Mar 26, 2013

It's Raining Salads!

I have never been much of a salad eater. For one thing, about half of the ingredients that go into typical salads are items that I simply do not like. Tomatoes, onions, peppers, cucumbers.... to name a few. I have always been picky because I am a texture eater.

When trying to eat healthier and exclude meats, salads are probably one of the first meal ideas that comes to most people's mind. Here are a couple of salads that even a picky eater like me can really get behind!

Asian Inspired Salad

This salad is super easy and tastes great! Just toss your greens of choice with carrot slices, mandarin oranges, almond slivers, rice noodles and sesame sticks! Serve with Balsamic or Ginger dressing. You can add red onions and other veggies as you see fit.

Taco Salad

This salad is a house favorite. It's hearty and there's no dressing required! I use mixed spring greens as my salad base and add shredded carrots, black beans, salsa, shredded cheese (Mexican blend), slices of avocado and a dollop of sour cream. I usually add grape tomatoes to Mark's serving and sometimes onions.

Homemade Water Color Paints

These are SUPER-easy to make. These homemade watercolor paints cost me next to nothing, and they turned out so much better than I imagined they would!

You’re going to love how simple this recipe is. You probably already have all the ingredients already in your kitchen.

What you’ll need:

4 tbsp baking soda
2 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp light corn syrup
2 tbsp corn starch
Food coloring
container to keep your paints in – I used a vintage mini muffin tin.

 What you’ll do:

Mix your baking soda and vinegar together and wait for the fizzing to stop. It’s handy if you mix in a container that has a spout (I used a measuring cup).

Add your corn syrup and corn starch, and mix well until the corn starch has dissolved.

Pour into your container.

Now, get out your colors and have some fun! Stir food coloring into paint mix for about a minute to make sure the color is mixed in well.

If you’re using liquid colours, you may have to add about 6 drops to get the intense colour that you ‘re looking for. I added a pinch of extra corn starch to compensate for the extra liquid.

You have to let your paints “set up” and dry which could take up to 2 days.

Once they’re hard, simply grab a paint brush and some water and get painting!! I couldn’t wait to try mine, and I was really impressed when I did. The paints glide on smoothly, the colours look super. Honestly, they are nicer than any of the kiddy watercolor paints I’ve used before. They’re a little chalky when they dry, but not nearly as chalky as the dollar store paints.

I also think the muffin tin will be much better than those shallow trays that kids’ paint usually comes in. With the shallow trays, the colors get muddy quickly when the little ones drag their brushes all over the tray, sloshing water around and mixing the colors together. I’m hoping our colors stay a little “cleaner".

Another Perk - Homemade watercolor paints don’t stain!

Have fun!

Mar 25, 2013

Pumpkin Dog Biscuits

2 eggs
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons dry milk
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/2 cups brown rice flour *
1 teaspoon dried parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.

In large bowl, whisk together eggs and pumpkin to smooth. Stir in dry milk, sea salt, and dried parsley (if using, optional). Add brown rice flour gradually, combining with spatula or hands to form a stiff, dry dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface (can use the brown rice flour) and if dough is still rough, briefly knead and press to combine.

Roll dough between 1/4 – 1/2″ – depending on your dog’s chew preferences, – and use biscuit or other shape cutter to punch shapes, gathering and re-rolling scraps as you go. Place shapes on cookie sheet, no greasing or paper necessary. If desired, press fork pattern on biscuits before baking, a quick up-and-down movement with fork, lightly pressing down halfway through dough. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully turn biscuits over, then bake additional 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely on rack before feeding to dog.

*Brown rice flour gives the biscuits crunch and promotes better dog digestion. Many dogs have touchy stomachs or allergies, and do not, like many people I know, tolerate wheat.

Makes up to 75 small (1″) biscuits or 50 medium biscuits

Mar 17, 2013

Family Walks

With the impending addition to our family in the form of a puppy who will need daily walks for his health and happiness, we decided to establish a family walk routine. This routine, which we began today, consists of 2 thirty minute to hour long walks. One walk will be in the morning before Mark heads to work and the other will be in the evening before we do our nighttime routine.

Typically it is unusual for Tallulah and I to even see Mark in the mornings. We tend to start our day as he is heading out door. This does mean having an earlier start to our day, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

And what are those benefits?

~ Quality and uninterrupted time as a family: Being outdoors and breathing fresh air promotes a sense of calmness that can lead to bonding time and better conversations.

~ Health benefits: A brisk 30 min exercise is a great way to include cardiovascular exercise and cut calories out in your daily routine.

~ Leading by example: We´re setting a great example for Tallulah by modeling good healthy exercise habits that can reap future benefits in her attitude towards exercise.

~ Both Tallulah and our future puppy will get to work off their excess energy! (This is more a benefit for me then them. Haha.)

Do you have a daily family-time routine? How has it benefited the health of your family?

Mar 14, 2013

Chocolate Chip Waffle Sticks

Vegan Chocolate Chip Waffle Sticks


1 cup of unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup of almond milk
1/2 cup apple sauce
Vegan chocolate chips, or a chopped up chocolate bar

Do I need to write instructions on how to make waffles on a waffle maker? Didn't think so. Top with your favorite toppings. I like to use powdered sugar and syrup. ;) Enjoy your breakfast!

Mar 12, 2013

The Clichy Inn

As our wedding day gets nearer and nearer our excitement and anticipation only grows!

At first we were going to have our guests stay in a hotel while we stayed at the cottage at our wedding location, The 1812 Hitching Post. However, with the impending addition of our new family member (our puppy-to-be, Klaus) we needed to find a place that was pet-friendly. We also decided that it would be nicer if the entire wedding party stayed at the same location. A B&B was suggested by Wendy at the 1812 Hitching Post and what a fabulous idea that was!

Having such a small wedding has its perks! Intro The Clichy Inn.

Located in historic downtown Statesville, NC. The Clichy Inn is on the National Registry of Historic Homes. It also happens to be within walking distance of the Italian restaurant we made reservations at for our wedding dinner! (More on that later.)

"Originally built in 1917 for Charles H. Turner. Mr. Turner invented farm tractor implements under the name: Turner Machinery. After several different owners the home was restored in 2004 and opened in 2005. It has been the ideal accommodation for business travelers, snowbirds, romantic getaways and family reunions. The Clichy Inn is a wonderful place to unwind."

As a turn of fate, they have just enough room for our entire party! We reserved the entire place for a 15% discount! Woot!

For more information on the Clichy Inn check out their website at:

Mar 10, 2013

1812 Hitching Post

For our wedding location we chose the 1812 Hitching Post. One of the main factors in our choice was finding a location that was all-inclusive. The 1812 Hitching Post is just that! On our wedding day we pretty much just have to show up and say our vows. They coordinate everything! They provide the ceremony officiate, set up the location and decorate it with your wedding colors, they provide a photographer, DJ and even include the wedding cake! Because your wedding day should be as stress free as possible! They have packages for every budget and wedding size.

They are very proud of their reputation. As well they should be! They were recently chosen as one of the top 5% of wedding venues in the nation for the 2nd year in a row. They are listed on The Knot as one of the top 10 historic wedding venue locations in North Carolina. They care deeply about the success of your wedding experience and want to help you achieve your dream.

The 1812 Hitching Post with its 18-room main house and 26 private acres of grounds is the only authentic antebellum plantation in the foothills of North Carolina dedicated exclusively to weddings and receptions. For more information visit

Mar 9, 2013

Wedding Music

Since our wedding is going to be so small I was having a difficult time coming up with music choices since our selection was limited by the amount of time available to us at our wedding location. My processional was the simplest choice because I've known what I wanted to walk down the "isle" to since I was 16. Haha. As for the rest of the music choices, I tried to match both of our taste in music, stay relatively current, coincide with our personalities, and comply with the tone we wanted to set. Voila! (Actually, it was more like... Hmmm, hmph, huh... Oh! Heh.)

Here is our relatively finalized music choices.

Bride’s Processional (walk in) -
"Where You Are" by FFH

Recessional -
"Marry You," Bruno Mars

First dance (if any) -
"Overjoyed," Matchbox Twenty

Other requested music for reception -
"Ho Hey," The Lumineers
"Kiss Me," Ed Sheeran
"Bruises," Chairlift
"Dearest," The Black Keys
“Firework” - Katy Perry
"The Reason" - Hoobastank

And here is a link to the Youtube Playlist for your listening enjoyment. :)

Mar 5, 2013

This Lovely Hectic Life

Posts may slow down a little bit over the next couple of months. Life is hectic, but lovely and I wouldn't have it any other way!

It's already March and the weather continues to improve. This year marks a lot of new beginnings for me and my little family. For one thing, we've decided to add a new member to it. We will be welcoming home a male brown and white parti standard poodle puppy the Monday before my daughter's birthday.

You can see a video of the litter at one week old here:

Getting ready to have a puppy is very similar to getting ready for a new baby. You have to acquire all of the necessary supplies, "puppy proof" your home, discuss training methods with your partner to make sure everyone is on the same page, and set up a new routine that will work for everyone involved. If you don't take these preliminary steps then introducing a new animal to your home will be more work and stress than it should be for both the humans and canines involved.

April 20th marks my daughter's 2nd annual. :) It's almost surreal thinking about the fact that I will have a two year old in such a short amount of time, but there it is! She's growing up so fast and every day I can see the light inside of her shining ever more brightly. I have never loved anyone more or been more proud of anything in my life. Sometimes I just look at her in sheer awe. I cannot wait to see what this next year brings for her.

Not much more than a month later her father and I officially "tie the knot" in an intimate ceremony at The 1812 Hitching Post in Harmony, NC. Even though we are going on our 3rd year of being together, this wedding is coming up quickly. We only decided to get married officially right around Yule. 5 months is really not that long to plan everything out and get everything situated! Luckily our chosen event location offers packages so that I don't have to stress about EVERY detail. It may be small, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be my own version of perfect!

Here is their website if you would like more information on The 1812 Hitching Post:

Then, probably in the beginning or middle of June, we're off to Oregon for a couple of weeks to visit Mark's parents. I've never been to Oregon before so I am hoping to get in some amazing outdoor and Portland visiting time. :) I only hope Tallulah does well on our flights to and from.

On July 13th and 14th I will be premiering my business, Afet, in my first vending role at the Down East Bellydance and Drum Fest in New Bern, NC. How exciting!

That put us just over halfway through the year! The rest of the year should be a piece of cake after all of the excitement of the first half.

So there you go! When posts go a little slack in the next few months please don't hold it against me. It's just life being, well, life! On the plus side, having so much going on will certainly give me some interesting things to write about when things settle down. ;)

Mar 3, 2013

Goddess Belly Dancer Resources

As a plus size dancer, sometimes I find it difficult to find good resources for costuming. Most "plus sizes" that are available main stream don't really cut it for me. Either they are still too small (even if only slightly) or they aren't in the styles or colors that I want. So I decided to compile a resource list for my fellow plus size dance sisters! Most of these vendors do custom to YOUR measurements, thus taking all of the guesswork and stress out of the sizing equation. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but I do hope this list is helpful.

Of course I have to start off with some shameless self promotion. Right now I mostly sell bindis of my own design and creation and gemstone jewelry. Soon I will be adding silk ribbon wrap jewelry with Kuchi accents, hip scarves, and costuming supplies. It is my hope that my repertoire will only continue to grow as I am able to add a larger variety of products.

You can find me -
on Storenvy at
and Etsy at

Like me on Facebook for store updates, coupons, and specials at:

Now on to my Resource List!

Online Stores: - Custom Belly Dance Clothes - For Plus Size Dancers and Divas - So Many Options! - Luxurious hand-made clothes for dance and yoga. - Plus Size section with decent selection. - American Tribal Style®, Tribal Fusion, and Folkloric Belly Dance  and/or - Body stockings. Etc.

Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love Etsy. I love supporting small business and stay at home moms. Granted not all of the vendors on Etsy fit the bill, but a good majority of them do. Being a crafty person myself, I appreciate what Etsy has to offer. Not to mention living in an area that offers next to nothing I want or need at a local level makes my love of Etsy that much stronger. This next list is specifically for Etsy vendors. :)

Etsy Vendors: - Specializing in ATS/Tribal Bellydance costuming, unique jewelry, and Bindis - Original Mandala Pixie Vests & Goddess Wear Can Be Found Here - Dance Wear Custom Orders
VaudevilleGypsy.etsy.comCostume, Accessories & Jewelry  
eleven44.etsy.comHand made eco clothing - pants, tops, underwear, bras, skirts, dresses, etc.
hipstarrdesigns.etsy.comClothes that you can dance, spin, leap, fly, and play in.
BlissBus.etsy.comQuality, unique handmade clothing.
Zizzyfaywear.etsy.comMagical clothing inspired by nature and faerie realm. - Custom Clothing. Their pants are fabulous! - Unique Belly Dance Gear - Fabulous Dance Bras and Bindis - Handmade Clothing
Apia.etsy.comApia's Dancewear is for dancers who MUST look elegant in the studio! - Dance Bras - Original handmade apparel for dance. - Dressing the Goddess within. - Custom Costumes for Dancers
undulation.etsy.comComfortable workout wear for bellydance, tribal, burlesque and latin dancing.
SweetassDesigns.etsy.comHula Hoop, Belly Dance, and Festival Clothing - Traditional and Custom Sizes - Custom Sized Tribal Clothing - Goddess Sizes Available - Clothing and Accessories

Personal Favorites: These vendors are either personal friends of mine or are vendors I have personally ordered from and had fabulous experiences with! - Unitards, leotards, and body stockings. Etc. - Skirts that Really Fly - Coin Bras, Hip Belts & Turkish Vests - Hand Knit Dancewear - Headresses, Skin Candy, Costumes
MadDanceDesigns.etsy.comCustom made Tribal Fusion and Goth Fusion Belly Dance Costumes - Tops, Skirts, Hip Scarves and Pants - Prices are negotiable!!!! Variety of Belly Dance Costuming.
Kahramana.etsy.comBelly dance hip scarves from plus size to petite and girls'.

Have fun shopping! And feel free to share vendors you have found that cater to our voluptuos curves! ;)