Archive for January, 2010

coffee fudge w/ pecans

Tried making fudge for the first time last week!  Wanted to make my contribution to Kristin and Rick’s Happy Hour Engagement party.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it, as did I.  The espresso really makes the chocolate have a nice coffee/mocha taste.  I love coffee flavor anything so I was drawn to this kind of fudge.  Found a recipe online and altered it a little to make it even more tasty.  Try it out sometime.


_(3) cups semisweet chocolate [I used (3) 8 oz. boxes of Bakers brand semisweet chocolate and it worked just fine]

_(1) cup chopped pecans (or any nut of your choice)

_(1) 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk

_(2) tbsp. of brewed espresso [I used an Italian roast espresso, but any strong brewed coffee will work]

_(1) tsp. vanilla extract


_Line a 8″ x 8″ pan with foil and butter the foil for easier removal of fudge from pan.  Set aside.

_Set up a double boiler on the stove by filling a pot halfway with water and bring water to a boil.  Place a metal mixing bowl on top of the boiling pot.  Add all the chocolate in.  Chocolate will begin to melt from the heat.  Keep stirring it as it melts. Double boiler set ups are great because it keeps the chocolate from burning.

_Once the chocolate is all melted add in the vanilla and espresso and stir.

_Pour the condensed milk in slowly at first just so the milk gets used to the temperature and then you can pour the rest all in.  Things start to set and thicken pretty fast once you add the milk in so work fast.  Add the pecans in right after you’ve poured in all the milk.  Mix until combined/smooth.

_Quickly pour the mixture into the pre-buttered pan.  Cover the pan and place in the fridge to set.  Should take a couple of hours to set.  (I just left mine over night because I didn’t need it till the next morning.)

_Once set, remove the fudge from the pan and cut into chunks.  Fudge is so dense that a 1″ x 1″ cube is sufficient for a serving chunk size.  Depending on how long you leave the fudge in the fridge, it may be a little hard.  So you may want to let it sit out for a little a room temp to soften up (if you can even wait that long…haha…hard to resist the urge to just dig in).


(images taken with my phone so they didn’t turn out too well, but it gives you a little preview)

morning desk view: light snow

Random snow this morning.

(image by: vivien chin)

tea sub_ototo

Tea infuser shaped like a submarine by Ototo.  Really fun way to make tea

bubble wrap appreciation day

Bubble wrap turns 50!  How fun…haha.  pop…pop..poppoppop…sooo addicting


Beautiful performance at the “Hope for Haiti Now” Telethon.  Performed by Matt Morris and Justin Timberlake

friday’s desk view: paper bride & groom

Arts & crafts time as I make a little bride and groom cake topper for Kristin and Rick’s surprise engagement happy hour.

(image by: vivien chin)

red black/the cyclical nature of the practice of architecture

Love this piece by Viktor Timofeev.

Media: enamel, goauche, watercolor on paper.

The first image is composed of 48 parts.  Full size: 9.5′ x 13′

barbie the architect


I found this really amusing.  You can now vote for what career Barbie will have next.  Of course by default I’ll vote ARCHITECT!  The choices for jobs are Environmentalist, Surgeon, News Anchor, Computer Engineer, and last but not least, Architect.  Found out about this through another blog and thought it was hilarious.  Even though I never really liked Barbies and the one that I did have I ruined, I put in a vote anyway.  Who knows maybe if she’s picked to be an Architect I’ll buy one just for fun…haha.  VOTE HERE by Feb. 12.

(image from

today’s desk view: sand art

Fun art with sand in Union Square today.

(image by: vivien chin)

restaurant week_nyc

Restaurant week NYC starts next week!  Get your reservations in online at their website.  Reduced rates at typically expensive restaurants is always great thing.  I’ve gotten to try restaurants that I couldn’t typically enjoy except on a splurge for a special occasion.  January 25-February 7, 2010.  Check it out.

(image from

yesterday’s desk view: graffiti truck

Awesome truck with grafitti that I see around Union Square every so often. Snapped a pic as it was driving away.

(image by: vivien chin)

get ur skate on one last time



Last week to ice skate at Bryant Park.  Free if you have skates.  Closes January 24, 2010 so get in while you can before they start setting up the tents for fashion week!  Pic is of one of the last armbands I’ll be getting for this season of ice skating at Bryant Park.  Gonna try and squeeze in a few more trips if I can.  Free = 🙂

(image by: vivien chin)

bridge school at pinghe_li xiaodong

Elegant design for a school that bridges the 2 sides of a creek in Fujian Province, China.  Designed by Li Xiaodong, the school is called Bridge at Pinghe.  Suspended from the underside of the school is a secondary narrow walkway that can also be used to cross the creek.  The school has 2 classrooms that can also be used as theaters.  The building also doubles as a spiritual center for the villagers. I really enjoy the simplicity of the design, the attention to detail with the wood slats, steel work, and wood panels.  Very nice.

(images from dezeen)

neolione_boadesign studio

Could be the new trendy chandelier.  Designed by Boadesign Studio. Very nice.

Materials: curved borosilicate glass tubes, steel.

(images from dezeen)

mini crochet project: cropped bolero

Just completed my first piece of clothing for myself!  I’ve graduated from the world of scarves and simple beanies.  I’ve been working on teaching myself to crochet and just completed this red cropped bolero.  It took be about 5 days or so off and on to complete.  Pretty happy with my first attempt at making clothing.  It’s a very cute bolero and hope I will get many wears out of it. 

The pattern is from the book, Stitch ‘n Bitch Crochet: the Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller, which I’ve been learning how to crochet from.  Debbie Stoller also is  known for the original book, Stitch ‘n Bitch: the Knitter’s Handbook which is also good to learn from or get a refresher from if you forgot how to do something.  Both have lots of patterns and are good books to have around if you are advanced or just starting out.  They are easy to follow and have lots of humor and anecdotes in them that make the book fun and not a dry instruction book.

Tackled this project, what shall I try next?

(images by: vivien chin)

fig_home decorating

Fig is enjoying is new plants he got for christmas to spruce up his home.  haha…This is the prize he gets for surviving 9 days alone while I was gone on vacation.  The invincible fish…

(image by: vivien chin)

tim burton exhibit_moma_ny

Went to check out the Tim Burton Exhibit at the MOMA last weekend and it was pretty awesome.  Only pic I really got was one of the entry (above) before I was told there were no pics allowed.  The entry is definitely a good taste of the craziness inside.  My favorite character was Stainboy (below) with his superhero S on his chest and little cape.  My favorite chapter/episode of Stainboy was the one with where he wards off the toxic boy with a pine tree air freshener (video included below, keep scrolling).  All of the chapters are played on screens as you walk down a dark, black and white striped hallway leading to the rest of the exhibit. 

Lots of sketches and watercolors. Notes to people like Johnny Depp during filming.  Costumes and props as well, including the Edward Scissorhands costume, Batman masks, Catwoman suit, Angora sweater from the movie Ed Wood, etc.  Lots of figures from movies like, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,  Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, Beetlejuice.  Some video media spread throughout.  Really good collection of work from Tim Burton not from his famous movies–sketches and watercolors of crazy creatures and characters he created in his spare time.  Good mix of stuff people/fans are familiar with and plenty of new stuff most have probably never seen. 

On show at the MOMA in nyc until April 26,2010.  Well worth it! 

(just fyi, I think you need to purchase tickets ahead of time for a particular time slot the day you wish to go because of it’s popularity.  If you have a membership card to the MOMA, you can just walk right in)

lad musician nagoya_general design

Love the Lad Musician Nagoya clothing store by General Design.  Located in Nagoya, Japan.  The building interior only uses 3 materials: concrete, oak, and galvanized steel.  I really enjoy the simplicity of the design. The materials and light qualities are stunning.

(images from dezeen)

miep gies_100

The courageous secretary who helped Otto Frank hide his family & friends from Nazis during World War II as well as preserved the Diary of Anne Frank passed away yesterday at age 100.  I’ve always enjoyed reading the story of Anne Frank.  I still find it incredible that they were able to hide for so long and that Miep was able to sneak food and supplies to them–providing her help not to be a hero, but because she felt it was just human duty to help those in need.

If you haven’t read the Diary of Anne Frank, definitely pick up a copy and try reading it.  I think it’s worth reading.  The book chronicles Anne’s time and experiences in hiding during the Holocaust before her and her family were taken to the concentration camps.  It’s unfortunate that only her father, Otto Frank survived the camps.  Your efforts won’t be forgotten Miep.

zlin cutlery_future systems_alessi

Could be the new airline utensil next time you fly!  Designed by Jan Kaplicky of Future Systems. Was originally intended to be used for airlines.  Will be produced by Alessi.  Spunky!

(images from dezeen)

golden beets & brussels sprouts

New recipe tried out for dinner last night that was really delicious and a must try!  I’ve never really eaten brussels sprouts before this and they are soooo good.  I’m going to have to make them more often.  The original recipe is from weheartfood but I made a few slight alterations to it so that’s what I will include here, but you can check out weheartfood if you want the original recipe and portion size.  Next time I make this I’m going to try it with come green beans because they taste so good, but here goes with the original recipe:

Servings: 2-3 large portions


(3) medium sized beets

(20) brussels sprouts

(1) shallot, peeled and diced

(2-3) gloves of garlic

(2-3) tbsp of toasted almond slivers

(1) tbsp fresh thyme chopped or (1) tsp dried thyme

olive oil

salt & pepper to taste


_Heat oven to 350 degrees and place the beets in a pan.  Roast the beets in the oven for 1hr and 10 mins or until tender.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool down for a few minutes.  When cool, peel the skin off and put them aside to be chopped later.

_Fill a skillet half way with water and bring to a boil.  Place the brussels sprouts in boiling water and cook for 2-3 mins or until almost cooked through.  Drain and set aside to cool

_Chopping time. If you haven’t diced the shallots and garlic then do so.  Chop the beets into 1″ or so chunks. Take the brussels sprouts and cut the stem off and then cut the sprouts in half (cut into quarters if you want them smaller).

_In a skillet, pour a little oil and saute the shallots on med or med/high heat until they are translucent.  Add in the garlic when the shallots look close to being done since the garlic doesn’t take as long to get a little golden brown.

_When the shallots are done, add more olive oil (about 1-2 tbsp).  Add the brussels sprouts, beets, almonds, and thyme and mix everything together in the pan over med-high heat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Once thoroughly mixed (add more olive oil if you like), take off the heat and serve.

_You now have a delicious side dish or even main vegetarian course.  Very filling.

(image from weheartfood)

mojito_shoe_julian hakes

Really cool design by London architect, Julian Hakes.  One continuous piece of material–the foot makes the connection between the heel and ball of the shoe.  The shoe is composed of carbon fiber with rubber edge and leather material covers the portion of the shoe that touches the foot bed.  Wonder if you can walk comfortably in them?  Interested to see when they are produced how they look and feel.

(images from dezeen)

piggy dock

Fun little iPod dock I saw in the window of a store on 5th ave. It was right next to the piggy banks in the window.

(image by: vivien chin)

xmas tree 2009_rockefeller

This is about as close as I wanted to get to this year’s tree at Rockefeller Center. As you can see there are waaaay too many people and just didn’t want to fight the crowd yesterday. Plus my camera battery died and all I had was my phone. So here they are a font view and side view. Wish the shots were better!!

(images by: vivien chin)

happy new year!!!

2010 is here!  New Year, fresh start, new adventures….  Can’t wait to see what’s next!  Hope everybody has a great year!!

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January 2010


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