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OMGrand canyon!

OMGrand canyon!

today i learned that nate loves me so much, he was willing to park in touristy sedona and go into four shops with me on our way out of town. and he even bought a HAT.
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it was a hazy morning in sedona on the way out, but i got some shots of the red rocks. and the drive up to flagstaff from sedona was gorgeous. it gave way to forest land and mountains, and we drove up switchbacks and through pine trees. we stopped at a scenic overlook at about 6000 feet altitude, then went on our way.
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drove through flagstaff and stopped for gas, then got on the highway through flat grassland and shrubbery to the GC.
as we approached the last little nothing town before GC, there were increasing RVs and trailers out in the middle of the flatlands. i can’t imagine there was electric or sewer run out there, so it just baffles my mind. do they live off the grid? do they have generators? how do they get their water? it was like a shantytown.
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that’s something that i noticed here. i don’t know if it’s because i’m just not used to desert or what, but homes look dirty here, unless they’re actual pueblo style. if the homes were dropped on a grass lawn with some trees instead of sand and shrubs, would they look better?
home aesthetic contemplation aside, nate and i got the GC and battled some minimal traffic, considering, to get to our hotel, then we headed out to the rim. our hotel has a partial view, but it just doesn’t compare to seeing it up close!
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it’s true what they say: pictures do it no justice. i mean, i still took a buttload of pics, but there’s no way it can show the immensity of it; it completely envelopes your vision.
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for supper, i had a reservation at el tovar, the fancy hotel here in the village. we definitely had some fancy food! had a couple drinks, an italian mozzarella appetizer, nate had duck – which was delicious-, i had a salmon tostada and should have had the ribeye, and then i had lemon cheesecake and nate flourless chocolate cake for dessert.
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and now it’s getting cold and SUPER windy (gusts up to 75 mph tomorrow). it’s supposed to snow tomorrow on our way to page, and it’ll be 45º during our canyon tour. i might have to wear all my clothes.

let's get this party kickstarted

let's get this party kickstarted

this summer i have the opportunity to work on a big photo project again! this time around, we’re working on bringing old hollywood to life. this project will be super duper fun and i’m really excited about it. i’ll be working with a lot of the same people who were part of the cosplay calendar i did a couple years ago. (which was also super duper fun.)
SO. it’s currently in a kickstarter, and we need to get this funded! i’m going to up the ante for my blog readers: if you fund this at $20 & up, and it gets fully funded, i’ll send you a copy of any 8×10 photo or notecards from my etsy shop. (you also get a piece of jewelry from the set!) just make a screen shot of your receipt and comment with it below (make sure to comment with your name so i know who you are). or you can email it to me if you have my email.
let’s get this going! click here for the kickstarter page!

c-dogg

c-dogg

got some pics of craig yesterday! unfortunately, the christmas photo didn’t happen, so jane and i took craig and i got some 1-yr-old photos of him. talk about sir moves-a-lot! didn’t get many of him where he wasn’t a blur because he was moving around so much.
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thanksgiving!

thanksgiving!

today is foodblog. sorry for the lack of words!

  1. bacon made that galette SO MUCH BETTER. any future squash spinach galettes will include bacon. 

bacon  galette jane
so i spatchcocked the bird again, which reduces cooking time significantly i’ve never been able to capture the seasoning process of the turkey before, but liz was able to get some pics of jane scooping in the seasoning while i shoved it under the skin. spatched squash
bird
mmm look at that bird! i think i forgot a step that would have flattened the breast out a little more, but that’s quite all right. it was pretty delicious as is! 

day 3: the OCEAN

day 3: the OCEAN

it’s so BRIGHT here. all the time! it’s pretty weird.
today after facing some ugly truths, jane and i hopped in the convertible and headed as far west as we could. after driving on narrow lanes once again (seriously – not sure what’s up with the narrow traffic lanes around here [but dang if these peeps don’t keep a great amount of following distance! love it]), we finally came around a bend and saw the pacific! that’s a big piece of water.
after hanging out on hwy 101 for a bit, we were able to get off onto the pacific coast highway (hwy 1). we immediately found a pull off and went to the beach to dip our toes in the chilly water and pick up some rocks and shells. jane didn’t roll her pants up high enough and got wet pants at least three times. 
then we took off northward on the PCH/101, landing in santa barbara, where we parked the car and took a stroll on the beach (where we saw a creepy, really tanned old dude in a speedo who should’ve taken a dip in the cold ocean), then walked out to stern’s wharf.
at that point, it suddenly got super hot. jane was using the ladies and i stood in the shade, where i sweated from just being. i also awkwardly chatted with a guy in steampunk gear who had his cat on a leash (the cat was cool). 
after saying goodbye to the cat, we had drinks and lunch at a restaurant (moby dick’s) out on the wharf, overlooking a harbor and the palm trees of santa barbara. i’d definitely recommend SB if you want to just hang out in a smaller town with a beach and typical tropical atmosphere. lots of palm trees, giant beach, constant sun. 
then we left and drove back down 101, hooking up with hwy 1 again via a weird, roundabout, interstate farmland area (seriously, weird farming stuff here). we drove through malibu and saw a ton of fancypants houses that we wouldn’t be able to pay taxes on, let alone buy. i think i saw ellen degeneres’ house! j/k i don’t know if i did, but i’m sure i saw the house of someone famous!
then we went to santa monica pier, where we had surprisingly easy and CHEAP access to parking (seriously, $6 for parking; i thought it was going to be $20). headed out on the pier and looked at a bunch of tacky stuff, picked up a couple souvenirs, then watched the sunset off the pier, along with every other person on the pier at the time. got some great pics, though! 
we got back to the hotel by backtracking a bit because the timing was pretty horrible due to rush hour. we drove through topanga canyon and were surprised at the end of it by a GREAT overlook of LA at night. after half an hour of windy, 20-mph driving, it was worth it. it’d be fun to see that during the day too. 
instead of taking the freeway to our hotel, we decided to drive ventura boulevard for 11 miles to our hotel. it was CONSTANT COMMERCE. just weird. saw a lot of porn shops (one with a giant, stuffed penis for sale in the window), psychics, sushi shops, then walgreens, target, pier one, then fancy restaurants, organic pet food stores, yoga studios, then a mcdonald’s, trader joe’s, michael’s craft store, then a store dedicated entirely lightbulbs, chandelier stores, etc. etc. and all the time, traffic was tight with the narrow lanes. i’m not sure how a person is supposed to turn left onto the road. 
we got through ventura, then jane made her only navigational mistake of the day. we were turning right into the hotel, and it was coming up, and i said, “it’s coming up. there it is. here it is. turn here. right here. there it is. there it goes.” 
then we had to drive around on some side streets, but jane made it. 
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Fall at SJU

Fall at SJU

YES. 
yes. yes. yes. THIS is why i came back up here. visiting the st. john’s woods during the fall season is one of my top central minnesota activities. 
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lighten up

lighten up

with a backpacking trip impending (as in, probably next year), i have been thinking about what to pack and what not to pack. obviously, a lighter pack is a better pack when you’re carrying it on your back while hiking up and down hills for 10 miles a day.
one thing i keep coming back to: my camera. i would LOVE to bring my camera and a couple lenses. unfortunately, my camera and two lenses i would bring weigh a TON in the packing world. like, we’re talking ounces when you’re speaking with an appalachian trail through-hiker. every ounce counts.
but part of me is thinking, i can’t NOT bring my camera. it just doesn’t make sense to not bring it. my phone camera wouldn’t do anything real justice, and i just can’t justify buying a specific, lighter, not-quite-as-functional camera for a trip. 
so what do i not bring? do i get a kindle so i can leave a couple paperbacks at home? make sure all my clothes are ultra light? buy a new, lighter nalgene? or do i say, this time, no camera? me without a camera on a trip like this is probably like me without a limb. do i just suck it up and carry the extra two pounds? i think i do.

let's make a pie

let's make a pie

following a bunch of chefs on twitter only results in one thing: me wanting to make a bunch of food. 
andrew zimmern (renowned travel channel chef AND minnesotan) posted his blueberry pie.
OKAY. I’LL MAKE YOUR PIE, AZ.
i used my own pie crust recipe, which is below. it’s the same one my mom used for pumpkin pies while i was growning up, except instead of crisco (transfats central), i use butter and sometimes lard if i have it. i also add a quarter cup of sugar for pies.
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a couple notes on crust making: keep that butter cold. i’ve tried making it in a food processor, and nothing beats just getting in there with your hands. 
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cover up that bad boy and throw it in the fridge while you do the rest of your pie making. crust is easier to handle if it’s chilled. 
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the recipe calls for 5 cups of blueberries, but i used SIX. such a rebel.
it also calls for cardamom, which i actually had. i did have to grind it up though, which is easily done in a coffee grinder. not just for coffee! use it for grinding spices AND your poppyseed. it also called for orange zest. this should be tasty! i did add some nutmeg too, which AZ did NOT call for. i hope it turns out ok.
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time for the crust! let me tell you, the best thing i did was get a dough scraper. that thing is the bomb for helping roll out pie crusts. 
blueberry-pie06once it’s rolled up on your pin, you just roll it back out over your pie plate. SO EASY. i feel like i should go back in time and tell my mom before she used store-bought crusts. 
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throw in those blueberries. 6 cups certainly fit.  
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lattices look like a huge pain, but they’re just a little tedious. pro-tip: after rolling out your dough, use a pizza cutter to cut the strips. this is also helpful for cutting all different kinds of dough. no sticking, no jagged edges. 
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and in the oven to cook! AZ’s pie had this fancy edging, but i cheated and just used a fork to tamp everything down.
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aw yiisss.
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spring!

spring!

tulips
The grass is greening up; the tulips are blooming; the temperature is rocketing between 40º and 80º – it must be spring!
i love these tulips. they start off like the lower right, greeny and yellowy, and they turn into the pink. it’s my destiny to plant a bunch of good looking tulips and then move away from them, over and over again. 
i have to get out and take pics of these guys with my real camera and not just my phone cam. i also need to step up my blogging game. wow!

photodump

photodump

i took a couple pics on my hike last weekend, then took some pics of my peppers trying to grow, and then i made a batch of bohemakuchen tonight, so there’s a pic of that, too!
mushie
trunk peppers kuchen