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Adventures with FANCY honey

So little did I know when I accepted this job in Florida that I have moved to the homeland of one of the fanciest honey flavors in the world: Tupelo honey. Heck, little did I know when I accepted this job in Florida that honey has different flavors.

Tupelo honey is made from the nectar of the White Gum Tupelo tree, which only grows in swamplands in the Florida Panhandle and a wetland in Georgia. The blooms last for about two week in April, and the bees love them. Love them. You can read more about it in this article I wrote for work.

Anyways, I heard so much about this honey, that I had to go buy a bottle (see the “research” at the end of the article, totally self-serving). Note: It is that good.

But honey isn’t something I use a lot and this is FANCY honey, so Eryn and I are coming up with some equally fancy recipes or at least modifying the recipes found here at Savannah Bee Company (basically the queen bee company of the honey world.

So here you have it, our first fancy recipe.

Honey Pomegranate Bites by Mostly Minted

For these you will need:

  • 1 baguette
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Rosemary
  • A little butter
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Tupelo honey

This is not an exact science. Basically, cut the baguette to a manageable size and brush a little bit of butter on (you could also substitute with olive oil), add Rosemary to taste and then add a dollop of Ricotta cheese. Toast it until the edges of the bread brown.

Once you take it out of the over, sprinkle on the pomegranate seeds and then drizzly on the honey.

Pomegranate Honey Bites by Mostly Minted

Pomegranate Honey Bites by Mostly Minted

 

From there, it is just about snacking away.

Pomegranate Honey Bites by Mostly Minted

Hope you like them and that you get a chance to try some Tupelo Honey one day.

 

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Watercolor paintings

Hello!

This past year, I’ve been really into watercolor paintings. I find the act of creating something nice (well, hopefully nice) soothing when I am stressed out. I was looking back, and I think there has been significant improvement over the past year.

Here are some of the sort of early ones. The really early ones I am not going to share. They have some issues/don’t really look like much.

Watercolor doodles by Mostly Minted

These ones I turned into labels for some candles I did as a diy.

 

Watercolor doodles by Mostly Minted Watercolor doodles by Mostly Minted

 

These these little prints I use as scrapbook fillers. It’s way cheaper than Project Life.

This is one I did a couple months in that I ended up giving to my dad for Father’s Day. I like it because I have step by step photos. It’s a little sloppy, but I was starting to tackle slightly harder designs.

Watercolors by Mostly Minted Watercolors by Mostly Minted Watercolors by Mostly Minted

 

I even started to bring my watercolors down to the beach. I was using these really cheap paints you can get at Michaels, because they are easy to carry around with you. I think they work okay, as long as you do not use the paint brush in the kit.

Watercolor doodles by Mostly Minted

 

These ones are all from December.

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Watercolor doodles by Mostly Minted

watercolor doodles

 

 

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A Review of 2015

It’s hard to put my feelings about 2015 into words. It was both wonderful and heartbreaking.

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I ended a 7-year relationship, losing one of my favorite people in the world. I quit a job that I enjoyed very much, despite some of its quirks. I moved away from my home state. I attended a lot of therapy.

But, I also learned a lot about myself. I found Addie, my delightful, wild and ever-hungry cocker spaniel. I  made two new spaces for myself, one in Gardner one in Florida (the Florida one involved a lot of mint paint). I got to travel to Yellowstone with the beautiful Lyndsay Dean, where we saw the whole park in one day and had so much luck. Then, I got to go on a two week road trip with the wonderful Eryn Dion, where we both landed new jobs together and has do much fun (read about it here).

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Just about everything changed. Some days it was not even a little bit okay. Other days, I could not have been more happy or more inspired or felt more fortunate.  It was hard. Growing up, moving on, these are hard things. Some days it’s still hard.

But it’s rewarding. Addie is rewarding. Travel is rewarding. Moving was rewarding. Heck, even therapy was rewarding. And it creates a more interesting life, filled with greater opportunity, more chances for beauty, than a the alternative. Growing up it hard, but not growing up means missing out.

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I can’t imagine 2016 will be as eventful a year as 2015 was. To be honest, I’m sort of hoping it isn’t.

I would like to spend the year exploring Florida, and hanging out on the beaches. Maybe, I’ll make a trip down to the keys and everglades, or pop back over to New Orleans since it isn’t very far. I want to swim with dolphins. I want family to come visit me. I want to grow a big garden, with flowers and vegetables. I want to paint pretty things (Eryn and I have a plan for a series of pun filled beach watercolors), maybe sell one. I want to run a whole 5K without walking once. I should probably set up dentists and doctors appointments. I want to continue to become more comfortable on my own.

I’m not going to call these resolutions, because I find new years resolutions normally don’t happen. Instead, I’m just going to think of them as achievable goals, and go from there.

 

 

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Getting ready for the holidays

It’s weird celebrating the holidays in a place the air never gets that nip in the air. No matter how many Christmas carols I listen to in the car, it still feels more like mid may. Yesterday, I wore shorts and a tank top to an evening event. Whatever happened to mittens and hot chocolate?

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Inside though, I have a fireplace adorned with pinecones, holiday scented cameras and my woodsy Christmas tree covered in DIY ornaments and some vintage baubles that used to my grandparents.

Here are a look at some of the ones I made this year.

1. Balsa Wood Cut Out Creatures

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For these, I would look up an animal outline online and then draw it the best I could onto the balsa wood. Then I would lightly score the wood with an exacto knife.

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From there you just deepen the cut, until the balsa wood breaks away. It easier to break it up into little pieces than it is to try to separate it as two big pieces.

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2. Balsa Wood Animal Portraits

These guys are my fav. You just cut out an oval and then draw a silly little animal onto the wood. I then framed them with a little bit of extra pom pom ribbon I had lying around.

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3. Balsa Wood Trees

These are just decorate triangles of balsa wood. Nothing too fancy, but the raw wood just added a nice balance to the tree decorations.

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4. Paint Pen Baubles

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I had gotten the DecoColor pens for another project (painted mugs) and as it turns out they also worked really well on some glass ornaments from michaels. Eryn and I drew little trees on them as well as geometric patterns.

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5. Gold leaf baubles

As you can see in one of the above photos, we also covered some of the ornaments in gold leaf. We just used Modge Podge to get it to stick

6. Contact Paper Designs

I still have a lot of contact paper from that DIY statement wall I did, and I wanted to try using some of it on ornaments. It creates starker lines than painting and you can move it around if you want to adjust the look. It is however tricky to lay things on the curve of the sphere.

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And there you have it, 6 different easy DIY ornaments.

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Tip for making any bouquet of flowers festive

Eryn brought me some wonderful flowers to decorate the table for our Florida Thanksgiving feast with some people from work. However, the bouquet wasn’t very “holiday-esque” so I thought I would try this tip from Paper and Stitch and add some berries.

 

Palm berries make a bouquet look a little more festive | Mostly Minted

Paper and Stitch recommended pepper berries. But earlier in the day I discovered the palm tree in my back yard had berries handing from it. Who knew that was a thing? So I decided to substitute them in, and I think it looks just as good. Check out all the arrangements I made. My whole apartment is done up.

Palm berries make a bouquet look a little more festive | Mostly Minted Palm berries make a bouquet look a little more festive | Mostly Minted Palm berries make a bouquet look a little more festive | Mostly Minted Palm berries make a bouquet look a little more festive | Mostly Minted Palm berries make a bouquet look a little more festive | Mostly Minted Palm berries make a bouquet look a little more festive | Mostly Minted

For a little extra spark, I used some extra ferns and berries to make crowns that we wore during dinner.  So fun! It felt sort of like a Charles Dickens novel, but with less sadness. When we weren’t wearing them, my home decor got a turn.

A DIY crown of ferns and berries is perfect for holiday parties | Mostly Minted Flower crowns make excellent thanksgiving attire | Mostly Minted

 

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Happy Thanksgiving!

In some ways, this has been one of my most difficult years. In other ways, it’s been one of my very best years. Life is funny like that.

Happy thanksgiving

I just wanted to take some time to make a list of some of the things I am thankful for this year.

1. My family – I needed a lot of help these past few months, and they were there every step of the way. Now that I am on the other side of the country, they are still making sure I’m not left out. Case in point, this super adorable Thanksgiving banner with turkey handprints and a list of things they are thankful for. I cried when I got it in the mail it’s so sweet.

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2. Adeline – This little cocker spaniel is one of the best things to have entered my life. Even when she’s being bad, I think she’s adorable. Her temperament is exactly matched to mine, she barley sheds, and she will almost always cuddle. She’s fantastic.

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3. Eryn! – I managed to talk the girl into quitting her job, going on a road trip with a vague plan for the future, and then move to Florida with me. She’s been there for just about every bad day, and she’s just wonderful.

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4. Lyndsay Dean – It was so utterly wonderful to go to Denver and Yellowstone and spend time with Lyndsay Dean this year. I missed her so much, and she truly is this wonderful, beautiful gem of a person. Bonus points, we saw bison cross the road, elk, a gizzly bear, a bald eagle and a wolf at Yellowstone all in one day.

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5. Employment – The crazy road trip thing did successfully lead to a job (thank you universe), which was excellent. I’m also however super thankful for my time working at the Gardner News.

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DIY Triangle Statement Wall

This. statement. wall. is. everything.

DIY Statement Wall

It literally pulls together the whole house. I smile every time I walk in the door and see all those little triangles.

Originally, I had thought about stenciling the wall, but thought better of it. One wrong mark with black paint seemed like a lot of heart ache to clean up. I spent a little time on Pinterest and realized contact paper was the solution I was looking for.

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As it turned out this was pretty easy to put together. For $8 I was able to get roll of contact paper that came with handy dandy graph paper on the back.

To make the wall I cut out about 60 triangles that were three inches wide and two inches long.

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While I was cutting them out, Eryn (because whenever I do a craft Eryn is around) was tracing out level lines on the wall.

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The trick for it looking good was to make sure it was random, which sounds easy but it actually rather difficult. The key was to try to make sure we weren’t accidentally creating any horizontal, vertical or diagonal lines.

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I think the end result is lovely.

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There is such a thing as too many windows.

The front door of the my new apartment has 15 window panes. Enough to make me afraid to throw stones, give the neighbors a easy view of my apartment and Addie an even better view of the neighbors.

Addie quickly took to standing at the window and barking all the time.

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I was worried the neighbors would hate us so something had to be done. There was a bamboo type curtain, but I thought it was ugly and Addie kept getting stuck in it. So that had to go and we needed a better fix.

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My solution was to go to Home Depot and buy some window film immediately. I wasn’t even in the apartment 24 hours before I high tailed it to the store (I also bought paint).

I only bought one roll, which wasn’t enough to fully cover all the windows, but I’m very happy with the results, i.e. the barking stopped. I like the vertical stripes near the top, but I’m undecided on if the top panes show have something on them or if I should try to create a Scandinavian style decoration for up there.

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The film was extremely easy to work with. Just a bit of soapy water in a spray bottle, and I actually used a credit card as a squeegee. They’ve been on for about a week now and seem to be holding on just fine.

 

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The Cottage

After the most frustrating Craig’s List negotiations ever, I have started to settle into my new home a.k.a. The Cottage.

From the moment I saw the ad go up online, I knew I wanted it. It has hardwood floors, black and white laminate in the kitchen, french doors, a fireplace, and even a washing machine. Before I moved all my furniture in and started painting and what not, I took three very (very very very very very very very very) rough videos of the place. Here they are if you want to see the basics/before.

Since these photos were taken, I’ve already painted the kitchen, bedroom, part of the living room and the bathroom. I’ve used a lot of mint and white paint.

My furniture has also gotten here so it’s been fun putting that together and seeing how my stuff fits into the new space. This has also given me the great joy of coming up of a list of new furniture to get. So far I’ve got patio furniture (I want to do this), a side table/bar area for the dining room (I have a diy plan) and I need to thrift three more chairs. I hear the thrifting here is pretty good so I’m excited.

 

 

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5 best podcasts for road trips

Road trips are becoming my jam. It started last month with a road down the eastern seaboard and then back up north, and then this weekend I drove 22 hours (maybe a little more with traffic) as part of my move from Massachusetts to Florida with only my dog for company.

If there’s one thing I learned, it’s that music alone doesn’t cut it with me. Music is entertaining for about an hour, after that is just becomes part of the tedium. It’s doesn’t really hurry the whole trip up.

Podcasts though are great. They are usually between a half hour to an hour long, and are sort of like a television show or a book, just audio. And while I cannot sit on my bed and watch music for 12 hours straight, I can totally read a book or watch a good show for 12 hours straight. Sure, it’s not the healthiest thing in the world, but everyone has their guilty pleasures. Plus, I was stuck sitting for 12 hours anyways.

Here were a few of my favorites.

1. Death, Sex and Money

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This is a podcast about the things we think about, but generally don’t say out loud. How much money do you make? What’s it like watching someone you love die? Do you deserve your inheritance? Do you resent your siblings? What’s it really like to be a funereal director? A sex worker? The host, Anna Sale, asks all the really blunt questions you’ve probably thought at least one time or another.

2. Mystery Show

Mystery-Logo

In this show, the host Starlee solves a lot of funny mysteries for her friends and some strangers. How tall is a certain celebrity? Why does that vanity plate say “I luv 911”? Starlee is very witty and she throws herself into these things with such a passion that she’s a real joy to listen too.

3. Longform

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This is a bit of a nerd podcasts. It’s interviews with topnotch longform journalists about how they do what they do. They talk about structuring the stories, the reporting process, how to freelance, how to make money and life. The interviews are about an hour long and I think I listened to six of them in a row.

4. Love + Radio

love + radio

The backbone of this podcast is interesting stories – the memories of a revolutionary in Libya, strange art projects, immersive journalists, con artists, etc. The sorts of things that make a good NPR feature. The difference is they use sound in a really creative way I can’t really explain, so you’ll just have to listen to it.

5. Invisibilia

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I didn’t listen to this on my road trips because I had already listened to every episode. However, I think this is one of the smartest, funniest shows around. The people they find to interview are fascinating and the hosts have a great dynamic. It’s about the forces that control human behaviors, like emotions, beliefs and psychology. It’ll make you think.

 

 

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