Tuesday, October 14, 2014

It's My 100th Post of 2014 and a Giveaway!

So this is the 100th post on my blog this year! In celebration, I'm giving away this super cute Baggu tote bag!

Abe's Market recently gave affiliates the opportunity to tryout a variety of different products for free.  I reviewed two facial products from their Mad Hippie line last month (along with the other products I use on my face) and now I'm here to show you the awesome Baggu bag I got from them.  It's a canvas duck bag in a sweet, indigo blue color. 

Baggu Tote Bag

The shoulder strap is adjustable and it also comes with two handles if you're a more hands on type person. :)  It's of a very generous size.  I easily stuffed four hardcover books inside, and there was room for more.

Very roomy.

It has a vented bottom so it's more room then a regular tote.  Baggu is a woman owned company, that uses recycled materials.  They make backpacks, weekend bags, and other styles in a variety of colors. 

This bags retails for $22.88, and if you want to win it, all you have to do is leave a comment with a link to a tutorial or recipe you like.  It can be one from your own blog or just one you enjoy.  Then just click on the Rafflecopter widget to let me know you commented.  There's also bonus entries for following on Twitter and Bloglovin if you're interested.  

This giveaway is open to readers from US and Canada. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: Abe's Market is an affiliate but all views are my own. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Musical Monday- Dangerous Days by Zola Jesus

The Upper Peninsula was great!  We had sunny weather in the 50s the whole time we were up there.  It was windy, but that's par for the course when you're around Lake Superior.  I loved it. The fall colors were perfect.
Top of Brockway Mountain in MI.

Brockway Mountain is so pretty!  From the top you can see for miles.  I've been there several times  in the summer, but this was my first pilgrimage in the fall.  It was windy and cold, but it was definitely worth it.  We had such a nice trip and then I had to come back and go to work the next day.  That's always kind of a buzz kill.  I guess that's what being a grown up is all about.

Eagle Harbor, MI.  Love the contrast between the houses and the hillside.
It's a dark, drizzly day here.  I have the day off but I'm not feeling very motivated to do much.  So, it's definitely a day for upbeat music.   I've been loving Zola Jesus for about the past month and this is my favorite song of hers.

She has this great, big voice, and there's just a touch of electronica to this song that makes you want to dance a little.  Perfect for a dreary, depressing day.

Check out Musical Monday over at My So Called Chaos to see what everyone else is listening to.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Craftsy 5 Million Member Flash Sale

Craftsy has recently topped 5 Million Members and they're celebrating!  If you've had your eye on a certain class, check and see if it's on sale- a lot of them are.  And if you haven't tried Craftsy yet, what are you waiting for?   I've talked before about why I love Craftsy, and taken several classes already.  (Check back this week for my review of lesson three of Italian pasta making class.)

So don't miss Craftsy's 5 Million Member Flash Sale happening now! Get up to 50% off select online classes for a limited time only! Hurry, this offer expires on October 13th, 2014 at 11:59 PM MT. Shop Craftsy's 5 Million Member Flash Sale now and save.

Note, I am a Craftsy affiliate, but I have had nothing but great experiences with Crafsy and would not recommend them for my readers unless I thought my readers would have the same results.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Musical Monday- Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol

Today is my seventh wedding anniversary.  Seven years ago it was an abnormally warm October of about 80 degrees.   I would post a picture of us, but my husband doesn't like any pictures of himself on the internet.  He works in IT you'd think he'd be all over that stuff, but no.  So, instead he's a not so great picture of me seven years ago, and half of his body.  :)

Anyway, sense it's our anniversary, I thought I should post a song related to that.  (I totally feel like I'm a high school girl dedicating a song on "Friday Night All Request Love Songs" right about now, but here goes.

We never really had a song that was "our song" so when we were dating, I had picked this Snow Patrol song and "made" it "our song".  We even played it at the start of our wedding before the wedding party came out and everything.  But anyway.  It started out as a joke, but it kind of stuck.  So here it is:

How about you?  What's your song?  And if you want to see what everyone else is listening to today, go check out Musical Monday's over at My So Called Chaos.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

It's time for a recap.  Feels like I've been running in place a lot lately- busy but not getting much done.  But anyway, here's what I've been loving this week.

1.  Broadchurch!  This is the British tv show that Gracepoint is based on.  One of my friends recommended Broadchurch and so I powered through all three DVDs on Netflix and I loved it.  David Tennett (of Doctor Who of course) is the lead investigator and Arthur Darvill (Rory from Doctor Who) plays the priest.  It's a great mystery, with awesome character development.  It's eight episodes long.  Gracepoint seems more than "based" on Broadchurch.  Many scenes are word for word.  Only not as good as the British version.  And the lady who plays Kathy Eaton, the newspaper editor- oh my gosh, her voice drove me crazy.  But, I'm still willing to tune in to a couple more episodes at least.  For starters, David Tennett plays the same lead detective in both series, for another, there's ten episodes in the American version versus eight in the British, so there must be some more material to cover or something.

2. Here's a tip for all you travelers.  Google Maps only work if you plug in the correct endpoint.  Yesterday was my cousin's wedding, in a town about an hour from here.  I was running late and just punched in the name of the church on the little card they send with.  We arrived with ten minutes to spare, only to see that no one is there.  Hmmm... so I take a closer look.  The reception is being held at another church's reception hall.  We showed up at that church and not the church having the service.  I guess it could have been worse.  If there had been a bunch of cars there for another wedding, we probably would have walked right in, sat down, and crashed someone's ceremony.  As it was, we went to the local cafe, had some lunch and then waited around for the reception.  It was all good, but I was slightly amused with my own incompetence.

3.  I found this cool idea on Karamat Sews for a Scrap Jar Challenge.  Basically, you fill a jar full of fabric scraps and then if you win the jar, you have to make something out of it, refill it, and then the next winner gets what you made and the jar and the process is repeated.  It makes me wishing I had a sewing or quilting guild to do it with.

4.  Speaking of fabric- I've been super disciplined about not buying more fabric these past few months, but I finally caved the other day when I was on Massdrop and saw you could get Lotus Pond for $7.50 a yard (two yard minimum) and free shipping!  I bought four yards.  I think it will come in handy when making Christmas presents this year.  

5.  And finally!  Today is the day we head back up to Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  I think the leaves are at there peak and it should be a very pretty drive. Temps are projected to be mid 40s to low 50s, but feeling about ten degrees cooler due to wind and clouds.  But I'm still super excited about it.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Homemade Italian Pasta- Thoughts on Lesson 2

Lesson two of Craftsy's Homemade Italian Pasta class is all about rolling and cutting your pasta. There really is a method to it all. But first, I had to mix up some dough according to the directions in lesson one. All you need for dough is flour and room temperature eggs.

After making a "bowl" out of my flour and cracking my eggs inside the indentation, you just have to mix the two together.

It kind of looks like a weird birds nest.
So you mix this into a dough, let it rest (much as you have to let bread dough rest before you can form it into loaves).  Then you cut it the same amount of pieces as eggs used.  So mine was cut into three relatively equal sized pieces.  You flatten these out, and then comes the fun part- using the pasta machine! I got mine at a garage sale for $3, and it sounds a little rickety, but it did the job fine.

You're not supposed to stop in the middle of pressing your dough,
so pardon the poor photo quality.  I was trying to hurry.

It was interesting to learn that there's a whole method to how you roll your dough, and you slowly adjust the thickness down, going piece by piece, until you've gone through almost all the settings.

Finally, once all the dough is rolled, you cut your three pieces in half (no need for yard long noodles) and lay it on dishtowels to dry out a little, flipping it about half way through to dry both sides.
Noodles in a pre-noodle state.
Then, it was finally time to run the dough through the pasta machine and cut it!  You then fold it in little nests of sorts and set it aside to dry.

Nests of noodles.
I'm really enjoying pasta making.  There's something about cooking food from scratch that is so cathartic.  I love it!  It's the same way I felt about making bread.  I really like how it's so hand intensive.  You spend minutes rolling or kneading dough, and there's this whole process involved, doing things just so, to get a quality finished product.  It just feels so tranquil.

 Note: All links are affiliate links, but all thoughts are my own.  This post is not sponsored by Craftsy and is just my own thoughts on the class.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Musical Mondays- I Don't Want to Change You from Damien Rice

Fall colors are predicted to peak in early October for us here in Wisconsin and in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Which makes me super excited because this coming weekend is when I'm going to be going to the U.P. to celebrate my seventh wedding Anniversary.  My cousin is getting married on Saturday, so we aren't heading out until Sunday and then we'll come home Tuesday.  (And then back to work.  Why does work have to get in the way of everything fun?)

My friend Jules (the one that was going to go to Ingrid Michaelson with me) and I were talking at work about my trip and I mentioned that I was excited, but sometimes I think it'd be so nice to go on vacation by myself and just stay in a cabin for the week and work on my blog, and read, and just drink coffee, and take walks.  She thought that sounded like a great idea and I think our personalities would mesh where we could go and each work on our own projects and then just cook dinner and talk about what we accomplished during the day, and any epiphanies we had.  You know, no expectations about what you have to do, and being responsible for your own day, but still have that friendship there where you can have a deep conversation about what you're thinking.

Then I thought, wouldn't it be awesome to rent a house and have an all blogger independent conference?  How cool would that be? I found a place that would be perfect!  There's enough room you could spread out, but still be together, full kitchen, laundry and you can rent it for a full week for $500 to $800 (depending on the season), plus food, divide that by 3 to 6 people, and it could be a pretty reasonable getaway.  Or even if it was only for a few days.  I don't know.  But thinking about that much creativity in one place makes me feel super warm and fuzzy.  If any female bloggers/ writers/ creatives are interested in thinking about a trek to the middle of no where, let me know we could have all winter to ponder it.

But seriously, it's Musical Monday so let's get to the music!  My friend Chris, the one who's the massage therapist, was the person who first introduced me to Damien Rice's music.  And I was pretty much smitten.  Once I heard Live at Union Chapel, it was a done deal.  It's been a while sense he came out with anything new so when his new single popped up in my Facebook feed, I was keen to hear what he's been working on.  "I Don't Want to Change You" sounds like classic Damien.  It's soft, and slightly melancholic, definitely autumn music.  As one commenter put it last week, autumn music should be "something I wouldn't mind having a cup of cocoa with" and I think this song fits the bill.

 And it's Musical Monday so be sure to check out what everyone else is listening to.  We all link up over at My So Called Chaos.