Sunday, October 30, 2011

my bedroom

When I first moved, I thought I was going to paint my bedroom pink... after all, it might be the last chance to paint it an uber girly color. After painting the living room, I realized I had no desire to spend another week with a stiff neck.  So, all in all I painted one room, folks, one room.
At first this was the setup...
It needed some color, so in came some new curtains:

The other curtain were repurposed to the kitchen- where they fit in perfectly!

Monday, October 10, 2011

I've moved! Sneak Peek!

During these past few months I moved from beautiful, rural Alaska to the city life in Maryland!  I definitely experienced a little culture shock once arriving- so many people, so many cars, so many stores! I may or may not have lost my mind when it came to shopping! ;-)

I miss my friends and my sweet, little cabin, but I know I made friendships that will endure the distance. And as for the cabin?  Well, I'm slowly making this apartment my own and falling in love with it as well.  I am basically a handywoman considering how much furniture I've assembled since moving here!  IKEA was only too happy to oblige my inexperienced hands.  Two beds, a table, and six chairs later, I think I'm good. Following a mini vacation with their grandparents, Lucy and Finn are enjoying life!  After all, (keeping with the military kid stereotypes) home is where the heart is.  And Maryland, I think we can have something pretty good here.  Even if everybody here drives like crazy people!

Here's a sneak peek of my apartment... starting with the guest bedroom:
NEVER, EVER buy this trundle bed! 897638164 hours later it's together, but there's no way it's going anywhere! And the drawers don't work.

I repurposed this step stool for when it's out of use!

A simple shelf adds dimension and is handy for a late night glass of milk and cookies.
Once I get the rest of the apartment up to par, I'll post some more! Any new blog header suggestions?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Alaskan Blueberries

A native Alaskan woman, Belossa, asked me if I wanted to go blueberry picking and I jumped at the chance.  I love picking berries and eating them even moreso, but finding them is sometimes harder than you'd think...

Tip #1. Never reveal your favorite berry picking spot.  This may seem mean, but if you tell a few people, they'll tell a few and then the next time you go, all the bushes are bare. :-(  We had to check a couple different locations until we found an area brimming with delicious little berries.

Alaskan blueberries are about twenty times as potent as the ones you find in the grocery store- delicious!  The earlier you pick them, the tarter the taste and the smaller the berry.  I prefer mine tart, because I feel they start losing their potency when they fill up with water and get big.

Tip #2. If you are picking blueberries early in the season (mid July) keep the green berries too!  They are great for jams and jellies because they act as a natural gel.

Tip #3. Come prepared with a big bucket, strong back, and a bottle of water.  Time flies when you're picking berries! Don't try to rush and use a berry picker (a tool designed to pick them more quickly)- they pick up other debris, like sticks and leaves, and make the berries dirty. Then you still have to separate the berries at the end anyway. Berry pickers also harm the bush by stripping it and causing it to not grow any more berries.

After you've filled your bucket it's time to enjoy the fruits of you labor ;-). If you've picked more than you can eat in a week, freezing them is a great option.

Tip #4. When freezing blueberries, many people wash them and put them in ziploc bags. The only problem with that, is when they only want a few berries or to use them in pancakes, the berries are frozen in a large ice chunk.  Belossa shared that after washing the berries, sprinkling them on a cookie sheet will solve that dilemma. You "flash freeze" them for an hour or so and then scoop them into a ziploc bag. Now you can pull out individual frozen berries!

My personal favorite blueberry treat?

Tip #5. For achieving the perfect blueberry pancakes, pour the batter in the pan and individually drop them into the pancake- perfect every time!

Enjoy! (with REAL maple syrup or a little butter- yum!)

trying so hard... all she wants is to have a little bite!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


is a maple walnut scone with raspberry honey and vanilla rooibos tea on a rainy day. For reals.

I am obsessed with this honey I found at the festival. It is also sold at the farmer's market in Fairbanks and the woman who makes it is amazingly nice! She has such a variety of honey and will let you sample everything- I can't wait to finish this bear and get the blueberry!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Solstice in Alaska

Today is the longest day of the year!

Questions I am frequently asked about Alaska:

Isn't there 24 hours of darkness in the winter and 24 hours of light in the summer?

Not quite.
It seems hard to believe that during the winter solstice, the sun rose at 11:00am and set at 2:45pm. We have been steadily gaining 7 minutes of daylight since then and today we will have almost 22 hours of daylight! Starting tomorrow, we will start losing about 7 minutes of light every day. However, the twilight during the summer makes it seem like 24 hours of daylight many nights. The set time is only when the sun dips below the horizon. So, we steadily gain and lose light phasing into summer and winter.

Do you get depressed without the sun during the winter?

Not personally- I take a multivitamin with Vitamin D to ward off any imbalances. I was lucky enough to take my lunch break by a window, so I always saw a little sun.  Some people buy sun lamps to help, just like those living in rainy cities. The hardest part about it being dark AND cold is finding motivation to keep active and not sleep all the time. I'm still working on that pesky winter weight!

How do you sleep with so much daylight during the summer?

By keeping active, sleep follows naturally. There are times when I am running around town and I check the time and realize it is 10:00pm and I thought it was only 7:00pm! Many people who have trouble sleeping with so much light (enough to read a book) buy black out curtains. The best part about the summer is that there is so much more light to enjoy all the wonderful outdoor activities!

On Saturday, Fairbanks had its annual Midnight Sun Run. The 10K race began at 10:00pm and the many people were dressed in crazy costumes. I walked with some friends and it was one of the most entertaining things I've done in Fairbanks! At one point I was squinting and realized I should have brought sunglasses!

Sunday the Midnight Sun Festival was happening downtown from noon till midnight. There was delicious fair food, break-dancers, skateboarders, chalk artists, games for kids, and street vendors. And many, many devoted dog owners. I have never seen so many Fairbanksians in one place!

Tonight there is the Midnight Sun Baseball Game at Growden Memorial Park. It is a longstanding tradition of playing baseball into the morning hours without any artificial light. The game starts at 10:30 and has lasted till past 2am! Only in Alaska!

I love the summertime, the only sad part is knowing it will come to an end. 
aaand your obligatory pet picture:

PS. Isn't Joanna looking gorgeous toting Toby around? I hope to be an effortlessly stylish mom like her someday! Heck, I'd steal her clothes now!

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Lost Art

I'm talking about writing letters.  Or cards.  Or postcards.  A handwritten note, envelope slightly worn, never fails to bring out the romantic in me.  I save all my letters, and love to reread them.

As of late, I have a stack of 'Thank You' cards, all addressed and ready to be filled with thoughtful words.

I found the most beautiful Mother's Day cards, with little gold dots and glittery writing.  What mother wouldn't want to proudly display one of these on the refrigerator? 

Stationary sets are often too flowery or have words like "Thank You" or "You're Invited."  While browsing Barnes and Noble, chai latte in hand, I happened upon two cute sets for two very special people in my life. 

This charming notecard set is crafted on recycled paper with delicate needlework and vintage looking fabric.  I just adore how spring-like and pretty it is!  The paper is thick and the envelopes green.  I love when they are different colors and I imagine all the other envelopes at the post office are jealous of their bright counterparts. :-) 

I challenge you to find a man friendly set of cards!  I was searching for something to send my soldier to encourage him to write to family and friends, and I stumbled upon these cute  really masculine and tough notecards.  Heck, I want to use them!

 My favorite part of writing notes is the actual pen to paper.  I typically use a uni-ball gel impact because I love the thick fluid lines it gives when writing.  Even I, who have never had the best penmanship, suddenly have a purposely modern scribble.  It glides effortlessly over the paper, but can leave a thick blob of ink if you pause too long. 

I've been writing a lot in my journal and soon enough, when I finally get to that first stack!  What are you busy writing?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Thinking of you, on your favorite holiday.

My best friend is halfway around the world now, on his second tour.  I miss him terribly. 

After a blissful couple of weeks back home (Fairbanks really does feel like home now),we said our goodbyes.  He packed up his clothes, rubbed kitty and puppy bellies, and pulled on his boots.

Now, I'm clinging to any old t-shirt of his, hugging it and closing my eyes, wishing him home. 

I'm so proud, unbearably so, of my handsome soldier.