Monday, November 30, 2015

my week in objects (mostly):

Five little things that made my week:

                                                     1. these Frida Kahlo-themed gifts. 

(because they were such a lovely surprise from a friend who knows me well.)

                                                               2. this banana bread. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

11 local options for the holidays

We have now entered into the season of giving: the time to show gratitude and love for the special people in our lives through sincere, thought-out gifts. But have you taken into account the impact that your purchases make on the world around you?

Anna Lappe, an author and sustainability advocate, has some food for thought on the matter:
“Every time you spend money, you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”

So instead of taking to department stores and big businesses for Christmas gifts, why not invest in your own community this holiday season?

Several studies have shown that there are many different benefits from shopping at local companies, rather than nationally owned businesses. To start, more money from your purchases will remain in the community, which will benefit local owners, service providers, and farmers. Investing in the community through your purchases puts your tax dollars to good use, creates more local jobs, and reduces environmental impact. Chances are, you will be able to find unique and higher quality goods from local and artisanal producers than at any store in the mall.

Here are eleven locally owned and operated options for holiday gifts for everyone on your Christmas list:

1. Zoe’s Chocolate Company -

This local, award-winning chocolate shop sells boxes, individual treats, and seasonal favorites. There are also unique, Mediterranean-inspired flavors that will excite your favorite chocoholic, including Aegean pistachio, baklava, and orange flower. Zoe’s has two locations, one in Frederick and the other in Waynesboro.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Garlic butter foil baked salmon

Something that I have learned while having my own apartment, my own kitchen, my own time and my own spending money, is that I really enjoy trying new recipes... especially recipes I find on Pinterest. I have a whole board dedicated to recipes that I want to try and it is ever-growing.

I used to watch my mother cook when I lived at home, though I never really ventured into the culinary arts much until I had a kitchen in my dorm last year. Now, I try out a new recipe at least once a week (time permitting). I look for exciting recipes that I have not tried before, that seem relatively simple and only have moderate prep time. This week, I attempted garlic butter foil baked salmon, and it was quite a success! (Recipe at the bottom of this post!)

I am not a picky eater, but I do like to eat good food, as in quality, healthy and as ethically sourced as I can get (on a post-grad budget). You will find no hotdogs or ramen in my kitchen (unless, maybe they are special hotdogs like these... they have always intrigued me). Actually, I have yet to cook meat in my kitchen in the past six months since I have been living here.

I'm not actually a vegetarian (though I have considered it multiple times), but I guess I just wait to get meat more often when I am out to eat. It is easier on my grocery budget, satisfies my germaphobic tendencies by not contaminating my kitchen, and makes eating out more of a treat!

Anyways, back to the salmon:

Friday, November 20, 2015

my week in objects (mostly):

Five little things that made my week:

1. this little favor.

(because I photographed my first wedding this past weekend and it was great to see so much joy and love in one place.)

2. this Mexican blanket.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

30 things I am thankful for

Post-graduate life is similar, but also very different from life during undergrad. I now live 6+ hours from my hometown, and though I work and am getting my MBA from my undergraduate university, I have moved into my own apartment in a new town, have my own car, am studying in a new discipline and have two jobs.

I have gone through a lot of big changes in the past few months, and it has not always been easy or pleasant, but I have learned so much about myself, the real world and life in general. I have come to rely a lot on the experiences I have had. They have made me more independent, knowledgeable and worldly in a short period of time than I ever believed was possible.

I am in a stage of life between college and the big bad world, and through this, I have found just how much I rely on myself. I have learned to appreciate a lot of the little things in my busy life, so here are just a few things that I am thankful for in this season of gratitude:
  1. Phone calls from long distance friends
  2. Being able to afford my own apartment
  3. Freshly brewed green tea in the morning 
  4. Things that grow, like my thai basil plant
  5. "Good mornings" from co-workers
  6. The mountains that surround my town
  7. Pinterest recipes 
  8. A trusty radio station
  9. Finding my faith again
  10. My gas stove

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Harpers Ferry, WV in the fall

Though I have lived in my university's town for 4.5 years, I never realized just how close the historical, gem of a town, of Harper(')s Ferry, WV was from me. It is actually just a short drive down the highway, and it really is a great little daytrip, especially in the fall when the air is crisp and the leaves are changing!

The first thing that you should know about Harpers Ferry is that the small town is actually located in the middle of Harpers Ferry National Park. There is usually a small fee to get into the National Park, but it is well worth it! There is no parking in the town, unless you happen to be one of the 300 residents, so you must plan on parking at the National Park's visitors' center. There is a shuttle service that runs pretty regularly to take you into town.

The shuttle drops you off right along the scenic Potomac River. Actually, Harpers Ferry was a coveted, strategic town during the American Civil War because it is where the Potomac and the Shenandoah River meet. It also is where three different states meet: Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

my week in objects (mostly):

Five little things that made my week: 

1. these welcoming blooms. 

(because they just brighten up the kitchen so much.)

2. this lunchtime treat.

(because I love love love baguettes.)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Launching a University Snapchat Account: The Research

When I took a graduate assistant position at my university's office of communication, I knew that I would be working a lot with social media, as well as writing content for the website, taking photos and helping with various other projects... I never really thought that I would be the main social media person for my whole university!

Though my university is small (about 2,000 students), running all the social media accounts and keeping them updated on a day to day basis keeps me really busy! I never realized how much work it was to find, think up, create and post content that appeals to a wide audience, as well as keep up with my other work responsibilities. It has been a great learning experience. I regularly post on the university's official facebook, twitter and instagram accounts, and then we also post somewhat regularly on Tumblr, Flickr, and Pinterest.

When I began working over the summer, I thought it would be a good idea for my university to get a Snapchat account, since about 77% of college age students use Snapchat every day... which makes it a great tool for a university! It could appeal to both current students and prospective students, and help get the word out about events on campus as well as general campus life.

I began researching how other universities used their accounts. University of Michigan is usually a great place to start... I regard them as university social media gurus... especially since they have a whole social media team. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

my week in objects (mostly):

Erin Boyle's blog, reading my tea leaves is one of my favorites! She portrays the kind of life that I would like to lead: a little family, in a little apartment, living a sustainable life in the big city.

Anyways, Erin usually writes a "my week in objects" post that highlights some of the best little objects that have made an impact on her life that week. I have always liked the idea and look forward to the posts because they are simple but say a lot in regards to appreciating the little things in life...

So here are five little things that made my week:

1. these fall favorites.

 (because even though Halloween is over, they are still in season.)

2. this feline friend.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Motivation Monday: Light in the Darkness

Whenever I am going through a hard time or just need a little bit of wisdom or advice, I usually turn to great thinkers like my favorite authors or artists and of course, God. Literature, passages and quotes that relate to the situation I am in seem to give me some clarity. It is at least comforting to know that someone has felt the same as I am at some point in time.

Something that has really helped me through recent hard times has been being able to see the light in the darkness... even in the literal sense. Here's a quick anecdote:

It just so happens that my bedroom doesn't have windows, and though I thought that would bother me at the beginning of the summer when I had just moved in, it doesn't at all. After I close my door and turn off the lights at night, my bedroom is ultra dark. I never realized just how nice it was to sleep in almost total darkness, and I have noticed that it is comforting and calming.

My apartment building used to be an old schoolhouse, so it is complete with old radiators and old wooden doors with gorgeous knobs. Anyways, after some recent life changes, I started noticing the ray of light that shone through the keyhole of my bedroom door. It's like a nightlight that I never knew I needed, and it has really kept me settled and grounded for some reason. Whether you take it as "God closing a door...etc" or just as a guiding light and reminder to not give up, it has helped me. It reminds me to keep hope in so many metaphorical ways.

This tiny keyhole of light has reminded me that the dark times do have an ending, and that there is always some little sliver of hope in a world of darkness, and you can find it as long as you take the time to let your eyes adjust. I think everyone goes through dark times at some point, and could use a little wisdom now and then... so here are some quotes to help you to continue to look for the light in each day: