Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Day on the Lake

One of my dear friends celebrated her 24th birthday today.  It is customary in our group of girlfriends to plan a surprise outing or event in honor of the occasion.

So, after much deliberation, we plotters decided that a picnic at the lake with wine, barbecue chicken sandwiches, and birthday cake was just the ticket.
It was a gorgeous day.  We couldn't not use it to our advantage!

Andi was completely surprised,  the food turned out perfectly, and a pleasant breeze rolled off the lake for the duration of our birthday celebration--thank god!

We hunkered down under a gorgeous mulberry tree, wine in hands, ready to spill the latest gossip and celebrate Andi's new year!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Safe Place

Apparently, I have been hiding under a rock for the past two years; today I stumbled upon the photos from Emma Thompson's SAFE project for the first time, which has been up and running since 2010, at least.

Thompson describes her campaign as "an exhibition which travels around the world raising money and awareness for and about the Helen Bamber Foundation – a safe place for people who have been horribly abused and who, through their extraordinary capacity for survival, tell stories that teach us an enormous amount about who we are."

This beautiful collection of photographs taken by the talented Nick Haddow depicts women "known for the strength of their work and the power of their voices" in the places they feel most safe.

Such a charming, deeply personal project.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Word of the Week: 'B'

                                                    bale-ful  /ˈbālfəl/

  1. Threatening harm; menacing
  2. Having a harmful or destructive effect.
Synonyms:   evil - sinister - bad - baneful - harmful - pernicious 


1) My sister's baleful glance in my direction cut me off before I could finish the embarrassing story.

2) I wanted to go on a hike this afternoon, but the baleful appearance of the sky kept me indoors. 

**Definition courtesy of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Happy Trails to You

You know that person, place, or thing that can make you feel better no matter how many pet peeves have pelted themselves at you that day?  Or how bad your hair day has been?  The primary outlet you connect with in order to de-stress and remove the weight of the world from your shoulders, at least for a little while?  
Shelf Road meet reader, reader meet Shelf Road.  
I've laughed, I've cried, I've solicited advise, been given advice, and picked oranges straight from the orchards lining the pathway on this hike.  
It is one of my favorite places to be in the world. 
What's yours? 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Gluten-Free Stuffed Bell Pepper Boats

Last year I went on a two-week long back packing trip in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
It was an amazing trip, and if the opportunity arose, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
Though, after two weeks with below-freezing lakes for showers, beef jerky for dinner, and non-scented deodorant (black bears will scavenge for anything scented), one starts to miss the simple comforts of home.
In standard feminine fashion, we girls started fantasizing about pedicures, shaving our legs, and dinners that required more than just adding water to prepare.

Understandably, I was in heaven when I returned home and my mom had prepared stuffed bell peppers for dinner. That meal still holds a solid standing in my "top five favorite meals of all-time" list.
Since last summer, I've been meaning to re-create the recipe with my own twist.
Tonight provided the perfect opportunity!

You will need:

4 large bell peppers, green or red
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 lb ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 cup kale, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sauteed and halved
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Unfortunately, my camera ran out of battery right before I started preparing the dinner, so I don't have step-by-step pictures, but I'll talk you through the process!

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2) Wash and cut bell peppers length-wise (like little boats!) and empty the seeds and white membranous portions.  Set aside.

3)  Combine onion and garlic in large pot and cook until caramelized.  Next, add turkey and cook with onion and garlic until browned.  If needed, drain excess grease from pot when finished cooking.  I like food with a little kick, so at this point I added about one Tbs. of sriracha sauce, but this step is not necessary.  You may want to add some salt and pepper for flavor though!

4)  Add rice, kale, tomatoes, mushrooms, and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese to turkey mixture.

5)  Cover the bottom of your casserole dish with tomato sauce (about 1/2 cup), load up the peppers with the turkey filling, place peppers in casserole dish, cover with aluminum foil.

6)  Bake for 30 minutes, remove aluminum foil, add remaining 1/2 paremasan cheese to tops of peppers, and place dish in oven for an additional 5 minutes.

7)  Remove dish and let peppers rest for 5 minutes.

8)  Enjoy!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Blast from the Past: Audrey Hepburn

How daunting to write a post based on arguably the most beautiful, classy and evolutionary figure in women's fashion.
Hepburn's boyish figure, pixie haircut, and simple fashion sense all seem as if they would contradict the standard of beauty at the time found in celebrity figures such as Marilyn Monroe.
However, it seems that her style mantra of "less is more" paid off, as every woman I know has some "ode to Audrey" in her closet.

It always strikes me how naturally beautiful Ms. Hepburn was.  She obviously realized the importance of playing up her best features and letting fashion work for her, not against her.
Did you know she was crippled by insecurity regarding the shape of her nose? As if....

Anyways,  my love for both Roman Holiday and Audrey Hepburn swayed my choice for this week's inspiration.

Here you go!

Joseph 'White Garcon Sleeveless Blouse'

Diane Von Furstenburg 'Missy Skirt'


Eddie Borgo 'Pyramid Stud Earrings, Rose Gold'

French Connection 'Empress Scarf'

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Word of the Week: 'A'

Words really are amazing things.  They help us convey thoughts, ideas, and emotions.  Possessing an extensive vocabulary, as well as the ability to communicate through words aids in building relationships, self-expression, and....getting a good verbal score on the GRE?  Right?

Okay, I'll level with you--I believe everything I said about the importance of an extensive vocabulary, but I have my own selfish motive for posting a "word of the week."  As any American student planning to continue on to graduate school knows, getting admitted to a program requires running the gauntlet that is the Graduate Record Examination.  Part of this examination is a verbal section consisting of multiple word identifications, analogies, reading passages, etc...As I'm a visual, hands-on learner, I thought I would just kill two birds with one stone and post the most commonly used GRE words on my blog each week.  Maybe we can learn them together!

This week's word is *drum roll please*:

ab-scond /ab'skand/

  1. Leave hurriedly and secretly, typically to avoid detection or arrest.
  2. (of someone on bail) Fail to surrender oneself for custody at the appointed time.

Synoyms:  flee-escape-run away-elope

Sentence: 1) I absconded from the cafe as soon as I noticed my ex-boyfriend walk in the door.
2)  To abscond during a court trial will most likely get you in more trouble.

Get it?  Got it.  Good!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Last night was the first night in MONTHS that I woke up shivering because a bed sheet alone would no longer provide me with enough warmth.  This means at least one thing: fall is here!  I know this comment is going to earn me numerous eye-rolls, as fall and winter in California are considered to be summer's slightly less favorable siblings that go to bed on the earlier side, and I will probably still be running errands in shorts and a tank in December.  However,  I personally like the crisper weather that comes with the September, and will most likely exaggerate how cold I am for an excuse to wear scarves, nubby wool sweaters, knee-high socks, etc...So sue me!

It followed that today was the kind of day I wished I had my own personal cabin in the woods to escape to.  It would necessarily be on a lake with a large outdoor deck for wine-ing and dining, easy access to hiking trails, and plenty of room for family, friends, and my several pups, of course.

Kind of like this:

**All pictures found in Pinterest and @ 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Edward in the House

No, not that Edward - the other Edward!

Those who knew me during my last year at university can attest to my complete obsession with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.  I used to write term papers with their music floating subconsciously through my mind to get the creative juices flowing.  I love music with folk inspiration, which makes listening to ESTMZ comforting and easy.  Both of their albums (Up from Below and Here) are wonderful, and offer songs for every mood and situation....Okay, enough from me.  You really should just listen to their music for yourself, if you haven't already.  Click  to listen to my favorite Edward Sharpe masterpiece.

Anyways, the other night I was lucky enough to see them play live at a concert in my hometown!  The show was a fundraiser for a local elementary school.  As it turns out, the song "Mayla" on the new album Here was written about a little girl who attended the same local school that the concert was funding (  Isn't that sweet?

Looks like there was time for a photo-opp in the ten-minute window of time that we were actually sitting in our assigned seats.  The curly-haired beauty to the left and I listened up front for the entire show.

Annie and I are down there in the front somewhere!  We were absolutely captivated. I honestly don't think I've ever heard a band perform so well live.

Hopefully I've convinced you to start listening to their music by now.  It really is like a warm blanket for the

Oh! Almost forgot...I saw a concert-goer wearing this t-shirt, which I think is deliciously nerdy and hilarious.  I had never seen one before, but maybe I'm just behind the times.  I did a little research and it really is sound-reactive, so it's perfect for concerts.  It's called the 'T-Qualizer Shirt,' and it's sold widely across the internet for next to nothing.  If anything, it's good for some laughs!

Have a great weekend everybody!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Easy Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

Don't you think peaches are the most comforting fruit?  From the cozy color palate of their peels to the finger-licking-good sweetness of the fruit itself, they are the epitome of all that is pleasant and summery.  

In an attempt to bid a friendly farewell to what has been the most amazing summer, I decided to make a really delicious, uncomplicated peach cobbler.  

1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
2 cups sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup half and half
4 cups fresh peach slices
1 cup blueberries ( I used frozen)
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon works just as well)

First things first - Preheat oven to 375. Place butter in a 13x 9-inch baking pan and melt in preheating oven.  

When butter is completely melted, remove the baking dish from the oven and let cool.

Next, mix flour, 1 cup sugar, salt, and baking powder together.

Once dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed, add half and half.  Mix together to create a batter, but do not over-mix (found out the hard way that this can make dough rubbery)!

Once mixed, pour batter into baking dish with melted butter, but do not mix batter and butter together.

While the butter and batter were getting to know each other, I peeled and sliced my peaches.  I found it was easiest to peel them when they were cut into quarters.  However, in retrospect, it might have been easier to use a potato peeler...

Next, add peaches, blueberries, remaining cup of sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 Tbs. lemon juice, and 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice to a sauce pan and bring to a boil while stirring constantly. 

Pour fruit mixture over batter, but again, don't mix.

Bake at 375 for ~45 minutes or until golden brown.

I like adding vanilla ice cream to cobblers.  Heaven in a bowl.

Happy baking!