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My Latest Obsession: Coloring Books for Adults

I know it looks like I’m a bit late to the party on this one, but I’ve been an on-and-off colorer (is that a word?) for ages. Every once in a while I’ll spot a fun-looking coloring book and pick it up, only to lose interest soon after. For instance, a couple of years ago I found a Harry Potter coloring book that I thought would be tons of fun. I think I ended up coloring about three pages in the whole massive book! It just felt too rigid, like the pictures could only be certain colors or I was “doing it wrong,” and that’s just discouraging! Not to mention the poor paper quality in most widely available coloring books.

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Enter the gorgeous coloring books illustrated by Johanna Basford. I’ve got my eye on the Enchanted Forest one and if I see it in person before my next Amazon order, I’ll definitely be picking it up. Until then, I found there are a few sample pages from her Secret Garden book available here. I decided to print one of the designs on some thicker drawing paper so I could try out this set of Papermate Flair pens I just bought.

It’s really nice to be able to use ink for coloring, rather than just colored pencils. I have a set of Prismacolor pencils, but it always seems so fussy to use them, with all the sharpening and carefully making sure the color is consistent throughout. I don’t know how well the pens will work in the actual book, but I’ve seen others have used ink before (there’s a cool gallery where people show off how they’ve colored in their books), so they’ll probably be fine.

I really like how saturated it looks with the Flair pens. I searched for a little while to find a set that was more than just a few colors because I knew I wanted to use them for this purpose. I finally found a set of 16 at Michael’s and used a 40% off coupon (yay!). While I was looking to see if they had any of the Johanna Basford coloring books, I overheard one woman say to another that coloring for adults was this new trend for relaxation. I had a bit of a chuckle over that ;)

It is quite relaxing though! I personally like to listen to audiobooks while I’m coloring. It helps keep my mind from wandering from what I’m listening to. My audiobook of the moment is Longbourn by Jo Baker. I was having a hard time getting into it, so doing a bit of coloring at the same time helped me reach a point where I’m interested in where the story is going.

What about you? Have you recently jumped on the coloring bandwagon, or have you been a longtime colorer? And how do you feel about staying inside the lines? (I’m an inside-the-lines kind of girl!) Are there any other coloring books you recommend?

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Passion Tea “Lemonade” Soda

I make no secret of the fact that summer and I don’t really get along. I’m happiest when I can wear sweaters and hats while sipping hot drinks and enjoying a good book. But unless I’m willing to shell out mega bucks for an extended trip to the southern hemisphere to enjoy their winter, I’ll have to bide my time until the colder months come back around.

One way I’ve found to make the summer heat more bearable is to always have a stash of cold beverages to hand. Unfortunately, that can add up to a lot of extra sugar unless I’m careful. So I thought I would share my latest drinkable obsession: Passion Tea “Lemonade” Soda! It’s inspired by one of my faves from Starbucks, but has no sugar and no calories, so I don’t feel guilty about indulging as often as I like.

Here’s what you need to make two 12 ounce servings:
one 12 oz can La Croix lemon sparkling water
two bags Tazo Passion tea
two pint size mason jars with lids

Pour 6 ounces of boiling water onto each tea bag. If you pour directly into the jars (they are handily marked with ounce lines on the side!), be sure to pre-heat them so they won’t shatter from the temperature shock. Allow the tea to steep for the required amount of time (5 minutes). After removing the tea bags, I typically let the tea cool for about an hour, but if you’re impatient and want your delicious drink right away, you might consider brewing up stronger tea to counteract the extra ice you’ll need to add to cool it down.

After your tea is sufficiently cool to room temp or colder, pour half a can (6 ounces) of La Croix lemon sparkling water into each jar. Those markings on the jar come in handy again!

You can either pop some ice cubes and a straw in right away for immediate sipping, or put lids on the jars to keep the soda fizzy in the fridge for up to a day. It might keep longer than that, but it doesn’t last that long around here so I can’t be sure ;) Another option would be to make a batch of tea concentrate and mix the soda in when you’re ready to drink it.

If you’re not a fan of La Croix/unsweetened sparkling water, you could always substitute regular lemonade. I’m also curious to see what other combinations of La Croix and tea would work. I’ll be experimenting in my kitchen to make a variety of refreshing summer drinks for sure!

I hope you were inspired to mix up some delicious drinks to beat the heat this summer :)

Shopping Small at San Jose Made Popup Market

This past Saturday I stopped by Whole Foods on the Alameda in San Jose to check out the SJMADE popup market. It was so fun! It always feels great to shop small and support local handmade artists. I really enjoyed walking around, meeting the vendors, and I picked up some great items. The size seems perfect for the venue they have in the Whole Foods breezeway. There’s enough variety to keep it interesting, but it’s small enough to stop at all the booths without feeling rushed.

As a previous vendor at SJMADE (I’ve done two of their holiday markets), I can say firsthand how much work it is to sell in person. I got there late in the day and didn’t know what to expect, but everyone I met was still energetic and enthusiastic about their products. Yay!

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My first purchase was this ADORABLE little kitty necklace from Le Animalé. I’ve been slowly building a little collection of Le Animalé totem necklaces, so when I got to see so many of them in person, I had a hard time choosing. I ended up going with the cat because I thought she looked a lot like my own little grey tiger tabby Sahara. Also, I was so thrilled to finally get to meet Laura in person! I’ve been following her work for a little while now and not only is she super talented, but super nice as well. I hope we’ll be able to get together again soon!

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My next stop was at the Back Porch Bakery booth where I sampled and then immediately purchased a bag of their specialty treat: Back Porch Cookies. I bought them to enjoy with coffee, but I might have to hide them from myself because they’re so good! Really, I’m surprised they lasted long enough for me to get a photo ;)

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Finally, I stopped at the Steamy Tech tent where they were handing out these neat pins for Silicon Valley Beer Week, which was going on near by. I also picked up this kit to make a gorgeous pendant with real moving gears! Once again, I had a hard time choosing which kit I wanted to get, but settled on this rose window design because it reminds me of the Gothic church rose windows I loved so much in my university art history classes. I’m definitely looking forward to putting this together.

I hope I’ll get a chance to go to future SJMADE pop up markets! They’re scheduled for all the Saturdays in August. It’s really great to see what all the local makers are up to and get an idea of what’s going on in the area.