Wednesday, December 28, 2011

This Time Last Year...

Jesse and I were traveling to California to retrieve my stuff that had traveled all the way from Georgia. I friend of mine was moving to California and my stuff was sitting in Georgia waiting to join me in Washington. So this friend and I struck a deal to help each other.

I realized that I never shared the few pictures that I took of Jesse and I on the road traveling back home from California.

Here's to adventures and seeing new lands!

Monday, December 12, 2011

New Year and New Green Goals

As I look back over this year and think about all I have accomplished I am quite pleased.  Life sure is an adventure and takes you places you never would have thought.

2012 starts my third year living here in Washington state. I am hope full that it will be another wonderfully productive year. So far I know that I get to see family (my sister, her husband and my twin niece and nephew) in Feb/ March, that Jesse and I will celebrate two years of dating and the traditional fun of birthdays and holidays.

As for new ambitions my life has really taken a shift in  importance. A few years ago I was focused on job/ career and thought less about how I could make a difference in this country/ world. Now today my thoughts go more and more to what I can do! I started in 2011 making some real lifestyle changes that make a difference in an area that I have complete control of my home (see my post Look what you can accomplish in a year! for what all I did in 2011). I also started shifting my focus when it comes to a job I am not quite there with what I want so that will continue into 2012!

For 2012, I will continue to do just about everything in the above blog and slowly add more and more.
To name a few:
  1. try homemade deodorant
  2.  try homemade shampoo
  3. try homemade toothpaste
  4. learn how to make soap and homemade bread. (Homemade bread and soap are items that may have to wait as they need some significant tool purchasing to pursue.)
Also, want to shop more locally (it is so important for a variety of reasons) and volunteer.

My view of the world has always been about being more local and community based, but as I get older I really value this in myself more and more. I begin to see all that I am doing that is not in line with my own belief system.

Hoop House!

Jesse and I took on the challenge of making a hoop house for our community garden plot.  This year it will be more of trial situation to see if what we did will work. It took planning, shopping and a few times at the garden to complete. The biggest area of contention was on the plastic. I found numerous of articles stating regular painting plastic. Our friends at the garden said it had to be (super expense) greenhouse plastic to let in the correct UV rays.  We shall see if it works!

Our project uses about half of a 10' x 25' roll of 3mil. plastic, 8- 10', 1/2" dia. PVC pipes, 10 circle screws, twine and plastic holders.

Here are the results:

Currently, we have planted our strawberry plant, carrots, onions and (donated to us) catnip.

Bonus- time lapse of our garden this year, 2011

Must take way more pictures next year, I do not even have pictures of our tall beautiful sunflowers that were there. Will do better in 2012!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Look what you can accomplish in just a year!

My boyfriend, Jesse and I started this year (2011) wanting to really work on our "green" habits. We actually accomplished a great deal this year and I wanted to share the list. It all started with our new friends the worms.

1. Worm Compost- Still functioning well and the worms have had babies too.
2. Purchased a cedar plant box for our patio.
3. Joined a Community Garden
4. Made natural cleaners for the home- We are still working on using up the chemical ones, but have not bought new and have mostly used the green ones because they work better.
5. Made laundry detergent
6. Bought sturdy plastic cups, plates and cutlery for a family reunion (we collected in a bin and washed/ stored them for next time).
7. Started supply of glass containers for leftovers to replace the plastic ones we currently use.
8. Changed all my bills to online and e-pay so that I no longer receive any paper bills.
9. Learned how to make paper
10. Made a raised bed for my parents
11. At work, I changed our schedule posting from being single sided to double. This will save a lot of paper per year (and we recycle them when we are done).

Items we have started and will continue working on:
1. Shopping locally
2. looking at items and their packaging before we buy

Items we were already doing:
1. Recycling
2. Using metal cans for water instead of plastic bottles
3. Visiting the farmer's market

We also harvested  from our community garden plot and at home: zucchinis, swiss chard, carrots, spinach, lettuce mixes, rosemary, oregano, pumkins, sunflowers and bachelor buttons. 

What a Year And I plan on doing a lot more next year!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Biscuits & Paper

Two things I learned how to make this fall.

No. 1- Buttermilk Biscuits!
Aren't they pretty? My first attempt and they turned out fluffy and yummy.
Not very healthy, but a southern tradition. I feel like I am a really southern lady now.

No. 2- Paper!
I have always wanted to try and make paper. It's a excellent way to recycle shredded paper.
It was a tad tricky getting the process to work with just regular household items, but I have successfully made three batches now. I even taught my mom.

Have a Happy Turkey Day!   

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Danny Gregory

Today, I am going to speak on an author that have discovered over the past year,
Danny Gregory. Everyday Matters, is the first of his books that I read.
I stumbled across it  while keeping myself occupied, in the
University of Washington's library, while Jesse (my boyfriend) was doing research.

The next day at work I read it cover to cover. The book really inspired me.
Everyday Matters is about discovering, or in my case rediscovering, your creativity
and learning to work on your skills everyday with all the things that are around you.
I have always struggled as an artist to work from real life, frankly, it intimates me.
From this book, I started to sketch on a day to day basis but like most
new adventures the excitement faded and so did the sketching.

Recently, I have found another book of his and I bought it. This book is titled
The Creative License and really is more of a teaching manual on how to get
your creativity back in your life.

Mr. Gregory's books really spoke to how I currently feel as an artist.
Drawing is really a skill and the only way to be good is to practice that skill.

Below are my first sketches, my "baby pictures" and
I am not ashamed to share them with you.

For more information on Danny Gregory check out his website,
top two pictures are courtesy of his website

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Afternoon at Wright

Jesse and I spent one of our last summer afternoon at our local park, Wright Park. We grabbed sandwiches and drinks from our local market and headed over to the park. 

The ducks were getting their lunch too. I am glad I had my phone to catch them out of the water. We are so lucky to have such a nice and well maintained park so close to us.

 Jesse had a little extra fun messing with the seagulls. 

Make sure to visit your parks!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Learning Lessons

I took a week off from my blog for my birthday. It was on August 30th and I turned 27.
I also took a little time off from running (only a couple of days but that makes a difference). I am also struggling with when and how to do my running routine as the seasons change and I lose my light in the morning (Any suggestions are appreciated).   

Last week, I ran once in the afternoon and was left discouraged because the heat lowered my speed and distance.  I tried at night and learned two very valuable lessons: focus and do not push yourself so hard that you get injured. Last Saturday night, I went for a run and was feeling great coming up on 25 minutes I pushed myself to complete the last five and ended up tripping on a raised part of the sidewalk and falling flat on my face. I got three really bad wounds, went to the doctor and have now been unable to run for the last four days and counting. I am very sad girl, lesson learned. 

I saw this pinned on Pinterest today and it had a very different meaning to me.
Need to put this on my treadmill...

Although, the message is true, listen to your body and be safe. 

I have not lost my will and drive to run. I can not wait til my injuries heal, however, my motivation can push me to an extreme. One must be aware when they have pushed themselves too far. 
On a positive note, before my birthday, I completed my 8 week program a week or so early and successfully ran 30 minutes straight on multiple runs. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mood Board No. 4

Mood Board No. 4
(brought to you by Pinterest)
P.S. Ran 30 minutes straight this morning.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

New Home and a Clean Ride

A sneak peak of our new home. Jesse and I downgraded from a two bedroom and one bath apartment to a one bedroom and one bath house. It is technically a garage of a larger home (see the house that has the A bubble on it) that was converted into a rental space. We are excited about living in a more condensed space for many reasons: not connected to anyone else, for our finances  and the lower impact on the environment. I will include interior pictures in a later post and show some space saving ideas that we are using to maximize our new dimensions!
(Thank you Google Maps)

On another note, I wanted to point out that I hand washed my car this weekend. I tried to take a few green steps in this endeavour. I parked in the grass of my parent's house so the soapy water would not be added to the sewer system and I used biodegradable soap. Whatever flows into our storm drains here in Tacoma goes straight (no treatment) into local lakes, rivers, streams and the Puget Sound.  Thanks, Mom, for letting me use your lawn and the idea that is better for the environment!
My car- Doesn't she look great? 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pinterest is...

                         ...really inspiring me into action

Items that I have seen on Pinterest and have now completed! 
(with review)

1. Homemade Cleaners made with simple ingredients-
No more chemicals!
Pinterest ...          



My Review- I have now used three of the cleaners and can whole-heartedly say that I am hooked.  The antibacterial and the all purpose do great; they clean and maintain with a great smell to boot. The bathroom actually cleans better then store purchased cleaners and gets into the nooks of faucets, etc. and cleans out dirt you did not even know was there.  Awesome!                                                                                                                                  
2.  Home made Laundry Detergent
     & Mine
My Review- I have only made this one and will give you an update when I use it.  However, very easy to make and I even cut it in half because I do not have a 2 gallon pot believe it or not. 

3. Ball Pendant using string, tacky glue and a kids ball

       &  Mine

My Review- As you can see, on this one I changed it up a bit. My boyfriend and I did some cleaning out a bit ago and came up with a entire box full of old electronics cords. Yikes! I took them and re-purposed them. The only change to the directions are to tie the cords end to end and wrap around ball (like a ball of yarn)  and then apply tacky glue all over the cords. I applied 2 coats of tacky glue (ended up using an entire medium bottle of glue) to be on the safe side.  It came out really nice. It's  more flexible but still holds it's shape. Want me to make you one? 

Bonus item:

A painting I completed this weekend, it is the first one completed on my artist's easel that I received for Christmas from my boyfriend. 

This was indirectly inspired by Pinterest. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Veggies & Running

Simple Post today, top photo is some of our harvest from our box at the community garden and bottom photo is of a lovely little pumpkin starting to grow. Both of our pumpkin plants have jumped out of the box. Opps! 
image from
I have started my fifth week of my running program detailed in a previous post. I can now run for 12 mins. together and 28 of the 30 mins. total. 

My inspiration picture of the week~~~~>

And a bit about the picture-
"More research led me to K.V. Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon with an issued number (Roberta Gibb had run the race the year earlier, 1966, without a number. She had hid behind a bush at the start). By using her initials, Switzer had gone unnoticed as a woman until two miles to race. That's when Race director Will Cloney and official Jock Semple physically tried to remove her from the race."- The Sew Weekly, Vintage clothing piece

Thank you Ms. Switzer for pushing those limits for us women!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mood Board No. 3

Mood Board No. 3- Brought to you by my Pinterest obsession!

Next Post- Garden goodies pic and made my own cleaners from scratch!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Community Garden Update

We had a slow start at our community garden , but it is finally starting to come around.

Our Zucchini is ginormous and has four zucs growing on it currently. We pulled several small ones and then one the size of a football!

The sunflowers are growing so tall and working on their flowers. Yippee!

Lastly, the carrots have shoulders and we have pulled a carrot or two see their progress. WE ate our first home grown carrot and it was Delicious!

Also, we have pulled a set of carrots that are in love. They were too close together and braided themselves. Jesse was afraid that this might happen. Braided carrots may be seen as a mistake in the gardening world, but it makes me giggle every time I see them (Bonus picture next time I post). So cute!

Lessons we learned so far:
1. Do not sow the seeds too deep. Dig a very small indent in dirt, place seed and lightly cover over with dirt.
2. Start the seeds indoors if you can. In little peat pots and cover them so they stay warm and moist.
3. Have patience because they will grow it may just take a little time!

 Next garden post will be of some yummies. We have pulled our first official harvest of swiss chard, carrots and zucchinis.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Green Day Trip

Honestly, before Jesse (my boyfriend) suggested we go to Vashon Island for a day of our 
Fourth of July weekend I had never really heard of it. Vashon is an island that is located 
just north of  the Tacoma waterfront. Jesse planned our day from start to finish and 
we did not need our car!

We live in the Stadium District of Tacoma, which is very close to numerous bus stops. 
We jumped on the no. 11 (at $2 each) and traveled to Point Defiance Park where the 
Ferry was arriving just in time for us. We purchased our "walk on" ticket for just under 
$10 and traveled across the sound.

On the other side, we jumped on the bus (at $2.25 each). The bus took us up the island 
to the middle of Vashon where we jumped off to explore the many shops, the
farmers' market and restaurants. 

Deciding it was time to eat our lunch (stowed away in our backpack), we caught a bus 
to head back down the island to the many parks that it has to offer (no fare needed this 
trip because our transfer ticket was still valid and we had 15 minutes left, eek!)

We had lunch on the waterfront and then headed to the main road to catch the bus back 
to the ferry (at $2.25 each). Once again, arrived at the ferry just in time and waited to 
walk on to make our journey back over the water (the $10 fare on the other side is for a 
round trip!) The last step of our journey was to board the no.11 bus that took us home (at $2 each).

Our well-planned trip ended up costing us $27 total and we did not have to worry about 
waiting for the ferry or parking our car (the ferry alone would have cost us $25, ouch!)
It may seem like it was pretty close budget wise, but the impact we saved 
on the planet cannot be compared. See if you can use your local transport for more of your trips!

Our day was a wonderful, fun filled, sunny trip to a place I was not even aware existed! 
Vashon Island is a beautiful place with extremely nice people wherever you turn who give the 
laid back attitude.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Can I become a Runner?
     On most days, I feel like these lovely woman from Picasso's painting "Two Women Running on the Beach" and think I could never be a runner. I feel overweight, and tired. These ladies do look happy though, don't they?

     Over the next eight weeks, I am going to do a program I found in Runner's World Magazine online. It is a program that turns a walker into a runner. It alternates walking and running over the span of 30 minutes for four days per week, walking for two days, and rest for one.

     I have always wanted to run but let myself believe that I just was not built for it. Lately I have noticed (via Facebook) that a lot of my friends run. I know it will be a lot of hard work and determination, but I think I am finally ready to join them!  Fellow runners, please share your pearls of wisdom with this noob! I need all the help that I can get and it is very much appreciated.

     Hopefully, in the next eight weeks, I can post that I can continuously run two miles. That is my first goal. Wish me luck!

My new shoes and pink watch!
 Went on my first run tonight.  It was tough, but I stuck to the program and did great!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Raised Garden Beds!

For my parents joint Birthday presents this year my boyfriend and I decided to make a raised bed for their back yard. My mom was the first to approach us about the idea for surprising my Stepdad. We took the idea and decided to include her in the surprise (my mom is very busy and was so excited that it had been done for her).

Here is a picture of the bed that we did for My mom and Stepdad.

Here is  the website that we used as our guide and then a step by step of what we did to accomplish the project.

Simple Raised Garden Bed Tutorial with some handy tips!

Other ideas for a raised bed garden, if you do not have access to lumber or tools.

Plastic moving containers (thanks Meme for this idea), wine crates, and/or buy a pre-made one (We bought our first from a nice man at the Farmers' market).

Hope you enjoy and See you next week!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mood Board No. 2

Mood Board for June 2011. Enjoy!

 For next time, I have some really good garden related posts (just need the pictures!).

Bonus item:
A new website that I have become a little addicted to and it is Pinterest.
Pinterest= a digital version of my mood boards.  It allows you to pin items from across the web and it does the crediting for you. You can also repin, like or comment on items that others have pinned.  The greatest part is that you seperate each item into your boards (board examples: Food, house, garden, etc.) to keep youself all organized.

I have found this website to be so helpful by keeping me inspired, keeping items I find across the internet in one place and I'm sure for many other purposes I have yet to realize.

Hope you enjoy it too!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Brett Dennen and his Eco-Concert

I was introduced to Brett Dennen's music about a year and half ago in the start of my relationship with my boyfriend, Jesse. Brett's music is so happy and upbeat that I became an instant fan. I decided to get Jesse and I tickets to Brett's concert as a one year of dating gift.

Not only was it an amazing show that had us dancing and singing to our hearts content but we were also able to find out a lot of information on Brett himself.  He really lives the messages he sings, how refreshing. He proves this in so many ways but one is by giving all the proceeds of items sold at the show  to the invisible childeren charity. We were told by multiple workers and friends of Brett that he is not a rich man, but really does not care about becoming one either.  His life and entire attitude is down to earth and I feel honored to be able to say that I shook this man's hand and even got a hug!

Please keep up the great work Brett and we are here to support you!

Brett's tour contributions:

  • Using extensive waste reduction and recycling backstage and on buses
  • Stocking catering with biodegradable and compostable products to replace petroleum and paper-based products
  • Eating locally-grown and organic food backstage
  • Using reusable water bottles and water stations backstage for band and crew to reduce plastic bottle waste
  • Using non-toxic cleaners and post-consumer recycled bathroom tissue on tour buses
  • Calculating and neutralizing the carbon footprint from tour buses, trucks, flights and venue energy use by supporting renewable energy

(information above found on Brett Dennen's Site)

Check out more about Brett's contributions here and 

other concerts helped by Reverb to lower their impact at Reverb's site.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Supporting Local Business!

Bonus Blog Post for the week: 

My Mom, Jen Hagan, is hosting a contest on her blog for the entire month of June.  
She is a wonderful knitwear pattern designer 
and owner of the companies Figheadh and Mirth.

Please follow this link and check out all the fun!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Here's to my health!

I have a very active sweet tooth and a rather extreme love for breads.  This combination of sugar and carbs, however, results in an extremely bad diet. My food choices are mostly dominated with food groups that do not include fruits or veggies. Yikes!

I have recently started a low carb diet to encorage me to eat healthier. My mom has developed a system of eating low carb meals during the week and allowing carbs and goodies on the weekends.  It is a system that has worked for me in the past and is rather easy to incorportate into my lifestyle. I still get to eat the yummy goodies I crave just more moderately.

Here are some pictures of the yummies I have already enjoyed this past month with less carbs in my diet.
Spinach from our apt patio container garden
Mock "Potato" Soup- uses Caulflower

Yellow Squash
Another problem that I usually encounter is coming home from work and not having anything planned for dinner. This problem is usually solved with going out or ordering in and that is never healthy.

To solve this problem meat is purchased at Costco and frozen. Then every week I plan out what I would like to cook and buy just the extra ingredients that are needed. I look for the vegetables that I need first at my local farmers' market; if not there then at my local grocery store.

All in all, the combination of these two habits help me eat healthier and to reduce dinner time stress.
Please let me know of any suggestions that you might have; they are most welcome.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Local Design: Pacific Avenue is getting a makeover

PAC ave in Tacoma is in the design phase of being revamped! 
Pacific Ave is the main street through downtown Tacoma, WA.
Clear vision for Pacific Avenue
Picture from Tacoma Weekly

From Tacoma Weekly Article: Some of the improvements
The street-scape design will integrate innovative storm water improvements such as:

• Rain gardens;
• Pervious pavement;
• Water features and;
• Plantings.

Multi-modal improvements for autos, bicycles, pedestrians and transit may include:

• Revisions to curb locations, traffic lanes, turning movements and on-street parking;
• Lighting and planting;
• Bicycle facilities;
• Crosswalk treatments;
• Public art;
• Safety features;
• Special paving;
• Wayfinding; and
• Other elements.

The city of Tacoma allowed for resident input in the early portion of planning and showed two options for PAC ave. Both options were more bicycle friendly and more green.

The construction is set to begin late 2011/ early 2012 and set to be completed by the end of 2012.

(All information was acquired from and 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Do I have a green thumb?

Community and container gardens are my latest "green" endeavor. This post is about my gardens and my green thumb efforts. Our container garden is well under way and our plot has been given to us at the community garden. The city of Tacoma has recently started seven new community gardens. My boyfriend and I were lucky enough join at the start of one of these lovely gardens.

My Grandmother (Meme, my mom's mom) and Granddaddy (dad's dad) have inspired me to want to continue the traditions of gardening and farming. My Meme, has always thoroughly enjoyed gardens. Some of my early memories include her Alabama mountain homes with their beautiful gardens. She now resides in the North Carolina mountains and continues her gardens. My granddaddy and I use to fill bucket after bucket picking our blueberry plants on the farm I grew up on as a child.

For now I reside with my boyfriend in an apartment and we have started a container garden. We bought a cedar plant box from our local farmer's market and have since filled it with an array of wonderful plant babies (culinary lavender, oregano, rosemary, lettuce and spinach). We have had them for a little over a month and they seem to be enjoying there new home.

Also, while searching for a way to volunteer locally, I stumbled on a community garden that was in our neighborhood. It is a short fifteen minute walk from our apartment through a lovely residential area.  We have since joined and have been given a plot for even more room for plant babies. At the WSU plant sale a few weekends ago, we purchased zucchini, strawberry and a Geum "red dragon" (pretty flower). I am excited to get them in the ground and watch their progress! Anyone need any zucchini? I hear that they produce a very healthy crop.

I am very enthusiastic about our gardens and am very appreciative to have such a wonderful person in my life (my boyfriend) that has aided in starting something that is very important to me.