Oh, plant babies, I love you – and a gardening giveaway!

Posted in DIY, Feature, Food, Life | 0 comments

Oh, plant babies, I love you – and a gardening giveaway!

SPRING! Spring has arrived in the mountains and it did not come one single moment too soon. I don’t know if I remember a winter that went on as long as this one – it just seemed like I would never feel warmth or see grass ever again. As a kid, I spent my summers entirely outdoors – from swimming in the pool and making forts in the woods to reading books in the hammock and eating dinner every night outside on the patio. I didn’t realize how much I missed all the outdoor time until A and I got our house. Apartment living is never conducive to outdoor activities – my last apartment had a tiny frontyard that was close to a very busy street. But now, I have this whole fenced in backyard at my disposal! From the moment the warm weather hit, I’ve been toiling in the yard laying mulch, planting dahlias, creating a brick lined pathway, setting up our patio! And my pride and joy of all of this?

My vegetable garden.

 

Last year I had a…uhh, rather unsuccessful tomato garden. First year in our house, I was still trying to figure out how we were going to turn our field of grass into a YARD.  This year I knew I wanted to do it right and supplement my CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) share I am splitting with a co-worker. (VEGGIES FOR DAYS!) When I saw that newest edition of The Postage Stamp Garden was up for you review, I snatched it.

The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden

The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden was first published in the 70s (how appropriate for me) – it’s all about growing as much as you can in a small space so you always have an abundance of food from your garden. The typical size of a postage stamp garden is only 4’x4′ – my garden is smaller than that, so I had to scale back a bit. The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden is such a great guide for both beginning gardeners and old pros – it can act both as a complete teaching guide and a useful reference. I have mine tabbed and marked up already! My favorite highlights include:

  • illustrations of different ways to plant your postage stamp garden
  • how to prepare your soil mix
  • a complete index of veggies – how/when/where to plant them, potential problems, and even what to choose as companion plants!

This year I planted seedlings early inside with a seed kit – bush beans, basil, cucumbers, zucchini, and lettuce. I used my handy (and ever growing) collection of washi tape to label them in their little greenhouse:

IMG_0008

I was a bit nervous that nothing was going to happen – and sure enough out of 18 beans I only had three sprout and it took them over three weeks. My zucchini and cucumber were also late bloomers – but they’re now all happily planted in my garden and doing well. I sowed kale and carrot seeds directly into the garden bed and the kale shot up in less than a week. I credit this to the huge bucket of compost I got for free from a local goat and chicken farm. This is also what I call adulting.

Plant babies!

I’ll round out my vegetable garden this weekend when I pick up my heirloom tomato plants from my CSA farm – so excited for tomatoes! And in other exciting news: Blogging for Books was kind enough to give me an extra copy of The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden to giveaway to my readers! And it’s the perfect time of year to get your garden in shape so…

Click Here to Enter!

The giveaway ends of June 2nd. Open to USA only.  Good luck and happy gardening!

 

*This book was provided to me by the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

Plan It! Health Section: Part II – Yoga with Free Yoga Journal!

Posted in DIY, Feature, Organizing, Planners | 0 comments

Plan It! Health Section: Part II – Yoga with Free Yoga Journal!

Planner Stickers
Oh, my planner problem. It has become such a huge thing that I never anticipated. I had no idea there was this whole lovely community of ladies that love stationery, organizing, planning, writing letters, and paper crafts. It totally reignited my lifelong love of all things considered papergoods. Ever since I was a kid I would buy special notebooks or stationery and then never use them because I thought they were too nice to write in. I just loved having them and thought that one day when I had the right moment I’d use them. Fast forward – I’m buying all those nice notebooks and that pretty stationery – and I’m ACTUALLY using it!
 
I actually have TWO planners now…I’ve moved my daily/weekly/monthly schedule planning into my Inkwell Press Planner (review to come soon – I’m in love!) and now my DIY planner is solely focused on me! So onto Part II of series on my Health Section – fitness! And more specifically, something I’ve mentioned before that has become an important part of my life – YOGA!
 

The Backstory:

A couple of years ago I started working out regularly (that’s how I met A!) and I got into running. I trained for several 5K races but it turns out distance running isn’t really my thing (yes, a 5K is a distance to me!) As I was trying to find a winter workout that I enjoyed (Fun Fact: any class with bootcamp in the name is not for me. So traumatic.) I started going to a community yoga class once a week. I got really hooked after that and attended classes all last winter, but now have shifted to mostly a home practice. And as anyone who has tried to establish a yoga home practice knows, you really need to set aside the time and space to do so.
 
Yoga can often feel overwhelming at home when you don’t have an instructor leading you through poses and at first I struggled with thinking I needed to have a video or an app leading me. While I often do enjoy having one or the other (I know I’ve mentioned my love for Yoga Studio for the iPhone before!) I also discovered the best part about having a home practice is just to listen to your body, set an intention, and do what you want to do. So sometimes I’ll do a half hour class, or rounds of sun salutations, and other times I’ll just play with poses that I’m working on or ones that I really love. This lead to the creation of another printable!
 
I wanted a way to record my intention, be mindful, and also keep track of what I was working on for asanas. The printable has all of those things and a visual for sun salutations! (I even put little check boxes to check off rounds of sun or moon salutations.) It’s again A5 and I’ve included it with right and left margins. This is perfect to create your own little yoga journal within your planner!

Click here to download.

Free Yoga Printable Journal

COOKBOOK REVIEW: Relæ

Posted in Feature, Food | 0 comments

COOKBOOK REVIEW: Relæ

 
Don’t worry, my love for cooking hasn’t gone anywhere. Just in the past two weeks I’ve made homemade naan bread, cooked up some delicious sweet potato hash, and made meatloaf sliders over homemade fontina cornbread (truth be told A actually made most of that recipe – and nailed it!) The last cookbook I got was Relæ: A Book of Ideas by Christian F. Puglisi. Puglisi is the chef and owner of a restaurant by the same name in Copenhagen. I was initially drawn to this book because it seemed to be a veritable tome of information at a staggering 448 pages and seemed quite unique.
 

 

The Review:

 

The Good:

Aesthetically, it’s an absolutely gorgeous book. Hardcover, beautifully tabbed, modern. I was really thrilled when I opened it, because I’m a suck for good marketing. It also reads like an actual book. It tells the story of the restaurant, the story behind various aspects of the restaurant (from their water filtration system to the bread served at the tables) with fine detail. Every chapter and subchapter is heavily cross-referenced so you can go back and forth easily. You can glean some useful, practical tips here and there, such as the best place to store olive oil in your kitchen (hint: not by a heat source), different ways to cook with butter (basting your meat with it!), and how to incorporate vegetable skins into a recipe. It also has gorgeous photography throughout – large, full page images.

 

The Not-So-Good:

Well, as you may have guessed from the short section above, this cookbook fell a bit flat for me. It’s not really cookbook. It’s the very long account of Puglisi’s restaurant and every single detail of it.  The recipes themselves are pretentious. Several require a sous-vide machine. The writing often comes across as condescending and the word “mouthfeel” is used and I absolutely despise that word.

It’s not to say that I don’t have an interest in food or food theory, but I also have a strong interest in cooking good food. I don’t care if tap water isn’t good enough, I care about fresh (local when I can!) ingredients, interesting recipes, and good that tastes good. Plain and simple. The author opens the book by saying loves buying cookbooks, but he only ever opens them occasionally and admittedly never cooks from others’ recipes because he wants to put his “stamp” on everything. This is a bit much for me. I know this book has been well reviewed and people have said it’s wonderful for furthering their culinary journey; I guess we’re on different journeys.

 

Recommended for: A professional chef, restauranteur, or foodies that take themselves very, very seriously.
 
 
 

*This book was provided to me by the Books for Bloggers Program in exchange for an honest review.

Shows to Marathon on Netflix (after you’ve finished an old favorite and you suddenly feel despondent)

Posted in Feature, Life | 0 comments

Shows to Marathon on Netflix (after you’ve finished an old favorite and you suddenly feel despondent)

I’m a serial TV monogamist. Yes, that’s a thing. When I pick a show on Netflix, and we start seeing each other, I see it through. I’m a one show girl. When I fall, I fall hard. I am always crying over someone’s break-up, panicking that someone’s father is dead, dying,—or worse, was dead, and now alive again. One could even say I’m a bit clingy with my Netflix shows, as Netflix likes to point out by constantly asking,

“ARE YOU STILL WATCHING?”

Yes, yes, I am still watching. No, I don’t care if it’s been 6 hours and I’ve seen that message three times. I am always still watching. You will never catch me not watching Netflix, so you can stop right there. I will only pause to retrieve the big jar of Nutella and a spoon. And occasionally refresh my coffee.

But there comes that time we all dread. When we realize we’re on the last season and that pang of loneliness hits us. And you can prolong the inevitable, you can drag out the last few precious episodes of Gilmore Girls, Dawson’s Creek, or LOST – but the moment is going to come where after endless hours of love and devotion, it’s just over. You won’t see Joey and Pacey anymore on that damn creek. Lorelai won’t be getting coffee at Luke’s anymore. You’ll never see that god forsaken haunted island and its smoke monster again. What do you do? Where do you turn?

Luckily, I’ve had a few rough TV show breakups in my time. After several days of feeling despondent and mumbling to my fiancé how much I “miss my TV friends,” I’ve managed to get back on my feet (okay, couch) and start TV-dating again. Here are a few shows that will help you when you think all is lost.

Ugly Betty

Betty Suarez waltzed into my heart at a time when I thought there was no more TV for me. I tried other shows and we just weren’t clicking. I thought I had Netflixed all the Netflix. But I kept seeing those glasses and braces pop up on my screen, and finally I hit play. I have shed so many tears of laughter and despair over the Suarez family and MODE magazine – and I’ll never regret a second of it.

Pretty Little Liars

PLL used to be a shameful secret for me. I had just come out of a deep relationship with Dawson’s Creek (Read: Pacey) and Netflix kept suggesting this show over and over. Like I would want to watch an ABCFamily drama about four girls trying to figure out who murdered their friend while they are secretly being tortured by a mysterious character only known as “A”. WAIT A MINUTE – OF COURSE I WANT TO WATCH THAT. I totally realize that this show is aimed at 15-year-olds – but here is how I will comfort you: one of the Liars is played by a 29-year-old. So that makes it okay.

Gossip Girl

Once PLL was out of the way, I knew I was on a slippery slope TV-wise, but I didn’t care anymore. I had to follow my heart. I tried to stay away from Gossip Girl – I couldn’t fathom watching a show about vapid rich kids on the Upper East Side. Until I did. And then Blair. And Chuck. (#CHAIR) And DOROTA, let’s be honest. I fell for Gossip Girl so hard that I watched all of it in 2013 AND THEN AGAIN in 2014.

30 Rock

My final recommendation is for those of you just not ready to commit again. I understand it can be hard. My one true love, forever and always, is 30 Rock. Liz Lemon and I are soulmates and she keeps me coming back. Pop it on and soon you’ll be lizzing so hard that all of your heartbreak over still not knowing who “A” is will just fade away. Just let Liz take care of you for a while and before you know it, you’ll be ready to start again. After my recent parting with Gilmore Girls, I’m nearly there.

Watch out Netflix, my Nutella and spoon are on standby.