Jul 31, 2013

giveaway!

On Friday I mentioned that it might be about time for a giveaway... and here it is!  I have really enjoyed these past several months of blogging, getting to know some of you, and finding new blogs to read, too.  I was so excited to hit the triple digits over there on Google Friend Connect; thank you so much for reading!


Jewelry is what I do, so it only seemed fitting that it should be my very first giveaway.  I was going to choose a piece, but then I figured the winner might want to do that for themselves.  So instead, I'm giving away a $25.00 credit to
The Bauble Dept. shop on Etsy!  You can visit the shop right here.

The giveaway will run through next Wednesday, and the winner will be selected at random and announced on the blog shortly after!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jul 30, 2013

the dragons are coming... to new bern



Riley and I spent the weekend at the boat in New Bern.  After taking care of some early morning boat projects while it was still fairly cool, we headed in to town to check out the dragon boat races.  As with most sporting events, I found the people and inanimate objects to be much more interesting than the sport itself.  So, after watching with the other spectators for awhile, we wandered over to where the teams were waiting and where the real action was happening.


All I really wanted was a close up of the boat, anyway.
This may look like the beginnings of a brawl, but really they were just dancing to My Girl.

So, maybe dragon boat races aren't really my thing.  Or maybe they're just not as exciting (or authentic) in New Bern.  But it was still a nice reprieve from boat projects and multiple Lowes and West Marine runs.  And it gave us a good excuse to go in to town for awhile and check out a new restaurant for lunch, too.  Also, I have to give myself a pat on the back for finally leaving Gidget on the boat by herself.  I was too paranoid that it would be too hot or that she would make a fuss for the whole marina to hear.  But, she did great!  Overall, it was a good, productive but enjoyable weekend.  We got to check off the projects on Riley's to do list, and I got to see my dragon boats.


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Jul 29, 2013

floydfest

Chelsa, and her turquoise bedecked wrists (my kinda girl!), mapping out her weekend
I mentioned in my last post that I had the chance to attend FloydFest last Thursday.  FloydFest is a four day music extravaganza that happens to be held in my own backyard.  A bit of an exaggeration of course, but I consider anything within an hours drive of my house to be pretty close.  My sister in law, Chelsa, has been one of the photographers for the event for the past few years.  I was able to tag along with one of her tickets for the day, which was quite the experience seeing as how she is a talented photographer and genuine local "celebrity."  I toyed with the idea of bringing my own "real" camera along (which, coincidentally, used to be Chelsa's) but figured I'd just be following her around trying to grab all of her shots, but failing in my embarrassingly amateur attempts.  So I chickened out and resorted to iphone photos instead.


FloydFest is the perfect place for one of a kind people watching, excellent live music and fantastic festival food.  I caught it on the first day, so I'm sure I missed some of the more entertaining aspects of festival life (you know how people get a little more "free" as the days go on...), but you get the idea.




The highlight for me was definitely the performance by The Lumineers.  There's just something about the energy of a live outdoor show.  When the stage lights up the night and everyone starts dancing and singing along... I love it.

Have you been to any music festivals yet this summer?  What has been your all time favorite concert experience?


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Jul 26, 2013

the 'best summer ever' bucket list

via
1. I love this Best Summer Ever Bucket List that I stumbled upon the other day.  I've already completed 13 out of 30... but I still have a ways to go!  What's on your bucket list this summer?

2. Things got a little mushy in my post yesterday, thanks for letting me share!  Riley has had so much on his plate lately, and I have so much admiration and respect for the way he handles it all.  He continues to impress me more and more as the years go by.


3. After taking a two week break, Riley and I are headed back down to New Bern and our sailboat this weekend.  The summer seems to be slipping away far too quickly, and we have so much left to do before we leave this fall!


4. Last night I had the opportunity to go to the local music festival, Floyd Fest, and see the Lumineers live!  My sister-in-law and brother-in-law were kind enough to let me use one of their tickets for the day, and I had so much fun.  The Lumineers show was amazing, but I think my favorite part might have been the chandeliers on stage!  Especially later when they illuminated the trees behind them... gorgeous!

5. I'm thinking a giveaway might be in order soon... obviously I'm still a newbie on the blogging block, but we're getting close to 100 over there on Google Friend Connect, and I think that's a pretty cool milestone!  Maybe one that deserves a celebration by way of a giveaway?  Check back soon!

I hope you have a great weekend!

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Jul 25, 2013

the life of riley

It's 6 am and it's hard to wake up.  His body is still tired and sore from the day before.  He gets up slowly and starts to stretch it out, and I hear the sound of bones shifting back into place as he goes.  His body is too young to be so old.  I guess that's what happens when you play hard for 27 years straight, and work even harder.

He leaves for the job he's had since he was 15.  He's been making significant financial decisions for as long, and has been working non stop to make something of his life.  He works hard, and he's good at what he does.  I've never actually been to work with him, but I can say this with certainty because he has the strongest work ethic of anyone I've ever known and he's good at everything he's ever attempted.  He calls in the middle of the day just to see how my day is and to tell me he loves me.  I wish I still had all 5 years worth of mid day voicemails I've ever received.



He gets home, and starts work all over again.  But not before a kiss and telling me I'm pretty.  He starts working around our house, or someone else's, or maybe building something new for the boat.  He finally stops for the day and washes away the sweat and dirt from a days worth of hard labor.  He slowly lowers himself onto the couch with a loud sigh, as if to physically expel the stress and tension of the day.  He has reading, and dreaming, and planning to do.  Because, this is not all that he has in mind for his life.  And the thing you have to know about Riley is, he is a dreamer... and a doer.

He thanks me for dinner.  He always does.  Then he sits down with me to watch my Nicholas Sparks movie like there is nothing else in the world he'd rather be doing.  He always falls asleep halfway through, and I'll have to wake him back up to go to bed so that he won't miss his alarm in the morning, or wake up feeling any more sore than he already will.

As he falls asleep, he whispers that he loves me.  And then he'll say it a few more times.  Because each time he starts to drift off he'll forget that he's said it already.  And he wants to be sure that I know.  But I know, my dear, I know.  I know it by the way that you work hard to provide for us, and by the way you dream and plan for our life together.  I know it by the way you call me just to say hello, and by the way you make the time and effort to be thoughtful even when you have so much on your plate.  I know it when you're calm and patient, even when I'm being difficult.  I know it by your hug, your kiss, and I see it in your eyes.  I know it.  All of these things, the big and the small, do not go unnoticed.  

And just in case you didn't know it,
 I love you, too.


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Jul 24, 2013

Forest Glen


Last week I had the opportunity to participate in a different kind of photoshoot with Kristin from Windy Poplars.  Kristin has a budding photography business and she's offering a beautiful twist on the "boudoir" photography that is so popular right now.  Kristin's goal for these photos is to capture the delicate femininity of a woman in a naturally beautiful and sensual way.  She describes her vision on her photography Facebook page,



"these shoots are set, as the name implies, in the forest, and celebrate natural beauty. Ethereal, rustic, romantic, yet still sensual, these photographs are truly art. And just might be the answer to the ever elusive "what to get my husband for his birthday/Christmas/anniversary present" question.


The timing was perfect for me since Riley and I have an anniversary right around the corner!  Kristin has such a genuinely sweet nature, that working with her on a shoot that could have been slightly awkward was instead, as fun and as comfortable as could be!  She had great ideas and I think she captured the "ethereal" look perfectly.  I had intended to save the pictures as an anniversary present, but I was so excited about them that I just couldn't keep a secret.  Needless to say, Riley loves them!  It was  hard to choose, but these are just three of my favorites (that I didn't mind sharing on the internet...).

I was in love with this floral crown that Kristin made!  Now I'm just trying to find another excuse to wear one...


For more information on Kristin's work you can check out her website,
Windy Poplars Photography, as well as her Facebook page.
She also has a lovely blog that you might want to add to your reading list, too!

Jul 23, 2013

zucchini bread


I'm sure everyone and their mother already has their tried and true recipe for zucchini bread.  What else do you do with an abundance of homegrown zucchini in the summer?  But seeing as how this is my first year growing my own zucchini, and seeing as how I never really approved of tainting my bread with vegetables during my younger years, I had never actually made any zucchini bread of my own.

I pulled the recipe from my mom's recipe box, the one filled to the brim with newspaper recipes that had been clipped by my great grandmother, and index cards scrawled with recipes that have been handed down through the generations.  That's where you find all of the really good recipes.  This particular one came from a family friend, at least 15 years ago.


Zucchini Bread
makes 2 loaves or 24 muffins

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs
2 cups zucchini, grated
1 cup oil
3 teaspoons vanilla

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients thoroughly.  Grease and sugar 2 loaf pans.  Bake at 350° F for 1 hour (about 20 minutes for muffins) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool on a cooling rack, and try not to eat it all in one sitting.



I've already made this recipe a few times this summer.  This time around I baked it with my sister, and didn't feel nearly as guilty when it disappeared so quickly.

What are some of your favorite family recipes?


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Jul 22, 2013

lazy summer days

I'm not the only one that enjoyed the pool...
I stumbled upon this heartwarming scene at my parent's house.  A little father, son-in-law bonding over peanuts and beer.

This weekend was our second weekend in a row that we spent at home instead of traveling to the boat. Apparently, I just don't know what to do with myself anymore.  I had a very long list of productive things that I was going to do, but somehow all I managed was some reading, some netflix watching, and some pool swimming (for all the time I've spent on the water lately, this was surprisingly my first time in the water this summer).  

On second thought, maybe I knew exactly what to do with myself.

Other than a guilty conscience over feeling a little lazy this weekend, it was pretty much perfect.  The kind of ideal weekend that we expect as kids on summer break from school.  The kind that we dream of as adults.

What does your perfect summer day look like?  What are some of your absolute favorite ways to spend your time?



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Jul 18, 2013

in the shop

 

I've been working on making a few new pieces for the shop this week, and it looks like I'm still feeling a little patriotic!  I didn't have any red in the shop before, so I'm excited to introduce a few red coral pieces.  I love red coral, it feels so summery to me and I think it complements the summer trends so well.  The nautical trend, in particular.

I've also been making a few chunkier, more statement like pieces and working with leather more.  I like it for it's natural, earthy feel.  It's also great for keeping a chunkier piece lightweight, or for making a longer piece a little more cost effective.


What type of jewelry do you like to wear in the summer (if any!)? Are there certain styles and materials that feel more summery to you?  I'd love to hear your opinions!

Jul 17, 2013

garden fresh

We are so excited to be growing some of our own vegetables for the first time this year!  So far, our cucumber and zucchini plants have been the only ones producing, though some of the others aren't too far behind.  I accidentally let our first zucchini grow to be gigantic; it had somehow escaped my attention.  Now I know to check on our little garden often, and it's always such a fun surprise to find a new vegetable ready to pick!

So far, our cucumbers have been the most prolific.  Which is great, except that we don't really eat cucumbers very often, aside from throwing some in a tossed salad.  For whatever reason, though, I absolutely hate washing lettuce.  It just sits there in the fridge, and then I end up wasting entirely too much of it.  So, I've been trying to find some new ways to use our cucumber harvest.


The first recipe I tried was influenced by this salad.  It is a super easy salad to throw together, no lettuce involved!  Bonus points if you happen to have the other vegetables in your garden as well!


Chop:
1 cucumber
2 medium roma tomatoes
1/2 medium red onion
1 red bell pepper

Rinse:
1 15 oz. can of chickpeas

Toss with:
1/2 cup feta
3 tablespoons minced parsley
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons tahini
1 1/2 teaspoons sumac powder
Salt and pepper, to taste


I also made some pita chips to serve alongside the salad.  If you make them large enough, you can use them as scoops.  I cut one large pita into 8 wedges, brushed them with olive oil, sprinkled them with sea salt, and baked them at 350° F for 10 minutes.


This was a really nice way to use fresh vegetables.  It would work well as a side to any grilled entree, or eaten as a snack or light lunch with the pita chips.  I didn't have any sumac powder on hand, so mine was probably missing that extra oomph, but I still thought it was delicious!  Next time, though, I may peel my cucumbers first because they did have just a slightly bitter skin.


Are you growing your own vegetables this year?  Do you have any delicious recipes to pass along?  I'm going to need some more ideas for all of these cucumbers!  And zucchini...


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Jul 16, 2013

overwhelmingly blessed

Shirt, pants, purse: Anthropologie Necklace: The Bauble Dept.

I was driving home yesterday (after a very good report from the vet, yay!) when all of a sudden my heart just felt so overwhelmingly full and blessed that I thought it might burst.  Between prayers that have been answered lately, and the support and encouragement I've had from people around me, in any aspect of my life, I have so much to be thankful for.  Even the smallest of things that I too often take for granted have really come into focus.

I feel like Riley and I are at this major crossroads in our lives, where every decision we make might dramatically alter the course of our lives.  Have you had one of those moments?  The unknown can be so scary, so every single answered prayer, no matter how big or small, seems to carry huge significance.  Every encouraging or supportive word lends a little bit more courage.  Each one feels like a tiny green light, giving us the go ahead to follow our dreams.

So, I really just want to take a moment to say thank you.  Thanks for letting me share the things I love with you.  I have this little blog and this little shop in this great big world full of people doing amazing things, and I just want to say thanks for visiting.  Every little thing, a sweet comment or even a prayer, means more to me than you'll ever know!





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Jul 15, 2013

summer romance


This time of year holds a lot of special memories for me.  It was during these summer months, six years ago, that Riley and I fell in love.


One of our first dates was at the fair.  We weren't really a couple yet, but we were both pretty sure that's where it was headed.  It was a really rainy summer, and as we stood in line for the first ride, we looked anxiously at the dark clouds that had started brewing above.  All of a sudden, the skies opened and it started pouring down rain.  We began running for the nearest shelter, along with the throng of other fair goers.  Then, right in the midst of the hustle and bustle, in the pouring rain, Riley stopped in his tracks, grabbed my hand, and pulled me in for a kiss.


And that's the story of our first kiss.  I tried not to worry too much afterwards about the damage the pouring rain had done to the hair and makeup I had painstakingly worked on earlier.  Because I can surely appreciate when a man recognizes, and seizes, a romantic moment.

We went to the fair again this weekend.  It always sounds better in theory than it is in real life.  In reality, it's kind of dirty and stinky, crowded, and overpriced.  But then, when we ride the ferris wheel, and we're hanging there above it all, I look down at the sight below and appreciate it for the memory it holds for me.  Of that rainy summer night that was the start of something wonderful.



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Jul 12, 2013

5 things to be super excited about

five things I'm excited about this weekend

1. Staying home!  We've been traveling so much on the weekends lately, and I'm really looking forward to not having to pack anything or sit in the car for hours.


2. I tweeted last weekend that spending time in New Bern made me want to have a Nicholas Sparks marathon.  I finally made it to the library to stock up!  I realize this may be a bit of sappy romance overload, but what can I say, I'm a sucker for sap.  It also made me realize that I don't take advantage of the library nearly as much as I should.


3.  Things are really in bloom around here!  I never thought I would get so excited about a couple of vegetables, but this is the first year that we've really tried planting anything, and now we are stating to see some results.  I'm looking forward to trying out some new recipes with some of my own produce!

at the fair, 6 years ago
4.  The local fair is here through the end of the weekend and Riley and I have a date to check it out.  This fair holds special memories for us... maybe I'll share the story next week!

5. I have new materials on the way and a bunch of new ideas for the shop!  I can't wait for them to arrive so I can make some fun new summer pieces.

I hope you have a great weekend!

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