Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!

I hope everyone has a fabulous new year's eve whether you bring it in with a crazy party or a mellow night (which is what we'll be doing by the ocean side)!  And thank you all so much for reading my blog this year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Party Dresses for New Year's Eve


If I was going to be going to a party this New Year's Eve I would want to wear one of these dresses...






Instead we are having a mellow weekend at the coast. I plan on toasting in the new year with some chowder and a Bellini.

What are your plans for New Year's Eve?


(dresses from this etsy shop, Vince, and free people)



Thursday, December 29, 2011

Going Vegetarian

So, Scott and I are going vegetarian for 30 days.



There.  Now I said it to all of you so I must follow through.  Starting January 5th no meat shall pass these lips.  Basically, my diet used to consist of mostly vegetables and little by little I've become someone that wants meat daily.  Sometimes twice daily.  Sometimes thrice.  Well not really, but I just wanted to say "thrice".  Anyway, I feel that after all this holiday eating my body needs a cleanse and I think that kicking meat out of my diet for a month will help put me back into balance.  I would like to get back to eating mostly vegetables, grains, beans, yogurt & some cheese.  Then maybe have meat 2-3 times a week.  Yes.  This is what I hope to accomplish.

So I need some help from you all!  I plan on cooking often and usually something simple (I rarely have time to create elaborate meals!)  My favorite vegetarian recipe resources are 101 cookbooks, The Moosewood Cookbook, and Appetite for Reduction.  Any tips for websites or links to fabulous recipes would be greatly appreciated!
Also, please leave comments on here instead of FB- it helps me out for various reasons... thanks!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dreaming of a new bike

I want a new bike...


This one or this one from Public Bikes would work.

Are there any other bike brands I should know about that have awesome European design and are good for hilly cities.  And are also affordable?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Getting married in Kosovo


This little synopsis from Double Takes says it best...

"In Lubinë i Ulët, a small village in Kosovo, there is an old bridal tradition among the Terbesh people. Brides are adorned, painted and beautified on the day of their wedding to look like a doll and to protect from the evil eyes and gossip of onlookers. Yll Çitaku captured the process and end result in Nusja Jone - Our Bride"

Isn't it strange and lovely?


(via Double Takes)

Monday, December 26, 2011

I am bursting at the seams


I'm not normally one that takes the New Year seriously.  I'm not in the habit of thinking of it as a new start nor do I usually make New Year's resolutions.  My birthday which is in July has always felt more like a new chapter for me.  But this year is different and I happen to be feeling a shedding.  

In the last 2 months I have begun to feel more motivated and inspired than I have felt in a long time!  I feel like I am bursting at the seams with ideas of all kinds and I have been writing it all down so that I can remember everything and keep the momentum going.  Scott thinks it is funny... in the middle of a movie I jump up and have to run to the other room to write down an idea for a project.  Or in the middle of the night when all the lights are off and I begin to sink into sleep... WHAM!  Some idea jolts me.  I love it!  I feel like an idea machine.

When I was younger I would change everything when I felt like a huge mental growth spurt was coming on.  I would cut my hair off, dye it a crazy color (or both), move to a new house, start going to college (again), drop out of college (again), or maybe go on a trip or adventure.  But these days it is not as realistic for me to do all that.  I can't just quit my job because I have a grown up bills and a mortgage.  Trips and adventures take planning and time to save $ and I am officially done with college. 

And I think this is good.  This is a more grown up way of catharsis.  
How do I shed the old and inspire the new to grow while keeping the major things in my life consistent?  I think that this opportunity is a chance for me to dig deep.  To really go after my own life and begin the process of fine tuning something I love into something even better. 




(Russian matchbox label via Flickr)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas!


I hope everyone is having a fun holiday weekend and enjoying the time off with friends and family! 


(image via graphics fairy)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Dreamcation


I am daydreaming about visiting Manarola, Italy. What a colorful and amazing looking little town perched on a clifftop.  I love the idea of seeing a country by hiking from one village to the next and what an awesome destination this town would be!


 I had a dream not long ago that I lived in a house that sat on the edge of a cliff.  The ocean crashed right below my bedroom window and if I left the window open the splashes from the ocean would mist my face and I kept thinking of how happy I was to live there.


(photos via national geographic and deviantART)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Treasures from Crafty Wonderland

Last week a friend and I went to a few of Portland's handmade bazaars.  It has become a tradition for us during the holiday season.  I usually am able to find some last minute gifts and it is fun to see what all these awesome crafters are coming up with.  Besides, if there is someone I am supposed to get something for but I have no idea what to get I would rather find something there and support a local artist as opposed to buying a candle from Hallmark.

P.S. I don't shop at Hallmark

One of the things I bought as a gift was one of these terrariums from weegreenspot.  I am such a sucker for miniature scenes and dioramas.  Add real plants into the mix and I am smitten!


I also bought this pretty necklace for me and I loooooooovve it! 


Sadly, I cannot remember what artist made it.  If for some reason anyone knows please let me know.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Eucalyptus


I've been obsessed with Eucalyptus lately.  It has a fresh scent that makes a room smell amazing!  It is different than the essential oil which can smell a bit minty and medicinal.  The plant itself has a similar scent but it is far more herbal, earthy and subtle.  I think this spring I will buy a tree to plant in the yard so that when it grows big I can have fresh cut bunches of eucalyptus year round.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Smitten




These prints by Laura Bell are lovely.  I love the portal like feel of them, as if you are viewing through an airplane window.    I want the top one in my bedroom... it's so calming.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lemony kale and lentil salad

 
I made this warm salad a few days ago and it is delish!  The lemony tahini dressing pairs perfectly with the kale, lentils and wheat berries.  It's nice to have something healthy and ready to eat in the fridge when I'm starving and short on time.   

P.S. delish is not a word and my iphone auto corrects it to "selfish".  I texted my friend the other day that her "cilantro chutney was so good, I need the recipe.  Selfish!" 
Haha!

tiny twinkle lights


I want these little lights in my house.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How to cure wintertime blues - Part 3

I'm not going to lie, I am barely ever bored.  I feel like I have endless things to work on and never seem to have enough time for all my projects, work, sleep, blogging, cooking, boyfriend dates, friend dates and relaxing me time.  But I love it!  Staying busy is what keeps me motivated and happy.  Having a million things I want to do is what pulls me out of bed on those sleepy dreary Portland days.

Being social is good for me but in the wintertime I have to get creative with social stuff.   Biking around rainy cold Portland after drinking at a party isn't my thing and neither is spending the night in a bar.

My friend Emily came up with Soup/Cookie/Recipe exchange parties and they are great!



Soup making and baking are two of the best things to do in winter.  They warm your house and fill it with delicious smells.  For an exchange party, everyone brings a pot of soup, a tray of cookies, the recipes for both and some freezable tupperware to the host's house.  You get to try out a bunch of soups, cookies, drink wine and hang out with friends.  Then you leave with a bunch of soups and cookies to eat throughout the week and new recipes of the ones you like.  It's a pretty rad idea I think!

Another nighttime social event that I am crushing on is a progressive dinner as seen on Oh Happy Day!


I love this idea because with all the moving from place to place I imagine it makes it feel like you've had a big night out.  Instead of just going to dinner at a friends house you organize several houses to each host one course of a meal.  Wine and appetizers at the first house, maybe soup and salad at the next, main course at another person's and desert at the last.  It's cheaper than one person hosting a full dinner and more adventurous than a pot luck. 

Jordan's tips are 
1. Three houses feels about right. If they were close together I might try four.
2. Give people extra time at the first house to arrive
3. Serve foods that are already prepped and easy to heat.
4. Try to keep a little bit of a schedule. Have the table set and start the food right as you get to each new house because things always take longer than you think.
5. If you are using taxis try to call for vans ahead of time.

Of course, if you could do this while living in Paris that would probably be way cooler but we gotta work with what we got, right?

Guys, game nights are really fun.  Like really really fun.  In fact, last New Years Eve I was a little sick and we wanted to have a mellow night so we hosted a game night and fancy whiskey tasting at our house.  I loved it!


Most of my game nights we end up playing are Apples to Apples or Cranium which are both awesome but I've been meaning to check out some others.  Any suggestions?

Lastly, have a craft night!

Alot of times the craft nights consist of everyone knitting, which is fun and all.  Except for me.  There was a point in my life I knitted all the time.  In fact I knitted so much I knitted the fun right out of it.  After the last craft night where I pretended to knit something ( I basically knitted a swatch, then undid it, then knitted it again.  It wasn't fun.)  I decided to try something simple I could do while everyone else knitted.  So I made mini collages and mod podged them to some cardboard (mod podge them on the front as well in order to seal the collage),  and then I hot glue gunned them to some magnets.
Viola!  Home made artsy (and somewhat racy) magnets!

What kind of fun and different wintertime social dates do you know about that I should try?

(photos via thekitchn, Oh Happy Day!, Morning Cloak, and a couple of my magnets)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

touch of evil

These teensy weensy short films produced by the New York Times are so awesome!  They are all around 30 seconds each and are inspired by iconic villains and feature the year's best performers.  Just click on the first one to have them all play in a row.  My favorites are Gary Oldman and Rooney Mara.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sleepy Sunday

I am sleepy today.
  

It's already noon and I am still in my pajamas on the couch, wrapped in a blanket and drinking coffee. I guess coffee is the first step, right?  Tonight is my holiday work party and I am having dreams of wearing sequins, big hair and crazy eye make up.  I am usually a throw on some clothes and mascara then out the door kind of girl but it is fun to actually dress up and do your hair and makeup sometimes.  But then because I don't do it much I feel like a drag queen when I do. But then I remember I am 5 feet tall and a girl so those things remove me from the drag queen category.
Anyway... we'll see what I come up with.

By the way, did you know Audrey had a pet deer named Pippin?  Seriously?  I'm dying...


(via no more dirty looks, playzapped and tumblr)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Beauty Tip Tuesday


I know it's not Tuesday, but I really like the ring "Beauty tip Tuesday" has.   Unfortunately I am not much of a beauty type of girl.  I mean, I am not one of those girls that know all about make up and perfume and hair products so there is just no way I could come up with something worthwhile every Tuesday.  But every now and again I find something that I love and want to share with the world.  The oil cleansing method is that thing.




I think I first found out about it through Pinterest.  So I researched it and found this article, this article, and this article.  These go into depth about how to do it so I suggest reading them.  After researching it I  decided to make my own.

My skin is pretty dry, especially this time of year so I make mine this way:

1 part Caster Oil (for disolving impurities- too much and it can somehow make your skin more dry!)
1 part Jajoba Oil (for nourishing/ moisturizing)
1 part extra virgin olive oil (for moisturizing)

Other oils I might try in my next batch are avocado, almond and apricot kernel- all for super dry skin.

Some people do it 1-3 times a week.  I do mine more like 5. Like I said, my skin is dry.  It has been a great way to get off makeup in the evenings (I only wear eye makeup) as well as giving my skin a huge dose of moisture.  When I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror I can't believe how great my skin looks.  Seriously! It has taken away the dullness that seems to happen when you turn 30 and leaves my skin soft and luminous.  And it is much cheaper than fancy creams.  I have been using it for a few weeks now and can say I love it!
So that is one of my few beauty tips I have to share with you.  I would love to hear feedback from anyone who tries it along with any other tips anyone has for skin care. 


(Image of oil via Live Renewed, Image of lady I found on Pinterest but can't find it's origin!  Please let me know if anyone knows who painted it.)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

frogs underneath



The other day I was in my art studio and I heard a frog croaking.  I was convinced that it was somewhere in there, hiding behind my desk or bookcase.  We searched and searched but couldn't find it.  The next night we heard it again and then a frog companion answer from the guest room.  We quickly realized that there are a bunch of frogs that are living under our house.  They talk and talk and talk and it is so cute.  Luckily, they go to sleep before we do so they don't keep us awake. I hope we don't find out that having frogs living under our house is a bad thing for some reason!

(Image via katu)

Top-Sider Boots

I've been kind of obsessed with Sperry Top-Sider boots lately.  Really, more boots is just what I need...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Marcel the shell with shoes on

Have you seen this adorable and short video created by Saturday Night Live's Jenny Slate?



She said she was squished in a hotel room she was sharing with a bunch of friends at a wedding and it made her feel teeny tiny and she started doing the voice.  She couldn't stop talking like that all night and there was the beginning of Marcel.
A lentil for a hat! So cute!

Monday, December 5, 2011

How to cure wintertime blues- Part 2



Burrrr... it's been super cold here in Portland the last few days.  Luckily for us it has not been very rainy and instead we have been getting some very cold and crisp sunny days.  I've been doing my best to enjoy it and get outside while I can since our typical winters are a grey rainy drizzle that last for months and months.  Those sunless days feel like they last forever and not getting any sunshine can take it's toll big time.  So that brings me to the first part of this post on ways to help keep my spirits up when the winter months drag on and on...

Vitamin D deficiency 
A few winters ago I became so depressed that I went to the doctor and had blood work done.  I thought I had some horrible disease that made me tired and cry all the time.  The only thing that didn't come back perfect was my vitamin D levels.  She said it is extremely common for people who live in the Pacific Northwest to have a vitamin D deficiency, which can effect your energy levels and mood.  My Dr. recommended I take 2000 IU of D-3 throughout the winter months and in addition I take a multi vitamin.  Within a day I was feeling better... how can you not love results that quick?  So now, I make sure to take vitamin D all winter long and the multi vitamin noticeably helps with cravings of crappy food like sugar.  I have to add that as with all vitamins, taking more than the recommended dosage can be toxic and end up harming you in the long run.  There is such a thing as too much of a good thing!

Exercise
The other big thing that I have found that helps with my mood and energy during winter is getting exercise.  Exercise naturally detoxifies your body while flooding you with endorphins which will help your mood and help keep you from getting sick.  In the summer I ride my bike all over but in the winter I am embarrassed to say I am a total wuss.  All you that ride through the winter are awesome and deserve a prize!

I have always hiked through the winter because my dog begs me to.  It always seems like it is going to be horrible and cold but once I'm out there it isn't so bad.  The forest is so green and pretty in the winter and the trees usually shield me from most of the rain.  I suggest you try it, at least once.  One time a friend surprised me with a canteen of hot spiced cider once we got far along on the hike- bringing something like that makes the hike even better.   Just make sure to wear waterproof shoes and no jeans!  Jeans are the worst when they get wet!
Also, I just joined a gym.  It's locally owned and awesome and I am committed to going 3 times a week which is nothing really, but enough that I am feeling a huge difference in my mood.   I look as happy as Olivia Newton John after a work out!



Basically, make yourself move.  It is amazing how much better I feel after doing something.  If the gym and hiking aren't your thing try something else.
exercise classes
workout video
dancing 
Or do something weird with a friend, like Racquetball.  A friend and I are going to do that soon and neither of us know how which will probably end in hilarity.  Which I like.  Hmmm... I wonder if I could find an 80's outfit to wear like Olivia's?


(Russian matchbox label via flickr, tumblr, liketotally 80's)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Animal heads and pomegranates

We were in a toy store downtown a few days ago looking for toys for Scott's nephews and I found a goldmine of animal head masks.  Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that I have some sort of weird obsession with taking pictures of Scott wearing different animal heads?   I do.  This is my favorite to date.

On another note, I can't stop eating pomegranates.   They are one of the things that I do like this time of year!  I blame it on my Armenian heritage combined with their deliciousness.


  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Whole Grain Pumpkin Pancakes


After Thanksgiving Pumpkin Puree is often on sale so I thought I would whip up a batch of pumpkin pancakes.  These were delicious but as usual I like to add all sorts of whole grains to make them more healthy.  If you want lighter and fluffier you could just use all purpose flour and about a 1/2 cup less milk.

Whole Grain Pumpkin Pancakes (serves 4)

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup flax meal
1 Tablespoon wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs
2/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
3 Tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2.5 cups milk

In a large bowl whisk all dry ingredients together.  In another bowl whisk all wet ingredients together except the milk.  Add the wet to the dry and whisk together, then add milk.  Whole grains really absorb lots of moisture so I needed 2.5 cups milk but I would start with 2 cups and add more if needed.
Butter a cast iron pan and heat just a little higher than medium heat.  When you flick water on the pan and it sizzles and evaporates, it is ready.  Pour about 2/3 cup batter in the pan and when bubbles appear on the side facing you, it is time to flip.  Cook about a minute on the other side (or whenever it is a grilled and a bit crispy).
We store pancakes in the oven on the lowest heat while we make the whole batch.
Oh yum - these were good!
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