winter break

Right now we are nearing the end of our winter break -- aka crunch time. The downstairs soon-to-be bathroom is being worked on and I'm trying to get the upstairs hallway in order.
It's really gloomy from all the snow -- but lots of coffee and taking pictures is helping me get through it. 
Speaking of taking pictures! I just ordered a new camera lens (thank you family!) which I am peeing my pants excited about.

Here are some pics from around the house. Things not seen: a mild construction-dust-induced temper tantrum(s), a chihuahua that wouldn't leave us alone, and lots of great family time. 

2. Bathroom drywallin'.
3. An air plant ornament that my friend Katy made ... I know, right?!
4. The "deer" that Josh made from cardboard ... it totally looks like it's from a kit! But no!
5. My desk -- after all the wrapping and presents were cleaned up. Finally.



Here's the thing -- the last few months have been really hard.

When we came back from Florida last summer, I think we left a piece of ourselves there. It would be an understatement to say that I haven't felt like myself ... and therefore haven't shared much here.

I love the little family we have created so much -- and we have learned a huge lesson -- you have to work hard at happiness. Not a day goes by that those words don't ring in my head. Because it's so true ... happiness doesn't just come to you ... you have to work for it. Hard. And create the life you want. 

We are getting braver and braver by the day. We have put it out there to the universe that we would like to spend some time in warm. Because you only live once ... and we would like to spend it outside



My favorite holiday pastime: wrapping presents. This year I spent a total of $5 on wrapping. Brown craft paper from the dollar store (that can be recycled) and a pack of brown bags (also can be recycled) from Michael's with a 40% of coupon.
We took craft paint and dressed them up a bit using some holiday colors. The stamp was a gift from a friend ... and it looks so good on brown paper. Also, using a white gel pen makes all the difference... it looks so nice that you don't even need a tag.

Don't forget the washi tape! Which makes anything! look! pretty!

Happy wrapping ...

Ps. IKEA had some great bags this year. We grabbed a pack for some of the bigger gifts. 


a veg thanksgiving

We hosted Thanksgiving for the first time this year. Luckily for us, our family was willing to go meatless! We tried a Field Roast and it turned out pretty good. The other dishes we made were Barefoot Contessa mac & cheese, eggplant rollatini, stuffed mushrooms, brie and artichoke stuffing, corn bake, string beans with shallots, twice baked potatoes, and beet and goat cheese salad (which I totally forgot about!). Mom brought the (amazing) sweet potatoes.
For horderves ... butternut squash crostini, brie with puff pastry and raspberries, fried artichokes, and caramelized onion and spinach dip. We had so much fun doing it.

We ended up setting up a buffet in the kitchen instead of passing everything around on the table. Also realized we are the worst holiday people ... Josh and I equally hate holiday color combinations -- orange/red/brown, red/green, even easter with the pastels. It was a challenge to make everything look festive without using the typical colors. One of my favorite things I found was this triangle candle holder from target. The green candle holder was a cheapy from anthropology awhile ago. And you can't have a holiday table without a terrarium, right?!


holiday gifts: part 1

Am I the only freak that holiday shops in October?
I know it seems excessive, but it's key in order for me to enjoy the holidays. I hate feeling rushed or doing anything last minute. When I'm rushed I'm not creative ... and actually end up spending a ton more mullah.

So when I spotted these FashionABLE scarves on several blogs (Design Mom is the only one I can remember to link to) we bought a bunch for the holidays. Go on ... buy one for the amazing ladies in your life. You won't be disappointed -- they are beautiful. Did I mention there's a hand-written note from the artist pinned to each scarf? 


fall: drink(s)

Coincidence that the post following yesterday's features alcohol? Nope, not at all.
Let me just tell you that this brand is nothing short of amazing.

Mix one-part Root with a dash of pure maple syrup. Add two-parts tonic.


september: looking back

To say that September was a hard month would be a gross understatement. I feel totally wrapped up in my life ... which to be honest I'm not a fan of right now. September is probably the busiest month for a teacher ... but grad classes on top of it and life on top of that are really making things feel off-balance. I've been just as absent in the day-to-day as I have been on this blog. 

Something has to give. Something has to change. I'm not willing to accept that life is just "crazy" or "busy" and that's how it is. 

The roots are loosening. 

So through pictures I'm going to focus on some good moments in September because there were a ton of them. I hate writing about down-er things, but I think is worth noting we we are right now -- unbalanced. I want to look back one day  and remember were I was and how far we have come. 

Pictures via Instagram

Forward motion.



The last hurrah before the school year starts on Tuesday. Even though we work through the summer, September still feels like a big deal -- new students and a different schedule. Oh yeah, and grad classes pick back up again. 
So this weekend we did fun stuff but also cleaned/organized like crazy. We are having a yard sale this Saturday ... trying to get rid of anything we don't need or isn't functional. Every cd has been burned onto the ipod (no more cds!) and put all the dvds into an album to get rid of the cases. The entire second bedroom is filled with stuff to sell/donate. It feels so good to simplify.

Picture notes ...
1. margaritas and veggie wings at El Camino ... the best spot.
2. picture during cleaning.
3. ran down the street to soltane to get bread at the last minute.
4. one of my best friends had a baby -- she is amazing. The whole giving birth/newborn/mom thing really blows me away ... 
5. Josh's famous (to me) crepes. We dreamed of having a crepe party.


dinner: quiche

We are obsessed with this quiche. It's not a decadent quiche you would serve at a brunch ... it's a super-healthy, weeknight quiche. Instead of the typical recipes calling for cream ... cheese ... and a sugary crust, this one is make simply with eggs, greek yogurt, and a crust made with whole wheat flour, olive oil, & lemon.

I used this recipe from Kathleen as the base. But omitted the cheese and 2 Tbs of cream ... I substitute it with 1 Tbs of half and half. Just as good! I have made it both ways and you truly don't miss the omitted ingredients. Put in any veggies you want!

There is something about fall approaching that makes me a bit of a homebody. I concentrate on making the best of our new (read: busy) schedule while fighting to keep being healthy at the top of our list (read: no take-out). More on that later.

This time I put caramelized onions sautéed with mushroom and a chopped jersey tomato (why are nj tomatoes the best? THE BEST). 


rehoboth, de

On our way back from Florida we decided a do-over vacation was in order. Nothing fancy ... just a trip that included the beach without a 103 degree fever and hurricane.
Josh had been to DE beaches as a kid but this was my first time. We immediately fell in love with Rehoboth. Our hotel was walking distance from the beach ... and situated right across the street from a vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurant! What makes a restaurant veg friendly? They list every single animal ingredient on the menu (even if the veggies were sauteed in just a teaspoon of butter ... they list it). And they ask you if your vegan or vegetarian upon entering ... just so they can steer you in the right direction. I really can't say enough good things about Hobos ... they do sexy things with vegetables. 
We ordered Eggplant Napoleon and a creole Buddha Bowl. 

Also, there was a couple there with a pretty big dog. I wanted him to crawl on my lap ... obviously. The owner let the dog wander around and here's the thing ... every table loved it. No one got annoyed that this dog was in their business. It was this moment sitting there petting this dog and eating the most delicious vegan food that I thought THESE ARE MY PEOPLE.

Oh, and then there was Dog Fish Head. Enough said.
And the beach. Enough said.