delicious, on-the-go, and healthy

As if eating healthy wasn't difficult enough to begin with, factor in the fast-paced madness of our culture and health starts becoming more of a burden than anything. Who has the time to prepare meals, read labels, keep track of nutrients, etc.? It can be a daunting task, especially if most of your meals are eaten on-the-go. Luckily, there are alternatives. I'm constantly experimenting with fast and easy recipes to accommodate both my vegan lifestyle and my busy schedule. This particular recipe is one that I enjoy a couple times a week. It takes only a few minutes to make, and you can even take it with you. All that you need is a handful of green beans, a quarter of a large tomato, balsamic vinegar, and some Quinoa. Quinoa is a "grain" (it's actually a relative of greens like Spinach or Swiss Chard) that is full of amino acids. It's a great staple to have on-hand. You can make a batch and keep it in the fridge, or you can buy some pre-made. (I actually found a great mix at CostCo!) If it's the first time you're working with Quinoa, my suggestion to you would be to rinse it, then sautee it before cooking it. It adds texture and brings out the naturally nutty flavor.

All that this recipe requires is to layer in your ingredients. Start with the quinoa. (in whichever way, shape, or form you choose.) Add the tomato, the green beans, and drizzle a small amount of Balsamic Vinegar.

Finish it off my sprinkling some peanuts on top for a crunch and an extra kick of protein. You could add a lot to this recipe if you'd like, such as cucumbers, alfalfa sprouts, or Spinach. I even want to try it with some sauteed escarole! Having fast and easy health foods on hand is a big step towards a healthier lifestyle. I wish you the best!

xo, e.m.

model session

Last weekend, I had the joy of photographing my friend Kayla. She is extremely photogenic and also willing to do all of the weird things that I asked her to do, such as trash picking with me and posing with a broken Chinese Food restaurant sign and getting covered in glitter. (As seen in this post.) She's adorable, here are a few of my favorite shots from her session.

xo, e.m.

this week in instagrams

Hope you're all having a great weekend thus far!

xo, e.m.

a couple things

Here's a list of some pretty wonderful things that I'm diggin' right now. I'm finding that this week, I'm in a particularly colorful mood. Must be the wonderful weather?

1. map letters from U.O. 2. this Ben Blood portrait session (he's the guy who inspired me to give wedding photography a shot!) 3. some looks for Spring. I'm really enjoying sheers, florals, and scalloped'ness. I also really want to try layering a bralette under a sheer top. As always, pinks and mustards will dominate my wardrobe this season. 4. Riceboy Sleeps by Jonsi and Alex is what I've been listening to. It's very low-key and makes beautiful background music while working or driving. 5. I'm heavily swooning over this Matthew Kavan Brooks for Society6 print. 6. more scalloping and pink, of course! This duvet from U.O. is simple yet bold. It reminds me of feather almost, or a fish! 7. I'm definitely going to be needing some vintage flocked deer very, very soon. This one is absolutely precious, it's from the U.S.S.R. in the 1970's. 8. I've always loved Mexican folk art, and I'm growing to be obsessed with papel picado, the art of paper-cutting. The shapes are so beautiful and elaborate, and the colors so bright, I definitely want a banner to hang in my workspace.

xo, e.m.

a new way to display!

Scrapbookers rejoice, here's another way to use your sweet skills. Non-scrapbookers can rejoice as well, because this is a fun craft for everybody. It's like scrapbooking without the commitment (one or two pages as opposed to an entire book) and you will also have instant access to your art without having to dig through shelves and turn pages upon pages to find it. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!) All it requires is a picture frame, some scrapbook paper, some prints, and other assorted sundries of your choice. For mine, I added feathers, (which I soon learned are NOT as easy to work with as I thought.) felt letters, and self-adheisive glitter sheets-- which may just be my new favorite craft supply!

You can basically do whatever you want with this project, just make sure that you absolutely love what you've laid out before you glue it/tape it!

Viola! Now you have a cute, creative, and COMPLETELY YOU way to display your favorite snapshots.

xo, e.m.

bubble tea made at home!

Bubble tea is a delicious and refreshing sweet beverage. It's a bit time-consuming to make but very, VERY rewarding! (Especially since Bubble Tea can be expensive and hard to find in some areas.) You only need a few ingredients, most of which you'll probably have on hand without having to go shopping. The Tapioca (Boba) pearls, however, might be a bit difficult to find. I picked these up at my local Asian Market, they were only about $2.50.

Here's what you'll need:
You can begin by pouring some sugar and some water into a small saucepan. Bring this water to a boil and add in your Tapioca. Boil it all together for 25 minutes.

While your Tapioca is boiling, you can begin to make your tea. I used a loose leaf spiced chai made by some friends of the family. (Cardamom and Curry, check them out!) You can use whatever your favorite tea is. If you like a fruitier flavor, you can try a Passion Fruit tea or a Green Tea with Mango. Prepare your tea like you would any other day. Add sugar and/or honey to taste while the tea is still hot. Put it in the refrigerator for some chill time.

After the Tapioca is done boiling, keep it covered on a low heat for 35-50 more minutes. Check it and stir every once in a while to make sure that it doesn't stick to the bottom/side of the pan. You may also need to add more water, just keep an eye on it. If the pearls are soft all the way through, they are done. Drain, rinse, drain again, rinse some more, and drain one last time. Refrigerate them also.

After the pearls and the tea are completely chilled, take them out again, along with your choice of milk. Pour the Tapioca into the tea (you may not need them all, so you can store the rest and cut down on the prep time for your next batch!) Add the milk and enjoy!

It won't taste EXACTLY like restaurant-bought Bubble Tea, but it'll certainly get the job done. If you don't get it the first time, play around with the amount of sugar that you use, the amount of Boba, the flavor of tea, etc. to make it perfect for you! Share your own recipes and variations in the comment space below, I'd love to hear them!

xo, e.m.

the most adorable font ever.

Puglypixel featured this adorable font on her blog. So kawaii, right? The font features Rilakkuma's face on the uppercase letters and ears on the lowercase. Get it here, use it, and then swoon over the cuteness.

xo, e.m.

endless creativity: part one

Creation and inspiration are good buddies walking hand-in hand. They are inseparable. If you're running low on inspiration, chances are, your creativity in dwindling as well. Let not your heart be troubled! There is a cure! Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing how I stay creative. Part one is simple:

Easy, right? I have a collection of things that inspire me sitting on a dresser in my room. This dresser is the first thing that I see when I wake up. It also happens to be where my I keep my record player and and a few of my favorite books. Needless to say, I'm over there a lot! Just looking at my little display makes me smile and makes me want to create something. It's filled with my favorite colors, textures, objects, and even things from my travels that bring me happy memories.

My stash of inspiring objects includes:
  • Owls. Lots and lots of owls. Most of them are either vintage or from other parts of the world. Owls are magnificent and beautiful creatures. Also, being wise is something to aspire to, am I right?
  • Vintage vases, tins, and even a cool rotary phone. One thing that inspires me to create the most is to think back to a bygone era and imagine what I would be doing without my computer, my iPad, my iPhone, Twitter, etc. People back then must have been SO productive with other things, am I right?
  • Records, old and new. This kinda goes back to my previous point, but it includes music. Music is an instant cure for the creative slumps.
  • Mementos from my travels. Every time I travel somewhere, I try to pick up at least one small souvenir. Pictured here are a small matryoshka doll from Russia (I collect these, I love them SO much!) and a bamboo wall-hanging from China. If you love to travel like I do, try to bring home whatever you can! It doesn't even have to be big. Just whatever will fit in your bag.
Of course, your list will probably be completely different than mine! If you don't know where to begin, make a list of your favorite colors, your favorite patterns, favorite places, anything and everything that'll inspire you. Collect the items and put them in a place where you'll see them on a daily basis. Change it up every once in a while to keep things interesting. You'll be surprised at how it might affect you.

xo, e.m.

peanut butter (for the ladies.)

Who doesn't like peanut butter? To not enjoy the taste of peanut butter would be un-American. Okay, maybe not, but you get the idea. Here's a peanut butter recipe for women on the go. But why, you may ask, is this recipe particularly for women? There's a secret ingredient, maca root. Maca is a "superfood" with lot of benefits to women's health.

What you will need: fresh, unsalted peanuts, a food processor (this recipe will NOT work in a blender!), Maca Root (you can pick this up from Whole foods or order it online.) and some single-serve glass containers.

How to: Fill up one single-serve container with the peanuts. Pour them into the food processor. Use the "low" setting for about 7 minutes, stopping every minute or so (or whenever it's necessary) to break up the mixture with a spoon. When the mixture is at a somewhat smooth consistency, add a pinch of Maca (start VERY small if it's your first time trying it!) and also some salt, to taste. Depending on the freshness of your peanuts, you may also need to add some oil. (Might I suggest a tiny bit of Extra Virgin Olive Oil?)

After you're all done, scoop the mixture (you may need to use a small spatula to get all of it.) into your single-serve bowl. Unlike store-bought peanut butter, which contains preservatives, this recipe needs to be refrigerated. Some separation will occur, this is COMPLETELY normal. Just stir it with a butter knife before spreading it on bread/bananas/crackers/whatever your heart desires.

Happy munching!
xo, e.m.

driving days

Ever feel like you have those days when you drive, and drive, and drive, and drive and never seem to get anywhere? I do. If you're anything like me, you spend a lot of time in the car by yourself. But you know what? I actually enjoy driving. In fact, it's one of my favorite things to do with my boyfriend. It always brings us together through random and deep conversation. Even alone, driving can be a rewarding experience. You just need the right tunes! Here's my personal list of driving songs. (Well, for now!)