March 31, 2014

Songs for Spring

To celebrate the season, we put together a playlist of breezy, happy songs for you to tap your feet to this Spring! And as promised we put Awake My Bodyone of our favorites, at the top of our collection.  I (Amber) have also been really digging the 5 member Nashville band, Moon Taxi. Be sure to check them out— good stuff.
We hope you enjoy and feel inspired to do something awesome today!

March 29, 2014

Free Spirit: Sam Pennington

Good morning readers! We are super stoked to introduce you to our 2nd Free Spirit 
in the series! Everyone, meet Sam Pennington, a spontaneous foodie, from Asheville, NC!  

Sam is a 24 year old Taurean traveler who has graced the presence of the majority of the East coast. She is now actively pursing studies in culinary arts, "...and it's because of its significant spot it has in [her] soul." Sam's spontaneous nature may find her hopping in a car and driving 15+ hours to see Brand New in Oswego, New York, going on a camping trip with friends and grabbing only a hoodie, some sandals, and a bottle of Jameson, or cooking up the most delicious meal after she has thrown the best themed party.  She loves the people that surround her and values the relationships she has established over her adventures.

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Keeping my mind stimulated is something I value very much. It took a great amount of time to understand what made me happy.  Living in a city of adventure, great food, and incredible people helped me truly accept what I care so much for in life and how everyday is a new surprise, that's when I stopped planning, and I started living. My patience for books is something I'm still trying to grasp.  Some of my favorite films include anything by Wes Anderson, The Coen Brothers, and Quentin Tarantino, Did I mention that I'm a huge fan of Adam Sandler? To this day, Billy Madison can bring out the immature child in me.

Food plays a very important role in my life.  Culinary arts is something that I'm currently starting to study.  Some of my favorite restaurants in Asheville include: Limones, which is this tiny little place off of Eagle Street in downtown with a Margarita Menu that will blow your mind; they also have the best Sea-bass I've ever laid a fork to.  Did I mention that they have brunch on Saturdays and Sundays?  IT'S THE BEST!  On a cozy street, in Montford, you can get your Jamaican spice fix that you're always craving at Nine Mile.  Nine Mile serves everything at every temperature from noodles to rice, or if you have issues with gluten, like myself, zucchini noodles, yup.  One last place I must mention is The Admiral in West Asheville, if you're looking for a creative dish that will make your jaw drop and you're not even sure how to pronounce what you're devouring then this is your place.  They make their own ginger beer for Dark & Stormy's, yes, they do.  

My style is all over the place.  Vintage closets featuring mod to disco apparel with a little kindergarten cop thrown in.  Not following me?  It's hard for myself to comprehend the platform tennis shoes, sequence shawls, and over-sized bows in my hair too.  Asheville is a great spot for local vintage finds, and I'm a sucker for a good deal.

I am passionate about my relationships with my friends and family.  I have been fortunate to meet and keep a family of friends throughout my life, and that, I would literally do anything for.  I love throwing birthday parties, cooking, and being there to bring moments of happiness to those around me.  I'm most passionate about sharing my positive and happy lifestyle with other people. I have a group of girls that have been in my life for nearly ten years now, though I've made new friends along the way, it's crazy to see how all of our lives are scattered America, even South Korea (Welcome Home Bri & Adam!!), and somehow we continue to not lose touch.

My life is wild and free, anyone that knows me will tell you that. Tomorrow may change everything, but today, I am living free.   

This Taurean wanderer desires nothing more than to live in colorful surroundings, where she understands that change is the only constant, and that life is meant to be lived.  Not ordered around by things that do not bring happiness to her life.

<< Connect with Sam >>

Instagram: @dancemagicdance
Twitter: @samtheseason

March 28, 2014

simple Saturdays

Spring Cleaning: THE Closet

Cleaning out the closet is always the hardest feat for me to tackle, you see, I am a collector of clothes.  I enjoy hoarding clothes. If you know me, you will often hear me say that, "clothes are my thing."  Indeed they are, but sometimes you just need to part ways with those "oldies but goodies". Spring time brings about a new time in your life-a time to shed your old skin and what better way to do that than by cleaning out your closet?

1 >> Does it fit?  No? Toss it.
2 >> Have I worn this in the last twelve months?  No?  You're not going to.  Buhbye
3 >> Is it likely that I'll wear this again?  Eeee probably not, don't really know what I was thinking to begin with. 
4 >> Is it damaged?  But here's the true question: will you actually repair it?  Sewing is not my forte.
5 >> It is in style?  Carry over season attire?  My best/worst question because if you love clothes you'll find a way to rationalize it. But DON'T!
6 >> If I was shopping right now, would I buy this?  Uhhh more like what was I thinking when I bought this.
7 >> Do I feel confident when I wear this?  You want to build an arsenal of apparel that represents you as an individual; you don't have time to keep deal with clothes that do not make you feel like the strong, free spirit that you are.  It is time to break up with that stiff conservative attire and step into what makes you feel like you.

And don't feel bad when you look down at your bedroom floor and there is a pile of clothes taller than you.  What you do with all of this is solely up to you, but I would suggest taking it to an area donation center.  Don't use this time as mourning; use this time to pass your treasures on to someone who needs them and will be extremely grateful for them.  It’s a win/win situation because now you have room in your closet to actually see what you have + you just clothed a stranger giving them the confidence and strength you once felt in your old threads.

These random simple acts of kindness are what make the world go around.

Scale down and pass it along.


March 26, 2014

Spring Cleaning: To Do List

Now that you have your simple, green cleaning products, let’s create a list!

Lists are what keep my life in order.  Lists remind me what I need for the upcoming day, as well as, allow me to see my personal goals for an extended period of time.  Plus, who doesn’t like to mark things off lists? It just feels good! Below is a list of items in our house that we tend to forget about such as fire detectors, air conditioners, etc. This will help get your Spring Cleaning week started. Add it to your daily cleaning list and voila- you have the ultimate cleaning list! Have fun crossing it off!

**If you want to remove mildew from floors by spraying a mixture 1/2 cup of chlorine bleach, 1/3 cup powered laundry detergent and 1 gallon of water.  You will wash from the base up the wall.  Please be sure to wear gloves when using cleaning products.

** Pick a Saturday to shampoo the carpets.  Use that day as a family day, and take the family on a hike.  Go outside and enjoy the day together.

Refer to our recent post, Spring Cleaning: Simple and Green Recipes, for everything you need to knock out this to-do list the green way!

Happy Cleaning!



March 24, 2014

Spring Cleaning: Simple + Green Recipes

Spring time equals Spring cleaning in my house.  Every year, we go through the entire house and spruce it up a little bit, from top to bottom.  It is the time to wash away all the negative from those dark cold months of Winter, but it also gives you a chance to really reflect on what you want to do in this time of re-birth. Spring delivers a time where the simplest changes can leave you feeling anew and refreshed.  Over the course of the week I am going to introduce some new techniques to turn your Spring cleaning venture into a simple, green, family centered experience.  Because let's be honest, you aren't going to tackle everything on your own.  Make it a family affair.  Before you decide to divide and conquer, take some time to acknowledge the types of products you are going to be using during your Spring cleaning.  Listed below are recipes to create your own household cleaning items; these items are safe, easy on your pocket, and a fun science experiment that you and your family can make together!

These recipes can help you tackle anything in the house in a safe, frugal, and green manner.  Know what products are being sprayed in your house.  Taking a green approach to cleaning products will help alleviate any concerns you have with spraying toxic items in and around your house.  Vinegar is used in all of these products, (my least favorite smelling component) but if you are like me and loathe the smell of vinegar I have a little trick that will help with the smell.  With the help of numerous essential oils: rosemary, tea tree, eucalyptus, lemon, orange, you can bring the smells of your newly planted garden into your home.  All of these oils are safe to mix with these recipes. A few drops will do the trick. Find any essential oil you need at Mountain Rose Herbs. 

[ We got these recipes from He and She Eat Clean blog. They also have a great shopping list to help get you started! ]

Happy Spring! 


March 22, 2014

Free Spirit: Rebekah Long

We are insanely excited to start our Free Spirit series today! Each week we will be spotlighting an individual who believes in living free— creatives, dreamers, believers, adventurers and everyone in between. Free spirits believe in you, me and most importantly, themselves. They are individuals with heavy hearts and deep minds. And we are so excited to share their inspiring souls with you! 

"Being a free spirit is more than just a label.  Being a free spirit is a way of life.  It’s care and compassion and flower crowns when necessary!”- Rebekah

To kick off our series we bring you, Rebekah Long, a  22 year old Libra living in East Tennessee. She is a joyful observer of life and an advocate for mental health. Rebekah is currently writing a book for girls who are struggling with mental illness. How cool is that? Her story is truly an inspiration to anyone who has been down a dark and bumpy road. She has defeated her demon and emerged stronger than before. Now she is ready to help others do the same. A true, kind and loving soul. Rebekah lives her life without constraint and full of love. Keep reading to learn more about her passions, style and how she describes the qualities of a free spirit! 

Life Motto: remember how much of a goddess you are when the world is weighing you down

Go-to quote: “Kiss your own fingertips and hug your own curves. You are made of waves and honey and spicy peppers when it is necessary.You are a goddess,I hope you haven’t forgotten.” - Emery Allen

Being a free spirit is something to be proud of and cherish. I live my life as a free spirit by giving love as much as I possibly can. I would consider myself my “own person,” because, even though I care a lot about what people think of me, I do my own thing anyway. Making myself happy is so important, and every free spirit loves themselves first. I’m loud and outspoken, and I befriend you without any judgment, whatsoever. That’s my favorite quality. It’s taken me a while to master it, because it’s so easy to just pick apart other peoples’ flaws. When you’re diagnosed with a mental illness, though, it’s impossible to judge someone else, because everything is put into perspective. You have to be willing to love and respect others, because that’s what you want most of all. Being a free spirit is more than just a label. Being a free spirit is a way of life. It’s care and compassion and flower crowns when necessary!

I dress to feel pretty; I don’t dress for anyone else. My style is kind of a mess. I wish I could put a specific name on it, but, really, I just dress how I’m feeling that day. There’s not a specific person that I model myself after; I just kind of dress the way I think looks fun! I shop everywhere. I love shopping at thrift stores and Cato and WalMart, because, let’s be honest, their selection has drastically improved over the years. I’m one of “those girls” who lives in her leggings, and I’m proud to admit it! I love earrings and necklaces, and, as I said before, I like to make scarves. I have two incredible rings that I wear everyday from a little shop in Market Square in Knoxville called Fizz. One is a moonstone and the other is a royal blue druzy quartz.

Educating, advocating and crushing stereotypes: I’m passionate about so many things! I’m passionate about love and friendships and making sure that everyone is happy. I’m passionate about art and creating things that I see. I like to take something I see in a store (especially jewelry) and find a way to make it on my own. Most of all, I’m becoming passionate about my health. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2012, and it’s been an incredibly difficult journey. I’m finally starting to become comfortable in my own skin and realize that my feelings should be the most important (to me). Educating and advocating is really important to me. I just recently made a little (okay, long) announcement on Facebook about it, because hiding is really strenuous and, frankly, heartbreaking. People just don’t talk about mental illness, and that’s really sad to me. Mental illnesses like Bipolar Disorder have such a nasty stigma attached to them, and I just want to crush them all and let people know that we aren’t all just like the stereotypes.

Thoughts on food: I love food. I love, love, love food. My favorite restaurant is the Tomato Head in Knoxville. I could live off of their hummus. It’s so incredible. The “Oh Boy!” sandwich they make is heavenly. I ate it today, actually! 

Arts, Books, Music: When I really want to keep my mind stimulated, I draw or paint or make something with my hands. I love making jewelry and arm knitting and embroidery. My favorite movies would definitely have to be The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Pride & Prejudice (the Keira Knightly version), and Silver Linings Playbook. My favorite kind of music to listen to when I want to be stimulated is a little playlist I made that’s comprised of strictly piano solos. The song that I love the most on that playlist is named “Opus 23” by Dustin O’Halloran from the Marie Antoinette soundtrack. It’ll bring tears, mark my words. If we’re talking favorite song of all time, it would be “Send Me On My Way” by Rusted Root. I can’t express how that song has helped me through my 22 years. One of my favorite books is definitely The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. That book changed my entire life, and I don’t say that very often. When I read a book and really love it, I kiss the cover when I finish it. When I finished Ocean, I kissed it twice.

Connect with Rebekah on Facebook
Follow Rebekah on Instagram: @kingkongquisha

March 20, 2014

Awake My Body

Source: Pinterest

The First Day of Spring has brought with it a spell of deep reflection— a reflection on life and how we as human beings live it. So many of us (myself included) walk through life nearly dead. No passion, no purpose, no zeal for living. Many of us, zombies just trying to get by. We are bogged down with 50 hour work weeks at a job we don’t even care about. We are disgusted at ourselves for whatever reason. We are too concerned with each others life that we forget to live our own. 

Well thank goodness God gave us Spring to remind us that we can be reborn into a new person. Spring is natures way of saying WAKE UP humans! Go and live life in a beautiful way. Nature is my guide and my inspiration. As I watch mother nature decorate the earth with flowers, butterflies and sunshine, I am filled with hope.  Hope that this world will wake up and start living. 

As the planet enters into a state of renewal, I will too. Shedding the old, making way for the new. Put this song by Alexander on the top of your Spring playlist! 

Go forward and live!
- Amber 

March 16, 2014

Welcome Jodi Bigham!

Happy to announce that this festival going, vegetable growing, journaling doodling, can’t sit still for too long girl has joined our team! So happy to have her help as Opal + Wonder grows. Join me in welcoming Jodi Bigham to the O+W team! If you’re interested in being a part of O+W, shoot us a message! We’ve got some ideas up our sleeves.