolutely can't miss the Dearly Departed tour.

And you can pretty much be certain that the Hollywood sign will make an appearance in my Instagram (@bluecarrotshop) feed at least once next week.

[source]
Hearst Castle

If we're feeling up to it, we may take a road trip to San Simeon to see the Hearst Castle. My dad and uncle went recently and their reviews were glowing. It's about a four hour drive which will probably seem like nothing when we have the entire Pacific to our left. But if we do get tired, Santa Barbara just happens to be on the way.

I''ll be in CA for an entire week, which will be one of the longest (if not the longest) vacations I've ever taken — and it's about time. Is there anything else I should put on my must-do list? Any tips or insider advice?

Did you know Santa Monica has an average of 340 days of sunshine a year? This Ohio girl has to go stock up on sunscreen.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fab Sale Preview part 3


So, yesterday I casually checked out Fab.com to see if there was any preview of my upcoming Blue Carrot Sale, and there was! It's pretty weird to see my grumpy face on a site as awesome and huge as Fab and I'm really honored that I made the cut.


Make sure to check back next Monday, the sale (nearly 100 items!) starts at 7pm est.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mozart Monday: Fun Facts Edition


1. Mozart is a girl. Most people who comment or ask me about her, think she's a boy. She would like me to let you know that she is most definitely not.

2. Her favorite toy is a stuffed frog that we fill with catnip. She's had four and she has eaten them limb by limb. The current frog lasted four hours before it lost a leg.

3. Her favorite non-toy toy is a ball of socks. One time we left the sock drawer open and left for two days. She pulled out EVERY SINGLE BALL OF SOCKS.

4. We have trained her to do tricks for treats. Currently, she does 360 degree circus spins on two legs.

5. Sometimes she thinks she wants outside, but is utterly terrified once she gets out and wants back inside immediately.

Can't get enough Mozart? Follow me on Instagram (@bluecarrotshop) where my feed is approximately 90% cat, 2% vintage inspiration, 8% wildcard.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Menchie's


Have you ever been to a Menchie's? They just opened one about ten minutes from our house, and although I first tried it exclusively because of their adorable logo, it's rapidly becoming a problem. New to town? We'll take you to Menchie's. After a movie? Menchie's. Before a movie? Menchie's. Monday we ate Menchie's for dinner.

Apparently Ohio is a bit late to the frozen yogurt craze — we took friends visiting from California and they were all "Oh yeah. We've had places like this for years" — but regardless of how 2009 it is, I can't get enough.

[source]
If you're even further behind than we are, I'll explain: Menchie's is basically a salad bar for frozen yogurt. At any one time they have 10+ flavors of soft-serve frozen yogurt (all of which you can sample first!) — from the basics: strawberry, chocolate, original tart, etc. to the slightly more exotic: banana, red velvet, snickerdoodle, cake batter, etc.

After filling your cup with one or more flavors, you move on to toppings. They have a sweet section filled with sprinkles and crushed candy bars and a fruits section.

[source]
The best part about the whole experience is that it's self-serve and you pay by the pound — which means that you're in total control. I love control, especially when it means that I don't have to hope that some teenage employee understands how to make the perfect cake batter/rainbow sprinkle mix (psst: it's approximately 20% cake batter, 80% rainbow sprinkles).

My favorite so far, in addition to the Cake Batter Sprinklesplosion™*, has been original tart with strawberries, blackberries and maraschino cherries, although if left sitting too long, the berries have a tendency to freeze and become inedible rocks (not that I've ever had a problem finishing my cup).

Also, don't make a rookie mistake and pile every single thing you enjoy into one cup — just because you like cheesecake and lime and red velvet and bananas and peanuts individually, doesn't mean they'll taste good together. Or, maybe they do.

*© 2012 Blue Carrot Shop

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Brownie Starmite

[source]
 Saw this ad on this great blog filled with vintage advertisements, and I thought it looked familiar:


Buy the second iteration of this adorable camera (in its original box!) here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Blue Carrot Office: Buried Alive

Before  |  After
I love Hoarders as much as the next person (the grosser the better — you buy designer purses? Yawn. You poop in plastic bags and throw them in your stairwell? Now we're talking...) but that doesn't mean I actually ever want to be on Hoarders.

Tell that to my Blue Carrot shop office, however — the tiny, dark, basement room basically outright refuses to stay clean. To its credit, I am pushing the limits of space and time and breaking all sorts of physics laws by trying to fit more and more stuff into less and less space. You only regret the things you don't buy, right? I intend to sell all of these things so I'm not a hoarder, right?

Anyway, in an attempt to ward off the television crews and the neighborhood cat population, I spent the weekend cleaning/organizing my shop office. I bought a shelf from Lowe's that I assembled by myself (high five!) and filled it up immediately. I reorganized, dusted, scrubbed, threw out and put away mountains of things and although it may not look like much, I'm incredibly happy with how it turned out.

Now when someone buys something, I can, you know, actually find it. Speaking of which, my Fab.com sale starts in just two weeks — be sure to check it out on June 18th for nearly 100 items, most of which are exclusive to the sale. I've also been updating the shop here and there with items that I either unearthed this weekend or picked up at recent flea markets and thrifting excursions — check back often!

BONUS: Can you spot the Mozart in the 'before' photo? I think she's kind of upset that I cleaned up her playground.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Springtime in New York, part 3


I won't, I can't stop finding things to post about my most recent trip to New York, and you can't make me — at least not until I run out of pictures to share (this may never happen). So, I present to you the third installment in my romantic-comedy-sounding mini-series, Springtime in New York: The Transit Museum Edition.

Like any good tourist, I've already visited the major "must-see" museums (MOMA, the Met, Museum of Sex, you know, the classics) so I have the pleasure of being able to focus my museum choices a bit more. Since my first visit to the city I've been enamored with the public transit system — rats, trash and unbearable summer heat be damned, the fact that I can pay $2.50 and get anywhere I want to go amazes me every time. Better yet, when we get wherever "there" happens to be, I don't even have to think about parallel parking: this must be what heaven is like.

So it seemed only fitting to add the Transit Museum to my list of must-do activities. After a foiled attempt last summer (pro-tip: they're closed on July fourth weekend), I found a friend who didn't mind spending his gorgeous Saturday afternoon exploring an underground museum geared toward 8-year-old boys.


We rounded a corner, looking for the entrance and both noticed simultaneously that it was located in an actual subway station (i.e. you walk down, underground into the museum just like you would the subway) — a pretty obvious, but awesome detail that neither of us had been expecting.

After paying the "station agent" for a ticket, we wandered around the first level for a while before realizing that all of the actual trains were another level down — if you're over the age of 8, I recommend skipping the "how electricity works" exhibits and starting with the trains.


The museum's collection of out-of-commission subway cars from the early 1900s - 1960s was impressive, informative and just downright cool to see — we took so many photos that I can't possibly remember which year each car is from, but I know I liked the 50s cars the best.


It was awesome seeing how the interiors had changed — I had no idea there were so many different versions of the proverbial 'straps'. The oldest cars had seats that were super low to the ground and large, sharp-bladed fans attached to the ceilings. I don't think 1917 was a good year to be a tall subway patron.


The reproduction, period-correct advertisements lining each car were a nice touch and we tried out every single seating solution. I also loved seeing the colors, styles and signage change through the years — what I wouldn't give to have ridden a brand new express train to the 1969 World's Fair.


Overall, I would definitely recommend the Transit Museum and afterwards take a walk around Brooklyn Heights if you've never been. It's only my favorite place in the entire world. What are some other niche museums that I should check out the next time I'm in the city?

I Am Happy To Buy You

1. Fair Trade Print  |  2. The real deal  |  3. Lucky Beggar Wallet  |  4. Ceramic Cup  |  5. Tote  |  6. Keychain
Friday's re-release of this amazing screenprint from Strawberry Luna (you know, the one I lamented was out of stock two years ago) renewed my thirst for every and any iteration of New York's famous We Are Happy To Serve You coffee cup.

I ordered the print and wallet on Friday, and I already have the ceramic version and the keychain — I bought one blind box from the Yummy Breakfast line, secretly hoping it was the coffee cup, but knowing that it absolutely wouldn't be. Imagine how happy I was when I opened it to find that little guy staring back at me.

FULL DISCLOSURE: What if I told you that in all of my travels to the city, I've never even had one, real-life, authentic, paper cup of coffee? Apparently they've become a bit hard to come by in the wild. Sure, I could buy my own here but that just seems like cheating.

Special thanks to Allison (I think it was you?!) for not only giving me a heads up when the print was done, but giving me a discount too. I'll always be happy to buy awesome work made by awesome people.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fab Sale Preview part 2


Happy Friday everyone! Do you have any fun plans? It's going to be a rainy weekend here in Ohio (imagine that!) but I'm actually glad — my Blue Carrot office is an absolute disaster after marathon buying/photography sessions in preparation for my upcoming Fab.com sale. Above is another sneak peek of the exciting treasures to be found there, starting June 18th.

I'm not kidding when I say that my office could use a good cleaning. And organizing. And maybe if that doesn't work, a suspicious fire would also do the trick. You didn't hear that from me

I always think it's a bit funny when I get compliments about my shop photography — if you saw where I took these photos, you wouldn't be so impressed. In fact, you might be scared and a bit grossed out. 

Isn't that one of the great joys of the Internet though? As far as you all know I have an incredibly beautiful and hip studio where I organize every shop item by color like the Salvation Army thrift stores (I love that they do this, but I've always wondered why?). 

When in reality my shop office currently looks a lot like this*:

[source]
But by the end of this weekend, I'm determined to have it looking more like this:

[source]
It may be a bit tough collecting so many beer cans considering I don't drink beer, or collect beer cans but I'm up for the challenge. Mostly, it would just be great if I could actually find everything when/if I sell it on Fab without needing a miner's helmet and a bloodhound. Wish me luck!

*This is not actually my office. But it might be, one day.