California Girls Take on the Nation's Capital.

Beach Blanket Bingo

It seems to be a universal myth that if you live in California, you must live on/very close to the beach. This is so not true (though we really wish it was). LG and I hail from a place called the Central Valley, which is entirely landlocked, unless you count oceans of fruit trees. This is very sad for us, since we loooooooooooove the beach. There’s really nothing better than laying in the sand, soaking up some rays and then popping into the water to cool down. And unfortunately for us, DC is also not very beach-adjacent. However, that does not stop us from getting in some good sun time, whether it’s by laying out on my rooftop pool or hauling our butts to Dewey Beach.

Of course, the most vexing thing about going to the beach is hauling all of your stuff there. And we require lots of stuff – a towel, a phone, keys, beverages, music, a good book and approximately a gallon of sunscreen with at least an SPF of 70. Ok, that last one is just me. I’m a ginger, it can’t be helped. Quite frankly, it’s a pain carrying all that stuff. So we were THRILLED when we found this project on Pinterest. We decided we must try it immediately. We set off for Michaels and JoAnns, our spirits high. Oh, if only we had actually known what we were diving into.

If you are interested in making your own beach companion, I highly recommend that you follow the instructions in the original link. Our own work was something of a comedy of errors that took us two months to complete. This post is much more a commentary on our ridiculousness than it is an actual attempt to show you how to make your own. We’re a strong warning, not a good example.

CHALLENGE 1: Cutting in a straight line

The project calls for you to cut off the edges of your towel in strips and save those strips as the handles. It turns out that kitchen shears are NOT the ideal tool for cutting in nice straight lines. It’s also pretty hard to eyeball an even cut. I ended up folding the already cut strip up and then trying to cut exactly along that in order to keep it straight. This was probably the best option we had, but seriously, get an exacto knife or a scalpel or something. Avoid the kitchen shears.

A close up of my weird cutting style.

Cutting the fabric swatches was much easier. Mostly because they were made of thinner material than the towel and also because I just cut along the fold lines. I’m a genius.

CHALLENGE 2: No Sewing Machine.

I mean, it’s a sewing project. What on earth were we thinking tackling a sewing project without a sewing machine??????

Luckily, LG can sew. (I cannot. I also can’t bake a pie. I will never be June Cleaver. Sad.) She tackled a lot of the smaller sewing project. Below, she’s sewing the strips of fabric together that will form the borders of the towel.

I made myself useful while she sewed by measuring out the length that the strips needed to be.

LG did an excellent (and apparently very fashion-forward) job of sewing the strips together but I think her poor fingers would agree that it would have been easier with a sewing machine.

Or just quit right there and wear this as a scarf…

So what is one to do when one tackles a sewing project without a sewing machine? Fabric glue. Gallons of it. I think in order to complete both of our towels, we went through 4 bottles. We used this stuff and so far, it’s holding everything together very well. But our completed towels don’t quite have the polished look that the original does.

The other issue with the glue: you have to squish everything down and then it takes a LONG time to dry. Hence the two month completion time. Every time we had to stop and wait for it to dry, it was like 3 weeks before we could schedule another work session. We are VERY busy ladies, after all.

More gluing. Or perhaps just more chances for LG to take creepy stalker pics of me. She’s weird.

LG takes too many cleavage shots.

The completed bottom half of the towel.

For all of my whining, it doesn’t look bad at all.

The next steps involved creating the pillow case out of the second towel. Let’s be honest, the pillow insert is really what made us decide to do all of this work in the first place. We are super lazy and like to be comfortable. The idea of a pillow encased in a beach towel warmed our little hearts.

CHALLENGE 3: I mentioned the lack of sewing machine, right?

Yes, lot’s more gluing. I think I actually glued my fingers together at one point.

CHALLENGE 4: We aren’t all that bright.

The final stage of the project, once all the big pieces are glued together, is adding the frills. The handle, the pocket, the buttons. The thing is, at this point we were kind of tired of looking at the original post and measuring and all that other nonsense. We basically turned into men who try to assemble heavy machinery without reading the directions. The results were comical.

LG put her tired fingers back to work and sewed on the pockets. A tip for you? Make sure you do a test roll-up of your beach companion (BC), so that you will know which direction the pocket should face. Just trust me on this one. Or if you don’t trust me, well, see the last picture in this post.

The other downside of the not-so-straight cutting job? The strips have to be reused as the handles and they are not all that pretty after that. LG had the idea of braiding the two handles into one giant one. It definitely looks better than our sad frayed double handles did, but it does make the BC look a little strange when carrying it.

LG sews buttons. I take pictures. Seriously, I’m kind of a failure as a lady. How will I ever make a proper wife if I cannot sew a button? I blame my mother. (Just kidding. Hi Mom. Love you, don’t kill me.)

If you whistle while you work…

We may or may not have sewed the buttons and the hooks on the wrong side the first time around. And then had to remove them and redo them. Really, I’m surprised that we make it through most days without just falling over while trying to walk and breathe at the same time.

That nail color is “lapiz of luxury” by Essie.

And finally, we have a completed BC! Isn’t it pretty? Doesn’t it look comfy and wonderful?

LG has been using her BC for a month and I have been using mine (the one in all these pictures) for about a week and they are really are cute and convenient and SO comfy. But making it was HELLA INVOLVED.

Oh heeeeeeeey puppy!

We here at FF&F strongly encourage you to take on your own crafty projects, because we’ve certainly had oodles of fun with the ones we have tackled. But seriously, don’t be like us. Follow the directions and make sure you have all the necessary tools. Otherwise, THIS happens….

Just remember to sew on your pocket properly.

Thank goodness we’re pretty.

Low-Carb Milkshakes (yes, they WILL bring all the boys to the yard)

The sugar free/carb free lifestyle can be boring. And by “can be boring,” I mean I have been bored out of my mind. And all I’ve wanted is a milkshake. Omg, a milkshake. Well, the heavens (google) opened and I found THIS recipe. I altered the recipe just a bit, so let’s see how it turned out.

1.5 cups of almond milk to freeze

1.5 cups of almond milk for the shake

1/2 cup splenda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

I started with 1.5 cups of almond milk (less than 2g of sugar for every half cup!)

1.5 cups of almond milk.

Then, I poured the almond milk into an ice cube tray…

We definitely did this twice so I could put that apron on.

…and froze it.

You can see where Big Sug hides the carby snacks…out of my reach.

I took a teaspoon of vanilla extract, half a cup of Splenda, and the frozen almond milk and threw them all in the blender.

Everything you need for delicious milkshakes!

Then I added another 1.5 cups of almond milk.

What shape is a measuring cup supposed to be?

And voila! A beautiful milkshake to curb those cravings. Yum Yum!

Yummy! Now I’m craving a milkshake…again.

Evil LG drinks your milkshake.

Nailing it for America

There is only one thing in this world we love more than California. You guessed it: ‘Murica! The parades, the food, the FIREWORKS: America is really the best! The Fourth of July is our favorite holiday, and we are going to show you how to celebrate in style! So buckle up cowgirls and cowboys and let’s git ‘er done.

20130701-085611.jpg

Whit gets to be the blank canvas, ’cause she doesn’t bite her nails.

Start with a blank canvas. Get that pretty pink Barbie nail polish off those dainty little fingers! Or was that just me?

20130701-085639.jpg

Paint eight nails with the raddest red nail polish you can find. We used this gorgeous Sephora nail polish.

20130701-085702.jpg

Wait for your nails to dry and use this hella tight nail art pen to start your embellishments. For a star, start by making a dot in the middle of your nail. Make sure the dot is a tad bit runny, so that you can use some of the polish from the center for your star points. Star points? That sounds like something you win in a video game. I think…

20130701-085716.jpg

Personally, I think it’s easier to star with the top point of the star.

20130701-085736.jpg

Use the pen (and a little more polish from it) to do the upside down V of the star. Then do the two horizontal lines one at a time.

20130701-085744.jpg

Voila! That’s hella rad.

20130701-085756.jpg

Then we used this Wet ‘n’ Wild nail polish in Moon Blue. Yes. We used Wet ‘n’ Wild. Yes you may judge. Yes I bought this a while ago when I was on more of a budget. And yes, it works perfectly.

20130701-085805.jpg

LG had those sunglasses, too. But she sold them to some drunk guys at a 300% profit. What’s more American than scamming drunk dudes?

Wow. Whit may be beating you in America pride.

20130701-085835.jpg

Then our friend K let us do hers. K is a true American.

20130701-085853.jpg

Then for my nails. Don’t worry, the best embellishment is coming soon.

20130701-085901.jpg

All the ladies! Here are 3 different ways to choose an accent nail with different embellishments. You and all your friends can be American without being too matchy-matchy.

20130701-085917.jpg

B receiving his first pedicure. Or as my mom calls it: his first MANicure.

Got some boys around who think they love America, but don’t feel comfortable wearing nail polish to work? So do we! So we painted their toes. And yes, we did have to make threats, promises, and give up our first borns.

20130701-085939.jpg

What gorgeous feet our boy B has. After this, he showed us his “monkey toe” tricks–meaning he can hold my hands with just his feet. Weird or cool? I think that’s up for debate.

20130701-085956.jpg

The best part about painting toes is that the big toe is large enough for lots of stars. ALL THE STARS!!!

20130701-090016.jpg

Real men paint their toes…or just give in when we beg.

Our friend D didn’t want to be left out, but Brazil was playing, so I gave him a special pedicure. We’re a mutli-cutli bunch!

And now you’re ready for your BBQ, trip to the beach, or in our case a crab feed! So go forth, salute that flag, and remember: ‘Murica!

20130701-090110.jpg

Love, Whit and LG: Patriots fo’ life!

Falling in Love with Summer TV

For those of us who are TV lovers, the summer used to kinda suck. Every show was in hiatus and that meant reruns…or nothing. Thanks to USA and TNT, new episodes of some great shows are now here to make your summertime bearable.

East Coast Elle here (can you believe these Cali girls got an east coaster to help them out with television shows – I mean they are from the home state of Hollywood?!) and I’m here to teach YOU how to watch TV in the summer!

Falling Skies
TNT, Sunday 10pm EST

 For those of you who have missed out on Falling Skies…I just don’t know how to express how sorry I feel for you.  Even if you aren’t a sci-fi junky like myself, you would love this show.  I mean, Steven freaking Spielberg is the producer.  Imagine ET meets Indiana Jones – coming into your homes every Sunday night at 10:00pm on TNT.

Falling Skies picks up six months after an alien invasion has destroyed almost all of humanity, and unlike most alien apocalyptic stories, though, this isn’t told from the perspective of the president or someone in charge who knows what’s going on.  Instead, it’s told from the perspective of every day people who have somehow managed to survive.  That means, the characters have no idea why the aliens are here or how to defeat them.  They don’t have access to weapons and none are really experienced or trained in strategic military thinking.  And since we are at a point six months after the invasion, it isn’t an Independence Day plot that focuses on lots of big battle scenes.

I really don’t know where to begin to tell you how much I love this show.  First, it’s not just some sci-fi show.  There are historical elements and references to the founding of our nation and the formation of our country that the political nerd in me just loves.  I mean, the fact that the story starts in one of our country’s most historic and storied cities – Boston – should immediately let you know that much of the undertones of this show allude to the American Revolution and our forefathers fight for freedom and the struggle to set up our republic.  But it’s not really a show about aliens – it’s a show about people.

Six Reasons to Watch This Show…

  1. It will make you remember why you fell in love with Noah Wyle when he was on ER…and then make you fall in love with him all over again.  #DrJohnCarterWeLoveYou
  2. Steven Spielberg, the end all be all schiznit, is the producer.  If you can honestly tell me there isn’t a single movie directed or produced by Steven Spielberg that you like, then fine.  Don’t watch because clearly you are a communist.  Honestly, if you can tell me there are less than FIVE movies this man has directed or produced that you like, I would still call you a commie.  We are talking about the man behind ETSchindler’s ListSaving Private RyanIndiana JonesStar Wars (well one of them),JawsThe Goonies, and Jurassic Park. And another TV show he produced – Band of Brothers. Maybe you’ve heard of it?!
  3. The end of almost every episode will end with you sitting on the edge of your seat with your mouth wide open, unable to move because you cannot BELIEVE what just happened.
  4. John Locke makes an appearance on a few episodes in Seasons 2 and 3.  Well, really it’s Terry O’Quinn, the actor who played John Locke. But for those of us who still miss Lost, Locke is reason enough to tune in.
  5. Drew Roy, who plays Hal Mason, will have you drooling in your seat.  And for you boys out there, Sarah Carter who plays Maggie is hot enough to make me consider playing for the other team.
  6. You know you are secretly a sci-fi nerd.  Embrace it my friends and tune in.

Franklin & Bash
TNT, Wednesday 9:00pm

Zach Morris himself is one of the two leads in this humorous crime drama. He still looks good and he’s upgraded that skinny body for one that looks HELLA fine without a shirt on. The show follows Zach, aka Franklin, and his law partner Bash, as they take on the legal system’s stodginess while defending their clients. Cute and fun.

Necessary Roughness
USA, Wednesday 10:00pm

After a disagreement with the new Hawks’ coach, Dr. Danny is forced to leave the team. Thankfully, Uncle Jesse…uh, I mean John Stamos…steps in to offer her a new job at his sports management company. Sadly, we appear to say goodbye to Matt, Danny’s ex/Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s boyfriend Riley, but thankfully Nico returns.

Continuum
Sci-Fi Channel, Friday 8:00pm

Like I said, I’m a sci-fi junky. But this show is wicked awesome. It follows Kiera, a cop from a future where corporations control all. After going bankrupt, corporations stepped in to bail out the federal government of Canada. But the bailout came with a price tag: personal freedoms. Kiera is accidentally brought back to 2012 by a group of terrorists from the future who are hell bent on taking down the corporations. Like Falling Skies, not everything is what it seems and you will often find yourself sympathizing with the other side. Don’t let the fact that it’s Canadian fool you. I mean, Canada gave us Ryan Reynolds, so every once in a while they get it right…eh?

Arrested Development
Netflix, Any Dang Time You Want to Watch It

It’s brand new episodes of Arrested Development, one of the most awesome shows ever on television. ‘Nuff said.

Tune in next month when I talk about my other favorite summer show: Suits. Premieres July 16th at 10:00pm on USA.

This Week’s Obsession: SnapChat

Basically, more fun than you’ve ever had at a grocery store.

It’s Friday! Congrats–you made it! You know what would have made your week so much better? SnapChat. What is SnapChat? It’s an app on your iPhone (or whatever smartphone you’re using) that allows you to send pictures to your friends that only last on their phones for up to 10 seconds (you determine how long the picture can last). You can add captions, draw on your pictures, or even take short videos that your friends can only see for a short amount of time. It will even tell you if your friends try to screenshot you (Big Sug is always screenshotting me–creeper!). Now, there are techy people who can find SnapChat pics in your phone despite the 10 second thing, and there will always be a way around all of that–so don’t be dirty (or if you don’t care, be dirty). However, for people like me–pics only last for up to 10 seconds.

It’s essentially the most personal form of electronic communication ever. For real. SnapChat lets you take ridiculous photos of yourself, draw all over them, and then caption them. That means that people are not only seeing the real you, they are seeing the you that you think is the real you. That’s deep. SnapChat is deep. It also lets you convey more than just words. How will someone know you’re joking over text? Take a SnapChat of you laughing. Totally fixes any misconstrued notions. Take, for example, my lobstah tail picture seen above. I sent that SnapChat to a lot of cool cats. What does it say about me? It says I love lobstah. It says I’m hilarious. It says that I definitely think my food is smiling at me. It’s deep.

Do yourself a favor: download SnapChat. It is the most fun you can have by yourself. Or, if you’re like me, you can send creeper shots of your friend who is sitting next to you to your friend who is sitting next to you. Whit knows that one all too well. So get on it now, and share with us your clever SnapChats (you can save your own). Do not send dirty pics. I will post them on the internet and I will make sure they come up when people google you. You’ll know I took a screenshot  ’cause SnapChat will tell you.

A Double Date with Cauliflower

I love being a Californian in DC. But I hate being a Californian who has to travel back and forth between DC and home. It’s a long, annoying flight and I frequently find myself stuck on a red eye with a screaming baby. This makes for a sleep-deprived and cranky Whit.

Luckily, I have LG to take care of me. When I returned to DC after a trip home last weekend, it had been an entire week (gasp!) since I had seen her. I was in dire need of three things: LG-time, food and sleep. And carb-free LG (I love rhyming) was looking to take her new-found love of cauliflower for a ride and make a cauliflower crust pizza.

Cauliflower boobies – as uneven as real boobies.

The recipe for the cauliflower crust, which LG found here, was pretty easy. You will need 2 cups of grated cauliflower, 2 tbsp of parmesan cheese, 1 cup of mozzerella cheese and 1 egg. We doubled all of the ingredients for our batch. We like leftovers.

The greatest grater.

After you break the cauliflower down into chunks, you will need to grate the florets into smaller crumbles. I was strictly an observer but LG noted that it was extremely easy to grate up. When you’re through, it will resemble chunks of feta cheese. Mmmmm, cheese.

Cheese? Not Cheese? Ahhhh, so confused!!!

LG measured out 4 cups of cauliflower, put it in some cheesecloth to help it dry out and then microwaved it for 8 minutes to soften it up. Then she added in 4 tbsp of parmesan cheese and 2 cups of mozzarella (if you’re doing one batch use 2 tbsp of parmesan and 1 cup of mozzarella). We may have eyeballed the cheese measurement. A little extra won’t hurt anything.

Egg boobies are smaller than cauliflower boobies.

Then LG stirred in 2 eggs. Finally, for her own twist on the recipe, she added in a few shakes of Italian seasoning. I was an extremely helpful taste-tester and then added a couple more shakes. Then she spread the whole mixture evenly over a pizza pan, sprayed it lightly with some cooking spray and stuck in in the oven.

Seriously, it looks just like real dough. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

While the crust cooked, LG whipped up some homemade tomato sauce. I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t totally paying attention here, but I think it involved 3 cans of crushed tomatoes thrown into  a Vitamixer, then a can of tomato paste added in, and then it was all stirred together and heated up on the stove.

LG loves her (kitchen) toys.

Once the crust was done baking, we pulled it out of the oven to add on all of our toppings. It was a really nice golden brown and smelled AWESOME. We probably could have eaten it right then and there.

Get in my belly.

All that was left to do was add the toppings! We dolloped on the tomato sauce, sprinkled on a bunch of cheese, threw on some fresh basil from LG’s new plant, tossed on the turkey pepperoni that we hadn’t already eaten and finally added on some chopped mushrooms.

Clearly an artiste.

Once the pizza came out of the oven, we dove right in. This might have been our only mistake. The cauliflower crust needs a little time to cool and harden or it crumbles up a bit too easily. However, a slightly crumbled crust did not stop it from tasting AMAZING. And it was shockingly filling. I’m usually in for at least 3 pieces of pizza but I was good and full after only 2!

Might have forgotten to take a final picture in our hurry to eat it. Leftover picture will have to suffice.

It really was an amazingly easy recipe to make and it was exceptionally delicious. I’m not as carb-averse as LG but if all of her recipes taste as good as this one does, she may drag me over to the dark side. And after I got my LG-time and my food, I promptly fell asleep on the couch. Best way ever to recover from a trip home.

LG here! Now that we’ve all fallen in love with cauliflower, let’s have Round II. Cauliflower mash is such a delicious alternative to mashed potatoes. I never thought I could replace mashed potatoes, but boy was I wrong. This recipe is SO easy: a cauliflower, have a packet of cream cheese, butter, and a fork. The fork is for eating the cauliflower mash. I highly recommend using it.

First, wash your cauliflower! Always wash your veggies, and your hands.

Yes, I took a picture of washing cauliflower.

Now, boil some water. Once the water is boiling, throw in the cauliflower. Don’t be like me, though–put it in gently. I may have burned myself. After about 10 minutes take out a piece and see if it crumbles easily. If it does, throw everything back in that strainer.

That weird looking stuff is veggie “meat.” Yes, we go far and beyond just carb free. We’re straight up freaks!

Put the cauliflower back in the pot and get to mashing!

Love Big Sug, but this is def a blurry picture. Apropos?

Now, add in the cream cheese. I’d recommend adding it in slowly. It will make everything more consistent. I, however, do not have that kind of patience.

ALL THE CREAM CHEESE!!!

You are so close. Mash and mash and mash some more! Once it has a steady consistency, throw the butter in there. Mash some more while it melts.

I think this picture beautifully illustrates our height difference.

Add in whatever you like in your mashed potatoes! Garlic? Absolutely! Salt! Pepper! Graaaaaaaavy!!!

We added veggie gravy to this batch. Delicious!

Then get that fork out! It’s so delicious AND it’s a veggie.

Cauliflower is my new miracle veggie. I am not big on sitting down and just eating a vegetable (I prefer candy), so this recipe was perfect for me. I felt as if I was eating a starch, but really I was getting a HUGE serving of veggies. Trick your kids! Trick your friends! Trick yourself! Cauliflower is so versatile, so take it off that antipasto plate and cook it up real good.

This Week’s Obsession: Cauliflower

Oh, hello beautiful.

Every Friday we are going to fill you in on our obsession of the week. This week’s obsession: cauliflower. This sassy little minx was once the vegetable I loved to avoid. It was the wallflower nerd vegetable that I would never dance with in high school (ugh, high school LG was the worst), and then it grew up, graduated college summa cum laude, got a great job and some experience with the ladies, and came back hotter than a pro football player. It looked at me begging to be devoured, but no! I would not have cauliflower. I just wouldn’t.

And then my life changed. I went low-carb and I needed something to replace all I had lost.  What about pizza? What would I eat with lobstah tail? Vegetables are OK and all, but they were losing their allure. Even my love of green beans couldn’t replace my desire for mashed potatoes. What could fill  that void? Then a friend turned me to cauliflower–that vegetable I wouldn’t even look at. I mean, come on! It full on looks like a colorless brain. No, I do not eat brain looking food.

I was desperate. I made some cauliflower mash to eat with my green beans and lobstah tail. I didn’t expect much of this brainy looking food. I was wrong. I hate being wrong, but I was wrong. Cauliflower is my taste bud’s new lover. After the first night of cooking with it, I did it again the next night. I can’t get enough. It’s so delicious, it’s a perfect replacement for starches, it’s easy, AND it is filling. Oh wait, another “and”: AND IT COUNTS AS A VEGETABLE!

Tune in next week when FlipFlopsandFreedom teaches you how to make cauliflower pizza crust and cauliflower mash ALL IN ONE POST! Eat healthier, trick your kids into eating a veggie, or just try something new. We will teach you how.

And for the love of all that is sparkly: go buy some cauliflower!