it's orange, it's delicious, it isn't pumpkin: a recipe

i'm almost embarrassed to admit it, but up until this weekend, i was a butternut squash virgin. of course i knew what it was, and i'd seen recipes for it here and there, but for some reason, i just never tried any - until last week. i'm guilty of finding recipes i kind of like, and then basically rewriting them to suit my tastes. so i saw a recipe for butternut squash (where, i can't remember) and knew that i liked some of the ingredients, but not others, so i figured i'd give it a go and make up my own. i wasn't disappointed!

we'll call it crusted butter nut squash. oh, and before we get to the details, i have to tell you this: chris is what you might call a food snob - he'll say he doesn't like a food without ever trying it, or if he didn't like a food fixed a certain way twenty years ago, he doesn't want to try it fixed another way now. anyway, when i told him that i was going to fix butternut squash he turned his nose up and said it didn't sound good. obviously the man's crazy. when he cut a bite to put in his mouth, the look on his face suggested he was about to eat a turd, but once he started chewing, he realized it was actually good and told me the only way he'd eaten it before was when his mom would bake it with cinnamon. so the moral of the story is, don't say you don't like something without at least trying it!

for this recipe you will need:
-1 butternut squash
-1/3 cup bread crumbs
-1/3 cup parmesan cheese (the real kind, not the powder kind)
-1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
-1/2 teaspoon oregano
-1/2 teaspoon basil
-olive oil

*i think the next time i make it i'll use a little more garlic and spices, but you should make it according to how much you like the spices.

cut the squash into slices about 1/4" thick (you can go thicker, but it will take longer to cook) and peel the skin off. pour some olive oil into a large freezer bag and toss the squash in; be sure the squash is coated in olive oil so the crust will stick. mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and dip the squash in making sure to cover it well! bake at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes or until the squash is done.

then serve it to your husband and tell him he better like it or... i'll let you finish that part. if you decide to try it, let me know what you think!

equestrian ruffle: an outfit post

when i wore this outfit yesterday (this is the skirt that flew up to my chin as i was standing beside the highway) i felt more like i should be at a stable, or a polo match - just somewhere with horses - but not meeting with clients! i've never worn these things together, but in an effort to try and be more creative, and shop my closet (which is the point of these outfit posts), i decided to put together something new. oh, and for those of you that wanted to see it, here's my new hair. it's kind of hard to see the side-swept long bangs and the layers, but trust me, it's sexy hair!

cardigan: h&m, ruffle blouse: gift from chris, skirt: forever 21; riding boots: vintage, bracelets: dinosaur toes and little tree vintage

aside from the fact i'm prone to giving peep shows in this skirt, it's definitely one of my favorites if not my top favorite. and the boots are also my favorite, the ruffle blouse is one of my favorites, and the mini arm party i threw is made up of my favorite bracelets. seriously, with so many favorites all in one outfit, you'd think i would have worn this before.

with the theme of this post being equestrian in nature, i thought it only fitting to share this belt with you. first let me say that in addition to being on a mission to get built-in bookshelves in my living room, i'm also on a mission to find a leopard print belt that i can wear around my waist. so, i went to this one discount-type store yesterday hoping to find the belt of my dreams, and while i didn't find it, i did find one that i couldn't leave without. behold, the equestrian belt! total damage: $2. when i wear this, i have a feeling i'm going to imagine the eagles wrote a song about me riding a wild stallion into the sunset in a desert. and i think i was wearing a flowy, romantic chiffon dress in the song... with the belt, of course.

so that's what i wore. i hope you guys have a good thursday or whatever day it is when you read this! i think i might have a DIY post or two for next week, so remind me not to be lazy about putting it together!

book talk and butt flashes

i'm a woman on a mission. i've been trying to talk chris into building some built-in bookshelves on the long, windowless wall in our living room and calling it my christmas gift, my birthday gift, my anniversary gift, whatever - i'm flexible on this. so far the wall is still bare, but i'm really determined to dig my heels in on this one because i've got far too many books not to have some awesome shelving. and let's face it, i basically need built-in shelving as a means of storage, and the fact that it will look amazing is just an added bonus, right? and i'm not even picky; i'll take a whole wall of shelves, or just a few long ones on part of the wall!

more in the way of book talk, i've read the painted veil (not so good, but it's my fault since i chose it), the worst hard time (interesting and educational, but a little slow), and bel canto (an epic disappointment) for book club, and now i'm working on the cider house rules. i'm not quite 100 pages into it, but i love it, and i look forward to going to bed so that i can get back to it! what have you been reading lately?

now it's time for butt flashes. i must have subconsciously made it my mission to show the city of lynchburg my cheeks because i've been flashing all over town. EXHIBIT A: last week chris dropped me off at the office, and as i was jumping out of the vehicle my dress got caught under my hand which was placed firmly on the seat, causing my dress to come up to my waist, giving everyone a free show. who surrounds our office? an office full of state troopers and an office full of land surveyors - all male. embarrassing? you bet. EXHIBIT B: the day after that i was walking out of the post office (at lunch time when it's the busiest, obviously) when my foot slid on the wet sidewalk and i did a a dress. my first thought was, "crap, how am i gonna play this off?" then i realized that gymnastics in a dress on the post office sidewalk can't be played off. luckily the only thing hurt was my pride (and i'm pretty sure it's still bruised). last, EXHIBIT C: the case of the flowy skirt and the windy day. i don't talk much about what i do for my part-time job, but technically i'm a field representative, and i go to meet clients (mostly car dealerships) to do their advertising. today while i was at a client's business, i was outside just starting to take pictures for his ad when a gust of wind came and blew my skirt up to my chin. first, this place is located on a very busy highway, so people saw; second, i was wearing a slip (luckily), but seeing as how it was white and semi-sheer, and it was a sunny day, nothing was left to the imagination; third, there were two guys sitting in their car which had broken down, and damn if my skirt didn't decide to fly up right in front of them! embarrASSing? YES!

now that i'm tucked safely away in my quiet house wearing FLANNEL PAJAMA PANTS i'm finally calming down. but honestly, i may never be able to show my face in lynchburg, va again!

what i've been working on...

i haven't been working on jewelry as much this week as i did last week, but i blame that on my memory; i'll have so many great ideas while i'm not around my supplies (and yes, i have tried writing them down, but my scribblings mean nothing once i'm sitting there amongst my metal, hammer, and stones), but by the time i get a chance to work on anything jewelry-related, the ideas are long gone. it's so frustrating. but i have made a few things to add to my shop...

top to bottom: a colorful and glam twist on the basic hammered cuff (shown with peridot, iolite, labradorite, citrine and peridot), ruby zoisite in a hammered brass ring, hammered brass earrings with pyrite and labradorite, black quartz and brass bracelet.

also, i'm not going into annoying blogger shameless self-promotion mode, BUT since this is a post about jewelry that is or will be going on my website, i just thought i'd throw it out as a reminder: until november 18th, 15% of sales from my website will be donated to the rachael horton compassionate care fund (you can read that post here).

i've also been working on my appetite. i kid, that never goes away and doesn't require any work, only food! yesterday and today for lunch i made myself a bacon, mozzarella (the real kind, not the fake shredded crap from the bag), tomato and basil pita. i'm actually getting hungry again just talking about it! and seriously, what can't be made better with fresh basil? nothing!

he liked it so he put a ring on it: an outfit post

the title of this post actually has nothing to do with the outfit, but it's about a funny story that i have to tell you! but back to the outfit. last week i shared my latest thrifting finds with you, and i couldn't wait to be able to wear my new to me jacket! unfortunately i took my hair down before i got home, so what you're seeing is my frizz puff, also known as MY OLD HAIR! i got a whole new hairstyle on friday and i'm so glad to say so long forever to that long mess!

jacket: vintage/thrifted, cami: tara jarmon, pants: old navy, shoes: target

those shoes are actually some of my favorites because the color goes with everything, and they're really comfortable. oh, and the fact that i paid $5 for them on clearance definitely makes me very happy, indeed. i also love anything peach, so the camisole, i think, can go with almost anything, and the frills add a more dressy, feminine touch even to jeans. so, that's what i wore.

the funny story... yesterday evening i stopped by the grocery store on my way home to get a few things, and since they've redone it, i couldn't find the lemonade. a (male) employee said hi and asked me how i was doing, then asked me if i'd found everything i needed. he was all smiles and wouldn't stop looking at me (it must have been my new sexy hair). i told him i was looking for lemonade, and he led me to the opposite side of the store to the lemonade's new location, and every few feet he'd turn around and walk backwards so he could look at me and smile. i don't really like to be looked at thanks to my shyness, so it was awkward to say the least. when we were standing in front of the lemonade, he stood there for a minute staring at me and smiling, then he asked, "so how come you're not married?" he noticed my fingers were bare as i don't like to wear rings and pointed out their nakedness. i told him that i was, but that i just don't like wearing rings and he said, "oh okay, i figured someone was slacking if they hadn't put a ring on you yet." all i could do was blush and look at the floor, then i cracked up when i walked away because i knew that chris would love this story seeing as how he tells me ALL THE TIME that i need to wear my rings! so now i'm going to be embarrassed to go back to that grocery store. the end!

i hope you had a good weekend! did you do anything special?

comfortable but not sloppy: an outfit post

i'd say i'm probably pickier than most about what feels good and comfortable to wear, but it's something i'm absolutely not willing to sacrifice. luckily my love for loose, flowy tops meshes well with my love for something that's so comfortable you can't tell you're wearing it! chris and i had a cookout to go to over the weekend since friends of ours were in town, and of course i didn't want to go dressed like a slob, but since we'd just be sitting around talking and eating, i also didn't want to be too overdressed (since i almost always wear dresses).

tunic: tj maxx, jeans: target, necklace: dinosaur toes, boots: vintage

why i make such strange faces is beyond me. it's like, my face is normal, then once the camera turns on, my face gets awkward and crooked, and it doesn't even look like me. i honestly don't get it!

although it sort of looks like it in the picture, the tunic and jeans aren't the same color. i've never liked a color enough to wear it from head to toe! and speaking of colors and clothes, the vintage jacket i shared in my last post is the main part of my outfit today, and i can't wait to wear it! also, looking at outfit posts on blogs makes me realize i need to be more creative with how i put mine together, so i'm hoping that the outfit posts i do will get more interesting over time and show a little bit of thought on my part.

thrift score!

it's been a while, and i mean a LONG while since i've been thrifting last. it's one of those things i love doing, but have to be in the right mindset to actually do, much like running. anyway, the other week i was in the right mindset, so i went forth and searched. when i go thrifting i like to have certain items in mind to look for, otherwise it's brain overload and chaos because i can't handle all the vintage prints, fabrics, and shapes! i was looking specifically for those great vintage sweater jackets or cardigans with the knit tie at the waist. i've never had much luck finding those, and this last trip was so no different on that front, but i still came away with a gem!

i almost didn't like this at first, but man am i glad i carried it around for a few minutes and let it grow on me, otherwise it would have turned into one of those deals where you're kept awake at night from overwhelming regret, then when you go back to get it, you discover someone else took off with it, leaving you gently sobbing in a corner.

first, i love green, so i'm drawn to anything with green. second, i'm a sucker for slightly cropped jackets with bracelet length sleeves. i love the 1950's feel and shape of this, and even better, it's handmade (and made very well)! because of the style and color, i think this is something i'll be able to wear all year long, and i already have an outfit in mind for later this week!

total damage - $3.

i love belts. belts over dresses, belts over blouses, belts over cardigans, belts for life. one thing i'm always able to find when i go thrifting is belts, and lots of them. i've been wanting a thick brown or tan belt to go around my waist, but since my waist is really tiny, it's more difficult a task than it sounds. luck was on my side that day friends, because i came home with two! WOOO!

total damage - $1 each.

have you been thrifting lately or come home with any special treasures?

if my hair had a uniform: a tutorial

lately my hair has been driving me crazy; it hangs in my face, it gets in my food and saves some for later, it gets closed in my car door on windy days, it tickles my face when i try to sleep, and frankly, it's just gotten too long. i'm really lazy about styling my hair, and while i've tried doing a few things with it, i've found the styles don't work with quite so much hair, or that they don't hold for more than about an hour. since i had some extra time on friday morning, i decided i'd try playing a little, and i was so happy with the outcome i thought i'd share in the form of a tutorial.

STEP 1: for me, this works best on damp hair, otherwise i have more fly-aways and the braid is just too loose. on the top of your head, pull up a section of hair on one side and divide it into three sections.

STEP 2: start a french braid with the three pieces of hair you're holding, going toward the lower middle part of the opposite side of your head (or as good a french braid as you're able; i'm no master at it, but this is supposed to be a fun, even somewhat messy hair style!).

STEP 3: continue the braid to the very end of your hair and finish it off with a hair elastic. i used black just in case a little peeked out once my hair was finished, but most likely, this will be hidden.

STEP 4: from the part where your braid comes off of your head, fold it over and pull it to the opposite side of your head.

STEP 5: once you've doubled your braid back over to the side where you originally started your braid, fold it once more to the opposite side (the direction in which you were originally braiding). tuck the end of your braid where your elastic is under the chunk of braid that is folded.

STEP 6: using hairpins that blend with the color of your hair, pin the end of your brain (hahaha, chris just noticed i said brain instead of braid!) under the first section of braid you folded. to ensure it stays put, i used larger pins, and i got a section of the french braid, and the lower braid in the pin. then pin the second section of braid you folded. again, i got both the top braid and the bottom braid in my hair pin so that i knew it would stay in place. in the picture i'm pointing to where my hairpins are, one of which you can see a little bit.

and that's it, you did it! i don't really like to wear my hair the same way every day, but i'm going to have a hard time not doing this all the time 1. because it will keep my hair out of my face, 2. because it looks good, and 3. because it's easy (and by easy i mean no curling, straightening or drying) and it only takes about five minutes to do!

do you have any certain tips or tricks for hair? or a hair tutorial for a fun style? i hope you had a good weekend, friends!

i love a good cardigan: an outfit post

wow, it's been probably since the winter of 2010 that i did an outfit post. for the most part, i'm really casual and tend to have my favorite things that i wear all. the. time. lately, i've really been trying to put a little bit of thought into what i wear, or at the very least, i try and work in accessories that i wouldn't normally wear for a different look. i know that the high waist trend is one that has been around for a while, and call me a creature of habit if you will, but it takes me a long time (so long in fact, by the time i've embraced some trends or styles, they're over) to like and actually wear a lot of trends or styles. now that i finally feel comfortable wearing high waisted skirts, they're all i can think about! and of course i always love cardigans...

cardigan: say what?, blouse: vintage/thrifted, skirt: forever 21, shoes: old navy, necklace: dinosaur toes

please excuse my wrinkled skirt. i really love that skirt, but my only complaint is that the fabric gets ultra wrinkled when you sit in it, and it gets kind of stretched out so it's a little loose and makes my hips look wider after wearing it for an hour or more. but i still think it's pretty! i think my recent need to look a little more put together stems from the fact that i've been watching the show ringer. i love so many of the outfits that sarah michelle gellar wears, and it makes me realize i need to step up!

okay, so i have to share this with someone, and it may as well be you. last night i went to bed at about 11 and woke up at 2am. i was wide awake, and at 2:30 i finally got up and took my pillows and the book i'm currently reading out to the sofa. the book is so terrible it usually puts me to sleep, but i read until almost 4am and still couldn't go to sleep! when i finally did drift off, i had the weirdest dream. i was riding with chris, some cousins, and friends in one of those big 15-passenger vans down the highway. i yelled out, "LOOK, THERE'S A GIANT TURTLE! NO, TWO!!! STOP!" then i looked on the other side of the road and saw more turtles, a zebra, a giraffe, and a gazelle. i yelled out for everyone to look at them, and chris gave me a weird look and said, "they're humans in costumes," the implication in his tone suggesting that i must have been smoking crack to think they were real animals. then i was so confused - everyone else knew they were humans in costumes, but i just knew they were real animals that escaped from the zoo, and i couldn't figure out why they were walking into the woods. i woke myself up laughing. it was strange.

shopping can save lives.

on april 8th of this year, chris' second cousin, rachael horton, and her husband, aaron, were killed in a tragic apartment fire. although emotions are still raw, and their deaths are no easier to accept, their memory continues to live on through the legacy they left. rachael was a lifelong animal lover who gave money from her own paycheck to help pay for treatments that could save an animal's life when their owner couldn't afford it. after her death, the rachael horton compassionate care fund was set up in her memory to continue making her dream a reality. i've donated a percentage of sales to the lynchburg humane society before, and i was happy to do it, but i have to admit, this is something so much more special to me.

from now until november 18th, 15% of sales from my website will be donated to the rachael horton compassionate care fund in hopes of saving lives. no monetary value can be placed on the life a furry (or feathered) baby, and it shouldn't have to be; i hope this is a fund that will outlive me and everyone i know, because i think it is just that special!

works in progress

let me preface this post by saying: i know i've mentioned it before, but i feel arrogant calling myself an artist, so i'm just going to refer to myself as a person who likes to make things. now, as a person who likes to make things, i generally don't stick to just one specialty or one medium. i'm sure that most all people who like to make things would feel a little trapped making only one thing, and as a person who likes to make things, it's only natural to branch out and have various methods in which to be creative and express yourself. so, i've been doing just that.

the first work in progress is a tote bag or two. it's been at least a month ago that i told my soul sister i've had an idea for a tote forever and still haven't made it. as much as i love the finished product, i'm never a big fan of the actual act of sewing, thus the procrastination. earlier this week i got a text from beca asking me if i had plans to make more totes, and i guess that was the push i needed to get started! the new thing i wanted to try on the fabric didn't turn out quite like i was hoping, but it's a start, and i still think something pretty neat can come from it!

no, i have not been making apples. what i have been making is fried apples. MMMMM! chris was working with a man last week who had more apples than he and everyone he knows could eat, so chris brought home several gallons of liberty apples. i made several batches of fried apples, and tonight i'm making apple turnovers for dinner delicious snacks!

last, i've been working in my sketchbook. that drawing is nowhere near complete, but it's so fulfilling to be able to draw, regardless of the subject or level of completion. i plan to add a face, obviously, and to make it a little more interesting, watercolor!

do you have any works in progress, or anything you're excited about finishing?

hey, this is really exciting... today i ran into a friend of mine from middle school. it's been over 15 years since i've seen her (whoa, that makes me feel old!), and if she hadn't said her name, i'm not sure i would have recognized her. we ended up talking for a long time, exchanging numbers, and planning to get together very soon. i know i was smiling for the rest of the day because of that. i think those are the friendships that are the most special - the ones that never change no matter how much time has gone by!

be still, my beating heart.

i found this shop a little while back whilst searching for something else (what, i don't know, probably because it wasn't as amazing), and i knew i had to share! sometimes, when you find something so incredible beyond words, do you start dreaming about how you could incorporate it into you home/outfit/life? i know i do, and all i can think about is how the mantle in my living room will look bare without one of these amazing birds. oh, and i included one that wasn't a bird just to mix things up a little. *wink*

seriously, i need to think of some way i can make some extra money so i can buy one of these for myself for christmas! WHOA! i've seen a lot of bird sculptures made from wire, fabric, papier mache, etc., but i think it's fair to say abigail brown wins. hands down.

and this is something that's been on my mind for a while now. in addition to making and selling my jewelry, i also do some freelance web design, graphic design, occasional wedding photography, and i have a part time job. although no one in my family seems to understand no matter how many times i tell them (can you tell i get a little annoyed?!), my days are busy. i have so many new ideas for jewelry, new ideas for tote bags, websites i'd like to be able to get started on for people, etc., etc., etc., but that part time job really gets in the way of my productivity. i know i shouldn't complain since it's only part time, but i hate it. i loathe it with every fiber of my being and i can't wait until the day i can walk away and never look back. i feel like i lose SO much time working on my own ventures on the days that i work there, and i'm just frustrated. to those of you that have a job outside of the home and also run your own business or businesses, how do you find the time to make it all work without losing sleep, taking time away from your spouse, or giving up the free time you use to exercise, see friends, etc.? is there a balance or am i fighting a losing battle? i'd love to hear your input and advice.

that's all for now; kona is growling, barking, twitching, and just about to get up and run in his sleep, so to keep him from ending up like this dog, i'd better wake him up!

what i've been working on.

coming off of such a great weekend, it's kind of hard getting back into the regular monday routine, but one thing that keeps me from getting started on the boring work is blogging! i have so many things i want to share, but it's just a matter of making myself blog. i want to get better about it though, and that's why one thing on my to-do list for today is taking pictures for posts! in the meantime, i'll share a few pieces of jewelry i've been working on for my shop...

i always have new jewelry to add to my website, it's just a matter of taking the time to update that i'm bad about. last week though, i was on top of things! i listed 12 new necklaces and one pair of earrings, and i even have a few other things that i plan to add later this week! the mr. t saying comes to mind right about now, "i love it when a plan comes together."

in addition to adding new jewelry, i also gave the homepage a little bit of a new look. i think i like the way the image turned out, and i have my amazing husband to thank for that since he's the one who found that deer skull complete with antlers for me during one of his walks through the woods!

aside from jewelry making i... celebrated an anniversary with chris, got together with some great friends, saw some family, ate way too much, ate way too much again, discovered some new favorite edibles, bought some books, and did so much walking i actually can't walk right now. whew!

how was your weekend?