our syracuse home.

as mentioned last week, we're getting ready for quite the move.  the moving process in and of itself has been rather daunting.  not only are we moving cross country, but there will be a few months of transition in san diego, especially if we don't sell our home by october.

as i was prepping our more critical stuff (camping gear, wet suits, warm clothes...ya, we know what's important!!) for the move, i suddenly stopped and realized, i had zero pictures of our house!  dropping everything, i busted out the camera and began documenting this space we call home.
when we first arrived in new york, we had a bedroom set, piano and coffee table to our name.  over the past six years, we've acquired furniture and frames and souvenirs from our travels.  slowly, very slowly, our home started growing with both personality & stuff.
to be honest, there's so much more i'd love to do to this space.  as the years have passed, my personal style has moved with them.  today, i can picture bold, vibrant rugs (a feat much more realistic now that we have one hairy pup), more diy art, a beautiful wooden chair, and perhaps a finished bedroom; the only room yet to have a personality.
every space has it's own story.  our master bathroom for example, was an experiment with stripes and hooks.
our office was our first home project.  something simple, like removing a closet door to expand the space for a second desk.  only to become a two week ordeal after removing an innocent base board along with a nail, unintentionally lodged into our main water vein.  despite the need to learn drywall, carpeting and a visit from a plumber, we love this room.  & this is where i send most of my days.
our home is about 1,000 sq ft.  we've maximized every inch of the space and made each room work for us.  our walls are littered with frames and some of our most-favorite memorabilia.  we've added shelves and renovated our backyard.  this home wasn't intended for any diy projects, but as we lived here and found our routines, we made adjustments as necessary.  & that has resulted in comfortable living.  starting over is necessary, but i'll definitely miss the ease of these rooms.
i can't believe this is the first time i'm sharing photos of our home.  soon, sooner than i care to admit, i'll be sharing pictures of boxes and hollow rooms.  but until then, i'm enjoying ever square foot of our house and all the memories that come along with it!


bake 20: homemade pop tarts.

yep, you read this correctly.  i made my own pop tarts!  & know what?  they're like 3,000 times better than the store-bought versions.

on sunday, i had a sudden urge to bake something.  i'm actively trying to make some of the many recipes i'm pinning these days, so when the urge arrived, i made my way to the fantastic world we call pinterest.  once in my archives, i knew the minute i saw the pin, homemade pop tarts were the something i wanted to make.
recipe: i found this recipe via smitten kitchen

adjustments: considering this was my first time making puff pastry from scratch, i would have done a few things differently.  the only salt i had on hand was sea salt.  colossal mistake.  while the pastry tastes ah-mazing, it's a bit too salty & there are random salt chunks in unsuspecting bites.  considering i opted to make the sweet version of these, saltier isn't better.  also, i chose to mix the dough by hand.  next time, i'm going to pulse it in a food processor.  i think this would have yielded a more consistent dough and quite honestly, much less of a mess.  i will say this, mixing by hand is therapeutic as long as your anxiety doesn't return when you're scraping butter from your fingers with the side of a bowl.
review: unbelievable.  i opted to use fresh fruit in the center of my pop tarts (peach & fig) and am i glad i did.  the puff pastry is flaky and when baking, they make your whole home smell like yummy goodness (the perfect, we're-trying-to-sell-a-home scent) & when toasted, (in a toaster oven of course) your home once again reminds you of your favorite bakery.  these are definitely a keeper.  i can't wait to experiment with different fillings (both sweet and savory) & continue practicing the art of pastry dough.

this is item #4 of my bake 20 in 2012 challenge.  i still have a long way to go!

over the next five months i'm going to try my hand at 20 different baked goods.  there's no specific order and no plan.  just making things that look good and hopefully in the process, finding a new appreciation of baking.  feel free to join me in the Bake 20 Challenge.


fly boy.

so it turns out, when it comes to this blog & our life, i'm a terrible secret keeper.  often, i'm too excited to wait for the big post and blurt out the dirty details in passing.  so if you ready yesterday's post, you know after many hours in the sky & studying on land, a. received his private pilot's licence!  yahoo!
by trade, a. is a black hawk pilot with the army.  he loves to fly & has had a passion to do so since he was a kid.  with his military service ending next month, flying was not about to end with it.  so a. scouted out a local flight school and took to the sky.  for the past six months, he committed a few hours a month learning to fly an airplane.

funny thing is, in the eight year's a. has been a pilot, never once had i joined him in the cockpit.  i had never seen him live his passion, work his magic among the flight controls and finesse the radio calls with the ease and directness of a true professional.  never once had i experienced first hand, the one thing he loves doing. until now.
on saturday, a. took me, his first passenger, flying.  our route began in oswego, ny and continued north to the thousand islands.  for those of you unfamiliar with upstate new york, the st. lawrence is a beautiful river that nestles small, scattered islands along it's path.  it also divides us from our northern neighbor, canada & is the location where the ever-famous, thousand island dressing was created.  it's absolutely gorgeous & from a bird's perspective: breath taking.
after about an hour flight we landed in a very small runway in ogdensburg, ny.  so small in fact, there were no buildings around the runway & no flight operations telling us to land or directing traffic.  we were on our own.  a. was spectacular of course.  we landed, maneuvered up the runway and in no more than five minutes, were back in the sky heading home.
while the day was a bit hazier than a. had hoped, we had great weather.  we flew at about 3,500 ft, just below the clouds.  they were so close, i swear i could touch them.  a. practiced a few maneuvers- one in particular, the sharp turn- got my stomach rolling like we were on a roller coaster.  looking back, it was rad.  in the middle of the turn however, i was doing everything in my power not to toss my cookies.
obviously, we landed safe & sound after our two hour adventure.  i'm still riding high (pun intended?) from the flight and can't wait to go once again.  flying with a. was definitely the highlight of our weekend.


around here.

learning the art of cake decorating as i practice on sugar cookies.
enjoying the last long rays of summer's sunshine.
reading the latest sunset magazine & noting road trip "musts."
cutting paper for a new mini book.
loving our germany photos and deciding which will make the cut.
eating this yogurt regularly.  hands down the best in the market and can't wait to try the strawberry rhubarb.
sending off my hair to locks of love.  signed, sealed & delivered.
relishing in the awesome selection of fruit that summer brings.  can't. get. enough.
adoring our evening hot tub dates complete with of monsters & men and the civil wars.
making breakfast sandwiches with fresh farm eggs and garden tomatoes.
flying over upstate new york with my newly licensed hubby.
watering & weeding is one of my favorite summertime hobbies.  i love taking care of these little plants.
harvesting more and more basil from our little backyard garden.  & figuring out what to do with it is the current battle.

tons of good stuff happening around here.  life is good.  awesome, in fact.


pineapple kale juice.

we're still juicing* around here.  not as much as we'd like, but on days we don't have house showings, we go to town.

i often find when i juice kale or collard greens, it tastes like drinking grass.  and that's a flavor i try to avoid.  generally, apples are my go to kale juice enhancer, but with so many fresh pineapples at the market, i figured i'd mix things up a bit.   this fresh juice is sweet, hearty and tropical.  the perfect morning pick-me-up.

pineapple kale juice
serves 2

1 1/2 heads of kale
1/2 pineapple, peeled and thickly cut.
1/2 lemon
5 carrots

per juicer instructions, add all ingredients one by one.  chill juice, serve cold & enjoy.
note: if the flavor is too strong or you'd like the recipe to yield more juice, add a little water (about 1/4 - 1/2 cup) to thin it out.

*for all our juicing needs, we use this fantastic beast.


big news.

in case you haven't picked up on it in this post or even here, we're moving!

from syracuse to san diego.  we're packing up our home and our life and returning to our roots.  after eight years, a.'s time with the army is up & after much thought, we decided it was time to head home.  we've lived in new york for six years and while our first year here required much adjustment, we've fallen head-over-heels for the empire state.

there's no doubt about it, moving's rough.  and there are so many mixed emotions about this new chapter in our lives.  between the six years, two deployments, countless adventures and multiple jobs, we've made stellar friends & created such an awesome home and life here.

that's the hardest part of military life.  you move to a new city and after awhile, start meeting people, get involved in the community, secure a fantastic job and get comfortable.  then, in usually 3 to 5 years, new orders are cut and word's out that you're moving.  and this little life you worked so hard to create is left behind.

luckily for us, this tour hasn't been typically military.  we've had lot's of time to settle in and make some wonderful memories.  and while we're leaving, much as it is when you leave any home for any reason, the friendships we've worked so hard to build will come with us.  no doubt about it.  however, i'm still not ready to leave our ny family.

by moving to san diego, we'll be surrounded by family and friends- so we know it's the right step for us.  eventually, we'd like to start a little fam of our own and it will be so rad to have our hypothetical children surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

but knowing there's happiness waiting for us on the sandy shores of san diego doesn't make saying goodbye any easier.  at all.

september is our last full month in new york & there's so much we have to do before we move (selling the house is check box numero uno).  there's also tons left to see and so many people to spend time with.  and there's only six weeks to do it all.  crazy.

so in these next six weeks, a. and i have a few adventures planned between the packing, dinner dates and game nights.  inevitably, it'll feel like a whirlwind- but once we're in san diego, we can settle down and relax.  right now, there's no time.


weekend round-up.

it's obvious summer is coming to a close in syracuse.  days are cooler, nights are down-right cold, & the sun is setting much too soon.  i love when the weather begins to change and sweaters are part of the daily attire, but for now, i'm enjoying the last of these beautiful summer days.

i completed my final wedding of the season this saturday and basically spent sunday afternoon recovering.  we enjoyed a celebratory dinner with friends (more on that this week) and later, treated ourselves to some frozen yogurt.
believe it or not, all photos were taken with my beloved iphone.


diy: folded clutch

over the past couple days, i've been dabbling a bit with my sewing machine.  more so than i ever have in the past.  as a kid my mom tried to teach me to sew, but i was stubborn and completely uninterested.  with exception of an unsuccessful pillow case and a christmas tree skirt over the past year, the only thing i sew regularly is paper.

to be honest, sewing intimidates me.  big time.  the machine is one thing...it looks so simple and minimal and yet when i turn it on and press down the pedal, the fabric and needle tends to have a mind of their own.  there are multiple needles for various fabrics, tensions for different fabrics & of course, techniques and patterns.  should i go on?

but, i'm determined to figure out this fascinating machine so i've decided to grab the needle by the preverbial eye and teach myself.  because, it's about damn time.  for one of my first projects, i chose to take on the ever-so-popular folded clutch.

i figured this was a great basic project since it involved a zipper, pocket, leather and a simple inside lining.  i found this tutorial on pinterest and using some of my new youtube friends and sisterly advice, took to the machine.
the most difficult component was the zipper.  i'm not certain if it was the zipper i used, my lack of zipper knowledge, or overall sewing skills- but the zipper definitely didn't turn out as hoped.  however, it still works and was a great lesson learned.  i now know two very important things: don't sew the fabric too close to the zipper teeth or the zipper won't open & two, don't sew the end of the zipper down until you're completely certain where you want it to end.
i also took the liberty of adding a pocket to the inside lining.  this was a mandatory feature.  there's nothing worse than a disorganized purse.  and trust me, they do get disorganized!  so i cut a piece of chevron fabric about 7"wide and 4 1/4" high and a piece of the faux leather approximately the same width & 1/4" high.  after bending many pins, i secured the leather over the top of the fabric and sewed it on for a finished look. 
i love this bag and while it's far from perfect, it's perfect for me.  the neutral colors go with everything and funky inside is a fun surprise.  i intend to try this project again with a different zipper, but even if it turns out exactly the same, i'll be as equally in love.

ps. in case you're interested, my skirt is old navy and shirt is from the gap year's ago.