Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Amanda & April

By far my favorite thing that I have accomplished on my 30 Before Thirty list was cooking my way through a cookbook.  Who wouldn't want to make yummy healthy(ish) foods, while singing and dancing in the kitchen and drinking wine? I became very close with Elvis Costello many nights while cooking. 

I had originally anticipated cooking my way through The Healthy Gluten-Free Life by Tammy Credicott, but once I bought the cookbook mid December I came to the realization that there was no humanly possible way for me to cook 200 recipes in 180 days.  I began the hunt for a new, smaller cookbook that I wanted to cook through when I stumbled upon Gluten is My Bitch by April Peveteaux. 

I've been mostly gluten free and dairy free for a little over two years now.  When I read the description of Gluten is My Bitch I wondered "where was this when I stopped eating gluten?" Both humorous and informative this book is a must read for the gluten free and non-gluten free.  The recipes are all delicious and range from southern comfort food to paleo.   

Gluten Free Beignets

Gluten Free German Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cup Cookies


Of course I somehow managed to only take pictures of the baked goods. The recipes to these baked delights can all be found in the Gluten is My Bitch cookbook, which everyone should go buy, or I have linked to the Gluten is My Bitch blog for two of them.   Make sure to check out Gluten is My Bitch for other delicious gluten free recipes.

Maybe in true Julie & Julia fashion I will take on a Julia Child cookbook next, or maybe just wait for April's next book!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

No Such Thing as a Perfectly Good Airplane!

How does one celebrate their thirtieth birthday?  They jump out of an airplane of course! Instead of going out with style as I originally wanted, I went out with bang...or jump!

This was probably the most exhilarating experience I have ever had.  I am at a loss for words on how to explain the experience, all in all it was the greatest and most liberating rush.  It wasn't quite the "roller coaster drop" feeling I thought it would be, it was more of supported float which gave me the sense of flight.  Here is that loss of words again.

I am extremely grateful that I have a great friend that went with me and got to experience this as well.  How many people do you know that would jump out of an airplane with you? So maybe we are a little crazy, but then again who isn't? If George Bush Sr. can do it at 90 years old than anyone can.  I may need to keep up the tradition as Bush has and jump every 5 years on our birthday hereafter, since we are kindred birthday spirits and all!

And just remember "there is no such thing as a perfectly good airplane!"

Thursday, June 12, 2014


I'm 30 today!!!! And I'm pretty excited about it too!!!!!  It's a bit unreal to think that my twenties have come and gone, but it exhilarating to know that I am about to start a new chapter in my life.  My twenties were absolutely amazing; I married Trevor, bought my first house, sold my first house, made life long friends, and traveled more than I could have hoped.  In honor of my new chapter and new beginning, in true fashion, I thought I'd create a list!  This isn't a "bucket list," as my 30 before Thirty list was, this is a list of things I want to do and things I should do.  One thing that I have learned from my twenties is that a decade sure does come and go by faster than you think.

    Our new house needs to be filled with the pitter-patter of little feet.  Our king sized bed needs to be filled with cuddles and snuggles from little ones.  Our kitchen needs to be filled with the aroma of homemade cookies with help from little hands.  Our backyard needs to be filled with mud pies and leaf piles good for jumping in.

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    Baking to me symbolizes a time when life was simpler, a time when everything wasn't so rushed.  Some of my most vivid memories from childhood are baking with my great grandmothers.  The smell of fresh bread and cookies brings me back to their kitchens that were filled with love and laughter, and lots of flour. Becoming a master baker (in my own terms) would help me bring back the simple pleasures in life.  "Butter to the edges!"

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     Because who wouldn't want to drink Absolut Vodka in Sweden.  Because who wouldn't want to eat authentic Swedish Meatballs.  Because who doesn't want to sing Dancing Queen while roaming around a town center.  Because who wouldn't want to go to a country of their heritage.

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    I've always been a very positive and optimistic person, I want to continue to surround myself with dreamers, doers, believers, and thinkers.  "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.  Small people always do that but really great people make you feel that you too can become great.  When you are seeking to bring big plans to fruition it is important with whom you regularly associate.  Hang out with friends who are like-minded and who are also designing purpose-filled lives.  Similarly be that kind of friend for your friends." - Mark Twain

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    Spend more time with friends and loved ones.  Go outside.  Take a trip. Be adventurous.  Don't be afraid to turn off your cell phone!

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    Some of my most influential experiences in my twenties was from traveling to different countries and experiencing different cultures.  I want to continue to travel and grow as a person with better perspective on the world around me.

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    Nothing give me greater joy than knowing I did something to make someone's day a little brighter or bring them a little happiness.

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    Forget the rules of fashion, if you like it...wear it!

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    As a continuation of my New Years resolutions, I want to continue to be healthy and active throughout my thirties.

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    I have worn many different hats in my career life and want to find the one with the right fit.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Not made in Sweden

I feel so grown up, I no longer own any furniture from Ikea!  The last piece of furniture that I was working on replacing was our media cabinet.  While on the hunt for a replacement I had to fall in love with Pottery Barn's Andover Media Cabinet, but at $1200 it was a little unrealistic to me.  I began to search Craigslist for a new media cabinet but come to find out, most of those are from Ikea as well, or the dimensions wouldn't fit under our TV.  So I started to look for ones that I could refurbish, that was until Trevor decided we were going to build one!  I ended up finding on Ana White's website building instructions for the exact same Pottery Barn media cabinet I wanted (project instructions here). SCORE! 

I did not take many pictures through the work stages of the project, but here is the completed garage phase of our new media cabinet.  Archie decided to photobomb the picture.

Apparently my fur kids want to be seen! And I need to learn not to take pictures at night with my iPhone! I am so excited to no longer own any particle board, falling apart, cheap furniture! So long Ikea!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Keeping Up With My Correspondence

It makes me sad to think that letter writing is becoming a dying art form in our modern technology age.  I can recall being a young kid lying on my bed and writing letters to my best friends and family; letting them know all about school, dance classes, and how my summer was going.  It's sad to think that we as adults are so busy in life that we can't take a few minutes out of our day to take pen to paper and just let someone know we are thinking of them or love them. 

In writing each letter to someone I felt their sense of joy they would get when they saw a hand written letter in the mail, in the shuffle of bills and junk mail.  To me there are a handful of moments in life that bring sheer joy, things like a warm towel or hot chocolate on a cold day or getting a hand written letter in the mail.  In my quest to write thirty letters to friends and family I was originally hoping to make other people feel special, but what I did was make myself feel loved when I realized I have so many friends and family to be able to write letters to.

After sending out my 30 letters I realized this is something I don't want to do just once because I put it on a list of things to accomplish, this is something I want to keep up.  Because who doesn't love feeling special!


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