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7 Quick Takes: People of Interest (MY interest, anyway)

16 Apr

1. PinterestFail.com

Ever geeked out on Pinterest, then immediately added new things to your weekly shopping list, so you could recreate the magic in your own home? After frustrations and contemplation at your own sanity, ever wondered how on earth the original pinner was able to accomplish their “thing” without it looking like a tragedy struck your kitchen? I mean, HOW do they get those beautiful pictures? Well, I joined the club this week.  In fact, my experiment was such a mess (it TASTED good, but was not 1/2 as pretty a process as it looked online and took over an hour to clean up after), that I went to work the next day blabbing my story and my frustrations all over the place. I even decided to start a new website called “F-Pinterest.com”. While talking to my co-workers about my awesome idea, one of the guys said, “It already exists. It’s called PinterestFail.com”, a much better name than my idea was. After discovering this bit of magic, I spent way too much time laughing at messes FAR worse than mine. The site was started by a girl named Jenna Cole, who tried (just like me) to get pretty crafty thanks to all of the DIY picture/blogs on Pinterest. She (and many, many others) succeeded about an many times as I did. Be entertained.

2. Wild Flowers Photography

Long, long ago, Joy and I worked with high school kids at a church together. She was a really great person, whom I adored, but I had no idea then how much more I’d adore her as we grew up. Joy has turned into the most inspirational and talented photographers/story tellers, I’ve seen. Her simplicity and passions show in every photo. Her family (mama of four) is a perfect picture of the love between her and her husband, Donny. They’ve been through a lot and have come out the other side smiling. There’s a calm and patient light that exudes not only from her photos, but from her person. She’s beautiful and wonderful, and her story is full of transparent humility and desire for only producing the best in her work, her family and herself. If you follow her Instagram, you’ll be inspired on a daily basis. Check out her amazing blog/website as well.

3. A Little Vintage Life

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon this family, but the Wests are a traveling “nomad” family. Melissa and her husband run a cute little family business, traveling all over the place in their RV, with their 3 kiddos in tow. What makes them awesome? They travel around and search out thrifted goods, then sell them on Instagram. Their InstaSales are AWESOME. I’ve bought 2 blankets from them, and both did not disappoint me (one quilt and one afghan). Not only that, but Melissa adds a really special touch in the form of hand written thank you notes, that are included in each package and her packages are called “Happy Mail”. She also throws in some cute little vintage goodies here and there. I know it’s silly, and no, I don’t need the thank you note and extra goodies, but it makes me feel good to support someone who’s grateful for the business and who cares about her work. Plus, she’s a cool mama.

4. Blythe Fike

Blythe and I have known each other for what seems like a lifetime. Once upon a time, we were bandmates, and now, she’s the proud mom of FIVE kids… under 7. What (else) makes Blythe unique? She’s a blogger who talks about her faith as a Catholic, yes, but more importantly, she’s a real life mom who doesn’t sugar coat her challenges. And, she’s hilarious. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve laughed out loud while reading her blog. Mud covered, nakey babies just add to the perfect storm that encompasses their sweet family.

5. The Professor from this Story

As I sat at work today, I was just about to request the monday of my husband’s birthday off of work, so I looked ahead to my calendar for that day. Uh oh. I saw a calendar event from my boss; first day lunch with our new Producer. I actually thought “Crap. I can’t take that day off.” I asked my friend (and lucky me, my co-worker) about what she thought I should do and she sent me this. Thank you for the perspective, Trisha. Momentary lapses in judgement are easily remedied by friends who care. Thankfully, my boss supports my decision (best boss in the world).

6. The Law Student’s Wife

I’ve mentioned Erin before, but it’s time to check out her blog, and if you like food the way I do, sign up for her daily recipes. A kindred spirit, she’s the wife of a law student and she understands the “joys” and challenges that brings. What I love about her blog, is that it’s set up to delivery daily recipes that she’s created herself. There’s some unique flavor represented in her work, and many of the items are not very time consuming, which makes this busy mama happy. Her Pinterest is also really beautifully done.

7. Button Therapy

Two of our best friends are Eric and Haley Sanchez. They stood with us in our wedding ceremony and have been champion friends over the years, ever committed to their marriage and their daughter. They’re also committed to being ridiculously good at making things. Haley started Button Therapy some time ago, as her creative streak married her glue gun and old buttons together to form some great (and fashionable) jewelry. I love this stuff. The rings are probably my favorite, but she also makes so fantastic earrings, barrettes, headbands, and other stuff. She’s always posting sales on Instagram, so follow her there.

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Adventures in Breakfast

4 Jun

I’ve got a new obsession. It’s called “Whole Living” and it’s a lifestyle magazine that comes in both print and an interactive iPad version. Of course, I have both the print and the iPad version, so like I said, I’m obsessed. What I love about the magazine is that it’s just hippie enough to feature the organic, hormone-free, all-natural type of cooking and products I love, but not so hippie that the articles make me feel goofy when reading them. It’s like the perfect balance of healthy eating, meets gourmet, meets really fun things to make in the kitchen, meets organic face/body products.

That said, I’ve decided to challenge my culinary adventures by broadening my horizons into the recipes featured in Whole Living, while making some of my own adjustments to suit my own foodie interests, likes and creative prowess.

This is what I made for breakfast this past Saturday. I got a couple “oohs” and “ahs” from Grant and our roommate, but I didn’t think they were sincere until I took my first bite.

RECIPE – Baked Eggs in Whole Roasted Tomatoes, by Whole Living.

I followed the recipe for the most part, but made a few additions to make it “me”.

  1. Add Polenta
    • I buy my Polenta from Trader Joe’s.
    • Cut into cubes and add to Step 1 from the above Recipe.
    • Baking the Polenta with the Tomatoes gives it a nice crisp, toasted-ish flavor/texture
  2. Add Truffle Salt
    • When salting the eggs with coarse sea salt, add a little Truffle Salt to give it an even more dynamic flavor
  3. Add Goat Cheese
    • Towards the end of the cooking process, add a little Goat Cheese to the top of each tomato
    • I also think this would be great with freshly shaved Parmesan, or Gorgonzola
  4. Crisp the Top
    • If you’re not getting the crisp you want, add change the temperature from 400* to Broil and let the dish sit until it gets a very quick and nice crisp to the top
  5. Don’t be afraid to let the eggs spill over onto the Polenta
  6. I served this with an organic multi-grain toast from Wholefoods, but I think this would also be great with a side of bacon. 🙂
Here’s the work in progress: 
Here’s my final product:
If you try this recipe, I’d love to see your pictures! Also, let me know if there are any other ways you’ve found to broaden the horizons of this delish dish. 🙂
Enjoy!

Good Documentary Recommendations

17 Apr

This weekend has been crazy, but mostly because it’s been so productive.

Yesterday, I worked at the “Touch-A-Truck” event in Rogers, promoting our NWA Mini Grand Prix, which is coming up in May. After a long day of lifting kids in and out of our Grand Prix car, my face and neck were sunburned, and Holly (friend and fellow CARE Board member) and I were wiped out and ready to relax.

From the moment I finally got home, my weekend relaxation consisted of documentaries and cutting paper for the wedding invitations.

Today, I got through THREE documentaries, while printing, cutting and sizing my pretty paper.

The first was called The Human Experience. It was about a couple of brothers who traveled the world in search of answering questions about the human condition; “Who am I? Who is man? Why do we search for meaning?” They traveled from NY, where they gave up all of their belongings and lived as homeless men for several weeks, to Peru, where they worked with disabled kids, to Africa, where they befriended the abandoned lepers in the forests of Ghana. What the young men discover changes them forever. Through one on one interviews and real life encounters, the brothers are awakened to the beauty of the human person and the resilience of the human spirit.

As if that weren’t heavy on it’s own, I immediately proceeded to God Grew Tired of Us, a heart wrenching documentary about Sudan’s “Lost Boys” who escaped Sudan in search of life outside of torture, sterilization and imminent death. The film goes through the history of violence in Sudan and the challenge thousands of boys and girls faced to get away from the killing zones and into safer territory. They left their families and homes, to seek safety and found new families in each other. Several years back, the US passed legislation to bring some of the boys (now men) to the US and gave them the tools they needed to fit into society, build a life hear and make money that they could use to send back home, if they so chose. The film documents their first experiences with indoor plumbing, refrigeration, mattresses, apartments, cars, cities… politics. The end of the film culminated around reunions between a son (now a US citizen) and his mother in an airport in Philadelphia. My heart ached in the best possible way, as the boy who left his mom at 13, saw thousands of kids die during their journey to safety, and made himself a name in America, saw his mother in the airport. I highly recommend this one too, as it challenges perception, faith, and necessity of convenience, while shedding light (once again) on how spoiled we are as Americans, at the cost of true happiness.

Lastly, I watched Food INC – A brilliant documentary on the farming situation in the US. The film exploits the “farms” and the politics that run the farms, along with the lack of quality that goes into everything we eat. I urge everyone who has a mild interest in organic foods and wanting to put only good foods into their bodies, to watch this film ASAP. We can all make a difference, we just have to try. This film in particular, arose several questions in my own mind as well as an absolute confirmation that organic and local are the way we should eat. I could write about this one for pages, but let’s just say, it’s worth every minute… just don’t watch it while eating.

DIY “Designer” Chairs

27 Mar

I was trying to keep this as a surprise for Grant, but being that he won’t be here for 2 more months, I couldn’t wait and spilled the beans already. For me, doing stuff myself is kind of a way of life. I love the challenge of seeing something cool and knowing that there’s a possibility to do it myself. Here’s an easy DIY guide to making old, nasty thrift-store chair, personal and magical, because they’re “made” by your own hands!

1. If you’re not re-doing your own chairs, you can find cheap chairs at a consignment or thrift store – When looking for chairs, make sure they’re made of real wood and that they have parts that can be removed, ie. cushions. In this case, I will end up sanding the chairs down and re-stainging them eventually, but for now, I’m just fixing the cushions.

Red Chair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Have tools on hand –

–  Screwdriver (power or manual)

–  Staple Gun (preferably a heavy duty one, but crafting guns work too)

–  Sizzors

– Fabric (I happen to have lots of fabric in storage, so I just used one that I liked. You’ll want to make sure that the fabric has some “stretch” to it, so it doesn’t pop the staples when someone sits on it.)

Tool Photos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Remove the old cushion from existing chair frame – It can be a little tough, depending on where the screws are located, but it just takes a little elbow grease and you’ll get it off of there. (You can also replace the cushion entirely by buying new foam, but the chairs I got had pretty good foam already.)

Cover Removal Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Measure and cut the fabric to fit the seat cover.

Measure Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Using your staple gun, staple the edges with the least curve first, then work your way around the cushion. Try to avoid stapling the spaces where the screws have to be re-used, or you’ll have a mess on your hands.

Step 6 Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Re-Screw the screws into the the seat cushion connecting the seat to the chair. You may need to buy longer screws, depending on how much fabric is used.

7. Be stoked. The best part of this process is that you can completely change the look of your old chairs in an afternoon!

Final Product Photo

Dining Set Photo

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