Monthly Archives: November, 2012

November Photo-a-Day (Part 2, Days 11-20)

You can see my first ten days of Fatmumslim’s Photo a Day challenge here, as well as a link to the list and an explanation of what this project is all about.  Again, I didn’t want to bog down a single post with 30 pictures, so I figured that I’d break the month up into three 10-day segments to make loading easier.  This is part two.  As I explained last time, there may be a couple days that I had to double up, but for the most part I’ve been able to keep up the photo a day schedule.

Day 11: Night.  This is part of the Charlotte skyline.  The Duke building (which changes colors) is done up in red, white, and blue lights for Veterans day (though the blue looks more purple in this photo).  I’ve never done night shots before, and it is something that I’d like to try again once I get a tripod.

Day 12: Drink.  These days when I’m doing any “drinking” it’s most likely going to be wine.  We finally found a vineyard here in NC that we really like, so we’ve stocked up.  This is a sampling of the wines we have at home.

Day 13: Where you slept.  Bella takes over my bed during the day.  Almost as soon as it is unoccupied, she jumps up and sprawls out for her daily five-hour nap.

Day 14: Man-made.  I couldn’t think of anything more man-made that day than the consumer mecca that is mall.  I’m glad that I went at night.  I really like how this shot turned out.

Day 15: In your bag.  This is a rather literal interpretation of the day’s assignment, but here is a glimpse inside my purse.  You can see by my wallet and sunglasses that I have quite a fondness for rainbow polk-a-dots that are a little too reminiscent of the 80’s.  Also, it shows that I am ever-prepared and minty-fresh, thanks to my travel tissues and Altoids.

Day 16: The view from your window.  This is what I see every day when I sit at my desk.  The office window faces the stairwell and the building opposite mine, but off to the right is a grouping of trees before the parking lot starts.  Good natural light (for photos) is tough to come by in my apartment thanks to views like this, though the trees are pretty.

Day 17: The last thing you bought.  I snapped this photo when we got back from the Farmer’s Market, so my latest purchases were all from there.  These are probably the last locally grown bell peppers we’ll find until spring.  Everything tasted fantastic.

Day 18: Happened this weekend.  My sister and my niece came over for a visit that day, and we went to Starbucks in the afternoon.  They were offering a BOGO sale on Holiday drinks, so Tim and I indulged in ginormous eggnog lattes.

Day 19: Something awesome.  There was so much awesome on day 18 that it spilled over into my day 19 photo.  My niece Aubrey is hilarious and crazy, and I think that she is totally awesome.  Here she is looking very grown up, as she sips her coffee and eats her chips.

Day 20: Work/play.  I am a beauty blogger, as most of you know, which is a lot of work.  It is also a whole lot of fun, so for my “work/play” photo I snapped a shot of my simple little set up.  I don’t have a light box or any special equipment, but I think I do a decent job with the shots that I take.  I’m proud of my blog and the work that I do over there.  If you haven’t already, check it out at beautyinbudgetblog.wordpress.com.

That’s it for my second set of Photo-a-day challenges.  Stay tuned for the last set as I finish out November.  I hope to have that post up sometime next week.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a great one!

First Trip to the Farmers Market

Tim and I took out first trip to the local farmer’s market this weekend and love it.  I’ve mentioned that we get fresh organic produce delivered to us once a week, but there are some staples, like bell peppers and salad mix, that we buy in addition to our delivery.  I’m really trying to improve our diet and eat more whole foods, so I really wanted to go to the farmer’s market.  We are lucky to have a good growers market close by, and it’s silly that we haven’t even checked it out to see what they have to offer.

Child playing in the pumpkins

First up, we were greeted by this little guy playing with some pumpkins, right by the door.  Atherton Market is an indoor market, but there were a few booths set up outside, including woven wares and a guy who can help you set up your own chicken coop.

Farmer’s market

Obviously there were a ton vendors selling fresh organic locally grown fruits and veggies.  We came home with red bell peppers, zucchini, fresh mint, and a couple bags of mixed greens.

Fresh Flowers

There were also some beautiful flowers and floral arrangements.  I don’t often have flowers at my house, but they were really lovely.

Floral Arrangements

What was really cool to newbies like us, though, were the non-produce booths.  I’ve only been to one farmer’s market in my life and it was a pretty small one, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  There was a fish monger and a farm that sold locally raised, grass-fed beef and lamb.  We bought a delicious agave mustard from the Pickle Guy who had quite a variety of probiotic pickles and dips/salsas.  The artisan bread maker’s booth was really tempting, but I’m limiting my bread intake because we eat way too much of it right now.

Olives and Oils

I was very interested in this booth that offered a variety of oils and balsamic vinegar infused with different flavors.  They also had several types of olives and other jar items.  The booth was busy, so I didn’t get a chance to stop for a closer look, but I will definitely pick something up next time.

Fresh Roasted Nuts

A fun new find was this booth that sells freshly roasted nuts with no added salt or anything.  So fresh, in fact, that the peanuts were still warm.  I didn’t think that it would make that big of a difference in taste, but it really does.  The nuts are fantastic.  In addition to buying bags of their nuts and dried fruit, they also offer the option of creating your own trail mix blend.  I usually don’t like store bought trail mix.  Throwing raisins or dried coconut into a random mix of salty nuts, pretzels, candy etc., and calling it healthy just doesn’t do it for me.  We chose a mix of almonds, peanuts, dates, cherries, and papaya.  This trail mix is SO DELICIOUS!!!  In fact, it’s a little too good.  It’s really hard to limit myself to a small portion.  We walked away with one bag of trail mix, but next time we may have to stock up.

Fresh pasta

Another nifty booth sold freshly made pastas.  They had a ton of flavors, and a whole list of raviolis and gnocchi.  Everything was so tempting, it was tough to decide.  We bought some lobster ravioli and spinach gnocchi.  Though we haven’t had the gnocchi yet, the lobster ravioli was fantastic.

The Atherton Market is large, and open five days out of the week, which is great.  If you live in the Charlotte area, I highly recommend checking it out.  Tim and I had a great time, and will definitely be going back.  I encourage you to see what farmer’s markets are local to your area.  You never know what you are going to find.

A Photo a Day in November Days 1-10

I decided this month to do Fatmumslim’s photo a day challenge, which you can find here.  There were a couple days that I had to double up because of random issues, but for the most part I’ve been able to keep up the photo a day schedule.  Since I don’t want to bog down a single post with 30 pictures, I figured that I’d break the month up into three 10-day segments to make loading easier.  some photos are definitely better than others, but I am liking the challenge of interpreting my daily assignment and trying to be creative.

Day 1: something beginning with “C”.  I chose to take a shot of crayons because I love color.  I also love the pointy tips of unused Crayolas.  The uniform shape is visually pleasing to me.

Day 2: colour.  Since I already shot crayons the first day, I had to do something a little less obvious for day 2.  I chose this colorful eyeshadow palette from Coastal Scents because, as a beauty blogger, I have a real appreciation for the rainbow of colors a makeup palette can provide.

Day 3: breakfast.  I have lately begun to buy oats in bulk from Whole Foods.  Luckily the bags this time had a little window to see your wares, so I took a shot of my oatmeal.

Day 4: TV.  I didn’t want to take a picture of my television, so instead I took a shot of the DVD’s of some of our favorite shows.

Day 5: 5 o’clock.  I wasn’t doing anything particularly interesting when 5:00 rolled around that day, so instead I took a shot of this watch.  I actually really like how this picture came out.

Day 6: a favorite thing.  The weather has gotten pretty cold here, so I have been wearing these fuzzy slipper booties every day to keep my feet warm and toasty.  My sister gave them to me for Christmas last year and I love them.

Day 7: reflection.  I had absolutely no inspiration this day, and I looked like crap, so I didn’t want to take a picture of me.  Luckily my husband was working from home that day and allowed me to interrupt him so that I could finish my assignment.  I gave him a ridiculously over-the-top pink and black flowery mirror that I received in a Dollar Store craft swap, and snapped a picture of him reflecting on his reflection.

Day 8: something you do every day.  We get organic fruit and vegetables delivered to us, and we recently increased our order to once a week.  Because of this, we have (what seems like) a never-ending supply of apples.  So lately I literally have been eating an apple a day.

Day 9: small.  I took a shot of some star confetti that I have in my craft stash.  The lighting this day was not the best, but that’s what happens when you try to take a picture every day.  Cloudy days happen.

Belladonna

Shenanigans

Day 10: can’t (won’t) live without.  One thing that I refuse to live without anymore are cats.  I’m not quite a crazy cat lady (yet), but I have decided that cats improve the quality of my life.  I had a couple when I was growing up, but after they eventually died, I didn’t have any cats for several years.  I missed having kitties, and wanted them, but our apartment was too small.  I got these two beauties four years ago, when we moved to NC.  The years that I did not have cats were not as fun as the years that I did have them.  So for the rest of my life, I will have feline friends living with me.  (I had to take two photos because they refuse to be in a picture together.)

That’s it for my first ten days.  I am doing well on my second set, and will post them sometime late next week (hopefully).

DIY LARABARS

Cherry almond squares

I have already expressed my love for snack bars in this blog, and some of my favorites are LARABARS.  The reason that I love LARABARS so much is because they have hardly any ingredients and are real food in a convenient bar form.  Unfortunately, they are also expensive at anywhere from $1.25-$2.00 a bar (depending on where you purchase them).  So, since the ingredients are so few, I figured that I could make a similar version myself.  LARABARS are basically dried fruit and nuts that have been combined to create the different flavors.  Usually dates are used as the base to make the bar.  I opted to start with a cherry almond version and it came out great.  All I used were dried dates, dried cherries, and whole almonds.  They do not taste exactly like my favorite Cherry Pie flavored LARABAR, mostly because I added so many almonds, but they do taste fantastic.  I actually like them better than the original.  Almonds…mmmm.  You can find some recipes online from others who have made their own bars, but I just took the general principal and ran with it.  All you need is a food processor and some creativity.  Next up, I plan to make a chocolate-peanut butter version with oats.  I can’t wait to play around with different flavors.

As far as cost is concerned, the cherry-almond squares that I made are not cost-effective and I came out about even as I would have if I had gotten the actual LARABARS.  They came to about $1.40 each square.  Dried cherries are super expensive, so I probably won’t try them again very often unless I can find them online for less in bulk.  I’m still really glad that I made them because, like I said, I like them even better than the original.  The chocolate peanut butter ones will be much cheaper because I already have all the ingredients as stuff we normally buy and just need to purchase the dates.  I should get about 9 squares for around $4.00 if they turn out how I expect them to.

All in all, it was a really fun experiment.  I am positive that I can play around with flavors and shop around for less expensive ingredients to come out ahead of buying LARABARS in the future.  Though I still may purchase the Cherry Pie flavor.  🙂

Photos from the UNC Botanical Garden

I am finally posting some of the pictures that in took from the UNC Charlotte Botanical Garden and Greenhouses.  Tim and I went there during our Anniversary Extravaganza Weekend in early October.  It was an opportunity to take my new macro lens out for a spin.  I’m still trying to get the hang of my new camera, and this was the first time that I used the macro lens and experimented with a really shallow depth is focus.  We started in the greenhouses and then moved out to the garden.  I took a million pictures, but here are some of the highlights.  I tried to limit the number of photos included in this post, but there are still a lot.  I kept the images small so that they would (hopefully) load faster.  Enjoy!

We had a great time at the UNC Botanical Garden.  At first I didn’t think that we’d get a lot of shots by just looking at the greenhouses, but they are larger than they look.  Like I said, I took a ton of pictures.  The Botanical garden is across the street and it’s huge.  There was a lot to see, even in October.  I bet in the spring it is a whole new experience.  If you are in the area and want to visit the UNC Charlotte Botanical Garden and Greenhouses, here is their website.