Summer Iced Herbal Tea {DIY Wednesday}

You have probably noticed that it’s hotter than the dickens outside. If you didnt, it means you live somewhere a lot cooler than Broken Arrow Oklahoma and I may move in with you before summer is over.

Iced drinks are one of my favorite ways to survive the summer, and since I seem to be stuck here for a while I thought I would share with you my basic iced herbal tea recipe.

You can probably use most any flavor of herbal tea with the same results. For this batch I chose Orange Blossom Hibiscus because, well, it sounded good and I wanted to try it.

[I dont have a picture of the box to show you, mom got a little excited with cleaning out the pantry and tossed it so if you want to buy some here’s what it looks like:

http://www.liptontea.com/product/detail/141476/orange-blossom-hibiscus-herbal-tea ]

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I used 9 tea bags [there are 18 bags in a box so this will make two batches]

And boil 4 cups of water.

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I just like to put the tea bags in a 4 cup measuring cup and pour the boiling water over. I think it’s easier.

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Wait patiently for 12 minutes… or longer if you like stronger tea =)

Strain into a half gallon pitcher, and add 4 more cups of [cold] water, and stick it in the fridge to cool off.

Some days I wish I could climb into a fridge…

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Now you can sweeten the tea or leave it plain. I am trying to like and drink more unsweetened tea because it’s better for me, but I really like a splash of this vanilla syrup in my tea. It sweetens it up a little and adds a nice flavor. It’s delicious.

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There you have it. An easy and refreshing way to beat the summer heat and stay hydrated!

Do you have a particular tea that you enjoy iced in the summer? I’d love to hear what kind. Someday I think I am going to create my own iced tea blend… I’ll let you know if I ever get around to it. 😉

Stay beautiful,

~Alaina

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Memorial Day {2012}

I have names.

Smiles.

Memories.

I have known those that have given their all so that I can sit here with my tea and blog while I watch Castle and text my friends. So that I can get in my car and just drive. So I can go swimming. So I can go to the theater and watch The Avengers for the third time.

So that I am safe.

Today we remember them. Today I honor them. But for me it’s not just today, it’s everyday. My baby brother is in Afghanistan fighting for me. For you. For freedom.

I miss him.

I pray he comes home safe, as I pray for the families that are mourning their fallen tonight.

I am grateful. For these who have given the last full measure of devotion, and grateful for the freedom that I enjoy because of their sacrifice. In that gratitude I am humbled, and pray that I live my life in a way that not degrade or abuse the privilege of freedom so hard won and protected.

Stay beautiful,

~Alaina

Worth Fighting For.

Samwise: “It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it’s only a passing thing this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it’ll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something even if you were too small to understand why. But I think Mr. Frodo, I do understand, I know now folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding on to something.”

Frodo: “What are we holding onto, Sam?”

Samwise: “That there’s some good in the world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”

{The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: JRR Tolkin}

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Joy. Grace. Redemption. A new day.

It’s worth fighting for.

Stay beautiful,

~Alaina

Earring Board {DIY Wednesday}

I have 50 million earrings.

Okay, not really, but close to that. To be honest with you, keeping them all in a box or jewelry drawer is really frustrating and I always lose the mate to the one I want or they get tangled in necklaces, ect. It’s just all around annoying.

And since I believe that life should be as uncomplicated as possible, I came up with a fast and easy solution to my problem. I’ve been wanting to make something really amazing for my jewelry for a long time, but it requires finding antique odds and ends that are harder to find than I thought. Bummer. So for now this is working and I like it a lot more than I thought I would.

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You’ll need a cork board and some cotton lace. That’s it. Simple.

{I found my cork board on clearance at Target last year for a couple dollars, and the lace was on sale at Hobby Lobby, I already had both of these on hand.}

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You’re also going to need a stapler.

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Just lay the lace across the board and staple it securely to the back.

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That’s it, friend. Couldnt be any easier.

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Oh and I also put the lace at different intervals because a] I dont want to space and measure and it would drive me crazy if only one was off and b] that way I can hang different lengths of earrings. 🙂

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The lovely part about it being cork board is that you can pin up photos or decorations if you like… I think it’s darling either way.

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Or you can just hang your 50 million earrings on it… I’ve heard it both ways. 😉

Life should be simple. Simple is beautiful.

Stay beautiful,

~Alaina

Posted in DIY

Absorb {life}

I love Audrey Hepburn. I love quotes. Hence, I love Audrey Hepburn quotes.

The other day I found this one:

“Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering – because you can’t take it in all at once.”  {Audrey Hepburn}

That is so very true. You just can’t take it all in at once. Live in the present. Remember the past, but only to learn from the negative and to treasure the good. Absorb life. Enjoy the moments.

Speaking of enjoying the moments, I bought another vintage camera today. I love it and I am so excited to shoot with it soon! Rather cute, isnt it? 😉

Stay Beautiful,

~Alaina

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The Best Card in the History of the World {DIY Wednesday}

Okay so this isnt actually the best card in the history of the world. But I got so excited when I was making it that I called it that. And actually it ended up being more like a book, which is fine with me, I like books. But anyway I made this for my friend Grace, and thought you all might like to see it. Hopefully it will inspire you to make amazing things {seriously, this is so cool!} for people you love.

I was inspired by this project over at Oh Hello Friend:

http://www.ohhellofriendblog.com/2009/02/envelope-book.html

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I just rounded up some scrapbooking supplies that I had on hand. Grace loves to travel so I used some of the travel themed odds and ends that I had been collecting for a book I havent made yet. 😉 Since I’ve had this stuff for probably 3+ years I figure that it’s probably time to repurpose it.

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I started off by stacking two sheets of regular drawing paper, and one sheet of tracing paper and sewing them all down to a piece of scrapbook paper to make a book.

{no I dont have a picture of me sewing them or cutting pages to fit… it was kind of boring and I know you can figure out what it looks like when you try this at home. 😉 }

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I picked this paper because the color and texture reminded me a passport cover and it didnt have flowers. Grace isnt big on flowers. 😉

Stickers and stamps. It’s pretty happy so far.

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Grace and I share a mutual love of quotes, so I found several and typed them up and printed them off onto some old drawing paper I have from my grandmother. [‘old paper’ code for: really awesome yellow color.]

This is sort of a “get-well” book so I included a list of “to-do” activities while she recuperates.

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Some black and white comics to color and a suggested playlist.

{really like how the stamp stickers and paper tape turned out}

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A place to plan out some of an up-coming trip she has.

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A concept photoshoot scavenger hunt.

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Hand drawn notebook paper to write down a gratefulness list.

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{the end}

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Love using the envelopes to stick things in. On the left I put in a card with a note and on the right are the comics for coloring.

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It even has a fold out map. 🙂

{I love maps}

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I really loved using random embellishments like paper clips.

Well there you have it. That was my little project. I loved making this for her, and I hope this inspires you to create something for someone you care about. Even a simple handwritten note means so much these days…. and really, who doesnt love getting something in the mail? 😉

Stay beautiful.

~Alaina

Posted in DIY

Jonny Diaz Concert

I wandered over to our little town’s annual festival yesterday afternoon, Broken Arrow Rooster Days.

Being the great citizen that I am, I’ve lived here for 15 years and this is my first time to go, and I only went this time  for a Christian concert.

I also have no clue why they call it Rooster Days.

Oh well…we’ll try to be more civic minded later.

In the mean time, here is a picture of me with Jonny Diaz after the concert.

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I always forget how much I enjoy listening to live music until I’m actually listening to live music again. It was a blessing. I have liked Jonny’s songs for several years now, More Beautiful You has especially come to mean a lot to me, but I’m not what I would call a ‘fan.’

But sitting there, listing to him sing and share, I could really hear his heart for God. His passion for people and commitment to proclaiming truth. I appreciated it, and it was encouraging. So I guess now I’m a fan… or maybe a friend, I did meet the guy after all. 😉

Part of More Beautiful You goes like this:

“He will take your dark, distorted view and with His light he will show you Truth, and again you’ll see through the eyes of a little girl… that there could never be a more beautiful you.”

God has used this song in some pretty big ways in my life, and that line in particular.

Seek Truth. Pursue it. See again through the eyes of a little girl [or boy, but I dont think you want to be beautiful.] Know that you have been chosen and created for a purpose, and that He never writes anything less than a perfect story.

Stay beautiful,

~Alaina

Tristan Preview {one year portraits}

Had a fantastic time shooting it up with this little guy last night. The weather is gorgeous this week and I am loving all the longer days and beautiful light.

Here’s a sneak peek of little man’s baby blues and contagious grins.

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Hug your littles… they grow up fast.

Stay beautiful,

~Alaina

A good friend and a cup of tea…

My dear friend Abigail is away at school.

I miss our gchats, and sharing links to awesome little finds, and seeing her on Pinterest, and discussing the latest episode of Person of Interest.

I miss her. Terribly.

But, we have been writing letters and getting her notes in the mail is always such a bright spot in any day.

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I seriously adore handwritten letters. They are one of my favorite things in the world.

Yesterday she sent me several bags of tea {and a pressed flower} and ‘invited’ me to have some with her on Thursday.

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Do you have anything you do with your friends when they’re far away? I hope so, it makes the distance seem smaller, and will make your heart smile.

Happy Friday. Stay beautiful,

~Alaina

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” 

{C.S. Lewis}

German Cole Slaw {DIY Wednesday}

I’m not a fan of cole slaw. I think it’s squishy and slimy and the taste isnt worth the effort of trying to get over the texture. That being said, there is one cole slaw that I dont just like, I love it.

It’s called German Cole Slaw.

Maybe it’s the bacon. Bacon fixes everything.

Anyway, this was my supper tonight. It would make a great addition to a summer meal, but I like eating it for the meal with some crackers on the side. I’m sure it helps that I’m not very hungry when it’s hot and it got pretty warm today. {Dreading summer… ugh.}

But it’s delicious, tangy, and the bacon adds a nice salty flavor and gives you something to chew. 😉

{German Cole Slaw}

3/4 c. Bacon {fried and crumbled}

2 c. Cabbage {grated or chopped}

2 T. Lemon juice

1 t. Salt

1/2 c. Mayonnaise

2 T. Parsley {chopped}

1 T. Onion {minced}

Optional:: I omitted

4 T. Green Pepper {chopped}

::Mix together::

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Chop up the cabbage.

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And parsley.

{Raise your hand if you’re grateful that it’s summertime and we get fresh herbs again :raises hand:}

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Fry the bacon. Oh yum.

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Here’s a tip: microwave your lemon for 10-15 seconds then firmly roll on your counter before cutting. This will help you get the most juice out of your lemon.

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Drain the bacon on a paper towel.

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Add the bacon right before serving so that it stays crispy. Refrigerate leftovers {you probably wont have to worry about having leftovers ;)} but this is best eaten the same day.

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Add freshly ground pepper if desired.

Seriously. This is amazing. You should make it, eat it, and love it.

Stay beautiful,

~Alaina