Thursday, March 31, 2011

health: smoothie

Hellloooooooo, smoothie

I just made the best smoothie! I've been making a lot of different kinds of smoothies for breakfast, but I think this one tastes the best so far. It may also have something to do with the fact that I was feeling kind of low and this helped with the pep.

(the measurements are a guess because I usually just eyeball it):

- 1/2 c. of frozen wild berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
- 3/4 c. of frozen strawberries
- 1/2 c. of vanilla soy milk
- 1/4 c. of orange juice
- small handful of spinach (don't worry, you can't taste it!)
- 2 tbsp of whole ground flaxseed

Really yum, and good for you too.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

day to day: sister art

12/25/10: Christmas card by S

2/12: Handmade birthday invitations by E

Saturday, March 26, 2011

snack attack

A few of my favorite snacks these days (also works well as breakfast):

apples + ants on a log

omelet (vegetable galore with turkey or ham) + avocado

fruit smoothies

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lauren Moffatt

I am a big fan of Lauren Moffatt - she does a fabulous combination of feminine and smart, and you can pick up so many styling tips from the colors and textures in her collections.

That being said, her Spring 2011 collection, "The Honeymooner," is no different. There is definitely a vintage throw-back to this collection and I am in looove. Here are some of my favorites.

So inspired! You can see the rest of the collection here.

Just for fun, and because its still one of my favorite spring collections, let's look back on her Spring 2010 collection.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fennel and Orange Salad

Since I had the Fennel and Orange Salad at Black Sheep, I have not been able to stop thinking about it. I've been craving it for the past few days and I knew I could not rest until I had made some at home. Good news, I got my hands on some organic fennel at Kroger's yesterday and I finally made my very own fennel and orange salad! And yes, I am a happier woman.

A word about fennel: I had never tried this vegetable until recently, and if someone had described it to me beforehand as how it usually described, 'licorice-tasting', I might have stayed away. Fennel is a root vegetable with a white bulb and a tall leafy top, and you usually eat the bulb, although sometimes the green shrub and its seeds are used as garnish or in spices. Yes, it does have a hint of licorice in the taste, but the bulb is also crunchy and sweet. It may not be for everyone because the taste is very distinct and slightly bitter, but if you like the combination of crunchy sweet with a tang, then it will be worth introducing to your palate.

On to my salad! The really awesome thing about fennel is how it becomes amazing in combination with other foods. I think the flavor of fennel brings out the taste of other foods brilliantly so that you get loads of flavor. In this case, the lucky ingredient is the orange. It's just too gloriously simple - arugula, orange, fennel, light vinaigrette - and voila, its a party for your taste buds. The salad is really easy to make and very satisfying.


Fennel again.

How to slice fennel: 1. Cut off the leafy greens at the top. 2. Slice away the bottom stub and peel away and tough or browned exterior. 3. Slice bulb in half and cut out tough core at the bottom of the bulb making a triangular shape on the bottom half. 4. Lay down halved fennel and slice away.

Peel and slice orange.

Make a bed of greens with arugula and top with sliced fennel, orange, and dried cranberries.

Top with dressing: mix olive oil (2 Tbsp), orange juice (1 Tbsp), and white or red wine vinegar (1 Tbsp) together before pouring on salad.

Soo good.

Notes: At Black Sheep they had toasted pistachios instead of cranberries, and the nuttiness went really well with the flavors of this salad. You could also try adding in some goat or feta cheese to make it into a meal.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday inspirations

We woke up to a tremendous thunderstorm this morning and I kind of liked it. Yesterday was the first day of spring, so I am feeling particularly kind, and in my kindness I acknowledged to myself that the rain is going to be imperative for all the growing and budding that needs to happen. It is spring, after all! The storm quickly cleared away to 74 degree weather and clear skies, which helped my benevolent mood, and may have contributed to my feeling of productivity. My to-do list seems never-ending (as always), but I am feeling inspired and rested. I am attributing some of my peacefulness to the great weekend we had with family in Virginia Beach.

In light of this spring-has-sprung atmosphere, I am taking a break from my to-do-list to share some of the things that have been inspiring me lately:

1. I am tearing through this book, and I am learning so much. It is inspiring me to write more, which is always a good thing, and it is inflating my love of stories and words.

2. Smoothie Recipes: I love smoothies, and I can't wait to try all these different combinations and come up with some of my own!

3. Fitness Magazine: I like checking out the healthy food recipes and different kinds of work-outs on this site. If you are feeling sluggish and need a boost (it is Monday, after all), check out this 20-Minute Energizing Workout, or this All-Day Energy Guide. Personally, I've recently found that ants on a log (peanut butter in celery stalks with raisins on top) as a snack is a great energy booster.

4. Job-searching, baby! There are some great job opportunities out there, for some fantastic causes. Now if someone will just give me a chance...

5. Rex Arrow films: Ken showed me some of Mac Miller's music videos last night, produced by a Brooklyn production company called Rex Arrow. The company is headed by Ian Wolfson, an independent film maker who makes music videos, short films, and feature films, and I am inspired by the initiative and cinematography.

6. My Utmost for His Highest (by Oswald Chambers): This is my favorite devotional book, and I have gone through it several times with my small tattered version. I have just discovered however, for extra convenience, that you can find both the updated version as well as the original English, online. Oh, the wonders of the internet.

Back to work!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's a-comin'

The weather was great today and made everything outside look beautiful. Rusty and I did a lap of our neighborhood and said hello to everyone we met on the street. I spy hints of spring.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

romper love

I love a good romper! I always have, and so I'm glad to see lots of rompers in this upcoming season's line-up for spring. Rompers can be tricky because there is a time and place for them, and you need to make sure the fit and size is appropriate to your body. There are also other things to take into consideration - like the fact that when you go to the bathroom you're taking your whole outfit off to pee. Things like that. But once all is said and done, rompers can be a fun addition to your spring and summer wardrobe. You can go classy with black and ruffles, fun and flirty with feminine prints, or beach-ready with loose and soft fabrics (my personal favorite).

You can also find cheaper options here, here, here, and here.

like a natural woman

Hurrah for face masks! and another hurrah! for using supplies from the produce aisle of the grocery store to make your very own homemade face mask! I love knowing exactly what's going into the concoction I'm putting on my face, and of course I like that it is super friendly for a tight budget.

Face masks are an easy way to clean your pores, help with acne, and soothe dry or oily skin. It is also a fabulous way to relax. I've tried different combinations of natural face masks, and here are some of the ones that I liked:

1. Avocado yogurt mask (for dry and sun-exposed skin. I do this a lot in the summer.)
You need: avocado, honey, natural yogurt, and cucumber.

1. Start with a clean face. Wash off all make-up with warm water and pat dry.
2. Mash the avocado with a fork until creamy. Avocados naturally contain a deep penetrating vegetable oil that is wonderful for dry skin care. Maybe the most important element of avocado is that it is a good source of potassium, which is known as the youth mineral, so whether you are eating avocados or making a face mask, they can help your skin maintain its healthy and beautiful glow (Bananas also are rich in potassium!)
3. Add 1 tbsp. of all natural honey to the avocado mash. Honey has the ability to kill germs on the skin and can reduce swelling and inflammation, giving the skin a taught and youthful appearance.
4. Stir in the natural yogurt. Yogurt is a natural and gentle cleanser and is used in a lot of skin care products. Yogurt also contains lactic acid, which soothes and softens the skin while tightening wrinkles and refining pores.
5. Apply a thin layer of the avocado face mask to your face and neck. Peel and slice two pieces of cucumber slices over your eyes and relax (With natural gentle astringent properties, cucumber is the perfect addition to your avocado face mask, as it cleans, nourishes, hydrates and helps reduce circles underneath the eyes.) Allow the mask to set for at least 15 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with warm water, and again, patting dry.

2. Sometimes my skin is dry, sometimes my skin is oily, and for the oily days, the Banana Oatmeal Mask is good idea. You need: a ripe banana, fine-ground otameal, water, honey, and lemon.

1. Mix in about 1/2 cup of water with 1/4 cup of oatmeal (try to get it to a gooey texture, but not too runny), and then mash in the banana.
2. Add some honey.
3. Add a few drops of juice from an orange or a lemon.
4. Apply to face for 15 minutes before rinsing with a cool washcloth or a steaming warm washcloth.

3. Aspirin Face Mask is good for exfoliating and also for treatng reddness and acne. It makes your skin feel soft!
You need: uncoated aspirin, a few drops of water, honey
(This is not an everyday mask; maybe do every other week)

1. Put 5-10 uncoated aspirins in a small bowl and add in a few drops of water to dissolve aspirin into small pieces.
2. Add in a few drops of honey and mix together.
3. Apply to face for 15-20 minutes before washing off with warm water.

4. Another one of my favorites is the Egg Face Mask. It probably is the easiest one to do, because really all you need is one egg. You get instant results with this one - your face feels firmer and smoother after the first mask. You can find the easy directions here.

have fun !

Monday, March 14, 2011

birthday weekend

Ken turned 28 yesterday! He wanted a relaxing weekend, since every other weekend has been so busy, and that's what he got. Michael came into town for the weekend to help Ken with his relaxing activities in celebration of his birthday, and here he is starting off the weekend right.

We did a lot of eating and watching movies on Friday night and on Saturday morning we did a quick walk to Jefferson Park with the dog. I am in love with this park and this view right now.

Saturday night we had ourselves a little birthday grub at Richmond's ultimate soul food spot, Croaker's Spot. My mouth is watering and my stomach is grumbling as I write this. This place is so popular on the weekends that there's always a line, and when we got there the wait was 30-45 minutes. We avoided the wait by carrying out, and it was a much shorter wait.

This is crazy good soul food, people. Huge portions, good seafood, blocks of cornbread, cheese grits, stewed cabbage...oh so good. We usually have their fried seafood dishes, but this time both Ken and I went with the broiled dishes and we were quite happy. Ken got broiled scallop and shrimp, and I got the broiled trout with mushroom in lemon garlic sauce. My goodness, it was scrumptious. I wanted to give everyone a hug while I was eating it.

For Ken's present, not only did he get the grooviest socks in the world from yours truly, but he also got himself/us computer parts from our tax refund to build a computer himself. We've been talking about needing a desktop for a while now for various things (plus my mac is on its last dying breath), so in order to help cut expenses, he decided to build one! K did a lot of research and then also Joey happened to be around to help. After a few hours, voila!

All the parts

It's so fascinating to know all the parts that go into making a computer work!

This is the inside look of the system unit in its case, almost finished. Isn't it incredible!
I was very impressed.

On Sunday, there was church, a run to Jefferson park, Ken's volleyball practice, and then more volleyball at night. (My womens' team had our tournament games that night, and even though two of our players were missing, and we didn't go as far as we would have liked, we put in good time and it was a fun season!) One of the parents on Ken's boys' team put together a happy birthday hurrah for the end of practice with snacks and this incredible cake. I don't have a picture of the cake in its original form, but it had a big volleyball in the middle. It was a giant sized homemade red velvet cake, and it was amaazing. Here is a picture of what was left of it. It was a pretty delicious way to end the weekend.

Happy 28th birthday my love!