archive: October, 2011

Posted by in photography

this week, i was able to sneak away for a bit to go explore the santa barbara botanic gardens. i remember running across their site as i was researching the area before we moved here, and was ever so eager to go! it was quite, restorative and incredibly beautiful. here are a few of my favorite photos from my visit.

santa barbara botanic gardens

santa barbara botanic gardens

santa barbara botanic gardens

santa barbara botanic gardens

santa barbara botanic gardens

santa barbara botanic gardens

santa barbara botanic gardens

this last one is of a tiny little tea house nestled back into the woods. a tea house!

pictures: bonnie forkner

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cold autumn gazpacho soup

October 19, 2011

autumn gazpacho soup

in the past, i haven’t been the biggest fan of cold soups, but this one rocked my world (but, you can also serve it warm, if you like). adapted from this recipe, it’s one of the easiest soups i’ve made and it’s great for a group of people with different dietary needs. the flavors are just right and it’s so filling and satisfying. i hope you’ll enjoy!


– 6-8 medium to large heirloom tomatoes
– 1 small yellow onion
– 1 medium yellow squash, halved lengthwise
– 1 bell pepper
– 1 garlic clove
– 1 cup pureed veggie juice (on the juice isle!)
– 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– Coarse salt


– 1 avocado
– 1 small red heirloom tomato


chop all ingredients into thick chunks and combine in a food processor and pulse until pureed. (that’s right, just puree it all together!). season with salt and top with diced avocado and fresh tomato. serve chilled.

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favorite fall trend

October 19, 2011

fall headbands and ear warmers

one of my favorite fall trends this year are knitted ear warmers, they are so cozy and cute! i love the simple touch of class they give, and of course, my ears appreciate the bit of warmth they provide!

clockwise: crochet headband, lacy headwrap pattern, the ester, braided maiden head wrap, burnt orange ear warmer, the catalina, parisian twist headband pattern, crochet flower headband

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Posted by in simple living

i was tempted to title this post ‘gmo’s and what you need to knows’, but you get the idea. :) there’s been a lot of buzz around gmo’s (genetically modified organisms) lately and rightly so, it’s a very important subject! GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food and today i hope to give you the essential information on what they are, what you need to know about them, and how you can avoid them. let’s go!

GMO's and what you need to know

what is a GMO?

GMO’s, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals that have been created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology. this (very experimental) technology merges DNA from different species which creates an unstable combination of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot naturally occur in nature, or even in traditional crossbreeding.

but why?

virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand the direct application of herbicides and insecticides (brilliant, right?). Nope. not only do none of these practices offer increased yield or enhanced nutrition, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs to health problems and environmental damage.

are GMOs safe to eat?

most nations do not consider GMOs safe to eat. in nearly 50 countries around the world (including australia, japan, and the european union) there are heavy restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. in the u.s. however, the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created the GMOs in the first place.

are GMOs labeled?

unfortunately, no. even though polls consistently show that americans want to know which foods contain GMOs, the biotech lobby has succeeded in keeping this information from the public.

what do GMOs do to the environment?

in short, a lot. over 80% of all GMOs grown worldwide are engineered for herbicide tolerance. as a result, the use of toxix herbicides (think roundup) has increased by 15 times since GMOs were introduced. GMO crops are also responsible for things like ‘super weeds’ and ‘super bugs’ which can only be killed with more toxic poisons. a major concern is that we don’t really know what the long-term effects will be, but we do know that once released into the environment, they cannot be taken back.

GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food

so, which foods might be GMO?

there are several foods that are especially at high risk for being GMO. they are:

- alfalfa
– corn
– flax
– rice
– sugar beets
– yellow summer squash
– canola
– cotton
– papaya
– soy
– zucchini
– milk*
– meat*
– eggs*
– honey and other bee products*

* these are also a major risk because of potential GMO contamination in feed and other inputs.

how can i avoid GMOs?

in the u.s., GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food (think cereals, snack bars, snack boxes, cookies, processed lunch meats, crackers, etc).

-  purchase organic foods as much as possible. they will not contain any GMO’s (though there is potential for cross contamination from other GMO crops).
– look for the non-GMO project label.
shop brands that participate in the non-GMO project, see a list of them here.

what else can you do?

– tell the fda to label genetically modified foods! sign the petition here.
– tell grocery store CEOs to refuse monsanto’s GMO sweet corn- sign the petition here.
– know what’s most important to buy organic by using this guide.
– know your labels - part 1 and part 2!

thank you to the non-gmo project for this great information, pictures and excellent resource guide!

simple living

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photos from our lives

October 18, 2011

Posted by in lifestyle

photos from our lives

oh, how i love waking up to this sunrise!

photos from our lives

seaside view from watching the mister surf.

photos from our lives

photos from our lives

it’s grape picking time! workers harvesting the crop, right outside our window.

photos from our lives

photos from our lives

sunset at mondo’s surf spot.

photos from our lives

and one of toaster, just for kicks!

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photography giveaway!

October 17, 2011

Posted by in giveaway

domestic peacock

oh, happy happy monday everyone! it’s certainly a good day, as i have a very special giveaway for you! remember this lovely oversized wrap i got last week? well the lovely creator of it, amber baxley of domestic peacock has offered to host a giveaway for you from her photoraphy shop! that’s right, a long with being an incredible crocheter, she and her fiance, christopher nelson, are also very talented photographers. what a creative couple, right?!

pssst.. amber is also a dear friend of mine who i grew up with! her work is extra-special to me, not only because we’re friends but aslo because many of these photographs are taken from my homeland in north carolina. they bring back sweet memories and even a few tears to my eyes!

here’s how you enter:

visit domestic peacock photo and pick out your favorite photograph. come back here and share with us which one is your favorite and why. one comment per person, please. giveaway will end on sunday, october 23rd at midnight pst. one winner will be drawn randomly and announced on the following friday. good luck!

want to learn more about the domestic peacock? after visiting her photo shop, make sure to stop by her beautiful homemade hats and accessories shop. you can also join her on facebook, twitter and on her blog.

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Diy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

October 17, 2011

Posted by in cooking ideas

Last week I made pumpkin spice lattes, and with a lot of pumpkin puree left over in my fridge, I had to use it for something. Enter: DIY pumpkin pasta sauce. I experimented with the flavors as I went – it started as a sweeter sauce, but I quickly realized adding herbs and black pepper would make it perfect. So, this sauce is thick and savory, with just a hint of sweetness in the nutmeg – perfect on top of plain pasta or ravioli. It’s also very easy to make, and it’s vegetarian – I’ve included substitutes for vegans as well!


– 1/4 cup butter (vegan substitute: 1/4 cup vegan “buttery” spread OR 3 tablespoons canola oil)
– 1 shallot
– 2 – 4 garlic cloves (depending on your taste)
– 1 – 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree (or follow Bonnie’s instructions for pumpkin puree in this – recipe)
– 1/2 cup vegetable stock
– 3/4 cup milk (vegan substitute: 3/4 cup soymilk, rice milk, etc.)
– 1 tsp salt
– 4 teaspoons fresh, minced sage leaves OR 2 teaspoons dry ground sage
– 2 teaspoons fresh, minced thyme leaves OR 1 teaspoon dry ground thyme
– 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
– pinch of nutmeg

optional toppings:

– 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
– parmesan cheese


After shallot and garlic are minced, sauté in skillet of melted butter (or vegan substitute) on medium for about 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to low, and stir in pumpkin puree. Continue to stir for 3 minutes, and slowly add stock, milk, salt, pepper, sage, and thyme. Allow sauce to simmer, covered, until ready to serve. Top with walnuts and parmesan cheese, if desired.

ashley paul indie pretty project Out to find ways to make life simpler, Ashley is tackling life one DIY project at a time. Learning as she goes, she also spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her Etsy shop.

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dinner ideas 10.14.11

October 14, 2011

Posted by in dinner ideas

this weeks meals were full of fall veggies and new recipes. this week at the farmer’s market, we had fresh corn, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, red onions, spinach, eggplant and sweet potatoes. as always, you’ll find this week’s menu was inspired by our seasonal produce. what’s growing in your town?

whole living

monday: purple potato cakes*, roasted veggies and grilled corn

tuesday: farmer’s market burritos* and strawberry salad

wednesday: dinner on the grill (too hot to cook inside)! grilled tofu, corn and eggplant, served with a salad topped with avocado and cranberries.

thursday: ceviche spring rolls (minus the cod and + fresh basil) with a summer sprouted salad, zucchini pasta and baked sweet potatoes

friday: roasted fall vegetables with lentils with whipped sorbet and no bake brownie bites

*purple potato cakes

these remind me of my childhood. any time we used to have leftover mashed potatoes, mom would always make us potato cakes the next day. these were purple because i used purple potatos (not to state the obvious, or anything) and were leftover from this shepherd’s pie. simply make patties and pan fry with a little olive oil. yum-o!

*farmer’s market burritos

we make burritos a few times a month and i always just throw in whatever is in season. this week i stir fried corn, bell pepper, tomatoes, green beans and black beans. i also used quinoa instead of corn (an excellent replacement!). add cumin, nutmeg and chili pepper to taste and serve in sprouted whole wheat tortillas. i always top mine with sliced avocado as well.

all pictures: whole living recipes


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