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Oct 30, 2012

{GUEST POST} CASSIE'S BURNT CARROTS & HONEY VINEGARETTE

hey friends!  today, i have cassie over here blogging for me!  she's one of my dearest friends from college, and her cute little blog is a regular read for me.  show her some love! -b

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Hello readers of HTB!

I’m Cassie from Life in Technicolor, and I’m honored to be chiming in over here in Betsy’s space.

When Bets asked me to do a guest post, I volunteered either a recipe, a DIY or a fun life anecdote - whichever she felt she needed more of. She asked if I’d been cooking anything particularly yummy these days, to which I replied, “oh yes I have!” One thing you should know about me is that I don’t bake. I’m a tad insecure about it because it makes me feel less feminine. All over blogland you see millions of posts with beautiful, fattening creations from the kitchens of domestic women, and I am defiantly not among them. I hate baking.

So have there been delicious things whipped up under my roof, Bets? Yes - but I really am more of the Baker’s Wife ;) Some delectable treats have been floating around the house lately with the help of sole credit going to my husband, and it usually goes a little something like this:

“Will, I’m going to bake you a surprise today!” she exclaims hopefully.

“Oh yeah? I can’t wait!” her husband replies, in slight disbelief. 

(hours later)

“I really should have gotten those pumpkin chocolate chip cookies in the oven a long time ago... (surprise ruined) ... Can you help me?” she whines, admitting defeat.

And then since I hate baking, I start weaseling myself out of the whole equation. I basically stage the ingredients, maybe whisk some dry goods together and I’m outta there. So I’ll give him the credit for the delicious pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and the blueberry lemon coffee cake muffins. Thank you dear.

But what I can do folks is cook. He loves leaving the cooking to me and I love leaving the baking to him. I find that cooking allows so much more flexibility than baking, with a much smaller margin for error. That’s really what I’m after :) So I love experimental cooking and I also love vegetables. 

This week, I made some honey dijon vinaigrette salad dressing (delish, with none of the questionable store-bought dressing ingredients) and adapted this recipe from Stone Soup. Check it out!
 what you'll need:

fresh carrots, sliced either in half or in quarters
2 teaspoons of olive oil
honey vinaigrette dressing (or any dressing of your choice for flavor)
dill

super simple - here's what you do:

1. heat the oil over high heat until it's very very hot
2. cut your carrots however you'd like and give them a wash
3. plop them in a frying pan and put a cover on. that's very important because the oil will splatter like crazy.
4. toss so they're fully covered in oil & leave 'em for 5 minutes or so.
5. then carefully (if it's not splattering oil everywhere) use tongs to turn them to brown up the other sides for 5 minutes.
6. when they're done, remove from heat,  drizzle dressing on top and sprinkle some dill.

Ta da! A yummy side dish that tastes like it came from a gourmet restaurant.

And here's how I made my vinaigrette!
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk ingredients together and then blend for about 10 seconds in the blender.
Let sit for 30 minutes for flavors to meld, then serve.


If any of these appeal to you, swing by my blog for some more natural-inspired-veggie-based dishes! Enjoy!


Oct 29, 2012

PUMPKIN CARVING

we're facing hurricane sandy over here on the east coast.  which means that i'm camped out at aj's, because my house typically is the first to lose power and the last to get it back.  last year, during irene, we were out for a week.  (remember this?  or this?)

so last night, in the face of the impending storm, aj and i celebrated fall properly...by carving pumpkins!
the owl is mine, in case you didn't guess.

and of course, as a special fall treat, we made roasted pumpkin seeds!
if you've never made roasted pumpkin seeds, it's simple:
1.  you take the seeds that you pull out of the center of the pumpkin
2.  rinse them off (and pat dry....this step might not be crucial, but I always do it so that my seeds get nice and dry but not burnt)
3.  toss the seeds with a bit of olive oil and sea salt
4.  bake on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until they're dried out and crunchy
and wha-la!  pumpkin seeds.  perfect for fall snacking or salads.  healthy and so yummy.

how have you been celebrating fall?

Oct 24, 2012

CREATING YOUR OWN FONT

i'm a little obsessed with fonts.
i can spend hours downloading new ones and playing around with them.
i love hand-written calligraphy and i've been known to just write the alphabet over and over again when i'm bored.
so, imagine my glee when i found...
after elsie of a beautiful mess blogged yesterday about how she made fonts out of her handwriting with iFontMaker, i knew i had to try it out.

and let me tell you, ladies and gents...i'm in love.
it's so simple and user-friendly, and i love knowing that i can make fonts out of whatever style of handwriting i choose to use!

here's an overview:
the app walks you through all letters of the alphabet, both upper and lowercase, as well as numbers and symbols.  you choose a sample font to use as a guide, or choose a blank slate.  (i'm using helvetica here).  you set your pen type and weight.  you can even change where your guidelines go.  
when you've got all of your glyphs in, you can choose the compose mode, where you can type a sentence in to see how your font looks.
finally, you go back to your glyphs and in the top right-hand corner, choose to create your font with 2ttf.com.  the site sends you a link and you can download your font to use on your computer!  

the app costs $6.99 and is only for iPad.  creating the font is free.  you can do it all with your finger, but i recommend using a stylus (i  got mine from staples for $15).
you can download my first font, "tall & skinny" here.

Oct 23, 2012

OCTOBER MINI SHOOTS!

for the rest of this month, i'm offering 30 minute mini shoots for just $35.

check out my photography site for more info, and if you're in the reading area, shoot me an e-mail if you'd like to book!

Oct 18, 2012

on my drive home...

the leaves are changing here and autumn is in full swing.
today on my drive home from work, i had a bit of extra time, so i decided to stop a shoot a few spots that i drive past on a daily basis.  i love taking time to slow down and force myself to look at things in a new light.  there's this old run-down shed that sits along the side of the road not far from my house.  to be honest, i don't even know who owns it-it's not clearly on anyone's property.  but it made for a really neat subject today.  it has a lot of character.
oh! and while you're in the blog world...go check out mK at from the guest room.  i'm swapping with her this month and she had her sponsors give some autumn book & movie recommendations!  (plus, her blog is super cute)

Oct 17, 2012

a happy list

this photo was taken at a dear friend's wedding back in july.
i don't think i ever posted it on here, but it makes me smile, so it makes the happy list.

other things that currently make me happy:
spending time with that guy in that picture up there
brightly-colored fall leaves
bonfires & hayrides
scarves
cinnamon dolce lattes from starbucks
reorganizing and redecorating my room
crisp autumn air
new teacups
prepping for student teaching next semester
parks & rec
puzzles
spin class
knitting
my planner (geeky, i know)
fresh-picked apples
writing letters
visiting friends
cake batter frozen yogurt with blueberries

what's on your happy list?

Oct 11, 2012

growth and where i was a year ago...


the other day, I was reading old blog posts.
do you ever do that?  you start looking for a specific thing and then somehow you're swept into the past, reading things you forgot you posted.
and all of a sudden it hit me, i'm such a different person than i was a year ago.
a different person than when i wrote this.  or this.  or this.
but there are still some things that are the same.  like my thoughts on hope.

a year ago, i was in the midst of heartbreak.  maybe you've been there: you've invested in a relationship (in this case, yes, it was a boy) and then things suddenly, without much explanation, crumbled.  honestly, it was my first time in that place.  the place of being confused and not understanding what happened and being just sad and discontented and angry.  i was angry.

i wrote vague blog posts, vented to friends who were states away, and cried on my mom's bed. somewhere along the way i decided to be angry at God, and so i stopped praying and seeking His comfort and started asking questions like "haven't You been preparing me for a relationship?" and "what did i do wrong?" and "wasn't 21 years of singleness enough?"

i let the situation marinate and eat at me for far too long.  and then, sometime around christmas, i stopped and got over it.  of course, it wasn't that easy.  but essentially, i realized that i had spent too much time on a relationship that a) God was clearly leading me away from and b) wasn't all that good or healthy to begin with.

and then, when i least expected it, God answered all of those prayers and fulfilled the desires of my heart. aj and i started hanging out on a regular basis at the start of the new year and somehow without me noticing, he crept into my heart and became one of my closest friends, and eventually, we recognized that our feelings for one another had grown beyond friendship.  and i realized that God was preparing me for a relationship, but i had just been looking at the wrong person for that.  and when the right person came along, it was so much better than i ever even imagined.

there's such a beauty to looking back and realizing how much can change in a year.  to recognizing the mistakes you made and deciding to grow from them.  to not regretting, but learning.  to being grateful and hopeful and content.  to understanding what it means to put someone else's needs before your own and to delight in doing so.  and to approaching the good and the inevitable bad with a gracious spirit, not that i've perfected that by any means, but i'm learning.

and learning is part of the beauty of life.

Oct 10, 2012

knitting projects

it's fall.
and i'm feeling crafty.
which means it's time to start carrying a knitting project around with me!

i've been knitting since i was in high school, and over the years the farthest i've really stretched myself was knitting a hat with the easiest hat pattern ever.
i decided on monday that it was time to branch out and learn something new.  and so i taught myself the herringbone stitch.
i'm about 99% certain that's not entirely what it's supposed to look like.  i think i was knitting through the front of the loop rather than the back on every other row. knitting patterns are confusing.

but i'm still up for a challenge, and so i've found two projects that i will be attempting to conquer this fall ("don't you have homework and a couple of grad classes and work full time?" you ask...pshhh...what is homework again?)

the first of these beauties is the easier of the two, the striped cotton cowl from the purl bee.
isn't it just so pretty?
and the second, and the one i started yesterday, is the big herringbone cowl, also via the purl bee.
gah, i'm drooling
the latter requires me to knit on circular needles.
which i've never done.
ladies, i'm a pretty confident crafter, but i was a little nervous to start.
and i ended up ripping out the 220 stitches that i had to cast on because i started knitting in the wrong direction when i started the first row.  trust me when i say this:  casting on 220 stitches isn't really fun the first time, let alone the second.
but so far, it's coming along pretty nicely, save for two little snags. 

this whole knitting in the round thing can be a little tricky, i think.  and i didn't exactly start off with the easiest pattern.  i've been fervently trying to find someone that i work with who knits and knows her stuff, but i've been met with comments of "why don't you just order it instead?" and "no, sorry, knitting frustrates me."
ho hum, looks like it's just you and me, youtube videos.  

i'll let you know how it goes.

Oct 9, 2012

why i love action sets

in case you didn't know this about me, i love photography.
it's become a little hobby of mine over the past few years.
my senior year of college, i decided to take a photography course at an art school near gordon.  i was totally out of my element, but i loved every second of it.  we spent half the semester in the darkroom and the other half in the digital lab.
that's where i learned my way around photoshop, and my life of editing in iphoto was over.

now, i do most of my edits in adobe lightroom.  it's just easier when you're handling a few hundred images from a shoot.
and believe me, i'm no photoshop expert, by any means.

but can i share a little secret that will change your life if you're a ps user?
action sets are the best thing that ever happened to me.

action sets are these little bundles of ps joy that you can create for yourself or download from other ps geniuses and literally edit your image with the click of a button.

for example:
this was edited by running yellow sky action's morning sky & crack boom pow action sets, which add warmth, and edit the levels on a contrast curve and a color curve.

and another thing I love about them is that they're like these little built-in tutorials.
if you like the way an image looks, you can expand the set and see exactly how the image got that way.  you can pretty much teach yourself how to create the edits that the action set does for you, if you're like me and want to be able to do it yourself. 

my absolute favorite action sets are from the pioneer woman.  and joy of joys, they're FREE!
if you become a fan of yellow sky actions on Facebook, you can get a little four-set package free as well!

do you use photoshop actions?  or lightroom presets?  what are your favorites?  any secrets?

you can see more of my photography here.

Oct 8, 2012

a saturday in baltimore

on saturday, we headed to maryland to see mute math & civil twilight in concert.
mutemath is aj's favorite band, so to win the "best girlfriend ever" award, i surprised him with an hour-long guitar lesson with their bassist for his birthday.

we spent the day in baltimore, hanging around the inner harbor and fell's point, where we had dinner at bop...brick oven pizza (soooo good) and gelato from pitango. then, we headed to the concert, which was great...the mutemath guys are incredibly entertaining and even though i only knew about half of the songs they played, it was just fun to go and enjoy my boyfriend's favorite band with him!

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