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.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Back again...

Do you ever get blogger's block?

I sure do. After an eventful March, I came back armed with tales to regale you all. I started typing away and then got... stuck. So I'm scrapping that idea and just getting back on board. Maybe someday I'll be able to share.

Forgive me?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Kind of Holiday

Happy International Women's Day!!
I had never heard of this holiday until I studied abroad in Russia.  A mixture of Mother's Day and Valentine's Day, it is a wonderful day dedicated to women of all ages.  Men buy flowers and chocolates for all the special women in their lives!  Sounds good, right?  Especially, for those men who forgot about another special holiday in February *cough*cough*.

"The 8th of March is the day of the rebellion of the working women against the kitchen slavery-
Say NO to the oppression and Babbittry of the household work!"

Originally intended to celebrate women's economic, political, and social achievements, it has evolved into one celebrating women in general. I'm all for girl power, but am always impressed by the women who have the ability to be a stay at home mom as well. It is a job and one that is widely unappreciated nowadays. It's a wonderful world we live in, when we can choose for ourselves to have a career, family, or both.

The special women in my life:
My mother- who is always there to give me advice and keep my head on straight.
My sister-in-law- soon to be an Aunt maker out of me!
Graham's mother and sisters- sweet women who are incredibly genuine.
And all my wonderful girlfriends- who make me laugh and feel as though I can confide in them about anything.

          Have a lovely day and learn more about this holiday and where it's celebrated, right here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tips on picking up a couch from the dump.

Who needs blush in Alaska? Just head out to the dog park for thirty minutes, and your bright pink cheeks will give any Nars shade a run for their money. 

Friday night I had a few friends over while I made my mom's chicken and dumplings- yum! But you've seen my living room... Where to put everyone? I stopped by the dump to drop off trash and lo and behold there was a couch! A decent looking one with only two cushions! (It'd be small enough for the cabin! And FREE!)

Tip #1: Stand couch up on end and make sure you look really pathetic while 'trying' to put it in your truck. Stand a bit, as if you are contemplating how you will ever do it alone. Catch passerby's eyes while looking like a lost kitten. Someone will stop to help. Two someones actually.

Tip #2: Make sure the weather conditions are adverse. Preferably snowing, so that the couch will slide right up the stairs. No pain, no gain!

Tip #3: Don't actually measure couch and have the joy of finding out as you heave and ho and grunt, that this darn couch will never fit into your tiny cabin.

Tip #4: Saw said couch in half. Or leave it on the front porch, so all the neighbors will think some classy frat boys moved in next door.

My guests ended up on the overly febreezed cushions, extra chairs, and the floor. I got the sofa here, Graham can take it back :-) Especially since we were just hit with our very own snowpocalypse! 
When I awoke, the truck and driveway were blanketed with at least a foot and a half of snow. I opened the door and the stairs had disappeared! 
I ventured out, fought for the last snow shovel in Fairbanks and spent a good part of my day making a small dent in the snow that now resides, quite literally, outside my doorstep.

I even braved the icicles of death.
No, not those ones.

It's a serious threat. I remember hearing about people who died from them all the time in Russia. I had a few life-flashing-before-my-eyes close calls myself. 

Yeah, we kinda bonded. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's the little things...

She couldn't wait to play with these- she ripped them out of the bag on the way home! :-)

Lulu hasn't had new toys since we first got her.  She loves to steal Finn's toys- especially anything with a bell!  Her grandma and grandpa did send her a sweet laser pointer for Christmas that went MIA in the move.  While picking up the puppy and kitty groceries, I couldn't resist getting her some new playthings.  She's been showing some signs of separation anxiety after Graham left and when I was working.  My Otterbox and two pairs of shoes have suffered her wrath.  New toys and rawhides should help perk her up! Such sweet, little vegetables!
The carrot has a noise maker, the turnip has a tennis ball and both have noisy leaves.

Valentine's Day sale items- the stripes around, are ropes great for chewing.

 I didn't forget about the kitties:
Ohhhh yeah!

TGIF friends!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Heart Day!

Have a sweet one!

Lucy got a new leash too!
Love these Lupine ones- If your dog chews it up, they replace it for free!
(Finn is protesting- he doesn't want anything pink. Just bellyrubs.)

We've never been together for Valentine's day, but that's okay! I like the way my mom and dad say, it's 365 days a year for them :-) I did think about some sweet times with my honey though...

Don't forget to tell everyone you love, those three little words!