our big surprise

| bonnie forkner

Bella Roubaix
 
this post probably belongs over on the dog blog, but i couldn’t help but share the cuteness here! after my in-laws sadly lost their golden retriever a few weeks ago, david and i decided to do something special for them. so, we surprised them with a new puppy! after much planning and secrecy, this sweet 9 week old golden retriever showed up at their doorstep last week. isn’t she a doll? her name is bella roubaix (after a bike race, of course). since we’re half way across the country, my parents had a big hand in the surprise- so thanks y’all! we couldn’t have done it without you.

Bella Roubaix

latest favs

| handmade

handmade picks

lately, i’ve found myself bookmarking several handmade shops. i’ll leave a tab open in my browser, ‘favorite’ their shop or send myself an e-mail about them (yup, i do that). it seems as though the limit to fabulous artists and shops are never ending, and it is so amazing to witness and be a part of this incredible movement. the opportunities for artists are now so great, that if anyone has the inkling to to be creative, there’s an outlet for it. how incredible is that?! here are a few of my latest favs:

citrus, betty shih tzu, big bad wolf iphone sleeve, embroidered pendant, blue sailor wolf, vintage wooden spools

salted caramel latte with ashley pahl

| handmade

salted caramel latte with ashley pahl
 
This recipe is similar to the vanilla latte, but features an extra special, homemade caramel syrup. Other recipes that I found during research required first making a vanilla latte, and then making a separate caramel sauce and whipped cream for the topping – lots of sugar, and lots of time. So, to cut back on ingredients and steps involved, I developed this double-duty caramel syrup for the traditional latte:

ingredients

 
1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 shots brewed espresso

6 ounces steamed milk

serves two

directions

Place sugar and water together in a small saucepan. With pan on medium heat, allow sugar to dissolve. Bring to a boil. Let syrup continue to boil until the sugar caramelizes and turns a light brown.

Do not allow the syrup to turn too dark or boil for too long: my first attempt at this syrup went downhill fast when I allowed it to caramelize for too long. It burned and was too bitter for use.

salted caramel latte with ashley pahl
 
After syrup turns an amber color, or after about 5 minutes of boiling, remove from heat. Sprinkle with sea salt, and slowly pour in heavy cream. Stir.

Pour 2 shots of espresso into two cups, followed by three ounces of steamed milk into each cup. Top off with freshly made caramel syrup, and any left over milk foam from steaming. Enjoy!

cofee with indie pretty projects

ashley paul indie pretty project Ashley has been coffee-crazy since college when her husband bought her an espresso machine for Christmas. Armed with a pot of dark roast, she spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her self-titledEtsy shop.

valentine’s day diy

| DIY projects

valentine's day diy
 
valentine’s day card exchange at school. i can still remember the feeling of excitement i would get when it was my turn to hand out my (hand crafted) valentine’s day cards to all my classmates. fast-forward some 6 or 7 (very awkward) years to the days where my high school would sell bouquets of flowers to students to be delivered to their sweethearts. i would get the nervous jitter bugs everytime someone opened the classroom door with a delivery of flowers, only to see them passed to a neighbor (though i think i did receive a bouquet from a ‘secret admirer’ once… creepy?).

my point? i think these diy heart pins from the purl bee would be the perfect project for this year’s valentine’s day exchange at any school. easy to make and suitable for kids- i just love this v-day diy!

valentine's day diy
 
don’t have kids? i think these would be so pretty pinned to your valentine’s day cards or attached to pretty wool jacket. what do you think? i love the array of colors here, i’m not sure i could choose a favorite (but if i had to, it’d probably be that peachy cream or mustard yellow). head on over to the purl bee for the full diy!

sponsor welcome – artsy ants

| handmade

artsy ants

 
you may have noticed the cutesy-crawly additions we have in our sidebar? these two artsy ants are a sisterly collaboration that come together to write their art-inspired blog and run their etsy shop. though their ant colonies may live a world apart, they come together beautifully as they both love to paint with their fingers, sketch and craft. head on over to artsy ants to visit their ant hill today- i know you’ll love their story!

interested in advertising on going home to roost? click here to find out more!

on my bookshelf

| lifestyle

hello, friends! i’ve been enjoying some really great reads lately and thought you might like to know the latest additions to my bookshelf!

on my bookshelf
 
1. creative, inc.– the ultimate guide to running a successful freelance business by meg mateo ilasco & joy deangdeelert cho. this crafster book teaches you everything you need to know about starting your own freelance biz. from setting up shop to working with clients and agents- the advice in this book is priceless.

2. the total money makeover by dave ramsey. finally! a book that spells out exactly what you should do with your finances in an easy to understand way. the sure-fire way to get out of debt, stay out of it, and start managing your finances responsibly. i’m telling you, this is the best book i’ve read in a very long time.

3. the conscious cook by tal ronnen. i just got this fantastic cook book in the mail this week! it’s 100% vegan, and you’d never know it. with creamy, ‘meaty’, and easy-to-fix-unusual meals throughout, i’m going to be cooking my way through this one start to finish.

4. the history of redemption edited by ronnie smith and illustrated by christopher koelle. i’ve talked about this book before and was so excited to finally get it. the illustrations are absolutely stunning and the story (of course) is timelessly beautiful.

do you have a favorite latest additions to your bookshelf? please share!

lilymoon

| handmade

lilymoon

i just love an artists that tells a good story. as you drift through the pages of lilymoon, you’ll find one sweet tale after another. with titles such as ‘true north’, ‘dear mr. rain’ and ‘the girl with the white heart’, her paintings provoke emotion and leave the writing of the story up to the viewer. i don’t think i’ve ever seen snippets of stories illustrated more beautifully.

the top 30 super foods

| simple living

something i’ve been particularly interested in lately are super foods. what are the healthiest ingredients on our planet? what foods will give me the most nutritional value possible? i’ve read up on the subject and done a fair amount of research, and though there are no clear cut lists, the ones you’ll find below are what i found to be the most agreed upon ingredients.

the top 30 super foods

eaten regularly, the following foods will help prevent cancer, ward off heart disease, boost your immunity and slow aging.

1. acai

2. almonds

3. avocados

4. blueberries

5. bok choy

6. broccoli

7. cantaloupe

8. cocoa

9. cranberries

10. flaxseed

11. garlic

12. ginger

13. honey

14. kale

15. lentils

16. oats

17. olive oil

18. onions

19. oranges

20. pomegranate

21. pumpkins (and acorn or butternut squash)

22. soy (tofu, tempeh, soy beans)

23. spices: cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, paprika, cayenne pepper and rosemary.

24. spinach

25. sweet potatoes

26. tea (green or black)

27. tomatoes

28. walnuts

29. wheat germ

30. quinoa

want more? honorable mentions were: artichokes, asparagus, beets, bell peppers, chicory, cherries & watercress.

my new goal is to put all these ingredients on my weekly shopping list. i can down these ingredients, no problem! what do you think? if any of them are new to you or you have questions about how to prepare them, feel free to ask in the comments section or explore the resources below. happy living!

resources: belly bytes, 30 power foods, dr. oz