I'm one lucky gal who gets to interview the awesomest artists for work. This time I hit the jackpot, getting to travel out of town and finally meeting someone I have only known on Twitter. I met Janelle a couple years ago when I won one of her bow headbands on her blog and have been following her ever since. When we hosted a Winter Accessories Design Challenge at work, I needed to tell her about it, not knowing she would take the grand prize (don't worry, I don't have that kind of influence over the judges!).
Meeting Janelle in her Philadelphia home was a lot like being at a friend's house for a play date. She made me brunch, we played with yarn and her designs on the floor of her creative space, and I helped myself to her ukulele. If I had remembered to bring my own crocheting project, I might not have left. Ever.
Head on over to the UncommonGoods blog to see her interview and studio tour in its entirety and meet this gal who has been a huge inspiration to me for a while!
This is a post about self control. And grilled cheese. Trust me, please.
I'm in need of some control in my life. Living alone, untethered, has left me without a true schedule or regimen. Frankly, when I am without those things I am a wild beast.
So in an attempt to get everything back into place - weight, finances, bed times, ahem blogging - I have made a rule that I will eat vegan and/or gluten free inside my apartment. As long as I have control over what I am eating in my own home, I can feel better about being flexible when I go out.
This grilled cheese has become my go-to meal when I don't have a lot of time or energy to cook a full meal. And although it isn't vegan andgluten free, I made sure to choose a local, organic brand of bread that I can feel less guilty about.
vegan sweet and spicy grilled cheese
2 slices of Bread Alone's Whole Wheat French Sourdough
2 Daiya Cheddar Cheddar Style Slices
1 Daiya Provolone Style Slice
2 tsp of Earth Balance Soy Free Spread
2 tsp of Trader Joe's Hot & Sweet Pepper Jelly
Spread the pepper jelly on the inner sides of the slices of bread so it mixes with the gooeyness of the Daiya. That's really all the advice I have, I'm sure you have what it takes to make an amazing grilled cheese.
I love a big beautiful hydrangea bush in the summer. I can remember being a tiny kid and watching my grandmother spray her hydrangeas in the evening after going to the beach, trying to find a rainbow in the mist.
One flower is enough to fill a vase. Gosh, I love them. I love them so much I travel with scissors in my purse to snag some from my neighbors when I'm walking home in the dark.
Nothing bums me more than coming home with a stash and watching them literally wilt before my eyes. Luckily my mom is also a wizard at stealing flowers and gave me these tips which I will now pass down to you!
- When you get your hydrangeas, give the flowers a good shake to get rid of any bugs- the end of the summer is spider web season!
- Carry the bouquet with the flowers down, keeping the moisture running to the petals.
- As soon as you get home re-cut the stem and burn the bottom with a match or lighter. This seals off the stem from letting moisture escape. They should be fine without water in a vase, but some water will make them last just a bit longer.
sitting under mommom's hydrangea bush after the beach
Before I realized living alone would bleed me dry, I anticipated some little splurges in my new apartment. But even so, no matter how hard times get, it’s important to put a little aside for the things that make you happy.
For me it’s fancy soaps, shampoos, and candles. Anything that makes my bathroom feel more like a spa. Which isn’t too hard in my beautiful bathroom (if you’ve ever living in NYC you can appreciate the excitement one gets over brand new tile and grout!).
It’s also fancy jams to spread on toast like at my favorite coffee joint. A handmade, crafted jar of preserves that looks as pretty on the table as it is delicious.
But recently I have gotten a little more original with what I choose to place atop my toast. My favorites so far are cheddar, avocado and red pepper flakes, and ricotta, honey, and cinnamon. What are your favorite toast spreads?
Better yet, are you willing to trade your old Chemex for something? Let’s barter!
I think about community a lot. At work I am tasked with building a community of artists and makers. They’re the most important part of our business and there is value in spending time to create an environment where they feel welcome to contribute, an environment with elements of taking as well as giving. Of course this community exists completely online and sometimes I can’t fathom what it will take to build a strong community of people who will never meet each other.
But like most things lately, it’s a lot more simple than I realize.
I live in a flourishing community in Brooklyn where citizens are giving and taking all the time – at green markets, libraries, co-ops, and community gardens. So much of what I see around my neighborhood is for the good of all.
Instead of throwing out trash, our neighbors place them on a stoop for others to enjoy – pots & pans, books, decor, childen’s toys, shoes. A lot of the books I read were found on someone’s front step, encouraging me to pass it along once I’m done with it. I even happened upon a gorgeous handmade stoneware dish on a walk home from the gym.
It’s nice to know that if I’m in need, the community will provide – an important fact to consider when building one of your own, whether its online or in the flesh.