Links, Love and Moments

The countdown my 30th birthday has started! Eek! And while I will be starting on epic birthday decorations soon (with pictures, bien sur), I’ve been enjoying copious amounts of family time and self love time the last couple of weeks.

We’ve gone to lots of birthday parties, watched some good movies, played with our new favorite puppy, Boogie, gone on hikes and made Valentine cards. I’ve started going to the gym again, got my hair cut and styled, have been doing yoga daily and writing daily. Happy to report there’s been a lots and lots of family and self love going on. Below, is a few highlights…

IMG_1884 I love roasting cauliflower. This recipe is a pretty good sounding. I like the addition of fennel and turmeric.

IMG_1885 My new mantra: food is medicine (This also includes herbs, duh).

IMG_1886 I’ve been reading up on Ayurveda a bit lately. Pretty certain I’m a Vata. What’s your take on this healing method?

IMG_1887 Made these delish banana chocolate bites for itty bitty’s preschool Valentine’s day party. Hard to believe these are a good healthy candy alternative!

IMG_1843 I got my hair did at my new favorite salon, Ananda salon, with the fabulous Laura.

IMG_1832 Until next time, y’all…(adios amigos!)


Weekend Wrapup Wednesday: Virginia is for Girls Trips

IMG_1044.JPG What happens when you get 3 long time friends together? That’s right – a girls trip!

This time the trip was filled to the brim with activities – the beach, DC, baseball game, the Smithsonian and lots of delicious food, food, food.

IMG_1049.JPG The Highlights:

Virginia Beach – We arrived there late Thursday night and took a beach walk to the pier. The moon cast a beautiful, eeiry glow on the water and the laughter of teenagers enjoying the last of their summers filled the air. When we arrived back to the hotel, we were disappointed to find out that a very large portion of the beach was “banned” from wading and swimming due to higher than normal levels of bacteria. After we got over the ick factor, we realized we would need to go only a few blocks south to be able to swim in the safe areas of the water.

The next day, we spent our time lounging on the beach, talking about weddings and sipping on some crazy vodka-coke concoctions.

DC: Saturday morning we ventured to DC, checked into our hotel and made our way to the metro. I somehow become the metro guide (probably because I was carrying the metro map, but I’d like to think it was because I have so much experience navigating the  Paris metro) and landed ourselves right beside the Nationals baseball stadium with a fair amount of ease. We made it to the stadium with lots of time to spare so once they opened the gates we did a couple laps to explore our food and beverage options. Let me just say, the beer was absurdly expensive, but, dear me, there was so much time to kill – and come to find out, I really can’t concentrate on baseball, like not.at.all. So I may have had one or two too many overpriced drinks by the end of the night. And oh yeah, the home team won in the 9th inning, just by a hair. 

The next day we visited the Smithsonian Musuem of American History. My fave had to be the Emancipation Proclomation exhibit that gave a brief but inspirational history of slavery, emancipation and the march on Washington in 1963. The original Star-Spangled Banner was also on display and a very large, seemingly endless exhibit on transportation in America. Afterwards, we had lunch with a college buddy of mine and her husband at the Elephant and Castle, which had the most fluffy, salty, perfect pretzels ever.

But eventually the fun had to end and we had to make our way back home. Good times were had, good stories were told and new ones were made.

Note: During much of our “down” time we ended up playing this ridiculously fun game called Heads Up. If you haven’t played it, download it now, grab a friend and get ready for a ton of tears-inducing laughter.


Eating Healthy & Saving Moolah on Vacation

Today I head to Virginia to hang out with some high school buddies and have a fabulous ladies trip to the beach and DC. While I’m totally psyched to have this time to hang out and catch up with old friends, I’m also a wee bit nervous about my spendings since I’m unemployed and starting to feel the financial crunch. I would’ve tried to reschedule it but we’ve been planning this trip for months and so it just didn’t feel right.

But in an effort to cut down on my spendings (which will mostly be gas and food), I’ve decided to make a bunch of food that I can take with me so that I will be able to order less food when we invariably go out to eat.

On my ladies trip to the beach a month ago, I got some pretty good practice at making travel-worthy, healthy, easy food. My advice? When in doubt, cook some meat that is yummy cold (like pork tenderloin) and prep some hard veggies and fruit. Here’s what I’m taking on this go round:

•Massaged Kale salad
GF bread for sandwiches 
•Bell peppers (red are my favorite for snacking!)
•Homemade black bean hummus
•Apples (Granny Smiths are great!)
•Almond butter
•Yogurt + granola
•Mango+banana bars from Trader Joes
•Lots of water 

What kind of healthy, whole food fuels you when you’re on the go? Do you have any tried and true tricks that you use? I’d love to hear about them!

See you on the road!


Awesome Things Thursday

In an effort to be more organized with what I’m posting here, I am testing out some “themes” for each day of the (work) week. And for Thursdays, I am thinking of posting my (mostly) regular mish mash of things and links I’m digging. So here’s a little list of what I’m digging, reading listening to, and testing out this week (long story short, it’s pretty much all Design Sponge):

20140731-121914-44354480.jpgA perfect healthy treat or breakfast dish

20140731-122442-44682437.jpg I was literally about to email Grace Bonney proposing a blog post about my hometown of Asheville, but it looks like Macon York beat me to it. Dang

20140731-122809-44889557.jpg Some cute DIY marbled coasters

20140731-122957-44997455.jpg Pretty much everything Jess Lively writes and says is awesome and inspirational. I listen to her podcasts regularly and am totally obsessed with her latest intention tattoo launch.

And speaking of bloggers who I love to listen to via podcast, Grace Bonney of Design Sponge is another one that fits that bill. The podcast I listened to yesterday about turning jealousy into inspiration was, well, inspiring. 

I hope you’re having an inspirational and awesome week, y’all!


Eat This: Oven Dried Tomatoes

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Although we are growing tomatoes in our container garden and we have been picking them off slowly (and usually devouring them raw with a salad or a la carte over the sink), we haven’t had such a tremendous bounty that we have needed to find ways to use them or preserve them.

Despite this fact, I made a batch of oven-dried tomatoes. I adore the sweetness of the sun-dried ones you can buy from the grocery store, and I even adore the texture. This batch that I made, actually came from a bushel that my parents bought and split with us. When we got them, there were already some that were getting soft, so I thought that this would make the perfect opportunity excuse to try my hand at oven roasting them.

I searched around Pinterest and found this recipe that seemed simple enough – no dehydrator necessary (just what I like!). I modified the recipe a wee bit by adding some of our garden-fresh basil and rosemary. And I have to tell you folks, these were so good that they were literally gone by the end of the night (which is saying something because they took nearly all day to “cook”):

Oven Dried Tomatoes (based upon Cook Like a Champion’s recipe)

  • Tomatoes (I used about 3-4 and they made 2 baking sheets full)
  • Coarse salt
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh herbs of your choice

tomatoes compare


  1. Preheat oven to lowest temperature possible. (Usually around 170ºF.)
  2. Wash and dry tomatoes, then slice them thinly as possible.
  3. Place on a foiled baking sheet cut side up.
  4. Sprinkle with salt, then drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Place herbs on top of tomatoes.
  6. Bake for 8-12 hours. (This will depend largely on the size of your tomatoes and what temperature you choose to bake them.) The tomatoes should be flexible with curled edges, and no juice should run out when you press on them.
  7. Cool on racks. Once completely cooled, store tomatoes in an airtight container in the pantry or freezer. (Or eat them all in one setting, you know, whichever you prefer).

I still have plenty of tomatoes leftover and plan on making another batch, but this time I will make sure they stick around a bit longer – maybe.


Bake This: Gluten Free Bread

20140723-143406-52446547.jpg (Sorry about the chunk missing in the middle. Elise and I couldn’t resist!)

Last week, #toddlerelise and I packed our bags and headed over to Mamie’s (Elise’s name for her French grandmother). We always have such a good time there. Mamie’s house is filled with light, fresh food smells and hand crafted activities. It’s such a positive, inspiring and relaxing place to be – the perfect short-drive “getaway” spot.

Mamie used to make this amazing French bread, but for the past couple of years has been on a gluten free kick. She has searched and tested many different recipes and has finally found one that is good enough to make it into their morning petit déjeuner breakfast routine.

I love the bread, as well. It’s no traditional French baguette, by far, but it is the lightest, best tasting GF bread I’ve tasted, so I got the recipe from her and gave it a try. I have modified a few things – some based on Mamie’s suggestion and some because I didn’t have the exact thing on hand. The result? A very good sandwich bread! One that is approved by the whole family, even toddler Elise and Papa Bastien!

Gluten Free Bread

Recipe is based upon a recipe book that Mamie has. Unfortunately, I don’t know the name of the book right now. Check back in soon and I’ll post a link of that book here. Update: The book is called “Gluten-Free: 3 Books in One” and you can find it here.

(GF Flour Blend)
•1 c. Of white rice flour
•1 c. Of sorghum flour
•1 c. Of tapioca flour
•1 c. Of cornstarch
•1 c. Of almond or coconut flour

•3 c. Of GF Flour Blend
•2 packages (1/2 oz. total) of active dry yeast
•2 tsp. of guar gum
•1 tsp. of salt
•1 c. Of warm water
•1/4 c. Of vegetable oil
•2 eggs
•1 tsp. cider vinegar

1. Line 9×5 inch pan with aluminum foil, dull side out. Spray with cooking oil and sprinkle with flour blend.
2. Combine flour blend, yeast, guar gum and salt in bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk water, oil, eggs and vinegar. Beat wet ingredients into dry ingredients with an electric mixer until wet, shiny and smooth. If needed, add water a tablespoonful at a time into mixture.
3. Spoon batter into prepped foil pan. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let dough rise for 30 minutes or until it has reached the top of the pan.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove plastic wrap and bake in oven for 35-45 min. I baked mine for 35 min and felt that it was a little too doughy, so added an extra 10 min. The bread will make a nice, hollow sound when tapped. Remove bread from pan and let cool.

Enjoy your GF bread with whatever you prefer to put on sliced bread – melted butter, jelly or maybe even some avocado and sliced ham!

Let me know how it works out for you! (Baking and me don’t always get along, if you know what I mean.) It’s gotta be one of the easiest, stress-free breads I’ve made!


Awesome Things Mish Mash

20140721-150653-54413591.jpg My freaking the flip out face.

I’ve been a little quiet lately, which seems to happen to me when something dramatic or unexpected happens to me. It’s like I try to back away from all the mess and noise and listen to myself – see how I’m feeling inside. Well, I’ve been doing that because there has been another shift in my career and I’m out, yet again, looking for another job. As much as I’ve sworn that I never want to have another interview or have to “sell” myself again, I seem to be preparing myself to do it right this moment.

And as much as I seem to be complaining about this shift, I am actually very grateful for it and ready for a positive change. Everything ended on good, amicable terms, and that’s really all you can ask for.

Now, while I started this post off with what seems to be ranting, I will swoop back around to the original point: some awesome things I’ve collected around the creative blogosphere.

20140721-144746-53266902.jpg Some beautiful looking raspberry buckwheat porridge, that’s right I said porridge.

20140721-145047-53447102.jpg Oh summer, you make me want to make Popsicles over and over again.

20140721-151143-54703216.jpg DIY playtime activities for #toddlerelise

20140721-151421-54861710.jpg Super simple leather earrings


4 Awesome Things

Today’s awesome things post was intended to be all about fathers gifts and activities, but I quickly got distracted. So, here’s what is catching my eye this week (father’s day and otherwise):

20140613-112320-41000675.jpg Pop Art for the Pops

20140613-112438-41078189.jpg Kids Cardboard and Paper DIY Toys

20140613-112548-41148375.jpg A Party to Aspire To

20140613-112649-41209847.jpg Greek Summer, here we come

This weekend, I’m heading to good ole Rocky Top Tennessee to visit and celebrate family and relax in the sunshine. What will you be up to this, hopefully, gorgeous weekend?