Pretty Things: Light

New inspiration notebook for Tangerine Tote

New inspiration notebook for Tangerine Tote

This week’s Pretty Things highlights my crazy but productive week for “Tangerine Tote.” I have been busy thinking about awesome new ideas to share with all of you as well as talking to more local businesses in Portland to feature on my site.  I decided to collect my ideas and thoughts in the three journals I found at Target. Each of them has an inspirational quote on each of their covers. I thought the red and polka dot, William Shakespeare journal would be a good one to start with. TIP: Be sure to carry around a journal in your purse or briefcase so you can jot down random thoughts. It will help you remember ideas or instances you experience in your busy day for later inspirations.

“Joy delights in joy.” – William Shakespeare

Making "Tangerine" Comos

Making “Tangerine” Comos

Yumm… Tangerine Cosmopolitans. Here is the recipe to WOW your friends (I promise).

Ingredients You Need:

Mix these chilled ingredients together in a large pitcher. Stir. Pour the cosmo mixture over ice in your martini shaker. Shake 100 Xs (or as much as you can).  Pour into your martini glass and serve immediately. The ingredients above equals one batch (serves about 6). It is really easy to double, triple or even quadruple a batch. These cosmos also freeze nicely! You can keep the leftovers in the fridge and treat yourself after a long day at work.

framing postcards

framing postcards

Oh postcards.. they truly are pieces of art. I found the blue + yellow ones in Shanghai and the other NY ones when I was visiting MoMa in NY. In my earlier post this week, Framing Postcards, I talked about how easy and inexpensive it is to frame postcards you find when you travel, walking through an art museum, or visiting a cultural exhibit. These postcards mean a lot to me and remind me of great memories I made at these awesome places.  Go ahead, frame your favorite postcards and start decorating!

Recipe hunting via Smitten Kitchen

Recipe hunting via Smitten Kitchen

Doesn’t this cake look amazing? My aunt let me borrow her Smitten Kitchen Cookbook! I wasn’t familiar with the blog, Smitten Kitchen, but now that my aunt has introduced it to me I am in love with all Smitten Kitchens’ recipes. She truly has an eye on photographing food and her cookbook and blog are full of fantastic recipes (some are simple enough for even me to make). Take a peak at her blog if you are looking for some tasty meals to try out.

Morning coffee - Barista soy vanilla latte

Morning coffee – Barista soy vanilla latte

There is something about a nice cup of coffee, thick sweaters and some bright arm candy on a chilly morning. Once per week, I meet my dear friends, Kamauri (YehWho) and Christina, for early morning coffee before we start our work days. We either go to Portland’s local Barista or Cafe Umbria.  It’s nice to have a weekly catch up to see how everyone is doing and what their weeks are looking like. I love starting these mornings earlier, because I always seem to come to work in a better mood and more awake after a refreshing, early morning chat. If you are finding that you are in a funk or your week days are blending in too much with one another, try switching up your routine and adding an early morning yoga class or starting a weekly coffee date with friends.

My Arm Candy:

Hope everyone had a great weekend and you are all ready to start another exciting week! Looking forward to posting more DIY project and local business reviews. xx


Happy Birthday

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake

I can’t wait to take 24 by storm! Thank you to all my family and friends for making this a perfect Birthday celebration. I usually celebrate with family and friends when I am back in Utah for the Holidays and then meet up with close friends when I get back to Portland. This year, we celebrated my birthday at The New Yorker on New Year’s Eve. Double fun.

New Yorker New Year's Eve Place Setting

New Yorker New Year’s Eve Place Setting

Champagne and Wine

Black + White: Balloons

Black + White: Balloons

Our party was seated in the wine cellar room at The New Yorker. It was so beautiful and intimate. It didn’t feel like I was in Utah because of all the racks of wine that lined the walls. There were balloons hovering on the ceiling, and more wine glasses than I could count on our table. It was a perfect evening to ring in 2013 and to celebrate the big 2-4!

Favorite dish: Calamari

Favorite dish: Calamari

Now that I am getting older, my Birthdays are becoming more “adult.” This year, my special day fell on a Sunday and a morning brunch was perfect. I went out the night before, but my good friend, Kamauri and Erika hosted a beautiful brunch for me. It truly made my day special.

Birthday Brunch
The menu was perfect and very appropriate for Sunday morning brunch:

  • Coffee Cake
  • Mimosas
  • Vegitarian Fritata
  • Egg-white muffins
  • Fruit salad
  • Cereal Bar (so clever..)
  • Salt Water Taffy from Canon Beach, Oregon

Big thanks to the chefs (Kamauri, Erika, and Ali)! Thank you!

I love the little details: silver serving tray, Anthropologie candle, and rosemary salt. So lovely.

Birthday Table Setting

Cutest Birthday spread and table setting.

Thanks to this little lady, Kamauri Yeh! Fabulous hostest!

Thanks to this little lady, Kamauri Yeh! Fabulous hostest!

Birthday swag

We (or I) was “poppin’ a bottle” for the big day. This is my favorite cliché thing to do. However, it was a very surprising “pop.” Thank goodness I did it outside on the balcony. I think the bottle was a little defective. Right after I took off the silver coil that helped keep the cork in place, the pressure blew the cork straight up and out. It was pretty hilarious but also very scary.

Old photos hanging from string. Cute!

DIY: Dangling Photos

Kamauri and Erika did a fabulous job making my day extra special. I have been fortunate enough to have known these two lovely ladies since high school! They were so clever to dangle pictures from our early years on string that hung from the ceiling. Thank you for a fabulous birthday and cheers to 24! I can’t wait. xx

2013 Aspirations


Tangerine Tote’s Polyvore

As the New Year approaches, I am ready and excited to welcome 2013 with open arms. It is going to be fun and exciting and I know a lot of things are going to change. I have created a list of ten things I want to see happen in 2013:

Become a Yogi

  • I have always been an anxious person. Whenever I do, do yoga I feel a blissful calm take over my mind and every muscle in my body. My goal in 2013 is to do yoga everyday. My friend, Maddie Sears, is teaching yoga to HIV/AID patients in India, follow her blog here. She is such an inspiration to me and I hope I find peace like she has.

Take a design class and learn simple coding

  • I love drawing fun designs and coming up with ideas. Tangerine Tote is the perfect place to display my thoughts and ideas. I want to push it further and be educated in simple design format and be able to put it to life by doing simple coding (HTML, CSS).

Sew my own dress

  • I would love the chance to design and sew my own dress. I have asked my mother for her old sewing machine and I plan to spend several weekends with my grandmother learning how to sew. I recently watched Lifetime’s non-fictional movie, Coco Chanel. Now, I am not saying I am going to be the next Coco Chanel by any means, but she pushed the limits, created beautiful designs and was so daring in everything she did: dating men, fashion and traditional values. If I could meet anyone in history, it would be her. The reason why I use Chanel as an example, because she created things that woman wanted to wear. I would love to wear one of my designs and feel confident in it. This is daring and it’s going to be a challenge.

Run a half marathon

  • I have never truly loved running, but I crave that high feeling right after a long run. Running is another stress release for me. I would love to challenge myself in the new year and run a half marathon. I also think it is important to have a running partner that pushes one another to run harder and longer (and to also get your butt out of bed when it’s pouring rain outside..).

Work on my Dream (… ‘surprise’…?)

  • Before I started this lifestyle blog, I had this idea to create a site  that’s different but not totally off tangent to my personal blog.  I still want to do it and I hope to incorporate it into Tangerine Tote. Just wait and see…!

Make a cocktail recipe collection to display my favorite drinks

  • My love for making things and entertaining really meet in the middle when I am able to concoct cocktails for a party. I would love to make a photo diary of my favorite cocktails as well as pair it with its recipe. I also think it is important to serve the right cocktail for the correct entertainment event. I wouldn’t serve a cosmopolitan on game night or Jack&Coke when my girl friends come over for book club.

Design my own jewelry

  • Bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings. Trendy, fun and something totally me.

Move into my own space and make it my own

  • I have mentioned that I have moved about half a dozen times in the past year. This year I am ready to settle in a more permanent place and make it my own.

Travel to three new countries in the new year

  • I love to travel. I get antsy when I stay in one place too long. I have had the privilege to live and travel to different countries. I would love to design a map to showcase where I have been and things to do to share with my audiences (design and coding).

Continue to read and write everyday

  • I learn so much when I read a book. Whether it is a certain sentence structure, interesting facts or figuring out the author’s point of view. Reading helps my speech, helps my writing and be it helps me be competent in interviews and conversations.

 Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. -Oprah Winfrey

Merry Christmas


Mochi is back in Utah and ready for her first Christmas

Merry Christmas! It is great to be back in Utah for the holidays, nothing beats a white Christmas back at home. I arrived in SLC on Friday and my schedule has been non-stop. Christmas Eve was wonderful. I was able to see old friends and host a small brunch. My girlfriends from high school and their mothers stopped by for some Christmas Eve sugary treats and pomegranate champagne cocktails (similar to my earlier recipe here).

Yesterday was full of familiar faces, holiday drinks/shots and an annual dinner I look forward to every year. Brunch was easy to add to a usually hectic day like Christmas Eve. If you are willing to have a few friends over in the morning, before they have family obligations or last minute errands to run, invite them over for a few drinks, breakfast snacks and sugary treats. It’s a great way to see each other and it makes Christmas that much more special. Enjoy the pictures!


Cheers with a Pom Champagne Cocktail. If you haven’t already noticed, pomegranates are a common ingredient in Tangerine Tote that I use throughout the Holiday season.

Pom Champagne

Pomegranate Champagne ingredients: champagne flutes, Pama liquor, champagne and pom seeds

1. Use a cute tray to dress up your table or counter for your entertainment bar section. This gold Pottery Barn tray gives me inspiration to make my own DIY entertainment tray (I love gold).


2. Fill the bottoms of the flutes with a small amount of the PAMA Liquor.


3. Finally, top it off with champagne and sprinkle the top of the cocktail with pomegranate seeds.


Christmas Eve brunch

I love adding sugary treats to a three level tier cookie/pie rack. This gives your table volume and provokes interests of what you have to serve to your guests. Lay your treats out and continue to fill the trays as guests arrive. This makes the atmosphere more relaxed and casual. Also, the three tier cookie rack helps you organize the different pastries and cookies.

Christmas Cake Balls

Christmas cake pops

Christmas Sugar 2

I love this imperfect chocolate kiss peanut butter cookie. My favorite Christmas cookie.

It was fabulous seeing my friends. From left to right: Colleen, Becca, Kelsey, Kamauri and Me.

Christmas dinner decor

Christmas Eve dinner decor

Christmas Eve dinner is always a production at the Tsuruda household, to preparing the food to decorating the Christmas tree, everything is a process but in the end, it’s worth it. We always have our close family friends over for dinner and we are always known to start our traditional feast fairly late (10:00 pm). I think that, that is my favorite part of my Christmas Eve tradition. I love sitting and eating a long dinner with good company and great drinks and food. It’s my favorite because once the clock strikes midnight and it’s Christmas, we are all at the table sitting and talking together.

More decorations you’ll find in my heavily decorated household.

Christmas Eve isn’t complete without passing around the Patron.

King Crab Legs

Christmas Eve Dinner: King Crab Legs

Pom Salad
We kept the left over pom seeds from my brunch and added it to the Christmas Eve salad! The pomegranate seeds help balance the flavors of a winter salad.

White grape and peach cosmo

white grape and peach cosmo

My new favorite cocktail! I can’t wait to share with you this awesome new recipe.

Cheers to another wonderful Christmas Eve dinner. I can’t wait to see what we’ll do next year. I’m sad to say that this is the last year we’ll spend Christmas in this house. However, if I have learned anything from moving a half a dozen times in the last year, is that a home is what you make it. I am excited for family’s journey, it’s going to be a fabulous adventure. Merry Christmas xx

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

White and Milk Chocolate Covered Holiday Pretzels

White and Milk Chocolate Covered Holiday Pretzels

Chocolate covered pretzels are easy and fun to make. They make great gifts for your family and friends or dessert at your Christmas party. For the full recipe click here.

Pretzels and chocolate

Cover several cookie sheets with foil

Items you need:

  1. 2 dozen large pretzels or pretzel sticks
  2. 12 oz. (1 bag) of semi-sweet chocolate
  3. 12 oz (1 bag) of white chocolate
  4. Candy cane (3) crushed
  5. Sprinkles
  6. 2 tblsp. of Shortening (2 tblsp. for both the semi-sweet chocolate and white chocolate)
Milk Chocolate

semi-sweet chocolate chips

White Chocolate

White chocolate pieces

Melting chocolate chips

Put the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and add 2 tblsp. of shortening. Microwave for twenty seconds, stir and repeat steps until melted. Make sure the chocolate does not over heat (it makes it impossible to work with).

Crushed Candy Canes

Smash three candy canes in a bag. Make the pieces as fine or big as you want.


Use your favorite Holiday sprinkles.

Make sure you add your sprinkles to the chocolate covered pretzels after they are freshly dipped in chocolate.

Chocolate Pretzels

My semi-chocolate dipped chocolate with sprinkles, large and small pieces of candy cane pieces.

White Chocolate Pretzels

Milk chocolate dipped pretzels with sprinkles and candy cane

After your chocolate covered pretzels are perfectly decorated, place the cookie sheets in the fridge. This method of cooling and drying the chocolate makes the pretzels shiny. Serve on a plater for your next party or individually wrap a few and give it to your friends and co-workers for the holidays. Enjoy!