Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Words spoken to my heart

I've been on the verge of major change for a while now. Today, reading these words, I've come to realize that the time for staying put may be over and the time for striking out on my own path may be nearing.

But it's hard, and I'm scared. I don't know what lies down that path, whether it's success or failure, and whether or not I am brave enough to take the plunge.

I suddenly feel a strong desire to watch Lord of the Rings. Frodo is quite the role model with it comes to facing the unknown with bravery and determination. And that thought makes me miss Goat. I think it's time to plan a trip to San Diego.

Is there a path in your life you'd like to take but you're scared to do so? I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, December 29, 2014

My Philosophies on Food

I don't eat meat. If you've been around at all, you know this. In fact, it's in the very title of my blog. I get asked a lot of questions about the way I eat.

Are you a vegetarian?

Are you a vegan?

Why do you choose not to eat meat?

Well, since you eat fish, you're not really a vegetarian, are you?

I get all of these questions and more from readers, friends, family members...strangers...on a regular basis, and there isn't really a simple answer to any of them. Why I eat what I eat is more complex than labeling myself a vegetarian or a vegan. It's about eating what I enjoy, what makes me feel best and provides the most benefit to my body.

Do I eat within these philosophies 100% of the time? Not exactly, but they're in my mind whenever I make a decision about what to put in my mouth.

food philosophies1

1. Eat what you like. 

I don't eat meat mostly because when I was eleven years old, I didn't like it. The texture disgusted me, the flavor was weird, and I more or less had to plug my nose when I swallowed to avoid throwing up when I ate it. On the same token, I do eat fish because I do like it. My family has a fishing lodge in Alaska and I have the privilege of a freezer full of the best quality fish possible, and I enjoy the heck out of it.

food philosophies2

2. Eat what makes you feel good. 

I love cheese. I could eat nothing but cheese all the time if I was basing my decisions solely on my taste buds. But cheese makes my whole body feel inadequate and droopy. I don't get all gassy and belly-icky, I just plain don't feel good on dairy. Pump me full of freshly squeezed juice made from whole fruits and vegetables, though, and my body sings.

Mediterranean couscous salad (recipe here)


3. Healthy food doesn't have to taste bad. 

I won't tell you I always loved fruits and vegetables. When I first stopped eating meat I subsisted on cheese pizza and french fries. Hey, they were vegetarian weren't they!? I wanted to eat food that tasted good, and salads just weren't it.

As I grew up (I mean, come on, at eleven I was hardly educated in preparing my own meals) and started experimenting with different kinds of fruits and vegetables, I learned that a) most of them are pretty dang delicious all on their own and b) when you combine them together, they need little else to make your taste buds do back flips. I learned how to make my own healthy dressings for salad and developed an appreciation for the simple flavors of a strawberry in season or a perfectly grilled spear of asparagus.

food philosophies3
Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie (Recipe here)

4. You can always have more later. 

I grew up with brothers. And if you didn't grab the good stuff now, there wasn't going to be another chance. But now that I am an adult, that rule doesn't apply. I can savor a box of Godiva chocolates for as long as I want to. I can eat one piece at a time if I want and there will be plenty of time to have more later.

food philosophies4
Tomato Basil Pancakes (recipe here)


5. Don't save the best for last. 

I have always prefered to savor things. When eating a plate of food, I always saved the part I was looking forward to for last, getting the lesser stuff out of the way so I could fully enjoy that prized morsel.The problem with that method is that I often found myself full before I got to what I really wanted and stuffing myself so I didn't miss out on the best part of my meal.

I don't eat that way anymore. I find it far more beneficial to eat the best part first and then if I have room, stuff in some of the less exciting elements. I find myself eating less and ending on a blander note actually feels more satisfying because I'm not wanting more of the last taste in my mouth.

food philosophies5
Carrot and Fennel Soup (recipe here)

6. Go ahead, have a treat. 

Because what fun is life if you can't have a treat now and again? Just make sure it stays a treat and doesn't become part of your daily intake and you'll be dandy.

There you have it. A few simple things I keep in mind when making choices about what I eat. I try to follow them as often as I can, but sometimes life (and cheese!) prevent perfection. I get too tired and we order pizza or I sit down with that box of Godiva and realize I've eaten four pieces and then I feel that rush of sugar invade my body. As long as I'm on the path the majority of the time, I feel healthy and excited about life...and about food.

Do you have any food philosophies? What do you consider when deciding what to eat?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Vegan Thanksgiving recipe roundup

Thanksgiving is next week. Can you believe that? I sure can't! But I still can't believe October is over, so I'm running quite a bit behind the calendar at the moment.

This year I have, waiting in the freezer for me, one of these to replace to turkey in my largest meal of the year.


I've never tried it before, but it looks pretty taste. I bought mine at Whole Foods, but if you want to check out more information before you buy, here's some more info on the Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute.

Aside from that, I've been cruising Pinterest and blogs searching for a delicious side dish to make and bring to Jim's parents' house with us.

Here are a few that I've found that look absolutely to die for! (Please note: None of these photographs were taken by me. They are the property of the blog owners, and I have linked each one back to it's original post. Please click the links to find the recipes and to give these blogs some love!)

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad from {KITCHENETTE)

Doesn't that look amazing? I love butternut squash, especially when it's roasted. This salad looks like the perfect combination of delicious and healthy.

Wild Rice Stuffed Squash from Martha Stewart

I actually had my mom make this recipe for me a few years back. It was pretty tasty. I think it's a tad much to make for a large group, but I had to post it anyway because it's a perfect substitution for turkey if you don't want to try one of the "vegan versions" (Tofurkey, Celebration Roast, etc).

Harvest Vegetable Stew in Mini Pumpkins from 86 Lemons

These are so cute! And again, more of a vegan main course than a side dish, and probably not what I will bring for Thanksgiving this year, but they'd be PERFECT for a cold winter night at home. Or maybe just the stew as a side dish without the pumpkin. Either way, the recipe looks fabulous, and I will definitely be trying it out at some point in the near future!

Pear and Fennel Salad from Love & Lemons

Fennel is one of the things I love most about this time of year. And this salad looks like the perfect way to combine it with one of my other favorites of the season: pears! It looks fresh and delicious and I think it would be a perfect complement to some of the heavier dishes this meal invites to the party.

Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans by Rachel Schultz

I made a dish similar to this last year when we held Thanksgiving at our house. People loved it. Rachel's recipe looks a lot prettier than mine did...I think I left my brussels in too long, even though I don't remember them being mushy... Anyway, it's a fantastic dish and a real crowd pleaser.

Fluffy Vegan Pumpkin Biscuits by Opera Singer in the Kitchen

As you know, I'm a fan of pumpkin anything. These biscuits looks like a delicious replacement for the usual dinner rolls. They look flakey and soft and sort of make my mouth water just looking at them.

Salted Honey and Fig Cheesecake by A House in the Hills

No meal is complete without dessert and this one looks beyond delectable. I love figs and honey and a healthier dessert is right up my alley. I'll be trying this one someday even if it isn't for this Thanksgiving.

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving recipe? Vegan or otherwise?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Getting a head start on my Christmas list

I've always been a strong proponent of the idea that Christmas shouldn't roll out of storage until after Thanksgiving. And, for the most part, I still support that fact, with one exception: shopping.

Every year I wait until the day after Thanksgiving to get my shopping started. I inevitably wind up the week before Christmas, having not found the perfect gift for someone, rushing around, wishing I'd spent less money and not enjoying the process one bit.

This year, I've decided to get practical about it. I started checking out deals online last month and I'm pleased to say I've purchased our gifts for every single kid in our lives! I've spent the bulk of the money we will spend this Christmas, so we won't be eating ramen come December 24th (not that we eat ramen anyway. It's kind of crappy food, despite being pretty dern enjoyable when you're sick).

Naturally, in the course of searching for gifts for others, I came across a few things to add to my own Christmas list this year. (which I also always procrastinate on. I can't tell you how many times my mom asks me what I want for Christmas before I ever get her a list!)

1. Breville Crispy Crust Pizza Maker.  ($149, Williams Sonoma) I loooooove brick oven pizza. This little baby claims it will make brick oven style pizza in less than ten minutes. Santa, oh, please please leave on of these under my tree!

2. Crabtree & Evelyn Big Top Twelve Hand Therapy Musical Tin. ($60, Crabtree & Evelyn) I don't know about musical tins, but I do know that this lotion is amazing. I got a set from Costco a while back and all the scents were lovely and the lotion wasn't greasy or too heavy.

3. Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee. ($25, Blue Bottle Coffee) Jim and I love Blue Bottle Coffee. We get a bag of the Bella Donovan whenever we are in the bay area (you can buy it online, but the ice cream shop where we get it is just down the street from Jim's cousin, so we make a trip of it). We've also gotten pretty interested in coffee brewing, so this book seems like it would be an awesome addition to our new hobby.

4. Sugarfina Cocktail Hour Tasting Box. ($25, Sugarfina) Candy? Good. Cocktails? Good. Combine the two and you've got a match made in heaven! Sugarfina is also an environmentally friendly company and donates a portion of their proceeds to the Lili Claire Foundation which helps special needs children and Kiva, an organization that offers microloans to entrepreneurs in third world countries. So you can enjoy your treats knowing you've done a bit of good in the world.

5. Filled Owl Candles. ($14, West Elm) Aren't these little guys adorable? I kind of feel like I need one on my new desk.West Elm does so many cute things with owls. I love it!

6. Anne of Green Gables Book Scarf. ($42, Etsy) I am in love with anything books. By now you probably know that, and growing up, Anne of Green Gables was one of my favorite series. This scarf is made of cotton and over 3,000 people gave it an average of 5 stars on Etsy, so I'd be willing to bet its as comfy and cute as it looks.

7. The Instax Printer.  ($220, Photojojo) As a photographer, I love anything photography related. But being able to print photos from my phone at home? Pretty dern cool!

8. Vermont Maple Porter Brewing Kit. ($48, Uncommon Goods) I never much enjoyed beer until my husband encouraged me to give it another shot...and another...and another. I've found, through much research, that porter is my favorite. This fall I found a pumpkin porter by Alaskan Brewing Company that I loved so much I actually drank a whole 6 pack of it to myself (over the course of, like, a week, people!). I would love to try a hand at making some at home, and if there's any flavor that takes a second to pumpkin in my book, it's maple. (Jim, Hint, hint!)

9. 2015 Day Designer by Whitney English. ($59, Etsy) Honestly, I'll probably buy one of these long before anyone can buy it for me, but I am kind of excited to try out this planner! I've heard great things about it and I am hoping its as great for me as it is for other people. I've been using the same planner for about 5 years now, but my life is getting far too busy for the weekly design. I need a page a day, and look how cute it is!

For even more great gift ideas (to add to your list or, you know, to put under my tree), check out my pinterest board, and while you're there, feel free to follow!

Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Do you have your own list started?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What to do with all that leftover Halloween candy

This year it rained on Halloween in our town. While a few kids braved the weather and rang our doorbell, we were left with a ginormous pile of candy that Jim and I have been munching guiltily away at for the past three days. 

It seems like such a shame to just throw it all away, so I came up with a list of alternative options:

1. Bring it to work. 

Where I work, I can guarantee all the candy will be gone by the end of the week. The plus side to this one is earning some major points with your coworkers.

2. Freeze it. 

You can thaw it later and put it in Christmas stockings or add it as a garnish to cookie plates. Or, you know, sneak a piece after dinner whenever your sweet tooth strikes.

3. Bring it to a potluck. 

No cooking necessary!

4. Leave a few pieces in the mailbox for your mail man. 

I'm sure he'd appreciate a sweet little treat when he opens the box to deliver your mail. If you want to take it one step further, add a little note and express your appreciation for all he does.

5. Give it to your nieces and nephews. 

I don't know about you, but I take great enjoyment in sugaring up my nephew before sending him home to his parents. And he loves me for it!

6. Send candy grams to your college roommates. 

Who doesn't love getting mail? A sweet little treat will brighten anyone's day and probably send them down memory road to Halloween's past.

7. Host a game night, have candy prizes. 

I'm envisioning cute little baggies filled with a variety of treats, tied up with little bows. Maybe different sizes for first, second and third place...and, if you have as much candy as me, a little parting gift for everyone, just for participating.

8. Create a care package for a soldier overseas. 

And if you don't know a soldier yourself, check out this Halloween Candy Buyback Program,, and they'll send it off for you. Just enter your zip code and get a list of participating dental offices in your area where you can drop your candy off.

9. Bake it into something. 

Check out this pinterest board for a plethora of ideas. I'm thinking of making a popcorn snack mix out of some of ours.

And if none of those things sound appealing, you can always just keep munching on it until its gone!

Do you have a ton of extra Halloween candy? What are YOU doing with it all?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tiny Prints and Best Friends For Frosting #HolidayBash

Well, wedding season is officially over for Stephanie Sutherlin Photography. I have a massive pile of editing to do, but we've shot our last wedding until spring and we're fully ready for the holiday season to begin!

And what better way to kick off the holidays than with a beautifully styled holiday party at Tiny Prints headquarters in Santa Clara with Best Friends for Frosting?


Melissa Johnson and her crew at BFFF did an amazing job styling the event. I loved all the details in pink and gold!

And of course,  I was enamored by this delectable looking dessert table. I sampled almost everything, as you would expect.

 After a bit of mingling and munching, Melissa demonstrated how to make this simple and adorable succulent pot. It would make a perfect little gift or table decoration for a holiday party. I'm going to put mine on my desk where I can enjoy it while I work on those wedding edits!

When I sat down to enjoy my desserts, this display was on the table. I LOVED this mug so much I snapped a shot of it. I was thrilled to find out that we each got to take one home! It, too, will live on my desk (full of coffee or tea, of course!) as a reminder to enjoy each day.

We also got to take home a stocking and a pillow from Tiny Prints' new home decor collection. You can personalize and purchase your own pillow here. And your own stocking here. They have a lovely selection of personalized stockings, all of which would be adorable on any mantle.

I had such an amazing time, checking out all the new holiday offerings from Tiny Prints and hanging out with a great group of other bloggers!  

Many thanks to Tiny Prints and Best Friends for Frosting for inviting me!

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Photography Update

Since I haven't had the time to put together any real posts lately, I figured I'd share a few shots from some of our recent photography projects.

We've shot a few weddings...

This one is from Lexi and Alex's wedding back in August. 

I'm still in the process of editing Melissa and Joe's wedding from last weekend, but here's a little peek I posted on facebook for them to see!

We "shot" baby Gia, who is adorable and happens to be our niece. :) She was so good the whole time we were shooting. She just wanted to sit there and take in all the attention. Oh, and pick at the grass.


We went to the Reno Balloon Races at the beginning of the month and got a bunch of great shots. If you've never been to a balloon festival, I highly recommend it. It's a pretty neat experience to watch all of them lift off from the ground at the same time. There's a festival in Albuquerque, NM every year and their website says they have over 500 balloons. It's now on my bucket list!

I have had a blast this wedding season, and we've had some truly amazing couples. I love what I do and feel so blessed as we watch our business grow from year to year. But let me tell you, this year, I am welcoming the fall with a new appreciation for having weekends off! And hopefully I'll be able to give my lil blog some extra attention too.

If you like what you see or you'd like to see more, check us out at our website, Stephanie Sutherlin Photography.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Why you should practice meditation

The first time I heard about meditation was in college. I was in an undergraduate liberal studies program at Sonoma State that fulfilled almost all of my lower division GE requirements in four 12-unit classes, one each semester for two years. It was kind of crazy, but in my first semester, we learned about world religions. When we got to Buddhism, we took a field trip to the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center where they taught us how to meditate.

I remember being so bored. Sit still, they said. Back straight. Eyes closed. Be quiet. Just focus on your breathing.

I can tell you I focused on everything BUT my breathing! I couldn't get my mind to sit still....or my body...and it felt like the longest twenty minutes of my life! I decided it was the biggest waste of time and was all too happy to put the experience behind me.

Fast forward to a couple of years ago when I was introduced to meditation again by my acupuncturist/alternative doctor. He explained the benefits of meditation in a way that made more sense and emphasized all the ways it is beneficial to my mind and body. And, of course, in my late twenties I was far more interested in improving my health than I was in my late teens!

Here's why you should  meditate:

1. It's a stress killer. 

Next time you are faced with a super stressful situation, stop and take a few deep breaths, letting your thoughts slide away and imagining the negative emotions exiting your body with your breath. Open your eyes and face the situation. I can almost guarantee you'll feel less anxiety about it.

2. It'll help you sleep. 

I like to meditate right before bed. I lie flat on my back with my arms at my sides, palms up, eyes closed. Starting with my toes and working my way up, I visualize each part of my body relaxing. By the time I get to my face, I'm usually drifting into sleep.

3. It gives you perspective. 

When you can clear your mind of all the crap that floats around in it, you open up space for productive thoughts. I've come across some of my most profound insights while meditating.

4. It's good for you. 

There has been a ton of research done on the positive effects of meditation on the body. Everything from better digestion and brain function to lower blood pressure and decreased inflammation.

5. It's a good practice in discipline.

It's hard to control your thoughts, to keep them focused on your breathing and not wandering around your head, searching for something, anything to latch onto. It takes concentration and discipline to train your mind to focus on your breath and nothing else.

If the idea of focusing on your breath for twenty minutes still seems daunting, try these little tweaks to make it easier:

1. Repeat an affirmation or mantra while you breathe. I like to take a personal inventory and see how I'm feeling before I sit down. If I am feeling insecure, I'll repeat something like "I am enough" in my head with each breath in and out. If I'm feeling bad about my body, I'll repeat "I am beautiful."

2. Meditate for five minutes. When you feel like you can increase your time, do so. Even five minutes of meditation will benefit your mind and body.

3. Picture something peaceful in your head. I like to visualize the waves of the ocean breaking on a beach. I breathe out and the wave crashes on the sand, I breathe in and it retreats into the sea.

4. Don't stress about it. They call it a practice for a reason: you get better the more often you do it.

5. Sit down. Lie down. Stand in a corner. Find a spot and position that works for you. As long as you're relaxed, it'll work.

6. Fill the room with relaxing sounds. Find a cd or a Pandora station of relaxing sounds. When your mind wanders, bring it back to birds chirping or the waves crashing. Sound is a more concrete thing to focus on than breath. At least I think so.

7. Get some assistance. There are plenty of guided meditations out there. You can buy them on amazon or find an app on your smart phone or tablet. My favorite meditation website, calm.com, also has an app for iOS and Android. It features several different serene scenes with sounds to match. You can choose between guided meditation where a relaxing woman's voice talks you through it or a simple timed meditation.

I am no expert on meditation. I just know what works for me and can attest to some of the positive effects of meditation on my own mind and body. Let me know if you give it a try and what you think!

Have you ever tried meditation? Do you have any other suggestions for beginners?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ten things to be happy about 8/30/14

It's been a while since I've written a "ten things to be happy about" post and even though I've got a big challenge in front of me, there are plenty of things to be happy about.

1. Jim and I got to spend some time with my grandmother and great grandmother in Tahoe for my birthday. And lunch with this view wasn't too shabby.

2. These delicious little grapes grown by one of our employees.

3. There are 3 freezers full of 400 lbs of fresh halibut, salmon, crab and shrimp from Alaska at work. I am in fish heaven!

4. This cute pup. She's a pain in my ass and mostly the day I took this photo, she was driving me bananas, but isn't she adorable?

5. I got a special birthday package from my pen pal in Germany!

6. As you can imagine from the birthday posts, I had one this past week. I am not one of those people who hates their birthday. I happen to love mine! And I'm also not scared of getting older. I'm not even concerned about my grey hairs anymore. I can't help that I'm getting older, so why not just embrace it?

7. Another birthday one: Pumpkin pie! Baked specially for me by my "lil sis," Ashley.

8. It's almost fall! I can't wait for sweaters and crunchy leaves and everything pumpkin!

9. My husband. He's always in the "ten things" and he always will be. He keeps my world from flipping over on top of itself. He got a promotion at work this month and he's been working his tail off every day for our little family.  He's truly amazing.

10. Life's simple pleasures. Like this old decorative bicycle I found at the venue where we shot our last wedding. Things like this remind me to slow down, look around and enjoy life the best I can.

What are you happy about this weekend?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Crunchy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love chocolate chip cookies. I don't know what I love more: the smell wafting through the house as they bake, eating the raw dough with a spoon straight out of the bowl or the comforting feeling I get when I bite into one, like everything will be okay again because of this cookie. For me, chocolate chip cookies are the ultimate comfort food.

But they don't exactly fit into the category of "healthy," and since I prefer to keep my diet plant-based these days, traditional chocolate chip cookies are not on the menu.

That being said, I knew I needed to find a way to put chocolate chippers back into my life.

Crunchy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 tbsp flaxseed meal
6 tbsp water
1 cup vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
1 cup coconut sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup oats
1 cup vegan chocolate chips

Combine flaxseed meal and water in a little bowl to make a "flax egg"and set aside. With your lovely Kitchenaid mixer that your mommy bought for your wedding (or, you know, any ol' mixer), beat butter until soft. Add coconut sugar and continue beating until combined. Add vanilla and "flax egg."  In a separate bowl, combine flour, almond meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt and oats. Add flour mixture to the mixer and beat on low until all the flour is mixed in. Remove the bowl from the base and stir chocolate chips in with a spoon.

Cover the bowl and let it chill in the fridge for at least an hour. The longer the better.

Spoon dough onto cookie sheet ( have a cool little cookie ice cream scooper) and bake for 11ish minutes.

Remove from tray, dip in milk and enjoy!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Eight surprising benefits of juicing

I've written here about juicing before, but I wanted to go further in depth about why we love juicing so much. 

Jim and I first learned about juicing last March when we watched Joe Cross’ movie, Fat ,Sick and Nearly Dead. The next day, we cleaned out the pantry, stocked up on organic fruits and vegetables and began our first five day "reboot".

We were so impressed with the results, we made a decision to do a "reboot" every three months or so to maintain a healthy digestive system and keep our bodies free from toxins.  If you’re considering juicing as a means to improve your overall health and reboot your body, consider these benefits:

1.       It cleans the yuck out of your body.

Nobody wants to have toxins running amok inside her body. They slow you down, create nasty blockages in your arteries and intestines and can cause long term problems in your body.

2.       It gives you a crazy amount of energy.

I’m not going to lie to you. The first three days of the reboot were challenging. Really challenging. Our bodies were hard at work flushing out toxins. We were tired, cranky, and excusing ourselves to the restroom far more often than normal. But waking up on day four, we felt rejuvenated, ready to face the world! It was more energy than I’d felt in months, maybe even years.

3.       It makes you lose weight.

If I said the weight loss wasn’t a perk, I’d be lying. It’s a great feeling to step on the scale and see the pounds fall away. Just don’t get too excited. If you’re not diligent about changing your eating habits when you’re done "rebooting", they’ll come right back.

4.       It gets rid of nasty cravings.

I’ve always been a dessert girl. After dinner comes dessert. That’s just the way it’s supposed to be. But after our five days on juice, I didn’t crave sugar anymore. I still rarely even want it. Sure, I’ll still indulge here and there when we’re at a wedding or a birthday party, but I don’t scour the kitchen every night searching for a bit of something sweet to finish off my meal.

5.       It packs your body with vitamins and nutrients.

It’s no surprise that your body functions best when it’s properly fueled. A green juice takes the nutrients of everything you put into it and leaves all the fiber, which slows down digestion, so your body gets a quick punch of the stuff it loves best.

6.       It awakens your senses and connects your brain with your body.

Juicing taught me how to hear my body, what it needs, what it doesn’t like, what it flat out won’t tolerate inside of it anymore. Without all those toxins from refined sugars, white carbs and animal products clogging the airwaves, I can hear what my body tells me and then provide for it accordingly.

7.       It makes your skin glow.

I’ve had issues with acne since I was a teenager. As I’ve grown, it’s gotten better, but on the juice cleanse, I noticed that it had a different type of glow to it, a healthy and nourished glow that I’d never seen before. People actually commented on how nice my skin looked.

8.       It inspires people around you to make changes to improve their health. 

I’m not saying every person you encounter is going to instantly begin juicing along with you, but since we started our first "reboot", we’ve inspired friends, family, neighbors, coworkers to take steps to improve their health. They see the transformation we’ve gone through and more than a few of them have bought juicers and sworn off diet sodas.  

A juice cleanse is an amazing way to jump start a new lifestyle, one that’s filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains and the kinds of foods that make your body run as efficiently as possible.

Cool layering in our old juicer. Carrots, purple cabbage and oranges in this one.

A delicious summer juice recipe:

2 cucumbers
1 bunch of kale
2 sticks of celery
½ pineapple
1 orange

Peel orange and cut everything into pieces that will fit in your juicer. Juice all items, pour over ice and enjoy with a little paper umbrella.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ten Day You Challenge: A Picture

Well, friends, we've made it to day ten of the Ten Day You Challenge, and I'm supposed to share a picture of myself with you.

Day Ten: One Picture

I had a hard time choosing a photo (calling it a picture is weird, being a photographer and all). A lot of the photos I have of myself have someone else in them (usually Jim). I also thought it should be one that I could say more about than just "Me at *Enter travel location here*. 

So I chose this one:

It is one photo of myself that I really like the way I look in. It was on our wedding day, of course, and it portrays to me just how sure of my decision to marry Jim I was, even moments before walking down the aisle. I didn't stress on our wedding day. I knew everything would turn out perfectly, even if stuff went wrong.

My day-to-day life didn't change terribly on that day, but the course of my future did. Jim is now a part of who I am, he's a part of all of my decisions and plans and dreams. He's my partner in this life, and even though we have our squabbles and disagree sometimes, and I can't get him to do the dishes to save my life, I know I chose the right one.

And that, my friends, concludes the Ten Day You Challenge. I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about me. I had a lot of fun searching my soul for these answers, and I encourage you to give it a try too!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ten Day You Challenge: Songs

Today's topic is music. I'll admit: I'm not hugely into music. I mean I enjoy it as much as the next person. But it's not my art of choice. My brothers are both very musical. I, on the other hand, can barely handle medium on Guitar Hero.

That being said, I do have songs that mean something to me, that evoke a memory or a feeling. When Jim and I went on our trip around the country in 2010, we made a playlist of songs that for the car that still remind me of certain legs of that trip. We have wedding songs. There are songs from my childhood and high school years. Although not all of those evoke good memories....

I could list those songs for days and days and days, but since this challenge item is limited to two, I guess they'd better be good ones, huh?

Day Nine: Two Songs

1. On the Road Again by Willie Nelson. Before we left for our month and a half long road trip around the country, I burned this one song onto a disc. It was the only song, and I put it in the cd player of my car without telling Jim about it. My intent was to annoy him to death by playing it every time we got into the car. My plan backfired when he thought it was the neatest idea ever to start each morning's drive with this song. Now whenever I hear it, I think fondly of both my failed prank and our trip of a lifetime.

Have you been to the Grand Canyon at sunset? No? Do it.

2. Save the Last Dance for Me by Michael Buble. It was our last dance song at our wedding, and it was a special moment for Jim and I because we were alone except for the DJ. It was the only time all day that it was just the two of us with no one watching or pulling at our attention. It is probably my favorite memory from the entire day.

Tell me about a song that evokes something in you.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Ten Day You Challenge: Films

Well, we've made it to day eight. Today we're talking films. I enjoy films, but I can't say that they're as important to me as books are. Even television shows have more meaning to me than movies do. But I do enjoy movies, so I am sure I can pick three that mean something to me.

Day Eight: Three Films

1. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I enjoyed this movie. I own it and I watch it every once in a while, but I include it because the scenes in this movie from Santorini were what made me suggest going there for our anniversary. And we did. And it was amazing, and it wouldn't have happened if it weren't for this film.

Me in front of Lena's grandparents' house from the movie

2. Sex and the City. Yes, yes, the show was ten times better than the first movie and the second movie was a big joke. BUT when the movie came out in...2010?...my mom and I took a trip to New York and did a whole Sex and the City weekend complete with a tour of places in the city that were featured on the show and the movie. It was one of my more memorable trips to New York with my mom.

It's not even in focus, but that's Mom and I in front of Carrie's building from the movie and show.

3. Role Models. Not exactly one of my favorite movies. Don't get me wrong, it's hilarious and I enjoyed it. But it was the first movie Jim and I saw together, on our first date, which was epic, by the way. We were enjoying ourselves so much we had four dates all in the first night! We went to dinner, to the mall, to play mini golf and to a movie. I always think of our first date when I watch this movie.

What movie has some kind of meaning for you?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ten Day You Challenge: Books

Oh how I wish this had been day one. I can think of WAY more than four books to talk to you about. Having to limit it to four only makes it harder to decide which four to talk about.

Day Seven: Four Books

1.Book I'm currently reading: Falling Home by Karen White. I read the sequel before I realized it was a sequel and now I have to go back and read the first one, even though I pretty much know what happens at the end. I really enjoyed After the Rain and I'm really enjoying this one as well.

2. Book I've read the most times: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I love this book. When people ask what my favorite book is, I always say this one...largely because it's a classic and I figure that's more impressive than a lot of other answers I could give. Don't worry, that doesn't make it any less true.  Of course for me to choose an actual favorite book would be impossible. I love so many that it would be like asking a parent to choose a favorite child. Actually, if you don't mind a boob selfie, check it out. I'm even wearing my Great Gatsby shirt today. I knew there was a reason I forgot to write this post yesterday!

3. First book I remember loving: Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban. I remember reading this book with my mom over and over and over again. She would always read with me at bedtime. It's one of my most fond memories of childhood: reading with my mom before going to sleep...and then trying to convince her that I wasn't tired enough to sleep yet and usually being granted extra reading time. *Enter "Stephanie is such a nerd" comments here*

4. My Book: The Girl in the Painting (tentative title) Ok, people. I'm sharing something big with you here. I'm writing a book. Did you know that? And despite the fact that I'm overly critical and terrified that it will never become an actual book, I'm sharing with you today. Because who can have a challenge day regarding books and not share that she is, herself, writing a book? Wish me luck!

Ok, what's one book that's important to you? Or that you simply loved? I'm ALWAYS looking for new book recommendations!