Learning

Capuchins & Cute Cappuccinos

I have started training to become a coffee master at my workplace, and so far a lot of the things I’ve read have been review from Uncommon Grounds. However, I have been learning lots of extra little interesting tidbits that I can add to my coffee knowledge, one of which is about the origin of the term “cappuccino.”

In Italian, cappuccino means “little cap,” and this term represents the “hood” of pretty foam that sits on top of the espresso. People surmise the beverage was also named for Capuchin monks who wore coffee-colored, hooded cloaks. (A separate monk-related speculation regarding coffee: the monks rumored to drink the first coffee claimed it was a gift from God because the caffeine helped them stay awake during their prayers!)

While trying to imagine the Capuchins as…well, cappuccino’s, I decided to look them up in the google search box. I was surprised to find the first thing that popped up was about the Capuchin Crypt in Rome, a place Chad and I visited when we went to Italy a couple years ago!

capuchin cryptWe weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but you can find a few creepy ones online like this one from wikipedia.

With the memory of the Capuchin Crypt lingering in my mind, I decided I would much rather picture cute cappuccinos, and I found this:

cute rilakkuma cappuccinoI can’t really say for sure why I don’t own this Rilakkuma cappuccino stencil, but I can be sure that this situation needs to be remedied quickly.

I also want to experience this cuteness in a cup:cute rilakkuma

And lastly, I want to stare at this adorable picture while drinking–you guessed it!–a delicious cappuccino:rilakkuma cappucino

I found these kawaii cappuccino pictures on google images, but I would love to make them a part of my real life. In the meantime, I suppose I’ll just have to stick with delicious, standard cappuccino’s.

Have a good weekend!
xx Caitlyn

Projects · Seen/Heard/Tried · Tried

Summer Bucket List: Make/Decorate Pottery

I’ve been telling Chad forever now that I really want to paint some pottery at Your Plate or Mine in Muskegon,. Leave it to beer to be the answer to my plea: when we finally joined the Mug Club at Odd Side Ales in Grand Haven we got to paint our own mugs! (Yay for crossing off an item on my bucket list!)IMG_0688We arrived at Your Plate or Mine feeling a bit nervous about making our mugs, but full of inspiration. I decided to go with my favorite character in the whole world, Rilakkuma, and Chad went with the creepy Kobito Dukan (pronounced “dzoo-kahn”).IMG_0691The staff member at Your Plate or Mine was extremely helpful; she explained everything very clearly and was available the entire time we were there to answer all of our littlest questions. She even provided us with carbon paper so we could trace our designs if we wished (and as this mug would be getting a lot of use, we did wish to trace our designs–just in case!). Β  IMG_0692I was really impressed with Chad’s artwork, as there was a lot of shading involved. I think there are two things that are really difficult about painting ceramics: ensuring your colors are the actual colors you want (since they look totally different once fired), and getting smooth lines.IMG_0693It was super relaxing, and time just flew by. At the same time, after a particularly tricky section, you could hear both of us let out an audible sigh. Phew!Β  IMG_0695Above you can see my mug before firing. At first I was a bit frustrated with the difficulty of getting my lines exactly the way I wanted, but I realized that this is an art in which you have to just “give it up,” so to speak. You have to go into it knowing you’ll make mistakes, and decide you don’t care. And, when it comes down to it, it’s pretty impossible for Rilakkuma to turn out as anything except kawaii. IMG_0696I painted a little suitcase on the inside of my cup, and on the bottom I wrote out “Nomichatta!,” which means, “I accidentally drank all of it!” (Story of my life.) **Edit: Apparently I need to start studying Japanese again! It should say “Nonjyatta,”Β but hey, perhaps by the time I drink it all I won’t remember my mistake…Β πŸ˜‰ IMG_0694On the bottom I wrote “Kanpai,” which means “Cheers,” though that Japanese has a translation right next to it on the cup πŸ˜‰ In this picture you can also see the yellow birdy before firing. IMG_20140628_125951_907 (2)We could hardly wait to see how our cups turned out, but we had to wait a week for them to be fired. I am so in love with them! Chad’s turned out as creepy as we imagined, and I just want to squeal at the cuteness of my Rilakkuma.

IMG_20140628_130017_676IMG_20140628_130134_746Chad’s (left) says “Nonde,” the command for “Drink.”

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IMG_20140628_130413_421Yay for fun mugs! We spent a few hours on them, and I had so much fun that I went back with my mom yesterday to paint some more. We spent over five hours working on our creations, and I am going CRAZY wanting to see how they look once they’re fired!!

IMG_20140628_201021_048In the meantime, I’ve got this precious mug to drink delicious beer in! πŸ™‚

Have a good day darlings!
xx

Projects · Tried

Random Enjoyment this Week

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Random things about my week:

1. I tried a new recipe called Black Bean Smothered Sweet Potatoes from the cookbook I mentioned in my last post, and it was FABULOUS. Yum, yum, yum, yum…

2. I got a new Gratitude Journal that I’ve been filling out daily. I loved looking through the one I did throughout 2013–I have so much to appreciate! I also bought a Q&A book that asks a different question every day. You can see how your answers change over five years.

3. Chad and I have been trying to have creative time together every day, even if we’re super tired! He started working on carving some nice soapstone he got for a Christmas present.

4. While he worked on his carving, I did my first WhimseyBox craft! To be honest, in high school I hated working with clay, despite loving pretty much every other art medium. But working with dry clay to make this pretty little dish was easy and fun. Plus, I have lots of leftover clay and am inspired to make other pretty things!

5. I made banana bread and it turned out super yummy! I took the first picture mainly to show my amazingly adorable Rilakkuma oven mitt.

6. I took the second banana bread picture to show you the lovely moist texture of the bread. Served warm with butter? Delish!

7. Last but not least, one of my friends in Japan sent me a care package that included cute socks! I am wearing the ones pictured above right now and they’re super comfy. Ahhhhh πŸ™‚

What are some random things you’ve been enjoying this week?

Monday Matters · Projects

Keeping track on cute calendars

I have two cute Rilakkuma calendars, and have been using one of them to track my fitness each month. I get a star sticker for every run, a bigger sticker (in this month’s case, monkey stickers) for other workouts, and just the satisfaction of jotting down walks and morning yoga/lighter workouts. It makes me feel really good to see a lot of stickers at the end of the month, silly as that may seem!

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I was thinking of using my other calendar to plan bucket list activities to make sure I remember to get them all in, but I haven’t decided just yet! Do you like to use calendars to track progress? What kinds of things are you looking forward to in October?

Monday Matters · Projects

My Day in Photos & My Summer Fun Bucket List

Yesterday we went to a Hanshin Tigers baseball game, followed by a judo farewell party for Chad (one of his teachers started the party by saying, “Ladies and judo-men, thank you for coming. Kanpai!). Both events were really fun, but drinking in the sunshine followed by drinking at a small izakaya led to two sleepy friends this morning. So, we slept in and then lazed around all morning. Chad played League of Legends online and I drank coffee on our balcony while reading blogs, twitter and the news.

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We finally got going in the early afternoon, walking from our apartment to Nunobiki waterfalls, down through Kitano (spotting a woman with a monkey!) and to Starbucks, to Sannomiya for a little shopping, and then all the way to HAT Kobe for some more shopping and sushi.

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We ate sushi at a kaiten sushi restaurant called Kurazushi, and while we were waiting for some of our specially ordered sushi to come zooming down the sushi train, Chad surprised me with a Rilakkuma stuffed animal! Yay! Just looking at it makes me so ridiculously happy. You can’t deny Rilakkuma is one of the cutest characters ever, not to mention the fact that our favorite things are the same in life: eating sweets and relaxing.

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I know. I look tired. Focus on my cute Rilakkuma & the striped bag I got for only 300 yen instead!

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We tried some new sushi today, as well as some yummy sweet potato sticks (top left corner, above). You can see sushi with grilled bacon and mayo on the bottom left, and lemon steak sushi on the bottom right. In the upper right corner is my handsome husband with his cheeks full of sushi, and in the middle you’ll see more normal types of sushi (crab salad, tuna salad, shrimp mayo and cucumber salad, shrimp, and tuna).

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Chad expertly making green tea with the powder and hot water.

All in all we had a really nice day. We’re both feeling sad about leaving Japan, despite our excitement about going home, so I made a summer fun bucket list to help cheer myself up! The warm weather was a welcome reminder that summer is on it’s way, so I thought I’d share my list (so far!) with you!

Caitlyn’s Summer Fun Bucket List

1. Drive-in Movie

2. Binder Park Zoo

3. Go fishing

4. Make S’Mores

5. Have a Star Party

6. Learn to play guitar again

7. Make a bird feeder

8. Make jam

9. Join a book club

10. Go mini golfing

11. Go bowling

12. Have a BBQ

13. Go on a picnic

14. Make banana splits

15. Make homemade ice cream

16. Tie Dye Shirts

17. Blow bubbles

18. Paint rocks with my niece

19. Cheese Fondue

20. Make Root Beer Floats

21. Board Game night

22. Milk Carton Boats

23. Go to a museum

24. Friendship Bracelets with my niece

25. Look at bugs/plants/nature under a microscope

26. Learn to make egg tarts

27. Get a cat!

28. Can tomatoes

29. Play badminton

30. Run at least one 5K

31. Have a fancy night dressed up around town (going to ordinary places)

32. Find a gym with yoga and zumba that’s reasonably priced

33. Volunteer

34. Pay it Forward by paying for someone behind me at a drive-through

35. Paint Balling

36. Wine and Cheese night

37. Make kimchi

38. Make homemade pickles

39. Make homemade Bloody Mary’s

40. Make pineapple upside-down cake cupcakes

41. Make sun tea

42. Dandelion Blowing

43. Make a sandcastle

44. Make/decorate pottery

45. Bon Fire

46. Celebrate 5th Wedding Anniversary at Guster concert!

47. Visit Green Dot Stables in Detroit

48. Go to our high school reunion

49. Traverse City & eating/drinking cherry-flavored things!

50. Shorts Brewery

51. Make waffles

52. Make homemade bread

53. Make cookies with my niece

54. Make trail mix and go for a walk with my niece & nephews

55. Make dreamsicle orange punch

56. Make strawberry mimosas

What fun have you been up to lately, and what fun things do you have planned for summer?

Uncategorized

What’s in that bag?

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My very fashionable 100 yen store bag

Since we’re leaving Japan very, very soon (about a month to go!), I decided to pick up a few things we never got around to buying: a gyoza (pot sticker) mold, nice bento boxes, bento reusable goodies… The day I bought them was the same day I met my coworker for lunch, and so you can see some souvenirs she gave me as well: a Rilakkuma duster, some pastry snacks, yuzu jelly, and lemon drink mix.

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My bento is the top one with flowers, and Chad’s is the checkered one on the bottom

I made bentos for lunch on Monday in our new boxes using some nifty side-dish packs, veggie furikake, or seasoning, and a few other things. Turned out great! Yum, yum!

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Nifty Side-Dish Packs (Top: Spinach mix, Lotus mix, and Edamame Seaweed mix; Bottom: Crab Cream Croquettes)

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Veggie Furikake

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Our beautiful bentos!

I once read that Japanese people believe a dish is healthiest if there are at least 5 different colors of food. I don’t always make bentos, but no matter what I make I always try to include a variety of color. What do you like to pack in your lunches?