aes:the:ti:cian – one who is a student of the principles of art, beauty and taste.

Take action

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I’ve never been one for new years resolutions. I’m not a fan of America’s competitive culture and keeping up with the Joneses has no appeal for me. At best, resolutions felt like just another way to make everyone feel like they’re failing at something.

In the last few years though, I’ve found a way to make resolutions work for me. Instead of making large plans, my lists these days are more about shifting small habits, slowly, a few at a time. I’ve found that by swapping a few old routines for fresh new ones each year, these new patterns tend to stick, and accumulate. A few years ago I switched to natural cleaning products. Another year, I stopped using paper towels. Skip forward a few years and I switched to bar shampoo, eliminated aerosols, and started making my own cleaning products. All of these things would have seemed like more of a sacrifice if done all at once. But when you slowly add them up – you forget what life was like before in the best possible way.

Things have felt hard, the last few months, and I have to believe that a large group of people making small changes can help. It matters, the small choices we make.

In the spirit of transparency, realness, and also, encouragement, here is my unedited list for 2017.

  1. Start using Terracycle. (Terracycle is an amazing mail-in recycling company that takes waste that local cities usually don’t have the capacity to recycle.)
  2. Write/call my congresspeople and senators.
  3. REALLY start using reusable produce bags more. I’ve owned them for over two years, but forget them more than I would like to admit. ( I like these.)
  4. Switch to a menstrual cup.
  5. Take a reusable mug to coffee shops. I use this sturdy fella.
  6. Download and use the Countable app to make my voice heard.
  7. Add adapter to faucets to conserve water.
  8. Purge household of unnecessary items at least one time.
  9. Use up beauty products, simplify. I’m very guilty, here. I’m a beauty product lover.
  10. Quit using plastic straws.
  11. Refill beer growler for gatherings, when possible.
  12. Buy in bulk at least once a quarter, bringing my own containers.
  13. Pay for -and read- real news. (I subscribed here.)
  14. Protest.
  15. Read at least 10 books.


a hiatus, and moving forward

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It’s been a while.

In the last few years since I’ve posted here, I went through a period of depression, moved to a new apartment, started a new job, and learned a lot of lessons.

I’ve thought a lot about what I want this space to be.

I want this space to be a place where I explore how to be a better human being on our planet. Better, kinder, to the people around me. Less dependent on our consumer culture and the church of “stuff.” Intentional in my pursuit to be a good citizen and caretaker of our planet.

So, here’s to thinking more about growth. Speaking about it honestly, and encouraging each other with kindness and grace.

taco taco

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Today is TACO DAY. Well, for me, every day is taco day. Heck, I even had tacos at my wedding. But I have nothing against people who just want to get the word out there. I think I’m going to write a book called “The Taco Diet: How I stayed the Same Weight. ”

But you can’t have tacos without salsa, can you? No, you cannot. And please, please, STOP BUYING STORE-BOUGHT SALSA. It’s either no good, or ridiculously expensive. If you make this salsa you will never go back, I promise. And the best part is you can have all these ingredients (perhaps minus the cilantro) in your house at ALL TIMES. I know I do. You never know when you’re going to HAVE to eat tacos. right now.

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Here’s what you need:

1 can petite diced tomatoes (juice and all!)

1 can rotel (or generic, tomatoes with green chilies)

1 garlic clove, pressed or chopped

a small spoon or squirt of honey

1/4 tsp cumin

1/2 large red onion, or a whole small one roughly chopped

the juice of  1/2 – 1 lime, depending on the size/juiciness. I usually use more.

1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped (I LOVE me some cilantro, but you can use however much you like)

salt and pepper to taste

Throw everything in a blender and blend until well combined. Taste, adjust to your preference and you’re done! I keep ours in a large Weck jar and it stays fresh for almost two months. Or two days. You know.

Fun Fact: This whole recipe (about 5 cups of salsa) costs around 3 bucks.

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More fabulous Taco recipes:

Hawaiian Tacos? Sign me up

Honey Lime Tequila Shrimp Tacos with Avocado, Purple Slaw and Chipotle Crema is a mouthful in more ways than one

I’m dying over these Grilled Steak Tacos with Cilantro Chimchurri



I grew up in a home that emphasized the “reuse, recycle, reclaim” mantra. I’ve continued to adhere to it in my adult life, and have tried to keep an environmentally friendly home as best I can. I believe that protecting and saving our environment resides in all the small choices that we make every day. Sure, I would love to have enough money to only buy green, organic, local, sustainable items. But that’s just not my reality. So I make my everyday count. Here are my big, non-negotiables.

1. No bottled water. Ever. (except if you’re literally dying of thirst, or in a country where the water isn’t potable) Seriously, if everyone on our planet just drank tap water, or bought a brita, the world would be an instantly better place. This article states it well.

2. Everything possible gets recycled. Even if it means carrying around that can all day to bring home and toss in our recycling.

3. Reuse. Yes, I wash my Ziplocs and aluminum foil.

4. Use glass when possible. I do still have plastic leftover containers, but we’ve slowly been making the switch to glass. We have a growing Weck jar collection, and I am SO excited now that IKEA has new glass refrigerator/freezer storage containers! I also recently bought this BKR water bottle, and I’m in love.

5. Conserve. Turn off lights, water, etc.

6. Make. I make my own bread, chicken broth, granola, etc. I use dry beans and soak them, I stay away from processed foods if at all possible. The more you make yourself, the more you control your preservative intake. Not to mention salt and a whole host of other chemicals. You also buy less packaging that you either need to throw away or recycle.

I am constantly looking for new ways to become more green. I’m considering these, and this is currently in my amazon shopping cart. I am SO excited to start composting! I can’t tell you how much it hurts me every time I throw away something compostable.  And don’t get me started on my crusade to require all restaurants to compost.

I recently decided that we need to make the switch to earth-friendly cleaning products. It was a hard one for me, mostly because of the cost difference, but after extensive research, I decided it was time. You can buy “green” products in most grocery stores, but they still contain quite a few chemicals, so we decided to go with Common Good. They use all naturally derived substances, and you can go on their website and read about all of them. PLUS they come in the most amazing scents like Bergamot and Lavender. Yay for one more every day step!

What do you do to stay green?

In other news:

This $500 kitchen redo is just bonkers

Ummm who doesn’t want to eat this?

seasonal depression in a baby apartment

photo (8) [ the world in bloom ]

Do you do what I do?

Wintertime is my hibernation period. I tend to adopt a new tv series, or get really hooked on a trilogy of books and I bunker down. I cook and bake, I crochet miles of yarn. But go outside? Not so much. I’ve been wondering if I have seasonal depression for some time – but really I think I’m just mourning the loss of sunshine on my skin.

Summertime is the opposite. Which is partly why I haven’t been posting much ’round these parts. There’s too much to see, too much to do! If I’m sitting inside in air conditioning for too long I start to feel as though I am missing out on the ENTIRE SUMMER OF WONDERFULNESS and I MUST DO SOMETHING NOW.  Zach calls it my “restlessness”.  No time for blog posts! (Except right now. We’re dog sitting. )

photo (9) [ saturdays in central park ]

I follow a lovely blog called Reading My Tea Leaves. She’s not only fabulous, but, like me she also lives in a tiny space – and gives out tips on how to best survive whilst in a itty bitty dwelling. Much of said advice consists of the mantra “GO OUTSIDE”. While slightly obvious, this small idea is absolutely life changing. Treating the entire world like your living room not only widens your perspective, but it also increases your affection for your little baby space! No longer is your apartment a minute prison, but a welcome respite. These are just more reasons why Summer is the greatest. Also Spring and Fall. Just not Winter.

photo (10) [ st. paul’s is an inspiration ]

in other news:

is this real life?

movies in the park are better than movies inside


everything is better with enamel

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I’ve inherited my mother’s tendency towards all things antique, vintage or anything that may fall anywhere near those two categories.  I grew up going garage-saling every weekend during the hot midwest summers and I learned the tricks, techniques and persistence that leads to the really good stuff.

This past weekend, Z and I trekked out to small town New Jersey to visit a antique store in the attic of an old warehouse. It was my personal heaven. As I waded knee deep in un-sorted treasures he was stumbling after me, bumping into kitschy lamps; getting stuck in hoards of mid-century furniture. Maneuvering through stacks of extremely fragile items is an art, and I, my friends am the master. The deep corners of these stores, the dark corners where no-one has taken the time to dig through the dusty piles: this is where it’s at.

We made a pretty good haul this weekend: a chipped looking tall blue basket, aluminum tins for bathroom organizing, an enamel bowl, and an enamel pot and lid. I love everything we bought, but i’m really the most psyched about the ENAMEL. Its just more beautiful that ordinary cookware! Make a pot of soup in a white enamel pot and you’ll be converted, I swear. I have a large collection of bananas on my counter constantly these days, ( for smoooothies) and their presence slightly annoyed me until I transferred them to enamel. Tres chic, no?

There’s something about the simplicity of it. White. Clean. A delicate rim. Ultimately practical. I don’t like to be surrounded with unattractive things. And I REALLY hate feeling cluttered or claustrophobic. Don’t even get me started on cords, and wires and UGH. In a tiny apartment, everything makes a statement, so my motto ever since moving has been that unless it is beautiful and practical – its not worth it. And enamel definitely qualifies. Now, you may ask, is there such a thing as TOO much enamel? If there is, I haven’t yet found it.

Fortunately, for those of you who do not wish to come home covered in dust, enamel is making somewhat of a resurgence in current day decor and kitchen tools. I’ve found several lust-worthy pieces here, and also here.

Other objects on the wishlist to prettify my life

What do you do to create beauty in your surroundings?

oatmeal bread

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Making bread has become a natural routine for me. A few years ago – I thought of making bread as finicky, difficult and time consuming. While yes, sometimes it can take a while, I’ve found that bread is very forgiving. Make a mistake! Bread don’t care. Like today: I forgot to put in the oil until I was already kneading the dough. Oops! I just kneaded it right in, and It still turned out beautifully. On Thanksgiving: the bread didn’t rise, but I threw it in the oven anyway and POOF! Beautiful bread.

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Culturally, bread making has become somewhat of a lost art. I say we should bring it back. Its such a beautiful process and it’s become therapeutic to me. Put on some jams (I highly recommend Supertramp or Simon and Garfunkel. IDEAL bread making music) and knead away my friends. Your troubles will seem miles away.

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This recipe comes from a wonderful book called Recipes from the Old Mill, by Sarah E. Myers and Mary Beth Lind. The whole book is stuffed with recipes for homemade goodness. I highly recommend taking a look.

Oatmeal Bread

adapted from Recipes from the Old Mill

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tsp salt

2 cups boiling water

2 TBS oil

1 tablespoon yeast (or one package)

1/2 cup lukewarm water

31/2 – 41/2 cups AP flour

In a large, wide rimmed bowl, combine oats, whole wheat flour, brown sugar and salt.  Pour boiling water over ingredients. Stir to combine. Add oil and cool to lukewarm.

Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. When the batter has cooled to lukewarm, add the yeast mixture.

Stir in enough flour until it becomes to stiff to mix. Knead in bowl (or on a floured surfaced), adding flour as necessary for 5-10 minutes.

Place in a well greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled (about 1 hr). Punch down, and let rise once more.

Preheat oven to 350F, grease two 8×4 loaf pans and divide dough equally into both pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Brush with milk for a softer crust. I found that they baked perfectly at 35 minutes.

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