Thursday, June 27, 2013

Busy Foodie: A Series. Sausage, Kale & Tomato Pasta

BUSY FOODIE: A series of quick, healthy meals for the girl who has better stuff to do. 

 Part One: Sausage, Kale & Tomato Pasta

As most of you know, shortly after moving to Salt Lake City I began working a 9 to 5. I'm going to write a more thorough blog post soon about my job (which I love) and what I'm doing there, but on my list of priorities food always comes first.

However, between a 40 hour a week job and managing a photography business in a new city, I find myself really, really, REALLY short on time. Like, cereal for dinner more than one night a week short on time. As a foodie and a person who prides herself on living a pretty healthy lifestyle, I knew something had to change. I began dreaming up some no-fuss meals that were as healthy as they were delicious and could be made in 30 minutes or less with very little mess to clean up afterward. This little series is the result. Enjoy! 


1 package whole grain or brown rice spaghetti 
6 oz of fresh sweet italian sausage (we opted for turkey sausage!)
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1 TBSP olive oil  

1 pint cherry tomatoes 
several large handfuls of kale, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste 
1/2 cup tomato sauce 
1 handful basil, julienned 
1 small handful of sea salt
Parmesan cheese, roughly grated to taste. 

Step One:  Add seasalt to a pot of boiling water. Add spaghetti. 

Step Two: Remove sausage from its casing. This should be very easy if your sausage is fresh - just squeeze! Set aside. 

Step Three: Heat olive oil in a sautee pan and add 2 cloves garlic, sautéing consistently for about a minute. Add sausage and brown. Add kale before sausage is browned all the way.

Step Four: Add cherry tomatoes to the pan. Cover and reduce to medium-low heat, let sit for several minutes.

Step Five: When sausage and kale is cooked through, use a wooden spoon to crush the tomatoes. The juices will begin to form a sauce.

Step Six: Add 1/2 cup of tomato sauce and chopped basil, stirring until completely warmed through and the basil is wilted. Serve with grated parmesan cheese! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Zig Zag

| Blouse: Kohls | Skirt: Thrifted via Buffalo Exchange | Shoes: H&M | Bag: Segolene Paris | Necklace: J.Crew | Sunglasses: DKNY |

Summer is here, and it's pizza party time around the office. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Travel Size Your Makeup Bag: Looking Put Together on the Go

No matter where you choose to travel to, it's easy to have your fair share of packing dilemmas. Packing the right amount of clothes is always a difficult balance to perfect, especially when you're not sure what sort of weather to be packing for. Once you've managed this feat, you are then confronted by the bathroom cabinet, and the challenge of whittling down the amount of make-up, lotions and potions you want to take away with you. As I contemplate a trip to England, I'm comforted by the fact that at the very least finding accommodation near London won't cause me so much of a problem. With great deals on hotels in Romford from Travelodge, I'm free to worry about how many bottles of perfume to pack.

Here are some tips and tricks for bringing your makeup bag on your trip!

Small size make-up bag
If you start with a small bag, you'll be less tempted to overfill it or try and cram in things you won’t need. There are loads of make-up bags on the market, all in different sizes, shapes and with many gorgeous designs. If you have a favourite larger make-up bag, check to see if the manufacturer makes a similar one scaled down so that all of your bits and bobs match. If you can find a bag that has a built in mirror (jackpot!) this can save you even more space.

A good concealer
Concealer is the basis of every make-up look, fantastic for hiding a multitude of sins or just to give you a little boost. Choose a tone lighter than your skin and it will cover imperfections before foundation is applied, and it can also be used to contour your face and highlight cheekbones and other areas.

Your favourite foundation
Don’t compromise on this one; if your foundation is wrong, you will not be happy with how your finished make-up looks. Bring the foundation you would ordinarily wear at home as you know the colour will match your skin tone and you will not have any allergic reaction to the ingredients. Apply a layer of this over the concealer to balance the colouring of your face.

Waterproof mascara
When you’re away you don’t know what could happen and it’s always best to be prepared for every eventuality. Invest in mascara that is designed to be long lasting and resistant to all weathers and situations. British weather (yes, still thinking about England) is notoriously unpredictable, so the best way to avoid developing panda eyes in a sudden downpour is to wear waterproof mascara. What I love about this is how no-fuss it is: you won't need to worry about your look when jumping from sight to sight! 

Multi-purpose Bronzer
Whether it’s a vacation to England or just a weekend getaway, when travelling you should aim to look healthy and aglow. The way to cheat this when there’s no sunshine is to use a sweep of bronzer on your face instead of a blush! You can also apply it slightly more liberally on your eyelids in the evening as an alternative to eye shadow, giving a simple nude yet elegant look.

Pack your clothes to include lots of layers so you are ready for all eventualities, but take just the one small make-up bag containing a nude look that adapts to all situations. Surprise your husband, boyfriend or friends you're traveling with by packing light for once! 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer Days

I've always loved to swim. As a California girl, however, my swimming-activities were limited to pools and oceans.  I've gone boating on lakes a few times, but pond and lake swimming was a summer-fun activity that has always eluded me.


Steven and I met up with my best friend Bri and her husband Jordan in Provo early Saturday afternoon. We drove down to Mona, UT where these lovely ponds are located. Mona is a tiny town with one freeway exit, but the ponds there seem to have become quite an attraction for young people in the area. I can definitely see why: The water is clear and not too cold (Bri would disagree, but it really wasn't all that cold) and we can't forget the rope swings. 

This was my first time on a rope swing and I was more terrified of making a fool out of myself than anything else. The platforms definitely seem higher once you've made the climb up there! I couldn't bust out any cool backflips or tricks, but I didn't fall so I'm calling it a victory.

Working a 9-5 and running a photography business has been pretty draining on me lately. I've been spending most weekends and nights working, pushing off fun activities for "another time." I'm SO glad I decided to take a break and spend the day out in the sun with my friends!  I'll always be an ocean girl, but until I'm back on the coast these Utah lakes and ponds make mighty fine substitutes! 

Thursday, June 20, 2013


| Top: J.Crew Vintage Cotton Collection | Jeans: J.Crew | Bag: ALDO | Shoes: H&M | Necklace: Gifted | Bracelet: Oia Jules | Belt: American Eagle | Sunglasses: American Eagle | Hat: J.Crew |

This post can also be titled: The day I wore a ton of J.Crew but didn't pay full price for any of it! I owe that to clever thrifting and factory sales. Hooray!

Moving to a new place always requires some adjusting, even when it's just a small move (as a former ex-pat, it's VERY obvious that moving to an entirely different country requires a crap ton of adaptation) between states  or cities.

I've sort of crash landed in a place with an entirely new vibe, culture and climate and it's taking a little while to acclimate.  Here's a quick list of some things that will take some getting used to:

+ The dry weather. Moving from humid Germany to coastal California to dry, land-locked Utah is a huge adjustment. I've never been someone who needed to apply lotion and chapstick regularly, but now I'm needing to use it two or three times daily. The dry weather can also be a blessing, though, because 90 degrees in dry heat is SO much more manageable than humid heat.

+ The number address system. Everything seems to be mapped out on a grid, with street numbers moving in numerical orders in each direction (so, say, 200 South and 600 east would be an intersection, and the address of the house on that intersection would be something like 202 South 600 east (I just made up this address.) This seems like it could be practical, but right now it's just confusing the heck out of me.

+ The Mormon churches on every single street corner. I do like the convenience and the fact that everyone in our ward lives very close to us, but WOW, there are a lot of mormons here. Crazy!

+ 9-5 life. I started working an office job (which I love) but getting my mind, body, & schedule used to a 40-45 hour work week after 3+ years of being in school or traveling around is an adventure in and of itself. I'm almost at the point where I'm finding a good balance, but not quite!

Overall I'm really happy in Utah and excited for the adventures to come! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Day at Lagoon With Gentri Lee

When Gentri asked me to come with her to Lagoon last week, I was pretty excited for a couple of reasons. One, I had never been to Lagoon before and it looked like a whole lot of fun, and two, I would get to hang out with Gentri some more which always seems to me like a good idea. 

We got to Lagoon in the early afternoon. It was a Monday and not nearly as crowded as I thought it would be, which worked out great because we never had to wait in a line for a ride more than a few minutes.

It was a pretty warm day and the water rides did a good job of cooling us down. We masterfully crafted a safe place to keep our cameras and phones while on the rides: we stuck them in the ziploc I brought my sandwich in. Classy! 

I LOVE Lagoon - there is something very classic about this theme park and the combination of it being not too big and not too crowded has me favoring it over other parks. 

We also took a tour of pioneer village, an area in Lagoon where old houses from the original settlers of the Salt Lake Valley are on display. It was really cool to see all of that history! We also walked through the stagecoach museum which was really fun, and were surprised to find a mama peacock nesting in one of the coaches! How's that for funny?

Gentri and I were at the park several hours and went on some really fun rides! I think the combination of the heat, lack of proper food and crazy roller coasters got to me though, because after a few rollercoasters I did NOT feel my best. That's weird to me, because I'm usually the girl that rides every big coaster in the park - twice.  My apologies to Gentri if my spontaneous transformation into a 90 year old woman put a damper on the day!

I still had a TON of fun and was so glad I was able to experience this classic Utah theme park.  I highly recommend heading to Lagoon for fun in the sun this summer!

Note: Our one day tickets were compensated by Lagoon, but all opinions stated in this blog post are 100% my own! 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Start Your Monday Off Right

With these very clickable links!

- Classical sculptures dressed as hipsters look contemporary and totally badass. I may have to agree.

- Since it's summer and we're all foodies here, here's a guide to grilling more than just dude-food. 

- As someone with long lasting issues with body image, this article about the coveted "thigh gap" was a refreshing read!

- I never thought I would find myself in love with a book about science, but I was proven wrong. I just finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a story about a poor African American in 20th century America and what cells taken from her body specifically did for THE ENTIRE SCIENTIFIC WORLD.  It's a true story - mind completely blown.

- If you're a blogger and haven't giggled at this tumblr yet, it's time.

- Why you should take a career sabbatical. I just started my new job last week so this probably isn't a good idea right now. Is it even possible to be twenty and take a sabbatical?

- This entire resource page from Marie Forleo about overcoming fear and self doubt was my best friend this weekend. I'M GONNA GO GET STUFF DONE. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Cruise Ship Dining: How Good Is It?

Looks a little stuffy, yes? 

Those of you who’ve been reading this blog know that I love food. I’ve been thinking about cruises lately, how I've never actually been on one, and how they get a usually get a bad rap when it comes to food.

Ship food has always been plentiful, but the idea of it conjures up the image of a giant ballroom with everything laid out buffet style on platters, sitting on top of heating trays, massive in quantity but none of it anything really special. However, after a little reading it seems that things have changed in the past few years. Cruises have changed their tune to embrace the gourmet aspect of fine dining.

 On Royal Caribbean, for example, there’s usually at least one top quality restaurant aboard such as the Italian-themed Portofino or the Chop Grille steakhouse. For a more casual meal on-the-go, passengers can grab a pizza at Sorrento’s or a hot dog at the Boardwalk Dog House. The cruise liner is pretty flexible because you can choose what time you want to eat rather than having to book a table. Want to catch a massage before dinner? Having too much fun climbing the rock wall to stop and show up at the dining room at the specified time? No problem. There’s also room service available for the mornings when you feel like having a relaxing breakfast in bed. Can you tell I'm aching to sail away?

 Here's a shoutout to my friends across the pond: If you’re keen to board a cruise from a UK dock, ex UK cruises involve no flights and no fuss.  Booking a cruise to the Mediterranean makes for a well-proportioned trip: enough time to sample the entertainment (and delicacies!) on board but not so long that you’re ship-crazy before the end of it. If you’re taking the MSC Cruise to Northern Europe, you’ll enjoy the level of choice in the menu and quality of the fine dining ordered and cooked from scratch. They cook with good, fresh produce and bread baked aboard the ship. Italian and Greek are specialties, which is pretty obvious in the deliciousness of the pizza. Almost all cruises are accommodating of vegetarians and others with dietary restrictions, so if you’re a veggie you don’t have to worry that you’ll be stuck eating a plate of bland, flavorless vegetables the entire time. They also cater to late-night snackers with a midnight buffet – perfect for when you’ve got the munchies.

 Some cruises, so it seems, are going a step beyond and opening restaurants founded by celebrity chefs.  Crystal Cruises have brought in Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matsuhisa for his inspired Japanese-Peruvian fusion while Cunard Line have tapped Todd English for his Mediterranean flair. Disney Cruises has acquired renowned French chef Arnaud Lallement (fancy, no?) to make cruise dining extra classy. There's also a cute, Disney inspired twist: The restaurant is called Remy, inspired by the film Ratatouille, and has that same gourmet feel.

Is it too much to book a cruise primarily based on which type of world cuisine is your favorite? I wouldn't put it past me.

   Keep in mind that most of the fancier restaurants aren’t included in the ticket cost so you may end up paying extra for a meal. My advice (because I'm obviously and expert) is this: If you’re lucky enough to go on a cruise, don't worry too much about your waistline during your trip unless you plan on being at sea for more than a week or so. I would love to be able to travel while having all these delicious options at my fingertips, and I can hit the gym when I'm home.  Get out there and try it all!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Husband's Advice to Just Write

It's easy to feel a lot of pressure as a blogger. Pressure to always be on the top of my game, pressure to always have gorgeous photographs of a gorgeous life to present to the world, as if my entire blog is a giant neon sign that says "Hey, look, I've got my life together!"

When I let this pressure get to me it results in me not blogging at all, because I feel as though I wouldn't be putting out the quality I think readers deserve. As I was discussing this with my husband the other day, he looked at me and said:

"Daryl, I don't think it matters what you're writing about. I think the important thing is that you're just writing."

I sort of stared at him for second, wondering where this wisdom and perfectly worded piece of advice could have possibly come from - but despite my moment of disbelief at my husband's eloquence I can honestly say I don't think truer words have ever been spoken.

I love to write: fiction, non-fiction, poems, articles, essays, you name it. I always excelled in writing courses in school and truly, my love of writing and creativity is the reason I started this blog in the first place.

How easy it was to forget that.

So today I'm just going to write. I'm not quite even sure what about yet, but I'm going to see what my mind and fingers can create in an hour or two of just doing what I love. I encourage you to do the same - write, or photograph, or paint or draw or create, about anything or everything or nothing at all, and don't do it because you feel the need to post to your blog a certain number of times per week. Do it because it makes your heart feel full and happy.

I love my husband and his moments of total genius.

Monday, June 10, 2013

My First Blogger Event

Just days after moving to Salt Lake I was invited to my first Salt Lake City blogging event. Seeing as I know very few people in this city I knew it would be a great opportunity to make some friends. Gentri and I made a plan to go together - Gentri came over to my apartment beforehand to get ready. She was gracious enough to do my hair and makeup and it turned out SUPERB. She is one talented woman!

The party was murder-mystery themed. Everyone was given an identity upon arrival with a nametag to wear, and the key was to find out who among the guests was a murderer. I also one the "best dressed" award and a $50 gift card to Brickyard Buffalo, who was sponsoring the event. I have to give all credit for that to Gentri and her mad makeup skills.

I had a really great time and I met some lovely people as well!

Jessi, Gentri, Rachel, Bre'an and myself. 

I also snapped a few pictures of these lovely girls and, despite the fact that I was rushing/had my settings all funky / am the worst at holding a camera steady in low-light, some turned out pretty well.

Jessi and her husband. 

Bre'an looking darling.

It was a really fun, exciting night. Even though I was a bit nervous to be the "new kid" on the block, I had a ball and was really glad I went. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Decision to Sell My Wedding Dress

We've downsized in storage space quite a bit here at our new place, and I can't seem to find a proper place to store my wedding dress.  I've given it a whole bunch of thought and decided I'd rather see someone else enjoy it than have it shoved away into a dark corner where it doesn't even fit anyway.  It's an absolutely gorgeous, one of a kind dress that deserves to be worn!

If you are in Utah, getting engaged/married/you know someone who is, take a look at my listing on KSL here. I am selling it for pennies compared to what I paid for it!

I'm also interested to hear - are you keeping your wedding dresses for posterity? Did you sell yours? Do a trash-the-dress shoot? Share in the comments! 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Packing For Any Adventure: How to Stay Fashionable on Holiday This Year

Hi friends! I know you're all getting ready for your summer trips, so I thought this little reminder about packing for your adventures would do you all good! Remember, the key is combining fashion with practicality. In the spirit of disclosure, this is a sponsored post. Enjoy!


Deciding what to pack has got to be one of the most time-consuming parts of holiday prep, especially if you're jetting off somewhere completely new. Packing with fashion in mind can be a tricky balance if you're off hiking in Scandinavia or visiting an unfamiliar city. However, you can still be on-trend without overflowing your suitcase, no matter what kind of trip you're planning. Here's how.

The clubbing holiday
This is a fairly easy one, especially if you're a veteran of Ibiza beach parties or lively holidays to Magaluf. The humid weather makes sleeveless styles a must for both day and night but don't forget you can cover up in style with an oversized, floppy-brim hat. This year, the maxi-dress has reappeared as a key beach fashion and it's perfect for slipping over a bikini during the day. Alternate with a trendy kaftan in Aztec or animal print and you'll be ready for the sands.

Don't forget a couple of long-sleeved layers or a hoodie for those cooler early hours, especially if you're staying up for a spectacular Majorca sunrise. Many people will be rocking the club-wear bikinis; it's fine to do this here but make sure you set aside a spare set for evening as foam parties and pool parties are the norm.

The city break
No matter if you're heading to Prague or Paris this summer, wardrobe staples like skinny jeans, boardwalk-style striped tops and that essential tote bag will always look chic on the street. Try to co-ordinate to a specific colour palette so you won't end up with spares which end up unworn at the bottom of the case. Midi-length skirts are back in, and a couple of stretch jersey options are great for some casual sight-seeing.

Colour-blocking is a big hit this summer, so mix and match a couple of contrasting pieces in aqua and coral or even monochrome black and white. Include a statement floral dress in spring colours like mint or dusky rose for meals out but try to limit the heels to one pair: you'll be on your feet a lot.

The outdoor escape
This is not as much of a challenge as it might have been a decade or so ago, as recent years have seen a surge in trends for outdoor wear.

Whether you're off on a Cumbrian walking break or exploring the Chiang Mai jungle in Thailand, practical gear is a must, but it's also possible to wear it with flair. For those who are minimal in their outdoor activities, a pair of strong wellies and a ’90s-style anorak might be all you need: think Glastonbury chic and you're there.

The more adventurous should invest in a soft-shell jacket. It’s versatile and fitted enough to double as your winter waterproof as well. Trendy colours like turquoise and pillar-box red are available to boost your fashion cred. Underneath, layers which respond well to different temperatures are best, such as camisoles made from fast-drying fabric and breathable combats. Depending on your activity level, you could get away with a pair of this season's coloured chinos. Accessorise with a print tube scarf for nights around the camp fire, and you're sorted.

Final Adventures in California

Before I moved to Salt Lake, I knew there were a certain number of "California Exclusive" activities I needed to take part in. I've decided to compile these activities into a list so that people in SoCal (or people headed there soon!) can enjoy these epic experiences as well.

1.  Zuma Beach/Point Dume. 

Some friends and I spent a day in Malibu at the beach during my last week in SoCal. We stopped at the Jack in the Box on the way into the canyon (of course) to pick up junkfood for beachy snackage. (yes, beachy snackage is a term. Okay, it's not.)  Point Dume is further south than Zuma beach, and awesome for many reasons - I've seen dolphins, sea lions and mama/baby whales there! There is also some pretty great rock climbing on the cliffside, and you'll always see climbers there.  BE SURE TO WEAR SUNSCREEN - I thought I was being thorough with the application but my back will have to disagree with you....I had trouble sleeping (and moving, in general) the next few nights, but it was worth it.

2. Paramount Ranch

Ever seen Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman? I'm pretty sure it was filmed here. You can get a kick out of this tiny little western town in the middle of Malibu/Agoura hills. To check out an engagement shoot I shot around there that week as well, click here!

3. Ventura, California

On the coast between Los Angeles and California, Ventura is my idea of a perfect little beach town. Main street is trendy and vibrant with lots of places to eat, drink and shop. I went with my mom the day before I moved to pick up some new summer clothes at my favorite thrift store, Buffalo Exchange, eat some Mexican food and enjoy the scenery.  I always recommend fish & chips from Andrea's, a no-frills eatery which sits on the picturesque Ventura harbor.

4. Republic of Pie

I love grabbing hot chocolate and a slice of pie at Republic of Pie in North Hollywood. A big group of friends and I went, ate and enjoyed the live music. It's a really cozy place and the peach-blackberry pie was delicious.

I was pretty proud of myself for fitting all of these little adventures into finals and moving week - the combination was the perfect way to say goodbye to my state. I'm not too sad to be gone; I get to visit several times this summer! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

California Casual

| Skirt: Dorothy Perkins | Bag: Asos (old) | Shoes: J.Crew (old, but similar here, and they're really affordable!) | Tee: Gap |  Hat: J.Crew/thrifted via Buffalo Exchange | 

These photos, taken just before I made the jump over to Utah, revealed to me two things. 

One, I will really miss the breezy summers spent in California beach towns, 
and two, 
I hold my arms like a tyrannosaurus rex when I walk with a purse. 


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Packing/Unpacking Madness


There is little more in this life that I dislike more than packing and unpacking. I kid you not, there was a moment when packing up my stuff when I actually sat back and said "I would rather light this entire place on fire and just buy new stuff when I get there." Luckily I came to my senses. 

I hate unpacking as well, mostly because it's simply such a slow process. Once I've arrived in a new place I just want everything to be perfect, which is of course impossible. It seems like no matter how many boxes you unpack there will always be more - and when my surroundings are a mess, I always feel like my life is a mess. I'm not alone in that, right?

A few days later and it's starting to feel a little less like the place has been overtaken with some sort of natural disaster.  Proof:

The two white chairs were scored at a garage sale for $35 a piece! I stupidly didn't think about moving the blanket I'd left there before snapping some photos, but you get the idea.

It's far from finished - we have yet to even find ourselves a decent dining table, have organized nothing in the kitchen, pantry and bathroom, and we're lacking decorative things like an area rug, curtains, throw pillows, etc.  We also discovered that the living room has ZERO ceiling lighting, so we'll need to find some cool lamps or something. The bones are there though, and I feel like they're good bones. I'm excited about our new place!

More posts/room tours coming once things start to really come together. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Big Move

Well, I moved. 

Who has two thumbs and is now a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah? 
This girl, and her husband. And all other two-thumbed residents of Salt Lake City, Utah. 

The drive is a long one. My dad graciously helped me load up all of my stuff and drove me to Las Vegas, where Steven met me with another truck and trailer. We switched over my stuff, said goodbye to my dad and continued north. The second leg of the journey went by pretty quickly - Steven and I hadn't seen each other in over three weeks so there was a lot to catch up on.  

Utah is beautiful. Prettier than I anticipated, actually. There are some things that will certainly take some getting used to: the air is so dry here that I need to constantly put on lotion and chapstick, and as a runner the altitude has me thinking I'm not in such good shape after all. 

I will miss California, but I'm excited for this chapter. Our apartment is in a great location and there seems to be a ton to do, see and eat which is really all I can ask for. 

And I definitely do not mind the view!


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