See yuh on the flip side.

After today, this blog will be much like my apartment for the next week: quiet and still. Mike and I are headed to Philly for a friend's party and then to the open seas! If you happen to drop by, tell me about your favorite vacation. I'll be needing those stories when I get back next Sunday, for sure. Until then, have a lovely week!


The things I love.

I love this place where I live. It feeds my desire to live in a slower paced area, tucked away like a favorite letter but still close enough to rest of the world. 
And I love this man...
who makes my heart feel like this:
s20C9w on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

make animated gifs like this at MakeAGif



This week's been a doozy and it's only Tuesday (hello from the past!). The paperwhites are blooming lovelily (that's a word now), Mike made me dinner tonight (I've been surviving on cereal and hot dogs since his stomach issues began), and I just sent off a project before the deadline. Plus I bought a new bathing suit at Target last night, and I'm in can't-wait-can't-wait mode for the cruise next week. Not much is happening in my little workspace this week, so instead I'll share some more photos from Nemo this past weekend. The blogosphere needs more pictures of that guy.


Things to do in a blizzard.

 1. Take pictures. Even of your blinds.
2. When the snow and the winds die down, go for walks. It does good for the soul to see all that brightness after being indoors for so long, especially when half the neighborhood is out helping each other uncover cars and build snow sculptures.
3. Go sledding. At first we laughed at this guy riding his bike, then we realized he was called by a higher purpose when we saw the pink sled on his back. 
4. Make delicious food, like these waffles and this soup.

Snow jumping from Melanie Yarbrough on Vimeo.

PS: I just realized that these are all thing to do after a blizzard. You knew what I meant.


Made | Blizzard soup

So this recipe is one of the best kinds because you can customize it and make it different every time. Also, Mike's been having stomach issues lately, and this soup is one of the only things that doesn't bother him. Besides, who doesn't want a big pot of soup when it's blizzarding out? I'll stop trying to convince you to make this soup, and just tell you how it's done.

You'll need:
About 6 cups of broth (I mix veggie and chicken)
Garlic powder
Black pepper
Hot sauce (to taste)
All the veggies you want
Rice or dumplings

Okay, so this is really a non-recipe, but trust me when I say this is the best kind of soup ever.  We make this when we're just cold and tired and ready to eat. The prep involves buying all the ingredients, chopping the veggies, and waiting for it all to heat up together. The longer you let it simmer, the more flavorful the broth becomes. Our favorite veggies are bok choy, celery, carrots, baby bellas, and bean sprouts on top. We usually throw in some kind of starch like frozen dumplings or rice, but you can leave that out just as easily.

This soup goes well with a big blanket, a good book, and a snowy backdrop.


Made | Blizzard waffles

 A couple weekends ago, Mike and I rediscovered that we had a waffle maker, and I've been craving waffles ever since. That same day, we also used the last of our pancake mix and have yet to replace it. We don't make waffles or pancakes that often, so a box of mix usually lasts us right up until (or right after) the sell by date on the box, so we weren't exactly in a hurry to replace it. But there is just something about waking up to this:
and this:
that makes me want this:
So I typed "waffle recipe" into Google and found that making waffles from scratch is just as easy as making it from a box. And it actually tastes better. I'm never going back.

You'll need:
2 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs

I made half the recipe above, and was able to make three waffles yesterday and today.  Extra batter can be covered and stored in the fridge. 

Preheat your waffle iron and spray with non-stick spray. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until fluffy. Then mix in the other ingredients until combined well. Cook according to your iron's instructions. Top with bananas and these amazing coconut chips from Trader Joe's (they taste like the caramel delight girl scout cookies, but they're just coconut chips!).

Best served with coffee and an episode of Bones.


Photos | Waiting for the snow.

This has been a week of wearing two pairs of tights to work each day, of worrying over what's going on with Mike's stomach, of working later than usual, of counting down to vacation week (we're currently at seven days!!). Last night we gathered at Jenna and Ron's for a dinner of homemade sushi to celebrate the engagement of two of my very good friends, Emily and Katie. They've added to my reasons for being excited about Fall, about 2013, about love. Yesterday, while gathering supplies at Trader Joe's, I impulsively bought this little set of paperwhites. But now that they sit on my table in the quiet morning light, I know I'd been meaning to get them all along. 


Welcome, February.

Nabi and me in front of the Bean, January 2013.
Ok, so it's been February for about a week now, but I'm doing this anyway. I feel like I started off 2013 at a sprint, and February comes with the promise of finding a steady pace. This month there will be a week-long vacation, new opportunities, and many hours spent learning new things: calligraphy, watercolor, design, how to make a stinking dress I actually want to wear in public. It's cold out there, so I'm enjoying all this time to get the indoor things done while there's no warm and sunny day outside to taunt me. So, welcome February. May your brevity equal richness.


Workspace Wednesday 3

My little studio changes almost every day, whether it's my computer, sewing machine, clay, or inks, this desk has been my creative home for the past six months. It feels so good to have a space to spread out and make a mess. And a place to hide my chocolate covered almonds from Mike, too.


Went | Chicago + the Lincoln Park Zoo, 2

My first day in Chicago, Nabi and Diego took me to the free Chicago zoo. I couldn't believe this place was free! There were chimps, gorillas, black bears, polar bears, a lion, a tiger, and everything in between. I saw a giraffe for the first time in my life!
Being at the zoo, admittedly, made me feel a little sad. Seeing all of those wild animals caged up; I'm sure they're not fooled by the paintings of their natural habitat painted on the walls. It was pretty magnificent to see those animals up close in a way I never had before, though, even if I left feeling a little conflicted.


Made | A new look!

My overarching goal for 2013 is to keep learning. There quite a few things on the list of what I want to learn, but one that's been at the top for some time has been to learn how to customize this blog. I've come close to purchasing design services, changing my mind last minute because I knew I could learn to do it myself. It's hard to get bloggers to reveal their design and coding secrets, so when I saw that A Beautiful Mess and Elise Cripe had joined forces to create the Blog Design E-course, I signed up the day it was released. That, in combination with Head First HTML & CSS, Second Edition* by Elisabeth Robson and Eric Freeman, have helped me to dive into all of the backend mysteries involved with writing a blog.

I'm sure this space will always be a work in progress, but I'm happy with how far I've come with just a Sunday afternoon and a lot of trial & error.

Care to share any design tips you've come across?

*Full disclosure: I work for O'Reilly and was able to get a copy of this book for free. Either way, I'd still recommend it.