Apr 30, 2012

Lovely Lady: Audrey Hepburn

If you ask me, there is no one who has ever lived who is more graceful or beautiful than Audrey Hepburn.
She has been an idol of mine for as long as I can remember.
If fact, I can remember the first time I saw My Fair Lady.  I was having a sleepover and my mom put it on.  Everyone fell asleep but me.  I sat up for all 170 minutes of it, completely entranced by that pretty lady.


She makes this boyish look gorgeous!

She reminds us that there is nothing sexier than fun.


I adore her youthful spirit.


She was a goddess...



But my personal favorite...


Audrey, the mother

Audrey, the humanitarian.
The look on her face here makes my eyes well up every time. So fierce.

She is the greatest role model to have, and if I ever have a daughter, I hope she will be her role model too.

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Apr 29, 2012

Winners!

Winner of the handwoven centerpiece from Lost in Relocation:


#3 - Megan of Girl Meets Camera!

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Winner of the Bobby Pins from Bits & Pieces AND a large sponsor spot on 2 Messy:


#1 - Becky of Ballistic Gypsy!

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Korean goodies from Girl Meets Camera:


#4 - ElizaK!



Congrats to all of the winners and thanks to all of my friends who gave away such cool stuff!
You guys are awesome.


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Apr 27, 2012

My Vegan Week

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So, as many of you know, I did the Vegan-for-a-week experiment a couple weeks ago.  Finally, I'm getting the chance to sit down & discuss what I learned and how badly I suffered (not really).

First off, let me start by saying this was not that bad for me.  I feel like I was at an advantage because A) I love vegetables and B) I have been a vegetarian in the past (until I met the hunter).  I went into this challenge knowing it would be an opportunity to eat NEW things, rather than focus on what I was being denied.  This was never about torturing, dieting or starving myself.  The idea was that if I eliminated certain things, it would give way to a diet full of other good things.  If that makes sense.

Anyway, this is what I learned from being vegan for a week:

  • I became braver in the kitchen.  I played with ingredients and techniques instead of sticking strictly to the recipe.  If I was making a spaghetti and meatballs, I would just substitute the meat with spinach, quinoa or tofu.  With the right spices, anything can be delicious.  
  • There is a big difference between full and satisfied.  This is the biggest thing I learned.  When eating vegan, I ate a decent portion, then I would stop.  I didn't feel full.  I didn't lean back and pat my full belly.  I was just...satisfied.  It was a wonderful feeling.  Ever since then, when I eat "regular" food, I can only finish about half of what I could before and I just stop.  I don't feel the need to scarf every bit down.  I stop when I'm satisfied, guilt-free.  I don't know if my stomach shrunk or if the meat/dairy is just heavier than I was used to so my body feels fuller faster, but whatever the reason, I hope it never goes away.
The negatives to eating vegan:
  • Cooking for omnivores and myself was hard.  I was constantly having to prepare TWO meals at once and as hard as I tried to condense it down, it was still a struggle.
  • Eating at restaurants/parties is hard.  My first day of the diet, I went to an Easter party complete with pulled pork/hot dogs/hamburgers and even I brought chicken empanadas.  I managed to get by on chips & salsa and a yummy asian coleslaw until I got home, but it would have been smarter for me to bring something I could eat. 
  • People think you're crazy.  I can't tell you how many times people said "Why?!" to me.  My feelings weren't hurt, but I would just answer "why not?".  What really struck me was how many people said "I could never do that" which made me wonder again "why not?"  I love meat and cheese as much as the next person, but I can't tell you how much GOOD food I ate that week!
Speaking of.  This is what I ate:

Spaghetti with Spinach
(like an idiot, I put parmesan cheese on it.  oops)
1 jar of Newman's Organic marinara sauce
1tbsp olive oil
1 green bell pepper
1/2 onion
2 garlic cloves.

Saute pepper, onion and garlic in olive oil.  Add Spinach until cooked down.  Add sauce and heat through.
Serve over spaghetti noodles.
Delicious!


Oh my child, these lettuce wraps!  And you'll never guess who the recipe creator is...
The Pioneer Woman!
I know.  But seriously, even if you don't like tofu (or think you don't because you haven't tried it) these are so good you won't even know you're eating tofu.  
And since my husband had no desire in trying tofu, I made this exact recipe for him and the boys but with chopped chicken.  They loved it.


Portobello burger at Cheeburger Cheeburger
Yes, on our night out my family decided to torture me and chose Cheeburger for dinner.  Cheeseburgers are my weakness (or at least they were).  I was pleasantly surprised to see Portobello on the menu!  And you know what, after you add all of the regular burger toppings (ketchup, onion, lettuce, tomato, jalapeƱos) I couldn't tell the difference.  It was very enjoyable with out that bloated, roll-me-out-of-here feeling.


Sprouts/Avocado/Tomato/Veggie Slice "cheese" sandwich
This was my lunch nearly every day of the week.  This is not a struggle for me at all.  I really wanted to try the Veganaise at our local health food store but it was like $6 a jar and I didn't feel it was that important.  

And the very best thing I had all week:

Heaven.
This salad with a baked potato (with vegan butter).
I ate on that salad for about 4 days and it was seriously, SO GOOD.
So good.

So, I did it...and it wasn't that bad.  I wasn't dying.  I wasn't miserable.  I didn't threaten to punch anyone for their baby back ribs.  I have to say around day 3, I did start to get a little grouchy and I kinda missed that eat-until-you-pop feeling, but it didn't last long.  I think what made me grumpiest was that I had to use soy milk in my coffee.  I love soy milk, and I always drink it over regular milk anyway but my coffee is sacred.  I immediately went back to half&half at the first chance I had.  
And pizza.  I missed pizza a lot.  I could be vegetarian, but pizza and coffee are the major reasons I could never be vegan full time.

On a final note, I want to suggest that if you love fresh veggies and trying new things, you should really consider going vegan for a week.  It's not about limiting your diet, it's about opening it up to new things.  


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Apr 26, 2012

the.book.chat. {Friends of Fiction}

Captivating relationships make up a significant mass of readable, enjoyable fiction.  Whether it's plutonic or romantic, we read because we feel like we are a part of these relationships, and we continue to turn the pages because want to see what is in store for them/us.

Since we have already discussed our favorite romantic literary couples, now it's time to share our favorite friends of fiction.

I couldn't pinpoint my absolute favorite friendship but I can share a few that really stuck with me.



Liesel & Max
“Often I wish this would all be over, Liesel, but then somehow you do something like walk down the basement steps with a snowman in your hands.” 

Liesel & Rudy
“Insane or not, Rudy was always destined to be Liesel's best friend. 
A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.”



Mariam & Laila
“I will follow you to the ends of the world.” 



Skeeter & Aibileen
“We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I'd thought.” 

I can't wait to see what you all have!
Link up below and feel free to take a button if you'd like!




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{Next week: It's almost summer time!  Share your favorite vacation reads.  Is there a certain genre or series you stick to when trying to relax and unwind?  The Best beach books?  Road trip audio books?}
This prompt was suggested by Melissa of Press Play

If you have any book.chat suggestions, please share.


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Apr 25, 2012

Album Review: M. Ward {A Wasteland Companion}


M. Ward
"A Wasteland Companion"
Release date: April 10, 2012
Folk/Americana

Perhaps you don't know much about M. Ward.  No worries.  I didn't either.  I had heard of him. I had been told I should be listening to him.  I knew he was the Him of She & Him.  (The She being Zooey Deshanel: cue the "ohhhh's") I should add here that I have only heard a few S&H songs (good, but not my style) so my thoughts are strictly on this album alone.

My thoughts: M. Ward has a unique sound that is country folk with a hint of Americana appeal.  Some tracks like "Sweetheart" and "I Get Ideas" sound like they are straight off of the American Graffiti soundtrack.  Shouldn't I be drinking a milkshake in a poodle skirt right now?  And then the next half of the album is reminiscent of a modern Bob Dylan.  The tracks are either intimately acoustic or vintage pop.  For my taste, I favor the former. Songs such as "Clean Slate", "Crawl After You",  and "There's a Key" are hauntingly exquisite.  His gruffly melodic voice is harmonized by only the rasp of his guitar, and it's magic.  Then, you can hear his gospel influence with tracks like "Pure Joy" with the soft harmony of a back up choir. Those songs are perfect for an album entitled "A Wasteland Companion" while others feel a little out of place.

All in all, the majority of this album is perfection, but I could have lived without the She & Him'esque tracks.  Even if they are catchy as hell.

This album is an old fashioned American road trip from the vintage 60's era of the West Coast to the dusty railroad back-country of the midwest.

Similar sounds: Jenny Lewis, Bob Dylan, The Civil Wars
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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Apr 24, 2012

Travel Tuesday: Day Trips

This week for Travel Tuesday, Megan asked: What are some great day trips that you've taken? 

It's funny because tomorrow we will be doing a little domestic traveling of our own.  We're taking our yearly family vacation and indulging in some amusement park madness.  Many pics of that to come next week!

But when Megan brought up day trips, it totally reminded me of our time in Germany.  When we lived in Germany, we took day trips very often.  My husband is as much of a restless explorer as I am.  Car, train or bus.  We did whatever we had to get out and see what there was to see.  Living in Europe was heaven for us.

A few of our favorite day trips...

Cologne

Heidelberg

Rudesheim

Trier

Being in Germany (or anywhere in Europe) day trips are easy and very satisfactory.  There is always something to see without having to go far, especially if you love history.  Which we do.  

Being stateside, it's not always that easy, but it doesn't mean it cannot be done.  I'm sure if you travel with an open mind and do your research, you can find something within a days drive from where you are.
Since we cannot afford long distance travel more than once a year, we try to do day trips no matter where we are. 
A few stateside day trips we have taken...

St. Augustine, FL

Hilton Head, SC

St. Simons Island, GA

It may not be exotic, international travel, but it's still travel nonetheless.  You don't need to stay in a hotel or get a stamp in your passport to travel.  As long as you're exploring and it's new to you, it's travel.

Thanks Megan for another great travel prompt!
BWS tips button

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Apr 23, 2012

Happy Birthday to me & Happy Book day to you!

First.  Thank you to everyone for participating in my weekend giveaway extravaganza.  You're all the sweetest bloggers.  If you still haven't entered to win, there's still time!  They will be open for a few more days.  Go win some cool stuff!

I loved hearing about everyone's birthday memories.  So since today is MY birthday *happydance* I thought I would share my favorite birthday memory.

It was just last year actually.  My mom was visiting, Jude was just a baby and Jeremy was deployed.  It all started when Becky and I went to Starbucks one evening for some girlie chit-chat (miss those like CRAZY) and I picked up this copy of a local music/arts magazine.

I was immediately intrigued.  I admit: I had never heard of Iron & Wine before, but something told me I would like it.  And oh look...he's playing in Savannah on my birthday.  So, what did I do?  I bought us two tickets the next day...off Craigslist because they were sold out.  It was a major gamble.  Jude was still nursing at the time and I had never left him before.  Thankfully, it was nothing a long day at the park and no nap couldn't fix.

So off we went.

As far as concerts go, it was probably one of the best I have ever been to.  We just sat there, the whole time.  It was a bit bizarre to not get up and move around, but honestly, I was intoxicated by the music.  It was purely about the sound and it was bliss.



That night, Iron & Wine became one of my all-time favorite bands.
If you are not familiar, go give it a listen.

ALSO: That day I posted on the blog that I only needed one more follower to reach 28 followers on my 28th birthday...I ended up getting like 5 that day.  It was just awesome.  Hmmm...maybe 129 on my 29th birthday? too much? ;)


ANOTHER AMAZING ALSO: Did you know that in some parts of the world, April 23 is celebrated as the Day of the Book in honor of Shakespeare and Cervantes who both died on this day. (Shakespeare was also born on this day)  It's World Book Night too...you should check that out.  I just learned this and I am ECSTATIC.  In many countries, they actually celebrate reading/writing/publishing and exchange books with friends.  Seriously!  Can we please make this a thing in the US!  I'm so on it.

How appropriate then that my new Alabama friends got me a book for a birthday!  They know me so well they even picked a book I want to read but haven't yet! It's totally Fifty Shades of Grey *blushing*

Then they put a sombrero on my head.
Thanks girls.

So Happy Birthday to me & Happy Book Day to you!!!

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Apr 22, 2012

Birthday Weekend Giveaways: Handmade centerpiece from Bhrett of Lost in Relocation

Happy Earth Day everybody!
I couldn't have picked a better blogger for my Earth day giveaway.  Bhrett is the crunchiest, hippie blogger I know.  I'm so glad she decided to join in this week.  You can learn more about Bhrett here; she's pretty much awesome.
lost in relocation
I'm a wandering soul.  My husband and I have just relocated for the fourth time in a year.  Living the hand-made, fair-trade, thrift store-raid kind of life is what we do.  I hope you'll hop on over to my blog and join our gypsy wagon as we seek out our path through this life.

And this is what she's giving away...

How cute is that!?  It's a handmade woven cotton centerpiece. Too cool.

Enter to win:
Follow Sweet Green Tangerine via GFC or Bloglovin and Lost in Relocation via GFC.
Leave a comment to let us know you did and that's it!

Previous giveaways still open!
Korean goodies from Megan of Girl Meets Camera
Handmade bobby pin from KC of Bits & Pieces
Large spot ad on 2Messy

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Apr 21, 2012

Birthday Weekend Giveaways: KC and Messy

Welcome back for Day TWO of my weekend of giveaways!
Today we have TWO sweet friends to share some great birthday stories and giveaways, KC and Messy!

First, meet Messy of 2Messy
Messy is a fun, crafty, stylish girl who shares her fun travel adventures that I'm quite jealous of.  When I asked her about her favorite birthday she said:

"My most memorable birthday was the one I just had a couple weeks ago! I met my bestie in Ottawa, Ontario for a birthday weekend extravaganza! We had a photo shoot with some local photographers that made us feel like celebrities, tea at the Chateau Laurier and lots of fancy meals out! It was fab, and awesome to spend it with my closest bud!"

Messy is giving away a large ad spot along with a highlight on her blog! 


Next, please say hello to the super sweet KC of Bits & Pieces.


Seriously, she is one of the sweetest bloggers and I love keeping in touch with her through Twitter.  I'm so glad she chose to participate in my birthday celebration.  So when I asked her to share her favorite birthday memory, this is what she had to say...


Hi everyone!  This is KC from Bits and Pieces, visiting with Jessica today!

I think the month of April is pretty cool (maybe because it's my birthday month too...yay!) 
So, today, I wanted to share with you one of my memorable birthdays...

My most memorable was probably my 21st birthday!  My parents have always been the kind to show me that I am appreciated, no matter if I thought I failed at something, I knew they would remind me that I had done my best.  
Just before my 21st birthday, I had attended a dinner with my parents at the Hilton Hotel, and it was such fun.  Great music, good food and yummy dessert!  I simply mentioned to my dad "this is a pretty cool party" and all he did, in his true form, was smile.  Before I knew it, he was planning a similar party for me for my 21st birthday...yay!
The day came, and I got gifts as usual, lots of calls from family and friends, local and those living overseas, and the day went by really nicely.  Then, it was time for big night: the p-a-r-t-y!
Let me just say, I had NO idea just how many things my parents had planned! There was a HUGE table filled with every kind if cheesecake and cake that I ever mentioned that I liked!  The food was fantastic and I was surrounded by all my family and a few close friends.  My cousins and I sat at the same table, and we had a grand time!
The birthday cake was delicious! It was a 7 layer German Chocolate cake! hello? who does not enjoy that!
The night ended with a lot of dancing and laughter.  It was one of the best birthday celebrations I ever had!
Now i'm definitely looking forward to my big 30 birthday!  Can you say fun, laughter, food and family! 
Yes!

And now check out these precious bobby pins KC is giving away from her Etsy shop...



One winner will take both of these great prizes!
Enter to win:
Follow Sweet Green Tangerine via GFC 
Follow 2Messy via GFC or Bloglovin or Twitter.
Follow Bits and Pieces via Facebook, Bloglovin, or Twitter.
Leave a comment below letting us know you did and that's it!
Winner will be drawn on Saturday, April 28.

Thanks so much KC!!

If you're just now joining us you can find the previous giveaways here:
Korean goodies from Megan of Girl Meets Camera

Come back tomorrow for a beautiful centerpiece from Bhrett of Lost in Relocation!
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Apr 20, 2012

Birthday Week Giveaway Celebration: Megan of Girl Meets Camera

It's the first day of my birthday week celebration!!

This week I have invited some of my blog friends to share in my birthday celebration and help me do a fun week-long giveaway here!  There are seriously some awesome giveaways in store this week so check back all weekend until Tuesday!  I asked each of them to share their favorite birthday story.  Today it is my friend Megan of Girl Meets Camera.



And here is what she said...

"I've thought a long time about my most memorable birthday.  I think the winner was when I turned 14. My parents booked a hotel room for me and my friends (and one for them right next door) for a night. It was the best slumber party on steroids ever. Games, pizza, staying up all night...then add in riding up and down elevators and floating around half asleep in the hot tub when it opened at 6am. I had the best time with some of my best friends before most of us split off into different high schools. 

I'm very excited to be part of the big birthday give aways! Thank you, Jessica, for letting me be a part of it and happy birthday!"

And you guys check out this giveaway!!


In case you missed it, Megan recently moved with her family to South Korea.  And I just love that she's sharing this awesome stuff with us.  I think this is just so fascinating!

Korean goodies: Notebooks, chopsticks, sporks, bowl, egg molds, mirror, stickers, and coffee :)

Entering the giveaway is so easy!
All you have to do is be a follower of Sweet Green Tangerine via GFC, Twitter OR Bloglovin and Girl Meets Camera via Facebook or Bloglovin.  Leave a comment below to let us know you did and that's it!
Winner will be drawn on Friday, April 27.

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