Category: Uncategorized

Adult ballet classes

I never took ballet when I was younger. Around the time I started college is when I began doing pilates and barre exercise classes, which are inspired by ballet.

Recently, I’ve been thinking how much fun it would be to take a dance class, either ballet or jazz, or even adult gymnastics. Don’t get me wrong, I love barre and pilates. I just sometimes wish that they were more…danceable. And that I was a little more…coordinated.

via sfballet.com
via sfballet.com

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Free train rides for writers

Have you heard about Amtrak’s new idea to offer free “writers’ residencies” to writers? They haven’t opened up the program yet, but a couple of professional writers have gone on test runs. They tout the train as the best place to get some writing done.

I’ve never ridden Amtrak, so I couldn’t vouch one way or the other for trains. I’m not sure if I’ve found my sweet spot for writing. As a journalist with tight deadlines, I’m forced to write at my desk under whatever conditions, and hope for the best.

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A little help would be really kinda awesome

Remember how I was debating about going to the Cannon Beach Yoga Festival? Well, I ended up buying a pass to their one day of meditative/restorative yoga, which is next Friday. The rest of the festival is Saturday and Sunday.

KIND Snacks is offering a free 2-day festival pass to the winner of their photo contest! Entrants have to submit a photo of themselves being kind to…themselves. And, well, my morning time spent doing yoga/pilates/barre is probably my calmest, most selfishly kind moment of each day. I love the time I get to dedicate in the morning to having fun with different poses and movements. And I love making up new sequences.

It’s like a game, kind of.

Having fun doing a little late morning yoga.
Having fun doing a little late morning yoga.

Heck, I don’t even know if what I’m photographed doing is a real yoga pose. But, I know yoga is about feeling good and trying out new things and finding what works for you. This mix of wheel/reverse plank always feels nice to me.

Anyway, I would really appreciate it if you could like my photo on the Cannon Beach Yoga Festival’s Facebook page or you can find the Facebook page with the corresponding hashtags for the contest. I submitted my photo kind of late (uh, the contest ends tonight), but I’m optimistic about possibly, maybe getting to experience the full festival or an extra day (without experiencing the drain to my bank account).

I’m so excited either way, whether I win something or not. Next weekend will be fun. And Alex was hilarious while he was taking photos of me this morning, pretending to be a paparazzi. I don’t really have any photos lying around of me doing yoga, and I haven’t been in a studio with mirrored walls for a long time, so I normally don’t see what practicing yoga looks like from the outside.

All I know is that it feels amazing inside, and that’s what counts!

 

What to do with leftover rose petals

The day before Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend surprised me by spelling out ‘I love you’ with rose petals. It was super cute, and, of course, (like a crazed girlfriend) I made him leave the petals alone for a couple of days. I guess I just wanted to admire the beauty and subtle scent a bit longer?

After a while of stepping around the petals (and some pestering from Alex), I realized we had to pick them up, and I started thinking of what I could make with them.

I decided on rosewater, which is very easy to make. I put the petals (I had the equivalent of a dozen roses) in a 4-quart pot, and then poured almost 2-quarts worth of boiling water over them. I let this stew for a little while.

What's cookin' good lookin'? Roses...
What’s cookin’ good lookin’? Roses…

Then, I bottled it into a travel-sized spray bottle I found at the dollar store. The rest I put in a container and stored in the fridge. I use rosewater as a facial toner. My skin is very sensitive and oily, but the sensitivity trumps the oiliness…so I have to use gentle products.

rosewater1Rose water seems to work like witch hazel, only gentler. I spritzed it on a cotton round and wiped away the oil on my face. It seems to work well with my skin. Of course, if you want to try out rosewater, you should test for any skin sensitivities. I also have a bottle of Vitamin E oil and considered adding a few drops to the water.

After looking through my beauty products, I discovered a consistent theme. I have rose body wash, rose bar soap and rose eye cream.

You don’t just have to put roses on your face, though. There are lots of delicious recipes and craft products that involve rose petals and rosewater.

Chickpea crust pizza with pesto, olives and onions

After trying out a recipe in Women’s Health Magazine for pizza with chickpea crust, I wanted to share my own take on it.

The magazine’s version instructs you to top the pizza with tahini sauce, but that did not sound appetizing. I like tahini in my falafel and I like my pizza to be pizza. Let’s get weird, but let’s not get too weird. At least, for the first attempt at making this.

This pizza was so delicious and filling! I’ve tried cauliflower pizza crust before, but I didn’t like the texture, taste or how time intensive it was. It made a big mess, too. Crust using chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and chickpea flour is much easier to make.

chickpeacrustpizza
I took a picture of part of the pizza after eating the rest of it. I also didn’t have parchment paper on hand, so the pizza made a mess of my baking sheet. Beware!

Ingredients for the crust

  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups of chickpea flour
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water

I found the garbanzo bean flour at New Season’s Market in the bulk section for $1.69 per pound, but I imagine you can get it at just about any specialty foods store. (Maybe try Whole Foods?)

Steps

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with olive oil. In a small bowl, soak the ground flaxseeds in 6 tablespoons of water. While that’s soaking, put the chickpeas in a food processor, along with the chickpea flour, garlic powder, salt and water. You could also add some Italian seasoning if that sounds good to you. Lastly, add the flaxseed meal. I blended all of this on the “dough” setting until it was smooth. Spread the mixture evenly over the baking sheet.

The toppings can be just about anything you want. I used pesto sauce for my base, and then sprinkled on some grated mozzarella and parmesan. Then, I covered it in onion and olive slices. Use whatever sounds appetizing. (I also had broccoli and asparagus on hand, both of which would be good.) I added a second layer of mozzarella and parmesan.

Stick the pizza in the oven for about 15 minutes. I like my pizza to be slightly crunchy, so after 15 minutes I turned the oven off, allowing the cheese to brown.

Enjoy!

P.S.: I finished Various Positions…it was disturbing but engrossing at the same time. Like the scene of a gruesome accident. It was detailed, well written and I absolutely hated the self-centered, somewhat oblivious main character. The reviews on Goodreads are a hoot.

Craft projects that recycle old greeting cards

Over the weekend, I got a little stir crazy from being both snowed in and sick.

Then, in a haze of cough syrup and chamomile tea, an idea struck me. Probably because I took down this year’s Christmas cards just a few weeks ago, and put them away in this plastic storage bin where I keep all of my cards. Some go way, way back, covering Christmases, graduations, birthdays – the whole shebang.

Anyway, I dreamed up all the things I could make with old greeting cards. There are a lot of possibilities. A card is essentially a piece of printed cardstock. Packs of cardstock tend to be spendy at the craft store, anyway, so why not use the free stuff when you have it?

Frame it

A lot of cards are the same dimensions as picture frames (4” by 6” or 5” by 7”). My favorite thing to do is simply cut out the front of an artsy card and frame it.

framedart1

My late Aunt Bea would send a card every year for my birthday. She always gave the best cards (like the one above) and little gifts from her world travels. Now that I’ve framed them, I have some of her sentiments on display rather than tucked away in a box.

To make a card front fit into a frame, you might have to trim it and/or layer it onto another card front:

framedart3

framedart4

framedart6

Bookmarks

Another simple craft is to make a bookmark. You’ll need an interesting center image to the card or a slim piece of the card you can cut out. Simply punch a hole in the left corner, and then tie a little piece of ribbon. (Now is a good time to use any ribbon scraps you might have.)

bookmark1 bookmark2

Dot art

I also did this circle punch art, which I found the idea for on Pinterest. I used a 1” circle punch to punch out different colored holes from a bunch of cards. Then, I placed them on a 8 1/2” by 11” sheet of cardstock and glued them on. You can use a ruler to map them out, or style them any other way you like. I’ve also seen some circle artwork done in clusters or shapes (trees, hearts, etc.) and that would look nice as well.

circleart1 There’s a hilarious poem/story written by an old flame on the red birthday card (something about silverware running off together?)

circleart2 circleart3

For me, it’s all about the different colors, prints and textures you find in greeting cards. To make sure you don’t get someone’s handwriting in the side you want to show, use the circle punch upside-down; that way you can see what you’re punching out. I did this very meticulously, so I could get every last circle out of the cards I liked!

Other ideas:

  • Gift tags: Just cut out a rectangle, punch a hole and tie a piece of ribbon around it (like the bookmark). Then, you can just tie it to a giftbag.
  • Paper garland: Get a long piece of string or ribbon. Using a stencil (you can make one out of cardstock or cardboard) trace a shape multiple times onto different cards. Then, glue one on each side of the string.
  • Scrap-booking: Cards are often filled with little shapes and images that could be decorations for a scrapbook (think hearts, flowers, suns, stars, etc.) You can just cut around these shapes and add them to your scrapbook whenever you need to.
  • Gift bags and boxes: This Christmas, I used an old card front and simply glued it to a paper gift bag, creating a holiday bag without spending any money. You could do this to a gift box as well to spruce it up.
  • Magnets: Put a clear, flat marble on top of a card and trace around it. Cut out the circle, then paint a layer of modge podge onto the marble. Press the cardstock onto it. After it dries, glue on a magnet with strong glue like E6000.
  • Confetti: For this, grab a hole puncher or circle puncher and go crazy! It’s actually kind of therapeutic punching out shapes for a long time. For this use, however, you will probably want the color/pattern to be the same on both sides. Otherwise, you might end up with barcode confetti.
  • Greeting cards: Make what’s old, new again!
  • Donate your card front to Saint Jude’s Ranch for Children. I’m sure other organizations would love to have them as well, so you might have to ask around.