Monday, December 31, 2012

Meet The Sponsors - December Edition

Wow, I cannot believe this is my final Meet The Sponsors for 2012. We've had so many lovely sponsors grace the pages of Kitty & Buck in 2012 and this month is no exception. I hope you'll see some familiar faces but also meet some new people too, grab your tea and settle in :)
I created Share the Love in 2011 after getting engaged to my now-husband Sean. Initially, it was a private blog to share wedding information with my bridal party.  After our wedding this past August, I decided to make my blog public, keep writing and see where this part of the journey leads me!  I had no idea how big (and fun!) was the blogging world.  Now I write mostly for the social aspect, and for the love of writing.  And I write about things I love: food/cooking, vegetarianism, animals, art, my life.  Come say hi, I'd be honoured to "meet" you!
I'm Amanda and I write about life with my darling fella as work and live. For the past three years we have been building our own house in WV on top of a mountain in an old abandoned apple orchard, and we have just now moved in! So many new adventures are sure to happen!
my favourite post: Overlook
I'm Michelle, a midwestern illustrator/designer who blogs about art, style, fashion, handmade goods, and general nerdy stuff. I'm currently working on two illustration projects--Re-drawing awful, hilarious feline doodles from my childhood and portraits of some my favorite bloggers!
my favourite post: Feelin' Foxy aand an illustration (I had to) Angel
plus: 25% off in Creature Type's Etsy Store, Sockie with the code KITTYANDBUCK

The Vagabond Studio is an eco-friendly lifestyle blog dedicated to inspiring others to live a creative, positive, sustainable life. ♥
my favourite post: Positive Life Experiences
plus: 10% off in The Vagabond Studio Etsy Store with the code KittyRocks
Also get 10% off ad space from The Vagabond Studio with the code KittyRocks
I'm Chantilly- your friendly neighborhood singer-songwriter, who sings and writes the best rainy day songs you've ever cried to.  My my blog features style posts, music, and chronicles the life and times of a creative gal living in Brookyn, NY.  I made a magical new set of recordings, which is available for listening on my bandcamp page.  I'd love to meet you!
my favourite post: Inspiration: Grand Central Station NYC
plus: 20% off in Chantilly Songs Band Camp store on merch and music with the code holiday20
Hi, I'm Spencer and I make fun animals out of felt. These animals just so happen to also be sleeves for your iPad or iPad mini. You can also check out my blog where i talk about sewing, cooking and vegan Baking.
shop // blog // etsy // twitter
my favourite product: Mr Archibald Racoon iPad Mini Case
My Billie is a blog that houses my design shop as well as bits and pieces from my everyday life. You'll find DIYs, design tutorials, things that I think are pretty and a bunch of awesome. Come say hello! (edit: look out for Melanie's premade blog templates coming soon - Kitty)
blog // pinterest // twitter // design
my favourite post: Don't Be Stuck
Hello dear Kitty readers!
My name is Aleksandra, and I blog over at "Little Daily Miracles". Feel free to visit, and follow me on my travels which are presented through my photography, see my artworks and a lot more!
blog // twitter // deviant art // facebook
my favourite post: Winter Harmony

Hi, my name is Chloe and I blog over on Lazy Explorers. There, you can read about my inspirations, outfits, DIY Ideas, and adventures.
blog // twitter // pinterest // bloglovin'
my favourite post: Blog Crush: Kitty & Buck - hahaha, just kidding,
look at this one: Outfit: Sweetheart, BitterHeart
I am Praew from Praew Channel. I am a mom who loves to cook, eat, crochet, shop and travel. Mostly you will find me crocheting or knitting. Often I am on the search for inspirations for my craft projects and products for my shop, Floretta. So, let's take a journey with me. Praew Channel is a colorful journey of inspiration.
I'm a vintage slingin' red head from Portland, Maine who owns a thrift store and runs an online shop.  I adore woodland creatures, 1950s dresses and zombies.
Hey y'all! My name is Mo and I'm a New Orleanian, vegetarian , animal lover, chai tea addict, bicycle commuter, women's college graduate who currently works in the film industry.
blog // twitter // pinterest // bloglovin'
my favourite post: A Day With "The Dad"
I'm Jennifer and I'm just a simply complex tattooed lady who is finding my way in the world of books and blogging and a fiscally challenged life in Athens, GA.  I love to put rosemary in everything, search for vintage dresses and cardigans, drink pots of hot tea, camp on a whim, hunt down street/folk/outsider art in weird places and (try to) craft on occasion.  Stop by m'blog and say hi!
blog // twitter // facebook
my favourite post: Pining For Winter
I'm a dreamy ocean dweller & nature lover, creating art and nurturing my sweet baby daughter, 'Blueberry'. I'm the designer of Ripples and Feathers on Etsy, wearable art pieces inspired by sea and sky. For work I'm a freelance photographer, dabble a bit in film making and teach courses on women’s issues and society. My passion is all things oceanic and I live on a floating home on the San Francisco Bay, spending  my days floating with the ducks.
blog // shop //  facebook // portfolio
my favourite post: Photo Travelogue
My name is Kayla and I blog over at Kaylanaut!  I write about my adventures in photography (currently with old Polaroid cameras from the 60's!), journaling, geeky things (like video games and comic books), and beautiful things I find along the way.  I live in Oakland with my fiance and our two cats, Pogo and Sorbo -- come say hello!
blog // twitter // instagram
my favourite post: Moments
My goodness, what a lovely crowd of sponsors, I'm so lucky to have such wonderful support. Please take the time to visit their sites and show some love back :) 

If you're interested in sponsoring, do so before the 31st December and I'll donate your money right to the Cat Protection Society, a no-kill shelter in Sydney. The XL ads for January are gone, and there's only one left for February, but you can book in advance if you'd like, and your ad will go in the queue. There are still some large and small ads left, and don't forget you can purchase a 3 month block using a discount code if you'd like. Thanks so much to everyone who has purchased ads so far, I'll be doing a post in the new year letting you know how the donation goes :)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Guest Post with Praew - Thai-Japanese Fusion Restaurant

Yura An Japanese Fusion Restaurant at Central World, Bangkok
Hello Kitty & Buck readers!
I am Praew from Praew Channel. I am glad that I have a chance to do a guest post here again. This is actually my third time writing a guest post for Kitty & Buck. I have already done a diy post and an outfit post. This time I would like to share some experience that I had when exploring Thai-Japanese fusion food at Yura-An Restaurant in Bangkok.

My sister, Ploen, talks about this restaurant quiet often when she has to give a list of restaurant that she suggests to her friends. Personally, my husband and I love Japanese Food. However, we often go for authentic Japanese food rather than the fusion Japanese. However, This time we decided to try something out of our ordinary.  Last month, we went there for lunch.

When we walked in, we were quite pleased with the ambience that is bright with high ceiling. The interior design is sleek with a touch of Japanese which gives the cozy feeling to the modern vibe.

Let's take a look at what we ordered!
Yura An Japanese Fusion Restaurant at Central World, Bangkok
Among the fancy rolls that we skimmed through the menu, we decided to order spider roll. This roll consists of deep-fried soft shell crab, avocado, cucumber and mayonaise. This roll has been my favorite since I was in college so I couldn't help but order this roll. Spider roll is actually a popular roll in many Japanese restaurants in many countries so many of you might have tried this dish already. What I love about this dish is the combination of the soft shell crab and the avocado. At Yura-An restaurant, they made a very good spider roll because their deep-fried soft shell crab is so crispy! 
Yura An Japanese Fusion Restaurant at Central World, Bangkok
The next dish is tuna tartar with avocado served with nori, lime and chilli. This is definitely not an ordinary tuna tartar. After tasting the tuna tartar,I guess they mix the tuna cubes with Japanese soy sauce and wasabi with a dash of sesame oil.  You might wonder how should we eat it. You should wrap the tuna tartar with the nori and add Thai chilli and a dash of lime juice....Voila! This is another dish that we will definitely try to make at home. This is a very unique fusion dish with the combination of Thai and Japanese flavors. I think it will be great party food.
Yura An Japanese Fusion Restaurant at Central World, Bangkok
Tuna cutlet with wasabi sauce is the menu that my husband and I were both agreed that we would like to tried this recipe at home. We both love seared tuna with Japanese soy sauce. This dish takes a little step further from what we usually do.  After seeing this dish, I think it is a great idea to coat the tuna with the bread crumbs instead of simply sear the tuna. And the wasabi-mayonnaise sauce was definitely complement the tuna cutlet.
Yura An Japanese Fusion Restaurant at Central World, Bangkok
Chirashi (Assorted sashimi on rice) is not a fusion dish but it is on of my favorite dishes that I usually order every time I dine at Japanese restaurants. Yummy!
It was such a fun time as I discovered more ways to play with food. After a great meal at Yura An, we were so full and ready for an afternoon nap. Unfortunately, I had so many things to do so I finished off that meal with a cup of black tea in order to stay awake. :p
Restaurant Info
Name: Yura An
Cusine: Japanese Fusion
Location: Central World Shopping Center, 7th floor
(Bangkok, Thailand)

I hope you enjoy my post. And I hope you find the cooking ideas from this post useful.
Thanks Shell for the opportunity to write this post.


Thanks Praew for another lovely guest post, it's so fun taking a peek into someone else's life. I think my favourite Japanese food is Gyoza, I just love dumplings... or maybe Apple Sake ;)

Friday, December 28, 2012

December Sponsor Giveaway

I have a great collection of prizes up for grabs today and there will be three lucky winners! First up, we have a $25 voucher to spend in the Little Ghost Vintage shop. Dawn-Marie is kind enough to share her fabulous vintage collection with those of us not lucky enough to live in the city of Portland, Maine where she runs a brick and mortar vintage shop of the same name. You'll find vintage gems from the 50's-80's and if you follow Little Ghost Vintage on social media, you might just get a special discount offer on Social Media Sundays!
Right now, you can score 10% off in Little Ghost Vintage with the code LittleGhostie
I'm so excited to have Chantilly Songs up as the next prize sponsor! Chantilly is a great gal located in Brooklyn, NY. Aside from her wonderful blog that contains Chantilly's adventures in style and her everyday life as a creative lady, she is a talented singer-songwriter. You have the chance to win 2 albums from Chantilly, Caught Light and her new album, Up To The Moon EP. You can get a sneak peek of her lovely tunes at her Bandcamp page, or listen right here:
If you can't wait to find out if you're the winner, or would like some merch, you can grab an amazing 20% off in her Bandcamp store with the code holiday20
The final prize on offer today comes from the lovely Shai, who runs the blog (and shop) Vagabond Studio. On Vagabond Studio you will find a variety of posts about living an eco-friendly life, as well as  insights into Shai's family life and features on small businesses and blogs. You have the chance to win a large ad space which comes with a group spotlight feature, mentions on social media and an optional group giveaway. The ad is valued at $18.
Right now, get 10% off ad space from The Vagabond Studio with the code: KittyRocks 
You can also take 10% off in The Vagabond Studio Etsy Store with the same code: KittyRocks

To enter, just visit each of the sponsor's pages and leave a comment below telling me what you love about each of the prizes (you can choose a product, song or blog post, or tell me something else you love about them, it's up to you!) There are bonus entries available, just start entering using the rafflecopter widget below. I'll be choosing 3 separate winners, one for each prize, so good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I hope that you had a really special time with your loved ones over Christmas. I've had a few days of catching up with family and friends, some who I've not seen in a long time. It's been a lovely time eating good food and spending time together. I'm really sad to tell you that my grandfather passed away a couple of days ago, so it's been a hard time for my family. Please, value the time you have together and create some happy memories, it's a good time of year to connect with people that you may not otherwise see. I'll be back to my regular blogging soon, but I'm sure you understand if things are a little haphazard over the next week or so. I had planned on writing a little about my family traditions, German and Australian Christmas, but perhaps that can be a little series for me to write next Christmas! Nico sends some Christmas cheer too:
(Both photos are by C's brother, Luke)

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Very Thrifty Christmas - Recipe Peanut Butter Cups

This recipe is so easy, and so delicious, it makes such a great last minute gift. Who doesn't love peanut butter plus chocolate? Here's what you need:
Peanut butter base:
50g (2oz) dark brown sugar
200g (7oz) icing sugar
50g (2oz) unsalted butter, softened
200g (7oz) smooth peanut butter

Chocolate topping:
200g (7oz) milk chocolate
100g (3 1/2oz) dark chocolate
decorations (I used edible glitter in a "Penny Copper" shade)

All you need to do is throw all of the peanut butter base ingredients into a food processor and blend until they reach a sandy consistency. Since it's so hot here right now, mine was more like a lumpy sand, but it still works fine.

Lay out 48 petit four cases into a mini-muffin pan, or somewhere you can line them up neatly and they won't slide around. Add one teaspoon of the peanut butter mixture and press down into each case. Depending on how generous your teaspoon is, you might end up with more or less cups. Also, you may find the irresistible urge to nibble on some of the peanut butter mixture, which can greatly reduce the number of peanut butter cups at the end.

Chocolate Topping:
Set up a saucepan with a small amount of water (maybe 3 inches in the bottom) simmering on a low-medium heat. Use a heatproof bowl suspended over the water to heat the chocolate gently. Make sure the bowl isn't touching the water, and stir the chocolate regularly so it melts slowly and doesn't burn. Once it's fully melted, spoon the chocolate on top of the peanut butter mixture and tap the tray gently to get a flat and even coverage. You can sprinkle with Cachou balls, (edible) glitter, or whatever fancy decoration you feel like. Refrigerate for about an hour and they're ready to go! Yum, yum.
The recipe I used here is by Nigella Lawson (in my own words).
Girl knows how to make a Christmas treat.

Wordless Weekend #5

Please don't forget if you'd like to sponsor, do so before the end of December, all earnings from ad spaces sold will go to The Cat Protection Society. Both XL spots are currently available, and are a bargain at $15. Please help me save some kitties this Christmas :)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Found #40

As you may have noticed, if you follow me on Instagram, I get pretty excited when something in my garden grows, rather than dies. I try really hard, but gardening does not come naturally to me. I think my skills are improving. I would love to get my hands on some of these adorable seed packs from Sow 'n Sow. I'm pretty sure that because they come in whimsical packaging, they must grow pretty good too! I love the pretty illustrations on the packages, and who doesn't love flowers?

Renée Louise Anderson has some beautiful travel photography. Next time I travel, I'm going to try and rush less and soak up the atmosphere more. Does anyone else feel like vacations are so precious that they don't want to miss anything and do too much? (remember those 22 states in 5 weeks last year? Me = crazy)

If you need anything aquatic themed, head over to Zombie Collective, they have prints and accessories for all of you seafarers. I love this blue whale necklace, though it had tough competition from the perspex Lobster and Narwhal versions!
via: Zombie Collective

Alfred Stieglitz has the most beautiful photography, this one is from 1915, titled "From The Back Window, 291" New York.
via: Tumblr

I've always wanted to make my own Christmas crackers, but never think of it in time. You can buy them from the store, but the jokes are terrible, the paper crowns too big and the trinkets can be pretty silly. It would be fun to make some with special treats inside and maybe some little handmade items! A word of warning... those strips that make the popping sound... when I was about 6, I got my hands on a loose one somehow, in the back of the car, and pulled it apart. It popped in my eye and I had to wear an eyepatch (I was so embarrassed and I still have a squiggly red vein in my eye from where it got me). You have been warned. Pop only inside the cracker kids!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Very Thrifty Christmas with Kitty & Buck

I've been seeing a lot of gift guides and wish-lists about lately, and I thought I'd share my experience with celebrating Christmas on a budget! A couple of Christmases ago C and I decided to embark on a 100% home-made gift giving exercise. There are a lot of things to love about Christmas. It's the time of year when you generally make more of a point than usual to spend time with your family and loved ones. There's cheesy Christmas songs, and possibly embarrassing sing-a-longs. The food is always special and it's generally accepted that you will indulge in some kind of decadent dietary behaviour. Let's not forget the subtle and not so subtle home and office beautification with pretty lights, glitter, and sometimes, enormous inflatable santa clauses. Of course, depending on your persuasion, there are various religious and spiritual reasons to celebrate as well.

The most important thing for many people is the presents, whether they like to admit it or not. Giving presents is awesome, it's a lovely tradition that offers you a chance to show someone how much you appreciate them. Receiving presents, let's be honest, even if it makes you uncomfortable, it also makes you feel loved, appreciated and thought of. For me though, something stinks about the commercialisation of the holiday that to me, means an opportunity to have a lovely meal with my family and friends, and a chance to all get together in one place at one time. With that in mind, I'd like to offer you an alternative.

As I mentioned at the start of this post, a couple of years ago we were not really in a position to buy presents for everyone. Work commitments meant we had no time to shop, and we were on a pretty tight budget and really felt that we couldn't afford anything 'good enough' to give, nor find the time to hunt down special bargains for our loved ones. We only really buy presents for our immediate family, but once you add up everyone, it tallies up to about 20 people that we need to buy gifts for. I decided to do something I've never done before. I decided to make my Christmas gifts. I felt really bad about this. It seems silly now, but at the time, I thought people might think I was stingy, thoughtless or lazy about buying presents. I went ahead though, found some recipes online, and took myself to the supermarket. A few bags worth of ingredients later, I had my gifts. I baked/made Gingerbread Cookies, Rocky Road, Truffles, Peanut Butter Cups, Brownies, Almond Cookies, Christmas Decoration cookies, and probably a few more bits I can't remember. It was like an insane chocolate factory inside our kitchen for a couple of days. I tried to make things that would last in storage for more than a couple of days, and then packaged them all up into gold boxes from the dollar store with tissue paper and ribbon.

I was actually nervous about giving everyone the same gift, and the gift being food that I'd made. It didn't seem like enough. Boy, was I wrong. I really couldn't have anticipated the response. Everyone was thrilled. And they weren't being polite, there was genuine excitement and happiness that I'd taken the time to make so many little treats. It blew me away. People still talk about the year we made treats, and how it was the best Christmas gift ever, because it showed that we cared, and sacrificed time to make it special, rather than just buying something. Clearly our families and friends are pretty cool.

Personally, it made me remember what is important, showing people you love them, not buying them the biggest and best present, or the coolest thing they've never seen. It doesn't matter how much money you spend, or how flashy the gift is, the thing people REALLY care about is to know that you care. Over the next couple of days, I'll share a recipe here and there, in case you're panicking about last minute shopping, or simply don't have the cash to spend on lavish gifts. I wanted to do a whole series but I've just run out of time. The main sentiment of what I wanted to share is in this post. Sometimes it's easy in this blogging world to be overcome with sharing cute clothes, new products and fun things to buy. There's nothing wrong with that in moderation. But I've been feeling overwhelmed with it lately and really wanted to share an alternative for those of you out there feeling the same way. It's possible to have a thrifty Christmas and still show the people around you how much you love and care for them.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sponsor Kitty & Buck - Donate to The Cat Protection Society

In the spirit of giving, I'd like to make a special sponsor call this month. For all sponsor spots sold between now and the end of 2012, I will donate all profits to The Cat Protection Society. As you probably know, I lost one of my best friends this year, Hobbes. He was my first cat and we 'rescued' him from the street (well, the food court... which I think may be worse than the street!) He was emaciated, filthy and tiny, only about 4 weeks old. He fit comfortably into the palm of my hand. When he grew up, he was the biggest cat I've ever seen, he was not fat (we checked with the vet) but weighed around 12kg (that's about 26 pounds). He was a gentle giant and didn't even mind wearing a Santa hat at Christmastime. In June of this year he became sick suddenly and before we knew it, he was gone. My heart is broken, again, so soon after losing our little Chibi cat. I thought it would be nice to offer some support to people helping strays like Hobbes and Chibi. The Cat Protection Society is a no-kill shelter operating in Sydney, Australia. They deal with 3,000-4,000 cats each year, finding them forever homes. They are already busy, even before the kitten-giving season (!) and have been adopting out many kittens in the past few weeks. The older cats are in need of homes too, but are often left behind in favour of a cute kitten. They all need love and care, so if you're in NSW and thinking of bringing home a new furry family member, I strongly recommend adoption. Unless you're lucky enough to find a Hobbes or Chibi wandering about (I'm not advocating stealing cats off the street here, by the way)

If you're not in the market for an ad space, but would still like to help out, I'm sure they would greatly appreciate a donation. Here's where your money can help:
  • $15 provides clean kitty litter for one cat for two weeks
  • $30 will pay for a cat to be microchipped
  • $70 will pay for an F3 vaccination
  • $100 will pay to desex a cat
  • $1,000 will fund major surgery for an ill or injured cat
  • $5,000 will help to care for up to 10 cats while they await their forever homes.
If you'd like to make a donation now, or at any time, you can head over to their website, I always have a link on my sidebar, so you can check out the site anytime.

Remember, for any ad purchases made for the rest of this year, I will make a donation matching the ad cost. (I'll publish a report of my ad sales and donation for you, so you can trust me!) If you'd like to advertise your blog or shop, at affordable rates and help some kitties at the same time, head over to my sponsor page now. I hope to donate some heartfelt money to help the shelter at this busy time of year. If you feel like, I'd love to know if you've donated in lieu of an ad, you can leave an anonymous comment if you'd like (or none at all, it's up to you!) Also, please spread the word, I'd love to get a nice donation together for these guys who do such kind work.


P.S. If you haven't already, check out Stephanie's guest post about animal rescue, it's really touching.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What I Wore - To The Australian Ballet, Icons

Every now and again, a girl's gotta get dolled up, don't you agree? It's really fun to go to the Sydney Opera House and put on a nice dress for the occasion. I have noticed though, people don't do it as much as I thought (or maybe as much as they used to) I have this theory that I can wear my fancy outfit to work, and then change my shoes, and it will be magically transformed from work attire to evening wear. For this particular show I dressed pretty casual, it was one of those mornings where all of my clothes ended up on a pile on the floor, not being able to decide what to wear, nothing 'feeling' right and time running out to get to work! I'm pretty happy with this though, it's a fun outfit.
It's fairly awkward standing in front of the Opera House during the interval and having outfit photos done. So I didn't. C just wanted to snap some pics, so we didn't do details of anything. Also, as you may have noticed, it's kinda dark. The show we were watching was called "Icons" and was part of the Australian Ballet's 50 year anniversary, revisiting iconic pieces from the company's history. I have to say, I suffered from some cultural cringe during this show (a lot of cultural cringe). Australia produces some amazing work, but ballet focussed on AFL (Aussie Rules football) and drinking beer out of cans is not my idea of an incredible ballet. There were three performances that night, one called "Gemini" was great, the other two were terrible. I often wonder what the world thinks if/when they see things like this, "Aussie" culture wrapped up in booze and sport. It makes me sad that even the Australian Ballet feels it has to celebrate these things to fit in. (These ballets were from the past 30 years or so, but I don't think we've grown out of this way of thinking). Despite my disappointment in the show, we had a lovely night and "Gemini" was fantastic. The dancers are amazing and I always watch wistfully wishing I was up on the stage again, strapped into those torturous/beautiful pointe shoes.
The Sydney Opera House by night is amazing, I love the way the curve of the sails reaches into the night sky and is lost, so you never quite know where the building ends and the night begins. You can see in this picture (if you didn't already know) that the sails are made up of many, many white tiles. I can always appreciate Sydney a little more after visiting this place.
Skirt // Modcloth (old)
Blouse // Cherry print from Tokito
Cardigan // Dangerfield
Shoes // Wanted (old)
Camera Bag // Jo Totes
Necklace // Cherry Bakelite as worn here (Antique)

Oh, goodness, I wanted to say thank you to everyone who participated in my survey. I've had some helpful feedback, so I wanted to let you know I appreciate it! I'll be assessing the results more thoroughly in the new year, when I put the finishing touches on my design and start putting some of your feedback into practice. Because I'm too busy over the next couple of weeks to attend to it, I'll leave the survey open for a little longer, so if you'd like to take 2 minutes to tell me what you think, you can go ahead, right here.