April 27, 2012


Here are some things I'm being tempted by lately.

Parents, look away. There's nothing to see here.

1. a glorious map and compass for the wanderer. 
2. i'm not usually one for the flowers, but this is beautiful
3. a sleeve in white ink?! 
4. the most adorable sibling tattoo. although a little fem... don't think my bros would be game ;) 
5. fly away 
6. a delicate & girly anchor 
7. the most tempting - a friendly little wave from the sea.

April 25, 2012


I'm not a true vegetarian, but I love vegetables. Sometimes I don't know what else to have for dinner with my vegetables. I bet my parents never would have seen that coming. I don't have much of a sweet tooth (minus Oreos) so most of the time, I would prefer some oil-slathered and spiced asparagus for dessert over your typical treats.

We love baking veggies at our house. They're part of almost every meal. Broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, kale chips - ugh, so dang good. If you haven't hopped on this train yet: toss any them in olive oil with salt and garlic powder and bake them for about 20 min at 350F (kale takes a little less time so they don't burn). It'll change your life.

Given our addiction, we've been trying to branch out and try other veggies. There's of course the bell peppers that we stir fry sometimes and add to a bowl of couscous. And I love stir frying green beans too (so that they're nice and crispy) and adding soy sauce, ginger and honey. Then there's my edamame fixation and our experiment with some very yummy leeks.

But those aren't all that impressive. I mean, it was time to really branch out. That's why Will told me it was time for these...

Scary, I know.

But he really likes them, and it was a first for me! So I had to man-up and give them a shot.

And folks, we're in love. The asparagus is a little intimidated.

Below is a new favorite dish that I've made like five times over now.

Cut the stubby end off of the sprout and then cut them in half. Remove any wilted leaves, but keep the other ones that fall off in the process - they end up being like yummy kale chips after fried! Saute sprouts and leaves in oil about 4-5 minutes on each side and sprinkle salt and garlic powder on them.

Meanwhile, be boiling water to cook some pasta until it's al dente (nearly done). Then drain the pasta and add it to the frying pan with the brussels. Add soy sauce and cook for five more minutes, stirring frequently so the pasta doesn't stick but gets the chance to be a little crunchy. Then add soy sauce, a squeeze of honey and some sesame seeds, and voila! Delish.

Did I mention that if I was paid to photograph anything, it would be food? It's the most agreeable subject.

April 24, 2012

Green Up for Earth Week: No. 3

This Earth Day post is coming a little late because Sunday was a day of sloth and recovery (and because this post is quite extensive, as you'll soon see). And by that I mean it was spent catching up on sleep, stretching out sore muscles, cleaning the house, reading good books, listening to a sermon, starting a movie, eating Chinese food, and enjoying some much needed Sabbath rest. Mmmm, now that's a good Earth Day.

Saturday was the real Earth Day celebration. We embarked with five friends to the summit of Mount Washington. Oh, Mount Washington. Their tagline is, "Home of the World's Worst Weather." Sounds inviting, huh? Actually, it sounds a tad dramatic, but it's really scary - the highest recorded windspeed on Earth was at Mount Washington, clocked in at 231 mph. Let's just say I'm glad I wasn't around for that.

We had hopes of hiking the Tuckerman's Ravine trail to the summit, but were instructed otherwise when we reached the cabin at the base. So we turned around about a half mile and hiked Lion's Head instead. At Lion's Head less than 1 mile from the summit, we decided that the ominous clouds emerging over the peak weren't very welcoming, especially as the wind picked up. From there, we watched the crazies ski Tuck's and hiked back down to escape the rain.

Tuckerman's Ravine [source]
It was tough to be so close to the summit and decide to turn around, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Mount Washington isn't going anywhere. But it made for a loooong day and some sore bodies. From when we left the house in the morning until we returned? 18 hours, with a stop for dinner. Long, long day. But, we were out enjoying nature!

This final installment of my Earth Week mini-series is one that I'll have a tough time writing about. A few months ago, I learned about something that made my stomach churn.

[via Be Green]
[via Honolulu Magazine]
[via Quest Garden]
Ever heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Yeah, I hadn't either. 
But it's considered to be the world's largest landfill.

How this doesn't get more media attention is astounding to me. In the North Pacific Ocean, tidal currents from the shores of Asia, Australia and North and South America have literally created a vortex or whirlpool, which draws in marine debris and trash from all sides, creating a massive island of garbage that is roughly* more than twice the size of Texas. But where is it actually located? Althought it stretches all the way to Japan, a major convergence zone is in the ocean between California and Hawaii.

[via Ocean Conservancy]

What?! Why isn't this talked about all the time? Sure, it's talked about by scientific researchers and marine biologists, but this needs to become more common knowledge to the general public. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is made possible by the North Pacific gyre (gyre: noun - spiral, vortex; circular pattern of ocean currents) which is the flow of currents off the coast of four continents. Even though it's not near every continent, it is the whole world's problem. All of the currents eventually flow together, so no, this is not America and Asia's fault.

And it's not about avoiding throwing trash into the ocean or doing more beach clean-ups (although that's obviously important!) - 80% of the trash found originated on land (L.A. Times 2006).

[via NOAA]
Not only is this a problem because it's the most vile thing one could ever conceive, it's absolutely devastating to the oceanic ecosystems. Because of the sludge of plastic and chemicals, bits of plastic now outnumber zooplankton 6 to 1. Zooplankton play a vital role in the food chain of sea life, and now larger animals are getting the zooplankton confused with plastic. And the animals that eat those animals will also be eating that same plastic, and they'll be getting caught in the larger debris. Since plastic isn't biodegradable, it won't ever really go away completely. It will just get smaller and smaller, which means more confusing for the animals and harder for us to capture and clean. (greenfudge.org) Take a look at this sample...

[via The Telegraph]
That's what our sea friends are living in, drinking, and eating.

The saddest thing I've read about it is that there's no real way to clean it up. The damage has basically been done, so now we just need to maintain it and clean up our act for the future. This trash travels thousands of miles to reach the vortex and the amount of plastic has increased 10 times every two to three years for the past decade. (greenfudge.org)

[via garbagepatchinfo]
[via cookiesound]
a turtle caught in a plastic ring when he was young [via conservation report]
Feeling depressed and helpless like me?

Here are some things we can actually do to help:
(Tweet this post or link it to your blog or Facebook)
- quit it with the plastic bags and plastic bottles, already.
- participate in waterway clean-up projects.
- pick up litter.
- reduce packaging wherever possible.
- avoid plastic wherever possible, as it's the major problem.

And here are some great websites and articles for additional research:

I'd love to know - had you heard of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch before? Any good resources to recommend? Don't leave this Earth Day feeling discouraged. Leave feeling empowered, because God has given us this land to steward and everyone plays a part!

*The patch can't actually be measure since it's fluid and constantly moving, but enormous amounts of garbage do accumulate in this location.

April 20, 2012

Green Up for Earth Week: No. 2

The second installment of this Earth week mini-series is much more comprehensive. No matter who you are, you can definitely put some of these tips from Real Simple into action!

I freaking love this magazine. I got eight free issues once... those were eight of the best months of my life. I just feel a little wasteful because I move through magazines at a snail's pace, so maybe I'll revisit a Real Simple subscription again sometime in the future. But as for now, reviewing old magazines and clipping the heck out of them along with frequenting the website, seems to satisfy my cravings.

So without further ado...

All ideas by Real Simple. Read source article here!

1. Set a programmable thermostat. Don't heat or cool the house when you're not in it!

2. Only wash your clothes when they're actually dirty. Most washing machines are 40 gallons per load. Whoa. Don't wash your clothes when they're wrinkled - wash them when they really need it, and do it in cold water. That way, you're saving the electricity that it takes to heat that water up, too.

3. Clean the drier filter. 30% more energy is used when those things are clogged! Yuck.

4. Choose a laptop.  Laptops use about half the energy that a desktop does, and they also don't need to be plugged in all the time. If a desktop is the way you have to go - unplug when you leave. About 10% of energy costs comes from what's called "phantom power" - that's energy used when something is plugged in even though it's off. The nerve.

5. Cut back on the junk. Junk mail eats up trees, water and releases harmful emissions. Real Simple says if each American went through the slight hassle it takes to cancel some junk mail, 100 million trees would be saved each year. That definitely sounds worth it to me.

6. Buy green from your utility. For a few extra bucks a month, you can choose to be powered by renewable energy!

7. Turn off the tap. Three gallons a minute, so no need for the babbling brook sound effects while you pee, brush your teeth or shave.

8. Use a water filter. Brita is just as good as bottled water, so don't fear the tap! You can even get the kind that attach straight to your faucet!

9. Install a better showerhead. You can save 1,000 to 8,000 gallons of water, and not lose the pressure you love!

10. Give up red meat once a week. The meat production industry is killer on our resources. Skipping out just once a week can save 840 gallons of fresh water... for one serving?! How on earth...

11. Use biodegradable and plant-based dishwasher soap. They still get the job done, but without the chemicals.

12. Choose the right appliance. Electric kettles, toaster ovens and slow cookers - all very energy efficient appliances!

13. Donate old cell phones. These little devils produce more than 65,000 tons of potentially harmful waste. Do you really need that new phone? If so, recycle the old one!

14. Recycle wisely. Learn what can go and what can't! There is always more to be recycled. Earth911.org is an excellent resource!

15. Reuse everything. Think of new uses for things, give hand-me-downs, receive hand-me-downs, thrift shop... make a game out of it :) "Now what else could I do with this....?"

16. Carry a reusable water bottle. Save your cash for things like gas. Americans use 3.3 million plastic bottles every hour... and only 1 in 5 get recycled. That's horrific.

17. Don't idle. Turn your ignition off! No, it doesn't waste more gas than idling. And less emissions too!

18. Tune up. Maintaining your car the way you should is far better for the environment. Oh, and speeding, fast accelerations and quick braking wastes gas!

19. Buy recycled napkins. If every American purchased one package of 100% recycled napkins, 1 million trees would be saved. Or - why not try cloth? But remember to reuse and only wash in cold when they're very dirty!

20. Purchase organic cotton clothes. Cotton is the second most chemically sprayed crop in America (corn is first). Ew.

21. Choose biodegradable cat litter, which can be flushed instead of dumped into land fills!

22. Buy local foods. Of course. It's fresher, supports local farmers, conserves fuel and reduces pollution. Can't go wrong.

23. Bring your own bags. Not as obvious as it sounds. Americans are still using about 100 billion plastic bags a year. Don't even get me started on what happens when those hit the ocean! Plastic bags have got to go!

24. Choose the right fish. Wild salmon is best, and check out this seafood watch guide to prevent overfishing: mbayaq.org

25. Reduce excess packaging. Let your veggies roam free in the cart, buy music online, and see what alternatives there are to heavily packaged goods.

Visit the source article for more details!

What's on tomorrow's agenda? A good long Earth Day-Eve hike in the White Mountains.
Look for another late night post tomorrow - if I don't fall asleep on the ride home. No promises.

Have a good weekend!

April 19, 2012

Green Up for Earth Week: No. 1

Brace yourself, friends - things are about to get a whole lot greener.

Earth Day is on Sunday, and the college campus I work at is all artsy-crunchy-granola-eatin'-tree-plantin'-free-tradin'-and-compostin' to honor this time. Since we are a faith-based school however, our goal isn't to praise "Mother Earth" but rather to steward this beautiful gift God has given to us. That's why the theme of this week (and all of the school's green efforts) is called

Restore Creation.

In support of that as a constant state of living, I'm going to be sharing some green ideas leading up to Earth Day! Remember, it's not about being a hippie (which can always be whimsical and fun, no doubt), it's about being responsible stewards of what God has entrusted us with. 

I'll kick off the series with some thoughts inspired by my friends at Active.com. I recently read an article called, "Run Hard But Keep Your Carbon Footprint Light: Green Running." If you exercise or are an athlete of any kind, keep reading! I read this article and some ideas were sparked as to how athletes can be more intentional with their exercising.

Water bottles: My husband just gave a presentation on this today - did you know that 38 million plastic water bottles end up in the dump every year? That's in America alone. Kind of pathetic. We should all be avid water-drinkers - athletes and non-athletes alike. So regardless of your exercise habits, do us all a favor and get a reusable water bottle. Metal or BPA free plastic are both good options, but please please please - no more plastic!

Donate old clothes and shoes: There are many programs and stores that would love to take your hand-me-downs. Play It Again Sports is a good option if you have one locally, but there are also organizations like Soles4Souls that recycle old shoes and give them to those in need. Don't let them just take up space. Get them into the hands (or onto to the feet!) of those who need them more! That's the first part of the recycling process: reduce what you have by pairing down on your belongings, or avoiding purchasing certain things in the first place!

Recycle old equipment: Pairing down got you excited? Sell your unused equipment on Craiglist. Or better yet, donate old bikes through an organization like Bikes Not Bombs. Based out of Jamaica Plain, MA, Bikes Not Bombs does bike maintenance workshops for inner-city youth, and also sends bikes to Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean by hosting bike drives. Now that's much better than sitting in a garage getting rusty.

Run for a cause: Find marathons, halfs, or 5 and 10k's that support environmental causes. A quick Google search gave me ones in London, Antarctica, Malibu, New York City, and California. Look for one in your area to make your running count!

Ditch the treadmill: Even though I enjoy the convenience of a treadmill, why eat up the electricity that it takes to run it if going outside will do. What are you actually saving? Dollars from buying the treadmill, dollars from running the treadmill, dollars from running the air conditioning or fan that you'll most likely use at the same time, and heaps of electricity. Look at you go. Either run outside and enjoy a nice breeze, or if you need to be inside due to weather, buy an indoor bike trainer

Pay the Parks: Are you a trail runner? Drop a few bucks in the box at the entrance to the park, or make a donation via mail if there isn't a drop box. It's tough to keep that space maintained, so chip in and help to keep it in tip-top shape for years to come.

Leave No Trace: My favorite. This is a staple of being an outdoor educator. LNT principles are strictly enforced in the wilderness and can be practiced basically by anyone who goes outside, ever. Here are some things you can do:
- stay on the trail that already exists
- walk in a single file line in the middle of the trail
- camp in a pre-existing spot (don't try to make one)
- pack out whatever you pack in (don't feed the animals - their bodies can't handle our food)
- leave everything as you find it (rocks, plants, etc)
- keep campfires small and scatter the ashes once cooled
- when hiking, walk on dirt first, then rocks, then roots (to not to move or weaken anything!)

Plenty more where this all came from (like eating local foods, contemplating electricity used at the gym, ditching you car when you can), but there are just a few things to whet the appetite. 

Do you have any other ideas on how to green your workout routine?

April 15, 2012

oh, weekends.

Weekends, I just love it when you allow for lunches like this...

1 cup of quinoa boiled in 1 cup of water and 1 cup of vegetable stock &
spinach cooked in olive oil and seasoned with salt and garlic powder
and afternoons like this:

one of my favorite places on earth.
[photo by RWB]
we got engaged in almost exactly this spot!
[photo by RWB]
the lawn
[photo by RWB]

second floor apartment of the yacht club's carriage house 

I love unwinding in the yard to the smell of the salty sea.


Lord, thank you for the gift of where we live - at least for the next 36 days.
Thanks for a productive yet relaxing weekend to recover.

April 12, 2012

un voyage vers le nord

So I didn't post yesterday due to an unexpectedly busy day, but I'm here to tell the story of our Easter adventure!

With the help of a Groupon deal gifted to us from my parents, we spent Saturday, Sunday and Monday in 

and saw

on Monday night!

It was a great little getaway, but I think it's safe to say that when it was time to go home, we were more than ready. It's so astounding to only drive five hours north and experience such a huge culture shock. Everything was in French - every sign, every conversation overheard, every word directed at us - talk about stressful. 

The extent of my French is basically, "Bonjour! Excusez-moi, parlez-vous anglais?" Oh yeah, and "pamplemousse" which means grapefruit. So as you can imagine, that got me a long way. 

It was such a struggle to wrestle with balancing respect for this new culture with feeling like an enormous idiot. As soon as someone approaches you, there's this gut feeling of knowing that they're about to say a bunch of stuff that you don't understand. Then you take a moment and ponder how great your deer-in-headlights look will be for your I-swear-I'm-not-a-tourist image. It's just bundles of humbling fun, really.

Let's just say that Will's playful little nickname for me of "Panic Pants" rang true much of this weekend.

Aside from being afraid to speak to any human other than my husband, it was a pretty good time. We stayed right in downtown so everything was within walking distance. We did tons of exploring walking all the way to Old Port, and having some yummy meals along the way. If you're visiting anytime soon, I recommend going to Le Gourmet Burger on Rue Bishop and Fu Shi on Rue Sherbrooke. We also experienced some well-humored street performers, some less-than-ideal-accomodations, lots and lots of teenage PDA, saw enormous ships at the port, and met a few kind Canooks who were willing to help us out linguistically.

Something we did learn (or re-learn) is that we're really not city people. Three days in a city is definitely more than us woodsy folk would ever need, so I'm not sure why we went that route. Maybe why we spent close to four hours in the Arc'Teryx store (a really high-quality outdoor brand that doesn't have any retail stores of their own in the US)? Just a thought.

But the Ingrid show on Monday was fun! This was Will's birthday gift to me, and we didn't even plan it to be in Canada! Her show in Boston had been sold out for weeks, but when he went to see where the next closest show was, he noticed she was scheduled to play in Montreal for the weekend we were going! Small world, Ingrid. Small world. 

She was definitely great, but I was a little bummed with how few of her older songs she played. She played 10 out of 15 songs from her new album (I know, that's what the tour was for, I get it) and only five older songs - and three of those were in the encore! So her actual show set list only had two songs from other albums. Lame. But as a person, she is absolutely hysterical and I could tell that we would be grand friends, so that made up for it.

Those are some tales from our adventures, and I hope you all had a good long weekend too!

* Credit to Google Translate for helping me title this post. Bah, as if you thought it was me. Yeah right.

April 10, 2012

my favorite accessory

I hope you all had a relaxing and blessed Easter! Tomorrow I'll write about the adventure that Will and I went on for the weekend - we're not even home yet!

But for now, I thought I'd quickly share about a slight addiction I have...

You may not consider this legitimate, but my favorite accessory is my hair. It grows back, so why not change it to suit your mood or current look? Inspired by a recent hair post from Cup of Jo, I thought I'd share the extensive journey my hair has been on. I think I change my hair more than anyone else I know. Such a trooper, that hair of mine.

Starting with late high school through the present day, here we go:

My hair was naturally blond for so long and I would just highlight it, that I didn't even realize when it naturally got so much darker! So as you can see, I did a major chop to get back to my natural color - which turned out to be some mousey brown with a little reddish tint shown in photo number 4. Interesting. Didn't see that coming.

I did Locks for Love in early high school, but not this time around. This time I was gradually chopping because I'm a haircut addict. I had the bleached blond short 'do in photo number 3 when Will met me, and I haven't looked like that since! After that, we had the pixie cut, the faux hawk, the mom phase (love it short, but growing it back is a long arduous trek through mullets and soccer mom looks), bangs to change it up during the growing process, short perm preparing for dreads, the lovely locks themselves, the chop post-dread-pre-wedding...

and I've been trying to patiently grow it ever since.

I'm so fickle. When it's short, I want it long. When it's long or growing, I just count the days until the next big chop. What on earth is my problem? I think I have an issue with being content.
But why not? It's just hair :)

So where am I now?

photo by Will
Fresh bangs again. 

The great chop is oh-so tempting to me these days, but I'm sticking it out for now! 
Look how long it's getting! Be proud of me. It's a big deal.

April 6, 2012

that elusive thing called time & the best Friday ever.

what breakfast can look like when 
you've been given the gift of time.

green tea, grilled english muffin with strawberry jam, kiwi, and
french vanilla yogurt with granola and chocolate chunks.
It's official - I'm now only moderately employed. While most people might be stressing their brains out, I couldn't be more pleased with the flexibility of my new schedule. Although my last day of full-time work was a week ago, I still feel like life has been pretty busy! I taught class on Monday and Wednesday, planned for class on Tuesday and studied for a ropes course certification exam I had Wednesday (which I passed!), had a meeting Wednesday night...

I guess that's how things typically roll. Whenever you feel like you've been blessed with free time, it gets filled with something else before you even have time to relish in your excitement about the time you thought you had. The nerve. When my life starts to spin out of control like that (which is almost always), I try to keep this quote in the forefront of my mind:

Isn't life always filled up? What an aggressive war we wage just to create space for God. Even chatting with my best friend last night, we realized that life can be filled with good things and still be so full. She's involved in tons of great things - a small group, helping with high school youth group, pre-marital counseling, wedding planning, she's in a play, her day job - right?? All good things! That's why keeping your life from being filled up can be so tough.

And that's also why I wrote this post a few weeks ago. I was really starting to feel convicted about how my time was spent. Now that I've been given tons more time, I want to be sure I use it wisely. 

You know that verse, "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much." Luke 16:10? Yikes... let's just say I hope I can be trusted with this "much" that I've been given these days.

Step 1: Have a good quiet time on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Right now I'm in a place where I feel like studying God's Word is a little chore-like. And I hate that. I had started an in-depth study of 1 Peter (a book I love) back in December, so I hope that picking that back up will help. 

Step 2: Train for a 5k to get your lazy butt back in action. I can't be trusted to exercise on my own right now. You know when you get so out of shape that the thought of the hard work to be fit again is a massive repellent? Welcome to my brain. That's why I'm using this chart from Fitness Magazine to help! Five days in and going strong :) This isn't my first 5k, but it sure feels like it.


So I pray that you're encouraged. Take hold of your schedule and let God know that He's a priority. Whether you have 30 free hours this week or 2, I pray that especially this weekend, you are able to delight in all who God is. 

Today is Good Friday. Didn't seem very good at the time, huh? Christ was being beaten, bruised, jeered at, spit on, harassed, and ultimately was crucified. But like all things, with time and faith, it became good. God the Father knew that He was working out the ugly and the cruel into something marvelous and beautiful. Something that would save us all. 

Rest in the knowledge that what happened on this day, while horrific in thought, was wonderful in the end. Be disciplined this weekend to dwell on who Christ is, what he did, and create space for Him to act in your life.

How can you show God your love for Him with your time?
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