More Lovelies

31 March 2010

Not too much to say about today. There has been a lot of studying (3 1/2 - 4 hours worth) and I'm tired. I wanted to leave you with some floral pictures. I love the color of their petals. Lovely don't you think?

Ashby Monument

30 March 2010

In the afternoon I visited the Turner Ashby Monument in Harrisonburg, VA. I want to visit a few more historic spots and nature trails in the Shenandoah Valley. Honestly, I find the valley to be a wonderful place to live! Here are a few pictures (more tomorrow but I have to catch some zzzs):

Flowers and a Class Ring

29 March 2010

I've been playing around in photoshop recently since Kate (over at Chronicles of a Country Girl)put up a tutorial on textures. Thank goodness too! I couldn't figure out how to brush off the texture from the focus (I must have looked at twenty video tutorials - all of which used the old photoshop and would point at icons which were no longer there).

This is a flower from our rose garden at James Madison University. I used a texture from Shadowhouse Creations.

I love the corral color of this rose. It just sings spring to me!

The best news of the day? My class ring came in the mail! You may remember reading about it on my blog here. I love my university and I am so proud to be wearing a class ring representing my feelings.

I don't have a lens that would be great for this, but you can get the idea with this picture:

Tonight there are some veggie pasta leftovers and then I'm off to a biology meeting to work on a group lab report. Gotta love college right? Hope you've had a marvelous Monday and (for all our sakes) that the flowers start blooming soon!

Shenandoah Valley

28 March 2010

I'm definitely feeling a hike coming on one day soon. I love living in the Valley; there is so much history here and such picturesque scenery. I'm hoping to travel along Skyline Drive during April and visit Dark Hollow Falls with some friends.

This photo was taken at the Dickey Ridge Center (Northern end of Skyline Drive) on the day after Thanksgiving.

Now that we're getting into some spring weather I am craving these views again. After the rain today the sunshine will be so wonderful and the flowers will just be blooming. Hope you all had some more sunshine than we did here today!

Veggie Recipe and Antique Posters

I was trying to find a recipe on this blog to link back to but I cannot find it!! So here it is:

I found this recipe at Smitten Kitchen but I'll list the ingredients and write up the directions right here.

Serves 6

2 heads cauliflower
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
1 pound whole-wheat pasta
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
White wine vinegar
1/2 lemon
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
4 ounces ricotta salata or feta cheese

Put a large pot of water on to boil. Cut the cauliflower into small flowerets. Peel the onion and slice it very thin. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Put the pasta on to cook.

Saute the cauliflower in olive oil in a large saute pan. When the cauliflower begins to soften, season with salt and pepper and add the sliced onion and red pepper flakes. Saute over medium to high heat until the vegetables are brown and tender. The cauliflower should still be slightly crunchy and should not taste steamed. Add the garlic and remove from the heat, tossing and stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn; if it starts to brown, add a splash of water. Add a few drops each of vinegar and lemon juice and the toasted walnuts. Taste and correct the seasoning. When the pasta is done, drain and add to the cauliflower, adding enough extra-virgin olive oil to coat the pasta thoroughly, toss together and serve, with the cheese crumbled over the dish.

Also, I went with a friend to a local Antique Store today. There were several pieces I liked (quite a few out of a college student's price range) but here are some pictures of what I purchased. I loved some of their old time posters and they had a section devoted to "Cameras & Film" so of course I had to check them out!

These two are devoted to Kodak and I just loved the romantic scenes that they used to entice you. The way they look at each other is so precious and the scenery is beautiful. It's that classic love displayed for all to see.

I also got these cute earrings at the Antique store, I know exactly what I'll wear them with too.

Day in Photographs

Autism 5K

I volunteered with CKI yesterday morning at a 5K. It was a great time and I plan to walk/run in it next year!

Playing with Textures

25 March 2010

Still trying to figure out what I like with photoshop. I just spent half an hour on one image and that is all I have time for today! Phew!

This was another dew drop image I took on my morning walk. I like the colors of the orignal but I love the textured background of the duplicate, I feel like the dew drops stand out more.

Still waiting for the sunshine to come back!

Morning in the Park

Just after the sun rose this morning, around 7:30, I headed across the street to our local park for a walk. It was so quiet and serene and an absolutely perfect way to start the day. There were a few other people in the park (two dog walkers and a few runners) even though it was still a bit chilly. I know during the summer months I'll need to find ways to keep myself occupied and happy and the park is a good option.

Here are some pictures from this beautiful morning! Below you can see just how high the sun was when I entered the park.

Love the colors in this, a fresh, light green with a hint of sun on them.

Dew drops were still gently hanging from the blades of grass and the tulip sprouts. (Just to let you know, I did not adjust the colors in this shot - the blades were really quite green!)

These are the swinging bars on the playground. Not a child in sight which is out of character for this park. The play ground looked so lonely in the overcast light.

There were several other visitors to the park this morning, albeit not of the human variety. There was a truly adorable squirrel on a fence post but he was camera shy. These ducks were happy enough to let me snap a shot of them. How sweet of them!

Sometimes it is perfect to sit and feel like there is something bigger than yourself out there. When I saw this sunshine yellow bench between these two giants all I could think about was their greatness and timelessness.

The park provided a serene morning and I have been in a better mood throughout the day for it. I hope you all get a chance to get back to nature one day soon, it's always a beautiful experience.

Vegetarian Chili

23 March 2010

Hello all! Sorry it's been a few days but I had some work piling up. All is good now though!

I made some vegetarian chili on Saturday afternoon for a pot luck dinner on Sunday. It was certainly good - but spicy! I love spicy food so this was a total win for me and will stay in my repertoire. Hope you enjoy it as well!

Ok, I'll admit it, I forgot to take a picture. I know, I know, sad face.

2 cups textured vegetable protein
1 cup chopped white onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 15 oz can red kidney beans, undrained
1 1.25 oz packet chili seasoning
1 cup vegetable juice

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients, bring almost to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve hot.

Number of Servings: 4-6 (I'd say more than that though!)

I made small changes to the amounts of some ingredients (for example, I used only one tomato and maybe a tad more onion than they called for -because they're delicious).

Since we're back into some cooler whether this is definitely the time to try this dish out!

May you all have a wonderful evening. And, if not, go buy yourself some flowers - because that is a surefire way to brighten your day. (In an education class, a fellow student said that she buys herself flowers from the grocery store if she has an off day just to brighten it up and I thought it was a wonderful idea).

Morning at the Market

20 March 2010

Hello world! It's not often you can get me up at 8am but the farmers market is a good way to do it! One of my friends in my complex gave me a ride downtown this morning to the farmers market (I was looking for cheese) and it's one of the ways we keep in touch. She and I are the vegetarians who cook for ourselves and the market has great produce for reasonable prices.

Although there ended up being no feta cheese this time around I still treated myself to a homemade doughnut which was amazing. People are very friendly at the market as well and will talk to you and say "good morning!" even as you pass by.

This is the stand that was selling the pastries and doughnuts - you can see that she had a crowd. You may also notice the man with the bike in the picture. He rides around our town all the time and he does it to save on gas money. At the end of the year he donates the money that he saved to a cause.

There were many other items that were hand made or grown. This morning I was wishing I had a garden because there were many herbs, flowers, and sprouts that were being sold. I particularly liked the pansies, they had stunning color.

Good morning to you and may your day be filled with sunshine and blue skies!

FFF and Break Dance

19 March 2010

That's right, I said break dance. Ok, so in reality I am not flexible (at all) and I certainly can't dance....well.... but I do have a lot of fun trying. My university hosts a comedian once a month on a friday night and my group of friends usually head out to watch the show. Sadly, half my group is gone this weekend on various trips (fencing tournaments and trombone conferences) but I had some amazing girl friends who went with me. You can see two of them break dancing here:

Plus, I had a great talk over dinner with one of my closest girl friends. I'm sad that we haven't gotten to see too much of each other this semester. I've been trying to think of ways to stay more connected to my friends throughout the remaining weeks of school but it's proving difficult with the work load. Still, I need to make the people in my life more of a priority sometimes. You know, spread the love. Here's my gorgeous girl:

I must say, that with my car gone for the weekend with my boyfriend I am quite grateful for my friends and for my apartment being so close to campus. I doubt there will be any other time in my life when I will have as many transportation opportunities as I do now.

hmmm.... on schedule for the weekend:

farmers market downtown with a gal pal tomorrow
Blind Side (for just $2.50!!) with my girlfriend tomorrow
lesson plan
vegetarian chili
picnic in the park

That's a reasonable list and I'm excited to get it under way! Hope you all have a fantastic weekend.

Foodies and Sun

18 March 2010

Check out Analiese's blog post today, I couldn't have said it better myself. I don't know yet if I have the self control to cut out carbs and sugars (as much as I love veggies, I'm not sure I love them quite that much). Although, I've been making more of an effort to try good-for-you snacks such as apples with small doses of peanut butter or fiber rich cereal. Analiese's blog is one of my favorites and she is inspiring in her food and health decisions.

On another note, thought I'd let you know that the beautiful sun has blessed us in Virginia with its presence once again! Isn't it a wonderful feeling to be able to eat outside and bask in the sun's glow? I'm thinking a dress may be in order for my class-free Friday just to celebrate the wonderful weather. {Besides, what girl doesn't want to go out and feel so feminine and light to match the beauty of spring??}

May you have a wonderful warm weekend ahead of you!

Img from here.

Spring Days

17 March 2010

The sun has been calling out to me all day long and I'm loving every little bit of it! It had to be around 70 degrees here today along with blue skies and sunshine right up until the sunset. Plus, there was still light after dinner which is a wonderful sensation after so many dark months.

The morning and early afternoon was full of class and responsibilities although I did get a mini break to walk to main campus and get lunch and walk back (since it's finally warm enough to not take the bus!). After doing research this afternoon I had mostly free time... by free time I mean I should have been studying for a test. We all know how that goes sometimes.

The evening was the best part though. After getting my LOST fix I shared a pizza with Noah then headed to a review session for my test tomorrow. We had planned on going to a concert at another local college after this but found out the tickets cost too much so we ended up going downtown to a local restaurant. First we were going to stop by a quirky little place to listen to a jazz band but it was overflowing with people because of St Patricks day. There was even a bouncer! We had completely forgotten about the holiday and since we aren't 21 (quite yet) we decided to skip the whole ordeal and went to a different place downtown. Ended up sharing a pot of tea while kicking back on a couch and it was the best I could have asked for.

All in all a beautiful and fun day after a stressful Tuesday. Whew! This weekend is looking complicated. Either Noah is going to DC or we're both headed back for the second weekend in a row (I wouldn't complain if I had someone to tour around with me - he'll be busy the whole time).

I'm going to leave you with some music that's been in and out of my head all day. It seems so fitting for spring:

Create a MySpace Playlist at

Spring Cleaning

16 March 2010

Whew, just went through facebook and went from 555 friends to 343 and I'll have to work on that a little more later - it's still too many. The problem is some people have super awesome photos and I stay mainly for that reason rather than "friendship". I probably talk to 5-10% of those people regularly online.

Ah well, at least it's an improvement! Do you ever feel like de-cluttering your life a bit?

Today was a start, no, not just on facebook. Solid class from 9:30-1:00pm. Then took a break and headed to campus. Ended up studying for my lab practical until dinner. Then lab and now I'm back home. Soon it's time to start on a paper. Usually once I begin to be productive it gets easier from there. That initial energy is the issue.

Did you notice how perfectly spring-like it was today? Where I live you could walk around in just a shirt and jeans and be quite fine, the sun was shining, blue skies, and the sunset was gorgeous. After such a harsh winter I am very grateful for some warmer weather coming our way!

Do you have any spring cleaning rituals in your home? That time is drawing near you know!

Strawberry Cupcakes

15 March 2010

Mmmmm. I'll admit it - I practically cheated by using a box mix. But Pillsbury makes wonderfully yummy cakes so I couldn't resist. I've been craving cupcakes, well, making cupcakes for a while now. They're just a cuter version of a cake. What's the best part? They're easy to share! Good thing too or I'd be eating these little devils all by myself in two nights flat.

Mouthwatering Wants

Doesn't this look scrumptious?

I'm going to give this recipe a shot (perhaps adding in lemon extract or some orange flavors) this week. Scones are delicious but often far too pricy. I'll let you know how it goes!

Soft Tacos

14 March 2010

Vegetarians can have meat-like products too - you don't need to give up taco night!

Doesn't that look great?

I used:
some protein crumble (morning star)
maybe 1/3 of a white onion
about 1/3 of a tomato
1/2 jalapeno pepper
sour cream (to taste)
salsa (to taste)
cheese (to taste)

I just threw it all on a flat pan and let it heat up (crossing my fingers that some of the veggies would be a little bit softer) and voila! Perfect dinner. If you're going for a full meal maybe add on some spanish rice, optional guacamole, or chips and dip as sides. As it was, I ate a late lunch with the sweetheart and this was perfectly sized. Enjoy!

Week in Photographs

Kennedy Center

Tonight at the Kennedy Center was amazing! It is probably on the top 10 list for best nights of my life. Noah and his parents picked me up at 3 o'clock and we went to DC for the evening. Above we are overlooking the Potomac River and you can even see the Washington Monument.

Our dinner was even an experience on it's own. I don't believe I've ever dined somewhere so fancy! There was only one dish that fell under the main course category which was vegetarian. Somewhat of a surprise, but I believe the dining was more about the experience than just the food.

Verdi's Requiem itself was stunning and there were so many talented musicians. There was a complete choir, the national symphony, and four solo singers all of who were fantastic. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend attending a performance at the Kennedy Center. Add a little music and culture to your life - and get ready for an elegant experience.

Spring Break Finale

13 March 2010

*Warning - long, journalesque post. Go on at your own risk!

Doesn't this image call forth "Spring" to your mind? Love it!

Wow, this past week has been absolutely incredible. It started with just relaxing in the apartment with the boyfriend for two days. I love taking time off from everything to just enjoy the day. Soak it all up.

Then on Monday I met with my 'mentee' for tea and book love. Mmmm.... Tea & books area a fabulous combination.

Then Tuesday I was with Noah and his family for the day catching up and taking pictures. You may have seen theme here.

The middle of the week was with my sister and my grandparents. K and I went out to Target and picked up some summer dresses, hats, and cardigans. Then my grandparents cooked us a wonderful dinner with yummy carrots, mac & cheese, homemade bread, and more. They also make potatoes every time I come over because they know I love them!

Thursday was blissfully busy. After meeting with Noah and his mother at an Indian restaurant - yummy vegetarian food too- we went to get Noah's hair cut short again. I'll have to update with some new pics of him. We even walked over to a smoothie joint afterwards and enjoyed the wonderful sunshine on their patio. My sister and I met up with an old friend in the afternoon for infamous Frosty Run. She brought along her fiance and we caught up with one another after the months apart. She also gave us each our Christmas presents (yes it's been that long!) and they were metal water bottles -we're a green group. She also gave my sister and me a picture of our mom from when we were all brownies in Girl Scouts. I love the picture - I'll have to upload it on here so you can see the best parts of her that I remember.

After meeting with friends K and I headed up the mountain to visit my aunt and uncle - the best in the world. My aunt tore out her knee ligaments a few months ago and is still recuperating and she was watching her grandson when we arrived. It was nice to meet the cutie (ok, he was kind of cute for a baby - he slept the whole time!) and then my sister and I made my aunt and uncle dinner. I'll see if I can grab some pics from my sister for the site. We spent about five hours there with them and they're my favorites in my family. I'm very lucky to have them in my life.

Friday was spent in the majority with my dad and sister which was a nice change of pace. Sometimes it can be difficult to be with just the family but we ended up having a darn good time! Putt putt golf, thai food, and movies ensued. Afterwards I was lucky enough to meet up with my friends at the Lake House. All my guy friends were there which made my night. It can be really difficult for us all to get together. I also love that the older we get the less we have to do and the more we can just talk with one another. Plus I'm really getting excited about living with some of them next semester.

All in all, this has shaped up to be a wonderful spring break and it's not quite over yet. I plan to go out with a bang at the Kennedy Center tonight! Have to love living near the capital and having these opportunities.

Enjoy your Saturday (mayhaps indoors if you're near me - lots of rain has been pouring down)!

Img from here.

Day in Photographs

11 March 2010

This was actually Tuesday afternoon although today is already holding some similar precious moments.

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