Saturday, March 22, 2014

Creativity: budget friendly and fabulous fashion

Rummage sale treasures and fun

An easy way to put your creativity on display is the way you put together your outfit for the day.  From The Gospel According to Coco Chanel, "A girl should be two things:  classy and fabulous."  And how you decide to interpret that is all up to you.  

To make this an affordable endeavor, I employ some of my favorite words to build my wardrobe:  vintage, recycle and upcycle.  I find that I can find just about anything I want or need at consignment, thrift, vintage or antique stores, flea markets and rummage sales.  The additional bonus is that there are plenty of unique items and designer labels to be found so you can build a quality wardrobe that is uniquely you without breaking the bank.  

This weekend, a few girlfriends and I headed to one of my favorite annual rummage sales in the DC metropolitan area, the DC Junior League Tossed and Found Rummage Sale.  The sale venue changes from year to year, and this year it was held on an entire floor of an office building that was gutted and ready for the next tenant.  There was everything from housewares and furniture to a premium section with jewelry, china and exclusive designer ware. 

Index card lookbook

To prevent overwhelm, I often take a lookbook made out of index cards onto which I collage looks I like throughout the year and make lists of items that I need to replace.  This format makes it easy to add and subtract cards as your tastes and needs change.   It's so easy to get distracted with so many options that you end up spending more than you intended and might not end up with the items that you set out to find.  

Armed with reusable shopping bags, a water bottle with lemon water, my lookbook and the company of fabulous friends, I had a successful adventure to add some color to my and my mother's spring wardrobes.  For under $100, I snagged:

2 pairs of shoes (hello Prada!), 7 tees in bright and basic colors, 2 colorful spring weight cardigans great for a chilly office, a summery maxi dress, a bright scarf, a pretty shimmery bracelet, a purse, cargo capri pants for gardening, a sturdy canvas messenger bag, a cookbook and a darling Bobbi Brown makeup bag to tote all my beauty supplies to dance performances in style.  

I hope this inspires you to keep an eye out for notices of upcoming rummage sales in your area and to explore second hand shops at home and when you travel.  There are always treasures waiting to be found.

"Our clothes are too much a part of us for most of us ever to be entirely indifferent to their condition:  it is as though the fabric were indeed a natural extension of the body, or even of the soul."  Quentin Bell  

Thanks for reading!

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Snowy day: popcorn and a movie

Chili cheeze popcorn

This Monday was a snow day and perfect for curling up with a warm bowl of popcorn (my all time favorite snack) and a good movie. My most recent choice was a short documentary called Bag It:  Is Your Life Too Plastic?   The film exposes the effects of plastic bags and other plastic products not only on the land and marine ecosystems but also on the human body.  Although the topic is serious, it is presented in snippets of everyday life laced with a bit of humor that draws you in and gets you thinking about the wider consequences of our love of the convenience of plastic.   After watching the movie, I'll be making a few more changes to lessen my carbon footprint even more.  I've using cloth shopping bags long before it was considered fashionable, now, I've just got to get my husband to remember to use them more often.  Also, goodbye to the last  few plastic food storage containers for storing leftovers as I replace them with glass or ceramic options.  

And because I love an inspiring story, here's another short video to get you thinking about chasing your impossible dream.

display images to learn more about living your dream and changing the world!

Whether, you're watching a video or or just need a tasty snack, here's a quick recipe for a savory, smoky bowl of crunchy goodness.

Chili Cheeze Popcorn

Freshly popped plain popcorn 
extra virgin olive oil
1/4-1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground oregano
sea salt
smoked paprika
2-4 tablespoons nutritional yeast (provides the cheesy flavor or substitute grated Parmesan if you're not going the vegan route)

Put your freshly popped plain popcorn into your serving bowl. (I make mine on the stove in a skillet with olive oil, but you could use air or microwaved popped as well.)  Drizzle a very light amount of olive oil over the popcorn and toss to coat so all the spices and herbs will stick.

To taste, sprinkle the rest of the ingredients over the popcorn (use a light hand with the smoked paprika so the smoky flavor doesn't overpower everything else) and toss to coat, taste and adjust seasonings as you like.

Munch with abandon!

Thanks for reading!

Scenic view on snow day

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Garden update - March

Jasmine blooming in the bay window

Although we had a few nice days sprinkled here and there, we're expecting snow again tonight - maybe up to 8 inches ...will it never end?!  During one of the rare recent pleasantly warm days, I headed out to the garden to assess the damage from the winter and do a little prep work to get some greens and lettuces going for spring.

Under the fabric tunnels

I pulled back the garden fabric from the hoops and sadly not much made it through the colder than normal winter. I've been spoiled by the mild winters over the last few years where there has been a nice carpet of greens waiting under the tunnel in the early spring.  This year, it's a wasteland.  I spent the few hours I had of daylight after work, pulling out all the stems and dead leaves from the beds in the back yard.

Brussels sprouts worse for wear

You can see that most of the poor Brussels sprouts have mostly turned yellow, but the tiny sprouts are barely green. I pulled the worst of the lot, and propped the rest up on stakes, gave them a good watering and covered them up again.  They may not pull through, but I'm holding out hope that at least one stalk makes it.

However on a more cheerful note, there were a few hearty hold outs that managed to stumble through.

Carrots, split and gnarled from many freeze thaw cycles

spinach planted at the end of last fall that will continue to grow into spring

There are a few random leeks and onions that managed to hang in there, but not enough make much of a meal, but into a soup pot they will go.  Some of the garlic has made it through and the rhubarb plants are starting to show subtle signs of stirring with little leaf buds poking through the stray mulch.  With that and the jasmine blooming inside in the window, it's exciting to see that spring won't be too far off.

Thanks for reading!

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Don't forget to post a comment for the art journal embellishment giveaway over here

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Dreaming of spring and a giveaway!

Inviting table at a cafe in Ellicott City, MD

We're getting a reprieve from the bitter cold and snow this weekend.  As my thoughts turn to spring, here are some of what's been going on lately:

My 2014 sketchbook is online for viewing in the digital library and headed out on tour in the mobile library next week.  If you get a chance to see it in either venue, leave a comment at The Sketchbook library to let me know you stopped by.

I was inspired by attending DC Rooting's annual Garden Conference to pull out my seeds, books and plans to start plotting my spring and summer gardens

Zen Gypsies    

Posted the Zen Gypsies spring schedule of classes at TPSS-U.  Join us at the Takoma Park Co-op for workshops covering natural beauty products, dance, healthy eating and creating vision boards to help you realize you dreams all with a dose of mindfulness.

...and a few more creative adventures 

Olive oil and balsamic vinegar on tap at the Breadery bakery

A day trip to the historic district of Ellicott City, MD to enjoy a sunny day and visit to the nearby Breadery natural bakery complete with olive oil and balsamic vinegar on tap.

Completed a couple more of the required books (The Food Revolution and Becoming Vegan) for my upcoming Main Street Vegan Academy certification course.

Excited to be doing the pre-work in preparation for starting B-School next week

And, finally, in celebration of the promise of spring...

A Giveaway!

Handcrafted art journal and vision board embellishments

This winter's weather has kept my favorite crafter, Joanne (aka Mom), indoors turning out beautifully made embellishments for me to use on my vision boards, art journals and other mixed media artwork.  The box was bursting with such vibrant abundance, that I want to share some of it with you.  One lucky reader, picked at random, will win a packet of embossed paper, die cut shapes, quilled paper flowers, and more to use in your creative works.  By Thursday, March 20, 2014 (the first day of spring!), just leave a comment below sharing how you like to add creative touches to your everyday. 

Thanks for reading!

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