thirty before i am thirty: {ombre 4th of july cake}

number twenty-nine: bake a cake.

it is hard to believe but i made it to 28 without ever baking a cake. seriously. it is something that i have always wanted to do, but i just never found the time. when i was flipping through my new InStyle mag last month & saw a nine layer ombre cake in blue & red, i knew i had to make this cake! #gobigorgohome ideally i would have wanted to make the cake & frosting from scratch, but let’s be honest, the ombre colors & nine layers more than made up for that!

we were attending a fourth of july party at our friend jerry’s house which was lucky since this cake turned out enormous. seriously. it was 9 inches wide & eleven inches tall. such a beaut! i knew this would be a lot to take on being my first cake and everything, but it was fun & i had such a great support system thanks to aaron & local friends cheering me on!


{ingredient prep. see the full list & recipe below.}



{dying three sets of cakes.}


{baking, frosting, & stacking.}

{two other things: my sister taught me a trick years ago to use pieces of parchment paper underneath the first cake layer to keep the plate or cake stand clean – at the end you carefully pull the papers out. also, i didn’t cut any of the layers flat before stacking since they were all thin; as i built up the layers there was some curve on the tops of the top layers & i used a little extra frosting as glue.}


{that is my “hey i made a cake & i am super excited” face. & that is our wonderful friend jerry behind me – thanks for hosting a fab party jerry!}

ombre cake – recipe from InStyle magazine July 2013

makes one 9-inch cake {stands 11 inches tall}


  • 3 boxes white cake mix
  • 6 egg whites
  • 4 1/2 cups Sprite
  • Blue gel food coloring {i used Americolor gel pastes from Amazon – royal blue}
  • Red gel food coloring {i used Americolor gel pastes from Amazon – super red}
  • 5 12 oz. tubs of whipped vanilla frosting
  • cooking spray/butter
  • parchment paper
  • 3 9-inch cake pans

one. preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

two. mix one box of cake mix with 2 egg whites and 1 1/2 cups Sprite; divide evenly among 3 bowls.

three. create three shares of blue: add 2 drops of coloring to one bowl, four to the second, and 8 to the third.

four. coat three 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray {i rubbed butter on the edges of the pan instead}; line bottoms with parchment paper cut to size. pour each batter into its own pan.

five. bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. let layers cool; remove from pans. if needed, use a serrated knife to trim tops so they are level.

six. place darkest blue layer on a plate {or cake stand!}; cover with a thin layer of frosting. repeat with remaining layers, from darkest to lightest. chill cake in fridge. {definitely put the cake in the fridge every three layers, this helps tremendously with the cake stability!}

seven. repeat step two.

eight. add one drop of blue coloring to one bowl and one drop of red to another. do not tint the last bowl.

nine. repeat steps four and five.

ten. keep building cake with blue, then white, then red layers, frosting after each. chill cake in fridge.

eleven. repeat steps two to fie using red coloring instead of blue.

twelve. keep building cake with red layers, going from lightest to darkest, frosting after each

thirteen. coat outside of cake with thin layer of frosting. chill for 15 minutes.

fourteen. use remaining frosting to generously coat outside of cake. chill for at least one hour before cutting.

have you baked anything recently? anything ombre or layered?


thirty before i am thirty.

the weekend before last – when we were in indiana – i was able to check another item off my thirty before thirty list thanks to our friend colt!

number twenty-eight: attend an NLF game. i always assumed that the nfl game i would attend would be a seahawks game, given that they play roughly eight games per season in the city i call home. obviously i haven’t made it down to a game in the almost seven years i have lived here. i digress. when we got to colt’s house on friday night, he surprised us with tickets to the colts game that up-coming sunday. to say that we were surprised would be an understatement. aaron is an avid colts fan, being from indiana & all, but had never seen them play at lucas oil field, & obviously attending a game was high on my list. we got to tailgate outside the stadium before the game started, & once inside at our seats, we experienced what a fun stadium lucas oil is. the roof was open to let in the sun & the crowd was great. the colts ended up losing a close game at the last minute, but it was still fun to be there cheering them on in person!


go colts!

have you been to an nfl game this season?


thirty before i am thirty.

i haven’t been able to check off anything from my thirty before i am thirty list recently which has been a bit of a bummer. obviously i have a few more years before i am thirty to get the list completed, but it is such a great feeling to put a little check next to one of those items.

just last week, however, i was able to check off a big item & i wanted to share in case you hadn’t heard the great news!

number three: get a grown-up job.  many of you know that in lieu of entering the workforce right out of college, i applied to law school & joined americorp for a service year. i graduated from law school last spring & sat for the bar that july, but have been looking for work since last fall. since i had essentially been in school my entire life (well, since age 5), i really hadn’t had a real job. that is until now! the week before last i was offered a job after two rounds of interviews, & obviously i accepted. i am an account manager of media licenses at a large software company (you could probably guess!) & will be managing non-standard media licenses for big clients from pre-license thru the life of the license. i know it may sound boring to some, but it is right up my alley with all of the contracts & compliance that is involved (yay for using my law degree!). while i have not even worked a week, i am enjoying the role & really like my team. it has been a bit of a change for me to be gone from the house all day, like we had to hire a dog walker to come walk sadie & let her out during the day, but it is wonderful that aaron & i both have great jobs! {does this make us yuppies?}


{my first day of work}

are you keeping a list of things to do in life?


thirty before i am thirty.

i have managed to check a few more things off of my thirty before i am thirty list.

number one. buy a house. {obviously you know this one was checked off two months ago!} on april 28, 2012, aaron & i bought our first house! see the big announcement here.


number fifteen. wear red lipstick (not on halloween). i have always thought red lipstick was so chic, but i didn’t think i could pull it off. i even bought a tube of red lipstick months ago thinking that i would finally be able to talk myself into it, but i didn’t budge. i wanted this list to be a way for me to push myself a bit. to do the things i really wanted to do but never had the courage. this is such a perfect example of a boundary-pushing to-do. last night i took aaron to the dia frampton concert. it was a fun date night, so i decided why not.

red lipstick

{lip color: revlon lip butter in cherry tart.}

do you keep a running to do list? what are your to dos?


thirty before I am thirty.

number six: visit New England. {pics will be posted soon!} i had never visited any of the new england states before (except for boston) but it has been on my travel list for as long as i can remember. my grandmother is from the boston area and her brother went to school & lived in providence, rhode island, so i feel a bit of a family connection to the area. unfortunately other things just got in the way of ever visiting – living on the west coast, lots of other places on the travel list – until now! aaron & i were able to visit the entirety of new england while we were vacationing the week before last! we may not have thoroughly visited each state – i still want to visit cape cod, portland, burlington & new haven, to name a few – but we did drive thru & stop to see at least one town in every new england state.

number nineteen: go on a four state roadtrip. this to do goes hand-in-hand with visit new england as it was pretty easy to drive thru four new england states (much more so than western states!). we actually drove thru all six new england states {can you name them all?} but not all in one day. though on our way out of town, we did actually complete the four state roadtrip – so exciting! we left manchester, new hampshire & drove south thru massachusetts on our way to connecticut; we stopped for lunch in connecticut & drove east to providence, rhode island; then we headed back north & drove thru milton, massachusetts (where my grandmother & great uncle are from) on our way the boston airport.


{vermont, maine, new hampshire, connecticut, rhode island & massachusetts}

have you visited new england or been on a four state roadtrip?


thirty before i am thirty.

i introduced my thirty before i am thirty list in one of my first blog posts. i have been able to complete a few more to do’s on the list, so i thought i’d share.

number twenty: own a really good camera (digital SLR). for christmas this year aaron & i bought each other a sony digital SLR. to clarify, we didn’t both get a camera, we bought each other half of one. i haven’t used it much & still know nothing about what i can actually do with it (other than point-and-shoot); perhaps i should add another item to my list: photography class.

number twenty-four: find out my blood type. for the entire time i have been on the planet, i have never known my blood type. it turns out it really isn’t unusual for people not to know their blood type since you really only need to know it if you need a transfusion, but i was always really curious. when i completed #25 on my list (see below), my blood was typed. turns out i am B positive. after doing a bit of research, i discovered that B positive is pretty rare for an american (only 8.5% of the population), but more prevalent in asian countries (i am korean after all).

number twenty-five: donate blood to a blood bank. this to-do has, by far, been the most difficult one on the list to complete. i hadn’t ever donated blood before, largely due to my small size & world travel, but it was something i always wanted to do. plus, it was the best possible chance for me to complete #24 (see above). i decided that there was no time like the present, so i made an appointment with the local blood bank. while i am a good candidate on paper – good on blood pressure, pulse, temperature, weight & hemoglobin level – it turns out i am a not-so-good candidate in real life. i will spare you the details, but the short story is that i got really sick after the donation. this was not because i am squeamish about blood or anything, but i was a bit dehydrated which lowered my blood pressure (and i already have really low blood pressure), it was my first time donating (i guess it gets easier every time) & i am just over the weight minimum (i spent the weekend before “bulking up” to be sure i could actually donate). i am really glad i donated, despite the after-effects & continued bruising & pain in my left arm (i don’t think this is normal), so i would encourage any one who might be on the fence about donation to go ahead and do it! while i was at the blood bank i read a statistic that surprised me & made me really glad i donated: only 38% of the population is able to donate blood & only 10% actually do.

donating bloodbandage






{a warm blanket & comfy recliner at the blood bank}

{everyone was choosing hot pink for their wrap, so i chose lime green}

do you have a bucket list? what’s on your to-do list before the next milestone birthday?


thirty before i am thirty.

i think that everyone has a bucket list, even if its not formal, of things that they want to complete before the kick the bucket. i too have one of these ever-growing lists, but i also have a “thirty before i am thirty” list (pretty self explanatory). after i turned 25 and then 26, the thoughts of what i want to have accomplished before i reach 30 continue to pop into my head. so, as a sort of mini-bucket list and loose roadmap for the next few years, i wrote down my thirty items.

happily, i have just completed two of the thirty this week which i thought i would share along with the other two that i have completed creating the list. without further adieu:

number 2: start a family. in august, 2010 i became a wife. in april, 2011 we adopted a dog.
number 4: pass the Washington Bar Exam. on july 26, 27, 28, 2011 i sat for the WA bar exam. in mid-october i received a letter from the WA State Bar Association that i PASSED! in early november i will be sworn in as an official member of the WA bar.
number 11: start a blog. in september 2011 i started emerald city diaries (obviously).
number 22: re-read all the Harry Potter books & re-watch all of the movies (& compare!). between august and october, 2011 i re-read and re-watched all seven Harry Potter books and movies. (the only caveat is that i technically saw the last installment of the Deathly Hallows out of order because its video release date has not been announced. however, since i saw it in theaters in July, i think it still counts.)

i think that regardless of what age you are and whether it is a bucket list or a mini-bucket list, it is important (& fun!) to think about those things that you really want to accomplish while you have the chance.