Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Journaling Kit for Travel and Home

I have been asked by a couple people lately what I use for my journaling as I tend to stick things inside; I am an obsessive collector of things, especially when traveling.  So here is a little travel or home journaling kit for an idea of what I use at home and pack when I travel.
Keep in mind, if you are traveling on a plane and want to work on your journal on your flight, you must pack your scissors in your checked luggage so you don't end up having to leave them with the TSA agent. The found object from my last trip...a coffee stirrer!  What is not in the kit that I also carry? A small palate of watercolors - sometimes I use them, sometimes I don't, depends on my mood.

I know some people are strictly journal writers and not pasters, painters, drawers, list makers, etc.  I do a little of all of it and none of it very well but how cool is it a year later to look back at what you did in your life whether you were at home or abroad.  Try it for a week or two and see if you can bring new life into your journaling. Most of all have fun, there are no rules, no judgement and you are probably the only person that will see it, so be easy on yourself.

I made this travel journal a little while back (months before I bought my ticket to Paris). I think I have figured out the secret recipe for travel (at least for me); make the journal and the trip will come. Ha ha!

Anyway, I found this book a couple years ago and wanted to keep it for myself as I knew one day I would make it to the City of Light and sure enough I am on my way soon.  I can't wait to write my travel experiences in it, try to draw what I see, and just do some long cafe sitting while writing and watching the world go by.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saturday Entertainment

If this doesn't make you happy, there may be something wrong with you.

PS - I will be doing my solo rendition of this in a couple weeks! 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fridge Art

I think what you stick to your fridge should be things you want to look at all the time and also reflect the people that live in the house, inspire you or take you away for a dreamy moment.  My fridge used to be a jumble of coupons I didn't want to forget about, a small white erasable board for notes but really only had the police non emergency number on it (I live in the city and see some sketchy things) and a plethora of magnets I had collected over the years.  When my kitchen got repainted (thanks Mom and Dad) and I unpacked, I decided I would only allow things I really loved and this is what I ended up with - it makes me happy. What's on your fridge?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Summer Reading

Since I was a kid, I have been a reader.  Even more so in the summertime. This summer I have tried to read a book a week depending on my workload but as of late, it has been a book every two weeks.  This is pretty good for me as I am a recovering slow reader and book hider (when the book got good, or near the end, I would hide it under my mattress so it wouldn't come to a close).  Now, I almost always have one I am reading, and 2 waiting in the wings. I will not let myself buy any more than 2 books at a time.  When it is time to read a new one, I turn the spines around so I cannot see the title and choose one and let the excitement of the journey begin.  When I am done with a book, I sent it to my Mom or a friend in the mail - releasing it in to the world.

A few months ago, I decided to rejoin Good Reads and keep track of what I am reading and at least give the book a star rating (1-5) and occasionally, I will write a short review. I have added a Good Reads feed on the lower left here so you can see what I have read lately and my thoughts. I love Good Reads, but I don't always read the reviews before reading the book as I find many people write a book report as a review; rerunning the storyline of the book (which the publisher already does on the back of the book in most cases). I will often scroll through and just look at the stars the book has gotten and read reviews afterwards (if they are not repeating the plot, etc.).

As summer comes to a close, I hope this active reading will follow me into fall and then through the end of the year. I have found some days, I don't even turn the TV on as I would rather be reading a book!

Reading has also helped inspire my writing. I have been writing everyday whether it be in my journal or working on my big project (book). Here is an except from a personal essay called My Tree.  I wrote it about a tree in the backyard of my childhood home but this part encompasses my summer reading as a kid.  I thought it appropriate for this post.

As long as I can remember we had a maple tree in our backyard.  Underneath is where I would read books, leaning against her while slapping bugs off my legs to the sound of cicadas filling the summer sky.  Eventually I learned that laying a blanket down (an old tablecloth my Mom let me use) was the secret to my summer reading success under that tree.  When she was young she didn’t offer much shade, but was great to sit under.  

Monday, September 09, 2013

September Issues

I am just getting around to cracking these babies open (yes, Vogue is really 902 pages!).
This past week I have been obsessed with photos and video from New York Fashion week on; I think tonight is the night I start flipping through my favorite glossy monthly mags as I need a break from screen-time.

With Bazaar having SJP on the cover, that one will definitely be first.

I have been totally reminiscing as of late about the house I grew up in and have such fond memories of looking at Vogue magazine on my bed with a diet Coke and a Snickers (I know...).  I remember in 7th grade I had read an awesome article in Vogue about one of their fashion editors and how she put her entire outfit together from a flea market in Paris. I figured out at the time how much the Franc was worth and how much it cost for her incredible ensemble.  From that day I dreamt of Paris and fashion.

New York Fashion week is coming to a close (this Thursday) but Paris fashion week is coming up shortly after (9/24-10/2)...oh la la, the creme de la creme; I can't wait.

Now, if they only made the clothes in real woman sizes. Well, better that they don't, I would be in BIG trouble with la Visa and la Master Card.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Coming Clean

Ok, so I totally f'd up.
On top of not posting forever, I tried to give my blog a new look and lo and behold I lost my old html coding (that I customized) and am stuck with this new one until I have time to figure something else out.

Over the last couple months (my hiatus), I have realized I need an extra set of hands so I hired an intern.  You know, someone to help me out around the house: cooking, cleaning, laundry, dog walking, organizing my mountain of mail, and keeping my desk in order.  Then I woke up.

I did not hire an intern, a housekeeper, and editor or an assistant but have realized over the last 6 months I cannot do it all myself and something had to give so I took a break from this blog. Now I am back and it looks like crap so we will all have to get over that real fast because guess time to write new code!

I have been busy writing and reading a TON.  I am ready to submit some work, but am doing some research on that currently as to where, if they allow concurrent submissions, etc. I think in order for my dreams to come true, I have to release some stuff into the universe because I doubt a publisher is going to come knocking on my door (unless, you know one - in that case, send them my way).

The other thing I have learned during this time is when you don't work in an office full time, you work more than full time. From the moment I rise, I am checking email and give it one more glance before retiring for the night. I have been pretty good about taking the last couple weekends off, still scanning email for junk mail but not picking up and working on projects.  It is hard to find balance in today's world, but I am getting more of a grip on it with each passing day.

With that said, it is Labor Day and time to shut down for the day.
Hope I still have readers, if this time doesn't stick, I think I will pack it up at the end of the year and leave this blog world for something else.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Healthy Snack Time

Made these bars today and they are so good, very filling and sugar and oil free to boot!

Carrot Oat Snack Bars (Gluten Free Vegan)
Preheat oven to 350.

Mix together in a bowl:
::  1 Cup Chopped Dates
::  2 Ripe Bananas Mashed
::  1/2 Cup or one small shredded carrot
::  1 tsp Vanilla
::  1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
::  1 tsp Cinnamon
::  2 1/2 Cup Old Fashioned Oats (I used gluten free oats)
::  1/2 Shredded Coconut
::  1/2 Cup Raisins
::  1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts
::  1/4 Cup sliced Almonds
::  1 tsp Orange zest
::  Juice from 1/2 of an orange

Line 9x13 baking pan with parchment (or you can spray it).
Press mixture into pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until brown on edges.
Cool on rack completely, cut into bars and enjoy!

I put the dates in the food processor until small pieces. Blended banana, vanilla and spices in it too and used it to shred my carrots  - easy!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Afterwork Snack

I made these potato chips for the Mr. afterwork yesterday and he flipped over them! I had one idea and it sort of went it's own way and turned into these lovelies.
Super easy to make.
I had baked potatoes left over from the night before in the fridge so I sliced them at an angle, heated some olive oil and a drizzle of my garlic oil (here) and fried them up. When they were done, I put them on a cooling rack and salted them while hot so the salt would stick.
Served with hot mustard and catsup.
I handed them to him, answered the phone and when I was done...they were gone.
Good thing I snagged one before handing them over.

Hearty White Bean Soup

Hearty White Bean Soup
16 oz cannellini beans (soaked overnight)
3 large carrots chopped
3 celery ribs + heart with greens chopped
1 onion diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
drizzle of olive oil
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 cup white wine (optional but has a lot of flavor)
6 cups veggie broth (or chicken if you'd like - I use the non-chicken, chicken broth)
ground white pepper (optional)
salt (if needed)

In a large pot, add a drizzle of olive oil, onions, celery, herbs, garlic and white wine and simmer together for about 2 minutes until fragrant.  Add carrots, beans and broth and simmer together until beans are soft and ready to eat. Mine took a couple hours and my house smelled amazing!
This usually last us a few meals - feel free to cut it in half if you need to it does make a lot.
Easy. Cheap. Delicious.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Studio Clean-out Fun

I found a box of tags the other day when going through some stuff in my studio.
I made this picture to use when playing phone tag.
Feel free to save and reuse.

Monday, February 18, 2013

GFV Chocolate Chip Bars

Made these last night and got rave reviews from the Mr.
They are gluten free and vegan but are by no means low fat or low calorie but they sure are delicious.

GFV Chocolate Chip Bars
Preheat oven to 350.
Grease a 9x11 baking pan - I just wiped mine with the buttery sticks wrapper.
::  1 Cup Melted Earth Balance buttery sticks
::  1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
::  2 Cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
::  1/2 tsp. Xanthan Gum
::  1 tsp. Salt
::  1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
::  1/2 Cup White Sugar
::  1 bag vegan Chocolate Chips

Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Add melted "butter" and vanilla and mix until everything comes together.
Add chocolate chips and mix again.
Press into baking pan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
Cool, cut and enjoy!

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Garlic Saver

I don't know about you, but I never go through an entire head of garlic and I hate throwing it away! So I devised a plan and so far, so good!

Here is what I did:
  • On a solid surface lay the head of the garlic down with the point facing up.
  • With a heavy bowl - bash the entire head and it should seperate or even come apart pretty easy.
  • Pull the cloves off of the head and put them in a stainless bowl.
  • Take a second stainless bowl and put it on top of the other (opening to opening so it looks like a globe).
  • Shake it violently - you can count this as cardio for the day if you would like, I won't tell.
  • When you peak inside - most of the skins should have come right off of the garlic!
  • Take out the peeled cloves and keep shaking the remaining until the skins are off.
  • Put peeled cloves in a small jar.
  • Add a spring of thyme or rosemary if you want.
  • Cover everything completely with olive oil.
  • Close jar and store in a dark, dry place.
  • When you need a clove fish it out with a fork and use it.
  • The cloves will last a loooong time as long as they are covered in the oil.
  • When the cloves are gone, use the oil for something yunmy. As my garlic disappears, I like to sprinkle a spoonful of the delicious golden garlic oil on popcorn!
Yes, I buy this brand of jam because I love to reuse the jars!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Kitchen Inspiration

French music inspires me in the kitchen, always has. Stacey Kent, Edith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg, you name it - if it's French, it's playing when I am cooking dinner.  I sing along mostly knowing what the words mean (thanks to Madame Ogle, my High School French teacher) the others I just mimick (one of my secret talents).  I have always had a love for international music - I am also a lover of Arabic and Greek music. I can sing an entire Greek pop song and have no idea what I am saying which I think is pretty funny!

Besides my new La Chamba pot mentioned in my last post, my boss also got me a great knife for Christmas that has left me chopping as fast as Jaques Pepin (again with the French).  New tools lead to kitchen inspiration, wanting to try new recipes and venture out a bit but I am telling you - that pot beckons me each week to make a one pot meal and I always follow. This week's was a doozy and so delicious. The Mr and I each ate two bowls full and he even took some for lunch today! SCORE! Luckily he doesn't have a picky palette and is willing to try anything.

I got the recipe here - check it out, make it and get ready to taste something so lovely and warm.  I added an entire bunch of Tuscan Kale (stripped of the spine and chopped). I also served mine with some steamed jasmine rice on the side of the bowl. My mouth is watering now and I must heat some for lunch.

See that turmeric there? I had to buy it at Safeway - ech! It is organic at least and no harm done - unless you count that I left Korra out of her crate while I ran down the hill and when I came back the cat food was mysteriously gone. She was still in her bed, but licking her chops...sneaky little pup.

What inspires you in the kitchen?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

La Chamba

Let's act like I have not posted in over and month, kiss and make up and just move forward.

I have to share my new La Chamba casserole dish with lid that I got for Christmas from my parents. I wanted something multipurpose and this is the best! I can make soup or beans in it on the stove stop and also bake in it, in the oven. It is gorgeous as well. Nice and deep and about 4.5 quarts so good size for 2-4 people.

More information here Toque Blache.

So far I have made my pinto beans ole, roasted tomato & rosemary soup with kale & potatoes and a cannellini bean stew (no link, I didn't write the recipe yet).  They all have been wonderful and cooking in this pot always makes me happy.
Next time I make the Cannellini Bean Stew I promise to share the recipe because it was delicious!

So Many Outlets

With so many social networks out there it is hard to keep up.
I have to admit a lot of my time spent on pinterest, twitter, facebook and instagram.  They are all quick and fun to use and easy to get sucked into.
With that said, that explains some of my absence from this blog.
The other reason is my writing project. I am finally making some good headway and once I am inspired to write, I have to write which has made this little place on the web fall along the wayside per sea.

I hope to post more this year even if it is something completely random that I want to share. I hope everyone is having a good new year so far.


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