Thursday, April 24, 2014

Color Files: Flamingo Pink



I used to really shy away from pink, especially as a blonde, for fear of looking to barbie-ish. Now I have found myself attracted to the bright hue. It's so refreshing after a cold winter where all I wanted to wear was navy, gray and black. Besides, Barbie is awesome.
-Laurie

Veranda Place Bee by Kate Spade | Hunter Rain Boots from Nordstrom | Party Skirts from Shopbymonika | bkr Bottle in Bambi | Flamingo Print from Etsy

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Recent Work: Alison McQuain Photography


Graduation is near and I had a fantastic time celebrating it with Melinda during her senior portrait session. She is such a beautiful and fun-loving young woman. I am so excited for her next big adventure! Congratulations Melinda!

Visit my website or facebook page to see more and learn about current specials I am offering! 







-Alison

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: 8 Must Have Spring Kitchen Tools



Spring and Summer cooking is THE best. For the most part the soup and stock pots disappear as fresh ingredients appear in your garden and grocery store. There are a few must have tools I am glad to have and a few I have discovered that I would love to have. I think you Tasty Tuesdayers should know about them.
  1. Paring knives are perfect for berries and small jobs like salad toppers. 
  2. Cherry pitters are a must in my kitchen. I LOVE fresh cherries.   
  3. Prepara herb savers look pretty amazing. I would totally try it-storing in a glass on the counter with a bit of water tends to work well too.  
  4. Popsicle molds take me back to my childhood and I need some in my life. And check this out! 
  5. Apple/Pear slicers are awesome to have. Try them on spring pears if you haven't already.  
  6. Veggie peelers are a must for spring carrots or cucumbers and even for things like shaving down tougher stalky veggies for quicker steaming. 
  7. Avocado savers are on my wish list after seeing this. I just put one in a Ziploc today knowing it will be brown when i eat the rest of it.  
  8. Veggie Steamers are the best. And I think this is about all you need. If you want to go bigger check this out too.  
You can find all of these items pinned on our Foodie board. Be sure to check out some other items I love that didn't make the post.

I hope this post helps make your Tasty Tuesday a little easier.

-Alison

Friday, April 18, 2014

TGIF: Thank God It's Friday, Really


Happy Good Friday, friends. Remember the darkness of this day so we can see the light in three. 
Photo by Alison McQuain

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ink Blot Easter Eggs


As I sat staring at my freshly boiled stark white eggs this past Sunday, I couldn't think of what to do that would be different. I loved the look of half gold-half colored eggs, so I did half a dozen like that. You may have noticed them from Tasty Tuesday's angeled egg post. To create those, simply use baker's food coloring mixed with water and vinegar, let dry and spray paint. 

However, that left me with another 6 eggs to play with. I looked through my craft box and discovered an old bottle of india ink that I'm sure was bought in college, used once for a project and never again. Lucky for me, apparently I thought it would come in handy one day. Unsure of what the ink would do on an egg, I dropped a single droplet onto the egg and watched it run and spread. Beautiful. 

The stark contrast of black on white was refreshing because it wasn't a pastel little pretty one. It was daring and bold and I loved the look of it. I even rolled three of the eggs in the ink until they were solid black (sadly only one of those survived) and looked like leather. 

I simply had fun making these eggs and never intended on making a parallel to the reason that I celebrate Easter. Let me just get that clear. However, as I sit here and roll these eggs around, the stark blots on a once spotless white egg remind me of the sin stains Jesus was marked with when he was on the cross. Our sinful human nature marked the son of God's body in the form of blood, in the form of our sins past and present, just like this oozing black ink marks these eggs. Jesus' life was without sin-a spotless white egg. He chose to take those sins upon himself and die for every person on this planet. This would have been simply a sweet gesture of a martyr had he not risen from the dead three days later. Thus, the reason I celebrate Easter. Not because I'm told to, have been taught to or feel like I have to. 

I celebrate it because I put a lot of ink blots on that spotless egg. My sin on a perfect son of God. As a Christian, I still do and probably always will put ink blots on that beautiful white egg. If my life started out as that pure white egg, I am sure over time it would eventually look more like the solid black egg covered up with something flashy like that hot pink neon. You won't notice the blackness with the cover up, right? It's not because I'm a bad person, it's simply because I am a person. I'm not perfect. I sin. 

Thank God Easter happened because now I know that no matter how much ink I put on that egg, it is only a shell. Thank God that there is still egg underneath that blackened shell that can be peeled away to reveal a shiny soft white egg with a yolk that is untouched. Thank God when one day I die, I know I will be with a living God who will crack my shell and peel it away to make me shiny, spotless and new. Thank you for allowing me to be unashamed and admit to you the parallels of an egg to my sin and my Savior. 

This post could have easily been simply how to ink blot an egg and you can still do just that. I encourage you to think about it though. Let's just get a little deeper and a little more real today. A little deeper than a cute bunny with a puffy tail and some plastic colorful eggs. Let's celebrate something real. 

-Laurie

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tips for Balancing Your Life



I posted Monday about allowing yourself to breathe and not believing that you have to constantly be busy to be successful. Balance is the key to just about everything and if you start to feel overwhelmed, something in your life is off-balance. I recently did a 7 day cleanse and realized that even with that, I lacked balance. Yes, it got my eating and workout habits back on track but I craved carbs because I couldn’t have them. Now I am aware that I need protein and veggies and carbs to keep me sane and healthy. Sometimes I also need a cookie. Balance keeps you going, keeps you upright. I’m also aware I need time alone, time with people I love and time to hunker down and work. Balance also keeps your life steady. 
I’m still learning and allowing myself to breathe and balance. 
Here are some tips I do well with that helps me achieve life balance: 

Find a devotional, inspiring thought book or start a journal.
I don’t want something else I have to commit to, like a daily journal but I do enjoy reading a daily devotional because I can look at it quickly on my phone or computer and it stays with me for the rest of the day. It puts a positive spin on your day if you do it in the morning.

Make a To-Do List.
It helps to have what you have to do written down. It is so satisfying to me to check something off that it makes me want to do it. However, don’t just run your to-do list down with tasks. Add in fun things like take a relaxing bath, call best friend, watch Game of Thrones.
 
Be your biggest fan.
Every time you check something off of your to-do list, get a workout in or love your outfit (hey sometimes it’s the little things!), give yourself a wink in the mirror and tell yourself you’re awesome and worth it. 

Be kind to yourself.
We all have bad days and when so many things go wrong and you just feel off, tell yourself it’s okay. Not every single day of your life has to go smoothly. Enjoy even the hard moments and don’t put yourself down. 

Reserve one night a week for you.
It’s hard to say no to a friend who wants to last-minute grab a bite to eat when you just want some relaxation. Tell her how something stressed you out and tell her you just need to decompress. Instead of blowing her off, pick another time to grab dinner at your favorite place. Turn off your phone, computer and maybe even TV at a certain hour and just be with yourself. Read a book, take a bubble bath or sit outside with some chamomile tea and just think and be. 

Work before play.
Get everything you need to get done done. Then you can relax or play. That way when you are actually “playing” you don’t have to think about the next thing to do. You’ll be glad you did and will start to follow that pattern within your life. 


-Laurie

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Angeled Eggs


Deviled eggs are such a spring time food in my mind. I don't like calling them deviled eggs though because I'm silly like that. I love the taste and enjoy having them at my grandparents' on Easter Sunday. I have never made them before, so I texted my grandmother the other day to see what her recipe was. She is of course much cooler than me, so she was out and about and didn't give me the full recipe...as in, no measurements. She did this with dressing for Thanksgiving too, so I'm wondering if this is a test. Gangie, I'm onto you. So I kind of had to wing it which is actually just bad news for you because in winging it, I didn't write down the measurements I used either. Since angels are mysterious and surprising we are going to call these "angeled eggs" and you can decide how much of each ingredient to use! wink.
-Laurie

Hard boiled eggs: Allow eggs to boil five minutes, cool 15 minutes and then put in cold water for easy peeling!

1/2 lemon juiced
dill relish (wickles pickles was what I used)
salt
pepper
whole grain mustard
mayonnaise (I used a vegan mayo for lower calories)

After eggs are cool, slice length wise down the middle, scoop out yolk with a spoon carefully. Mash all yolks together and mix with remaining ingredients. Scoop about a teaspoon full into the egg and top with paprika. 

 

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