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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Finagle A Foto #6: Winners!

THANK YOU to everyone who participated in this week's challenge of  Finagle A Foto!
All of your photos were awesome! 

*******
We have 3 winners for the "AbSTracT" challenge.  Winners this week were selected by the most views. 

First, is Dina from Lettre Family
Those fixtures had me fixed on them!  I love these!

Then Whitney from Girl Meets Bulgaria
Striking shot, right?



And last, our very own Marilyn from The Artsy Girl Connection
You'll never believe what these really are!

Winners can grab a button and celebrate!



Again, thank you to everyone who participated in the challenge. 

And now to announce our next challenge...

Finagle a Foto Challenge #7: 
You Choose Between 2

From Finagle A Foto- Rule of Thirds
or
From Winner, Dina,  from Lettre Family-The Sky's the Limit


 Have fun with the challenge!  Let your imaginations run wild!
 I can't wait to see!
 We'll have the link open tomorrow (Sunday) thru Friday.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Happy Friday! Pinterest Project Fail

Source
I'm sure we've all had an experience similar to this.  The cooking/baking/arts & crafting fails of our lives sometimes go undocumented, but look how funny they can be.  Did you laugh as hard at this picture as I did?  I hope so!  It's easy to think everyone else in the world is perfect while you're the only one creating monstrous cupcakes (pun intended).   This is a fun reminder that nobody everyone is perfect!

Maybe I should start a linking party for everyone to post their "bloopers".  Who's in???

HAPPY FRIDAY!!!!


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Community

I saw this while exploring downtown Durham a few weeks ago.

 The wall reads:  

"True community is based upon equality, mutuality, and reciprocity.  It affirms the richness of individual diversity as well as the common humanities that bind us together"- Paul Murray

*****

Here is the Edit Me Challenge photo for this week: 

The photo was provided by this week's judge Pam from Kassie's Beach.

Here's my Edit: 
Here's what I did:  I cropped it in a bit on both sides to center them a bit more.  I reduced the exposure some but I increased the fill light.  As I increased the fill light, I slightly increased the blacks.  I upped the brightness and contrast so you could see more detail in the photo.  I increased the lights a bit and the highlights only slightly.  I increased the darks but decreased the shadows quite a bit. 

What do you think?  What would you have done differently or kept the same? 

Linking Here:  



Cutie Patutie Giveaway Winner


Congratulations to Kelly-Marie for winning the Cutie Patutie Giveaway!!

Be sure to check out the Cutie Patutie store to choose your favorite case!



Tuesday, March 27, 2012

From Your Kitchen To Mine: Recipes 51-55

Hello Everyone!  How's Tuesday going so far?  Things are going well on this end.  Sticking on my schedule and feeling very accomplished, always a good way to feel.  Today, I have 5 healthy and nutritious side dishes to share with you!

Let's get started!

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**If your recipe is featured today, feel free to grab my button and tell the world you were featured here!
I'd love it :)!**




Check out the recipes!
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Sweet Potato Oven Fries
 This recipe came from $5 Dinners.  I thought this would be a fun side dish to try.  After all, I love sweet potatoes and I've been known to chow down on some fries in the past.  I've made sweet potato chips before, but I hadn't tried the oven fries out--boy am I glad I did.  They're delicious!  It was also nice to know that I wasn't chowing down on a ton of hydrogenated fat or who knows what else is in traditional fries.  Thanks, Erin!
Click here for the recipe.
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Tuscan White Bean Salad
This recipe came from Elana's Pantry.  Okay, I did something for the very first time with this recipe:  I cooked beans from the dry form.  Yes, that was my first time, and it definitely took some patience.  When I finally finished with the beans, I was so excited to put this side dish together.  I love roasted tomatoes and I had a good feeling that the combination of ingredients would be delicious.  My feeling was right on.  This salad was so good.  It had a great balance of flavors and was the perfect side dish for dinner.  I may use white beans from the can next time to cut back on time--or maybe not.  Thank you so much, Elana!
Click here for the recipe.
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Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms

I found this recipe on Badger Girl  Learns to Cook.  It's been years...and I mean years since I've eaten Brussels sprouts.  After years of living in Belgium (in a town just outside of Brussels), you would think I'd have a sense of obligation to eat these little sprouts at least once a year--nope.  Up until I made this dish, I had never made anything with Brussels sprouts in them.  That will have to change because this dish was awesome.  The flavors that come out of the roasted sprouts mixed together with roasted mushrooms and walnuts are awesome. Scott thought they were so good, he started snacking on some before dinner.  It's always a great feeling to know you're eating something super good for you that tastes really good too! Thanks Kimberly, this dish was amazing!
Click here for the recipe.
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Quinoa with Black Beans & Cilantro
This dish came from Proceed With Caution.  I can't really say that I proceeded with caution on this one; after reading the ingredients list, I knew this was the kind of side dish Scott and I would love.  It was super easy to put together, and it made enough for leftovers.  I decided to take the recommendation and I sprinkled some feta cheese on top of the cilantro.  I also squeezed a little lemon juice on and thought that helped heighten the flavors as well.  It was a deliciously healthy meal, and I think I'll be making it again soon! Thanks!
Click here for the recipe.
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Sesame Studded Kale Chips
  I attempted making kale chips a couple of years ago, but they didn't turn out very crispy or easy to eat.  I was probably just a bit too impatient and didn't let them cook long enough.  My sister, Allison, makes kale chips the time...but it always seems like she only makes them when I'm not around and then she'll brag about how good they were.  Anyway, now I get to do the bragging!  Besides, I don't know if the kale chips Allison made were sesame studded like the kind I found at Sarah Waldman Wellness.  These make for a great snack!  None of the stores I went to had the full-sized kale, but I found some of the baby kale leaves.  I think the baby kale made the process go much faster since I didn't have to strip the leaves from the stalk.  The sesame seeds gave the kale another dimension of flavor that I loved!  I'll be making these a lot more--and you better believe I'll be bragging about it!  Thank you so much, Sarah!
Click here for the recipe.

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I hope you all enjoyed this week's recipes  ~From Your Kitchen To Mine~!  
 55 Complete- 45 left
  I'll be back with 5 new recipes next week. See ya then!
If you're interested in having your recipe sampled and featured, click here for more information. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Time Adjustments

Hey Everyone!  How were your weekends?  Wonderful, I hope.  Scott and I decided to take an impromptu trip down to Charleston, South Carolina.  We had a great time hanging out downtown and then hitting up one of the local beaches the next day.  The weather was perfect while we were there, but just as we were getting in our car to drive back home from the beach, the sky turned black and the storms commenced.  Whew...glad we missed that one!  You may remember a story I share last week about my bad luck with rain and thunderstorms.  I guess my husband's my lucky charm when it comes to escaping them. 



Last week, I shared a little bit about feeling like a more professional work from home professional.  I knew the first thing I'd have to change is the way I manage time each day. 

Source
As I mentioned in that post, at times, I would get caught up doing household chores and work out take a backseat.  There was this looming guilt that I should fold the laundry before I started working. 

Here's a general idea of what my schedule used to look like: 

6:30-7:30 Workout
7:30-8:00 Morning Devotionals
8:00-9:00 Shower/Change/Breakfast
9:00-11:00 Clean the House
11:00-12:00pm Work
12:00-12:30pm Lunch
12:30-4:00pm Work/Errands/
4:00pm-End of Day Make Dinner/Relax/Time with Scott/Finished Leftover Work


I have a lot of stuff going on during the day on some days and my schedule can shift depending on freelance reporting opportunities I have.  Needless to say, not every day looked exactly like that, but that was my general schedule. 

Here's my new and improved schedule: 

6:30-7:30 Workout
7:30-8:00 Morning Devotionals
8:00-9:00 Shower/Change/Breakfast
9:00-12:00 Work
12:00-1:00pm Lunch Break
1:00-4:00pm Housework/ Run Errands
4:00pm-End of Day Make Dinner/Relax & Chill with Scott

After I typed up my post last week, I began implementing my new and improved schedule--what a difference!!  I feel way more focused during the day, and I end each day with a greater sense of accomplishment.  

I realized that I can get all of the work done I need to each day within 3 hours if I work straight through.  It's great because I don't have any housecleaning guilt because I know I'll have time to take care of it later.  Furthermore, during my work time, I split my schedule up into smaller chunks of time to ensure I'm staying on task with everything I need to accomplish for the day.  For instance, if I need to write an article that day, I'll allot myself 1 hour to edit the photos, type up and edit the article, and send it to my editor for review.  Depending on the assignments I'm given and if I land more freelance jobs, I may extend the work time by an hour or two, but for now it's perfect.

I think I'm both a morning and evening person; I can stay pretty focused on a given task at almost any time of day, but I definitely need breaks thrown in there every now and then.  Hence, the legitimate lunch break!  This doesn't mean I'm working while eating lunch (a bad habit I've developed over the years), but I can taste my food and not be distracted tasks. 

I know that there's always work I can do, but without a clear end to my workday, I could work for hours and hours...and that's exactly what happened.  Before, I didn't have a clear end to my workday.  There were times when I'd work way past the time I wanted to and it would cut into time I had to spend with my husband.  Now, I know that my work ends at 12:00pm and I'm free to do whatever else I need to do around the house or want to do to relax a bit.  No more allowing free time to be taken over by work!

One step closer to feeling more professional!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Finagle A Foto #6: Abstract

Hello everyone!  Welcome to Week 6 of the Finagle A Foto Challenge!
 
 The challenge for the week is:   
AbStraCt
ab·stract/ ab'strakt:  Existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence. 
****** 


I decided to go crazy and muddle up a photo I had of a ferris wheel. 


 *****
Simple Challenge Rules:
  1. Have Fun!! 
  2. Link only your own photos.  Although the word "finagle" is used in the name of this link-up party, we don't permit or encourage imagery theft or plagiarism in any way shape or form.  Let's keep this fun and share what rightfully belongs to us.  
  3. Follow HERE and co-hosts The ArtsyGirl Connection and Happy Jax
  4. Display a button or a link back at the bottom of your post for The Foreign Domestic, The ArtsyGirl Connection, and Happy Jax
  5. Link to a specific post and not your blog's url
  6. Help us pick a winner by liking your favorite photos
  7. The winner will help us choose a challenge theme!
  8. It wouldn't be a party if you didn't mingle a little bit.  Spread the love and visit fellow challengers!





I can't wait to see your AbStraCt challenge Foto(s)!
When you've completed the challenge, be sure to link back here.  

Happy Snapping!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Finagle A Foto #5: Winners

THANK YOU to everyone who participated in this week's challenge of  Finagle A Foto
All of your photos were great!! 

*******
We have 3 winners for the "Green" challenge.  Winners this week were selected by the most views. 

First, is Whitney from Girl Meets Bulgaria
The photo is so bright and vibrant--love it!


Then Martin from PhotoLifeSite
What an interesting little creature!


And last, but certainly not least, Amanda from Seeing Beauty By Amanda
Very cool shot! 


Winners can grab a button and celebrate!



Again, thank you to everyone who participated in the challenge. 

And now to announce our next challenge...

Finagle a Foto Challenge #6: 
ABstracT

 Have fun with the challenge!  Let your imaginations run wild!
How Abstract can you get??  I can't wait to see!
We'll have the link open tomorrow (Sunday) thru Friday.

Oh...Starting Monday, you can check out the Finagle a Foto Page with a link at the top of my page to find out the upcoming challenge themes, winners, and all sorts of other info about the challenges. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy Friday! Parental Punishment

Source
I shared this on my Facebook page awhile back but haven't shared it here yet.  Smile, it's Friday

HAPPY FRIDAY!!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Giveaway: Cutie Patutie Cases!

Hello friends!  I'm excited to announce a super cute and fun giveaway today!!  


Do you remember back in January when I announced my very first sponsor, Cutie Patutie?  Too far back?  Well, you can get up to speed and read all about it here.  Cutie Patutie is a business that specializes in making hand-crafted baby wipes cases--and their name really says it all:  c-u-t-e!  Fortunately for us, Cutie Patutie has decided to sponsor a giveaway.  That's right, one of you lucky readers is going to win a super cute hand-crafted baby wipes case!

Now, I don't have any babies, and you may not have any babies either, but I know a lot of people who do that would enjoy a case like this--I'm sure you do too.  Looking for a unique baby shower gift?  This is perfect for that.  As I mentioned back in January, I gave a case to each of my sisters and they loved them! 

Here are the details: 

-What's Up For Grabs-

Your choice of any Cutie Patutie Case currently in stock!
{Click here to check them out}

-How to Enter- 

These 2 steps are mandatory to enter:  

1.   Follow The Foreign Domestic blog
2.   Visit the Cutie Patutie shop and leave a comment on the Cutie Patutie Facebook Page stating which case is your favorite.  If you don't have Facebook, send me an email. (We want to make sure we have the right case reserved for you!)

For additional entries, complete any or all of the following:

  1. Like The Foreign Domestic on Facebook (3 entries)
  2. Like Cutie Patutie on Facebook (3 entries)
  3. Tweet about Cutie Patutie and this giveaway (2 entries per day)
  4. Share this post with friends on Facebook (2 entries per day)
  5. Leave a comment on this post telling who the case would be for (yourself or someone else) (2 entries)
The giveaway closes on Thursday March 29 at 12:01 AM EST, be sure to get your entries in!

***IMPORTANT***
Make sure you click “I did this!” on each item you complete below and follow the directions of each task for your entry to be complete. Remember, only the first 2 tasks are required but you can complete all the tasks for additional entries.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Detailed terms & Conditions:
Approximate value of the grand prize is $15 USD. This prize is non-transferable. There are no cash or other substitutes of prizes by winner. Individual, parent, or legal guardian of the winner is solely responsible for all applicable federal, state and local taxes with respect to the grand prize.  By entering or accepting the prize in this contest, winner agrees to be bound by these official rules, terms and conditions and to conform to all federal, state and local laws and regulations.  No purchase necessary to enter or win. This raffle runs from 12:01AM EST on Thursday, March 22, 2012 and closes at 12:01AM EST on Thursday, March 29, 2012. The winner will be announced on The Foreign Domestic website on Thursday, March 29, 2012.

Eligibility:
This contest is open to residents of the United States unless prohibited by their local state or country. Prizes won by minors will be awarded to their parent or legal guardian on their behalf. For reference, the age of majority is 18 years old in the United States, with the exception of Alabama (19), Delaware (19), Mississippi (21), and Nebraska (19). The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Eligible participants are allowed to enter the number of times indicated above.

How to win:
One (1) winner will be selected at random (using a random number generator) by The Foreign Domestic and Cutie Patutie staff from all eligible entries after the contest closes.  In the event that the original winner does not meet eligibility requirements or he/she forfeits the prize, the prize may be awarded to the next eligible participant.  All entries must be received on or before 12:01 AM EST on March 29, 2012.  The winner will be notified via e-mail or message (as applicable).  Winners will have 48 hours to claim the prize after initial notification.  If the winner fails to claim within 48 hours, an alternative winner may be selected.


Someday Crafts, 5 Minutes for Mom, Homemaker on a Dime, It's a Blog Party, The Outlaw Mom, Cocktails with Mom

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Simplicity

In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.”  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
 
The photo for the Edit Me Challenge came from this week's judge, Beth, from Snaps of Our Life.   

Talk about finding beauty in simplicity! 

Before My Edit: 
  

 Here's My After: 



Here's what I did for the edit:  
I cropped it a bit. 
Slightly increased the exposure but decreased the recovery.  
As I increased the blacks, I slightly increased the fill light
I increased the brightness and contrast quite a bit
Clarity and vibrance increased but I lowered the saturation levels.  
I also sharpened it up a bit.

What do you think?  What would you do differently?
  
 Linking here:
 
 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

From Your Kitchen To Mine: Recipes 46-50

Hello there, friends!  How's Tuesday treating you so far?  I hope it's going well.  Tuesday's off to a great start for me, although the weather keeps tricking me.  How?  Well, yesterday I rode my bike to the mechanic shop to pick up my car.  When I left home, the weather was beautiful!  About 5 minutes into my ride, however, the sky literally opened up and the rain was relentless...until after I got home, of course, and then it was a beautiful day.  Similarly, this morning I got up to go on my 6 mile run but the thunderstorms forced me to the dreaded treadmill.  I don't mind a couple of miles here and there on the treadmill, but anything over 4 is rough.  As I stepped off the treadmill after my run I looked outside and saw that it was clear and sunny!  Ahhhh...tricked again!!

Anyway, on to the recipes for this week!  As I mentioned last week, I'll be sharing all salads today.  And guess what??  As of today, I'm halfway through the series!!  Can you believe that??  50 recipes down and 50 more to go.  I have a plan for the next 50 recipes so be sure to read below to find out what I'll be doing for the next couple of months.  

**********

**If your recipe is featured today, feel free to grab my button and tell the world you were featured here!
I'd love it :)!**







Check out the recipes!

**********

Caprese Salad Skewers

Caprese salad...yum!  This one came from bell' alimento.  I love caprese salads and I was excited to try this one because of the skewer effect.  It also reminded me of a caprese salad I made last summer.  {If you missed that post, you can check it out here.}  These little guys were super easy to make and just as easy and fun to eat.  Well, I used kinda long skewers so the easy to eat was a little tricky, but they were fun and tasty.  As you can probably gather from the photos, I used some balsamic vinaigrette for some extra flavor. Sadly, my mozzarella balls were super tiny.  As a way to avoid having too much tomato and not enough mozzarella, I chopped my tomatoes in half.  And, unfortunately, my grocery store didn't have any fresh basil, so I sprinkled some basil on top. Gotta work around it, right?  Anyway, we loved them!  Thanks so much, Paula!
Click here for the recipe.

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Abstract Artist's Salad

This salad recipe came from 90 salads in 90 days.  That's my kinda blog!  Scott and I love avocado and I knew we'd probably love this salad.  The recipe for the dressing was really easy and came out so wonderfully!  The dressing really gave the salad a great punch of flavor.  With the crunchiness of the carrots and cabbage, it was a nice change of texture having the avocado in there. Delish!  Thank you, Christina!
Click here for the recipe.


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Autumn Chopped Salad

Alright, I know it's not Autumn.  In fact, today is the first day of Spring.  But, I saw this salad's ingredients on Espresso and Cream and I had to give it a shot.  I made this on a night we had friends over.  As my handy taste tester, Scott grabbed a bite and said: "oh, wow!"  Everyone loved it.  There was so much flavor and there were so many dimensions to it--you can't go wrong with this one.  What a treat! Thanks so much, Madison!
Click here for the recipe.


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Salad In A Jar
Alright, who doesn't love mason jars?  I love them, that's for sure.  I use my jars for just about everything in the kitchen, but up until now, I hadn't used them for salad.  What a great idea!  This one came from Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body---funny name, huh?  It was nice to layer all of the ingredients and shake it up to spread the dressing around.  It was fun to use these as individual servings and it's a great way to store salad throughout the week.  I could have a jar for each meal every day of the week.  Perfect!  Love it, Julia--thanks!

Click here for the recipe.


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Garlicky Roasted Chickpeas
   
This recipe came from Kalyn's Kitchen.  Chickpeas..garbanzo beans...whatever you want to call them, they're checked off as 'awesome' in my book.  The ingredients really sold me on this one and I thought the flavors would be fantastic.  I wasn't wrong.  After roasting them in the oven and adding the feta cheese, Scott and I had a good ole time snacking on these babies.  These will surely be prepared again in our kitchen! Thanks, Kalyn!

Click here for the recipe.


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I hope you all enjoyed this week's recipes  ~From Your Kitchen To Mine~!  
 50 Complete- 50 left
 So, I mentioned above that I have a plan for the remaining 50 recipes I'll be sharing.  The first 50 were pretty much a free-for-all and I made some tasty, tasty dishes.  Some were high calorie, some weren't.  For the most part, I lost sight of eating healthy and indulged quite a bit.  There's nothing wrong with indulging every now and then, but after 10 weeks of indulging consistently, I put on a bit of weight---sad, but true.  With that said, my plan is to focus on sharing healthy recipes for the next 10 weeks.  It's not that there weren't healthy meals in the previous 10 weeks, I just wasn't as focused on it as I'm going to be now.  So get ready, friends!
  I'll be back with 5 new recipes next week. See ya then!


If you're interested in having your recipe sampled and featured, click here for more information. 
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