Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

These gorgeous double exposure portraits are by Dan Mountford.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Things That Aren't Real Problems But Annoy Me Anyway

(via my mom's Instagram)

LOL @ spring, you guys. This picture was taken from the side of the front porch just a few hours ago. Surprisingly all this snow just a few days before Easter doesn't bother me. Maybe because I had such a nice relaxing weekend, I feel like nothing is going to faze me today, not even the fact that it’s Monday. Or that it’s snowing like Mother Nature forgot how to quit winter.

Anyway, as usual social media is blowing up with all sorts of weather complaints so I thought I’d join in on the action. But since the weather doesn’t really get to me, here are a few other things that aren’t exactly ruining my life but bother me anyway.

+ Wildly inaccurate and mildly offensive chain emails. I don't know how frequently you think this happens but rest assured I'm not going to accept perfume samples from men who approach me at the gas station. obviously. Also, 9/11 was not an inside job, how is it that you will not believe literally any legitimate source of news but you'll take the word of some guy whose Yahoo username is ladykillah45? I MEAN REALLY.

+ People on their smartphones while driving. Put that away before you kill someone. What on earth is so important that you have to tweet while doing 70 on the freeway? Answer: nothing. That's right Jimmy, bonus points to you for answering so quickly.

+ Anyone who ignores basic email etiquette. This includes but is not limited to:
     - TYPING IN ALL CAPS, regardless of the need or level of perceived importance.
     - Hitting Reply All to every. thing.
     - Misspelling my name in an email when my email address is seriously just my entire name spelled out right there for you. Like, call me "Elle Carholts" one more time and watch me straight up ignore all future correspondence.

+ Feeling alert after 6 hours of sleep but tired and draggy after 7 or 8 when that is clearly the optimal amount of time. How does that even make sense, circadian rhythm.

+ The fact that I will always and forever have to Google how to spell 'rhythm'.

+ That feeling when you think there's just enough milk left for your bowl of cereal but there isn't and you've already committed to pouring.  Do you get weird and add cream? Water? Suck it up and eat a bowl of mostly dry cereal with a few gently moistened flakes at the bottom? These are the things that keep me up at night.

+ When you travel and forget half of your phone charger. Yes I said half. What is the deal with chargers these days, why does the cord need to be separate from the actual plug-into-the-wall bit?

+ When the washer and dryer end a cycle at vastly different times even though I set them for the same amount of time and press the start buttons simultaneously. I get so mad at science when that happens. I'm like, "ARGH. SCIENCE!"

+ Wearing tights. That is the single reason I am ready for winter to get up and move on. They are so. uncomfortable. One Saturday I spent the whole morning just struggling to put a pair on.  It was so tiring, I had to take a small nap at the end to regain my strength. And don't even try to talk to me if I've been wearing them all day. Crabbit as a bag of weasels.
Was this productive or encouraging? No. But do I feel a modicum of satisfaction for ranting? Yes.
Well then, mission accomplished.

So what about you? Anything besides the weather really stuck in your craw? (What a weird expression...)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Happy Weekend

Whew, thank goodness for Fridays, right? It’s been a rough couple of weeks but I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel.  After last weekend’s stressful visit to NY, and an even more stressful week of work I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend with my family.  In the meantime, here are a few links I’ve enjoyed from around the web lately:

+ Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes, in case you are needing a recipe to make someone fall in love with you. Unless that person is gluten-free. Then they will not fall in love with you because of these pancakes. :(

+ The New Yorker's funny take on the new TSA rules.

+ HEY it's almost my birthday and I'm 100% serious when I say I don't think I can properly transition into the 25th year of my life unless I have these bookends in my life. Don't ask questions, just buy them for me.

+ Loving the simplicity of this DIY art piece.

+ Want to send an email to your future self? Oh Life lets you do just that. Now, if only there was a way to send an email to my present self from my future self...
"Dear Me Right Now, You don't need that cookie. Put it down. NOPE. I see you trying to hide it in your lap! I've got your number, sister. Love, Your Wiser Future Self"

+ A song for your weekend:
This Is The Beginning by Boy on Grooveshark

Take care of yourselves this weekend, ya hear?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Anne's Kitchen: Southwestern Quinoa with Black Beans and Toasted Pecans

For the second installment of Anne's Kitchen, my mom is sharing my absolute favorite meal, and this one is totally vegan. It is one of the stranger-looking meals (the comments I got at work from coworkers who saw me eating this in the break room...!!) but it is an amazing mixture of texture and rich flavor, not to mention how filling it is. One of my major critiques of vegan cooking is that I never feel satisfied after eating the way I do after I've had a piece of meat, but this meal blows that out of the water.  It is so rich in protein, good fats, and complex carbohydrates that I always feel like I've had a feast, but totally guilt-free! A photo of the complete recipe is found at the end of the post.

This is a recipe that my non-vegan daughter likes.  I know this because not only did she eat it when I served it, but she called dibs on the leftovers for lunch the next day.   

It's always a good thing to compliment your mom's cooking, but to eat it again as leftovers! Well, that is like icing on the cake.  In this case, better for you, too. 

Especially this dish ... Southwestern Quinoa with Black Beans and Toasted Pecans from the October 2012 issue of Vegetarian Times.  

Quinoa gets a lot of attention because it is high in protein.  So are beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, whole grains, peas, and leafy greens. If you're interested in the basic of nutrition on a vegan diet, this is a great place to start.

So not only is this dish nutritious, it is tasty and has great texture!  As my husband, who has no sense of smell, will tell you, texture is very important. 

Here are the ingredients, all set out and ready to measure.  (If I wasn't taking pictures, I wouldn't do this, but it is a handy thing to do.)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

DIY Tissue Tassel Garland

 My desk at home sits in front of a boring grey wall.  I tried making a grid of photos and postcards using washi tape and it looked awesome for the 4 hours that everything stayed in place.  Unfortunately, washi tape is not ideal for hanging things so over half of it fell down. Rather than resorting to using nails or pushpins, I thought I'd just hang one big piece of art to make a statement.

After tooling around on various design sites for inspiration, I found Confetti System. They make really cool decorative garlands for weddings and parties using tissue and mylar paper.  Rather than shell out $130 for one of theirs, however, I decided to make one myself.  My favorite thing about this project is that you can make the garland as long or short as you like, depending on what length of rope you have and how many tassels you feel like making.

 [Let me clarify by saying I in no way take credit for this DIY, there are probably dozens of other tutorials on this as these tassel garlands are not a new thing. I merely wanted to show you how I did it.]


(1) Sheets of tissue paper and mylar paper (Michael's calls it "Foil Tissue") in various colors
(2) A spool of cord or string (I ended up using about 4 yards)
(3) Scissors
(4) Rotary cutter (optional but it makes cutting the tissue go by quickly)
(5) Hot glue gun

Monday, March 18, 2013

Learning How to Say Goodbye

No matter how far I travel, western New York will always be one of the most beautiful places on Earth.  Even in mid-March, when the landscape is shrouded in snow and grey skys and you know the first whisper of spring won't be until late April if you're lucky.

For me, its beauty goes beyond the rolling hills and dark forests. I love it for the memories it holds.

Particularly the little town of Freedom. My grandmother was born and raised here.  My dad was born and raised here. And this house, every single summer of my childhood was spent here. Every inch is drenched in memories.

I learned how to drive a tractor here. I learned how to make jam from currants here. Almost ten years ago, my siblings and I spent a few days arguing about learning how to paint this barn.

My sister and I spent countless nights lying in this room, telling stories, making plans, sharing a sense of closeness we didn't seem to find anywhere else. 

How lucky I am to still have this beautiful place to go back to. How lucky to have two such amazing grandparents who created this wonderful, safe world where we could grow and learn and explore.  Who fostered this loving supportive environment in which we came to understand and cherish the importance of family roots.

And yet.

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