A Spicy, Sweet Concoction for Coughs



08 March 2013

Whenever I get a cold the thing I dislike most about it is the coughing. The coughs that are dry, like a cat’s sand-papery tongue licking your esophagus clean, causing your eyes to water up in discomfort.  Those are the coughs that I detest.

Growing up whenever we caught a cold it  meant regimens of cough medicine during the day & Nyquil. That was the norm, we didn’t know any different. But now that I’m older & my viewpoints on the food industry have changed drastically, I’ve rid my medicine cabinet of all conventional medication apart from ibuprofen. I don’t eat anything I don’t know the ingredients of & when it comes to medicine I am no different. Plus, all those cough medicines tastes awful. I don’t know who thought of those “flavors” but they did a terrible job.

“Good for you” some of you might be cheering.

Or perhaps more are thinking  “You’re crazy to not take medicine & living with the pain, you hippie”.

But this story doesn’t end with my throat being left raw & fragile! I bring you good news! I found something that I am so in love with I needed to share it. A natural, homemade cough suppressant. That tastes GOOD!

It’s hard to believe, I know. But if you’re a health nut like me you’ll be excited when you hear it has both ginger & cayenne in it. Yum! I found the original recipe here on Good Food Matters and it goes a little something like this:

¼ teaspoon Cayenne
¼ teaspoon Ginger
1 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar (an organic one, like Bragg’s, is preferred.)
2 Tablespoon Water
1 Tablespoon Honey (use a locally produced raw honey, if possible.)

Dissolve cayenne and ginger in cider vinegar and water. Add honey and shake well. Take 1 Tablespoon as needed for cough.

It’s the only thing I’ll take & it works like a charm. Spicy, and sweet. Along with taking it straight, like to add a tablespoon to 8 oz of hot water & sip on it. The only problem I find in this recipe is that it contains honey, which cannot be given to infants under one year, so in the future – distant future – when I have kids hopefully I’ll have found an alternative recipe to use if a cough should arise.

Please give it a try, my friends & say farewell to scary, mystery ingredient cold medicines.





07 March 2013

Don’t share drinks with people, okay kids? Or steal sips from someone’s beer when they’re not looking. Or even if they are looking. But just don’t care enough to stop you. The bottom line is: don’t share drinks.

I may or may not have a cold right now. Because I stole a sip of beer from my brother’s glass a couple days ago. I was fully aware of his sickness. And yet the red flag didn’t wave as I picked up that heavy cylinder to taste a brew crafted in Alaska. And now my throat has grown hoarse from the involuntary coughing to clear an ever-present tickle that perks up with every inhale of stale air.

But the sun came out today. And I didn’t feel so terrible. So I grabbed my sketchbook, brewed myself a hot cup of lemon-honey tea, and called the dogs out to play. I set up camp in the front yard & chose to ignore the intermittent passing of vehicles that usually deter me from spending too long out front. Jack asked nicely for me to throw the ball & he fetched it enthusiastically each time – whether I threw it across the yard or merely a foot from my resting spot.

The fresh air was sweet & pure. The sun welcoming, warming my pale skin in its friendly glow. But the best part of all was my bare feet in the lush green grass. Feeling the cool, soft soil  beneath my soles, contrasting the warmth of the sun. I imagine the peacefulness & rejuvenation I felt might be comparable to soaking in a lovely lavender scented bath.

At one point during my time in the grass I was startled to find something slithering across my sketchbook. After a quick jolt, I realized it was only a large earth worm wishing to say hello. We had a lovely chat about the weather while I took some photos of him, but I warned him not to stay above ground for too long since there were birds fluttering about. I would hate to see my new friend get eaten so early on in the season.

I could have spent all afternoon outside, I believe. But after being spooked a second time by a vine brushing my leg while taking photos I decided my skittish tendencies would not let my heart alone, so I packed up my things & called to animals back indoors. Please visit my photography blog to see the full collection of photos I took today! Go on, I know you want to.

Tea for One



05 March 2013

Some people need their caffeine in the morning. Some call for a fast, hot black brew. Some need their double shot, non-fat, full-sugar, no real nutrients hot beverage. But some wish only for a simple cup of tea. A splash of milk, a drop of honey. That’s perfection to me.

Whenever I make myself a cup of black tea with milk & honey I relive the dark fall mornings of 2011 when an 8:00 am drawing class called me from my slumber several times a week. I loved that class. I mean – I hated that class – because I am mediocre at best when it comes to drawing. But I loved that class. I loved my professor – his mannerisms alone were entertainment enough to keep me awake. And his perspective on art was established & respectable, though I don’t think he found anything astonishing in any of my work. I loved walking across the barren campus with the sharp autumn wind kissing my face, feeling as if it was all mine – that I could run, skip, or even hop down the middle of the street if it so humored me & no one would witness it. And nearly every morning I brewed myself a cup of tea to take a long. (Okay…sometimes it was coffee…spiked with Bailey’s. Shhh.)

Those ten weeks wouldn’t have been the same had I not taken my tea with me. It would have been far colder, that’s for sure. And I wouldn’t have felt the same standing at my easel – had my right hand been empty as its graphite covered partner fumbled across the overwhelming blank page before me. My tea comforted me in a way, I suppose.

And now this morning as I sip my black tea with milk & honey I fumble again across a blank page, attempting to produce something worthwhile. Something to remember.

Anberlin: 2013 Vital Tour


01 March 2013

I have been waiting years to see Anberlin live. And a few months ago when I saw they were coming to Portland I shared the good news with Jered immediately & he declared it to be a late two-year anniversary present for us. Isn’t he the best? Always making my life dreams come true, he is.

Their newest album Vital is by far my favorite from them. Though, really, their previous albums are all fantastic. Since Jered bought us the tickets, I bought us the album & from the very first listen through I knew I was madly in love. Seriously, give them a listen. They remind me of other alt rock bands I love, but at the same time no one else sounds like them. Anberlin has their own unique sound. No one else sings like Stephen Christian or plays like Joseph Milligan. Every member is so talented – and seeing them all live was nothing short of beautiful.

Well, no surprise – they put on an amazing show & it was more than worth the wait. The best aspect of the whole night was the venue – the Hawthorne Theatre. With its classic Portland charm the whole performance was much more intimate compared to a giant stadium concert. It was a gathering of one hundred mutually enthralled fans rather than a few thousand complete strangers. 

A few attempts near the front were made to start a mosh pit, but the agoraphobic in me stayed safely in the back to prevent any sort of unnecessary thrashing. Sadly, my energy level was not anywhere near where I foresaw it being. I yawned. On multiple occasions. But on the inside I was so excited. I just couldn’t express it to the best of my abilities. This means I simply need to see them again. 

I only took these two shots because my little Nikon doesn’t do well in low light settings & the shutter speed struggles to keep up with even the most slow-moving objects. The humorous part – I was the only person taking photos with a camera. Phoneography is upon us…sigh.



Money is Not Love…But Valentines are Fun to Make


I have a love-hate relationship with the 14th of February.

The commercialization of “romance” “love” “passion” etc. does not send my heart a-flutter or make me wish for carnival-sized teddy bears. But instead triggers rants such as this:  Putting on your best behavior for 24 hours while tearing each other down every day in between  is not love.  Love isn’t buying someone a two hundred-dollar piece of jewelry or a heart-shaped box of over-priced “chocolate”. (Honestly, who actually enjoys those samplers. And what are you even “sampling”. They don’t taste like chocolate. Or anything remotely candy-like.) Love is not dropping half your paycheck at a five-star restaurant and ordering the most expensive items on the menu just because it’s Valentine’s Day. Do you even like caviar? Or champagne? Money is not love.

I repeat. Money is not love.

But then there’s the flip side & in my opinion, the heart of the matter. I love February 14th because Valentines are fun to make. And Valentine themed desserts are fun to bake. But mostly because I want people to know they are loved & special. Because I may not be able to see them as often as I would like – 1600 miles is a far reach to give a hug. And e-mails and tweets and Facebook and all that other social networking sites aren’t the same as sending someone a handmade valentine. Like we used to do back in grade school. Before Valentine’s Day was about keeping up with the Jones’. When it was just about expressing your love with a crooked piece of pink paper with an uneven heart. And a box of conversation hearts – which are also gross.

Just call ’em Flat Stanley




23 January 2013

I made donuts for the first time as the birthday desert for my brother Adam. He didn’t have an idea of what he wanted, so I chose for him. They’re not difficult to make. But I enjoyed eating the dough a lot more than the finished product. They just turned out really dense. And flat. I’m sure I worked the dough too much. But the overall flavor was appealing.

I’m not the world’s biggest fan of traditional birthday cakes. And big chain store bought deserts are not welcome. Halfway through making these little guys I thought about cupcakes, I could make cupcakes blindfolded. But since I have hundreds of recipes sitting on Pinterest, I thought I should put them to use. If we do not try, how will we ever know?

The good: They’re pretty easy to make. And kinda adorable. They’re whole wheat. And organic. And are tasty plain, with cinnamon sugar, or with a simple chocolate icing. Sprinkles are mandatory if you ice them. Just saying.

The bad: They’re still donuts. Which means oil. And I’m not a fan of frying anything. I’d like to try and bake them in the oven just to see what happens. Perhaps they’ll bake more like donut shaped muffins? Perhaps they will be more moist? And stand taller? Another trial must commence!

Tuesday Rambles


Sometimes I just want to write.

About nothing and everything all at once. There is so much I want to do, but so little  I feel I can accomplish. What other semi-cliche & vague sentences can I write?

At the beginning of the year I started the process of opening an Etsy store. And then I realized I needed to actually make things to sell. And I hit a roadblock. Because what can I make that isn’t already out there? That someone would actually want to buy? I’m not proficient enough in anything for it to be marketable. But at some point I just have to try it out & see what happens.

I wish it were summer time. Then I could set up an outdoor studio and spend my time listening to The Beatles & Foreigner and create. Without worrying about making too much of a mess on the dining room table & feeling the need for it to be all picked up and shoved back into my cave before 4 pm.

I’m addicted to Pinterest. And I’ve completely derailed from a “normal” sleep cycle. I used to love being awake at 2 am – the world is quiet at 2 am – unless of course it’s Thirsty Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. Silly college students and their need to waste away their evenings partying with strangers & drinking till they’re numb. But those were the days when I was in 5 art classes & constantly working on a project. It’s still quiet at 2 am. But now it feels daunting. And I’m left feel guilty.