Sunday, January 30, 2011

chai tea recipe.

"Take some more tea," the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
"I've had nothing yet," Alice replied in an offended tone: "so I ca'n't take more."
"You mean you ca'n't take less," said the Hatter: "it's very easy to take more than nothing."

-Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

With the cold and snowy winter weather, could you think of anything more warming and heavenly than a house filled with the aromas of ginger, cardamom, cloves & cinnamon??  It's been nearly a year since I went on a mad search for chai tea recipes, with such fervid intent: "I must make my own."  But, like most everyone else in the world, if I put something off for a few days, the thought fades away and it's eventually gone altogether.  But now, with monumental piles of snow on either side of the driveway, what could possibly be more enjoyable than holing up inside next to the fire (or, cough cough, just a candle) with a home-made cup of tea?

Here's the recipe I followed (also found here)...  

Recipe Notes:  I made a few modifications, such as cutting back on the ginger (1/3 cup seemed like too much in comparison to the other spices) and, even still, it was a bit too gingery--next time, I'll probably cut that amount in half.  Instead of goat's milk, I used half-and-half (because it's what we had) and I also threw in a few extra cloves and cardamom... because, well, YUM.  (You can also substitute sugar for the maple syrup.)

Next time, I'm thinking of not adding the milk to the entire pot.  Rather, I think it'll be better to just heat small portions of milk separately whenever I plan on having a cup.

If  you decide to go ahead and attempt this yourself, just be forewarned... your house will smell absolutely heavenly for hours.  :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

photography voice.

This photo, unexpectedly, turned out to be my favorite from last weekend in Harrisburg.  Before anyone arrived for Cuddle Magic's show, I walked around and took some pictures of the really awesome decor.

I feel like I'm finally starting to get a better feel for manual camera settings.  You see, normally I come home with a ton of photos but very few that I actually like.  Either the focus or exposure is off.  More often than not, I get super excited about a few particular shots, but when I get home and upload them onto my computer, I have to deal with the upsetting news that the shot was pretty good but slightly out of focus.  That, plus the fact that I still feel like I haven't found my photography "voice" yet.

Here's a prime example of an out-of-focus shot I took.

I came out with a few photos from last weekend, but this one (the top one) feels good to me for some reason--I know it's not an amazing shot or anything, but the vibrant colors and the placement feel right to me.  I'm already convinced that I like (and will continue to like) it a whole lot more than anyone else ever will.  Maybe it's because it feels like a step closer to my personal "voice."  Even though it's not there yet, it's slowly developing and I recognize a little bit of myself in it.

Have you ever listened to "This American Life" on Public Radio International?  I really kind of love Ira Glass.  His "voice" is so distinct, so matter-of-fact... so, well, Ira Glass.  Last week I happened across one of his videos (seen below) on Making It Lovely and appreciated his thoughts on creativity and persistence (along with his self-berating story) as it relates to "finding your own voice"...

"...most everybody I know who does interesting, creative work, they went through a phase of years where they had really good taste and they could tell what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be.”

 Does this sound like you too?  Are you working on finding your own voice at something as well?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

color for your day.

A little inspiration for a mostly uninspired day.... 

Seriously, what's the deal with January?  Does everyone feel as lackadaisical as me?  Is everyone else locking themselves inside, yet feeling unbelievably restless?  Yarg.

Hoping your week's as colorful, bright and cheery as these.... :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

December Love.

So, I know it's a little late to be posting about Christmas things.  The holiday season seems long gone already.   But this year I received 3 particular Christmas gifts from 3 very lovely family members and it's so very coincidental at how nicely these little gifts all seem to work together that I just feel the need to share.

From my Aunt Di- a 4 oz. bag of Chai Rooibos Tea.  

From my mom- a cute, lemon-shaped tea infuser (& a strawberry for Christopher).  

From my cousins Jon & Amy- a beautiful handmade mug.

 Combine those three with some Bach, Hanon & Ibert at the piano....

and I call that a lovely morning.

Handmade by Jon Juravich (left), Diane Juravich (center), & momma Eileen DiIanni (right)

But even beyond that, those very same family members sent out the most fun, adorable, handmade Christmas cards ever.  They're so talented and amazing!  Aren't they beautiful?!  

Thank you, my wonderful family!

Monday, January 3, 2011


Mom & I went antiquing.

The furniture was ornate.

The knick knacks were full of personality.

Everything was way out of our price range.  Yes, even the Seven Stuffed Dwarfs.

The store owners could totally tell.  We were lookers, not shoppers.

But that did not stop us from having some fun!