Monday, April 28, 2014

The Only Reason I Would Take Up Cross Stitch

I was scrolling through my "Smile" board on Pinterest the other day, and, among many pictures of puppies and bunnies, I found this gem:
boogidy beat 
(Insert crying-from-laughing emojis here)
So many more awesome hip-hop cross stitches here.

I love the idea of this hanging in a powder room. Like, you have a guest over, and they're in the powder room, and they're all like, "oh cute, a handmade cross stitch, I bet her mom made this for...wait, what?"

I'm not much of a cross stitcher, but after doing my research, I've realized it's so easy for you to have your very own hip hop cross stitch! It should have been obvious all along that Etsy would have an interesting amount of hip hop cross stitch available. Check it out. I'm gonna need one of these ASAP.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Spring Cleaning + What's on Your Fridge?

The weather has been perking up, the days have been getting a little longer, and summer vacation is getting closer and closer. Is it any surprise that spring cleaning is not exactly on the top of my list of things I actually want to do?

Something about things turning green again makes me look at my spaces with new eyes. Like, what would a visitor think of me if they walked into my apartment? Yikes. That's a wake up call. 

Coming out of winter hibernation can be harsh when you open your eyes to the layers of stuff that have accumulated on just about every surface. Is that just me? It's like every surface is just another shelf for me to put more things, and the floor is the biggest shelf of all.

Photo 28 of 91

My way of tackling this spring cleaning mental block is making my own "30 Days to Clean" list. These are all over Pinterest, but I created a customized one that fit my needs. It's front and center on my fridge now:

Yes, if you're counting, there are seven days worth of cleaning carpets. My nugget, while adorable, is questionably housetrained. Also, the cheery title might make me want to organize my spice cabinet? Probably not.

I've been following it for exactly two days. Hey, it's a start!

My cleaning list is currently on my fridge, but I love the other things that are there, too! Are you a picture poster or a clean fridge door kind of person?

 Coca-Cola bottle opener + sweet, precious nugget, natch. Maybe I'll look at this picture while I'm cleaning my carpets to remind myself that I actually do like my dog.

 Family, friends and fishbowl margaritas...what else is there?

My grandmother's (great-grandmother's, maybe?) ravioli recipe. One day, when I get my hands on a pasta roller, this scratch-made ravioli will be mine. #threegenerationsofpasta

Do you have crafty ways to trick yourself into cleaning? And what's on your fridge?


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Upcycled Candle Jars

I was digging through a box of old stuff (you know, those ones that never get unpacked no longer how long you live somewhere?) and found a bag of old candle jars. Each one had about an eighth of and inch of wax at the bottom, nowhere near enough to burn any of them again. The jars had been so pretty I couldn't bear to throw them away. I know, I'm a packrat/hoarder/whatever you want to call me. I just can't bring myself to throw out pretty things!

How could you throw out this beauty?

I've searched for a good way to clean the wax out of used candles and found the best way is also the easiest. Just pour boiling water into your candle jar, and the leftover wax will melt and float to the top! Let it re-solidify and then just scoop it out with a spoon. I run some hot water to get the clingy leftover wax out and put it through the dishwasher to get it really clean.

Bringing some much needed glam to frequently used kitchen utensils.

The only challenge I still have is getting the little metal disk that anchored the wick off the bottom. Sometimes it comes right off, and sometimes it's there to stay. Any pointers?

This hobnail honey corrals nail files, perfumes, tweezers, etc.
PS: My obsession with hobnail has been documented. Milk glass is only thing that makes hobnail better.
PPS: Do you like my coral "frame"? Make one!

I love having these beautiful containers around my apartment! So glad I didn't toss them! Hooray for hoarders!

Hey, you! Tomorrow's Friday!


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Homemade Cajun Seasoning

I think everyone has that sauce or seasoning that goes on Absolutely Everything. It goes on eggs, chicken, vegetables...hell, it'd probably be good on ice cream. I know for a lot of people that sauce is probably ketchup. Not me.

For me, that thing is cajun seasoning. It's got garlic, cayenne, salt...what's not to like?!

Is it inappropriate to eat it with a spoon? Yes? Nevermind.

I used to buy a certain green container at the grocery store to get my cajun seasoning fix, but now that I know how easy it is to make my own, I don't think I'll return to that green guy anytime soon. I used this recipe, and it now lives at the very front of my spice cabinet.

In its rightful place of honor.

The biggest upside to making your own seasonings is you get to control how much of each ingredient goes into the mix. Mine has a little more garlic powder and cayenne than many would consider necessary. It's my theory that you could rub garlic on pretty much anything, throw it in the oven, and just about everybody will think you're a good cook.

What's your go-to spice/sauce? Have a spicy hump day!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

My Current Favorite Dinner

I'm a pro at cooking something, devouring it happily, and then thinking, "Mmm mmm, that meal was delicious. I should blog about it." The problem is, I've just devoured it, so I would only be able to describe it to you with words since the only thing left of my tasty meal is dirty dishes.

Dirty dishes don't make great pictures. Someone should put that on a pillow.

Hello, Gorgeous.

Poor, poor me. I had to make my favorite dinner again to show you.

I could barely take a picture before chowing down. Just kidding, I ate half the brussels before the iPhone came out.

I recently blogged about the awesomeness of roasted brussels sprouts. You could pretty much pick any roasted brussels sprouts recipe you want; it would most likely be amazing.

Oh hey, legs. And I just noticed that my apartment's kitchen counter matches my kitchen floor. Weird.


Here's how I did it this week:

Salmon and Brussels Sprout Bowl

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Cut, wash, and dry about two cups of brussels sprouts.
3. Toss sprouts in olive oil, apple cider vinegar, cajun seasoning, and minced garlic (if some garlic is good, more garlic is better...that should also be on a pillow)
4.) Dump sprouts into a sprayed pan and roast for about 20 minutes, mixing up about halfway through. (I line my pan with foil so I don't have to wash it! Cutting corners is awesome!)

Roasted Salmon

1. Your oven is already preheated to 425 and has the sprouts in it. Smile to yourself because you can skip right to...
2. Wash and pat dry salmon (I use a 5-6 oz. piece). Place salmon on sprayed pan (Use foil! Down with washing dishes!) 
3. Season salmon with cajun seasoning, minced garlic, and rosemary. Drizzle olive oil and rub it in...lightly...don't get weird about it.
4. Roast for 10-12 minutes, until it's as done as you want it.

I like to mix my salmon and sprouts in one bowl (usually the one I used to toss the sprouts with oil and vinegar) and have a sprouts and salmon party! 

Happy munching!



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What's All This Talk About Carageenan?

As part of my recent clean eating change, I've been paying a lot more attention to the ingredients on food labels. Well, since I've been eating more cleanly, the nice thing is that I've been eating a lot more foods that don't have labels. Think about it: when you eat an apple, the only ingredient Pretty nice. (Of course, we're assuming it's an organic apple and you've washed it...there's always a way to complicate these things...)

Apple. Ingredients: Apple. Brilliant!

But when you are eating something with a label, it shouldn't come as a surprise that you should probably be able to recognize the ingredients for it to have a chance of being good for you.

I've been drinking a lot (A LOT) of almond milk lately. In my morning oatmeal/quinoa, in my iced coffee, in my smoothies...I buy like three containers at a time of this amazing stuff. When planning out how to start my clean eating switchover, my aunt (who is an amazing healthy lifestyle guru! Seriously, check her out!) warned me to make sure that I bought a nut milk labeled "Shake Well" since this would probably indicate it didn't contain carageenan.

There you are, Carageenan (Carrageenan?)! Now, what are you?
Car(r)ageenan? What's that? We can't even seem to agree on how to spell it. That should raise some eyebrows right there. According to, it's a natural ingredient derived from seaweed. You're thinking, great, it's big deal, right? Wrong. Apparently, this carageenan stuff has been linked to inflammation, gut irritation, and even cancer. So now the healthy almond milk people are out to get me?! That's what it feels like.

I'm looking at you, Almond Breeze.

Carageenan is pretty much only added to nut milks to keep the ingredients mixed. How lazy do you have to be to not be able to shake a container of almond milk?! Seriously. Shake your own almond milk or drink a carcinogen almost daily? Pretty sure I can handle shaking a box of almond milk.

What's the lesson here? CYL! Check Yo Labels! I know it seems like there is a new killer ingredient written about everyday, but when it's so easy to avoid something potentially harmful, why wouldn't you?

Here are some more articles on this creepy ingredient:

Harmful or Harmless: Carageenan

The Natural Ingredient You Should Ban From Your Diet

Is Carageenan Safe?

Want to just scrap it all, become a pioneer person, and make your own almond milk? Go right ahead. Just to let you know, making your own almond milk will probably involve buying a nut milk bag. Which is both a real thing and a hilarious to say out loud.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Do you have a least favorite day of the week? I can find something good about every day of the week except for Tuesday. It's just so...Tuesday. It's not the beginning of a fresh, new week, but you're still closer to last weekend then you are this weekend. Hmph.

I'm not alone in this feeling. Google "Tuesdays are the worst" and do an image search. Hilarious. 

If you have a case of the Tuesdays, here's a picture that should bring a smile to your face:

These clothes smell clean. Here, let me fix that.

Gatsby is rocking a little bit of a dog-lion mane right now. I swear his eyes are still under there. He hasn't been bumping into walls, so I guess he can still see somehow. Echolocation, maybe? Don't worry, PETA, the grooming sesh is already booked.

Happy Tuesday!


Monday, April 14, 2014

What Is Your Perfect Weekend?

I hope you had an amazing weekend! I had a pretty quiet one, and it got me thinking, if you could craft your perfect weekend, what would it be like?

Over time, as I've learned more about myself, I've realized I need more alone time than a lot of people I know to recharge my batteries. I live by myself (well, with Gatsby), which I really like, so my perfect weekend would definitely include some me time.

Just Gatsby, me, and this dreamy reading nook? I'm in.

My perfect Friday afternoon would start with a workout. I've been obsessed with Pure Barre over the last couple months, so that would probably be my first choice. Then, I would meet friends for a low-key happy hour. I'd finish up my raging Friday night with a movie on the couch with my nugget and maybe a few glasses of wine.

My perfect Saturday would start off with either going to a farmer's market or walking the Swamp Rabbit Trail, after sleeping in and enjoying a few cups of coffee, of course. I love grocery shopping (I love pretty much every step of the cooking process) on the weekends because it allows me to wander around a good grocery store or market instead of rushing in and out of my local Publix.

Wandering markets is so much more civilized that wandering up and down you're average grocery, yes?
The day would end with going out for dinner and drinks with friends. I can't do the closing-down-the-bar thing so much anymore! It makes me feel like an old lady!

My all-time favorite cocktail: the Moscow Mule.

The perfect Sunday would obviously start off with brunch. There is no more perfect meal than Sunday brunch. After, I would do some cooking for the week while listening to music...dancing and cooking go fabulously together! If I could fit in some shopping on either Saturday or Sunday, that would be a my perfect weekend, I have a lot more money than I do now :).

How would your perfect weekend go? I always feel most energized on Monday if I've had a good balance of social time and homebody time. I hope yours was as close to your perfect weekend as possible!


Friday, April 11, 2014

Blackout Poetry

As an English teacher and lover of words and writing in general, I find a peculiar joy in thinking of or discovering interesting turns of phrase, but I don't consider myself much of a poet. I have loved reading poetry since high school/college and experience it in the same way a lot of people experience church: soothing, soul-feeding, energizing, inspiring. I like to linger over lines and specific word choices, usually in awe that a human brain can think of something so crushing or uplifting or true.

Can you think of a more beautiful way to say that someone is important?

When I found this blackout poetry, I felt like my inner, underdeveloped poet might have hope! The words already exist, you just have to be the poet detective that finds them! How cool. I have a passion for teaching kids about crafting words to truly say what you mean, but I don't often follow my own advice.

Cool, right?

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

What is your most hated vegetable? Growing up, we never ate Brussels sprouts because both my parents said they hated them as kids. Doesn't everyone have that vegetable that gives them vivid, negative childhood memories? For me, it's peas. Just not a pea fan.


But recently I feel like Brussels sprouts have seen a real resurgence. The icky boiled Brussels sprouts from childhood are long gone!

If you haven't been roasting Brussels...where have you been?! They are so good that I literally eat them out of the boil with my fingers. A fork just takes too much time.

The recipe is pretty simple. It's one of those that, once you understand the necessary components, you can tweak it lots of different ways.

You basically need oil, some sort of acid, seasoning, and an oven set to 425. Mix it all up and roast 'em for 20-25 minutes! And then try to act like a human and eat them with a fork, but I won't judge if these Brussels become finger food.

Here are some recipes to get you started: 

Roasted Balsamic Brussels

Honey Roasted Brussels

Spicy Roasted Brussels with Blue Cheese

Have you gotten on the Brussels train?


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Passport Photos

Yesterday I had to renew my passport for a few trips I'm taking soon. Forget about how annoying it is to make sure you have every form of identification and have filled everything out correctly...let's talk passport photos!

"Wow, I really love how I look in my passport photo"...said no one ever. It's like they want us to go to other countries and have everyone think that Americans are ugly.

In the interest of full disclosure, here's mine:

Not terrible (you should see the picture I took when I was 16...yikes), but I'm definitely wishing I wore a not-beige cardigan (I'm not naked! I swear!). I actually had a really cute blue dress on, but you obviously can't see that. I could also use an oil blotter or two.

After seeing my ok-ish picture, I had to find out if there was anyone out there with an actually good passport picture. I think you might recognize a few of these faces...

Famous Peoples Passports: The Kennedys 

Famous Peoples Passports: Alfred Hitchcock 


Of course JFK, Jackie O, Hitchcock, and Marilyn put us all to shame...shouldn't be a surprise.

Here's an article on how to take a good passport photo. Remember, you're stuck with that picture for TEN YEARS! (Did I mention that I'm definitely wearing clothes in my photo??)


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Great Perhaps

Looking For Alaska by John Green "I Go To Seek A Great Perhaps" (Plain Black) by runswithwolves 

It may only be hump day, but it seems like a perfect day to go and seek your great perhaps! I can't think of anything more exciting.

Happy seeking!


ps: You can buy a print, sticker, or even phone case with this here.