Earth Day Whiskey Apple Pie

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On Monday my lovely friend Daphne paid me a visit. She’s just graduated from university and is going home for the summer, so it will be the last we’ll see of each other for a little while. In honor of Earth day we decided to make some homemade pies. The original plan was to bake a  smorgasbord of pies for a five course meal, but in the spirit of conservation we decided to make just one apple pie and one pizza pie.

After some searching around I found what sounded like the most delicious apple pie ever, Whiskey Apple Pie, and we just happened to have a mickey of Jameson lying around so it was fate. I used this recipe for the pie and this one for the crust, as we ended up having a lot less butter than the other recipe called for, but of course this southern lady had some shortening in the cupboard.

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Sorry for this not so great photo. The sun was setting and I am still learning low light photography.

The filling recipe was so good, only it really didn’t have a whiskey flavor. Even after we doubled the amount of whiskey. Whoa, we’re so crazy. It was a little disappointing, but seriously, we had homemade apple pie so it really wasn’t that disappointing. I mean, come on, who can be sad when there is apple pie in the room?

The next time I bake this I will try soaking the fruit filling in the whiskey over night as I am sure that will really infuse the apples with that rich whiskey flavor I crave. Until then, apple pie is bomb and I wish I could eat it every day for every meal I love it that much. So good.

Happy Earthday!

Do you do a lot of baking? Ever bake pies? I’d love to hear your pie stories.

 

Weekly Roundup – Friday Favorites #02

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| | | This photo that I took on Dinosaur Ridge while in Denver last week. I hate that I didn’t have my polarized filter because the sky is blown out, I had to play with the contrast, but I quite love how it came out and despite the white sky, I still love this photo.

| | | Lets start with some music. I found this band some time last year and they quickly became one of my favorites, but some how after the New Year I lost my habit of daily playlist listening and organizing (I am constantly shifting my online streaming collection around, building bigger and better playlists for all my moods. Well this week I was able to start that hobby/habit back up again and was so happy to hear this song come across my mix.  It’s the perfect song for spring’s arrival, I love it. Also how cool is it that they are from Costa Rica? I want to be from Costa Rica. Hah. Let’s hope this grooveshark embed works. Cross your fingers!

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| | | This tutorial from Design Love Fest has me wanting to washi tape every chord in my house.

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| | | This beautiful DIY comes from the lovely Kelli Murray’s blog. Gorgeous.

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| | | I am on the hunt for a new summer little black dress and I really love this one from LuLu’s. Maybe I can manipulate my Built by Wendy Dirndl Pattern, it just figuring out that wrap top really, but that seems a little difficult.

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| | | Some friends and I are putting together a multi-course meal made entirely of pie this weekend and I have found some seriously amazing savory pies on Martha Stewart. I am actually loving the idea of tarts. We might just have to make it a tart day instead.

| | | Last week when I was in Denver I tried these amazing mushroom and quinoa, vegan meatless meat balls at City O’ City. They blew my mind and I have been searching for something similar. I found and tried this recipe this week. It was close, but the texture wasn’t right and maybe City O’ City’s is more mushroomy and herby, although, this was a great place to start. I omitted breadcrumbs, cheese and used ground flax seed as an egg replacer, but my meatless balls were pretty crumbly so this is something I will have to work on.
| | | This incredible video of water on a wash cloth in Space! Man I love space. Haha

| | | This love ly little Etsy shop, I Make It You Make It. It’s full of adorable vintage inspired patterns for downloading printing to make at home.

| | | This book, Denver on Foot, 30 walking tours of the city, saved my life in Denver. Well not really my life, but saved my budget and saved me from getting lost. It’s full of short little walks for seeing the sites around Denver. It was the best purchase I ever made and I hope there  are more people writing books like these for their town. I had all this free time with out a car during the day and so I would just pick a walk and get to it. Best part about it, I bought it for $9.99 through my Kindle app on my tablet.

| | | There is also 15 household uses for mint from Apartment Therapy.

I leave you with one more Denver photo. This was taken at about 5:30 am Mountain time through a rooftop fence. Also I didn’t enhance it at all. Gorgeous Denver sunrise.

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Favorite places and sacred spaces

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While I was away in Georgia, the hubs bought us our first DSLR camera the Pentax K-r. He works at camera shop so he was able to test out a lot of cameras from different years, with different features and different price ranges.

We’ve always been Pentax fans. I still carry and use my Dad’s Pentax from the 70s, it’s my baby and one of my most prized possessions and the hubs also has a manual Pentax that he loves using as well.

So since I’ve been home I have been practicing taking pictures with the new bad boy and I wanted to share a few from last week. Each week I am trying to do a session with both people and objects separately of each other. I am using myself as the people model and my house and my snacks and meals as the stuff models. It’s pretty fulfilling and I am already seeing improvements every time I use the camera under a different setting.

I tried to make each shot interesting enough to stand on its own, I think the only one that doesn’t is the lavender, but I still like that photo for some reason. This should be a great project to help me watch my photography improve.

Happy Saturday!

My thrifty Threads – Urban boho

Hillery of @Handmakemylife 's thrifty urban boho look

Saturday was the very first time I took our new Pentax K-r out on my own.  James equipped me with several lenses and gave me a run down on what gear I had before I left. It was like driving to school alone for the first time. I was nervous and I was excited.

I think I did a damn good job for a first try, especially since every shot is taken one at a time with a 12 second timer and all the close-ups are done with my 50 mm lens in which case I had to manually focus. I did use an 18 -55mm automatic focus lens on most of my wider shots, but there are a lot I still set up myself with the 50mm (and didn’t get quite right), this first shot included. So all an all I am very proud of myself and ready for the challenge again this week, but only if it’s sunny and warm cause this shoot was freezing!

Hillery of @Handmakemylife 's thrifty urban boho look

Thank goodness the snow is finally melting away here in Kingston. It’s been acting like spring on and off since March began, but of course she hasn’t committed to sticking around yet. The winter months up here are hard for me. Being from such a warm, who am I kidding, a freaking hot climate, I have a hard time adjusting to so much cold for so long, I don’t hate it, but it doesn’t make me want to leave the house unless I have to. This year has been pretty good because I kind of cheated and was able to spend most of the winter in Georgia. Though the past month and a half alone have been plenty of winter for me.

Hillery of @Handmakemylife 's thrifty urban boho look

I really love this dress. I bought it at T.J. Maxx when I was down in Georgia for a wedding in February. Everything I brought with me just wasn’t working and this was exactly what I was looking for, a hi-low skirt, with a trendy, bohemian vibe and at the right price.  Also these tights are amazing. I went searching on e-bay for some sweater tights and I found this great shop that carried nothing but tights (side note: his shop is now empty, but he was the nicest guy. He’s in the UK so I contacted him about shipping to Canada and he was so helpful and super fast at returning messages). They are so soft and comfortable and I love the way they fit.

Hillery of @Handmakemylife 's thrifty urban boho look. Maroon and gold nails colors by Maybelline.

Hillery of @Handmakemylife 's thrifty urban boho look

The bangles I thrifted at Value village for whopping 1.99 last summer and the Converse are some of my favorites and a very old thrifty find. I found them five  years ago at my local goodwill down in Georgia,  and they were brand new. Goodwill get’s the stuff that Target doesn’t sell and used to put it out on Thursdays. I miss Targets and Goodwills. What you can’t tell from the photos is that the shoes are covered in black hexagon sparkles. Next time I wear them I will have to be sure and remember to take a better shoe shot so you can really see the sparkles.

Hillery of @Handmakemylife 's thrifty urban #boho look with Roots and Feathers earrings @violetbella #bohemian #style

My gorgeous earrings I bought from the lovely Laura Mazurek’s Etsy shop, Roots and Feathers. Some of you may be familiar with her incredible blog of the same name. Well, her shop is equally as incredible and full of so much love. I have had my eyes on a few of her pieces for some time and was super excited to have little extra cash when she was having her spring sale so I could snag these babies. They made it all the way up here to Canada (teehee just kidding) so fast and I am so so pleased. They are great quality, were packaged beautifully and Laura puts a lot of heart and soul into what’s she does so when I wear them I feel absolutely fantastic. Just the little pick me up I needed.

These are my favorite sun glasses and the funniest thing about them is, not only are they the only pair I’ve actually managed to keep up with through the years, but I actually found these while on a six hour kayaking trip with my family in Alabama. We have a little cabin near Centre on Terrapin Creek. We spend most of the summers there bbqing and going down the creek. I found these at the bottom of the creek while swimming in our favorite spot about four years back and I really like the shape.

Hillery of @Handmakemylife 's thrifty urban boho look breakdown.(That’s my real handwriting! I used PS touch on my android tablet to write on the photo. How cool is that?)

Outfit details:
Dress //// T.J. Maxx /// $19.99
Sweater //// Found ///Free
Tights //// E-bay/// $7.00
Bangles //// Value Village/// $1.99
Shoes //// Goodwill /// $4.99
Earrings//// Roots and Feathers /// $27.00 on sale
Sunglasses //// Courtesy of Terrapin Creek

Hillery of @Handmakemylife 's thrifty urban #boho look. Maroon and gold nails. Polish by Maybelline. #fashion #nailart

Nail details:
base ////Maybelline /// Dressed to Kill
gold tips //// Maybelline /// Bold Gold

Happy April 1st!

Cotton Wedding Aniversary

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Tuesday was James and I’s second wedding anniversary. It’s quite the new thing for us to celebrate an event by going out places or buying gifts, we’re that weird couple who doesn’t ever celebrate Valentines day.

In the past seven and half years that we’ve been together, it was not till we got married that we decided we should do a little celebrating now and then, and plan to out have a nice time and try to do something sweet or thoughtful instead of just winging it. Don’t get me wrong winging it is great, but it became so nonchalant that holidays were the same as any other day and we could both tell that we both needed and wanted a little more from one another.

Last year we were gifted by our family a night out at the nicest restaurant town, which is also something we are not used to. So this year, after James received a gift certificate for a volunteer photography job he did, to the same lovely restaurant, we decided to make it a tradition and set up our reservations for our anniversary.

I must say that it is absolutely marvelous to treat yourself to such a night every now and then. It felt like an afternoon lounging by the pool or day at the spa, some serious enjoyment was happening.

We put on our fancy clothes, combed our hair (I even put on makeup, gasp!), bundled up in our winter coats, clasped on our helmets, and scooted (oh yeah! On a side note we are now the proud owners of an e-bike which is super fun and I’ll introduce her here in a future post!) the couple of kilometers over to the lovely River Mill restaurant in the old cotton mill.

With the new day light hour we were able to enjoy the river view over sunset and candle light. We even ordered a lovely bottle of wine and sat enjoying fruits and cheeses while our entres were being prepared by a chef. A chef!

Can you tell I don’t get out much?

For dinner I had a deliciously tender fillet of sustainable British Colombian Salmon over cheesy polenta with roasted butternut squash and kale, while James enjoyed a gorgeous chicken breast from a farm right here in Kingston. We finished everything off with a chocolate tort and a strawberry mouse and listening to soft jazz over coffee and tea.

Best of all was the time we had together. We couldn’t keep our mouths shut, except when there was delicious cheese on the table, then I am sure it was rather quiet in our little corner of the restaurant. But all the while we talked about our future projects, our goals for the month, and for the next four months. We brainstormed, critiqued, and laughed and giggled for two hours while dinning on some of the most amazing flavors and foods we’d had in a very long time. It was a fantastic time and we came home happy and full.

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I could not have asked for a better anniversary. I hope we can keep the tradition up next year! I think I am going to keep him around long enough to do this a few more times.

Hurricane Sandy, Unknown Legend

I’ve been thinking a lot about Sandy, the hurricane. Frankly, hurricanes scare me to death and are right up there with my fear of tornadoes. I remember the tornado drills back in elementary school, huddling in the hall on our knees, our noses just about touching the floor, and our hands tucked over our heads. The teachers would pace back and forth hushing us into quiet, trembling, molehills against the cold concrete walls; while we waited for the storm to pass.

I hated being that close to the dirty hallway floor, but most of all I hated the not knowing. Being scared for my cat and my dog at home, for my parents, and for my Grandmas. I’d seen the Wizard of Oz; my Gran could very well be out there whirling up in the sky with the cows, the barn, and all the floats from the swimming pool. I might never see her again.

It wasn’t bad enough that we had to practice this once a month and being a child you never knew if it was the real thing or not. Not being allowed to ask questions without an authoritative shushing, we scuttled along, and flung ourselves into position, waiting for the sirens to stop wailing. You’d pray that you got in line beside one of your friends so you could at least quietly whisper if ever the opportunity arose and heaven forbid if it ever cut into recess time. Then the day was absolutely ruined.

All this is on my mind as I plan for a road trip up the east coast. The hurricane puts a heavy weight on my heart and I almost wonder if it’s appropriate to take the time to see the sights with such a catastrophe going on. What would it be like driving into the city after a storm of this caliber, camera in hand, with a tourist’s questioning eyes? Seems kind of insensitive to me. For now the future of this trip remains unknown. Much like my time spent waiting out tornado drills. I think once we get behind the wheel we’ll know what to do.

As for today, I am heading out on a mini journey down south to Savannah, Georgia. I love this coastal town. My mom happens to be going there for work and I am going to tag along to be her driving buddy. You may not know that I have been back down in Georgia for about two months. I have been staying with my folks near my old stomping grounds and I am coming to the end of my trip.

I am so ready to head back home. Hopefully, this trek to Savannah will give me an opportunity to clear my head, be thankful, and figure out my path from here. I’ve encountered a few bumps in the road these past months that have brought me to where I am now, but I’ve got big plans for school this spring. Truly, I can’t wait to be back up north with my beautiful J. Thoughts of him, and his love and support are what’s getting me through it all. Yeah, okay I got a little gushy, but hey, I miss the guy and he is beautiful.

I hope yall are safe out there; dry, warm, and surrounded by love.

“And somewhere on desert highway, she rides a Harley Davidson.
Her long blonde hair flying in the wind.
She’s been running half her life, the chrome and steel she rides.
Colliding with the very air she breathes.”
-Neil Young

p.s. There should be plenty of photos to come as well as a hodgepodge of photos from this whole Georgia trip. My camera has been pretty much glued to my face.

Easy Pumpkin Pie Spice Flax Seed Vegan Smoothie

There really is nothing like a good smoothie to kick off the day right. This week I experimented with my age old banana smoothie by adding in some pumpkin goodness. I spiced it up with a few easily found spices, added in some flax seed for extra morning goodness and to get that body going, blended all up with tasty almond milk and I am good to go.

It took a little while to figure out the proportions and they may not be right for all, this is sort of a hefty smoothie, but great for breakfast on the go or a sit down treat with your sweetie before work.

It is a really simple recipe, all you need is:

A blender
One frozen banana chopped, I peel and chop my bananas before freezing and keep spare in the freezer for morning smoothies.
1/2 cup pumpkin puree, add more if you really love pumpkin, I usually don’t measure just scoop out what looks right and go.
1+ tbsp ground flax seed, as much or as little as you please, I use a coffee grinder to grind my seeds fresh.
1 to 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice or 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp all spice = 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
8 oz of vanilla almond milk, you can also use plain, sweetened or unsweetened I prefer unsweetened.
Honey to taste

Put the milk in the bottom of your blender, add all ingredients, pulse to break up banana and then blend till smooth. Pour into your favorite to go cup equipped with a straw and you are ready to go.

This is the face of one content little lady ready to rip through a day of crafting, halloween costume scheming, house chore doing, epic road trip planning, and social media marketing-ing.

Fall recipe Round Up

The gorgeous changing of the seasons has inspired my palate and lately I find myself craving the flavors of fall. With the abundance of pumpkins out there for sale at road side stands, farmers markets, and fall festivals I thought I’d share some very intriguing and unique pumpkin recipes I’ve found around the web.

Number one is a flavorful pumpkin humus. Number two, a to die for pumpkin spice bundt cake with creamy pumpkin glaze. Number three, a warm and creamy, veggie packed pumpkin soup. Number four, a gorgeous and hearty pumpkin chili. And number five is a grain free, dairy free take on the classic pumpkin pie.

These recipes are sure to please your taste buds and warm you up with all the flavors of fall. Mmmmm mmm! Click To Tweet!

Recipe Links:
1|2|3|4|5

Preparing for a Green Juice Feast

So I am doing it. I have been gearing my body towards a juice feast for the last three weeks. I started by eating a nice big raw breakfast for two weeks and then into a week of fresh citrus, fruit and green smoothies. Yesterday I started the “feast” by replacing breakfast and lunch with fresh squeezed green juice.

Raw foodists often use the term feasting over fasting, because you truly are feasting! It’s all about abundance and eating as much pure, beautiful goodness you can! It’s enlightening really to think about it that way and to really appreciate all the beautiful, fresh, organic, local treats you are eating all in one go. It’s like living like a god! Surrounded by beautiful ripe fruit and veggies!

Why did I choose green? To be honest, I’d be lyin’ if I said I didn’t want to loose a few pounds, but also I want improve my overall health and I think a low glycemic clean system of eating will help me get there!

To prepare for this feast I went to our local market on Saturday. I had a budget of $20 to spend and that was it. I wanted to see if it was really doable on a small budget, because just the thought of organic produce prices can scare the pants off some people. To add to this James and I do have some fresh veggies from our CSA Share (community supported agriculture) so in total that makes my weekly budget about $40. I don’t know if this is doable yet, but I am sure going to find out.

Here’s what I scored at the market (I am just going to apologize in advance for these terrible quality photos it was later in the day and I refuse to use flash photography.)

A giant head of kale with roots still intact $5
Three light green sweet peppers
One green pepper
an entire basil plant $3 (I have other plans for this other than juicing: Pesto!)
six small peaches
a good sized head of romane
six 1″ ft cucumbers
five green apples

Amazing! All are low pesticide to no pesticide and some certified organic in there too. Now how long is this going to last me? Probably 3 to 4 days as I am replacing two meals with all of these goodies, though the CSA share should help prolong things and hopefully I’ll make it to Friday for our next share.


I couldn’t wait to start on Sunday so I made a small batch for dinner Saturday night. So fresh!


Not so green because of the addition of three small purple carrots.


Even Nori approves! She actually loves greens and we often share with her fresh lettuce and spinach cause she devours it!

It’s definitely an acquired thing juicing green veggies. I had some experience with it back at Omega when a fellow staffer leant the use of her juicer to staff (Lindsay that was a godsend!) but I didn’t juice it up full time. My short term raw food goal is to be raw by the end of September and see how it affects things, from there I’ll think about my long term plan and how I can use this method to improve my life over all. This is just a little experiment, I am in no way an expert, but over the course of this month I hope to learn as much as I can about my body and the affects of a pure clean diet (by diet I mean the aspect of my lifestyle having to do with food, not a “diet.”)

Wish me luck and please if you have anything to share with me do it! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Etsy Feature Friday – The Gorgeous designs of Lauren Kemp


I just discovered the beautiful DIYed designs of Lauren Kemp on Etsy. Truth be told I found her through Uncovet and searched her out to find her shop and low and behold there she was on Etsy!

These are some of my favorite designs of hers that I seriously can’t get enough of and wish they’d jump into my closet right now! Her simple cuts and fun hand painted/stitched embellishments have really inspired me to get out the ol’ needle and thread and try my hand at some of that gorgeous embroidery work. Although it will have to wait till after Urban Craft is over as I am swamped with last minute projects leading up to the big day!

First up to bat:

Look at the gorgeous back on this one:

Fun elbow pads are always a + in my book:

This one is hand painted, love the color:

Similar embroidery design as the first image, but boy do I love the cut of this shirt:

Images from her shop, Lauren D Kemp :1 || 2 || 3 || 4 || 5 || 6

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