Thursday, May 31, 2012

Salad in the Ground

Normally, I would have had my herbs and vegetables planted for 3 weeks by now. It seems May has been extra busy this year. We were gone for 2 weekends and all of a sudden it's nearly June! There was no oregano to be found at Lowe's or Home Depot but we did okay with what was left. See for yourself......

I had great success with the Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes last year and yielded a crop of 150! I knew I had to plant those again. I also did a hybrid tomato of Early Girls which should come to fruit sooner than other tomato plants which is good because I'm becoming very impatient in my old age. My herbs are all old standbys. I skipped the parsley because I thought last year's crop tasted like soap.

New to the garden this year are the peppers. I chose red and green bell peppers and I'm really hoping they grow up big and strong. I never used to like peppers but now I put them in everything. It's amazing how your tastes can change. I really wanted to grow zucchini but John said the vines would take over the yard. Spoil sport.

And in the potted garden...........

Can we talk about how that mint was solely planted for mojitos? I mean, why else would you ever plant mint? I'm going to be a mint muddling fool. Well, John will be a muddling fool. He's the barkeep around here in addition to his sous chef duties. Last year I forgot to plant sage and that was a sad mistake. This year, it has been rectified. Sage for everyone!

These calla lilies were planted by the previous owners and I think they're a delight! So pretty. I'm still amazed that they keep coming back.

Hope my thumbs are verdant green this summer!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Weekend Re-Cap

What an awesome holiday weekend!

The B&B was booked with visitors from North Carolina. My sister, brother-in-law and nephew drove up from Raleigh just to hang out with us. Wasn't that nice? My nephew, Ben, is just a couple months shy of his 2nd birthday. He was loads of fun! Spending more time with him this weekend was much different than our visit to Austin last Thanksgiving when he was only 4 months old. Duh, right? He has endless amounts of energy and then crashes hard, sometimes in the middle of the floor. My sister didn't make me change any diapers but I was forced to witness her changing a full #2. That was the low point of the weekend.

Because we were playing Ohio tourists, we took them to the Cincinnati Zoo. This is a great zoo but their prices are getting a tad high. Buy your tickets at Kroger to save a couple bucks. I skipped the reptile house but reports from John and my sister told that Ben was brave enough to touch a lizard in there. Pass. My favorite are the zoo babies. Mini Juliana pigs!


I love a good zoo trip but we didn't last very long. Record high temps this weekend meant that 93 degrees was our limit. We tapped out before lunchtime because we were all sweaty messes.

The fun didn't stop there! On our way home, we stopped at IKEA by request of our guests. I bought a potted succulent for my office that I am super excited about. We grilled at night at got ice cream at our favorite local soft-serve stand.

On Sunday, we took the guests into Dayton to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. This is a strange conglomeration of a museum. Part zoo, part science center, part play place, part planterium......something for everyone! A lot of the exhibits went over Ben's head but it was inside (air conditioning!) and he really did enjoy it for the most part. The animals that live there are a lot more accessible than at the zoo and you can see them right up close. I'd like to go back to the planetarium portion which we skipped because Ben would have been wiggly.


We headed home for naps and a little sewing. A quick pair of pajama pants for my sister, more eating, and of course, more ice cream! On Memorial Day, they hit the road around 9:00 AM and John and I got down to the business of yard work. More on that another day though...... What a great family weekend!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Make It: Kindle Slip Cover

For Mother's Day, I stitched up this Kindle slip cover for my mother-in-law.

Why is this pic collage fuzzy? :(

I followed this tutorial from Charm Stitch and with a handful of simple steps, I had this cute case. It's corduroy on the outside and quilting flannel on the inside. The closure is an elastic hairband. And how cute is that mini leather button? Dying. So cute. I think she liked it. The Kindle slipped right in, waiting for its next read.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Recipe Reblog #17

A cookie for you this holiday weekend!

Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies: I don't bake very often. This is mostly due to a lack of self control. If there's a pan of brownies in the kitchen, it won't last long. So, when I have guests staying over, I take advantage of the extra eaters and carefully select the baked good recipe I've most been pining after. Enter, the Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies. Oh my! These were delicious! The pudding part comes in by adding dried instant pudding mix. I'm not sure what that did for them but I was pleased with the result, as were my guests. I halved the recipe but it still made 2 dozen. If you like Reese's Pieces, you'll love these cookies!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tropical Beer

Since I was on vacation last week, I took the opportunity to imbibe some local brews. Well, one local, one not so local but I haven't seen either in Ohio.

Summer beers are supa refresh, y'all and this one did not disappoint. It's an offering from the Florida Beer Co. When in FLA, drink FLA beer, right? From the brewers: "Sunset Ale is an American medium-bodied amber ale with a tropical twist. It is brewed with pale and caramel malts, blended with hops, to create a crisp, satisfying taste." This was the perfect beer to enjoy in a tropical climate. Hope I run into it somewhere in here! It was only $7.99 for a 6 pack.

Koko Brown Ale is from the Aloha series brewed in Maui by the Kona Brewing Co. We were immediately drawn to it because it's brewed with toasted coconut. I will eat or drink anything that has coconut involved. An-y-thing. From the brewers: "The delicious heart of this island treasure has a nutty, toffee flavor and aroma that sends you straight to the beaches of Paradise. Kick back with a Koko Brown, brewed with real toasted coconut, and savor the mahogany color and smooth, roasty malt taste."

I was so hoping this beer would change my life. Unfortunately, I couldn't taste even a hint of coconut. So disappointing. However, it was still a delicious brown ale. I always forget about brown ales. Smooth and nutty drinkable goodness. Just don't expect coconut or you will be sad. At $8.99 for 6, even all the way from Hawaii, I would try it again if I could find it. Maybe we had an un-coconutty batch.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


No, not the delicious beverage. Orange nails! I bought this Wet N Wild Wet Shine polish for a buck in Florida.

In fact, I used change to purchase it so to me, it felt like it was free! Yes, I realize coinage is valid currency but I never have any on me so I felt like a big winner when I paid in all coins. This color doesn't have a name, just a number. 405. My mom and I thought it looked cantaloupe-y. And then when I was eating an actual piece of cantaloupe and saw my nails right next to it, I was sold. On the name anyway.

Orange nails are bold. They are very summery. I just don't know if they're me. Maybe they'd be better on toes. Perhaps I could wear them to support an orange colored sports team and I wouldn't feel as weird about it. You know, like a super fan.If you know I am not sporty, you are laughing at my self-imposed super fan status. For a dollar, this color is just a'ight.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Make It: 20 Minute Knit Dress

I pinned this tutorial from Faith at Design Fixation on Pinterest and made it the next day. Luckily, I had the fabric in my stash already. Truth be told, I almost always have the right fabric in my stash but I just like punishing my bank account and buying more unnecessarily.

With one yard of this April Johnston for Project Runway fabric, I took to my machine. It's a stretch jersey with a cream background and this cute bow print. I altered the cutting measurements slightly. Instead of 9 inches wide on the front panels, I think I did 11". The back panel is 26" wide but I did 29". I wanted to make sure it wasn't too small and also that the sleeves came down my arms a bit.

I stitched it up quickly, maybe not quite 20 minutes but it was fast. I didn't bother with a bottom hem because jersey knit doesn't unravel. And since it's a casual dress, I wasn't too concerned about not having it hemmed. I've worn it over black leggings but I think the length is okay sans leggings as well.


Tired, rode in the car for 3 1/2 hours eyes

I think so. A tad hard to tell from the pics but it cinches with elastic at the waist. P.S. These pics also aren't very flattering. It looks fine in person. Promise.

New Polaroid feature in Picasa!


From da back

But, here's my question. Would I get more use out of this if it were just a top? I'm considering lopping off the skirt and just pairing it with jeans or capris. Maybe I'll wear it a few more times as a dress and then mix it up. Either way, sew this one up! Super simple and really pleasing results.

Monday, May 21, 2012

So long, Vacation

Were you worried this would be one of those annoying blog posts when the writer returns from vacation and brags about the great time they had and makes you want to gag? Oh sorry, you were right. John and I got back from 7 days visiting my parents in Florida and it was just what we needed! Super relaxing. Highly caloric. Sunny (for the most part) and H-O-T! We came back to an equally steamy Ohio and a full DVR. I also got a neat souvenir. Peeling sunburn! I didn't do a very good job with the SPF one day but that's okay. I'm used to burning. I can deal. Not that it's ever a good thing. There's a slight chance I'll have skin cancer one day. This post is starting to take a serious turn.....


Here are just a few vacation pics for your viewing pleasure, and to make me sad that I have to get back to normal, every day life.

Gator on the golf course


Drinks by the pool

Time to go back yet?

Pretty palm

 I have the Vacation Sads. This is similar to the Sunday Sads only much much worse because the weekend is only 5 days away but the next vacation is much farther. Actually, my saving grace here is that my next vacation is only 40 days away. Less than 6 weeks, yo! More on that later........

Happy travels to you, wherever the road may take you this summer!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Recipe Reblog #16

Buttermilk Baked Doughnuts with Lemon Glaze: Whole wheat doughnuts, guys! I can't tell you how much that excites me. When banishing all white foods, you look for lots of recipes using only whole wheat and this is one of them. I had all the ingredients on hand too. Another win! I cut the recipe in half and made 6 full size doughnuts. The lemon glaze could have been thicker but that would have meant a lot more sugar. Oh well. Give these a try!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

Today, John and I celebrate 4 years of marriage. Next week, we'll have been together 10 years. Each and every day I am reminded of why we are a perfect fit. The other day, I unearthed the card he gave me for high school graduation. We weren't dating then and he signed it "Your friend." He also signed his full name, as if I wouldn't know who just John was. Well, he's still my friend but luckily he's also my husband. :)

What I wouldn't give for a piece of that cake right now.....

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Drink Up

Ready to party?

Hotter temps mean cooler drinks and I have two creations for you today. I hope you're thirsty.

I love sangria! I have a go-to red and go-to white sangria recipe but I thought I'd start branching out this summer.

This is White Kiwi Sangria from Ingrid Hoffman on the Food Network.


I used New Age white wine. This is a good bottle on its own that would be perfect for summer. It's a South American white blend with a little effervescence to it. Low in alcohol, easy drinking. I liked it in the sangria a lot! This was a tasty twist on white sangria by adding kiwi and loads more than a normal amount of triple sec.

Photo by ME

Ever heard of Puente Punch? Me neither. Leave it to Food and Wine for the inventive cocktails. This has OJ, amber rum, vanilla and sweetened condensed milk. It tasted like an orange creamsicle and was delicious! It was kind of messy to mix up though with the sticky condensed milk. Double the recipe so you only have to shake once.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Recipe Reblog #15


I am happy to be with my mom on Mother's Day this year. That doesn't always happen. I had to come to Florida to do it but we all make sacrifices.

Melt in Your Mouth Chicken: Here is another Pinterest recipe. It seemed sketchy but a friend swore up and down it was worth trying. If you are not a mayo lover, please don't let the cup it calls for deter you. I cut the sauce part in half. It was plenty for 4 chicken breasts. I could not believe how creamy this sauce came out. The mayo totally transformed with the seasoning and baking time. Easy and delicious again! After cutting the sauce in half, you could probably even cut back on the seasoned salt a bit. A tad salty for my tast. But honestly. You've GOT to try this. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! I'm even thinking of making it for my parents while we are vacationing down here.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

One Day


This book was recommended by a co-worker. Not knowing what else she typically reads, I picked it up anyway because I was looking for something to read that I didn't have to wait for at the library. One Day by David Nicholls follows 20 years in the life of Brits Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew. They meet on St. Swithin's Day (some English holiday) which also happens to be their college graduation. The book revisits them each year on that same day wherever they are in their lives. Together or apart, successful in their careers or down in the dumps, Emma and Dexter remain constants to each other in an often strange relationship. Will they or won't they? The reader is left wondering as they start as friends (or a random hook up) where the relationship will end.

I really liked Nicholls' writing in One Day and I liked the idea of seeing the same date over 20 years but I didn't necessarily find myself rooting for any of the characters. Well, I suppose I did like Emma but Dexter never did it for me. The ending was unexpected and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I don't want to give anything away because I was really surprised. It's worth reading and I almost gave it 3 1/2 stars but something held me back. I can't figure out that little thing about it I just didn't like.

Rating: * * *

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cobalt Blue

Cobalt blue is everywhere these days! I think it's a great summer color. Nice and bold with just enough POP! I purchased a Lisette pattern intending to make only the blouse but then I realized I had never sewed a pair of tailored shorts before. When I came across the Lisette cobalt cotton at Joann's in the clearance aisle, I knew it was fate.

Cobalt blue shorts are all the rage in the stores. See?

Express, $59.90

Gap, $39.95

Old Navy, $22.94

When I started seeing these everywhere in all the stores I was even prouder of myself for being ahead of the trend, and saving beaucoup bucks. Who pays $60 for a pair of cotton shorts?!


Here is the pattern. It's Lisette (Simplicity) 1879 - Souvenir Blouse and Shorts. I still plan on sewing the top too but let's focus on the shorts today. I had the grand idea to sew these with French seams so they'd look really professional on the inside even though I'm the only one who would see them. French seams hold up better but you are essentially sewing everything twice. Once with wrong sides together, then with right sides together. Then your raw edges are all hidden which is great if you don't have a serger. The extra work does pay off though. For more information on how to sew with French seams, check out this site.

I measured this pattern multiple times. I ended up cutting out somewhere between a 12-14 in the shorts. In ready to wear bottoms, I'm usually a 10. But, you can always take in clothes so better to cut it large......or what I thought would be large.

I sewed these to the point of attaching the waistband and it was clear they were not going to fit. I took my trusty (read: hateful) seam ripper to the inverted pleats, hoping that would give me a little more room. In doing that, the waistband was now too small. My biggest mistake was puchasing only 1 yard of fabric. I should have just started over from the beginning. Not wanting to scrap my work thus far, I kept at it.

I installed the side zipper and put them on to see what else needed fixing. The good news is, I tailored the back darts perfectly. My butt looks awesome in them. The bad news is, there was a lot of strange pulling at the crotch in the front. Not a good look. I couldn't tell if I accidentally cut it on the bias, or if it was just laying strangely because I didn't do the pleats like the pattern calls for.

So, I took my seam ripper again to the front and crotch. Bye bye beautiful French seams. I tried and I tried but these shorts did not work out for me. I am so sad. I wanted them to work out really badly and I spent a LOT of time on them. I guess I'm just the sucker who didn't want to pony up for even the cheapest pair of shorts I found in the stores. Actually, the shorts turned out pretty cute, they just don't look cute on me. I took pictures but am far too embarrassed to show them. Nobody wants to see those ham hocks.

Here they are on the hanger.

Pardon the wrinkles

I did a pintuck pleat on the front to try to fix some of the mistakes I made. I really like that part. I truly don't know what happened with this pattern but, lesson learned. When making tailored bottoms, do a muslin first.

Anyone think these might fit them? They're up for grabs! I know my sister will want to try them on. Her thighs are skinnier than mine so they'll probably be okay. Lucky her!

Oh well. Back in the saddle and onto the next project!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

License to See

This is a cautionary tale for you. Listen up!

The other day I went to the bank to get change for my garage sale. The teller took an extra long time looking at my license and said, "Did you know this is expired?" What the WHAT?! I said, "No I did not know that but I suppose it makes sense since I just had a birthday." Then I was in a little bit of a panic since it was almost 30 days past expiration. What kind of penalties might I incur? John says, "You might have to take the driving test over." What the WHAT?! again. Now, I've been driving for 14 years but the thought of retaking a driving test made me perspire. Luckily, Ohio gives a 6 month grace period in which to renew an expired lesson. After 6 months, you have to start all over with your temporary permit. How embarrassing!

So, I found myself making an unplanned run to the BMV at lunch. Everyone's most favorite place! Actually, the BMV by my office is one of the nicest I've ever been to. The workers are relatively friendly and there's never much of a wait. It's tucked back into a shopping strip and I think people don't know it's there. It's my own secret BMV. No one even gave me the stinkeye for being expired.

I was wearing my glasses which I left on for the vision test. These glasses are over 2 years old and guys, I almost failed this vision test. I pressed my forehead into the little box with the letters and numbers and had a heck of a time deciphering between 8, 9 and B. Praise be, I passed! But honestly, it was a wake up call. I knew this prescription was old but I didn't realize my vision had deteriorated that much. Please refrain from age jokes. I'm still not accepting this 29-hood.

My picture was taken and I suppose it's okay. They let me look at it and take a re-take if I wanted but I didn't think it would get any better. My nose is slightly red in it but that's just me. Red-nosed Ashley. License, check. Time to call the optometrist!

So, the lesson for the day is: pay attention to your license and also, make sure you get your eyes checked regularly!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Your Best Body Now


Your Best Body Now by Tosca Reno purports to help you "look and feel fabulous at any age the Eat-Clean way." If you don't know, eating clean means eating food in its natural state and eschewing processed foods. It's a great way to get healthy but it takes quite a bit of discipline. Reno also has a book about how to do it but I haven't read it.

Your Best Body Now takes a look at your age by the decade and what you should be doing physically, mentally and eating to help live the best life possible at those specific ages. Unfortunately, she starts in the 30's and I'm not yet there. I skipped over the 40's and 50's chapters because while the information is probably helpful, I doubt I'll remember that in 10+ years. She has some good tips and ideas and shares her story of how she went from overweight and depressed to living the best life possible, fit and happy. Reno gives very useful meal plans and a lot of strength exercises with pictures, perfect some someone needed guidance in that area.

I liked the concept behind Your Best Body Now and I may only be a year away from my 30's but I felt like a lot of it didn't necessarily pertain to me. It was a fast read, although I think I'm over healthy books for the time being. Good, not great.

Rating: * * (Disclaimer: I only gave it 2 stars because it wasn't all that pertinent to me in the stage of life. Older women would likely find it extremely helpful.)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Recipe Reblog #14

A side dish for you this morning!

Sweet Potato Chips: If you don't like sweet potatoes, I don't think we can be friends anymore. If you think you don't like sweet potatoes, this recipe I pinned on Pinterest might change your mind. These are baked sweet potato chips that pack a spicy punch. Not spicy hot. Spicy as in, lots of spices. They were easy and delicious. You can't argue with that! Also, sweet potatoes have a bunch of beta carotene. Mmmm Vitamin A! The darker the veggie the better it is for you, unless that darkness is mold. Try to avoid that. Anyhoo! Definitely try these. I cut the spices in half and just used 1 potato since it was just John and me eating them. Here's another tip, mount a cooling rack on your baking sheet and put the chips on that. The heat gets all around them and they crisp up really nicely. No flipping necessary!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Everybody Loves Redmond

I'm looking for the perfect candy apple red nail polish. It's a hunt that will undoubtedly be long and arduous. This is not it but I'm going to show it to you anyway.

I am now incapable of going to Walgreens and not purchasing nail polish. I'm addicted. The good news is, this bottle of Wet N Wild was only $1.50. Can't argue with that price! The color is Everybody Loves Redmond. It looked like a great red in the bottle but on the nail, it's a bit orangey/tomato-y. I like it but it's no candy apple. This picture was taken 3 days post painting and I haven't had to touch up yet. Here's something else, one coat coverage! Can you believe that? Who would have thought old school Wet N Wild would be such a little soldier? Normally by now, my OPI has chipped on multiple nails. I may be off OPI. I love their colors but it doesn't stand up to typing all day at work and every day use very well. Plus it has a hefty price tag.

One more thing, this is from the Fast Dry line and boy did it ever! Dry fast, that is. Don't be afraid to slum it in the nail polish aisle. You might be surprised by what you can stumble upon.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What's Up Wednesday

It feels like I've got a lot going on lately, although I don't really have much of a social life. What's up with that? How can a girl feel so busy but only ever really hang out with her husband? Eh. Oh well.

-My second garage sale is this coming weekend! I am even more excited about this one than I was about the first one. I'm hoping to top last year's sales of $107.50. Secretly I'm hoping to make $200 but I think that's aiming a tad high. I feel like I have a lot more items to put out and hopefully entice people to purchase. Tentative forecast is showing 78 and mostly sunny. I'll take it!

-John and I leave for Florida in 10 days! When we bought our plane tickets the countdown was in the triple digits. Now, we're almost on the beach, hanging out with my parents and celebrating our 4th anniversary. Seemed so far away back in January but we made it......almost. I'm really looking forward to a week away from the everyday doldrums. Here's to coming home relaxed and somewhat tanned!

-Speaking of vacations, I've become obsessed with planning our 5 year anniversary trip. I may or may not have spent more than 3 straight hours online researching this past weekend. There have been new destination developments lately that are super exciting so now I'm just waiting for the exact right moment to book it. Flights aren't available yet for May 2013 travel. It won't be cheap so I've got to save my pennies but it's going to be well worth it. More details to come. Don't want to jinx anything.

-I am really digging the new muscle cuts that are appearing thanks to my New Rules of Lifting for Women program. I moved onto stage 2 which only reinforced for me that gaining muscle ain't easy, yo. It's tough stuff. Totally worth it when you start seeing results.

-I must report that not 1 but 2 people (in addition to Nay-saying John) told me trying to wax my own eyebrows was a terrible idea. Maybe I won't give it another shot after all.

So.......what's up with you this Wednesday?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April Running Round-up

OK. What happened to the first third of the year? I cannot believe it's already May. April was a great running month for me. The weather wasn't warm enough on the right days to do many runs outside but that's okay. I love the treadmill, a rarity I know.

Here's how April played out:

Apr 1: 6 mi TM in 53:48, 9:00 min/mi pace, no aleve - pain last 2 mi
Apr 3: 3.2 mi OT in 32:00
Apr 7: 4 mi OT In 46:00, lots of walk breaks, leg pain, no aleve - But this was my birthday so I let myself off the hook
Apr 10: 4 mi TM in 34:46, 8:52/8:47/8:44/8:23, no aleve some pain
Apr 14: 4 mi TM. In 33:51, 8:48/8:22/8:31/8:20, 400 repeats at 8 & 6.5 mph
Apr 15: 6.5 mi TM in 59:21, 9:06 pace
Apr 21: 4 mi TM in 34:28, aleve some pain, 8:56/8:27/8:34/8:27
Apr 22: 7 mi TM in 66:4?, 9:14/9:14/9:30/9:30/ stopped keeping track, pain - no aleve
Apr 24: 4 mi TM in 34:31, 9:11/8:55/9:44/7:42!!!!, pain last mile (fastest mile yet)
Apr 28: 3.3 mi TM in 30:00, tempo middle 20 mins
Apr 29: 5mi TM in 43:51, 8:49 pace

Total: 51 MILES

P.S. OT means outside, TM means treadmill

Leg pain is still there but it takes longer for it to kick in, thankfully. I'm trying not to take Aleve anymore unless it really hurts. I stretch a lot after each run but I still need to try to do some yoga each week. I'm sure that will help. I thought about totaling my miles in 2012 thus far but I think I'll hold off. I know it's not quite 200 since this was the first month I actually made it to 50 but, it's got to be within spitting distance.

I'm also trying to work up the nerve to actually register for a half marathon. I have a race all picked out. Just need to bite the bullet.