Life Circumstances and the Call to Live Sustainably

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Photo by: milkandhannahphoto
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Photo by: milkandhannahphoto

After six long months of wedding planning, my husband and I are finally married. We said “I do,” danced as a married couple, and cut the cake. And just like that it was over. The whole experience was beautiful and redeeming. In hindsight, I would have much rather eloped in the english countryside and had an intimate and woodsy reception afterwards. Yet afternoon tea, bunting flags and whimsical calligraphy table numbers tied the rustic/vintage theme together nicely; certainly nothing to scoff at. The only thing we kept telling ourselves was, “We’ll be married and that’s all that matters.” In the end, we got some pretty pictures and I enjoyed walking around in that adored Jenny Yoo dress.

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Photo by: milkandhannahphoto

Planning a wedding yourself and without the help of a wedding coordinator means having very little time to engage in the activities you are passionate about. And for me that includes writing. So that is my excuse for my 6 month hiatus and I must say it is a pretty good one. If you think of something better, let me know.

I actually thought a lot about food in the months leading up to our wedding. Mostly because that period of time was the worst I think I had ever eaten in my life. I was in limbo, stuck between two lives. I lived with my parents but I also spent a lot of time with my husband. I found it very difficult buying groceries for one so I was at the mercy of whatever my parents had to eat or whatever my husband had to eat (which consequently wasn’t very much). I often found myself going through Starbucks in the morning, drinking copious amounts of coffee and by the afternoon if I didn’t pack a lunch, I was forced to buy fast food. For dinner, it was a last minute scramble to the grocery store. Do I pick up something pre made or fix up something quick and easy? As someone who aspires live the agrarian lifestyle to its fullest, this was a very difficult time for me. But it was my reality.

Things are much smoother now that we’re married. We actually have food in the house and we eat out far less often. It sustained me knowing there would be an end to the sporadic eating patterns I found myself in. If there wasn’t an end in sight I know I would have to change things – and fast. But now that we’re settling in, I’m finding what it means to be content. We don’t have a garden yet, but we will get to it next year. We’ve all gone vegan or vegetarian only to come right back to normalcy months later. We all know what it’s like to fail to live up to the call to live in harmony with the planet. Things happen. Life happens.

From now on, I’m not going to be led by the influence of others. I’m going to do what feels right for me and for our family. I’m going to work up to that agrarian lifestyle, instead of jumping headfirst into something that could collapse later. I’m going to live expectantly but realistically at the same time.

The key to living sustainably is a gradual change in lifestyle, just like anything else. I’m not saying total sustainability is unattainable for the average american household, but it must be approached slowly and steadily, with trial and error, and with much sacrifice in order to make this way of life stick.

Recognize where you’re at in your walk of life, but never let it limit you from reaching your potential.

– Adele

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Photography Made Simple: Using Natural Light To Your Advantage

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I’m going to do a series of posts on photography because well, I think it needs to be explained. Simply. For those of you who did not major in the arts or photography and want to know how you can achieve good quality pictures, this series of posts is for you. Too many of us (myself included) have been or are stuck in the world of filters (Instagram, vscocam, and other apps of lesser quality). Filters can be used but they should be used sparingly and should not detract from the overall quality of the picture. Trust me, when I look at my filtered pictures from years past I cringe. But eventually I saw the light and I hope you will too!

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All of these pictures you’re looking at were taken with my iPhone 5s. If you’re using an older iPhone model your pictures probably won’t turn out as well (trust me, my iPhone 4 pictures were horrid). The newer iPhones have an advanced camera that uses a more advanced lens, like the kind you would find in a professional camera. This allows you to make things go in and out of focus, achieving that “professional” look. But you don’t need advanced technology to achieve good lighting. With the iPhone, you just need to know what kind of light you’re looking for and when to shoot. It’s as simple as that. Flash is a big no-no and so is any type of artificial light that would give your pictures an orange hue. I want to specify, this applies to your everyday pictures, food photography etc. I wouldn’t advocate that you shoot someone’s wedding with an iPhone 5s!

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I tend to really like low light, as you can see in most of the pictures I have on here. The shadows really give the picture depth and texture. Find what kind of light you like and pursue it! I usually try to shoot before 9 in the morning or between 3-5 in the evening. But again, it depends on the type of lighting you’re trying to achieve. When I made pumpkin pie, I shot those pictures before 9 because I wanted very soft morning light with deeper shadows. The two pictures of Homemade Applesauce and Apple Cider Baked Chicken were taken later in the day between 3-5 giving the picture a more rustic look. The last picture on here of the Apple Galette was actually taken not by natural light, but at 9pm under a fluorescent light. I like this result because it looks bright and clean.

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The main point I want you to take away from this is that you don’t need a fancy camera to get great pictures. Using natural light is the best (and not to mention cost free!) way to improve the look of your photos. So stop hiding behind filters and get some natural light! Your photos will thank you for it. Obviously, I am not a photography expert so if you want a more in depth explanation I suggest you check out Pia Jane Bijkerk’s post on her photography methods.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this! If you have any photography tips you would like to pass my way I would love to hear them! Stay tuned for the next post in the series where I talk about camera angles. Until then, have fun experimenting with natural light!

Adele

The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World: A Brief Synopsis

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I’m sitting here with my warm coffee, thankful to have some peace and quiet on this fall morning. It’s my day off at the flower shop, but my day on for blogging. Although my body is quiet my mind is very much churning with ideas. I’ve been doing a lot of recipes lately which is great! But I thought I would take a break from that for a post or two.

I wanted to direct your attention to a book I’ve been reading called Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider. She has influenced me for a lot of reasons but I think the most influential is that she is a blogger just like me trying to do what she loves for a living. And best yet, she succeeds and provides for her entire family doing what she loves. There are a few major points Tsh touches on that I hope will compel you to live a more mindful life.

Travel

Travel plays a huge role in their family. They have always loved to travel and they didn’t let it stop them when kids came along. With the flexibility their work life brings, they are able to take more frequent trips. Perhaps more compelling is their view of American culture after living in a foreign country. Tsh talks about living in Turkey where milk was delivered to your door and the farmers market was easily accessible by bike. People lived close and were in community, making life much richer. Upon arriving back in the states, they were much more aware of their place in this world. And they were determined to make simplicity commonplace in the states.

Food

I’m never surprised to hear that other countries are doing better than us in the food realm. They have stuck with the age-old idea that local is better and they are thriving for it. It makes life much richer when you can talk to the grower. That is a rare thing these days. In Turkey they had to buy in season. We can buy berries from the supermarket in the winter and the poor kids growing up do not know this isn’t normal. It would do us very well to know where our food comes from, buy in season, and create meaningful meals where people can gather around the table.

Education

I found this one to be the most interesting. I think mainly because a lot of people now (myself included) do not hold to the belief that public education is the only way to go. I remember what it was like in school and I do not believe it was a place that encouraged real creativity. You were rewarded for your grades, seldom because you were creative. Tsh talks about homeschooling and how her kids were finally able to explore themselves, their interests, and the world. In some cases, public school is not going to teach your kids how you want them to be taught, so parents must roll up their sleeves and do it themselves. Homeschooling is obviously not for everyone and she gives examples of what other parents do and how it works for them.

There is so much more I could have talked about but for the sake of brevity I wanted to keep it fairly short (and it’s already too long of a post for my taste). I hope this brief overview gave you something to think about! Or if anything else to read her book! You can find it here on Amazon. I hope we can all find some way to live intentionally in this chaotic world, big or small.

Adele