Month: October 2012

menagerie: cold settles in somewhere

But it’s not getting cold here. Actually, I lie. I think I might have to change my “comforter” from [thin] sheet to [heavier] sheet as winter approaches the island. But when I think fondly of colder weather, this is what comes to mind : hot chocolate, campfires, fireplace fires, burn pile fires, crisp and crunchy leaves under my boots, jeans and scarfs, boots only, firewood, cinnamon, snow on faraway mountains, cold windows in the morning, seeing my breath, chilly water, snuggling, cloves and apples… What comes to mind for you? Also, Happy Halloween to everyone that celebrates. Be safe and have fun tonight! I do miss trick-or-treating. Why does there have to be an “acceptable” age restriction on that? Oh well, I guess its fair since they can’t drink alcoholic cider and I can [legally]. My plans for the evening: studying for a test that was absentmindedly scheduled for tomorrow. Oh well. Perhaps a movie and a Rogue with Evan will do 🙂 [P.S. want to see what my handmade costume was for a little …

sustainable living: beekeeping part 2

You may remember one of the first sustainability posts of this blog, where I introduced Mary Woltz, a beekeeper in Sag Harbor [You can read that post here]. Today, I want to take that introduction into beekeeping a step further and share some other sources I’ve recently found online. Have you thought about backyard beekeeping? Take a look at the video above for some insight. Then read more for my helpful links: I found several wonderful links to assist in your research. Check these out: Bee Thinking Hives -videos, classes and information about beekeeping + suppliesHomegrown.org Beekeeping101 – read about others experiences with starting out as beekeepersThe Beekeeper’s Bible – beautiful compendium of beekeeping knowledge + recipes + home usesHoneyLove – urban beekeeper’s organization; join, rescue a hive, forums and community [Photos: one // two // three // four] What is your take on backyard beekeeping? Do you know anyone that practices this? What does your city say about beekeeping? I’m curious what your opinion may be, as I’ve come across several acquaintances and friends  …

giveaway: earrings by A Rainy Afternoon

I have a beautiful giveaway for you this week, featuring a wonderfully talented artist, Stephanie Jones of the etsy shop, A Rainy Afternoon. She creates vibrant sketches (tribal and retro, to name two!) with colored pencils and then turns them into wearable jewelry. She is offering one reader (both domestic and international!) the chance to win a pair of earrings! There are lots of ways to enter: First, go check out Stephanie’s shop – scroll through her beautiful pieces (she does rings too!) and come back here and leave a comment with your favorite item! That’s step 1 – after that, several more options will open up! Please be sure to read the Terms and Conditions. Remember to use a real name and email, as this is how we’ll contact you if you win! Contest runs until November 5! Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway Have a beautiful week! Don’t forget to come back every day to Tweet about the giveaway for extra entries !  See you tomorrow,

DIY Week: Build a Raised Garden Bed

This DIY is for all you handy-women and Janes-of-all-trades. Well.. even if you aren’t one of these, you’re still fully capable of creating this DIY (and there is no shame is asking a man for assistance with the electric power tools. I did! No shame!). Today I’m sharing my most popular post from my personal travel blog about life in Puerto Rico [which you can read here]. This raised garden bed is perfect for the casual herb & vegetable grower – it’s just enough space for the essentials and very low maintenance. If you want to try your hand at some basic homesteading, start here! The price is right and the rewards are marvelous. Okay, let me show you how: Turn this empty box into…This beautiful planter of herbs and veggies!Prepping your Design: I would suggest checking out a few designs online to see what style you like best. We decided to go with one that was actually raised 1 foot from the ground because our yard floods in the rainy season (Caribbean islanders, carefully …

DIY Week: simple & silly decor

Here are a couple fun and simple decor ideas – one involves lots of glitter and every day pieces, the other is a festive garland for parties, meditation rooms, office style or really anywhere that needs some bursts of color (I’ve centered it around the upcoming Mexican festival of Dia de Los Muertos). Both are super easy and fun, so let’s get started! This “glitter anything” idea comes from a post I found here. It really just involves two basic ingredients that can be found at any craft store – including Walmart! Just a coat of Modge Podge onto an old cleaned candle jar, sprinkle with a coating of glitter and you have a brand new candle holder, perfect for tea lights! Or in my case, I grabbed a few shells and pieces of coral (plus that cute little elephant!).[The “I can glitter that” slogan creatively adapted by Evan from Portlandia’s “we can pickle that”. It’s funny if you’re into that sort of humor, you should watch it right here]. Another method to glitter anything …

DIY Week: preserving herbs

I hope that you have enjoyed the first two DIYs of this fabulously themed and original week! All these DIYs are things I’ve personally completed [and photographed]. In other words, these DIYs come recommended by me! Today’s focus is on an aspect of sustainable living: preserving your own herbs to use for later! If you’re like me, you always end up buying more herbs from the grocer than you actually need for a particular recipe. Then, unbeknownst to you, the remainder of the herbs get pushed to the back of the fridge, or tucked away in that side door and forgotten until the next culinary adventure begs their flavor. But then, oh no! They’ve gone bad! And you already made that special trip out… so, I guess, leave them out of the recipe this time? No! Here are some helpful ways to prolong your own home-grown herbs or even those specialty store boughts! There are so many ways to preserve herbs. My personal favorite is drying – because its easy and easily forgotten but without …

DIY Week: mini pumpkin donuts

When I discovered this original recipe from Blue Eyed Bakers, I immediately found the mini donut pan on eBay and had it sent my way (=the best $10 I’ve ever spent on eBay!).  I just had to make this little dessert. I’m all for some more Autumn in the tropics! Want to know the secret to perfect donuts? Read below to find out more! Now, the ingredients are all relatively basic and generally are items that the average baker would have in her pantry, with the exception of the seasonally-available Libby’s Pumpkin Pie filling of course (I’m partial to Libbys, but there are other great brands out there too!). If you want to get really into it, try making your own pumpkin filling with this recipe! Here are the ingredients, courtesy of Blue Eyed Bakers. For Donuts:1 3/4 cups flour1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder1/2 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon cinnamon1/2 teaspoon nutmeg1/2 teaspoon allspice1/8 teaspoons ground cloves1/3 cup vegetable oil1/2 cup brown sugar1 egg1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract3/4 cup canned pumpkin1/2 cup milk For Coating:1/2 cup butter, …

DIY Week: Natural Reef Jewelry Hanger

To kick off the week of do-it-yourselfs, I have a special treat for all of you! I know that naturally-shed pieces of reef are not frequently encountered anywhere else but on the coast, but this DIY can apply to lots of other natural pieces too. Check out how easy this is: You only very basic supplies once you have your key natural piece. I’m using a piece of sea fan which was found dried up on my local beach (please don’t remove living plants or animals from the ocean or the land). If you don’t have a piece of reef, try a bundle of twigs, a piece of driftwood tree root, or get more ideas from this curated DIY jewelry holder post.  I used three colors of acrylic paint (which I found at Walmart, I’m sure your craft stores will have them) and a basic simple paintbrush. Laid over paper, I slowly painted one side of the reef and just blended several colors together to get a marbled look as I went. There really isn’t …

menagerie: outdoor Mexican fiesta

The beginning of next month marks the traditional Mexican festival of Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead); commonly celebrated on November 1 and 2. I remember throughout elementary school, junior and high school, my Spanish classes would celebrate this day with food, music and traditional games. Perhaps this was because I grew up in Texas? Perhaps indeed. Well, this year I’ll be hosting my own celebration, with some local friends and a delicious menu, to create a festive alfresco evening – complete with all authentic Mexican (cooked by myself, Evan and our chef friend, Amanda from the hit website, FoodPornDaily.com), festive decorations and outdoor lighting and even the cascaron eggs. To see where I’m finding my inspiration, I’ve created a few visuals for you! Enjoy!  I bought a pom-pom maker to create the garland shown above, DIY from Honestly WTF. Simple and basic from yarn, but will add pops of color to our dining scene, especially when intertwined with string lights across our table. Although we won’t have a donkey, there are plenty …

photography: the Utah desert

I haven’t featured much from the desert yet on the blog. It should not be discredited or overlooked, as the desert abounds in beauty and life. I know this first hand from my recent west coast trip across West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Utah! The trip was actually Evan’s first experience with the desert (if you want to hear a funny story about this, read this post from my travel blog) but I was accustomed to the flat lands, random rock formations, prickly encounters and dry, dry heat. This was familiar territory due to countless, memorable trips with my family as a child. So today, I’d just like to share some photographic beauty of the Utah desert that we captured from our recent roadtrip. Yes, you are seeing that correctly! We hiked barefoot! Talk about really getting in touch with nature; it was as though we could feel the rocks breathe beneath us. Or maybe it was simply the burning sensation in our soles? Hah! No actually, this heat was something we could …