Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Strawberry Pink Lemonade Slushies


If you were me, your mouth would already be watering after reading that title. Good thing I'm the one that already knows how to make these. But you soon will too... No worries.

The best part? You don't have to measure. 
I'm pretty sure all ratios of strawberries and pink lemonade taste good.

But this is my secret that makes this better than it normally would be: pink lemonade ice cubes.


 You only need two ingredients to make this delish little treat: frozen strawberries and pink lemonade.
And some pink lemonade made into ice cubes, so plan a little bit ahead for that. And a blender.
I use my lovely little Magic Bullet, courtesy of my mother via my last birthday.

I usually add about 4-6 strawberries and 3-4 ice cubes.


Then I add the liquid pink lemonade, about enough to cover the top of your frozen ingredients. 
The less you add the more frosty your slush will be, but it can be hard to get everything well blended if there's not enough liquid. The batch I made below was a little bit too thick to blend completely, so judge accordingly.


Now you just need to blend it up!


Happiness in a slushy.
Enjoy!

peace&love,
Jill

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Wedding Files #2: How to Pick a Color Palette


Let's be honest. I didn't just pick these colors. I've known I wanted them for about a year now.
So these are my colors:


I'm going for a very vintage-y vibe with this whole shebang, and this is the perfect palette for that, in my opinion. A lot of people expected me to throw some green in, but I resisted. Barely.

Plum and ice blue are our base colors for a very special reason. Plum is my favorite color and light blue is hubby-to-be's. And they are so great yet unexpected together, just like us, I like to think. They will work well for a summer wedding, but they aren't what you see everyday, both of which are aspects that were important to us.

My opinion is that the colors should represent both parties. There is nothing that gets under my skin more than weddings where you know that the bride picked everything and the groom's input was probably completely ignored, if he felt like sharing any at all. The common idea that the wedding is "for the girl" is ridiculous. If a guy can put his heart on the line to ask a girl to marry him, he should at least get to have (or want to have!) some input into the party that results. It's the start of a new life together. This has been important to John and I from the beginning because we want it be our wedding, every step of the way.

So back to colors: Think about your favorite colors, what looks good on each of you, what colors look good together. Think about suit colors and favorite flowers. And yes, consider what colors you will be able to find bridesmaid dresses in that won't cost an arm and a leg. But here is my biggest piece of advice:

DON'T JUST PICK TWO COLORS.

You need a palette.

I design for theater a lot and if it has taught me anything it is that designs work when you have core colors surrounded by things that compliment them. For my palette that means we start with the plum and ice blue, richen it up with a purple with more grey in it, and add the grey, burlap, and ivory neutrals to keep everything simple with an old world feeling. Now when I'm looking for decorations, flowers, and other things, there's some flexibility. I know what ALL my colors are.

More to come!

peace&love,
Jill

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Home Sweet Home


 I'm in a new house at college now, for my final semester, and my gosh I love it.
 Cooking everything is a little intimidating, but I like it. 
Or at least that's what I'm telling myself.
Now if we can just get fiance up here everything would be pretty great.
Just one more week!

peace&love,
Jill

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Favorite Things

This is what I'm loving right now. Click the photos for the links to the buying info.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Wedding Files #1: Planning Your Wedding Yourself

Some of my wedding planning board over on Pinterest. Click the pic to see my whole board.

For me, a wedding planner wasn't even an option. I know what I want, and I think I can make it happen a lot more effectively if I'm at the wheel. I am blessed to have a fabulous maid of honor and the best groom a girl could want, as well as supportive family and friends to help me plan every step of the way.

One of the first things I did when I got engaged was to look up wedding to-do checklists because I realized:

I had no idea what to do.

I came across this one, which has served me well so far. At the very beginning, however, I went through the whole thing and crossed out everything that didn't apply to me so that I wouldn't be stressed out by lots of unchecked off items in each time bracket.

Then I headed over to Pinterest. Now, I've been dreaming about my wedding for a long time, so my wedding file was already pretty fat, but I added a lot to it over those first few weeks. Now it is serving as my home base for wedding planning and it's nice to be able to just send my mother and my maid of honor to my Pinterest page instead of trying to describe things to them. It is also helping me to cut down on the ideas coming in and figuring out what I am actually going to do vs. what is just adorable. I would highly suggest it. So whether your engaged or not, it's always a good time to request a Pinterest invite. It comes in handy when you're planning anything: even just your outfit for work tomorrow.

Extra points if you can guess my color scheme from the pictures... I'll warn you: there are some misleading pins. Cheers!

peace&love,
Jill

Monday, August 22, 2011

Packing for College

Yeah, I had to fit this all in my car.

Luckily I'm already in the throes of unpacking, but for those unlucky among you who still have moving to do, check out my post on College Fashion: Packing Shortcuts: 6 Tips for Bringing Your Stuff to College. 

peace&love,
Jill

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back to School Crafts: Button Thumbtacks


Aren't these just darling? I had so many buttons that were cute, but not quite cute enough to be ring material and so they became these sweet little button thumbtacks!

And here's the tutorial:

Buttons + E6000 Glue + Thumbtack = Button Thumbtack.

Please leave a comment if you're interested in more detail than that.
(In all seriousness, please comment. I will not judge you, I promise, and I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.) 


I found that it was easiest to push the thumbtacks into something (I used the cardboard they came in, but a cork board would work too) while I glued the button on to the top so that the glue didn't seep through the button holes, but after that glue started to set up I took the tacks out of the board and laid them button side down so that they would fully dry straight.


And that's it! Enjoy!
peace&love,
Jill

Friday, August 19, 2011

Iowa Beauty

As I prepare to leave my home state for school yet again, here's a little bit of a photo essay, if you will, of beautiful shots I got in Iowa this summer. It might seem like a boring state, but if you're willing to see it, it really is beautiful.


peace&love Iowa,
Jill

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What I Learned This Summer


I'm all about learning, but it's only worthwhile if you remember what you learned.
So here's what I learned this summer.

1. How to open a bottle of wine. Self-explanatory life skill.

2. How to fold a napkin in a interesting way. Ditto.

3. How to make a Greek salad, identify several kinds of fish, and properly eat mussels. (I promise this won't all be things I learned waitressing)

4. There's no reason to wait to be who you want to be. I think I'm waiting to become an adult, but I've realized that there's really not a moment when you become something else. I just need to focus on being myself the whole time - whether I feel like an adult or not.

5. Learn what you want to learn now.You never know how much life you have left and you don't really have any good excuses. Photography fell into this category for me and now it is my new adventure.

6. I'm lucky to be in love enough to have long distance make me miserable. This is what I tell myself to survive, and it's working out okay. Long distance dating was bad, but long distance engagement? Even more bad.

See the rest of the list after the jump!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mission: Get Married

So, you might know, you might not, but I'm getting married.
This is the future Mr. and Mrs. We're so cute.
I know.

So here's the challenge (and you know how I love a challenge): 
Have a beautiful, talked-about-for-years-to-come wedding that is almost completely handmade, personally overseen, and all within a modest budget. 
I don't remember the last time I was this excited! It is going to be a super fun 10 months.

So June 2, 2012 is go day. Much crafting will ensue between now and then and you'll be along for every step of the way! Stay tuned for more specifics and guides for other crafty couples in my Wedding Files posts coming up.

peace&love,
Jill

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I Cooked It: Baked Crab Ragoons

I love crab ragoons. A lot. But they're not exactly health food. Not that I'm a health nut or anything, but c'mon. I do have a wedding dress to get into soon. And that's why when I found a baked crab ragoon recipe, via Big Red Kitchen, I knew I had to try it. Here's my version of the recipe, with my alterations.

Ingredients:

4 ounces chive and onion cream cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
A dash of garlic salt
6 ounces imitation crab meat, diced
30 mini Fillo cup shells (2 packages)
 


Mix everything (except the Filo shells) together in a bowl.


Spoon the mixture into the Filo shells on an ungreased cookie sheet. 
(I also experimented with using a scoop to do this and it worked pretty well, as long as you only partially filled it with the crab mixture.)


Bake in 400 degree oven for 9-10 minutes.

Before

After!

So delicious. So simple.
My family devoured them completely--at lunch no less! 
Mom is already scheming to use them as holiday appetizers. Enjoy!

peace&love,
Jill

Monday, August 15, 2011

Evey the Spider Plant


This is Evey. 
She is my spider plant, and I love her, despite the fact that I let her get awful thirsty sometimes.

This plant was a gift from my best friend/maid of honor earlier this summer and it has helped me to become secure in my ability to keep someone/something besides myself alive.

Future children/husband, never fear. I have proven myself.

peace&love,
Jill

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Dublin Wall


I found this on a wall in Temple Bar in Dublin last year. 
I pull it out every once and awhile to get my head back in the right place.

peace&love,
Jill

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Scaredy Cat Fashion Blog

I love fashion blogs. I love their photography, their cute commentary, their perky personalities.

I want one. 

It's a like a new puppy--sweet, cute, so fun to look at, may not quite as fun to own.

So here's my hang up... Do I really want to take that many pictures of myself? Because, let's be honest, if they turn out well the thought is, "Oh my gosh, she's so adorable! I love her clothes! She's so cool!" but if they turn out poorly it's more like, "Oh gosh. Please stop." 

I love clothes and I think that I have some interesting ones. I also think I have some unique ideas and looks to share. But do I want to be "that girl?" Eh... still deciding.

So here's my wimp out shot:


Learn from it what you will. 

Jeans, stripes and freckles. I'm telling you--that's where it's at.

peace&love,
Jill

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Back to School Crafts: Magnetic Pencil Holder Tutorial

 

I don't think any thrift store in America can be complete without one of these cups. It looks harmless enough and then... wait for it...


So snarky. I love it.

But this particular cup caught my eye for another reason. How perfect would this be, I thought, to hold pens and pencils on the refrigerator so I can find them when I need them? Very perfect.

So here's what I started with:


Mod Podge
Scissors
Paintbrush (for applying the Mod Podge)
Scrapbooking paper
Sheet music
Buttons
Mug
Banner (from a scrapbooking set)
Not Pictured: magnets and E6000 glue to affix the magnets, gold paint

I started by cutting the scrapbooking paper into strips to mod podge onto the mug.


Then I began mod podging the strips onto the mug, applying the glue to the mug and then also paint over the strips. I cut the bottom of the strips that wrapped over the curve of the cup about every 1/3 inch so that they would wrap around the mug more smoothly. I did the same thing around the handle, carefully cutting the paper often to wrap around the curve.



Then I added the music and quote on top with more Mod Podge.


After all that dried I used the E6000 to glue on the buttons, and after that dried I glued the magnets on the back.


I found this configuration to be the most stable.

After everything dried I used the gold paint to add some embellishments and paint the top rim of the mug to disguise the seam between the scrapbooking paper and the mug and give it a finished look.


Ta-da! Super love. 
You could easily adapt this tutorial to use a regular mug as a pencil holder for your desk as well, especially if your thift store is out of its yearly allotment of snarky mugs. 

If you make it, I want to see it!

peace&love,
Jill

Monday, August 8, 2011

Fearless

I find this is a good outfit to feel fearless in. And hiding behind the new camera helps too.

Fearless is not a word that I really feel like describes me, but I would like to change that. Really. I want to try. Part of the reason I named this blog "Favor the Brave" is because that is what I am doing by writing it. I am going outside myself, doing what I love, but also what scares me, sharing my successes and failures, my thoughts and observations. It's actually kind of a daunting undertaking when you look at it like that. 

But despite all my aspirations about living without fear, I think I really am ruled by it most of the time. There are always so many things that could go wrong and I am a worrier.

But there are always so many things that are about to go right
. At least that's what I've been telling myself lately.

As I embark on another semester, new classes, living with new roommates, planning my wedding and looking frantically for a job in a city (and state) I've never lived in before so I can get married at 22 I can't help thinking...ummm... wow. Scary. Subtext: What was I thinking?

I'm afraid I won't figure out how to balance a long distance engagement, college friends, classes, comps, and theater. I'm afraid I won't find a job, or that I'll be forced into a situation where I have to chose between what I love doing and eating. I'm afraid I won't find a place I can afford to live once I get there. I'm afraid my wedding won't stay under budget and still be the way I want it to be.

But more than anything, I'm afraid that I'll never push my limits because I'm afraid. And I don't know if there's a better reason to try to be fearless than that.

So here we go. Be strong, be calm, be brave. The Fall '11 mantra.

peace&love,
Jill

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Money Shot

One of my great summer jobs has been writing for my hometown newspaper and the surprising best part has been taking photographs! Tonight I shot an even called National Night Out, which was created to promote good relationships between police and emergency response personnel and community members. And, joy of joys, I got the money shot (Okay, I have watched copious amounts of Veronica Mars this summer... give me a break). Revel in it's front page worthiness:


It's got everything: a bike police officer, children, happiness, a merry-go-round.
Sometimes I am really lucky.

peace&love,
Jill

UPDATE: It was on the front page. I feel extra smug that I was right :)
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