December 12, 2013

The Tutu Project

Today, I just want to share this beautiful story with you. A man, who absolutely adores & loves his wife has supported her during her battles with cancer through his incredibly creative photography. 

Check out the story: 

I'm so in awe at how selfless this husband has been for his wife. Its so wonderful & inspiring to see this type of love in action. You can find learn more about Bob & Linda & even buy a calendar of all his photos at The Tutu Project.

Happy Thursday! 

December 10, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things

Well if you couldn't tell from my last post, I love Christmas. I love the weather, the excitement in the air, all the fun tacky-sweater parties, being able to get bundled up in warm boots & cozy scarves, and everything else that comes with this time of year. Every year this season flies by so this year I'm going to take special care to enjoy every moment because this year's holiday season will never happen again!

PS. Doesn't that sangria recipe look AMAZING?! I haven't tried it out, but you better believe its on my to-do list this week!

December 9, 2013

Weekly Wishes: One

 Hello, there. I hope you had a good weekend! I spent the weekend running a few errands & getting our Christmas decorations up. Today, I'm participating in my first link-up through The Nectar Collective, called weekly wishes. Every week, tons of people blog about their week's goals & link up with others to encourage & be encouraged. 

This week's goals:
  1. Take some pictures. I've been slacking in the photo department, mostly because I lost my camera battery charger, but I bought a new one so I have no reason not to get out there and use my camera!
  2. Paint. Well after a month of waiting, I finally have my birthday presents. My mom got me some new brushes, paper, paint & a new watercolor notebook & Emil got me a couple awesome watercolor books so I have all the resources I could need to sit down & work on my paintings.
  3. Send out Christmas cards. The tree is up & so are the decorations. Its time to send out a few Christmas cards & get in touch with some family in the states.
  4. Use my new Crock-Pot. I bought a new baby Crock-Pot, perfect for a dip or a meal for two. I have a few recipes & even went out for all the groceries I'll need to make them. Now I just have to actually make it happen! If all goes well, I might even share a recipe with y'all!
This week's theme is color & since this weekend revolved around Christmas & Christmas decorations, I decided to use a picture of our tree! If you're a goal setter or want to be, feel free to participate! Get the low down & link up at The Nectar Collective!

Happy Monday! I'm wishing y'all a good week & sending out good vibes!

December 5, 2013

Be Grateful

Happy Thursday! For all of you still in school, I know things are a little hectic right now but I hope the studying is going well & you're enjoying the last few days of the semester. For everyone else out there, I hope this Thursday finds you in high spirits & loving life.

Since Thanksgiving, I've had a few things on my mind & have been trying to make sure that I'm living each day as positively as possibly & with a grateful heart. Life is officially back in full swing & things are probably getting a little crazy wherever you are, whether its because of finals or the holiday buzz that tends to stress people out. I just wanted to encourage myself as well as any readers out there to continue living with a thankful heart. Its so easy to be thankful on a day dedicated just to that, but what about a week later, or a few weeks later when we're ripping open gifts under the Christmas tree? I urge you to continue being thankful and appreciative of all that you have, and more importantly sharing your gratitude with the people you care about.

Here are a few ideas to share your gratitude with the people who love you and/or the people you don't know but come in contact with:

To people you know & care about:
  • Ask them how they are & when they say "fine, thanks", ask again. 
  • Encourage them in something you know they've been wanting to do for a while & even offer to do it with them. 
  • Offer to do something they don't like to do. 
  • Run their errands along with yours when you go out. 
  • Grab them lunch or bring them a coffee when they need it & don't have time. 
  • Mail or pass along a hand written note of appreciation or encouragement. 
  • Cook them a meal or have them over for a wine night just to spend some quality time together. 
  • Create a playlist or CD for them to enjoy. 
  • If they're far away, set aside a time to talk on the phone or skype. 
  • Make a handmade gift for them.
  • Buy them a small gift (under $5) and explain that you thought of them when you saw it. 
  • Ask about whatever they're going through & offer to help. 
  • Order their favorite flowers. 
  • Think about the ways that they challenge you to be a better person & thank them for it. 

To those you run into in your daily life:
  • Tip extra or leave an encouraging note in the tip jar. 
  • Compliment their abilities or anything about them. 
  • Give them a positive review online if possible or tell their boss that they're doing a great job. 
  • Start a conversation with them or ask how they're doing. 
  • Make eye contact & smile. 

There are tons of ways to show people around you that you care about them & want to encourage them. These are just a few! Remember that its important to take the time to get to know the people that you care about so that you can encourage them in ways that will make them feel loved and appreciated rather than doing whats easiest or most comfortable for you.

How will you encourage the people in your life this week? How will you show the people around you that you're thankful for them? 

December 4, 2013

Soul-Warming Chili

After two weeks in Egypt I was seriously craving some good home-cooked meals and coming home to some FREEZING weather made a big pot of chili an obvious choice. This is my favorite chili recipe & I wanted to share it with y'all since its getting colder in most parts of the world & this recipe will warm your soul.

Here's what you will need:
2 pounds ground beef
1 pounds ground pork*
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce**
1 can of beer
4 beef bullion cubes
3-5 tablespoons chili powder***
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans 

*Can be substituted with beef chuck or 3 pounds of ground beef
**Can be substituted with the tomato paste equivalent mixed with water
***Around here, 5 tablespoons of chili powder is WAY too much. Feel free to tone it down!

  • If using beef chuck, put meat in freezer until its slightly frozen & cut into small cubes
  • In a large skillet, brown meat. Stir in onions & garlic & cook until onions are tender, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • In a large pot, combine canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, beer, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, brown sugar, beef base, pepper, & bay leaves. Bring mix to a boil over high heat. Add meat & onion mixture & reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered for 2 ½ -3 hours. (Keep an eye on the chili & if it becomes thicker than you’d like, add small amounts of beef base until desired thickness is achieved)
  • Drain can of pinto beans & mix into pot. Simmer for 30 minutes. Taste & adjust seasonings.
  • Remove bay leaves & enjoy, topped with green onions, cheese & a dollop of sour cream!

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Let me know what you think! 

December 3, 2013

Good News

Happy Tuesday! 
I'm pretty excited about a few posts I have coming your way in the next few days (think yummy food!) but today I wanted to share some exciting news: I finally made a photography website. I've been wanting to make one for a while & have been steadily building my portfolio but I didn't feel "ready". Well, I finally decided to quit telling myself I wasn't ready enough & went for it. Its currently pretty basic but I'm excited to expand it as I figure a few things out but feel free to check it out & let me know what you think! 

Is there anything you've been wanting to do for some time now but haven't? Stop telling yourself you can't and let yourself be successful in whatever it is you are wanting to achieve! You're awesome, just remember that & don't let a little bit of insecurity or self-doubt get in your way.
Today is the day!

December 2, 2013

A Swedish Thanksgiving

I hope y'all had a good holiday weekend spent doing something that brought you joy. Now its back to the grind, whether its work or school, but I hope you are able to find comfort in this beautiful season & are able to remain grateful during a time when so many are overcome with desire. Happy Monday!

Emil & I have been talking about taking a day trip to Malmo, Sweden for a long time now & we finally made it happen. On Thanksgiving Day we took a train across the water from Copenhagen to Sweden. Although it was cold & windy, the sun was shining brightly & we enjoyed our afternoon in the city

We wandered the streets, window shopped & saw a couple sights before we decided we needed to stop for a cup of something warm (I'm a chai latte kind of girl). I even found an "American Store" that carries all sorts of food & goods straight from the U.S. that are incredibly hard to find anywhere in Scandinavia (shout-out to any Cholula hot sauce lovers!) I wrote a couple postcards & we bundled up & headed to see the gorgeous St. Petri Cathedral. 

Since its been getting dark pretty early around here, we made sure to check out the castle before the sun began to set. On our way we saw the Castle Park & the famous turning torso (a famous skyscraper). We wandered throughout the castle & learned a little history along the way & afterward, we headed to a late lunch. Full & happy, we mailed my postcards & caught a train back to Copenhagen.

Ive never been to Sweden before but I had a lot of fun seeing a new city & country & hearing a little bit of Swedish. I definitely recommend this day trip from Copenhagen if you're visiting for a few days!