July Foodie Penpal – Sent!

Let me just preface this with how much I love the Foodie Penpal Swap. I received an amazing package from Emily of The Breukelen Life and I sent out my package to Ashley of Running my Way to a Full. My boyfriend Mark was laughing at how into my package I was getting. I was illustrating my labels, using my beautiful neon washi tape, and thinking of fun packaging. I had a blast putting it together. Ashley gave me some good criteria to work with, such as she is mostly healthy but has a sweet tooth, loves homemade and is training for a marathon and has lots of 1/2 marathons planned!

The Lean Green Bean

I tried to think of things that were local to Healdsburg (which is a lot) that combined make a total of less than $15 (not a lot). I raided my cupboards to contribute a few things, but mostly I made/shopped for the rest. I also wanted to make it seasonal and think of things that are fresh now and how to make them last for the winter.

Enter cherry vinegar. I love cherry vinegar made with balsamic. Super easy too – take beautiful ripe cherries that you would rather eat than do anything to, put them in a jar/bottle/etc mash them up, top with balsamic (even the cheap will do) let sit for a month, or to taste, and then strain out the cherries. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. I loved making the label and attaching it with the tape.

vinegar

The box was layered with – the black cherry vinegar (made with local cherries), Hawaiian black lava sea salt (not local, but looked too good to pass up), Kokomo winery Verjus (made in Healdsburg of semi-ripe and unfermented grapes – think vinegar). The next layer was made up of some homemade S’mores bars and some Gaterade gummy chews (for the running!). Mark was making fun of me when I was stressing that the orange of the chews didn’t match my black, white and pink theme.. Luckily that pink tape is just see-through enough to disguise the color and still let you see the packaging. Lastly came the written element – a welcome card as well as a card describing each item.

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I loved putting the whole thing together and it felt especially good to actually use some creative skills again. I probably spent the majority of the time making the labels and cards, which I loved and now am feeling hooked! This is the salt label before it was inked:

salt

I unfortunately won’t be participating in the August swap as I am in Canada at my family summer cottage (tough life, I know), but I am SO looking forward for September! We are going apple picking so that might be a theme… Getting excited and collecting ideas!

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July Foodie Penpal Package – Received!

To get my blogging mojo back, I decided to participate in a Foodie Penpal swap that I found on Annika’s blog.

The Lean Green Bean

Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean blog organizes the whole thing and even though there are over 1000 participants in the US and Canada, it works seamlessly. So anyway, onto what I received from the lovely Emily of The Breukelen Life:

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Do you have ANY IDEA how excited I was to receive a box full of yummy goodies?! Cookies, chips, chocolate, pretzels and more! Everything in the box was local food made in the Brooklyn area, which is cool because I very rarely make it all the way out to the East Coast/New York. It was all I could do to take a picture, let alone document.

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The goods:
Chocolate chip cookies with oatmeal and sea salt – Enough said. They are SO GOOD!!
Spicy chocolate bar – I love chocolate and chili. This has Ancho and Chipotle in it.. basically just went right to my California heart!
Pretzels… Mmm.. Mark and I have been snacking on these while watching the Mindy Project.. perfectly crunchy with just the right amount of salt.
Quince Jam – I am so excited to try this but I am waiting until we buy a toaster. Who knew researching/buying a toaster would be such an ordeal?
McClure’s Potato chips in Spicy Pickle – This is what I am the most excited to try. I love chips probably more than anything in the world and could probably live off of them. I haven’t tried them yet as I thought it would be rude to my fellow flight sharers for me to chowing down on some crunchy snacks while they are not. Also, I now have something major (other than Mark and Newton..) to look forward to. Also is it weird for me to also be excited to eat these as my paternal grandma’s family were the McClures. My great-great-aunt or something actually wrote this book, which is kinda cool.

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Lastly, the card that Emily included was right up my alley as well. Thick, textured paper, gold lining and rich, saturated color.

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I love everything and can’t wait to participate in the next one! Stay tuned for what I sent and check it out on Ashley’s blog

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Here’s to a better 2013!

Hi guys.. I’m still alive, for those of you who are left. It has been about 5 months since my last post.

I have no other excuse besides that this has been one hell of a past 5 months. I have started to write this, stopped, rewrote, deleted, wrote more, deleted, ignored it, thought about it constantly, and now I’m here. Rather than go into a lengthy post giving a blow-by-blow of October onwards, I’ll just do a chronological bullet-list. Ready? Here goes:

  • Sent in my 3+ lb application to British Consulate
  • Working as a part-time Innkeeper at the Calderwood Inn in Healdsburg
  • Visa was denied by British Consulate because they didn’t believe Gavin and I were together for 2+ years, despite joint bank accounts, lease agreements, bills to both of us at one address, emails, text messages, etc.
  • Went to Denver to visit one of my best friends from high school, drove back with a friend
  • Spent Thanksgiving with family and friends
  • Sent in appeal to British Consulate, very little hope at this point. No idea what or where Gavin and I stand
  • Plan trip to London, board flight to London, arrive in London, get deported from London, land in San Francisco exactly 48 hours after departing
  • British Consulate says that it will not give me a decision until May, 2013 (this was in December)
  • Decide I need to actually start living in Healdsburg, rather than wait around.
  • Get house, get dog(!!!), get real job, make plans
  • Get visa approved
  • Be confused about everything

So, basically, life is complicated and I’m not sure what my future holds at the moment. Right now I am living in a 3 bedroom house with no furniture – I feel like a college student again. All my stuff is in London in Gavin’s new flat, which I am dreading having shipped.. Hello huge bills!

But from here on out, I will blog consistently about what I am up to.. Which soon will be me refinishing my kitchen table, painting the insides of my kitchen cabinets and drawers, painting the house, buying furniture… eesh, this is making me tired already! Ha!

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How to enjoy hot weather or Retail Therapy

Today was hot in Healdsburg. I mean this is the thermometer on my parent’s back deck in the shade at 5.30 this evening.

It’s pretty warm, and I LOVE IT!!

I did what any normal person does and I walked into town. There is a great little fabric store right on our main square. I may have purchased a thing or two. Supporting the local economy and small businesses is what I call it..

Just one or two fabrics including Kaffe Fasset and some Alexander Henry! Yay! I love them all! I mean look at that little animal family – so cute!

They are all 1/2 yard cuts which makes me pretty happy. And don’t the colors just play so well together? Now I need to borrow a sewing machine so I can actually do more than stare and stroke…

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to have a glass of white wine by the pool!

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Tickle my Fancy Tuesday – Link Love

10 words you literally get wrong

HOLYSHITSCIENCE.

OMG… Oceans are FREAKY! Softball-sized eyeball washes up on Florida beach. Reason #303475-3345 to live in California, not Florida. They can also be awesome, however.

You know what else is awesome? Space.

Rescued ducks experience water for the first time. Pass the tissues please.
read more about the rescue here.

Mitt Romney staring longingly at people.

I love these geometric paintings.

Double exposures can be awesome. People vs. Places.

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My week in Instagram

This week was a week of wine tasting and enjoying the last of the summer weather. I also made quite a few trips out to our wineries and checked out harvest and crush in action

Fermenting grapes and big tanks at deLorimier winery

Aw.. this is what I get to fall asleep/wake up to :)

I totally took all these from a harvest dinner so I could decorate the Inn. The Great Pumpkin Heist of 2012. They’ll totally make a movie.

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Tickle my Fancy Tuesday – Link Love

2012 National Geographic Photo Contest. We live in a stunningly beautiful world. I think I need to re-subscribe to NatGeo.. I need more of these photos in my life!

It’s decorative gourd season, motherf*ckers! I love this more and more each autumn. “When my guests come over it’s gonna be like, BLAMMO! Check out my shellacked decorative vegetables, assholes.”

Artistic interpretation

Noma Bar may just be one of the world’s best illustrators. Guess Who may just be his best portrait work.

Just the idea of redesigning 300 logos makes my brain hurt. Doing it in 6 weeks? Impossible? Not for Fraser Davdison. Who did just that!

I kind of really want to make this quilt..

High five escalator. I’d give him a high five and then get all teary-eyed. I’m cool like that..

..and now I’m really tearing up – 24 grooms see the brides for the first time. Side note: why do people touch their face when overcome with emotion? Weird.

Whoa.. Dolce and Gabbana – pretty cool. Pairing the spring/summer collection with vintage travel posters? Freaking awesome.

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My week in Instagram

Well.. I’m certainly not doing too well in Blogtoberfest. I’ve already missed two days!

I will catch up. I will catch up. That will be my mantra. I’ll be like the little blogger that could.

Anyways, back to our scheduled programming – my week+ in instagram.

I made an early morning trip up to one of our wineries – the view was stunning as was the ‘tree tunnel’.

You know it’s harvest time in wine country when traffic is caused by tractors!

Mmm.. peanut butter banana bread pudding. People went crazy for it!

A creepy face in my ice water at the bar.

San Francisco was alerting me to the fact that it has hills. This was at the top of a hill that is so steep, you hope there will be road in front of you.

If you want to see all the other photos I’ve taken, you can follow my pictures here and purchase them here! Are you on Instagram? My screen name is sydthewyd, hope to see you soon!

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