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When I visit Chicago I often make my friends go to this restaurant called Orange because they serve orange flavored coffee. Yum! This is the easiest trick to brighten your morning coffee up a bit!

Just add some orange zest to your coffee grinds in a french press or with the filter. And that is it my friends!!!! If you like orange chocolate you are bound to love this!

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My older brother, Joe, is a conservation biologist and lives in Olympia, Washington.  He is also a photographer with his photos reflecting that of his day job. I have always admired my brother’s passion for his job.  I guess you could say we both have a lot of passion in general for our hobbies and loves.  Growing up I remember being fascinated by his collection of fossils and rocks.  I have a memory of him looking for specimens in our front yard and being inspired to find some myself! We both loved nature and thanks to our parents got to go on many road trips to places like Colorado, Wyoming, Tennessee where that love was able to flourish.  I was obsessed with all the native american trinkets,books, and culture and Joe was ready to get lost in the woods.  I have admired all his adventures and he has lived in some pretty great places to visit! I know I will always learn something from a visit with my bro.  I am proud of his work and ambition to conserve what is sacred…the earth.

Here is Joe’s mission.

“As both a conservation biologist and photographer, my goal is to capture natural beauty and convey important conservation issues hoping to stir curiosity, knowledge, and passion for the natural world.

My professional day job is working as a conservation biologist, with a focus on vegetation ecology. This work, as well my travels on the weekends, brings me to some amazing places as well as to landscapes where biodiversity has been lost or is threatened by excessive human-induced impacts. ”

Check out more of his work here or on Facebook.

 

I have yet to meet a farro salad I didn’t like. It’s like meaty and nutty and delicious and all at the same time.  I think I am currently in love with it. Of course, we met a while back, but like most relationships probably should progress, my love was slowly growing… until I was on set last week and there was a farro salad with squash for lunch (photo shoots have the best food, especially Target photo shoots). I started to ask why I have yet to make this at home. Then I had it again with a breakfast dish on Sunday at Canele. The farro was accompanied by eggs (love at first sight) and siracha (another slow love that progressed) and bacon( a love affair, really). I started thinking up ways to make this farro tasty…also while trying to be healthy…another attempt anyway this new year. I love to cook, but when it’s just me I like to make it simple.  No recipes really…just quick and easy.I’m not trying to be a chef without actually being a chef.  I don’t plan on getting a book deal out of my recipes…I just more or less want to tell you what I ate. Just kidding…I already have a book deal.

No, I don’t.

I am still working on that new camera though to make prettier pictures. I got all excited about it this morning and then I came home and checked my bank account. I spent all my money on farro salad.

1 cup of farro

3/4 cup of cherry tomatoes,diced

2 tbsps on parsley,chopped

1 clove of garlic,chopped

1 shallot,chopped

1/2 cup of feta,diced

2 tbsp of olive oil

lemon zest

salt and pepper

I poured the hot farro onto the chopped garlic and shallot.  It got the flavors and smell going. Add all the ingredients and stir. Serve with some chicken or by itself!!

I can’t wait to continue to try new things with farro! Check out one of JOY THE BAKER’S recipes as well. I adore this blog! Her pictures are lovely and her writing so charming and funny and true!

 

So, I am still working on those New Year’s resolutions…slowly but surely.  However, the one thing I have done from that list is get a dog! I GOT A DOG…YIKES! I kind of rushed into this one and it just happened (with a few moments of sheer panic). Everyday I fall more in love with this little dude.  He keeps me company, keeps me on my toes, and makes me smile a whole lot through out the day!! …and we are working on that separation anxiety!

Everyone has a different comment about his looks: chewbacca, werwolf, an old man,scruffy, the flying dog from Neverending Story, Scottish (thats my fav so far), human eyes, and just plain old cute. People love him when I take him hiking…and I somehow take away this proud demeanor as though I had anything to do with him being cute.  I can only imagine what happens when you give birth and your kid is cute. I hope mine aren’t ugly.

So, I thought I would share some photos of this new little man in my life. I certainly hope he isn’t the last man in my life, hahahahhaa! Yikes!

 This is Wylie with his hair in a mohawk.

Wylie with all his new toys from his aunties and cousins!

This looks like a good spot, yeah. As long as my bone is there.

What are you trying to tell me Wylie?

I like to bury things with my nose.

And ride in the front seat (is that legal?)

OF course, let’s not forget the princes…LOLA!

 

My front door leads into a hallway that I have had trouble figuring out how to decorate.  This simple project solved part of the problem! There was some old pieces of wood lying around the house and using pipe and flange from the hardware store, I built a little plant hanger. I also added a shelf using brackets I found at the hardware store for cheap.  You could probably get even more fancy and find some vintage brackets!

You can find pipe and flange at your local hardware store or home depot.  When buying the pieces, which are sold separately, be sure to make sure the pieces of pipe will easily tighten into the flange as sometimes the pieces are not even. Also, buy the cap for the end. Screw the flange into the wood with wood screws and then build your flange out from there!

I found the yarn plant hanger at the Value Village up in Washington when visiting my brother, along with like 3 others. ( I spent $184 at a thrift store that day…something I probably shouldn’t admit…needless to say I scored!)  The other plant hanger I made. I had the idea to make my own plant hangers using baskets and twine.  While shopping at Rolling Greens one day I found a basket with a plastic liner, which is great for drainage.

I ended up using leather from the macrame necklaces I make. I just braided the handle so the basket can hang and added some pieces to the bottom of the basket with some beads.

spinach or arrugula ( 1 bag or 3 cups)

1/4 cup of pine nuts

2 cloves of garlic

1/3 cup of olive oil ( or more as needed)

1/2 cup of grated pecorino or parmesan

1/2 cup of feta

first chop up the pine nuts in a food processor. set aside the nuts mixture so you can then chop up the spinach or arrugula in the processor.  add oil if needed.  next add the pine nuts back in as well as both the feta and pecorino. turn on the food processor and slowly add the oil. you can also add salt and pepper to taste!wallah! simple pesto you can use and store in the freezer!

and a dinner while making a list for work and life! (when i am a moving to the country?)

i love making pasta! i find i am the most inventive when making sauces.  so, many simple flavors you can put together in a number of different ways! it seems the pasta maker was a big gift for christmas this year, which only encourages me to try that as well! another thing to add to the list of things i want!

2011 was filled with a whole lot of bullshit for me, I won’t lie, I am incapable of doing so. But today begins 2012 and onward I go… I finally feel FREE!!!! I am excited to learn more about me, like the fact that I will turn 32 this year… wow, i had no idea I was that old!. I am excited to get lost in creativity, because creativity to me isn’t a hobby…but a form of survival. That is…like …  totally dramatic.

I rarely ever get into New Year’s.  I was in bed last night at 9pm, at my parent’s house. But this year I have a list of resolutions and plans to share! Here they go…

  1. pump more iron
  2. protect myself with dignity and stop compromising myself for others
  3. get lost in creative projects… all the time. and stop judging and comparing that creativity. it is my own.
  4. get a dog or move to italy or find a farm to live on…i will take all three, actually!
  5. get better and more creative styling jobs
  6. get my car cleaned
  7. get a haircut
  8. have a dance party at least once a week…even if by myself, actually preferably by myself!
  9. get a tattoo ( a small one, mom)
  10. take more risks in love and other scary things
  11. recognizing much quicker when people are showing you who they are…good and bad
  12. take better blog pictures and come up with amazing posts
  13. try and stay up past 10pm
  14. give myself more credit
  15. loving, laughing, and doing…smile more
  16. dress up more
  17. appreciating physical objects i possess and stop spending money on more physical objects
  18. shop more…wait… shit
  19. appreciate my family more and spend more time with those that give me the giggles
  20. learn to sing like florence from florence + the machine

Okay, maybe not that last one, but I will pretend in the car or during those solo dance parties.  I just became obsessed with Florence + the machine yesterday, totally behind the times…I know! But as I rode the amtrak from Chicago to St Louis yesterday for 5 hours I listened to her and it motivated me for the new year! So, I will end this post, dramatically, with two videos.

happy new year everyone! i hope everyone is as excited about it as me! may it be filled with all the you desire!

love, annie