Color Therapy- how the colors of your room affect your mood

August 31, 2009 § Leave a comment

Colors There have been many studies in marketing, psychology, and consumer behavior centered around the way humans react to color- I did some research and came up with a cheat-sheet for understanding how the walls in your house affect your mood, ambition, and energy levels.


Red is an intense color that invokes passion in people (why it is the traditional color of aggression and romance.) However when people sit in a room painted red it tends to make them agitated and uncomfortable. Red is best suited in a hallway or entryway- somewhere people don’t really hang out and are on the move. If you really have your heart set on painting a living space red- go for a blend like terra cotta, red-orange, or another altered version. Orange


Orange is a warm color that has the ability to inspire without making people uncomfortable. Colors like melon, pumpkin and burnt orange make great colors for living rooms. It is a smart choice for dining rooms and kitchens too- because orange has red in it which is known to pique your appetite.


 Avoid this color at all cost- it is toxic! Don’t your eyes just hurt from looking at the title text? In the light spectrum, yellow has the highest frequency and therefore is the first color to reach your eye (indigo is the last.) This causes people to feel irritated, causes them to be more opinionated and argue more, and it makes babies cry!! Take it from the kids- do not paint an entire room this color- save it for accent pieces. However just like red, if you simply must paint your kitchen yellow, choose a softer version mixed with blue or red undertones.


Green will go well pretty much anywhere- it can be calming or invigorating depending on what shade you choose, can be gender-neutral, and goes with lots of other choices, although be careful when pairing with red, you don’t want your house to look like perma-Christmas.


Blue is the most calming color in the spectrum and is ideal for bedrooms, bathrooms, anywhere you want to relax. Be careful though because darker blues can make one feel sad or depressed, and very true blues in bedrooms can make the room feel cold. To fix that, find a warm blue with yellow or red undertones. (Side-note, blue is the least-occurring color in food,as opposed to red. If you’re on a diet psychologists say to eat on blue plates- it makes you eat less!)

pink and purplePink and Purple

Pink– great for girls’ rooms, or the ultimate bachelorette pad- but did you know pink actually has been known to neutralize aggression? The former football coach for the Iowa City Hawkeyes had been a psych major and  painted the visitors’ locker room pink to calm the opponents! If you are decorating for both yourself and a man in the house- keep the pinks limited to accent pieces and go for the darker pinks over bubble-gum.

Purple– similar calming effect due to the blues, however is not very popular except with little girls. Go for a more grown-up eggplant color for your bedroom or bathroom and save the lavender for your niece or daughter.

Black, White, Greys, and Browns

Black and White-  Black is great for modern accent pieces but unless you drink blood don’t even think about painting your walls with it. Instead how about black and white striped or damask effect wall paper? The combination of black and white comes off very modern, but piece it with a color accent to keep the room from looking too cold. The same goes for white- if you paint all of your walls white it comes off looking very sterile- try painting with an eggshell or ivory instead.

Greys- This one is my favorite because it is just SO hot right now (for walls)- not only does it go with everything without looking creepy or stark, it also has been known to be studious and invoke creativity- my kind of color!

Brown, Beige, Khaki, etc.- Browns are comfortable,  familiar,and can look awesome when they are paired with other colors. However be careful not to go too neutrals crazy- take some risks it will be worth it!


A Recipe From The Best Cupcake Boutique in Seattle- Chocolate Graham Cracker Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting

August 31, 2009 § Leave a comment

Trophy Cupcakes! The owner, Jennifer Shea, was featured on (gasp!) the Martha Stewart Show when Martha got wind of Trophy’s Chocolate Graham Cracker Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting.

7f_trophy_chocmarshmll_gram_lIf you are in Seattle you simply HAVE to make a stop to one of the locations in Wallingford/U-Village- I’ve been dying to try the new Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcake. Untitled-1Lucky for us Jennifer shared her recipe for the S’mores-like cupcakes with Martha and is featured on the website here. Recipe below.

For the Cupcakes (makes 2 dozen):


  • 2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 squares)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. Sift 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix ingredients together on low speed.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl and continue mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add boiling water and stir to combine; set cake batter aside.
  4. Place graham cracker crumbs, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter in a large bowl; stir until well combined.
  5. Place 1 tablespoon graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup. Use the bottom of a small glass to pack crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Reserve remaining graham cracker mixture for topping.
  6. Place 2 teaspoons chocolate in each muffin cup. Transfer muffin tins to oven and bake until the edges of the graham cracker mixture is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and fill each muffin cup three-quarters full with cake batter. Sprinkle each with remaining chocolate and graham cracker mixture. Return to oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer muffin tins to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely.
  7. Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain round or French tip (such as Ateco #867 or Ateco #809). Pipe frosting in a spiral motion on each cupcake. Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet. Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the frosting, taking care not to burn the cupcake liners. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container, up to 2 days.

For the Toasted Marshmallow Frosting:


  • 8 large egg whites
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix until combined. Use immediately.
  3. Lightly toast the frosting with a kitchen torch.

Cooking 101: Poached Eggs

August 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

Before I made my Crab Cakes Eggs Benedict last week I had never poached an egg. So during the long car ride to the beach I conducted research on my phone from many sources on the best way to poach an egg (yes I am that big of a nerd.) Below is a super dumbed-down set of instructions for you poaching newbies.

  1. Fill a wide, shallow frying pan with just enough water to hold an egg (about 3 inches)
  2. Bring the water to a boil
  3. crack an egg into a mug or ramekin (don’t break the yolk!)
  4. lower the heat of the pan until the water stops boiling
  5. dip the edge of the mug/ramekin slowly into the water and let the egg flow out into the under-boiling water
  6. the whites will look like feathery strands. With a slotted spoon- nudge the whites towards the yolk to keep the egg together, you will lose some of the whites but most will stay with the yolk.
  7. cook the egg for 3-5 minutes depending how firm you want the egg
  8. remove from the water with a slotted spoon and pat dry
  9. serve immediately

Crab Cake Eggs Benedict

August 30, 2009 § 1 Comment

Just last week my parents took me on vacation to their time share at the beach- two whole days of nothing but laying in the sun and cooking while watching HGTV- I couldn’t imagine a better vacation! The first morning I made Crab Cake Eggs Benedict and it turned out delicious! It was my first attempt at poaching eggs and it was a relative success. Here’s one of the pictures and recipes from the trip (via – more to come!



Crab Cakes:


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 3/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 (6 ounce) can canned crabmeat, drained
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 8 ounces buttery round crackers, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning TM
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • Directions:

    1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over high heat. Saute green onions briefly until tender; cool slightly. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
    2. Combine crabmeat, sauteed green onions, egg, mayonnaise, dry mustard, crushed crackers, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, Old Bay seasoning, salt and pepper. Form into thick patties. Coat the patties with bread crumbs.
    3. Heat 1/2 cup oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook cakes until golden brown on each side. Drain briefly on paper towels and transfer to the oven while cooking the eggs.


    Hollandaise Sauce:







  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1 cup butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste




    1. Pour a few inches of water into a saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat, then turn heat to medium-high and maintain water at a gentle boil. Place the egg yolks in a metal bowl, and whisk in hot water. Place the bowl over, but not touching, the boiling water. Whisk constantly until the yolks thicken, turn a light, opaque yellow, and double in volume. You may need to remove the bowl from the boiling water from time to time in order to keep from scrambling the yolks.
    2. When the yolks have thickened and increased in volume, begin whisking in the butter, a cube at a time until it melts and incorporates into the hollandaise sauce. Wait for each cube to melt and incorporate before adding the next. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, remove from heat, whisk in the lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Oh Bakerella! Rope ’em in with Cowgirl Cookies!

    August 28, 2009 § 1 Comment

    3850039195_a6f2805138_oI had to post about these Cowgirl Cookiesbecause ever since I saw the posting I can’t get them off of my mind! 3850044221_28061c3fed_oI need to come up with an excuse to make these adorable gifts… any ideas? This post comes from my favorite cooking blog-Bakerella. Visit the post to see more pictures and get the recipe!

    The best of Ikea’s Fall lineup

    August 27, 2009 § Leave a comment

    The whole trick to decorating your house with Ikea pieces is to make it look like they didn’t come from Ikea. Remember all those fashion magazines that tell you to splurge on certain pieces and pair them with cheapy knockoffs for a killer outfit? The same goes for furniture. Ikea recently released its catalogue for 2010 and here are the top choices for a chic (and cheap!) addition to your pad.


    My favorite room divider now comes in “Walnut effect!” Expedit giant bookcase– $159 and not-so-giant bookcase– $89.99


    Ikea 2 This is a crazy coincidence because did I not just say I needed a cabana striped tablecloth for my friend’s Vintage Hawaiian Dinner Party? Ikea you read my mind! This fabric would not only make a really cute occasion tablecloth but can also make a great duvet, pair of curtains, or throw pillow to add texture to your home.  Sofia fabric – $7.99/yard

    Ikea 3

    Somehow Ikea managed to undersell Crate and Barrel’s cheaper, hipper younger subsidiary- CB2 with their cheaper version of CB2’s Hancock Bookcase which sells for $199. Ikea’s Lerberg bookcase/shelf in grey or white- only $19!!!

    Ikea 4

    …and this cute little wastebasket which I think would make a better planter for large foliage or a vase for decorative sticks (you may need to fill with rocks to hold the sticks in place.) Rundel wastebasket– $19.99

    Alright all this talk about Ikea is making me itchy to see this stuff up close- off I go!

    Stylish Aprons for the Culinary Cutie

    August 26, 2009 § 1 Comment

    Wearing an apron while you cook delicious food doesn’t mean you have to look like a grandma. I have made a list of my favorite aprons that are so hot you may want to keep it on for dinner!


    Vintage Cherry and polka-dot print hostess apron– $28 on Etsy

    983105_018_b copy

    Polka-dot apron– $32 at Anthropologie


    Pear apron– $45 on Etsy


    Roses apron– $32 at The Merry Martini

    Sooo cute- I want to collect them all!

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