Friday, February 25, 2011

this week's honor roll - free fonts

i know i'm a dork, but i really love the science behind typefaces. you know...learning how to use them well and properly, and knowing when not to use a particular font.

anyway, these are some of my favorite typefaces right now, free for your downloading pleasure! my faves change all the time, but i'm loving these right now and having so much fun with them.

1. LT Oksana 
6. Ripe

hope you like as much as i do.
happy typing!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


in october mark and i went backpacking in big bend national park. it was amazing. i know it was a while ago, but when it comes to editing my own photos, i take a while to finish.

we hiked throughout the high chisos mountains trail system, looping through peaks, valleys, and cliffs along the inner mountains of the park, about 15 miles in all. we had to pack in all our own water (being in a desert), so our packs were heavier than i've ever had them when packpacking in the past.

the scenery was always magnificent.
hiking up to our first campsite took a while--our elevation gain for that hike was over 2000 feet in about 5 miles. that's pretty steep. especially with a 40 pound pack strapped to you. needless to say, we took many well-deserved breaks, sometimes snacking on our homemade oat bars.
we went through a meadow and then saw this hawk. he was on this rock for a long time, sunbathing. sometimes it looked like he was conducting a choir. it was also about this time (when i was shooting the photo of the hawk) that a pereguine falcon dive-bombed straight at me at 150 mph, missing my head by centimeters. it sounded like a jet went right over my head. this happened 2 more times on the trip.

when we got to our campsite, it was almost sunset. we took this picture right by our campsite. easily one of the prettiest places i've camped.

and here's our campsite! see the pretty mountains in the background?! awesome. and yes, i did help setting up camp; i taught mark everything he knows! :) i just always have to be the historian as well, of course.

when i awoke the next morning, mark had told me that he thought he had heard a bear sniffing around our tent when i was asleep, and was pretty freaked out about it for a good 30 minutes. turns out it was just me breathing in his ear. :) anyway, after breakfast, we went out on a day hike to emory peak, the highest point in the park. the hike was only 1 mile there, but elevation gain was almost 2000 feet! therefore, the trip took us most of the morning. here was a view along the way:

the last hundred feet to the top was a narrow, rocky ledge of terror. mix that with my arthritis symptoms (inability to grip things well), my meniere's disease (dizziness), my klutziness, and my lack of trust in myself and you get a recipe for potential disaster. so i opted out. mark took my camera and went himself. see, there's me waiting for mark in the bottom of the frame:

some photos mark snapped from the highest point in the park:

we then hiked back down, grabbed our packs out of the bear box, and started on our journey to our next campsite, which was near the south rim. we got there in a couple of hours, and this is what greeted us:

we couldn't believe how beautiful it was. in my book, this is definitely comparable to the grand canyon. we just had to sit there in wonder and thank our god for creating such beauty and letting us see it!
we then went to find our campsite, dropped our packs off in the bear box, and went back out to explore. we found a different view of the south rim. look! there's mexico!

doesn't this look like something from the lion king? back there, to the north, was where our campsite for that night was.

and what does this look like? how about.... "the cliffs of insanity!!!!" name that movie! come on!

my fave part of the day. sunset at the south rim. oh, so gorgeous.
the next day, hiking to our campsite took no time at all compared to the days prior, since all the hiking was downhill this time. i loved this campsite. we stayed in a meadow. i loved it!

our campsite was nestled in some trees in this huge meadow. we had a lot of down time that day, so we relaxed. we played games, read, journaled, explored, and talked.
oh. AND took tons of photos. of course. the sun was great that day:
these guys kept following us around. which would be cool, but it was mountain lion season. guess what mountain lion eat? yep. deer. so we kept having to scare them off. it was mildly hilarious, because they don't get scared by noise, only by quick and startling movement. picture me jumping up and down and flapping my arms.
last sunset of the trip:
next morning, we hiked back down (very easy, considering our packs had each shrunk by 20 lbs). on the way down, mark ran into a childhood friend of his and his wife, whose wedding mark had DJed as well. it was crazy. one of the most remote places in america, and mark finds someone he knows. happens everywhere.
such a good trip! here is a photo grid of the details from the trip (my fave part):

i would recommend this trip to anyone. thanks for reminiscing with me!

[All photos were taken in October 2010.]

Sunday, February 20, 2011


mark and i stayed at an all-inclusive resort for our honeymoon, so (naturally) we tried everything we could on every menu (that was almost 2 years ago....WOW). one of the first things we had at a restaurant there was a coconut chicken soup. we had never tasted anything like it and ohmygee was it good. when i learned to cook, i decided that i must re-create that soup. i would venture a guess that this is pretty darn close (and even if it isn't, it's pretty darn good).

coconut chicken soup
6 cups chicken stock
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
3 cups coconut milk
1 cup carrots (about 4 medium carrots), julienned or shredded
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp soy sauce (i use la choy - it's gluten free)
10-12 oz chicken, cooked and shredded
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1. in large pot, bring ginger and chicken stock to a boil.
2. reduce heat to low and let simmer while preparing other ingredients (no more than 10 minutes).
3. add coconut milk, carrots, honey, soy sauce, chicken and simmer for 20 minutes.
4. stir in lime juice and cilantro and serve immediately.
- i don't have an awesome julienne slicer (wish i did), so i just slice the carrot into long, thin strips with my peeler.
- if you so desire, add more cilantro.
- same with chicken. i don't like much chicken in my soups, but i know some most people do.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

more valentine freebies!

here are some more valentine's printables i made, which can be used as cards, wall art, whatever! click the one you want for the larger version.

hope you like!


what's your excuse for not working out? i have heard them all and given them all. but the most frequent excuse i have heard is "i don't have time to work out." isn't it true, though? i hear ya. there's just too much to do/see/experience in this world for us to have an extra hour or two to go to the gym every day!

well, have you ever heard of surge training? surge training consists of performing a series of high-intensity "surges" for a small amount of time in a workout followed by the same amount of rest or low-intensity movements. during each surge, you push your body to its maximum potential.

for a surge workout, you will choose an exercise such as running, biking, using the elliptical, swimming, running in place, jumping rope, etc, and perform your surge, followed by your rest stage, then repeat 2 times. use the example below:
  • 2 minute warm-up (stretch or jog, etc)
  • 30-60 seconds of high-intensity jump rope <--- SURGE
  • 30-60 seconds of low-intensity jump rope <--- REST
  • 30-60 seconds of high-intensity jump rope <--- SURGE
  • 30-60 seconds of low-intensity jump rope <--- REST
  • 30-60 seconds of high-intensity jump rope <--- SURGE
  • 30-60 seconds of low-intensity jump rope <--- REST
  • 2+ minutes of cool down (moderate weight lifting, slow walk, stretch, etc)
this should be done every other day, which (at the most) would equal to 40 minutes a week! that's basically only 10 minutes every other day, and that's at the MOST.

this concept of working out focuses more on what your body does after the workout, not during the workout, so the recovery period of at least 24 hours is extremely important.  

let me tell you why. when we work out, our bodies utilize our energy, either in its sugar (or glycogen) form, or its fat form. the bodies first choice is always the sugar form. fat metabolism depends on the presence of oxygen; sugar can be burned without oxygen. high-intensity training puts our body in a state of "oxygen-debt" form where fat cannot be burned, and instead sugar is utilized. when the workout is over, and the body has utilized all of our glycogen energy source, our bodies switch its metabolic preference over to burn fat, since that's all it has left to burn. and research has shown that this "fat-burn" can last anywhere from 24-36 hours after a high-intensity surge workout.

simply speaking, if you surge workout, your body will keep burning fat (what we want to be burned) for more than a day after you are done working out. by contrast, long-lasting, low-intensity workouts use mostly your fat metabolism as an energy source, and therefore will burn your glycogen after you are done working out instead of your fat. (if you are still confused, do some research!)

here's some articles that might be of interest concerning surge training:

please don't let not having enough time be your excuse from working out any more. with surge training, you can reach your fitness goal while still having a life!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


i love a little green in my life, don't you? what many people may not know is that having (living) plants in your home or office space is good for you for a number of reasons:

  a) plants clean the air.
  b) plants make you happy.
  c) plants help in fighting fatigue and colds.
  d) plants have been known to help decrease stress and increase productivity.
  e) plants can be calming.
  f) plants can be a learning tool.

i bet if you researched, you could find even more health benefits. in the meantime, check out these awesome tutorials for different ways to have plants in your living and/or office space.

1. this boxed herb garden is calling my name! from the beat that my heart skipped.
2. these beautiful terrariums would be perfect to place on your coffee table. from the brick house.
3. i am making this amazing desktop zen garden for my office soon. from instructables.
4. this inexpensive succulent terrarium would be great as a gift. from mstetson.
5. i love this no-water terrarium from redbook magazine. no hastle!
6. how cute is this tiny lightbulb terrarium?? from the hipster home.
7. i want to put these mini tin gardens everywhere!! from design sponge.
8. i love the modern look of this hanging terrarium. from casa sugar.
9. this mini herb garden is so easy to make, yet so stylish! from instructables.

what are some ideas of yours?
get a green thumb going!

Monday, February 7, 2011

valentine's freebie

we don't really celebrate valentine's day that much around here. when we were dating, my hubs and i did win a "cutest couple" contest for valentine's though (of course), earning us a gift certificate to a pretty good restaurant in the area, but we didn't even use it on valentine's day! we went two weeks later, assuring us no valentine's day two-hour waits.

i do like cute quotes, though, so after seeing this charlie brown quote, i decided to make a card out of it. who knows, i might frame it as well. but that is the most i will do for valentine's. i'm just not into holiday decorating that much. just too much to store; we live in a tiny apartment. but maybe i'll make another card though. we'll see.

hope you like! (click on pic for bigger version, and download from there.)

with amore,

Sunday, February 6, 2011


this is an awesome alternative to the typical sugar-filled desserts we're all used to! just as sweet, these poached pears are good for you, too!

cider-poached pears
1 cup apple cider/juice
1/4 cup dry red or white wine
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
3 tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup honey (use maple syrup or agave nectar for vegan)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp ground cloves
4 pears, peeled and stem left intact
1. add all ingredients except pears into saucepan and bring to boil.
2. reduce to medium heat and add pears.
3. cover and let pears simmer in liquid for 15-20 minutes, spooning the liquid over the pears every few minutes.
4. remove pears and set aside to cool.
5. return liquid to medium-high heat, and reduce to a glaze, about 10-12 minutes.
6. drizzle glaze on pears and serve.
- i used bosc pears, but other recipes i've seen have used bartlett.
- choose firm pears. too ripe of pears may end up soggy.
- best if used fresh squeezed apple juice or cider. from concentrate not recommended. i used simply apple.