Fruit Kabobs!

Food

It’s that time of year again: barbecue season! And while we all love a good burger, bratwurst, and heaping serving of potato & macaroni salad, sometimes we find ourselves in the mood for something a wee bit healthier.

Fruit kabobs are a simple way to fill that health-craving void. All you need for these simple kabobs are wooden skewers, strawberries and a fresh pineapple (or canned pineapple chunks if you’re in a rush).

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Wash strawberries and cut them in half.
  2. Cut your pineapple by first cutting off the outside skin. Proceed to cut the meat of the pineapple into chunks.
  3. Spear your kabobs, rotating between pineapple and strawberry.
  4. Enjoy!
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Wildlife Inspiration: Wolf Mountain Nature Center

Inspiration, Travel

IMG_3478Anyone who follows this site knows that I am inspired by nature and, more specifically, wildlife. I love animals.

This weekend I decided to go out with Andy and members of his family to find some wildlife inspiration, spending time exploring one of Central New York’s wildlife gems: the Wolf Mountain Nature Center.

Currently home to 13 wolves (plus two new pups!), four coyotes and handful of arctic foxes, I can’t say enough great things about this organization. The grounds are beautiful, hidden atop a picturesque hill in CNY, the staff is overwhelmingly friendly and their mission is honorable and strong, focused on protecting wolves and teaching visitors the beauty of wildlife and the importance of conserving it.

Our group spent a solid two hours exploring the grounds, walking to each enclosure where we were introduced to residents and given new tidbits of information by the awaiting staff members. Aside from learning a lot about the organization, its residents and the wild canine species, the best (although admittedly surprising) part of the visit was how friendly the wildlife was.

With most of the animals being born at the Center, they are all used to human contact, a trait that is critical in regard to medical treatment. Although you won’t get to pet a wolf on your visit, you will definitely get to see them up close and personal as they come up to the fences to check you out.

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Inspired by these encounters, I’m already in the midst of planning my next visit to the Mountain! There’s nothing quite like seeing the beauty of a wild animal, content in a humane and conservation-focused environment to warm your heart and inspire you in the best of ways.

If you’re an animal-lover such as myself, then Wolf Mountain is a resounding must-visit. To learn more about the Center and its residents click here.

Protein-Packed Spinach + Kale Smoothie

Food

smoothieThis Thursday I had the grand pleasure of having all four of my wisdom teeth extracted. Many of you out there can commiserate with the pain, odd looks from people who are staring at your enlarged “chipmunk cheeks” and your inability to eat just about everything.

None the less, while the past five days have been trying in their own regard, they have made me much more adventurous in the smoothie realm!

Following an oral surgery such as a wisdom tooth extraction, it’s vital that you don’t allow your inability to chew get in the way of your nutrition. As I discovered, smoothies are an easy, delicious and pain-alleviating way to get the nutrients you need when you are unable to chew or, seriously, even open your mouth.

While I tried several veggie smoothies over the past week, this Spinach + Kale smoothie has by far been my favorite. Check out the simple recipe below:

Ingredients:

2 cups spinach

1 cup kale

1 tablespoon peanut butter

3/4 cup milk or almond milk

1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use a vegetable-based powder)

1 frozen banana

Directions:

Blend spinach, kale, peanut butter, milk and protein powder until smooth. Add in banana and blend again.

Enjoy immediately or store in a mason jar for later!

Drawing a Real Live Fairy: The Luna Moth

Art

Animal imagery is by far my favorite subject matter for drawing, especially that which can inspire a sense of magic. One particular species that has captured my attention over the years is the luna moth.

If you’ve ever seen one #IRL then you will understand my fascination. For those of you who haven’t, then what you have to understand is that seeing a luna moth is like seeing a real live fairy. Even in the pitch black of night, they positively glow, emitting a soft light as they fly through the air. Truly, you’ve never seen anything like it.

🦋Saturday #sketching. #theperpetualcreator

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My comparing luna moths to fairies stretches back to my undergraduate years, during which I time I created a piece that commented on the role science has played in the demise of myth. The piece (seen below) features a repeat silkscreen pattern of a luna moth, meant to mimic a butterfly board, with a 3D soft-sculpture fairy pinned to the center. The fairy, which symbolizes the death of myth and magic in the modern world, is adorned with a luna moth printed on his chest.

silkscreen

I recently revisited the luna moth, in a cheerier, simpler piece, and was excited to tackle the variety of greens found in their wings with my Prismacolor pencils. I surprised myself, finishing this drawing rather quickly, all the while immensely enjoying blending the colors together with the blending tool. Although wing symmetry proved to be a bit daunting at first, the beautiful things about nature is that it’s rarely ever perfect!

Check out the finished drawing below:

In Search of Flowers 🌸

Inspiration

Memorial Day weekend is fast-approaching and Andy and I are on a mission to dress up our home for the (un)official start to summer.

One of the cheapest and most effective ways to dress up your home? Flowers! Bright, beautiful and festive, I absolutely adore flowers. They look great, they smell great, and sometimes, are downright magical.

I want all the #flowers!…But mostly the sea #dragon 😁🐉🌸

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And what’s more fun than enjoying flowers and plants from the comfort of your home? Shopping for them!

🌹Flower shopping = my favorite kind of shopping #springhassprung

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Check out some of the photos I snapped this week on our quest for the perfect floral decor:

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Greek Yogurt and Walnut Dip

Food

Working at Chobani, I’m always looking for new ways to incorporate Greek Yogurt into my cooking. Aside from being a great snack or mini-meal, the yogurt’s thick and creamy texture make it a healthy, versatile ingredient to cook with, and can be used as a substitute for butter, oil, cream cheese, mayo and, most commonly, sour cream.

While I’ve used Chobani yogurt in Swedish meatballs, tuna fish salad, shrimp tacos, bean dip, cheesecake and salad dressing, my simplest rendition was created using the recipe I’m featuring today: Yogurt, Dill and Walnut Dip. 

I originally found the recipe on Real Simple and love how few ingredients it takes to make a filling and healthy snack. Because – let’s be honest – dip is addicting, so the healthier the better!

INGREDIENTS

  • cups Plain Chobani Greek yogurt
  • clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, plus more for topping
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill, plus more for topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, garlic, walnuts, dill and kosher salt.
  2. Top with additional chopped dill and walnuts.
  3. Serve with carrots or pita chips.
  4. Enjoy!

The Fox and the Hare

Art

So I started this project a while ago, back when the big snowstorm hit the Northeast in March. As I watched the snow come pouring down by the foot, I turned my artistic eye to the future of spring and warm weather, and landed upon the idea of another fox-inspired piece, this time in my current media of choice: colored pencil.

As long as I can remember, the fox has always been one of my favorite animals. In fact, at a young age I used to beg my parents to buy me a fox costume similar the one worn by one of the lost boys in Disney’s “Peter Pan!”

The drawing you see now is the result of a combination of this fox-love and an image that inspired me on Pinterest.

Andy laughs every time I show him this drawing, reminding me that foxes and lagomorphs don’t play well together, and pointing out that the photograph I found was probably featuring a predator sleeping with its prey. Despite this bit of scientific fact, I wanted my drawing to display the opposite, providing viewers with a sense of tranquility.

Looking upon this piece, I wanted people to believe that these two creatures could be curled up together in the forest, not as diner and dinner, but as unlikely friends.

I can only hope that the radial symmetry, texture and color palette of this drawing have had this desired effect. I know that this piece certainly helped me through a storm (literally) and it might even find its way into my office space at work.

We have a release date for “Frozen 2!”

Art, Pop Culture

For the first time in forever…we have news regarding “Frozen 2!” In case you missed it, Disney announced the film’s release date on Twitter this Tuesday.

Yep, you read it right – we still have over two years of waiting before the sequel hits theaters! While that seems like a ridiculously long time to wait, we know that the end product will be totally worth it.

In the meantime, here’s some “Frozen” fan art to tide you over:

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My First Venture to Twin Falls and Chobani Idaho

Travel

Working on Chobani’s communications team, I knew it was only a matter of time before I found myself venturing to sunny Twin Falls, Idaho to visit our second hometown location and the largest yogurt plant in the world.

Having gone to school 10 minutes down the road from our original plant (and trust me, 10 minutes is NOTHING in Central New York), I am immensely familiar with our CNY plant and corporate headquarters. This week, after a year of employment, I finally had the chance to travel across the country to Idaho which is, by the way, beautiful!

Two out of three flights ✅ Next stop: Twin Falls, Idaho! 🥔

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I had a great time touring the plant and admiring the great differences between our two locations. Plus, there’s nothing quite like donning a lab coat first thing in the morning!

🥄Spent the morning touring the world's largest yogurt plant #CHOteam #itsalabcoatkindofmorning

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Let me begin this post by saying that Idaho is beautiful, or dare I say GORGEous. While this was a business trip, my co-workers and I still managed to squeeze in some time for some sight- seeing.

Shoshone Falls

Located a matter of minutes from the Chobani plant, this waterfall location was absolutely breathtaking. If you’re in the area, word of the Idaho streets is that this is the year to visit this location due to the gushing nature of the usually sparse water flow. Apparently it was a good winter for this waterfall.

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The Perrine Bridge

So apparently there are many people that actually jump off this bridge…I am not one of those people. I was quite content viewing the bridge from afar and then later walking under it and admiring it from the scenic overlook.

 

We also ate at a number of restaurants during our stay. The tourist favorite? Elevation 486. Not only is the food interesting (I had quail by the way – first time for everything!) but the view is breathtaking. If you are ever to find yourself in Twin Falls Idaho, this hot-spot eatery is an absolute must.


I’m very fortunate to have a job that allows me to travel to new and interesting locales. That being said, I’m happy as always to be back in New York!