Saturday, November 2, 2013

just because.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

On running: a personal history | chapter 1

The very first time I remember going out for a "run" was the summer before I began high school.  With a plan to try out for a few junior varsity sports, I took someone's advice to "get in shape," and went for a few brief jogs around the park near my home.

Four years later, I picked running back up.  A first year student in college, I found a new interest in regular exercise as a way to stay healthy (and maybe combat that legendary "freshman fifteen").  I planned out a 2 mile route in the small college town I lived in, and mixed running with walking to make it through.  In my first year, I ran about three days a week.  By my sophomore year, running at college disappeared, as a job, social activities, and student organizations took over my life.  In the summers, I worked during the day and ran in the evenings at the reservoir near my home.  Gradually, I began to develop a love of that evening exercise.  It represented freedom for me:  time to think, time to be alone, an often breathtaking few of the city I grew up in, and a surge of positive energy and health.

I spent the summer after college running regularly, and loving it.  My mileage was nothing to speak of, but I still enjoyed those quiet nights - while the sun dropped, I soaked up physical and mental energy.  When I moved to DC, my running quickly dropped off in favor of 90-hour work weeks, and then bounced back when I took a 9-5 job writing curriculum.  I moved to Capitol Hill and my 4-mile daily run took me to the Washington Monument and back.  Talk about inspiration.  It was here I fell in love with running.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Creative outlets

I miss creating.  I used to do it all the time!  Baking, painting, decorating, paper-crafting; somehow these are the things that get pushed to the side most easily when life gets busy.  They are often also the little bits of life that feel most fulfilling.  This month, I've been getting back into decorating, and am scheming up some sewing projects for friends.  Even the little things like redoing my chalboards (I have one in the living room, pictured above, and one in the kitchen) and snapping a few photos on the weekends feels good!  

I've also been thinking big: should I finally take the plunge and open an Etsy shop?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Spring planting

Finally, spring has arrived.  Interesting fact: I used to not really like spring.  I thought it was boring.  If you'd asked me my favorite season, maybe even four years ago, I would have told you:  fall, first and foremost, then winter, then summer.  The end.  Spring felt more like an interim.  Simply the transition to summer.  Looking back, I'm somewhat astonished at that thinking.  I have crisp memories of coming home from middle school in the spring - getting off the bus, walking home, and arriving at the house when no one else was home.  In those first, dull days of spring, I skipped the front door and went straight to the backyard to inspect the progress: crocuses poking through flattened brown leaves to make their first appearance of the year.  

Today, I await spring eagerly.  Time to start planting!  Spring means peonies and hydrangeas and lilacs in full bloom, tulips and daffodils in my backyard, and the threat of frost past, so that I can put tomato and basil seeds into the ground.  This year, I'm trying squash!  The seedlings, above, are just popping up.  Growing vegetables is such rewarding work, but involves a lot of patience, and, I suppose, some risk.  There's no telling if these little sprouts will make it it to full fruit (and if the gophers that frequent my backyard will kindly refrain from eating up all the summer squash before I do) :)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Homemade Granola

Granola is a family favorite over here.  With milk, with yogurt, in small handfuls with nothing else - we both love it.  Filling and fairly healthy, the only challenge is in the purchase: it can be quite pricey, and the cheaper versions typically have much more sugar and fat.  The good news?  It's super-easy to make at home!

 There are dozens of variations that can be found online, but the greatness of homemade granola is in its simplicity: you can make it with whichever ingredients you prefer.  The bulk of my recipe included whole oats, sliced almonds, wheat germ, shredded coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.  Honey and vegetable oil bring the whole concoction together.

My basic recipe:

 - 4 cups whole rolled oats
 - 1 cup shredded coconut
 - 3/4 cup sliced almonds
 - 1/4 cup wheat germ
 - 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
 - 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
 - 1 teaspoon vanilla
 - 1/2 cup vegetable oil (you can also use sunflower or another oil)
 - 1/4 cup honey

Instructions:  Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Stir dry ingredients together until evenly blended.  In a separate bowl, mix together oil, honey and vanilla.  Pour wet mixture into dry and stir to evenly coat.  Pour entire mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake for approximately 45 minutes.

I recommend stirring the granola on the tray about halfway though, and checking regularly after 30 minutes to ensure that it doesn't burn!  When the granola looks golden, remove it from the oven and let cool completely.  I store mine in glass ball jars to keep it crispy :)

{warm granola}
{Tucky looks for dropped bites}

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Local Lovelies: Once I went to Boxcar

A long time ago I started a series of posts about my favorite local sights and indulgences.  When we moved to Syracuse two and a half years ago, I tried my best to cultivate that same weekend lifestyle of hunting down special spots in the area and things that make the city (or town) unique that made our life in the Hudson Valley so idyllic.  I've covered the Creekwalk in Syracuse, but my demanding schedule and finances sometimes get in the way of digging in to the Syracuse culture.  STILL, I've been plenty of places - big an small, expensive and free, outdoors and in, simple and complex - they're just waiting to be shared.  Here's one from over two years ago, our first winter back in Syracuse.  

I didn't take too many photos, but one Saturday afternoon I went to check out the Boxcar Press open house.  Boxcar is a letterpress business in the city that had just renovated their studio on the near west side in late 2010.

At the open house, I saw live printing on their beautiful presses, got to try my hand at printmaking, and shopped some of their holiday products, including cards, notepads and coasters.  I also received a free t-shirt and a few sample coasters to take home.

Boxcar was one of my very first experiences with some of the innovative art and local-focused movements that are happening in Syracuse.  Though I haven't been back to their space since December 2010, I always enjoy seeing their work at local art fairs, and checking out their blog from time to time, for tips on printing, and to see what they're up to.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Hurry up, spring

This week I've been itching for spring.  Over here in the northeast, winter seems endless.  I calculated yesterday, and realized (somehow, after 29 years) that winter in Upstate New York lasts for five full months of the year.  Five!  That's almost half!  It's just not right.  As a snow-loving girl, I'd like to imagine that my early-March distaste for winter adds extra emphasis to the pains of a five month long winter.

Running outside surely saves me - without my daily dose of fresh air, and even regular daylight (which I get none of in my windowless office at work), I think I'd be going stir-crazy.  SO, for those also suffering the late-winter blues, here is what I do to get by:

- Dig through summery and other warm-winter photos.  My spirits are boosted when I remember the pleasures of a glass of wine by backyard fires, swimsuited weekends at my family's Cottage, and open windows in my livingroom.  Sigh.

- Rearrange!  Freshening up my bedroom or livingroom kicks a little bit of the winter boredom.

- Find a new blog.  After two and a half years of feeling overstressed and pulled from my passions, I'm trying my best to reconnect with my creative self.   This weekend I scrolled through some older favorites - NieNieDialogues and Never HomeMaker - and found a new inspiration - GreyLikesBaby.