Gratitude Lately

November 30, 2014

Description of Photo
Mornings with no alarm 

palm tree
Warm weather 

candle flame
A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. -James Keller {A good reminder}

boy peace sign
My brother {And a sweetness that doesn't seem to fade with age}

Barre3 bums A return to Barre3. {Thankful to be able to prioritize this luxury for my health.}

Here's to gratitude and how it turns everything into enough.
What have you been thankful for lately?

Allen Stone | Million

November 26, 2014

Here's a tune to ease into the long holiday weekend. I look forward to slowing down and counting my blessings. Happy Thanksgiving!


Advent Calendar

November 25, 2014

natural advent calendar
M and I just finalized plans to visit both of our families for Christmas. Once recovered from the airfare shock, we relaxed in relief that we get to spend the holidays with family. The time/money/effort is so worth it. 

berries rosemary
I've created a version of one of my family traditions to celebrate the anticipation of Christmas: an advent calendar. The advent calendar provides a little something special to open each day, beginning with December 1. The items on my calendar include:

Activities (hot chocolate & a walk to see neighborhood lights, watching seasonal movies)
Goodwill (cooking & sharing a meal, sponsoring a Santa pal)
Small gifts (tea, seasonal brew)
Reading (story of Jesus' birth, SantaLand Diaries)

advent calendar materials
Advent Calendar

I didn't want to go out and buy a bunch of crafting materials, but rather used what I already had around the home, both inside and outside.

Foam board
Cotton muslin
Card stock
Thumb tacks
Found objects: rosemary, berries, leaves
Twinkle lights

berry rosemarynatural advent calendar

Gratitude Lately

November 24, 2014

bouquet flowers
Refreshing weekends

rosemary bunch
Creating something with my hands

conference table by windows
A job

greenery kitchen
This season {Image}

Description of Photo
Setting intentions 

Here's to gratitude and how it turns everything into enough.
What have you been thankful for lately?

Cranberry Sweet Potatoes

November 19, 2014

It's hard to believe we are approaching our 4th Thanksgiving in Austin. This is the 4th year we've been far from family on the special day of gratitude, and I have to say that the distance doesn't get any easier!

It's nice to know we aren't alone. Austin is a transplant's city, so there are always friends who similarly long for a little comfort and community on Thanksgiving. We usually join together with friends/coworkers for what I lovingly call a misfits' dinner.

The dish I make each year for our Austin Thanksgiving comes from my mother-in-law. I love offering the simple, colorful, (relatively) healthy cranberry sweet potatoes as an alternative to the ooey gooey tan-colored dishes that fill the dinner table. Scroll down for the recipe, if you'd like.

ingredients cranberry sweet potatoes
cranberry sweet potato
cranberry sweet potatocranberry sweet potato
cranberry sweet potatocranberry sweet potatocranberry sweet potato

Cranberry Sweet Potatoes

2 pounds sweet potatoes, baked, cooled, and peeled
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
2 cups whole fresh cranberries
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Set aside.
- Mash sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Add orange peel; stir to mix well. Stir in cranberries. Set aside.
- In a bowl blend flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon and butter; mix until crumbly.
- Add 1 cup crumb mixture to sweet potatoes. Spoon mixture into prepared dish. Top with remaining crumb mixture. Bake for 35 minutes until heated through.


cranberry sweet potato jar

Home | Natural Light

November 17, 2014

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Here is a virtual dose of Vitamin D for these increasingly short fall days. I know I keep vacillating between embracing the cozy aspects of the seasonal changes, and feeling saddened by the lack of sunlight. Today I long for a little extra light, as the sun rises on my drive to work, and sets on my drive home. Happy Monday. Let's do this!

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Gratitude Lately

November 16, 2014

Barre3 ball
Building strength

wine decanter wine glasses
Getting to know new friends

Amy Poehler Yes Please
A good laugh {Yes Please}

glitter candles
Cozy evenings at home

baby  up close hand
Our new baby nephew {A healthy family of 3}

Here's to gratitude and how it turns everything into enough.
What have you been thankful for lately?

Honey Hot Toddy

November 14, 2014

camomile tea Juliska mug
With the cooler temperatures and darker evenings that call for all things cozy, I've been enjoying a soothing cup of hot tea in the evenings. To spice things up, I occasionally turn the calm chamomile tea into a flavorful toddy. Here's my take on the seasonal drink.

hot toddy ingredients
hot water over tea
honey tea
Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey whiskey

Honey Hot Toddy

Serves 2

2 bags camomile tea
1 tb honey
3 oz honey whiskey (optional)
1 tsp ground cinnamon

{Evenly divide ingredients between two mugs}
Steep tea in heated water | Add honey | Add whiskey | Dash with cinnamon | Stir well and enjoy!

A traditional hot toddy includes lemon, which is a nice addition. I just didn't have citrus on hand.
Hot toddies are believed to relieve symptoms of the cold and flu - citrus for health, honey to soothe, alcohol to numb. I enjoy this recipe merely as a soothing sweet treat.

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Artist Spotlight | Irene Akio Illustration

November 12, 2014

Irene Akio Illustration owl painting Today I'm excited to share the work of Seattle-based painter/illustrator Irene Akio. Irene paints beautiful watercolors, mostly of animals, that are made into cards and prints. In the words of Irene,
My hope is that my drawings and cards give people a simple moment of silliness and joy. 
And that they do. Here are a few of her illustrations:

Irene Akio Illustration owl Irene Akio Illustration pile of animals watercolor card Irene Akio Illustration giraffe
I love the detail of this furry friend below. 
Irene Akio Illustration pet portrait

Fun facts: 
- Irene is the author/illustrator of the bilingual children's book T is for Tokyo
- Irene was my beloved summer camp counselor in Vermont. She ran the arts & crafts barn, and performed beautiful modern dance pieces during our Sunday evening talent shows
- Austinites: Exciting news! Irene Akio Illustration cards are now carried by Byron and Blue in East Austin

Irene Akio Illustration cards
To see more of Irene Akio's work, visit her online shop, shop in-person, and follow along on Facebook.

All Images | Irene Akio Illustration

Gratitude Lately

November 10, 2014

breakfast plate
Celebrations {A kind husband}

flowers at farmers market
A full belly

neon green cactus sign
Cactus Cafe and comfort music

texas state shape in sky

south holston lake tennessee fall
Fresh air {Image via}

Here's to gratitude and how it turns everything into enough.
What have you been thankful for lately?

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