Tuesday, March 31, 2015

3 Year Blogaversary Celebration!

T oday charcoal and ash turns 3 so you guys get triple the pics! I have loved every minute of my blogging experience and I am so excited that I found a hobby where I can let my creative side flourish. That being said I am ready for this blog to be more than just a hobby and that's why I have chosen today the anniversary of the beginning of it all to announce that I will be attending my first ever professional blog conference in San Francisco this September. I will be attending the The Blogcademy taught be three sassy and successful headmistresses Gala Darling, Shauna Haider of Nubby Twiglet, and Kat Williams of Rock n Roll Bride. I am beyond ecstatic to be participating in this game changer of a conference you can check out the Blogcademy promo video below. (I don't think it is sold out yet, so check it out!) Ahhh did I mention how excited I am? I mean like really excited! I am already planning my questions and outfits! I can not wait to gather new ideas, gain business advice, and meet other bloggers! I'm also excited to bring the quality of my blog to another level for my amazing readers... I know I have just a few but I appreciate every one of you. You deserve to have exciting, intriguing, and gorgeous photos and content to discover ever time you visit this blog. Thanks for being here! If you have not done so already I would like to invite you to subscribe to charcoal and ash to receive updates, previews and more exciting things in the near future.

Modcloth Style Gallery - Click to Shop!
leather jacket and necklace / Sheinside
dress / Modcloth
tulle skirt / DIY

A big thank you to my husband Paul for always supporting me in whatever crazy thing I come up with! I love you so much and feel truly blessed to be married to someone who loves all of me during the good times and the bad.

This photo shoot was done at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. I was really lucky because the tulips were almost 3 weeks early this year so there were not a lot of visitors yet. Normally these fields draw thousands of people to the area at the beginning of the tulip festival starting April 1st. I highly recommend visiting especially if you are a photographer! The contrast of the blue mountains, fields of gold daffodils and fuchsia tulips is unreal. If you do end up visiting bring boots! it is really muddy and be sure to stop by the Calico Cupboard Cafe on your way out they have the best locally grown food and a huge selection of glutton free bakery items. Another fun thing is the giant flock of snow geese that roam the area. You can see the giant flock in the background of the last few photos of this post - I totally had the urge to run towards them to make them fly


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Noni's Corned Beef and Cabbage

Happy St. Patricks Day everyone! I hope you found something green to keep from getting pinched. I am really excited for this post. Today I am sharing one of my favorite recipes from my grandma Noni's kitchen. I am very fortunate to be really close to my grandparents and one of the perks is gaining traditional family recipe tips and tricks. I asked Noni if she would teach me how to make her famous corned beef and cabbage this year for St. Patricks day and she said yes! Yay! So I spent a whole day taking a cooking class from her. This recipe is not as hard as it looks as long as you are patient. It is very time consuming but it tastes fantastic and you can use the left overs for Reuben Sandwiches. You can find a step-by-step recipe below with ingredients. Be sure to check back for more of my family's favorite recipes soon! Enjoy. 

  • 1 lb of corned beef — (spices should be included with the beef packaging)
  • 1.5 lb of golden small potatoes
  • 1 head of cabbage
Boil for 1.5 - 2 hours, reduce heat, and simmer for another 3 - 4 hours (until tender)
Add all golden potatoes and cook with the meat for 35-40 minutes
Add 1.5 of broken up cabbage rinsed and shredded add to meat and potatoes
Continue to cook for another 20 minutes
Remove meat and let cool
Slice meat against the grain and serve with the potatoes and cabbage and your choice of beer!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Be Your Own Lucky Charm

Guys its springtime we made it through the winter! at least here in Seattle (sorry for those of you on the East Coast) I was excited to do this photo shoot at Kelsey Creek Farm inspired by St. Patricks Day and I was surprised to see that the tulip tree is already in full bloom. I was thinking about what to write in this post and was going to go on and on about lucky charms, but the thing is... I don't believe in luck. I believe in hard work, dedication, persistence and sometimes miracles. Good things don't just happen or magically materialize before your eyes. Good things are earned. I know I might get some differing views on this one but it's something I truly believe. I am working really hard this year to realign my life focusing on my health and fitness, career goals, relationships, and spirituality and the honest truth is that if you want to see a transformation in any aspect of your life that you have to make constant efforts towards it. I love Jullian Michaels quote:
"Transformation is not a future event, it is a present activity."  
This is a mindset I am striving to maintain everyday and using to make progress at achieving my goals. One of the methods that has helped me with this is identifying and cutting out the toxic things in my life. I don't need to name what they are, it's different for everyone but consider what it is that makes you feel anxious, or not good enough and if it is a true necessity in your life. I have added things like yoga, workouts, clean eating, and a network of people who I know will support me. I'll let you know how it goes but my thoughts are this is a recipe for success. I won't ramble on too much more I just wanted to give you all some inspiration to find your dream, make a plan, and go get it! I am going to be reading a new book by Gabrielle Bernstein called Miracles Now (I actually just downloaded mine on i-books for my i-pad) and I am really excited to report back with my review it looks amazing, packed with all sorts of ways to improve ones life. So until then I wish you all GOOD LUCK this St, Patricks Day.

Modcloth Style Gallery - Click to Shop!
hat / Modcloth
blouse / Target
jean / Similar
bag / Nordstrom
necklace / Forever21
pumps / Similar

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Tropical Bloat Blaster Smoothie

Iam currently in the middle of week 3 of my 12 week workout and I am amazed at the changes in my body! I literally don't care what the scale says anymore because all of my muscles feel strong and my body looks toned! I have slowly begun to introduce clean eating into my diet I can eat as much as I need of clean whole foods like vegetables, poultry, fruit, grains etc... it has seriously been life changing and I am loosing weight while having a full stomach... YES! Oh and that whole trick about shopping on the outside of the grocery store totally true that is where all of my meals are coming from these days! (I am kinda of proud of myself lol) All this being said and there is still one sensitive subject that I am dealing with... bloat, yeah it's for reals. There are many causes of bloat but for me I think it is dairy products, and sodium that bother me the most. If you experience bloat here are some helpful remedies. I never really paid attention to this aspect of my health until I started noticing that my body was beginning to look toned except for my stomach. Certain foods can help with bloat, here is an awsome tasting smoothie blend that I have found extremely effective
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Orange
  • 1.5 cup Frozen Pineapple Chunks
  • 2 cups Light Fit Yogurt