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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Announcement: A Wedding DIY-filled month ahead

For those of you who don't know, October marks one year since Mark and I got married! It's hard to believe a year has already passed by. Here are a few photos from the ceremony:





Our wedding was very DIY-centric, not only because it was fun, but it saved money and made things memorable. I made many things myself, from the invitations, to decor and the gifts. As a way to celebrate hitting the one-year mark, and to share some of my favorite aspects of our wedding, I am sharing a craft I did each week through October. I might also be sharing a few anecdotes about our relationship, but I'll try not to make it too tacky, I promise!

Hope you guys enjoy fall as much as I do!

P.S. A shout out to Amanda and Leah, the rock stars who took photos that day.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground


Mark and I took advantage of the beautiful weather this weekend and went camping! We went to Ohiopyle State Park, home to beautiful Appalachian mountains, picturesque waterfalls, and all sorts of fun outdoor activities, including hiking, biking and kayaking. It's also home to Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater.






A rare photo on the blog: It's Mark!





I went here a lot while I was in AmeriCorps, because there were all sorts of fun projects to do! We built a new bike trail once, and did maintenance on other trails during other visits. It was long overdue for me to go back, and it Mark's first time there as an adult! We mostly stuck to hiking and camping this time around, but I've gone biking and rafting in the past. The best part was seeing the foliage begin to change. There was specks of color here and there, but not full-on fall leaves yet.

Fall is my favorite season, so I'm pretty exciting for the leaves to change, hot drinks, pumpkin carving, and Halloween! I'm lame, I know. :) Temperatures reached the upper 70s during the day, so that's probably the last time the weather will be that warm until next year. I'm glad we were able to take advantage of it.

Do you have any favorite camping spots nearby?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pittsburgh 200th


Pittsburgh's bicentennial year was in 1958. I know this because the 250th anniversary was celebrated in 2008. Sad but true. I love that Pittsburgh is an older city. I think that's where it gets a lot of its charm. The history is rich. But I guess, compared to most European cities, Pittsburgh is still fairly young.

This postcard in particular is about double the standard size, and was a little beat up, but thought was worth having, if for nothing else, to simply have yet another Pittsburgh postcard. :)

There's still been so much growth since then, too.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Cold Sesame Noodles



Sorry for the absence for the last few weeks. I've just gotten sidetracked with life lately. Recently though, I began to abstain from eating meat, so that's been a fun and interesting challenge this month. It's something I've wanted to try doing for a long time now, and have started by abstaining for the entire month. If all goes well, I might be doing this on a more permanent basis.

While I haven't made these sesame noodles since I changed up my diet, it's a meal that's great for leftovers, vegetarian or not.

I've made a few different versions of these noodles over the years, and this recipe is my favorite because it incorporates nuts and also has some greens in it for balance.

I think I enjoy the noodles more after a day or two, since that's when the peanut butter flavors really seeps into the noodles. Delish! They're easy to make, too.

Cold Sesame Noodles
Adapted from So Hungry I Could Blog

• 1/8 cup toasted sesame oil
• 1/4 cup soy sauce
• 1/4 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, based on preference)
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/2 pound whole-grain linguine (for low cal version, try Tofu Shirataki noodles! Pat dry first.)
• 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced celery stalks
• 1/2 cup chopped celery leaves, plus 1 cup whole or torn celery leaves
• 1/2 cup nuts, peanuts or cashews

Mix together sauce ingredients: Sesame oil, soy sauce, peanut butter, lemon juice, honey, ginger and garlic until smooth. Set aside. Cook pasta according to instructions. Drain and cool for 10 minutes. Mix pasta and sauce together. Garnish with nuts, celery stalk and greens. Serve warm or cold.

Side note: If any of you have any vegetarian recipes recommendations, please let me know! (I'm still eating seafood for the time being, so that can be included as well.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Summery Sweater @ Ren Fest

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I'd wear a crop top in real life, but here I am.



Outfit: Top and sunglasses, vintage via Neighborhood Flea; Skirt, Shoes, and Bag, Modcloth.

Mark and I had a little double date adventure over the weekend with our friends Mike and Trey, going to the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival and then the Cheesecake Factory.

I had never been to the festival before, so it was a novel experience. People dressing up like it's the middle ages, watching people joust, trying ye olde wine tastings, and seeing people eating oversized drumsticks was all in good fun. (And it continues every weekend for the rest of the month, if you're local and want to check it out.)

I hope you can excuse the muddy feet. We were roughing things there a little more than I was expecting.

Anyway, back to the crop top. It's actually a little miniature sweater, and I found it at a vintage flea market, called the Neighborhood Flea, for 50 cents! I kind of picked it up for fun, but figured if I wore something high waisted with it, it would be OK. (I think Elana inspired me at some point, but I can't find the post that talks about it.) Anyway, that's what I ended up doing! A crop top and a high waisted skirt.

I felt daring, showing off a little bit of midriff skin, but I think I'd do it again if I were feeling confident enough.




^ I wanted one of these headbands so badly! ^

Also, I know that I kinda mixed a 50s type skirt with 60s stuff, aka the sunglasses and sweater top, but I think I did OK with mixing it up a bit. Yeah? Do people even care about that kind of thing?

Have you taken any fashion "risks" lately?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Down in Texas



Got this postcard while I was in Texas, because, well, I kind of had to do it. :)


"Down in Texas"

We're down here in old Texas
Where you never have the blues
Where the bandits steal the jitneys
And the Marshals steal the booze
Where buildings horn the skyline,
Where the populace is boost
Where they shoot mean just for past time
Where the chickens never roost.

Where the stickup men are wary
And the bullets fall like hail;
Where each pocket has a pistol
And each pistol's good for jail;
Where they always hang the jury,
Where they never hang a man
If you call a man a liar, you
Get home the best you can;

Where you get up in the morning
In a world of snow and sleet
And you come home in the evening
Suffocating in the heat;
Where the jitneys whiz about you
And the street cars barely creep;
Where the burglars pick your pockets
While you 'lay me down to sleep'

Where the bulldogs all have rabies,
And the rabbits they have fleas
Where the big girls like the wee ones
Wear their dresses to their knees,
Where you whist out in the morning
Just to give your health a chance.

Say 'Howdy' to come fellow who
Shoots big holes in your pants;
Where wise owls are afraid to hoot
And birds don't dare to sing
For it's hell down here in Texas,
Where they all shoot on the wing.


Dear Bill —
Thanks for your letter, enjoyed it a lot. Too bad you always (sic) have to bump up against Mt. Pleasant.No snow or over coats down here — you'd aught to try it sometime. Keep your eye on Polly.
Yours, Roe

I would've liked to have found an Austin postcard, but this was as good as it got for me. I'll try to post other postcards I got in Texas (and Ohio) in the coming weeks.

Monday, September 8, 2014

My trip to Texas: Expectations vs. Reality


Obviously, Texas is one of the largest and most populous states in the country, full of all kinds of people. However, the kid in me always seems to think of it like this silly scene from Pee Wee's Big Adventure:

The closest thing to wide open spaces that I saw during my five-day trip, complete with cowboy hats and boots, was at a house show I went to my first night in town. But even then, it wasn't so much what people were wearing as it was the warmth, the hospitality, the hugs from strangers.

It was at a ranch house about an hour outside of town, with a bunch of local bands and artists playing.

The 20- or 30-person audience was mostly made up of Jenni and her boyfriend Neil's friends, acquaintances, at a beautifully constructed cabin. Surrounded by open fields on a clear night, the stars were bright and it was a beautiful sight. Part of me wishes I had pictures of it, but I would've never been able to capture it on film the way I saw it anyway.

Intimate live performances are always the best. My favorite band by far from that night was RF Shannon, which is a local folksy band with a trippy side to it. Also: The band has a lap steel guitar player. Case closed. Haha.

So now that I have the experience of visiting Austin, Texas under my belt, I have a few things to take away from it.

Expectation #1: Texas is going to be damn hot in August.

Reality: It was hot, mostly in the mid to upper 90s when I was there, but wasn't nearly as hot as I was expecting, since the humidity (at least in Austin) didn't come close to what it does here in the Northeast. Also, I wasn't outside for crazy amounts of time, making the little bits when I was more tolerable.

Another unexpected thing: There were cacti everywhere. If it's a place that's dry enough for cactus, then the humidity probably isn't all that terrible.

Expectation #2: Tacos will be damn delicious.

Reality: The tacos I ate while I was there may have surpassed my expectations.



I think we had tacos three different times, and I never got sick of it. Breakfast tacos at Veracruz All Natural (pictured above) were unlike anything I've ever eaten. I'm hoping to make my own migas at home. (Eggs with tortilla chips!)

Expectation #3: Austin is freaking huge.

Reality: I'll admit that a city of 800,000, with roughly 1.8 million living in the region, I was expecting a ton of congestion. However, the downtown area was fairly small, and had a lot of sprawl.

I always seem to compare Pittsburgh in other cities in this regard, since Pittsburgh city limits are relatively confined and there's relatively little city sprawl, more just burbs. I've still have never found another city that's quite like Pittsburgh in that way. (The book The Paris of Appalachia, one of my favorite texts about Pittsburgh, talks about this concept with a ton of detail.)

Overall, my favorite things about Austin, besides the fact that a great friend of mine, Jenni, lives there, were THE TACOS and variety of food trucks, Barton Springs, and the overall vibe I got from the place. It was an artsier town, but people seemed relaxed and not crazy in competition with one another.

Also, I loved the vintage shopping there, but my thoughts on that are worth a separate post.

Have you ever been to Austin? If so, what were some of your favorite things about it?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Disney Themed Guest Post at Femme Frugality!


Fellow Pittsburgh blogger Femme Frugality recently had a call for Disney related guest posts. Since I had coincidentally scanned photos from my childhood Disney trips this summer, I thought it would be a great opportunity to reflect!

To read more, and to find out why I was in a wheelchair, go here!

PS Stay tuned for updates about Texas next week. Hope you all have a great weekend. :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Subliminal Messages

Sorry for the lack of presence on the blog over the last few weeks. There are a few things to blame for that. But most recently, it's because I spent a long weekend in Austin, Texas with my old internship friend, Jenni.

(There's more about our friendship here and here.)

I'll write more about my visit later, going into more detail about some of the things I did. For now, I wanted to share a few magazine scrap collages I assembled while I was there.




I used to do little magazine scrap collages in postcard form all the time, and send them to people. Jenni kind of brought me back into the habit. Since we were on completely different sleep cycles during the trip, I tended to keep myself busy making these and writing in my journal in the mornings until she got up and we went out exploring.

I'm not sure how a couple of these came out so dark. I just started cutting out things that looks fun or interesting and started assembling them, and obscure statements about feminism and greed are what I got.

There was one magazine in particular that had so many pictures of ladies with vacuum cleaners. It was wild. So I assembled those photos like they were all sucking one another. Haha.

I made the Texas one just for a little more balance. I don't think any of these are worth hanging up or framing, but I thought they were at least something worth sharing.

Overall, I found these to be a nice fun, easy, creative outlet to fill some time, that I might continue to do here at home.

PS, for a sneak peek of some of my Austin adventures, check out my Instagram feed!