Hi. I'm Whitney.
I like cheese.

I'm a graphic designer and sometimes photographer who likes food, cooking, and crafty things. There's more details over here. Or you can read through the archives. There's lots.



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The Mid-Month Catch-Up Post
February 15, 2015

Untitled


I think it's about time for another "catch-up" post, isn't it? Let's get to it.

Six years ago yesterday, I got engaged. It seems like it was so long ago. We celebrated by staying at home and watching old SNL clips and 30 Rock episodes while I made a nice dinner that took way longer than expected. Starting the whole process to make gnocchi (for the first time ever) at 6:30pm was perhaps not the best plan, but some cheese and crackers helped soften the blow of dinner served at 8pm. Also, there was ice cream for dessert.

I started a new job a week ago. I'm not usually one to choose a big life change (I left my last 2 jobs due to lay offs) but it was an opportunity I couldn't say no to. So far, I like it.

I opened up a shop over on Society6. I took a couple of favorite photos and sized them for phone cases, pillows, prints, etc. I'd like to add some non-photography artwork items at some point, but that might take a while.

I have not forgotten that I promised a post on brewing kombucha. I'm still doing it, and it's been working out pretty well so I have LOTS of notes and links for you. I am going to compile it all. SOON.

Things I am enjoying on the internets:

  • I'm finding Holly's Grocery Haul posts kind of fascinating. Partially for the cost aspect, but I also like seeing what other people buy at the store.

  • This post over on Not Martha is great for so many reasons, but the reason I'm linking to it is the plastic caps for canning jars. I had ordered some the day before I read this post and now that they're here, I want to order MORE. They make using canning jars for short term storage so much easier.

  • The Wednesday chef posted a recipe for what I think might be my dream brownies. I want...no, NEED to make a gluten-free version.

I'm sure I had more to tell you, but that's all my brain can come up with at the moment. Let's do this again soon?


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« last time | January 18, 2015 : Bring Your Salad to Work Week



Bring Your Salad to Work Week
January 18, 2015

sald-in-jar-text-2 Salad in a Bowl


I'm sure we've all seen the salad in a mason jar thing going around the interwebs. I know I've pinned a bunch of different versions but didn't have any motivation to actually try this method of salad prep until a few weeks ago.

I fell in love with a salad. A Trader Joe's pre-packaged salad with kale, shredded broccoli, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and chicken. I knew it sounded familiar, and there was a reason. It's this Broccoli Kale Slaw that Tracy blogged about ages ago. I've become obsessed with it and wanted to recreate it for my lunches, but knew that I'd need to find a way to prep a few days worth without it going all weird in the fridge. Cue lightbulb and subsequent scouring of pinterest for all those salad in a jar pins.

In Tracy's post, she uses a different dressing, but I actually like the dressing that comes with the salad, so I did a little googling and found a close approximation to that spicy/sweet dressing. I had a vague idea of how I should layer everything, but consulted some guidelines over on the kitchn to get a better idea.

I bought almost everything I needed at Trader Joe's, except a head of red cabbage (though you could probably leave this out if you wanted to). I don't actually own any quart size mason jars, but I did have some quart size ziploc containers with screw on lids and they worked just fine. The kitchn mentioned separating out soft proteins (like cooked chicken), but I decided to layer it in there anyways. I wanted to see what would happen, and if I really could layer everything in there without adverse effects, I would be much more likely to use this prep method again.

This is the layer order I used (from bottom to top):

  • dressing
  • red onions
  • broccoli slaw
  • red cabbage
  • chicken
  • dried cranberries
  • kale
  • sunflower seeds

I did this all on a Sunday afternoon, and put the "jars" in the fridge. On Monday morning, I grabbed a jar, a fork, and a large bowl and headed to work. When lunch time rolled around, I dumped the jar of salad into the large bowl, tossed it around a bit, and ate. Same drill on Tuesday, and the salad was totally fine, just as good as Monday. Same thing with the Wednesday salad. But Thursday, we went out to lunch, so the 4th salad ended up sitting in the fridge for 5 days. I brought it to work on Friday and didn't get my hopes up. I could always buy lunch if everything in the jar had gone to mush, but I'm happy to report that it was absolutely fine.

So I would say there's definitely something to this layering ingredients in a jar thing if you want to prep salads for lunch ahead of time. It was a bit of a pain to bring an extra bowl with me every day, but not so bad that I wouldn't do it again. The only ingredient that really changed at all through the week was the sunflower seeds. They were the very top layer, and they got a little soft. They didn't taste bad, they just lost some of their crunch. Not that they're super crunchy in the first place, but their texture was a bit lost once they were mixed in with everything. I might separate them out into a smaller container next time, or just add them to the jar each morning.

I'm super happy this worked and that I can now prepare and eat my favorite salad for lunch during the week!


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« last time | January 06, 2015 : Going Public



Going Public
January 06, 2015

Favorite Winter Fruit II


Most of you know how much I love Instagram and my love for the app is still strong. But not too long after I started actively using my account, I made it private. With social media, I've found that if I have the option to make my account private, I will. I post photos of my husband and other family members who don't want to have photos of their mugs publicly available and I want to respect that.

However, there's a social networking aspect to Instagram that just doesn't work as well when your account is private. The majority of the food I cook is from recipes I find on the internet, and I like to be able to give a little shot out or hashtag to those recipe creators when I post a photo of one of their recipes. Unless they're also following me, they may see that I've tagged them somehow, but they won't be able to see the photo, which is kind of a bummer. So I decided to finally create a public Instagram account!

I'm going to try and keep content on the public account different from my other account. Which means that the UGC account may be lots of food photos and maybe a cat or two. The difficult part about this whole scenario is that Instagram doesn't make it easy to switch back and forth between accounts without logging in and out of each account. There's apps that let you switch between accounts for viewing, but not for posting. I may just have to change my posting behavior and not instantly post everything. We'll see how it goes.

The other reason I did this is because I post to Instagram almost daily. I post to this spot on the web once or twice a month if I'm lucky. So hopefully I can manage to post to the Instagram account that's now connected to this blog...

Please feel free to follow along!


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« last time | December 31, 2014 : Fourteen



Fourteen
December 31, 2014

Untitled


Today marks the 14 year anniversary of this blog.

I'm not even sure what to say about that. I did write here a little bit more than I did last year, so I guess that's a good thing. Thank you, those of you that stop by to read and leave comments. I know there's still a few of you out there, and I'm so glad you've stuck around.

It's been a difficult year, not just for me, but for SO MANY people. 2014, don't let the door hit your ass on the way out. But then there's also the idea that the bad stuff makes the good stuff seem that much better.

I spent more time in doctor's offices this year than I have EVER. The good part was figuring out what was causing my breathing issue. The bad part was the outpatient procedure that turned into an overnight stay in the ICU. The end result is that I can finally breathe like a normal person. Sometimes good and bad travel together. And that's just one example. I could fill up a page with examples, and I'm sure you could all contribute.

I'd like to think that the hard stuff we've dealt with this past year has paved the way for some good stuff in 2015. I hope that for each and every one of you.

Here's to a happy new year!


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« last time | December 19, 2014 : I Will Not Be Sad When This Year is Over



I Will Not Be Sad When This Year is Over
December 19, 2014

Cloudy Sunday


Oh, you guys, this year has been hard. I have more to say about this, so I'm going to wait until I do the annual very-end-of-the-year-blog-anniversary post (14 years! eep!), but until then, here's what I've been doing:

  • Making this Carrot-Coconut soup.
    I've made it three times so far, and I will happily make it again. The first couple of times, I only made half the recipe but last week, I made the full recipe and I think I'll do that from now on. We both love this soup so much, and it's so easy to throw together. The hardest part is peeling and chopping all the carrots (and really, that's not very difficult). I also leave out the sriracha because we're fairly spice sensitive around here. Also, I didn't have any in the house. I have since rectified that problem and have been adding a tiny bit when I reheat a bowl and find that I like the tiny bit of heat.
  • Watching Parks & Recreation from the very beginning.
    We were looking for something new to watch and I had only seen a couple of seasons (middle of season two to the middle of season four) and the husband had only seen an episode here and there. I remembered really liking it when I was trying to watch it regularly, but the first couple of episodes had me questioning that a little. But, around the 3rd or 4th episode, the characters all start to take on their own personalities and each episode gets progressively better. I really do love this show.
  • Trying to doodle and draw more.
    There was a time when I did this a lot, but being an art major in college sort of beat it out of me. In the past couple of years, the urge to create with pen a paper has become more pronounced so I decided to give in. I've got a small moleskine notebook and some nice pens and it makes me feel like less of a couch potato if I'm doing something while we're watching a little tv in the evenings. The hard part for me is looking at a blank page and not knowing where or how to start, so I refer back to this doodling manifesto frequently for inspiration.
  • Realizing that every year I am woefully unprepared for the holidays, and that it all ends up okay regardless and to just stop worrying about it so much.

And with that, I wish you all a very happy holiday!


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« last time | November 11, 2014 : A List Of Things (It's Like 4 Little Blog Posts in One!)



A List Of Things (It's Like 4 Little Blog Posts in One!)
November 11, 2014

Home from work clouds.


Thing 1

This whole being able to breathe like a normal person thing is amazing! Stairs are no longer my nemesis! I'm able to clean the apartment without sounding like I'm recovering from running a marathon! Walking downtown to go out to dinner is something I actually want to do! And yesterday, I finally went to the lunchtime pilates class at work and I didn't feel like I was going to die! (That part is happening now - every muscle is sore.) I think a bike ride or maybe a hike might be next on the list of things to try...

Thing 2
I had part of a can of pumpkin taking up space in my fridge so I made these Paleo Pumpkin Carrot Muffins on Sunday. The texture was not completely like a regular muffin (I don't know why I thought it would be), but the flavor is good. Not completely like a carrot cake, but close (the thought of putting some cream cheese on one has crossed my mind). They were tasty at room temperature, but they also make a pretty decent breakfast straight out of the fridge.

Thing 3
I'm trying one more batch of kombucha, with a change to the amount of sugar I've been using. This is the last thing I want to try before I type it all out for you...

Thing 4

My step-dad sent me this video of a baby armadillo playing and it's kind of the best thing ever.


Happy Wednesday!


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« last time | November 02, 2014 : I'm Not Going to Miss the Nickname "Wheezer"



I'm Not Going to Miss the Nickname "Wheezer"
November 02, 2014

Driving to work clouds.


That outpatient procedure that turned into an overnight stay at the hospital I mentioned in my last post? That was me.

For the past, oh, two years or so, I've had a breathing problem. Sitting at my desk, or anywhere else, no problem. Once I started doing something beyond that, well, I could still breathe, but not well. Doing stuff around the house (cleaning, vacuuming, etc.) had me out of breath pretty quick. Walking up stairs was not fun, and it would take me a while to recover. I couldn't walk around and hold a normal conversation, I'd need to stop and gasp for air. And there would be coughing and some wheezing during all of this. As my breathing was getting worse, I stopped doing anything active because it was so taxing, especially if there were other people around. I was embarrassed by how much huffing, puffing and coughing I was having to do.

I was sure it was adult asthma. Because what else could it possibly be? I had so many of the symptoms when I looked it up. So I tried a rescue inhaler from my doctor and it did...nothing. Didn't help at all.

Finally I went to a respiratory specialist, which started a chain of events:

  • breathing test before and after asthma medication (no change)
  • CT scan (showed there might be something around my trachea)
  • brochoscopy (camera down my throat to confirm that there was webbing around my trachea)

The webbing that they found had made the opening in my trachea much smaller than it was supposed to be. So yeah, definitely NOT asthma. It's probably something I was born with but just starting to cause me problems in the past couple of years.

So a week and half ago, I went in for an outpatient procedure to remove some of this webbing. I was completely under anesthesia, but near the end of the procedure, while there were a bunch of tubes down my throat, I took a breath and ended up with subcutaneous emphysema. It's something that can happen during endoscopy procedures, and it usually clears up on its own, but the surgeon wanted to keep me overnight in the ICU for observation.

While an overnight stay was completely unexpected, I'm glad they did it because it didn't feel great to have air trapped in my chest and under my skin. Thankfully, by the next morning, a lot of the air had been reabsorbed and I was feeling much better, so they sent me home.

It's taken me a over a week to feel fully recovered from all of this but I'm also happy to report that the procedure worked, and I can breathe! I can go for a walk like a normal person, I'm taking the stairs again at work, and I even went to a yoga class on Friday. I may even try a pilates class in a couple of weeks. BECAUSE I CAN BREATHE!

Who wants to go for a walk?


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« last time | October 27, 2014 : Jane, Get Me Off this Crazy Thing