September 30, 2013

Only in Alaska.

I've been taking note of a few things that make me laugh since we've been here, there's a few things that you won't see/hear in the lower 48 (as Alaskan's call the rest of the US) and I thought I'd share!

Only in Alaska // Home is with You

Only in Alaska...

...you overhear a phone conversation that starts out, "Well, the first moose I ever ran over..."

...the gas station is pushing "2 for $1 sushi" instead of hotdogs.

...local kids walk out of a store when it's 70 degrees and yell, "...but it's so HOOOOOOT!"...and people are walking around sweating to death and fanning themselves at 80 degrees. Not to mention the whole city of Anchorage runs out of fans. True story.

...you can go on an impromptu adventure at 8pm in the summer and know you have hours of sunlight left, but in the winter you pop vitamin D pills and hope for the best.

Only in Alaska // Home is with You

...car washes have signs to inform people snow plows aren't allowed through the wash.

...you buy a roll of quarters for your laundry and they accidentally give you a few Canadian quarters.

...the emergency food packs with dried food that lasts 30+ years in the local Walmart are all over the center aisles, instead of hidden in the back, for easy access.

...a group of high school kids walk past you and you overhear one of the girls say, "...and I was like, *GASP*, but then I realized it was just a black bear..."

Ohhhh, Alaska! Hehe, and now I have to ask, what kind of things are said/seen around town where you live that might seem funny/interesting to someone new?

PS~ those pretty pics above are from our drive up the coast yesterday, there will be more (some of my favorite pictures so far) on Wednesday!

September 27, 2013

My new friend.

Those of you who follow me on Instagram saw that I've had a few close encounters with some awesome Alaskan wildlife this week, so I wanted to share the full story with you all...because I'm still giggling about it.

A few days ago, I was sitting at my computer, as usual...watching the amazing Joe Buissink shoot a wedding on CreativeLive. And I should mention before I go any further, and you all think I'm crazy, that we've been having a lot of unexpected people show up and start working on our rental house lately. I'll be working on something and see a man outside start painting the side of the house. Our sweet landlady wanted to get the house all fixed up and ready to go before winter hits, so they're getting it all done now. Anyways, all that to say, unexpected visitors are not out of the norm here...ok, moving on...

Juneau AK // Home is with You

So, like I said, I was sitting at my computer which at the moment overlooks part of our wrap-around porch. I glanced out the window and see what I think is the top of someone's hair, which makes my heart jump, and I'm thinking "Gah, these worker dudes are SO sneaky!"...because they are. Then, I wonder if it's Dave messing with me again, he's popped home for lunch a few times in the past week and he likes to scare surprise me when he does.

Then, it moved and in my head I'm screaming, "Not a person...NOT A PERSON!!!" I'm frozen, which is why there are no pictures of this awesomeness, as I realize it's a small black bear on my porch. He put his front paws up on our grill and just as he got up, my CreativeLive broadcast (which I had totally forgotten was playing, as I'm trying to be super quiet) got a little loud and the bear turned and looked me RIGHT in the eyes, jumped down, and ran off.

I was still in shock and finally grabbed my phone to take pics, slowly and quietly I opened the door to peek around and make sure he wasn't too close, and he was no where to be found! Once I got brave, I went to the backyard to look around, but he was long gone. That little bear must've booked it!

Juneau, Alaska // Home is with You

Of course, I spent the rest of the day on edge, looking out the window and searching our backyard at any sound from the neighbors or gust of wind. I'm so sad my little friend never came back. Dave joked that he would find me with a trail of fish leading up to our house and me sitting at the end of the trail with my camera, waiting. Anything for the shot, right? Haha, don't worry, I'm not that crazy. ;)



September 24, 2013

A website and a winner!

I've been working on getting the Dreaming Willow Photography website ready to be up and running and it's finally finished! I sent out a sneak peek to the people signed up for the Dreaming Willow newsletter, if you'd like to be added to that list go here. The newsletter includes news, specials, and other fun stuff along the way. If you're in the Wichita, KS area I'd recommend signing up since I'll be headed your way soon!

I'd love to know what you all think about the website! You can see the full site here.

Dreaming Willow Photography Website

And the winner of the Uncommon Goods giveaway is Natasha Stroud Hoover! Congrats, you'll be receiving an email from me later today!

Also, while I'm apparently taking a day to ramble about the happenings around these parts, I should let you all know that my Featured Ad space has just opened up, so if you'd like to grab it you can go here. There are also a few large and small spots available as well, feel free to email me with any questions or collaborations you have in mind.

I hope Tuesday is treating you all well, we're getting another day of SUNSHINE and after a week of darkness and pouring rain I'm pumped. I think you know where I'll be once I get my work done...


September 23, 2013

Velodyne Audio vFree Headphones.

Dave and I have loved Velodyne and their unique headphone designs for awhile now. I still use my vPulse in-ear noise cancelling headphones on a daily basis, they are so much more comfortable than the headphones that come with your iphone and I really enjoy the noise cancelling feature. So of course, when Velodyne wanted to send me a pair of their new vFree headphones to try out, I was pretty dang excited.

Velodyne Audio vFree Headphones // Home is with You

I've been playing with these wireless headphones for awhile now and LOVE them, Dave does too. They are so nice for those times when I need to wear headphones while I'm at my computer. Most of my headphones don't reach comfortably from my computer, so the wireless option is wonderful. You can get up, stretch, and grab some water...all while still listening to your favorite songs. Since they use bluetooth, you can also hook them up to your phone and take calls along the way. 

Velodyne Audio vFree Headphones // Home is with You
Velodyne Audio vFree Headphones // Home is with You

Dave also has a pair of Velodyne's vTrue headphones and they are amazing for recording, but he loves "stealing" my vFree while he does some yoga. He can blast whatever music he wants to listen to as he stretches and really be immersed in it.

Velodyne Audio vFree Headphones // Home is with You

They also have designer skins to go on top of your headphones that make them even more unique. There are lots of cute options, but these were my favorite. I should have gotten a picture of Dave rocking out at his computer with these cute things on...it's pretty comical.

I also love my vFree headphones because they fold up all nice and neat, perfect for traveling! They come with a nice little Velodyne bag you can put them in and slip them in your carry-on. I can't wait to try them out on my upcoming trip to Kansas.

Full Disclosure: The vFree Headphones and Designer skin were both sent to me by Velodyne, but all opinions are 100% my own.

September 20, 2013

Bad news and the silver lining.

This post is hard to write because my thoughts on the news we received on Monday are still all over the place and I'm still not quite sure what to think or feel. I do know that I'm so thankful for all of your prayers that you all (especially my beloved instagram peeps) sent our way, you all make Dave and I feel so blessed and surrounded by love.

On Monday, the VA flew Dave out to Anchorage to have a basic exam to evaluate the current state of his foot and knee problems. While they were doing some routine x-rays the man doing the exam started asking some of the right questions and decided they needed to x-ray Dave's back as well.

Bad news and the silver lining // Home is with You

These x-rays showed that Dave has a broken back, and has for years. He went in forever (and ever) ago and told his Dr. at the time that he was having bad back pain, they misdiagnosed him with a muscle strain. And although he brings up his back pain at nearly every exam (I usually go with him), no one has ever looked further into it.

I'm very thankful that we finally found out what has been causing Dave's pain, but I'm equally frustrated that no one caught it before. He has a fractured L5 vertebrae and it's scary to think of all the damage he could have done, without knowing he had a broken back. Dave was told that if he had been in a car wreck/falling the wrong way/gotten jolted he could have become paralyzed.

Bad news and the silver lining // Home is with You

We're praying that with some specialized yoga and physical therapy we can avoid surgery, if possible. As much as I hate to see my husband in pain and I can't believe he's had an undiagnosed broken back to years, I'm also very thankful that we now know what was actually causing all of the knee/foot pain. In a strange way, it's kind of a relief to know that a lot of his physical pain is all connected, because if we can get the back pain under control then hopefully the other issues will subside as well.

Bad news and the silver lining // Home is with You
These pictures are all Instagram pics from our walks around the glacier trails last weekend.

Again, we feel SO blessed to have such a wonderful online community and I can't thank you all enough for your prayers and concerned comments.

September 19, 2013

Mendenhall Glacier Trails.

This past weekend Dave and I took a few evening strolls around the trails by Mendenhall Glacier. Let me tell you, it is CRAZY living down the street from a freakin' glacier! I'd like to go back and check out the gorgeous visitors center and actually hike the glacier soon, but we headed out kinda late both nights so we only had time for a short walks.

It is so breathtaking and the glacier ice really is that blue, it's amazing. Living here doesn't seem real at times, I've never been surrounded by so much beauty. We do deal with a lot more rain than I'm used to, but this is the one place that I don't really mind it. If there weren't rainy days I wouldn't get anything done here, and when the rain stops...it's magic.

Mendenhall Glacier Trails // Home is with You Mendenhall Glacier Trails // Home is with You Mendenhall Glacier Trails // Home is with You Mendenhall Glacier Trails // Home is with You Mendenhall Glacier Trails // Home is with You Mendenhall Glacier Trails // Home is with You Mendenhall Glacier Trails // Home is with You Mendenhall Glacier Trails // Home is with You Mendenhall Glacier Trails // Home is with You Mendenhall Glacier Trails // Home is with You Mendenhall Glacier Trails // Home is with You Mendenhall Glacier Trails // Home is with You

The last picture, and a few others up there, are of the icebergs in the water surrounding the glacier. Everything in Alaska is so much bigger and grander than any picture could every capture. Every time we take a walk to a different area, I'm left blown away and in disbelief with the gorgeousness all around us.

Luckily it's pouring down rain today because I am going to be stuck at the computer (and doing laundry- womp womp) all day. I hope you all are having a wonderful week...what's something beautiful you've come across lately?

September 17, 2013

Homemade Whole Wheat Date Bread Recipe.

If you follow me on Instagram, you saw this recipe the night I made it, before I devoured it in two days. Oops. I've never made homemade bread before, and since I'm trying to expand my kitchen skills from mostly just sweet treats (albeit healthier versions), I think it's better for me and my waistline. Plus, even though Dave loves to cook and create in the kitchen I want to surprise him with dinner at least every now and then. Last week I cooked dinner every night, and although this may not sound like a big deal to the rest of you domestic goddesses, it was to me.

Anyways, I thought I'd try my hand at baking a homemade bread that wasn't of the chocolate chip variety. I can't believe I waited this long. This Whole Wheat Date Bread turned out fabulous, if I do say so myself, and I can't wait to try new versions. This was obviously more of a breakfast or snack version, since it has the dates, but I'd love to try a recipe for bread we can make sandwiches on!

Homemade Whole Wheat Date Bread Recipe // Home is with You

This recipe is perfect for the Fall weather, that is either in your area already (like mine) or is headed your way very soon, promise.

Ingredients ≫≫
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 a stick) Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup Organic Evaporated Cane Juice Sugar
1/2 cup Chopped Medjool Dates
3/4 cup Almond Milk
1 Egg, beaten

Homemade Whole Wheat Date Bread Recipe // Home is with You

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop your dates into tiny pieces and set aside.

Put all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and cut in the butter. Make a well in the center and pour in your beaten egg, milk, and dates.

Mix well to make a soft dough and smooth it into a greased bread pan. Bake for 30 minutes (depending on your oven), most of the time I go until the fork comes out clean, but this recipe seemed done by that test and the center was still super doughy. Tasted delicious, but it needed a bit longer in my oven. Just check the center before you let it cool.


Homemade Whole Wheat Date Bread Recipe // Home is with You
Homemade Whole Wheat Date Bread Recipe // Home is with You

Enjoy! And pretty please let me know if you try this recipe with another fruit, I'd love to hear how it turns out. I used dates because they're super healthy and I have a big bunch I need to use. Happy Baking!

September 16, 2013

Giveaway ≫≫ $50 Giftcard to Uncommon Goods!

I haven't done a giveaway in a very long time, sorry about that, but I'm excited to bring back the giveaways with this $50 giftcard to Uncommon Goods! Before we get to the giveaway, let's talk a bit about all the unique things Uncommon Goods has in their shop. I could spend forever going through their lists of items, and as I scroll their products I'm shocked at all the great ideas I'd never thought of.

Half of the items in their store are handmade and they pay all of their employees at least 50% above minimum wage, now that is a company I can get behind. They also have four non-profits, you can learn more about them and how the company gives back when you shop here. It's so nice to find a company that's so involved and that truly cares.

Anyways, onto the pretty things I found...

I absolutely ADORE this anniversary box idea for a wedding present!  What a thoughtful gift that will be a treat for the newlyweds for years to come. You can find more personalized gift ideas here.

$50 Giftcard to Uncommon Goods Giveaway // Home is with You
VIA

Their "gifts under $50" section is a great place to browse and find affordable gifts. I think Dave needs this awesome beer stein! Check out the full list here.
$50 Giftcard to Uncommon Goods Giveaway // Home is with You
VIA

And how cute are these Garden Bon Bons?! I think I need these, hint hint. ;) They are packaged so pretty and look like little truffles, but you plant them in your garden. It doesn't get much better than this. More cute little gifts like this can be found here

$50 Giftcard to Uncommon Goods Giveaway // Home is with You
VIA

Now for the giveaway, good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

September 13, 2013

Fall transition outfit ≫≫

This outfit has become my favorite way to transition through the Fall days that are a bit chilly, but not enough for a sweater or jacket. Plus, it's another way to extend the wear of those maxi dresses and skirts we all love so much. I know not everyone is experiencing the Fall weather yet, like we are here, and I'm sorry for prematurely posting outfits of this kind (in your eyes), but this is what I've been wearing on the daily so deal with it? Yeah, deal with it...

Fall transition outfit // Home is with You
Fall transition outfit // Home is with You
Fall transition outfit // Home is with You
Fall transition outfit // Home is with You
Fall transition outfit // Home is with You
Fall transition outfit // Home is with You
Fall transition outfit // Home is with You
Fall transition outfit // Home is with You
Fall transition outfit // Home is with You
Fall transition outfit // Home is with You
Fall transition outfit // Home is with You
Fall transition outfit // Home is with You
Fall transition outfit // Home is with You
Fall transition outfit // Home is with You
 Maxi Dress: Target (forever ago) // Chambray: Lauren Conrad (on major sale right now!) // Floppy Hat: c/o World Market (last season) // Gold Knuckle Rings: c/o StyleGirl // Shoes: optional ;)

What's your favorite way to layer summer clothes in order to wear them for the Fall season? Anyone have some tricks for me, because I know I'm going to need to do a lot more layering soon!


September 12, 2013

Places to Eat in Anchorage ↠ Antonio's Greek Bakery and Cafe.

Antonio's Greek Cafe in Anchorage wasn't one of the restaurants that everyone was telling us we had to try while we were there, but I had found it on Urbanspoon when we first got there. It had great ratings and I love trying authentic food, so it was on my list.

 We showed up to a little hole in the wall location and it was pouring down rain, we were only one of two couples there. The owner was a sweet older man from Greece and we got to hear a few stories about how he came to Alaska and all of the bakeries/cafe's he's owned, he was the server and the cook and a rockstar at both jobs. You could tell he took great pride in his work and it showed, the food was phenomenal. It was so great in fact, that as I'm writing this it's making me a bit sad, mostly because we didn't find this gem until a few days before we left Anchorage and I wish we could go again!

Places to Eat in Anchorage ↠ Antonio's Greek Bakery and Cafe. // Home is with You
Places to Eat in Anchorage ↠ Antonio's Greek Bakery and Cafe. // Home is with You
Places to Eat in Anchorage ↠ Antonio's Greek Bakery and Cafe. // Home is with You
Places to Eat in Anchorage ↠ Antonio's Greek Bakery and Cafe. // Home is with You
Places to Eat in Anchorage ↠ Antonio's Greek Bakery and Cafe. // Home is with You

 We had the dolmades as an appetizer and then Dave ordered the gyro with roasted potatoes and I ordered the spanacopita. Both were amazing. Dave's pretty picky about his gyro's after living in Europe for awhile and he MMMed his way through this one.

And then, as if I wasn't already about to burst, the sweet owner brought us out two pieces of galaktoboureko. I'd never had it before, I usually order baklava at Greek bakeries, but it was to die for. I about had to be rolled out of the place, but I didn't care, it was all so worth it. Food heaven.

Places to Eat in Anchorage ↠ Antonio's Greek Bakery and Cafe. // Home is with You
Antonios Greek Bakery and Cafe on Urbanspoon

To check out more places to eat, in Anchorage and elsewhere, go here.

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