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Monday, April 30, 2012

april sponsor links

Check out what my sponsors have been up to in April!

food
+  Sherry at Oh So Lovely created an amazing list of soups that I can't wait to try. The pictures are making me so hungry! Soups are something I haven't really gotten too adventurous with cooking yet so I'm excited to try these.


fashion + beauty
+  Cosmia at Inflammatory Knit shows off her pretty pink birthday outfit. She also talks about something I totally understand.. the trouble with finding the best red hair dye color and then actually seeing it in stores more than once! 

+  Over on The Chevron Rose, Jaydinn did an outfit post with a basic gray top and some beautiful pops of color and pattern.

+  Lindsay at ldc designs put together a cute mood board for a colorful outfit, including cotton candy pink hair! I love the scarf especially.. it's like a Pantone guide for your neck. ;)

+  A fun nail tutorial from Izzy at A Jar of Feathers for painting a chevron design on your nails.

+  Cait from Sailing to Nowhere collected some gorgeous outfit inspiration photos. Just looking at all the layers makes me feel so comfy!

+  Nicole from KnitNicoleKnit created this beautiful airy scarf for her shop. The lightness of the stitches and the sunny color make it a perfect accessory for this always-changing springy weather!


photos
+ Loving these photos from Alli of Kisses and Chaos. She took some amazing shots from a road trip to Baton Rouge. 

+  Also love Aleksandra of Little Daily Miracles photos of Vienna. Such a gorgeous city. I'd love to visit someday.


crafty
+  Jadyn from Dutch. British. Love. is taking part in the Color My World challenge. She's added some pops of yellow to her home decor through this challenge. Click through to see week 3 and the other weeks, plus links to other blogs participating in the challenge. Looks like a great way to get brave with color!

+  I absolutely love these painted stones from Heather at A Hopeless Notebook - even if she doesn't think too highly of them - ;) It's such a simple project that could add a lot of interest to a garden or any other outdoor space - or indoor for that matter.

+  Candace at Woodgrain and Gold curated a stunning list of different clothing, accessories, tattoos and more that are all inspired by watercolors. Love it.


life + living
+  Kate at Wake Up Lovely wrote a letter to her 16 year old self that I just loved. I think it's nice to look back and realize how we felt at a certain point in life and see how we feel about it now. It might provide some nice perspective when we are going through tough times - knowing that this is something we will get through and our future selves will only be stronger from the experience.

+  Chloe from Lazy Explorers wrote a little reflection on why she blogs. It's nice to keep things in check sometimes and remember why we came here to begin with. :)

Anna from Olive Green Anna documented a road trip she took around Germany with her husband's band while they were on tour for their new album!

+  I had to list Megan's book recommendations over at megandowntherabbithole when I saw this post. You know me and my love for books! ;) Especially when there's some art books in the mix.

+  And last, but certainly not least, Sofia at The Lovely Hunter wrote about the secret to a balanced life. And I absolutely love her advice!




I hope you check out some posts from these talented ladies! Can you believe tomorrow is another new month already?! This is madness.
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Friday, April 27, 2012

april's featured sponsor: lazy explorers

I asked April's featured sponsor, Chloe from Lazy Explorers, to share a little bit about herself and her blog for you to read. She gives some more great advice to new bloggers and is working towards some pretty awesome goals! Give it a read and stop by her blog when you're done! :)


My name is Chloe and I run the blog, Lazy Explorers. I am in college for Graphic Design and hope to one day design blogs and sell handmade on Etsy. I spend most of my time with Dominick, my best friend, love dove, and sidekick. Together we are conquering college one semester at a time and dreaming of our future apartment life.

What do you blog about?
I blog about inspirations, my outfits, DIY and crafts, and my adventures through life.

Why did you start blogging?
I was inspired by this blog to start my own. I am very sad that she does not post as much anymore. Her blog is what led me to a bunch of other amazing blogs. Then I knew I had to get in on this community.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I find inspiration on other blogs, Pinterest, and Flickr. Also, I am very much inspired by the world around me. For example, Dominick and I were in line to pay our bill at a restaurant the other day and an idea popped in my head. I quickly got out my notebook and wrote it down.

Describe your typical day.
11AM//Wake up
12PM-1PM//Check emails and social networking sites
1PM-2PM//Shower and get ready for the day
2PM-8PM//Either Work or an adventure with Dominick
8PM-9PM//Clean up around the house and get my brother ready for bed
9PM-2AM//Blog, surf the web, and play Maple Story

What advice would you give to new bloggers?
When I first started my blog, I thought no one was going to read it. After a while I began to blog for myself and I stopped focusing so much on how many followers I had or didn't have. I gained a lot of followers since then. I think your writing will come out a lot more genuine if you are blogging for yourself.

Are there any big projects or goals you are working towards?
I am slowly learning how to sew and I am getting better at coming up with DIY projects. I want to eventually open up an Etsy shop where I sell hand drawn and homemade miscellany.

Is there anything weird or funny that most people don't know about you?
Hmmm, For a while I ate cheese puffs dipped in mashed potatoes with every meal. People would look at me funny in high school.


Thanks so much Chloe! 

I'll have my favorite links post for the rest of my sponsors up in the next couple days so check back for that! Have a great weekend! :)
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

carrot apple ginger juice


I know I just posted a juice recipe and I don't want give the impression that now that I have a juicer, this is all I'll be posting. But this is pretty much the only semi-interesting thing I have been doing while I'm nursing this cold that is now officially a week old. I haven't been this sick since my last graphic design finals week so this I'm not used to being this out of commission. I'll be back to my regularly scheduled programs soon enough! And promise a more staggered release of juice recipes. ;) Especially because there's a lot of exciting things on my May calendar that will probably inspire some outfit posts and showing interesting crafts from some Philly artists. To name a few. :)

Anyway, this was a really great juice. Charlie actually picked the combination because I insisted on making him try a juice with me. He has heard good stories from others about this mix so we went with it! I'd definitely keep it in rotation.


I was actually surprised how much juice came out of it. I used 5 1/2 carrots, 2 apples, and an inch long nugget of ginger. It was going to be 6 carrots but someone started eating one while I was cutting the apples. ;) This juice was a little pulpier than others I've tried but even my guy who gets easily weirded out by textures loved this.

Hopefully this mass quantity of fruits and vegs I'm consuming is building my immune system so by the time I get to student teaching I'll be a fortress of health. Or something. Airborne was invented by a teacher for a reason yo.


In other life news..
 - I had my final Practicum meeting yesterday and found out that I officially passed. (woo!)
 - I have one more lesson plan to do for class tomorrow and then I have three beautiful weeks off before Summer I starts. (double woo!)
 - I celebrated all of this by buying myself some new necessities. I've been hoarding the money I've been making from subbing because those jobs can be few and far between so I haven't bought anything for myself in a while. But when a first grader points out a hole in your shirt and you have to act surprised because you already knew it was there, it's time to get some new clothes. (*facepalm*)

How's this month ending up for you? Yea, ending. I can't even.
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Friday, April 20, 2012

6 weeks to a better blog

I didn't intend to be so absent from the blog world and twitter this week, but shorty after I wrote my juice post I came down with something that rendered me half dead. I woke up that morning with a sore throat and by the afternoon I had full on chills, body aches, and the act of swallowing made me want to punch a dolphin. It was pretty bad. I'm finally getting back to normal with just some congestion today so I thought I'd pop in to let you know about an awesome series going on over at SillyGrrl blog.


Sarah from SillyGrrl is putting on an amazing series called "6 Weeks to a Better Blog". Here's what you can expect from the series..


"6 Weeks to a Better Blog is a series featuring advice and tips from 20 diverse and talented bloggers. Each week on SillyGrrl.com we'll share multiple posts to help you take your blog to the next level. Topics will include finding your blogging voice, connecting with your readers, taking high-quality photos, setting up sponsorships, getting that blog design in order, and much more! Everything kicks off on Monday, April 16!"

Sarah asked me to write a little post for the series on food photography. I was honored since I'm not really a photographer but I've picked up some tips and tricks from Charlie, who is a photographer, and also from my own trial and error. I wrote about what works for me and maybe some of it can work for you too!

So far, the posts that are up this week include..
Finding your blogging voice by Melissa of Bubby and Bean
Keeping your style consistent by Cassie from The Veda House
Connecting with your audience by Sarah from Yes and Yes

Stop on by if you need a little advice or just want to see what other ladies are doing to make their blog work for them! The series will be running for the next five weeks.

Hope you have a great weekend! :)
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

juice


First I bring you doughy cinnamon sugar goodness, and now I bring you a way to feel better about eating it! Kidding. But really, I've been curious about juicing for quite some time now. I've been seeing crazy fruit and veggie combinations on a wide variety of blogs for a while and now I can make some crazy concoctions of my own! We bought a juicer last weekend and tons of fruits and veggies to experiment with.

I thought about doing a full on juice cleanse and was getting really excited about it. I've been feeling a little lumpy and sluggish lately and I just want to get back to healthy habits and have the energy to exercise. I've always been pretty healthy but lately I've been getting into some bad habits that I'd like to cut. However, I read some nasty side effects of doing juice cleanses/fasts so I decided to nix that plan. It definitely works for some people, I just don't think it's for me. After all, I'm not doing this for weight loss, I'm doing it to be healthy and hopefully boost my energy. I'm sure I'll lose a few pounds from just getting myself back on track, but I just want to be my normal size. Not my lumpy, clothes-still-fit-but-are-a-little-tight-ohmygod-where-did-these-hips-come-from size. ;)

I intend to incorporate juicing into my daily routine instead of just fasting. I figure, if I can replace snacking with juicing that will be a good start. And the benefits from getting the amount of fruits, vegs, and vitamins that juicing provides are just incredible.

This is the first combination I tried and it was a serious winner..


The apples made it sweet, the lemon added a slight tartness, and the celery added some strange, peppery quality you wouldn't expect in a sweet juice. And I couldn't taste the spinach at all! It was a great first juice.

There are tons of juicers out there but we went with the Breville Juice Extractor. It was a bit on the pricey side, but I think it'll be well worth it judging by the reviews. The more affordable juicers we looked at had complaints of the motor burning out after a short period of time or not getting enough juice out of the produce. I think it's worth the investment if you're going to work it into your daily routine.

I thought it was funny that the juice was a pink color when it first settled in the pitcher, I'm guessing from the apple skins. But when I poured it in the mug, it was completely green. The pitcher lid holds back the foam that's created on top of the juice but I guess having the juice run through it turned it green! Interesting.


I can't wait to try different combinations. I've also been looking up ways to use the pulpy stuff that's created so that I can use as much of the produce as possible. I've seen ideas for stocks, pie fillings, crackers, etc. So many new things to try. :)

Do you juice? What's your favorite combination?

I'm going to go rest now and maybe look up some immune boosting juices. Either my allergies are incredibly bad this spring or I contracted something from one of the ankle biters I've been spending my days with. : / We shall see. Have a great week!
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Friday, April 13, 2012

cinnamon sugar pull apart bread


This baby has been on my to do list since I first saw it some time last year. I'm not even sure where I saw it first because once it got out, everyone was making it. And for good reason. Savory versions with cheeses and herbs too! That's next on my list. I had the recipe from Joy the Baker bookmarked so that's the one I went with.


I had the house to myself yesterday so I got all domestic, kneading dough in between loads of laundry. ;) Once the dough comes together and rises to double it size, you knead in a bit more flour, let it rest, and get your beautiful cinnamon sugar filling together.


Roll out the dough, brush on the melted butter, and top with the cinnamon sugar mix until your dough looks like warm sand on a beach. :)

Like Joy says in the recipe.. it's going to look like way too much sugar. But go for it. Trust me, I almost backed down but after it bakes up and some of the sugar runs down to the bottom, you'll be glad you packed it all in there! Also, some of it spills off as you're cutting and stacking dough so you'll be glad you have back-up.


After your dough is rolled and sugared, cut it into six long strips and stack 'em, one on top of the other.


Cut the strips into six small stacks. Then grab your bread pan and pile the stacks in, one in front of the other. You may have to push them back to fit them all in but it'll all spread out nicely as they rise and bake.



I love how the slices twist and turn to fit as they bake. :)


It's best eaten warm so if you manage to have some leftover the next day, heat it for a few seconds and it's good as new. I had to go to class right after I pulled it out of the oven so I wanted to take some shots the next morning of the finished product but I definitely had to taste it right away. I took the one above last night and then more than half of it disappeared! Well, not exactly disappeared, but was "sampled" by a few people who sang it's praises.

Anyway, this morning before Charlie left for work, we heated up a few slices and had it with coffee. It was a wonderful way to start the day. :)


 So good. I whole-heartedly recommend trying it! Hope you have a great weekend!

Check out the recipe below!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

box o tubes


I've come to accept the fact that I'm kind of a hoarder when it comes to cool looking things that I think I'll be able to use for something someday. I think my dad is too, which is why there has been a staggered release of cool things from our garage lately. He finally realizes he can't do anything with whatever it is, puts it somewhere to eventually go in the trash, and then I spot it. And then I say, "Oooo whatcha doin with that?" And he says "Throwing it out. Unless you think you can use it for something." Such an enabler. ;)


The most recent find was a box of old school radio tubes. Not sure what I could ever possibly do with the tubes themselves, but the boxes were too fun to pass up on. Honestly, I don't even know what I could do with the boxes either, besides just displaying them somewhere. I thought of maybe unfolding them all and making a sort of framed collage with them.


So I have no idea what I'm going to do with them. Maybe I'll scour the internets for some crafty things to do with radio tubes or old boxes. I have a problem. I think it's a crafter problem. We see things and go "I can make something with that!" And then hold on to it for years because it's either too good to use in the projects we think of, or just some crazy thing that looks cool but isn't really going to serve another purpose. Meh, who knows. ;)

Thanks for all of the suggestions to my fifty dollar yarn problem! I loved reading them all and think I might look into the hat idea, or maybe just make scarfy accessory type thing. I'll keep you posted! Thanks also for the congrats on my passing the tests! It's a huge weight off my shoulders!

Today I have the house to myself so I think I'm going to do some yoga, start some laundry, and bake something sweet and bread-like. Exciting, minus the laundry. :)

Hope you're having a great week!
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Thursday, April 5, 2012

that time i accidentally got fifty dollar yarn

Yep. You read it right. And the reason I'm admitting this ridiculous fact is because I need a little help making it worth the while.

About a year ago, on Easter in fact, my family and I went to the beach for the day as it has been our tradition since I was little. We stopped in Cape May and walked around the main streets for a while before finding this completely charming little yarn store that was packed with the biggest selection of yarn I have ever seen. I browsed for a little while with my mom as my dad and brother waited patiently outside.

My mom then told me to pick out a few I liked and she would buy them for me as a little Easter gift. Because she thought it would be about a $20 gift. Well I found a couple skeins I liked for a project I had in mind, and this one really gorgeous skein that was handmade by someone somewheres. Now, that should have been my clue right there that it'd be a little pricey, but there were no price tags anywhere so I wasn't really thinking about it because of my knowledge of craft store yarn prices.

 

Well we get to the counter and when the total comes to seventy-something dollars, my mom and I were understandably like, ".....what?" The woman shows us the prices and that the handmade yarn was $50. I was horrified but my mom started cracking up! I told her I'd put it back immediately and she was like no, no we're already at the register, it's fine.. as she continued to laugh! I'm glad at least she was amused.. the woman ringing us up was a little "Pshh, it's handmade of course it's fifty dollars. We only carry the highest quality blahblahblah." Alright lady. Relax. We headed for the exit toting the billion dollar unicorn hair yarn and my mom says, "We just won't tell your father."

Anyway, a year later and I still have not used this yarn because let's face it, it'd be a crime to not do something amazing with it. That's a lot of pressure from a not-so-big skein of yarn! I finally thought I had an idea yesterday and decided to go for it. (You may have seen the instagram.) But after I made the base chain I realized just how small an amount there really is. It looks like there's a lot but that's because it's made up of different strands all worked together. (Pick any three strands you see in the photo and count them as one because they are twisted together.)


So my question is, what can you make with a small amount of yarn that is totally worth using awesome yarn on. Because it actually is really cool yarn so I guess I can understand the price. Sort of. I want to make it worthwhile but it's gotta be something smallish. Or a few smaller things.

Any suggestions are welcome!
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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

light crochet

Before I get into today's ideas and inspirations, I just want to share a little exciting news! Well, exciting to me. :) Yesterday, after four very long weeks of waiting, I finally got the scores of the two Praxis tests I took back to back - and I passed! Both of them! This is crazy good news because now all I have to do to finish my certification is take my two summer classes and student teach. Then I will be officially able to teach in PA. I was so stressed out that I wouldn't pass and then I'd be even more stressed retaking them, plus the fact that it costs a pretty penny. This is such a weight off my shoulders I can't even truly express it in words! If you could see me I'd show you my happy running windmill dance I did through the house to get to my coffee after I found my scores yesterday. :)

Anyway.

The idea of warm weather is starting to sink into my bones and even my craft mentality is taking a cue. I haven't crocheted anything in a while and I've got the urge to pick up some yarn so I went through my inspiration folder to find some spring and summer appropriate crochet projects. The lightness of the stitches, the uses, and color palettes are what make me think of warm weather when I see these projects.


1 The yarn takes on an airy net-like structure in this beautiful crocheted market bag. I'd love to whip up a few of these and take them on a trip to a farmers market or take one to the beach! [source + more found here]

2 These gorgeous place mats from the Purl Bee look like they belong on a wooden picnic table, surrounded by melting drinks and a summer fruit salad. I absolutely love the color palette they used. [source]

3 I really want to try to make one of these woven hula hoop rugs. In this tutorial, it is made with yard after yard of finger knitting. This project isn't exclusive to warm weather but I'm embracing anything that isn't a scarf or sweater or mittens right now. :) [source]

4 I love this little crocheted cuff. The stitch looks so complex but once it's broken down it seems totally doable. I love it in the earthy tone.. the perfect natural looking accessory for time spent outside. [source + a great tutorial]

5 I saw this cute beach cover-up on the Free People site last summer (which unfortunately means the source no longer exists) but I had one of those "hey, maybe I could make that" moments. It looks like a bunch of doilies linked together with a net-like stitch. I might try to make my own variation for this summer. Speaking of Free People and crochet, have you seen their new catalogue? It's packed with crocheted items.. more than I would have thought possible for this time of year! It's great to look at. Check it.


Well I hope your month is starting off well! What projects are on you list for the warm seasons?
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Monday, April 2, 2012

welcome april


It's that time again to welcome a new month. I can't believe it's spring already! The beautiful tree in my backyard is starting to bud. Any day now it will be covered in the most amazing white flowers. I seriously want one of these trees wherever I live. It's covered in white every spring and turns the most vibrant reds and purples in the fall. I've always loved watching it's phases from my living room window.

This month I am looking forward to..
- This week! I'm on a second spring break technically. I haven't gone to a Catholic school since high school so I forgot what it was like to have a week off for Easter. I also find out my Praxis scores and have a phone call scheduled with a potential employer. Big week!
- Finishing up my practicum. It's been a great experience and I probably had the best lead teacher I could've asked for, especially considering some stories I've heard about other teachers being less than helpful. : / Even though I'll miss everyone, it's nice to know I'm one step closer to having my own class!
- Finishing my classes for the spring semester. I'll have a good couple weeks off until the oh so condensed summer semesters! After this summer, I will be done all of my classes. Breath..

Mini goals for the month..
- Last month I mentioned that my favorite yoga workout was taking off ondemand. Well, I went ahead and bought the series! It's by Yogaworks. I got the am/pm one that I had been doing, plus the ab one and the body slim one. I did the body slim last week and it kicked my butt! My goal is to start doing them all regularly in rotation.
- Stay on top of my last few assignments for my classes. I'm almost done!
- And just like last month, make make make!

What are you doing to make the most of this month? Hope it's starting off well! :)

p.s. Have you checked out the lovely ladies in my sidebar this month? Stop by and give them a hello!
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