Wednesday, December 7, 2011

bday surprise

ugh. i cannot get over my montana friends. they are amazing in every way and i hate to think that i won't be seeing them for awhile. they have inspired, encouraged, sharpened, and blessed me in every possible aspect of life... and they were kind enough to throw a surprise party in honor of my 27th birthday {which was today... ok, technically yesterday}--- it was perfect. thanks again to the lovelies that organized and pulled it off without a hitch and made my birthday so special!!!

as if that wasn't enough, God gave me another bday surprise this morning. i woke up to my 7:30 alarm and sleepily turned it off, then lay there for a few minutes until my eyes felt like opening. normally, when i'm in this state, i'll reach for my phone and scan through instagram or the twitter feed to get my brain working and then i'll get to my bible reading plan... but this morning, i felt pretty awake so i decided to dive right into my psalms/proverbs reading plan.
proverbs 31. yep, that was my proverb for the day... for my birthday. all i could utter as i read it over was "thank you Lord"... i even shed a little tear. i just felt so humbled that God loves me and cares for me so much and so intimately that He would give me proverbs 31 on my birthday. it blew me away... i'm still blown away. God's love is real people. so real.
best birthday ever.

Monday, December 5, 2011

monday pick-me-up :: banish your winter cold

last week, i was stuck at home with the worst cold i think i've ever had. i couldn't breathe. i couldn't sleep. i couldn't move. i could not stop blowing my nose!! it was horrible... but honestly, made me really thankful for my normally good health, which i've realized i take for granted.
i don't normally take anything when i'm sick, i'm one of those people, i guess. my mom always turned to home remedies whenever us kids were sick, and they always worked. so i've carried that with me - i drink lots of water, eat homemade soup, rest rest rest, and i'm usually better within a couple days. not this time. by day 5 of feeling like i had been kicked in the face, i finally decided to help my body out. with a hardworking husband in crunch mode with a recording project and a mom hundreds of miles away, i picked my pitiful self off the couch and went down to the store to get some drugs. ugh, i even hate saying that... but i was desperate.
i made my way to the odwalla case, grabbed a few bottles, then headed to the Emergen-C and Airborne aisle and... i... couldn't do it. i couldn't resist turning the box over and checking the ingredients. it sealed the deal... i couldn't bring myself to buy something that had fructose and natural citrus flavor {which i hope you all know, is NOT natural at all, it's sneaky wording to hide unnatural flavor enhancers... think about it, if they used real orange, they would boast about it... ok, getting off my soapbox...}. so i put the Emergen-C box back on the shelf and went straight to the vitamin section. i studied the bottles then finally chose one and headed to the check-out.
as soon as i got home, i threw back a bottle of odwalla, ate some soup and took the vitamin supplement. i'm not joking, within a couple hours i was feeling better. i wasn't ready to run a mile or anything but i felt noticeably better... even the husband noticed a change in my sickly appearance. by the end of the night, i could finally breathe through my nose; the next day, i didn't blow my nose once, i didn't feel achey, and i was feeling well enough to clean the kitchen {mostly}.
so i thought i would just list a couple things that helped me get on the road to recovery, in case you're battling the same thing. :)

1. lemon + fresh mint leaves makes a simple but great tea to help ease those congested sinuses 2. odwalla superfood  {which aren't from concentrate, don't add sugar, or any sketchy ingredients - it's truly natural! and so delish}... look for it on one of the aisle end caps. 3. classic chicken soup {super easy recipe at real simple's site4. b-complex {which has most, if not all, the same cold-fighting vitamins as Emergen-C}

wishing you a healthy monday! :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

gift guide :: pretty packages

i think i enjoy wrapping presents as much as giving them. i usually try to go with a different theme every year - like, sweater print wrapping paper tied with lots of yarn + buttons, or brown craft paper tied up with string {...these are a few of my favorite things}. and this year i'm feeling very woodsy... maybe because, oh i don't know, we live in a forest? yeah, could be that. whatever the reason, i'm hoping to find some pine branches back in california {yes, we're heading back for christmas}... now, where i would find those, i have no idea... we'll see. anyways, i thought i would 'wrap' up the week with a few pretty packages.

happy friday + have a great weekend!

1. simple wrapping paper + cute ribbon

2. clear bags + personal message {great for tea!}

3. fabric scraps as bows

4. snazzy tape

5. burlap + twine + leaves

6. flag tags!

7. feather + string

8. craft paper + rafia + pine branches

Thursday, December 1, 2011

diy gift guide :: make it personal!

some of the best and most memorable gifts are the ones without the huge price tags... but instead, made by hand. there are literally endless amounts of diy gift projects out there but i thought i would feature a few of my faves. :) so gather up a few of your girlfriends, materials, hot apple cider and make a night out of it. can't wait to do these myself!

1. vintage tin candles - start hunting around your local thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets... you can get tins for less than a dollar most of the time!

2. sugar scrubs - get creative, use coffee grounds or ground up oatmeal and lavender for customized scents.

3. laptop/ ipad case

4. cookies in a jar - bake their favorite cookie(s) and package them up in a mason jar covered with burlap or piece of fabric + twine.

5. leather passport cover

6. hand-painted mug - create personalized designs for the recipient.

{other ideas}
   - make your own tea! go to your local health food store and buy different ingredients in bulk, mix to create a personalized tea blend, then package in a tin or separate bags.

  - make a mix CD + draw/paint completely custom cover art!

check out martha stewart and design*sponge for more diy gift ideas!

happy crafting + happy december!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

gift guide under $50 :: for him!

for some reason, i always think that guys are so hard to shop for... but as i was putting this guide together, i realized that there's a lot of 'guy' stuff out there, you just have to be creative. i totally understand that not all guys are the same and thus having different interests and tastes but i think this little round-up will {hopefully} help you think of something other than the standard shirts and socks gifts. :)

1. for the coffee lover :: chemex coffeemaker makes amazing coffee & creates more of an experience than just hitting the 'brew' button on your cuisinart, starts at $35 // or maybe just buy them a bag of some freshly roasted beans like stumptown, $14 / 12oz.

2. for the outdoorsy :: opinel knives can be personalized with engraving {and come in cool gift boxes}! $34.95

3. for the traveller :: headphone splitter $10 {so he can enjoy and share that favorite youtube video with his fellow bandmates or travel buddies} // cool canvas backpack to carry on the plane $32 // timex watch {just in case that iphone craps out} $40

4. for the leather lover :: leather keychain $34 // leather camera strap for the wrist $49

5. for the music lover :: bon iver {or whatever his favorite band is} LP $14.99, $9.99 on itunes

6. for the inner child :: back to the future trilogy blu ray $19.99 // mini walkie talkies $15 // buy credits on the wii shop channel then purchase his favorite childhood game so it's ready to play on christmas morning! starting at just $5

7. for the wood shop lover :: wooden desk caddy $35 // chalkboard tablet $22

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

gift guide under $50 :: for her!

i loooove shopping for people, but i know that some of you don't... or maybe you do, but you just have a hard time finding that 'perfect' gift. so i've decided to put together a couple gift guides this week to help with that. now, i'm not saying that my little round-up is a list of perfect gifts, but it's really just to help you get the gift-giving juices flowing! :)

1. a go-with-everything accessory :: leather wrap bracelet $44 on etsy or $12 at urban outfitters

2. music :: the civil wars / barton hallow $16.99 for LP, $11.99 for CD, $7.99 for digital download {cheaper than itunes!}

3. books :: design*sponge at home $35 {but $17.50 on amazon right now}, penguin classics: pride & prejudice or little women $13

4. fancy posts {that can also work casual} :: $48 at anthro or $5.80 at forever21

5. desk accessories {they'll brighten up any office space!} :: personalized gold pencils $7 (for 24), leather/gold mousepad on etsy $25, keep calm eraser {because who doesn't need that reminder at work?!} $3.95

6. magazine subscription(s) {it's the gift that keeps on givin!} :: vogue $15, whole living $10

Monday, November 28, 2011

monday pick-me-up: sweet potato fries!

what better way to tackle a monday than to indulge in some fries?! the only difference is, these are baked, not fried, yay! i might have made these twice in the last week... oh wait, yes, i definitely did. this is such an easy, healthy snack, side or appetizer... especially during this time of year!! yumski.

2 sweet potatoes {washed}
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp. curry blend {mine had curry, cinnamon, cumin}
1/2 tsp. parsley {plus a little more for garnish}

 - preheat oven to 375 degrees. cut potatoes lengthwise into skinny wedges.
 - combine oil and spices in a large bowl, add wedges and toss until evenly coated.
 - arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. sprinkle salt over the wedges to your liking.
 - bake for 30 minutes.
 - serve immediately, garnish with parsley + salt... enjoy!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


it's the number of years the husband and i have been married today. so crazy. that number represents so many travel adventures and nights in, tea + coffee dates, bike rides to the beach, last-minute d-land trips, endless amounts of time listening to music and talking about it, and everything in between.
husband, i am so thankful for you. the last five years spent with you have been, well, above and beyond amazing. amazing. honestly that word doesn't even feel adequate........ i love that i've never laughed so hard or shed as many tears with anyone else in my life..... i love that, through life's elations and tragedies, you're constant... constantly having a servant's heart, constantly encouraging, constantly loving me and everyone around you. i can't believe i have you, that i'm the one that gets to call you "husband" and all the other 'nic'names, that you're my leader, my best friend, my perfect perfect perfect match. like we've always said:: no one has it this good.
and it just keeps getting better.
happy anniversary.
i love you.
p.s. so much.

nic and ashley. from Brittany Fay on Vimeo.

Friday, November 25, 2011

rosemary + olive oil drop biscuits

being GF has had its good days and bad days... luckily the last year has been pretty good - haven't had too many "i wish i could have..." moments... but i had to have biscuits this thanksgiving, i just had to! so i found a recipe for almond flour drop biscuits a few weeks ago and pinned it for this very occasion. and then, just a couple days ago, i remembered having some amazing rosemary + olive oil bread long before my GF days and thought 'yeah girl!!' so here's my simple recipe for just that. :)

  2 1/2 cups almond flour
  1/2 tsp. salt
  1/2 tsp. baking soda
  2 eggs
  1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1/4 cup honey
  2 tablespoons fresh rosemary {about two sprigs - chopped}

   - preheat oven to 350 degrees.
   - whisk dry ingredients {flour, salt, baking soda, rosemary} together in one bowl, mix wet ingredients in a larger bowl then combine dry mixture to wet. blend until thoroughly combined {i used a spatula when it started to thicken up}
   - drop heaping spoonfuls {just shy of 1/4 cup} onto parchment lined baking sheet.
   - bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and the biscuits look golden brown.
   - serve immediately and enjoy!! {makes about 10 biscuits}

{a snapshot of our first montana thanksgiving... it was magical.}

Thursday, November 24, 2011

giving thanks today...

... for my family.
... for my friends.

i truly thank God for you guys and i love you all so much...
happy thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

thanksgiving dessert: pumpkin muffins + cream cheese frosting

instead of making the traditional pumpkin pie {as delicious as it is}, i decided to make something different for t-day dessert... ok, i had no other choice as someone else was already bringing the pie. but needless to say, i'm really glad i had to get creative. so after little debate, i decided to make pumpkin muffins {changed the recipe slightly from the recently posted bouchons to something slightly sweeter} with cream cheese frosting and a little cinnamon/sugar dust. mm mmm mmmm! can't wait to have another one tomorrow :)

pumpkin muffins
  1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  1 1/4 cups all-purpose GF flour
  1 cup almond flour
  1/2 cup agave nectar
  1/2 cup apple sauce
  2 large eggs
  1 tsp. baking soda
  1/2 tsp. baking powder
  1 tsp. cinnamon
  1/2 tsp. ginger
  1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  1/2 tsp. all spice
  1/4 tsp. salt

cream cheese frosting
  4 oz. cream cheese {i used light cream cheese}
  4 tablespoons butter
  1 tsp. vanilla
  1/2 cup powdered sugar

  1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  1 tsp. cinnamon
  handful of slivered almonds, broken up

 - preheat oven to 350 degrees. cut 5" parchment paper squares for muffin pan {or use regular muffin cups}.
 - whisk together dry ingredients {flours, baking soda + powder, spices}. blend wet ingredients until combined {eggs, pumpkin, agave, apple sauce}. slowly add dry mixture to wet, blend until thoroughly combined.
 - spoon into parchment paper cups, fill nearly to the top.
 - bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. while the muffins are baking, blend ingredients for frosting in one bowl, and mix dust ingredients in another.
 - transfer cups to wire rack, let cool. frost and dust to your liking... enjoy!!

happy thanksgiving eve!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

monday pick-me-up: easy, hearty tortilla soup!

mmm... there is nothing better than homemade soup on a cold, snowy night! especially if it's an easy soup... which is what i'll be sharing with you. most soups on the internet call for cups of chicken broth, which i don't like to use because i have yet to find a chicken broth/stock at the store without msg, natural flavorings (which are not natural at all!), and high amounts of salt... all of which are so bad for you. so i've been making soup without it, just adding water instead to avoid all those unhealthy ingredients... and it tastes great!! husband was raving about this one in particular. :)

(i use all organic ingredients- they always taste best!!)
  1/2 lb. of organic ground beef
  3/4 jar of salsa
  2 celery stalks (chopped)
  1/2 onion (chopped)
  3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  3 tbsp. olive oil
  1 cup of brown rice
  1 can of black beans (strained)
  1 jalapeno (finely chopped)
  tortilla chips + cilantro for garnish
  salt + pepper to taste

   1. saute chopped garlic, onion, and jalapeno with 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large pot (over medium-high heat).
   2. once the onion looks translucent, fill pot 2/3 with water, bring to a boil.
   3. add rice, salsa, celery and black beans. set timer for 45 minutes.
   4. in a separate pan, cook ground beef in the remaining olive oil then add to the soup, reduce heat to low, so that the soup is simmering.
   5. once the timer goes off, serve and garnish with tortilla chips and cilantro! if the soup isn't as spicy as you thought it would be, just sprinkle some crushed red peppers on top {i did it and tastes great!}.
{p.s. refrigerate the remainder of the soup}

enjoy! :)

a week's worth

i know. i haven't been posting every day. so sorry. i've got to get into a habit!
working on lots of ideas i have for illustrations, patterns, and prints!! i'll keep you posted! :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

monday pick-me-up: pumpkin {bouchon} muffins

'tis the season to bake!! i don't know about you, but i've been in a baking flurry ever since the calendar read november 1st. and i have no complaints or regrets for my recent convection obsession (and i don't think the husband does either!). i found a great recipe from one of my fave bloggers - roost - for butternut squash bouchons (which, if you didn't know, are sort of like muffins but a little taller and a little skinnier) but i don't have little bouchon baking cups so i just used a good ol' fashioned muffin pan... they turned out great and i was immediately inspired to make some pumpkin bouchons (or muffins... i just like using the word bouchon as much as possible!) so i changed up the recipe a little bit and am completely happy with the results!
i feel like i should warn you fellow sweet-toothers: these are not cupcakes, they are not super sweet, nor will they leave you feeling guilty after partaking... you'll notice the recipe doesn't call for butter or oil, or cups upon cups of sugar! so, if you'd rather have something more decadent for dessert, you could save these for fall mornings paired with your morning cup of caffeine . :)

   2 1/2 cups of GF flour {i'm sure normal flour would work fine too}
   2 cups of pumpkin
   1/2 cup of applesauce
   1/4 cup of honey
   1/3 cup of brown sugar
   2 eggs
   1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
   2 tsp. cinnamon
   1/2 tsp. salt
   1/2 tsp. baking soda
   chopped walnuts + raw sugar for sprinkling {optional}

{makes 16 bouchon muffins}

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • whisk dry ingredients together {flour, spices, salt, baking soda}.
  • add the other ingredients and stir until combined.
  • drop into parchment paper lined muffin pan.
  • sprinkle with chopped walnuts + raw sugar {optional... but highly recommended!}
  • bake for 30-35 minutes
  • enjoy!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

a loved chair

{sitting in the studio while the husband works and this chair caught my eye. love this chair.}

Saturday, November 12, 2011

christmas card elements

this week i've been focusing on playing with different elements for our first-ever christmas card {yes, we've been married for 5 years this month, but have failed to send out a christmas greeting all those years}. so here is a sneak peak of what i've been working on::

Thursday, November 10, 2011

christmas inspiration

it's that time of year (almost). i'm already humming christmas tunes and thinking about christmas gifts... and apparently, anthro is too! it really is the most wonderful time of the year. :)

olive tree + happy bear

{i think this bear might be one of my faves (after wall-e of course:) but there's something about this little fuzzy guy that makes me smile... maybe the fact that he's smiling? i'm gearing up for the children's book illustrations so i drew this bear with some emotion - to test the waters - and i can already tell that it's going to be so fun to draw animal characters with cute facial expressions. :)}

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

animal kingdom

{i've been researching various animals for a children's book i'm working on at the moment... i'm really excited about this one!!}

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

catchup part 2

i sketched two things today because i completely forgot to do one yesterday!!! forgive me? i hope so. :)

{this banner was a quick sketch for a project i'm going to be working on... i love the brainstorming/inspiration process}

Monday, October 31, 2011

happy halloween!

{been sitting at the red caboose and have seen lots of captain hooks today! whitefish mt kids have the best costumes!! check out some of the best on the red caboose facebook page! my favorite was the little sheep... soooo cute!!}

Sunday, October 30, 2011

catch up day

here is a few days' worth of sketches!! hope you enjoy :)

{apparently i had woodland creatures on the mind lately :)}

Saturday, October 29, 2011

livin' on a prayer

friends + costumes + karaoke + good food + glow sticks = BEST. PARTY. EVER.
husband and i had so much fun last night - getting dressed up, singing karaoke {oh yes, we performed 'livin' on a prayer' for everyone}, seeing everyone in costume of choice {we were graced with the presence of the beatles, the blue man group, taylor swift, audrey hepburn + fred astaire, woody + jessie, pocahontas, even a montana hunter + deer, an elephant, a robot, just to name a few :)}, and of course dancing {husband busted out some caaarrrraaaazzzzy moves, including the moonwalk}!!

who were we? take a look....

bon jovi + his devoted, adoring groupie! {my shirt said 'bon jovi forever' and yes, husband was shirtless under that leopard scarf and authentic 80's leather jacket}

i didn't want to spend a lot of money on our costumes because we'd only wear them once... {although, after last night, husband asked me multiple times if i could dress like that ALL the time} so i visited two thrift stores and found gold earrings, a black necklace, and a stonewash shirt for a grand total of $2.50!! i picked up a couple of fabric paint bottles and made my own groupie shirt then paired it with black leggings and red shoes that i already had. so, literally, my getup cost less than $5.00! husband's costume was a little more - we got the wig for $8 and the leopard scarf for $9 {which i will totally wear!!}. seriously, i feel like the less money you want to spend, the more creative you can be.

hope everyone has a fun, costume-filled weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

yesterday's camera

{yesterday, i got to hang out with my lovely friend, kelli trontel, who happens to be a suuuuper talented photographer...  so i was inspired to sketch a quick camera. oh and she took the photo of me below with her iphone... amazing!!}

p.s. it's supposed to snow here this week!!! eeeeeek!!! i'm so unbelievably thrilled at the prospect. :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

gandalf the grey

{so i have to be honest, today was kind of busy so i didn't have time to sketch... so i pulled one from the archives. i sketched this several years ago and i've come across it a couple times as i've been trying to find a blank page in my sketchbook, so i thought i would share it... cheers lotr fans!}
oh, and happy monday! :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

i'm addicted

{to project runway!! i sketched this garment stand as i was watching part one of the season finale. can't wait for the next episode!!}
see you monday :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011


well, since i sketched a pirate ship, then a cannon, i have to admit that i had captain jack sparrow on my mind... ergo, the sparrow sketch. :)

have a great weekend!

Friday, October 21, 2011

cannon in pen

so this might be my last "p" related sketch {since that makes 7 total!} - a "penned" cannon. :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

a pirate ship study

i've always loved pirate ships and i'm not really sure why i chose to sketch these up - maybe it was the fact that i thought the husband said "black pearl" today... or that i've apparently had the letter "p" on my mind lately - whatever the reason, i just felt like sketching them tonight...

savvy? :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

my iphone

{i read an article about steve jobs today... sad yet inspiring. he has contributed to so many of our lives in more ways than one... so i decided to sketch one of those contributions. thanks steve.}

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

the pawn

{the one and only move that husband played on the chessboard today at lunch. ha}