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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

diy: advanced compost bin

We were looking to construct a sturdy and long-lasting compost bin that would allow more air and circulation into our compost versus our short term black trash can with the holes drilled all around. It worked well for a while, but never received as much sunlight as it needed, because we were forced to keep the lid on top to discourage cats and stray animals from digging around inside. So, Evan and I constructed a brand new, durable compost bin with hinged lid and screened sides -- perfect for creating the most rich and luscious brown earthy mix as possible!
I drew up a design and we ventured out to the collect all the items. I had Evan demonstrate all these techniques and skills (lies, he really just built the whole thing) so that I could photograph the process and share it with you. There are a number of photos to illustrate the steps, so I've broken this into a series for you to easily follow. Let's begin! 

First, you'll need to purchase these items and gather together these tools:

5 planks of 2-by-4 treated pine 
1 roll of 3'x15' one inch mesh chicken wire
1 box of four inch deck screws 
2 (3 inch) galvanized hinges
metal staples and staple gun
wood saw 
pencil and straight edge
tape measure
drill & bits
Optional: nylon cord for handle

Exterior Measurements: 3'x2'x3'  (LxWxH)

Click to read more!

Monday, April 7, 2014

culinary: coconut chia pudding

Good morning and Happy Monday! I hope everyone's weekends were relaxing and fun! Ours was pretty simple - just hung around the house enjoying the afternoon rains and cooking delicious little breakfast/brunch. Our slow season is quickly approaching here in Rincon, with many seasonal residents already packing up and flying out before Easter. That means less traffic in town, less people competing for waves, and more good food for me at the little co-op grocery in town. 

The other day I tried something I've been planning to do for a while. Yeah, I made chia pudding. It was simple, scrumptious and soon became a household favorite for a quick energizing sweet snack. Really, the recipe could not be any more simple. Just like last week's mousse, here's another one to add to your entourage of refrigerated goodness. 

You Will Need:
1/3 cup of whole chia seeds, dried
1.5 cups of coconut milk from the carton (or any other nut milk)
2 tbsp of agave
a dash of vanilla extract 

Add all these ingredients into a bowl and whisk together. Place into the fridge for several hours to firm up and for the chia to absorb the milk. You'll know it's ready when the chia look like puffed up versions of themselves. You will likely need to stir it occasionally to give even distribution of the chia to the milk - otherwise your top layer won't be exposed. To serve, scoop some into a small dish and top with your choice of fresh fruit, dried nuts and some berries. Enjoy! 
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Thursday, April 3, 2014

diy: a unique beachcomber bridesmaid proposal

I have three best friends. Three ladies who have accompanied me through different stages of life. Three women I can count on through the thick and the thin, no matter where we are in the world. I love these ladies like sisters.

When I got engaged in December, I knew immediately who I would ask to stand by my side up there with Evan. But I wanted to get creative with the asking, rather than just a phone call (which was truly the most realistic option considering each of them is located 1000s of miles from me). I wanted to send them a gift that represented me so that it would not only create a memory, but be completely original and unique.

I found these seashell coin purses and pretty much knew instantly that this was my foundation for my unique bridesmaid proposal. I kept the rest simple - I typed up a little message, with the date of the wedding, and closed everything inside the shell. I found cute boxes from Marshalls, bundled everything up and mailed them out. They had no idea what was coming. In the message, I wrote about our friendship and then included my proposal to them -- Will you be my bridesmaid? Then I requested that they call me immediately with their answer.

One package I was able to deliver in person to my Maid of Honor in Florida, the other two were mailed to Washington D.C. and Alaska. Covered a lot of ground, eh? 

I wanted these ladies to know how special they are to me, so I wanted their bridesmaid proposal to be something they would always remember.

What do you think?
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

culinary: coconut chocolate mousse

This recipe could not be any easier. It's fast, simple, delicious, and I like to say "nutritious" because it's dark chocolate and coconut milk. Right? Good fats? Anyone? Okay, well maybe I'm grasping for straws with that one, but you can't deny yourself this treat. Want to know a secret?

There are only two ingredients in this dessert. Yes, two. Just two. They are....... dark chocolate (6oz) that is at least 70% cacao and any type of milk - I chose coconut milk (not the kind from the can, but the kind you can find in the milk aisle).  Here's what you do (and you don't need a fancy double boiler,  just a saucepan and a slightly bigger bowl): 

First, get two bowls - one small and one medium. Place ice cubes in the medium bowl and set aside. Next, cut up the chocolate and place into a bowl that is slightly larger than the mouth of a saucepan. You're only melting 6oz, so you don't need a huge saucepan or bowl. Then, place a couple inches of water into the saucepan and place the bowl with the chocolate on top. We aren't looking for super hot heat here, just some indirect heat to slowly melt the chocolate. Allow this to melt completely, stirring will help. Now place that bowl inside the bowl with ice and add 3/4 cup of coconut milk. Whisk to combine. You will see lots of bubbles, that's okay. Now, take an electric mixer and on medium low speed, mix the coco and choco until the bubbles begin to dissolve away and you're left with smooth straight lines. The time for this will vary, so start out whipping for 3-5 minutes. The longer you whip, the thicker it will set up. Do not overmix!! However, if you have overmixed, this recipe is quite forgiving. Just place back into the "double boiler" set up and heat again then remix. Pour this into a soup bowl, or small ramekins, and place in the fridge covered with plastic wrap. Give it a couple hours to set up, then serve cold with sprinkled coconut. 

Delicious. Amen. 

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

menagerie: island life lately

Shots from the island lately | -------
delicious farmer's market finds of locally grown sprouts and lettuce + homemade veggie patty and rice pilaf with sprouted lentil hummus \\ view of the massive waves we had this past weekend; our favorite spot to overlook the marine reserve \\ coconut milk oatmeal for breakfast \\ a shady hiding spot on the beach \\ studying for yoga teacher training in the hammock \\ yard full of gorgeous tropical blooms \\ Evan's signature mango habanero hot sauce -------|
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Monday, March 31, 2014

be beautiful: how to find peace with yourself

Let's start off the week with some deep thoughts.When was the last time you took a minute to check in with yourself and make sure you're on the right track - the track of a healthy, happy you. Often times we let our own mental and physical health take the back burner while we focus on progressing in work, school or social networks. I find myself snapping so many photos thinking about Instagram when I walk to the beach, instead of just doing what I went there to do: relax and get away. 

Get away from my own busy mind. That busy mind that often times keeps me up at night, just spinning and running with thoughts so coherent I wonder why I can't just be productive while sleeping too? Then I wake up drained and tired. Does this sound like you too? Then you definitely need to take a minute and find some peace with yourself. 

This is the easiest for me to do with yoga. In a restorative class, I am able to listen to my own breath and feel myself rooted into the ground. I can close my eyes and let my mind go blank. It is astonishing how healing just those simple actions can truly be. I'm learning so much about this right now as I prepare for yoga teacher training by reading Light on the Yoga. Wait, but you don't have to approach finding peace with yourself in the same way I do. Here are some other good ideas to try: 

Go for a run without music \\ listen to your breath and focus on keeping it steady. This focus will usually take your mind off anything else you're bothered by at the time.

Light a candle and soak in the bath \\ maybe add some soft chill out music and close the doors so you won't be disturbed. Whenever your mind starts to drift off worrying about what you "should" be doing, bring your focus back on your breath. Sometimes it helps to place a hand on your chest and one your belly and just observe how your breath moves your body.

Drink sleepytime tea before bed \\ this herbal blend is great at calming the mind. If you're worried about waking up to pee during the night, just drink half a cup. I find it's most relaxing to do this while laying in bed with a book and soft warm light to help ease the eyes.

Head to your favorite spot outside \\ whether its the beach, the mountains, a spot in your garden. Bring nothing with you, just go sit and listen to all the nature that goes on daily without a care about what your lists and tasks may be. It's humbling to witness just how caught up we get thinking about the world revolving around our lives when we can sit and watch how the world really moves with us standing still.

Use these suggestions this week! You're starting fresh today, but in case anything starts to take your mind for a ride, come back to your inner peace by practicing one of these methods. I hope it helps! 
[Image source unknown]
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

menagerie: yoga + healthier sweets

My Pinteresting last week was all yoga and sweets. Partially because of two things: (1) I gave up processed sweets (or desserts after dinner) for Lent and (2) I'm amped about my yoga teacher training in May! I got an approval from my church in Rincon to offer a yoga class once a week for free to our congregation and I was overjoyed to receive this news! Then, because I have a horrible sweet tooth, I've been trying to find healthier alternatives to some of the desserts I love to make. For instance, last week I baked chickpea blondies. Yup, that's right - no flour, no butter, no eggs, no dairy -- made with chickpeas, peanut butter and agave, these were heaven sent (no Lenten pun intended). So here are some of pins and things I'm loving lately: 

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

culinary: healthy mexican chicken soup

A quick soup, with a healthy kick and a Mexican flare - is there a better lunch-from-leftovers? We made this last week, to help boost our immune systems with that whole body nourishment from chicken broth and avocado. The perfect light but filling dinner, and the yummiest take to work lunch thereafter. Easy to make, scrumptious to eat. Here ya go:

1 whole chicken
4 carrots, halved crosswise
1 large yellow onion, halved
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1.5 cups long grain white rice
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 avocados
1.5 cup fresh cilantro
3 limes, halved

Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Place the chicken, carrots, onion, and salt in a 12 quart pot. Add enough cold water to cover it and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 1 hour. Skim off any foam that appears. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cool. Remove and discard the carrots and onions. Add the rice to the broth and simmer for 20 minutes. Now, shred the chicken while that simmers, discarding the skin and bones. Add the meat and pepper to the broth and heat for 3 minutes. Scoop the avocados into individual bowls and ladle the soup on top. Sprinkle with cilantro and squeeze on the limes! Enjoy!
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