Saturday, April 30, 2011

Recap of our trip

I'm sure you've all heard about the horrible tornadoes that have been ripping through the South. Well, those violent storms prevented us from camping earlier this week. We decided that we didn't want to be in a tent on a mountain during a tornado or lightning storm, so we stayed at Clint's dad's house instead. We were really bummed that our camping trip didn't work out, but my father-in-law lives in Athens, so we took advantage of all the fun things to do in the area in lieu of camping and hiking.

One of the first places we visited was the Fernbank Science Center because it's free. None of the indoor exhibits were too exciting, but Fernbank Forest was great! Clint and I were pretty much the only ones in it, and it was so beautiful. We walked through it snacking on honeysuckle and enjoying the beauty of nature and each other's company.

We ate lunch one day at my new favorite lunch spot, Last Resort Grill. Um, YUM, and somehow, CHEAP! We got three meals and a dessert to share for $35, including a good tip. All their stuff is local too. They have a whole section on their website about where they get their food from. This will be a definite go-to spot for us whenever we're in the area!
This is painted on the side of their downtown building. It was love at first sight.
Yum. A picture of some salmon/kale dish from their website. Whatever it is, it looks amazing!

Probably my favorite part of our trip was the State Botanical Gardens. Swoon. I loved it! And it gave me even more weird ideas that poor Clint is going to have to put up with once implemented. Some of my favorite parts of the Gardens were the herb section, the succulents, and the tillandsia they had hidden everywhere inside the conservatory. This is another place I would love to visit again!
A view over some of the grounds.

The conservatory.

Clint and I also had some free movie tickets, so we thought we would take his dad to a movie. We weren't real thrilled about anything that was playing, so we took a guess at what might be entertaining and went to see Hanna. I have only one word to describe that movie: weird.

Our last day there we went to the Georgia Aquarium. Apparently it's the biggest aquarium in the world, and it's really cool. My favorite part was the variety and intensity of the colors of all the different fish. They were so beautiful! It made me sad though; I just hate seeing any creature in captivity. Those whales, sharks, and dolphins were made to live in the huge, vast ocean! It would be like never being allowed out of our apartment. All our needs would be met, but I would go insane. And, we didn't even visit the dolphin exhibition after watching a documentary called The Cove. If you haven't seen it, I recommend it.

My final most favorite thing about the trip was our quick visit to Earth Fare. I think I just drooled a little bit thinking about it. I got a three salad sampler from their deli in a compostable container and was in vegetable heaven. Go there if you get the chance!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Ross Family Mini Vacation

 Hiking is one of my all time favorite things to do, and Clint and I are taking four days next week to do just that! We will be heading to north Georgia to camp out at Enota Mountain Retreat. Enota is actually a sixty acre non-profit conservation facility. They're all about conservation (obviously), sustainability, and living lightly. They have an organic farm where you can pick your own produce, a restaurant that serves food made from their farm, over 300 animals (chickens, bunnies, goats, cows, horses, etc.), a trout pond, a fair trade gift shop, and more! Clint is awesome at finding things like this; he knows exactly the things I love and won't stop searching till it's just right. The most exciting part of the whole thing is all the hiking trails that are nearby. I've found eight trails I would like to hike, totaling about 36 miles in all. I don't think we'll quite make it to all of them :) Hopefully we'll get to borrow Clint's dad's camera and have lots of pictures to share when we get back. Until then, enjoy these preview photos from Enota's website.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


That's the title of the book I'm reading now. Starting May 2, I'll be doing the 21 day cleanse outlined in the book. Until then, I'm devouring every word of it! It's very informational and very, very good. I'm excited to try the program and see how it works. I think some of my co-workers and possibly my mentor are going to do it as well. Anyone else want to join me? The more moral support the better!

Here is an excerpt from p. 60 to lure you in:
The problem of nutrient depletion starts at the beginning of the food chain. Plants are grown in soils that are depleted of minerals. Mass production of food leads to abuse of the land, and fertilizers do not deliver their promise. Vital foods, such as vegetables and fruits, are rendered nutritionally inert, because they are deficient in trace minerals that used to be abundant in rich, healthy soils. (Soil degradation is one of Earth's silent crises - it is only now beginning to get attention, but it is slowly harming the whole planet's food-cultivating ability.) The Vitamin A in tomatoes has gone down 43 percent in the last six decades; the Vitamin C in potatoes has decreased 57 percent. Unless you bought your vegetables and fruits at a farmers' market, they have most likely been harvested long before ripeness (depleting them of essential nutrients your cells need to do their chemistry), and unless you know otherwise, your produce almost definitely came from nutrient-depleted soils.

Does that scare anyone else? That's only one of many reasons why I want to grow my own food according to the biointensive method I wrote a tiny little bit about here.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Wow. Finding ethical and sustainable fabric that's affordable is tough! I've finally come the the conclusion that I'm going to have to order plain, organic, fair trade fabric and dye it myself with natural dyes. And that's ok because it sounds really fun and Maggy has a book about it, Sharon majored in fibers, and they're both coming to visit me next month! I'm going to soak up as much knowledge from them as possible. The only catch is that I don't yet know how to make my own printed fabrics. So until then, I'll have to settle for the best choices I can find commercially. I just ordered this fabric to recover those granny chairs I brought back from Indiana and for some big couch pillows. What do you think?

The best salad I've ever eaten

Seriously. I'm not joking. Last night I ate the best salad I've ever tasted in my entire life. The recipe for it came from my favorite cookbook: Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair. Everything I've made from it has been just ridiculously good! This is a book worth buying, not just checking out from the library. And if you want proof, try this:

Massaged Kale and Currant Salad
1 bunch kale
1t sea salt
1/4 c diced red onion
1/3 c currants
3/4 c diced apple (about 1/2 apple)
1/3 c sunflower seeds, toasted
1/4 c olive oil
2T unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1/3 c Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (I didn't even add the cheese on mine and it was still amazing)

Destem and wash kale. Spin or pat dry. Stack leaves, roll up, and cut into thin ribbons. Put into large mixing bowl. Add salt and massage into kale with hands for 2 minutes.

Stir onion, currants, apple, and sunflower seeds into kale. Dress with oil and vinegar. Toss in cheese if using.

Take a bite and ascend into food bliss.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Today is my Sabbath, my day of rest. Yes, it's Thursday not Sunday, but this seems to work better for me because there is less going on in the middle of the week than on weekends, and I am able to rest more fully. I have not left my apartment or spoken a word to anyone since Clint left for work this morning (except when I talked to him on the phone for seven minutes). Up to this point in my life, I have never taken a weekly day of rest, have never had the desire to do so, and tried to casually gloss over this particular Commandment whenever I came across it. But so much has changed. I no longer thrive off of a jam packed schedule or frantically hectic lifestyle. Ambition, accomplishments, and self-sufficiency don't work as my Source anymore. Maybe it's just maturity, or maybe it's actually God working on me, no longer allowing these idols to bring me any satisfaction or fulfillment. So I'm now making space for and protecting my Sabbath, and it's a much richer way to live. Do you take a day of rest? If you don't, I invite you to make space for that in your life and notice what happens when you choose God's way rather than the world's.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Photo Project Recap

Well, I've done a few projects about the apartment either without mention at all or just without pictures. I had access to a camera today, so here it is! (But first, I must give credit where credit is due. Clint took these amazing photos! He's such a natural.)

This is my rescue bonsai. It was half price for no reason I can see. I have wanted a bonsai for years and the opportunity finally presented itself! Plus, this is a ficus, which is an air purifier. I'm all about that.
I brought two of these chairs back from my short trip to Indiana a couple weeks ago. They belonged to my Grandma, but she doesn't need them all in her new apartment. Right now they're very old lady, but I love the detail on them and eventually want to paint and distress them somehow. Ideas anyone? I also desperately need to recover the cushions. I'm open to ideas on those too!
This is my other Granny piece of furniture. This used to be a hideous brass lamp table. (I really should start taking more "before" photos.) I don't think this picture does it justice, but now it's an awesome turquoise beauty! All it took was a can of spray paint and about 15 minutes. I still need to do something with the lampshade though. Again, any thoughts?
Here is a "before" photo! This is my awesome huge pallet that Clint got for me. One of my friends is going to do an amazing painting on it. As soon as I prep it, she's ready to paint! I'll be posting the finished product sometime in the near future.
I got that little shelf for my spices at the antique shop Sharon works at. It's perfect!
And finally, the little succulent garden I bought. It's too cute!

Friday, April 8, 2011

A quick photo update

I finally took a photo of the dress I made! Without further ado, here it is:
I had to take it with Photo Booth, so sorry that it's not the greatest photo, but I will point out my little avocado plant that Maggy gave me on the ledge all the way to the right and the cool chair toward the left of the photo that I got for $12 at a weird second-hand type store. Making the dress was so fun and almost too easy. I can't wait to make more clothes! I have so much inspiration and motivation right now, the only thing I'm lacking is the money for the material :)

I also have to post a picture of the necklace Clint got me. I absolutely adore it and wear it all the time even if it doesn't match. He is so good at picking stuff out for me and puts a lot of thought into it. This necklace is hands down my most prized possession.

Speaking of possessions, I gave away half of my book collection yesterday. I've recently read a tiny little bit about minimalism from one of my favorite blogs in the world, and I came across this quote: "Have nothing in your homes that you do not know to be useful of believe to be beautiful." -William Morris, 1834. With that philosophy in mind, I'm taking a second look at everything I own. I started with my books because those were easy - I can go to the library for any of the books I gave away - but I'm anxious to do a more thorough and deep minimizing in my apartment. For more great minimalist quotes, go here.

Well, there's so much more I want to tell you about, but I have to get to work. Until next time!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Such is Life

There's always at least one thing in my life that's lagging behind. Don't you feel that way? If I'm eating well, exercising regularly, studying, and getting enough rest, my apartment is a pit. But if I have a clean apartment, am making it to yoga four times a week, and keeping up with Vintage Remedies, there is no food to be had. Such is life it seems. I just can't keep up with everything. And that doesn't even include all the "little side projects" I take on. Like the dress I made on Saturday! I made this dress:
in this fabric:
I don't know if it's cute or not, but I wore it to a wedding that day anyway. It definitely fits me differently than that photo, but I just can't decide about it. Someday I'll try to get a photo of it and have all two of you readers help me decide :)  Making the dress was super fun though (and way easier than I thought!), and I want to make more stuff! Short term list of things to make includes: legwarmers, wrap, meditation pillow, cupsie, undies (maybe?), and another dress. That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Long term I would love to make all of our clothes! I think it would be so cool to make custom fit jeans for Clint and me.

The other "little side project" I've been occupied with is the garden I planted today at my friend Erin's house! A couple weeks ago we cleared the grass from a 100 square foot (5x20ft) planting area, and today I double dug it. (Well, most of it.) If you don't know what double digging is, you're missing out. Find out here. I basically moved 150 square feet of dirt around today, which was fun except for when my hands blistered, which wasn't all too terrible because I started planting soon after that, but then the sand gnats came out in full force and it was over. Savannah would be a nice place if it weren't for the sand gnats. I seriously look like I have chicken pox, and I ended up rubbing dirt all over myself in my attempts to keep them away. I looked like I had gotten into a mud fight, and I eventually just started shoving plants into the soil that I had so meticulously and painstakingly prepared because those sand gnats are enough to make anyone lose their mind! I managed to plant lavender, lemon balm, cucumber, onions, broccoli, tomatoes, cabbage, green bell pepper, zucchini, basil, sage, beans, and possibly some other stuff I can't remember right now. I hope the plants do well!

Oh and my latest life idea is this: I think Clint and I should buy his dad's Winnebago and live in it. We could just go wherever there is film work to be had and see the country in the process! We could sell our cars (and most of our furniture and "stuff") and buy one small tow vehicle, and maybe eventually convert the motor of the RV to run off of used vegetable oil. I would seriously do it in a heartbeat, and I know of a family of four that did do it! Meet my girl crush, Sara Janssen, and her blog about their year of living on the road. I don't think Clint was too enthused about the idea, but I can't stop thinking about it even thought I know it's not very realistic.

Well, farewell for now. I'm off to bed so that I can function at work tomorrow. I'm pretty sure I would be able to fit everything in if I didn't have to work for pay, and maybe between growing all our own food and making all our own clothes we would save the money I make anyway!