0 com

Environment: Drought Infographic

Great infographic that my coworker Jerimiah created for our company, Weather Underground. If you don't know us in California is in an Exceptional Drought, which is the worse on the scale, 0-2% soil moisture. This is a crazy huge problem for the rest of the country since the majority of lettuces and many other fruits and veggies are farmed in the California central valley and around. We're still hoping for an El Nino year in order to bring some more rain this winter, but it's looking dismal. Everyone not only in California should learn how to collect and conserve water, it's just the nice thing to do for our planet. I'm planning on building some rain barrels for this winter, and I also reuse water from canning adventures, and use pasta water to quench my plants thirst. Anyway you can use "grey water" helps everyone :)

I think I want to include more weather, climate, environment posts on this blog. I have always been a advocate for cleaning up pollution, being apart of the ecology club, doing river and woods cleanups and I remember buying a WWF membership in 3rd grade. It's also something that I learn about and deal with daily at work, which is upsetting and sometimes frustrating watching and hearing about what's happening on an international scale. What do you guys think? Do you do anything to help conserve or try to be less carbon reliant?

- Lauren
0 com

Travel: Philadelphia Freedom

Me and Benny Jeffs

This summer (A couple months ago, I'm slow at photo editing) Mike and I headed across the country to his hometown Philadelphia. We were traveling for a wedding of a mutual friend and decided to piggy back another vacation on the end of this one, more on that later. This is now the second time visiting the city that I've heard countless stories about from Mike, Adam and their friend group so I was excited to explore it more.

First we went to the Penn Archeology Museum, and walked around the campus and neighborhood between there and his sister's house in West Philly. The best thing about that walk was that it was sprinkling, and the rain was warm, I've missed walking on a hot summer day in the rain, rain out here is sparse and freezing. Anyway, the museum was amazing and had a vast collection spanning from ancient cultures all around the world. They even had a lab you could walk into and see what archeologists are working on, that was really really neat, and very cold :) In the basement of the museum they had a sphinx, which was way cool, looking back through my pictures it seemed I was obsessed with mainly the Egyptian stuff they had. The building it was housed in was also amazing with a wonderful lily pond in front. On the way back to W. Philly we stopped and ate at a well known little sandwich/deli shop, Koch's.

Penn Archeology Museum

Penn Archeology Museum

Penn Archeology Museum

Penn Archeology Museum

The next few days in Philadelphia was driving and walking around, meeting friends for lunch, eating my first Philly Cheese Steak (with cheez-wiz), going to an amazing dinner at City Tavern, and witnessing Billy and Leah get married on her families land out near Lancaster.

The wedding was absolutely the most beautiful wedding I've been to. The ceremony was held by the tree line and butterflies were released, the reception was right by under big tents with paper umbrellas and lights hanging from the top, and long tables set with mismatched vintage plates, glasses and serving-ware. The meal was all finger food and brought out one by one from family friends who also prepared it. Around the premise, in the gardens, near the pasture were little stations, some with homemade beet wine from an Amish neighbor (and other wines, but I loved the beet wine), a beer cart with a table filled with vintage beer glasses, and fruits/cheese/crackers... Everywhere you looked there was something to see and marvel at. And everything was thrifted/antiqued by Leah and her mom over the past year. It's even overwhelming just trying to figure out how to describe the eyecandy. After dinner we danced a TON, and I witnessed my first bouquet toss and caught it, snatched it right as Brittany was about to get it. Haha. At the end of the night we all went to the little grove where we had already set up tents and slept the night away with the sounds of bullfrogs in the distance.

Billy & Leah Wedding

Billy & Leah Wedding

Mike's sisters' and their significant others, and moi. Such a silly, funny group.

Billy & Leah Wedding

Billy & Leah Wedding

On one of the last days Mike and I did one last walk around the cathedral, the Art Museum, tried to get pictures of people doing the Rocky stance at the top of the stairs, and down to city hall before heading back to his sister's and getting ready for the second leg of our trip, down to Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean.

Philadelphia Cathedral

Philadelphia Art Museum

Philadelphia Art Museum

I love that the frieze is painted in bright colors like they were in ancient Greece, we're so used to thinking all the ancient Greek buildings were all white marble but at the time they were painted very brightly.

City Building

City Building

City Building

The exterior and courtyard of the Philadelphia City Hall is absolutely breathtaking. The architecture is amazing and it's one of the largest city buildings in the country, and the tallest masonry building in the world. On top stands city founder, William Penn.


City Building

Philadelphia Masonic Temple

Masonic Temple, my father and g-pa and many others before were all Scottish Rite, I would love to become a mason sometime, but I have to wait until I have the fight to become one b/c I can't cause I'm a girl... I digress.

City Building & Art

This airplane sculpture is outside the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts building in Lenfest Plaza, It was amazing to get up close to. It's entitled "Grumman Greenhouse" by Jordan Griska, the piece is made from a decommissioned cold war naval plane a Grumman Tracker II, looks like it just crashed into the ground, and parts of it have been turned into a greenhouse.

Revolutionary War unmarked Graves

City Hall

Next time you'll see an overload of pictures from one the most beautiful places I've ever been, Turks and Caicos

0 com

Making: Prickle Pear Cactus Jam

I guest blogged over at the Libby's Urban Homestead about making jam out of the prickle pear cactus fruit. These grow all over California and the Southwest, are easy to harvest, and make an amazing tasting jam!

Head over to check it out!

0 com

Housing DIY: Regrouting tiled kitchen counter

When I first saw my kitchen I thought about how adorable the light yellow and black tile was with the vintage shallow sink. Once moving in I saw that the tile work was in desperate need for a face lift. One side of the counter the tile is in wonderful condition, the other is pretty pitiful, it looks as though people throughout the 100 year history have put many a hot pot on the tile, resulting in pitting on the tile. And don't even mention the grout... oh the grout... it could probably tell a decades of cooking stories and those were stories  that I really didn't want to know. So I decided to take it upon myself to re-grout! I know I know, it's a rental, but things like this is such a cheap fix that you can do it in one evening. (I also always buy a new toilet seat at rentals... it's the best $15 you can spend).

So first I read as many how to's and watched many youtube videos! Here's the one that was the most helpful.


First I went to the hardware store, got non-sanded grout (sanded if the space between the tiles is more than a 1/4"), a screwdriver, a grout float, a big sponge, cheesecloth, and tile chaulk for around the sink (not included in this tutorial)

Anyway so my tiles started out with this.... dark grout hiding the loveliness of the yellow tilework.


I used an old flat head screwdriver and a leather punch to scrap all the grout out, I'm not going to lie, it was pretty gross.


Then I vacuumed all the gunk away, brushed the counter top off real well and wiped it down with a towel. I waited till the next day to start the grout to make sure the tile was dry.


Follow the instructions on your grout and mix it together, scoop the grout on the counter and spread over it the tile with the float at an angle pushing the grout into the tile. Go over many times making sure that there is grout between all the tiles and putting more grout when needed. Do not push too hard where you are pulling grout out from inbetween the tiles, try to spread the grout at an angle to the tile.

Let the grout dry for what the instructions say, about 20 minutes for mine. It'll start to set and after the alloted time wipe the counter down with the clean, wet sponge. Again don't press too hard, and don't have a wet sponge just damp you don't want to be dripping water. After this let the grout set even more my instructions were for 2hrs.



After those hours your tiles will appear cloudy, use your cheese cloth to buff the haze off. And voila! Wait a full 24hrs before putting things on the counter or you seal the grout to prevent staining. Overall I'm so happy I did this, it really just makes everything looks so fresh and so clean clean.



PS: Sorry for the poor quality pictures, my nice camera was out of commission. :)