I planted two breeds of lavender in our house-side flower beds this spring. There was a phase where every morning, before getting in the car to work, I would pick a lavender leaf, squish it between my fingers, and breath it in on my drive. Serenity. Take me here...
Good morning and happy Monday! Want to add a little trend to your life? Since the Pantone® Color of the Year is Honeysuckle, I thought it would be appropriate for the next Crayola® inspiration should be close. Wild Strawberry!
Wild Strawberry is a color that can be overwhelming and over-youthful rather quickly, so I prefer it used in classic or mature accents. It's a great way to add an unexpected punch of energy. Wild Strawberry? PUNCH! Maybe with some of the following stuff :
Hello Friday! It's been a REALLY busy week at my job, my freelance projects are piling up, and Husband started school again. I need something refreshing to kick start my energy for a great weekend...and these infused waters would do the trick perfectly.
These recipes and photos come from an awesome blog...A Beautiful Mess. Be sure to check it out!
She is so clever to serve them in mason jars; I love the simplistic vibe!
Hey lovelies! I'm really excited today...because it's the beginning of a new project! Since 30 Days, 30 Dos, I've been trying to think of what comes next. How can I challenge myself to think critically and creatively? How can I share a piece of our lives with you awesome people?
We're going back to childhood inspiration...and Crayola® crayons. Each new post in this category will use one of the 64 Crayola® crayon colors as inspiration for a mood board. I want to be reminded of the fun and emotion that color can pack!
You can read a little more about it here. Watch for our first color post soon!
First, a bit of trivia. The word "sequoia" is one of very few English words to have all five vowels. The shortest English word with all five vowels is "eunoia" which means "beautiful thinking".
Okay. Wanderlusting! I think the place that has captured my imagination most in the United States is the redwood forest. Giant sequoias. I read once in National Geographic that no camera can actually capture the vastness of these trees in a printed or filmed image.
So basically, there's no way to really experience them but to see them and touch them. How mysterious! Some day trees, some day...
Do you ever shop at Trader Jo's? It is our grocery store of choice.
Last night we had a pizza dough from trader Joe's in the fridge. I thought about what else we had in the fridge (not much.) But then I remembered our garden and our herbs! We had a plethora of delicious vine-ripened tomatoes, and fresh basil and oregano in abundance. Happily we had left over mozzarella from the clam bake too. Add those together...margarita pizza!
Easy Margarita Pizza with Fresh Herbs
1 pizza dough or pizza dough crust
2 large heirloom tomatoes (May need 3 for regular tomotoes)
8-12 Fresh basil leaves
5-6 slices of mozzarella cheese about 1/4" thick
5-10 Fresh Oregano leaves (can substitute 2 tsp. dry oregano)
1/2 Lemon, juiced
1 Tbs. Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1. Remove seeds from tomatos. Dice them into 1/4-1/2" pieces and drain excess juice.
2. Finely chop oregano. Mix with tomatoes, juice from 1/2 lemon, 1 tsp. olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
3. Spread or prepare pizza dough as directed on package. Brush with remaining olive oil.
4. Spread tomato mixture evenly over the pizza dough.
5. Place mozzarella slices evenly over pizza.
6. Julienne the basil slices and sprinkle evenly on top of the rest of the ingredients.
7. Salt and pepper to taste.
8. Bake according to pizza dough directions.
I always like to turn the oven to broil for the last 3 minutes of cooking, so that the cheese and crust get a nice toasting.
I won't call myself old (until I am 80 and then I'll be like, what's up world I'm old, and awesome!), but "getting older" is definitely fair. Oh yes. I have a story for you...
While sitting in church, I suddenly noticed this Haitian nugget picking through my hair like a monkey.
He was quite focused actually. Soon he found what he was looking for, and I experienced a slight pang as he pulled a single hair from my head. He kindly handed it to me and got right back to it. Four or five hairs later, I finally observed what he was hunting. Grey hairs. Coarse grey hairs that didn't match the others. The little man was purging me of my grey hairs one by one!
Now, I knew that I had one or two grey hairs, but to have that many, on a single side of my head, so visible that a five year old noticed them...well.
Only one week later, I went to the eye doctor for the first time in 3 years. (By the way, did you know that your eye prescription expires?) And the man tells me that I have a CATARACT in my left eye lens! Wholly-what?!
It's not affecting me yet, so I don't have to have anything done about it. But the word cataract is...well.
At least I got some new Converse glasses to wear around.
I suppose is important to me to age happily. As long as each year is maximized in most categories, I have no room to complain about my body doing it's natural thing. Maybe easier said then done in 10 years or so...we shall see.
Young at heart! Young at heart! On to adventures! Especially now that I will be able to see them clearly.
I am curious though - who knows another 27 year old with cataracts?
If feels like just yesterday that I was rejoicing in finally wearing flops and anxiously awaiting the pool's opening. But sadly, the end of the summer approaches. It's always a tough time for me, but there are other things to console...like our 2nd Annual Clam Bake!
Want to check it out?
I designed the invites and got them printed at my favorite discount printer overnightprints.com.
We set up a "photo booth" consisting of a backdrop and a digital camera on a tripod. Here are some of the results :
Because of the gorgeous weather, everyone stayed in the backyard and new three-season room (post coming soon.) We split a HUGE bundle of wildflowers from the local market between all the rooms and tables, and we had been saving anything glass for weeks. With newspaper "table cloths", the decor was relatively cheap!
Our menu this year for 35 people was :
Seafood Cakes with Mustard Crema
Low-Country Boil with Clams, Shrimp, Corn, and Red Potatoes
Seared Scallops with Roasted Tomatoes
Rainbow Fruit Kebabs
Orzo salad with Asparagus
Hilarity and Jokes
This was such a fun way to prepare to say goodbye summer!
There comes a time in every blog lover's life, where it is complicated and finger-aching to type all of the addresses of your favorite blogs to see the latest content. So I'm hoping on the Bloglovin' train because I just started using it myself.
There are a couple of bigger posts in the works, so for today I'll just leave you with some pictures of things that I ate that are round and sliced in half. That works, right? You know, just finding themes and excitement in the small things.
This was a surprise treat at a local-fare breakfast restaurant right up the street from my office. Boiled Grapefruit with Caramelized Ginger Sugar. The boiling takes away the bite of the grapefruit, and the ginger sugar adds uniqueness. Mmm. You should visit the Half Day Cafe in Wyoming, OH.
Our garden is regularly gifting us with tomatoes now! Every day I get about 5 delicious grape tomatoes, and every few days we get one of these gorgeous, meaty Mortgage Lifter breed heirloom tomatoes.
I don't normally like tomatoes, but I can eat these like a apples. (As long as I have a bib on too.)
Have your gardens been providing you with anything in this heat? Our beans and zucchinis haven't done their magic yet.
This week a Greendale Home Fashions product that the team and I designed was featured in a Hayneedle.com back-to-school ad! It's a floor cushion, and though it's basic, I love the color pop. Can you see it?
Here it is!
More about the product here. Be sure to check out all the other colors too...mmm.
Have you jumped on the floor pillow train? We sure have.
Husband calls this recipe my "best kitchen accident ever."
As you must know now, cake pops (or cake balls), are all the rage. I was playing around with a frosting recipe for some cake balls, and ended up with something different all together (by using ill-conceived proportions :). Also...IT IS ONLY THREE INGREDIENTS.
Three Ingredient Dark Chocolate Truffles
3.5 oz. Very Dark Chocolate (around 70% cacao content)
3/4 c. Confectioners Sugar
1/2 c. Chopped Pecans (or Walnuts, or favorite nuts)
1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second stints, stirring after each until completely melted.
2. Mix in 1/2 cup confectioners sugar. Continue to add sugar until consistency is doughy and sticks together. (My measurements are only estimates)
3. Roll mixture into 1/2" balls.
4. Finely chop the pecans and put them in a wide, shallow bowl.
5. Roll each ball in the pecans until fully coated.
6. Refrigerate until time to eat!
Okay. I am eating the most delicious melon right now (after yesterday's Findlay Market trip). After every sentence I am stopping, biting, dripping juice everywhere, and grabbing the towel to wipe my hands. Back to typing another sentence...but I just can't stay away. (Bite, drip.)
This Amish-country grown golden watermelon is sweet, thick, and refreshing. (Bite, slurp.)
I love knowing that the fruit I am eating was grown less than 30 miles away, ripened on the vine, and picked yesterday! (Bite, slurp, drip.)
My friend Jenn recently hosted a girls night at her house with all the sweetness of a tea party (read handmade invitations, homemade treats, and fresh flowers), but also with an updated theme and youthful twist. A D Party is Dips, Drinks, and Desserts!
Jenn made ALL of this food, and the invites herself. It was a grand and classy time.
Alright, I have a new infatuation. I know it is a long-term one because it has grown slowly over time, gaining strength. I am simply infatuated with the flower arrangements of Amy Merrick.
Her work is wild but purposeful. It somehow manages to be natural but fully saturated with color and style! How?!?! I quite literally swoon. She showcases the natural "stunning-ness" of the flowers. Take a look at her new website.
Have a most beautiful weekend!
Oh and a fun announcement is coming next week! Stay tuned...
I am fortunate in having a creative family and creative friends. They challenge me to new ideas, as well as give freedom and grace to experiment, create, and mess up. Some adults may not have the freedom, motivation, or encouragement to be creative. Maybe structured lives, rigorous schedules, or social expectations squeeeeeeze it out? Unfortunate I say! Surely brain-stretching, expression, and innovation are just as relevant in adulthood as childhood?
So I asked one of my creative friends to share some encouragement in her area of expertise : writing. Amy Sheets is a 4th grade language arts teacher, as well as a MA, lecturer, and college professor off...Writing! Of course! Writing can be done anytime, by anyone (aka, no drawing skills required :), so it is the perfect course for building creative adulthood muscles.
“One of the gifts of being a writer is that it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places
and explore. Another is that writing motivates you to look closely at life, at life as it
lurches and tramps around.”
Writing is a troublesome thing. It always sounds like a great—romantic, even—thing in which to take part. But then there’s the fact that at some point along the way of being a “writer,” one has to actually sit down and write at some point. For me, writing has been a fickle friend, but once I became a teacher of writing, I realized that I actually needed to be a writer. Otherwise, I would be like being a swim coach who seldom getsin the water. To do it well, I needed to dive in.
But writing, once it gets going, can really be a wonderful activity. It can help you remember the details of a special moment. It can help to process difficult emotions or decisions. It can bring clarity to experiences from your past. It can also allow a complete divergence from reality. Writing even has a myriad of health benefits. Did you know that researchers have found that people who write about their deepest thoughts and feelings surrounding upsetting events have stronger immunity and visit their doctors half as often as those who write only about trivial events, let alone those who do not write regularly? The Journal of the American Medical Association showed that writing even reduces physical symptoms in patients with chronic illnesses.
In the past year I have challenged my students to think about the reasons we write. At first they looked at me like, “Uh…because you make us?” But once we started thinking
of reasons, they came up with some really beautiful ideas. One student said that you should write because maybe it will become a book you’ve always wanted to read.
Another said that it can be as exciting as being at bat with all the bases loaded (I don’t know that I ever got him to write about a topic other than baseball if you couldn’t guess).
I also worked to find the words of writers and teachers to add to our collection of reasons. One of my favorite quotes on this is from fellow writing teacher Ralph Fletcher, who says of keeping a writing notebook, “[It] can be a clearing in the forest of your life, a place where you can be alone and content as you play with outrage and wonder, details and gossip, language and dreams, plots and subplots, perceptions and small epiphanies.”
So, I challenge you to write today. Wonder at the world. Notice something about the world and the people around you. Allow yourself a “clearing in the forest of your life.”
And, just for a bonus quote:
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to
do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
To contact Amy with questions or for writing sources, email makinghomehomemade@gmail.
Now that you've learned of the little orphans of Haiti, and seen some of the things I love about Haiti, I thought we could share a brief overview of rest of the trip! I'll give the full summary in an upcoming newsletter...let me know if you want to get it!
This was Mountain Walk Day..about 2 miles up, up, up in the hot Haitian sun. That little dot in the road on the left picture is a truck...just for some perspective. I could have sworn we were about to reach the Dominican Republic. See Husband's arm after about 5 minutes:
But it was all worth it when we reached the mountain top village. This is what awaited us: Beautiful Haitians, fun and games, story telling, wound bandaging, and goofy songs.
We had the privilege of viewing the mass grave from the Jan. 2010 earthquake...the government says that 200,000 people are buried under the gravel, marked by wooden crosses painted black.
Let's see what else was there...
Playground building, bathroom painting, gate painting...
Aggressive US vs. Haiti basketball action (the red and white blur is Husband)...
Sleeping in bunks and riding around in the back of a pick up truck...
Group bonding time...
And I'll leave you with this, my favorite part of Haiti : sweet children in tough situations to love on.