I Believe In Nashville

HEEEEYYYY…..YOOOOOUUU….GUYYYYYYS!!

Guess what? I’m still alive.

Thought I’d stop by to unload some pictures from my recent trip to what we like to call, Nashvegas. That’s right, Nashville TN. I spent about a week there visiting my one and only brother and a few friends that used to live in Texas. It looked liked coffee, food, more coffee and more food. Take a look…IMG_9302antique archaeologyIMG_9293tex-mex Chuy'sIMG_9337IMG_9335Elvis NashvilleIMG_9345IMG_9347IMG_9343IMG_9348IMG_9344Barista Parlor, Nashville TNBarista Parlor, Nashville TNIMG_9332crema nashvilleNashville skyline

(P.S.- I’m pretty sure you can’t hardstyle with a smile on your face! Oops.)

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So Long Summer


Since the last time we’ve talked…the entire summer has flown by and I did not once update this blog! Shame on me. So here it goes, a summer recap. Just a few of the highlights that happened to be photographically documented. Hopefully now we can return to our regularly scheduled programing.

First things first, one of the major things I’ve done since I last checked in was take a trip to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti to visit my sister who lives and works there semi-permanently. There’s too much to tell and it was 4 months ago, so I’ll spare you the details. You can read a little more about it and check out the pictures over on my sister’s blog if you’re interested. This picture was taken on one of our walks through an area called The Ravine, where Erin helps provide food and medical care to the community. These children were shouting “Blanc! Blanc!” at us as we passed by on the other side.
The Ravine PAP Haiti

After Haiti I promptly returned home and back to work. Beginning in June, our quiet little coastal town turns into tourist central.  Running a business in our area means work, work, and more work during the short summer season.  So we try to make the most of  what little time that we have off.  Even if that means making ordinary things extraordinary just to entertain ourselves.  It makes us feel better about ourselves if we can believe we have some semblance of a life. HA!

So in July, I found out that one of my favorite bands was going to be playing a small show in Owosso, Mi. This is about 2 hours and 15 minutes from my house, so I talked Erin into going along for the ride.  Of course, as all things go, we got tied up with something at the shop and ended up making it for just about the last 2 songs. Still worth it. If you know us at all, you know the expanse of our love for Chipotle. We decided since we were already so far down state we might as well drive 45 minutes further south to get ourselves a little bit of tex-mex heaven rolled up in burrito form. This is when #sistersofspontaneity was born. Listener Owosso, MiIMG_2990Also in July, I got to see one of my favorite people ever. Thee Stella Malone. She was on Warped Tour promoting (for lack of a better word) her ministry SKAD. Stella is one of the coolest people I know and I had such a great time hanging out with her on her tour bus and hearing stories from the summer. Such a blessing to get to see her face. I love this picture of her in front of the bus. The license plate says it all.Stella Malone SKAD

Then there was that one time when we thought “Singing Baristas” would be a great idea. Oh Geez. This is embarrassing, but I’m gonna put it out there anyway. I know, I know… it’s hard to believe that I’m making this song up as I go. Real. Raw. Talent. Now please forget you ever watched this.

Don’t think I was alone in this. These ladies were in on the action as well. Maybe a Singing Barista Trio in the future? I wouldn’t count on it:).

singing barista trio

It seems our favorite summer past time was kayaking this year! That’s right, I bought a kayak! We made several lake to lake trips in the evenings. There’s something unexplainable about getting outdoors and being in nature. While paddling down the river we saw a bunch of ducks, a few deer, a couple Osprey, and one busy beaver. We tried to follow him home down an eery waterway through tall weeds and stagnant water. We’re just a touch crazy.kayak collageerin kayak lake huron

You’d think with all the fun it seems I’ve had this summer I’d have no problem being in a consistently good mood. However, with all the working that took place, I often had to remind myself not to be in a perpetual state of grumpy.  It’s real easy for me to put one leg after the other into my grouchy pants first thing in the morning. This usually results in a negative attitude for the remainder of the day.  So I took this picture to remind myself, “I HAVE NOTHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT!” It’s so true. I’m blessed beyond what I deserve, I have no reason to be a grump. Smile. Choose happiness. Every day I have to remind myself to choose the joy of the Lord.

I have nothing to complain about

And for goodness sake, I live on one of the Great Lakes!!tawas point state park

We were able to make a few trips out to the Tawas Point Lighthouse with some out of town visitors at the end of July and also in August. tawas point lighthousetawas point lighthouseWhile we’re hitting the highlights of the summer, I can’t leave out The Moffatt wedding! Daniel got married to a girl who’s just perfect for him in a beautiful ceremony.  It was such a fun celebration, congratulations Daniel and Katelynn!IMG_3507Also in August we rooted for the Great Lakes Loons. My mom, my sister, the neighbor boy and another friend of ours spent the evening catching a minor league baseball game. We had $1 hotdogs, chips, cokes and ice scream sandwiches! The neighbor caught a fly ball, we caught a glimpse of ourselves on the jumbo-tron and The Loons won! I’d say it turned out to be a great night. great lakes loonserin adam loonsErin and I went spent an evening enjoying some blues at the annual Blues on the Bay Festival. From behind the fence that is. We’re cheap so we didn’t purchase tickets, but it all sounds the same whether you’re inside or outside the fence. We ordered a pizza and sat on the grass. It was some great people watching and we even learned a few dance moves.blues fest erin

pizza blues festIn keeping with Fairbanks tradition, we finished off the summer up north at our family cabin. The whole family came this year, minus my brother (insert sad face). We had a good ole’ time camping out in my tent, shooting guns, playing football, eating, sitting around a bon-fire, playing round after round of Skip-Bo, and of course passing around the newest family member. There’s something about our humble little cabin in the woods, it’s so peaceful and rejuvenating. I’m hoping to make a few more trips up there this fall before we close it up for the winter.  labor day campingIMG_2668trail tunnel

This summer was quite a whirlwind! I’m so looking forward to fall, it is after all my FAVORITE time of year.

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Thrifty Thursday- What I Wore On The Cheap

thrifty thursdayThrifty ThursdayThrifty Thursday

I know, I know. I don’t post anything for a month and a half and then this…an outfit. I’m sorry. I need to catch up. I need to catch up on a lot of things actually. Which is why you get this Thrifty Thursday post because I’ve got to start somewhere. Lately I’ve been busy living. It’s gotten a little cray-cray up in here, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

I know, I’m wearing a jacket in these photos and it’s practically June. Today was the first officially “hot” day this year, so up until now a jacket has been a welcomed accessory. The outfit is pretty standard. The striped t-shirt and jacket are both from the Gap Outlet. The t-shirt was $2 and the jacket is several years old but I want to say it was around $12. The jeans are my favorite jeans of the moment and wish I could find 10 more pairs in varying colors. They’re by Jessica Simpson and I picked them up at Marshall’s for $14.99. The black ankle boots were on clearance at Old Navy for $6.99 (talk about a steal!!). The most expensive thing is the necklace that I’m wearing and it’s actually borrowed from my sister. It was hand crafted by one of the members of the band, “The Soil and the Sun.” I’m all for splurging a little on handmade pieces. Well that’s all for now. I swear I’ll be back soon with something more interesting:).

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Over The Weekend…

Thursday night brought us another round of winter. Put together some rain, some freezing rain, and some snow along with some serious winds and you’ve got yourself a bonafide winter storm. Everything was coated in a nice layer of ice on Friday morning. Everything! The storm certainly took a toll on the trees. Branches just couldn’t withstand the weight of the ice and were littered all over yards, roofs, roads…even a few whole trees met an icy death. Half the town lost power and some people went without it for two days. Fleets of electric trucks rolled into town, truck after truck, after truck. It was almost eery, like a small electrical army taking over. Hopefully everyone’s power is back on by now and as I drove around today, people were out and about, busy in their yards chopping down trees, picking up branches and fallen debris, burning brush. Spring is coming. I can feel it. Well, almost.

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I was planning to take a few more pictures of the ice, because everything looked so pretty. Seriously like a movie set or something. It reminded me of the ice queen from Narnia, everything dripping with icicles. Unfortunately I ended up having to work until close because someone decided they weren’t going to tell us they were quitting, until 3 hours before their shift. So…Friday afternoon was spent baking and soup making, latte drinking and of course dishes. There are always dishes.cherry scones A Different Blend

Mixed Berry Scones
carrot soup

The makings of a Creamy Carrot soup

latte art A Different Blend

One of the best lattes I’ve had in a while.

dishes

Dishes, ugh.

Saturday the fam and I (mom, dad, grandma) headed over to the middle of the state to “baby shower it up” in honor of my cousin Sarah and her pregnant belly. I both proudly and reluctantly won the “guess the melted candy bar in the diaper” game. I wasn’t sure if I should be proud of myself for recognizing and naming all the candy bars, or ashamed :). It’s always great to get to hang with my extended family and Saturday was no exception. My cousin is due in about a month, she looks like she’s ready to go any day now. Her and her husband have decided to keep the gender a surprise and also the names they’ve picked out, so everyone’s waiting anxiously for that little one to make an appearance. IMG_1536

I made the baby a little stuffed giraffe. It pretty much took me most of Thursday to make it, but I’m pleased with how it turned out.

IMG_1529I also made my other cousin’s daughter this custom doll for her one year birthday. I made the dress and headband to match the outfit she wore in her one year baby pictures because it was so adorable.

On the way home Saturday night my friend Maggie texted me and we decided to head to West Branch to check out it’s annual Art and Wine Walk. We got there about 30 minutes from closing time, so we ran around from shop to shop sampling whatever each place had left to offer and checking out the art work. Maggie has a friend that just opened a bakery/cafe/coffee shop downtown, so we ended the night there. The place is full of artisan breads and pastries. He started loading us up with coffee and baked goods, then cheesecake, chocolate mousse cups, carrots and hummus, bruschetta, paninis, muffins, the list goes on. We each got to come home with boxes of treats and a loaf of bread. It was a whirlwind of a night, but so much fun to get out and do something out of the ordinary.

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This morning I woke up, made myself an egg, toasted some of the bread from last night, added a couple avocado slices and a few dashes of hot sauce…delish. Then I proceeded to go back to bed. I spent most of this day being lazy, but I did manage to clean up my sewing mess, go get some supplies from my dad’s scrap wood piles to make a clothing rack, and eat a Big Mac. Yep, that’s right, I ate a Big Mac today. I think it’s been at least 4 years since I’ve had a Big Mac, if not longer. For some reason it just sounded good. It wasn’t. It’ll probably be at least another 4 years before I forget that it wasn’t good and try another one.

big macIf you’re interested in what the heck this picture is about.

Well that’s it for this weekend. Time for me to get back under those blankets and enjoy the down comforter while I can!

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Thrifty Thursday- What I Wore On The Cheap

TT RSHere’s another round of Thrifty Thursday. I’ll show you an outfit that was purchased solely at the thrift store or on clearance. I’m not sure how interesting my clothes are or if anyone cares at all, but it’s fun to stop and think about how much an outfit I happen to be wearing actually costs. Here I’m wearing: pants (Goodwill) $3, vintage Rolling Stones tshirt (Goodwill) $1, jersey blazer (Target clearance) $6, vintage roper boots (Salvation Army) $9. P.S.- the verdict is still out about my face in this picture. I’m no professional model, that’s for sure:).

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Old Man Winter

sky bluestairs Iargo Springsboots Iargo SpringsIargo Springs Sunsnow branchesIargo SpringsAusable River Iargo SpringsAusable River Iargo SpringsIargo SpringsIMG_0986
parking lot shadow

 

So it seems that Old Man Winter is hanging on for dear life around here. It’s officially spring, but the old guy is a slow mover. We had a fresh snowfall last week and I’ve been itching to get into the woods when the trees are dusted with that beautiful white powder. So the day after, I dragged my mom out to Iargo Springs. Iargo Springs is a collection of natural springs on the bank of the AuSable River. The springs are accessible by several sets of stairs. Lots and lots of stairs. Once down on the bank of the river there are wooden boardwalks and observation decks spread throughout. As we made our way down the stairs, we could hear Trumpeter Swans “trumpeting” or “honking” whatever it’s called. It was quite the sound and then quite the sight once we made our way to the observation deck. I couldn’t get any good pictures of them, because they were just a little bit too far out for my highly professional iphone camera to capture. There were about 8-10 swans hanging out on the river swimming around, diving for food and chasing each other. It was quite entertaining. We spent a good hour walking around Iargo Springs, breathing in what winter has left to offer. Everyone seems to be in such a hurry to get rid of winter and head straight to summer. I don’t blame them, I really don’t. However I am just content with slowing things down, letting nature run it’s course and enjoying the little things each season has to offer. Life all too often feels rushed and hurried. I want to soak it in. I want to be able to remember the sting of cold on my face, the way the sunlight peeked through the forest, the sound of the swans and the snow crunching under my boots. I want to slow down. So Old Man Winter, I understand you’re old and it’s not always easy to get out of the way of Spring. She’s young and has all kinds of fancy footwork. So go ahead, take as much time as you need. Just as long as you give us days like this, we both can be happy.

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Music Monday- Alexander, Jade and the Magnetic Zeros

It’s Monday, but you already knew that. Today was definitely a Monday for me. I started subbing again. It’s been just about 5 years since I’ve been in a classroom. I figured it’s about time to start loosening up the ole joints, shaking the dust, stretching those muscles again (and also I could really use some cash in a serious way). I had a kid ask me today what the word “hell” meant. I thought about going all Rob Bell on him and telling him that hell is just a figment of his imagination, a metaphor. That it doesn’t really even exist, so not to worry about what it meant. I opted for the…”you should ask your parents about that one  later” answer instead. I could go on about my day today, but really I’d like to forget it. SO since it’s Monday I thought I’d give you (or mostly me) a little music therapy to get you through.

What I have today isn’t necessarily new, but I came across some interviews with Alexander Ebert. I for some reason find him completely fascinating. I think it’s because he is so strange sometimes and then so normal other times, I’m just trying to figure out what he’s all about. It was interesting to hear little bits about his past so I found myself watching interview after interview with him one night. This of course resulted in listening to numerous Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros songs and also becoming acquainted with some of his solo works. I like this first song titled “Truth.” In one of his interviews he talks about his love for rap music as a young boy and how for a long time it was all that he would listen to because he really loved the rhymes and the wordplay.  He was later introduced to some Bob Marley and the list goes on from there. You can absolutely see the influence of both rap and Marley in his song and I think that’s cool. I like when you can point out influences in someone’s music without it necessarily being a copycat. Have a listen.

Let’s talk about Jade Castrinos for just a minute shall we? That voice! I think it’s one of my absolute favorite female voices hands down. I’m also convinced she is the reason Edward Sharpe is so successful. Not that I don’t love the whole band, but without Jade?? I don’t know. I love this song, she is perfect. Can we listen to her all day please?

It could be Alexander’s haphazard hair or his easy sense of style that makes me so obsessed? I’m gonna bet it’s this song though.

There was this one time that I made a trip to Austin Tx to catch these guys on stage. It seems like ages ago, but someday I’ll get the privilege again I hope.

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It’s Sunday

It’s Sunday, and I…

went to church this morning. Go ahead, I’ll take that virtual pat on the back. I actually tried out a new church today. It’s kind of a country church. I mean it’s a LOT of a country church. 98% of the congregation was 65 and older (with the exception of the pastor and his wife who appear to be in their early 30′s, kind of unusual). We sang hymns straight from the book accompanied by an organ and a real live piano. There were reports from the sick, an open floor discussion about the Easter service and as the pastor called it, a “hillbilly powerpoint” presentation. I’m not gonna lie, I kind of liked it. Don’t get me wrong, I love a lively spirit-filled church with modern up to date worship, but there was something refreshing about just getting back to the basics.  Singing the same inspired words that have been sung for years and years before. A solid message straight from the Bible without all the hoopla of supplemental technologies- just a marker, some paper and a clothesline. Church without all the pretense. We took communion and thinking back on it now I realize it was much needed.

Obviously I didn't take this picture today seeing that we are in the middle of winter. I just wanted to give you a visual.

Obviously I didn’t take this picture today seeing that we are in the middle of winter. I just wanted to give you a visual.

It’s Sunday, and I ….

made cookies. I don’t really know how to segue into chocolate chip cookies from church, so there, I just went for it. I made cookies. I was craving some good old fashioned chocolate chippers so I thought I’d just whip up a batch. However I was disappointed to find that we were completely out of butter! You can’t make cookies without butter! Or can you? Come to find out…you can! I searched for a butter substitute and found that you can use olive oil as a replacement for butter in your cookie recipe. Now I was skeptical to say the least. So for your sake (you totally twisted my arm) I decided to go ahead and give it a try. Just in case some day you find yourself in the same predicament and you are as leery as I was about baking with olive oil. I used the chocolate chip cookie recipe from a cookbook I have called “Baked: New Frontiers In Baking.” It’s a cookbook put out by the “Baked NYC” bakery and they have got some serious goodies.

The thing I liked most about using olive oil was that I didn’t have to get out my beaters. I’m kinda lazy in the beater department. If I don’t HAVE to get them out I would quite frankly rather not. The olive oil mixes so easily with the sugars that all you need is a spoon. Totally my kind of mixing. Here’s the recipe for the “Baked” cookies. The only thing that I had to change was substituting 3/4 cup of olive oil in place of the 1 cup of butter. That’s it.

chocolate chip cookies

I’m going to go ahead and tell you now that the dough doesn’t taste the same. Sure it’s edible, but the olive oil is quite overpowering in the raw dough stage. You’ve been warned.  Notice the recipe says to refrigerate the dough for 6 hours. I’m sure you really should do this. This probably makes your cookies taste different somehow, but really…6 hours? Ain’t nobody got time for that! If I’m making cookies, I want them now, am I right? So I did not wait the allotted 6 hours of fridge time. Guess what…they still tasted good.

Now I do want you know that you CAN taste a difference in the cookies.  They do have a slight olive oil tang, if you will.  I used a regular extra virgin olive oil because it’s what I had in the cupboard. Maybe if you had a light olive oil the taste would be less pronounced, but really it’s not that noticeable. I gave one to my dad to try and didn’t tell him that I hadn’t used butter. When I asked him if he thought they tasted different, he said no. Of course once I told him they were made with olive oil instead of butter he noticed the taste, but not before he was aware. So there you go. If you’re ever out of butter and you just have to have some chocolate chip cookies…get out that jar of olive oil and get baking.

chocolate chip cookies

chocolate chip cookies

I did have a little company in the kitchen. I know, I know, dogs should not be allowed in the kitchen, but Ruby just sits on that rug so patiently, watching, almost like she’s trying to learn. Unfortunately for her she didn’t get to try one.Ruby

 

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Railroad trestles and a Chicken Pot Pie

So, truth is…there’s not a whole lot to do around here. Sometimes you’ve got to find entertainment in the simple things. Usually around here the every day things are all you’ve got.  Like a trip to the grocery store for example. You’ve got to take something like getting those groceries and turn it into something that feels more like an experience. Not too long ago, my sister and I did just that.  We went to the grocery store. We decided to put our legs to work and make the trip on foot. We got our groceries and then on the way home decided to take a different route crossing over the railroad trestle. We proceeded to take some dorky pictures just for fun. Then once again mother nature had her way with us and began pelting us with a nice ice/snow mixture. Once we made it home, a delicious modified version of this chicken pot pie was in order.Erin WalkingBoots on RailroadErinRailroad trackscrazy facesRailroad tracksRailroad tracksbeginning snowerin snow poseMelissa snow pose

I saw this recipe in the February issue of Bon Appetit magazine and decided it needed to be “what’s for dinner.” The great thing about this recipe is that it’s just a starting point. You can change it up however you’d like. I modified it quite a bit with vegetables that I had on hand and a few others that we picked up at the store.  I added chopped carrots, celery, parsnips, green beans, chick peas, mushrooms and zucchini in addition to the onions, garlic and kale it called for. I also substituted red potatoes for the butternut squash.

veggies

I decided to add some cream cheese to the mix which takes away from it’s healthy factor, but adds to it’s delicious creaminess factor. I like to think the addition of kale balances it out some, right? No skillet? No problem, I put mine in a casserole dish. I’m telling you, so easy.  Pretty much anything goes!chicken pot pie

We didn’t have much time so a hand made crust was out of the picture and I’m always trying to find ways to skimp on cash, so I decided to grab a tube of crescent rolls in place of the puff pastry crust it called for. Puff pastry is almost $6 around here, yikes! 
chicken pot pie
chicken pot pieGo ahead, make an adventure out of the mundane. Then cozy up with some warm, creamy and comforting chicken pot pie. I promise it’ll help a little as we ride out the rest of winter. Dig in.

Get the recipe here (mine actually looks nothing like theirs at all, but thats ok. make it however you’d like it.)

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Why I Love Selling On Etsy

For a little over a year now, I’ve had a vintage shop on Etsy. It’s kind of a natural progression for someone like myself with a penchant for the thrift store. There comes a time when you realize your habits are breaking the bank (although this bank is less of a bank really and more of a wad of cash on the top of my dresser) and that’s saying a lot when you shop almost exclusively secondhand. I thought I’d give Etsy a shot to see if I could somehow turn my hobby into a little extra income. I’ve by no means made enough money for it to be a sole source of income, but every little bit helps. Besides the money, there’s just something about knowing the things that I sell are going to be used or worn by other people who appreciate them as much as I do. These items already have a history, a story. They’ve seen earlier eras, lived years before I was even a thought. Then there they sit, on a shelf, buried in a bin, or hanging on a rack. Somewhere between shrunken sweaters and cargo pants, behind hand embroidered “Welcome” signs and stained coffee mugs, amongst worn out knock- off Uggs. That’s where I find these treasures. I just pick them up because they’ve still got life to live. There is more to their story and that’s what I love about vintage things. I love selling on Etsy, because it makes feel like I’ve somehow aided in or in a tiny way taken part in other people’s stories. Here are a few examples.

These vintage heels were purchased by a girl to wear on her wedding day.

vintage glitter heels

This blanket has been keeping a sweet baby warm and snuggly since being purchased by new parents for the baby’s nursery.

baby blanket

These sandals are now walking the streets of Italy with a young college student who was excited to wear her new Italian shoes while studying abroad.italy sandals

This adorable flannel vest was worn by a little guy in Portland on his birthday.flannel vest

This is the message I got regarding this vintage kitchen set…

“Thank you! I am so excited to get it! I have the Red Kettle Penny pot from when I was little–it was my grandmother’s. We used to collect wheat pennies in it. When I saw that they made a set–I just had to have it.”

thanks!
Susan

kitchen setAnd I’m mailing these boots out tomorrow. They’ll be starring in a play, being worn by the customer’s daughter.lace up bootsIt just makes me happy when someone falls in love with an item in my store. I love connecting with people across the globe through vintage and secondhand treasures. It’s kind of a dream job if you ask me.

Feel free to visit my store and check out the goods >>Clothe Your Bones<<

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