Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Smoky Mountains

I was so blessed to be able to spend some time in the Smoky Mountains last week with my parents. It had been three years since we did anything like this together, so it was very special. We stayed in a little secluded cabin in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and enjoyed lots of hiking, shopping, and eating. Here are some photos from the trip!

The day we arrived, we had a late lunch at the Pottery House Cafe & Grill- one of my favorite restaurants in the Smokies. The food is amazing, plus they serve it on their own handmade pottery. Mom and I dream (or maybe it's just me) of opening our own little cafe or bistro with fresh, healthy cuisine served on my pottery. Look for NS Pottery Bistro opening in the near future ;)

The Pancake Pantry in Gatlinburg has 24 varieties of pancakes and crepes on the menu!
It was our first time at the Partridge & Pear Restaurant, and I definitely want to go back if I'm ever in the Smokies again. The partridge and pear salad was full of pears, celery, red grapes, dried cranberries, and candied pecans- so good! I usually don't eat white bread, but the rolls were amazing! The atmosphere was really cozy, too.
We hiked up the mountains to Rainbow Falls one day- almost 5.5 miles round trip. Let's just say going down was a lot easier then going up, but it was gorgeous! We even saw a black bear, thankfully while we were in the car. I may or may not have thought I saw one while we were hiking... turned out it was a deer :) My legs were shaking after that.
We crossed three of these log bridges along the way. The logs were probably not more than 12 inches across with a handle bar on one side. Freak.me.out- I couldn't help but imagine myself falling to my death among the rocks and rushing water.
I'm missing these mountains already. If you've never been to the Smokies, you should go if you get the chance! There's plenty of things to do and sites to see, but it's also a great place to relax.

Have you ever been to the Smokies? 
Where's your favorite vacation destination?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Local News Feature




Well, I'm back from my little vacation in the Smoky Mountains. It was glorious! You can watch for more photos later this week, but I have some exciting news to share with you today!

The Friday before I left for vacation, I got a phone call that news reporter Sara Shookman from WKYC in Cleveland was coming to my studio to interview me! (hello, 45 minute notice) We chatted about NS Pottery and the Martha Stewart American Made Awards contest, and she took some video footage of me working in my studio. We didn't know for sure if it would make it on television, but the following Sunday (September 16), my feature aired a little after 9:00 during the morning show! It was short, but I was very pleased with how Sara put everything together. Pretty exciting for my television debut ;) I've been waiting for it to be uploaded to the internet, so hopefully I can share it with you soon!

Have a great week, friends!

P.S. Since today is the last day of voting for the Martha Stewart contest, would you mind hoping over to my page to vote? Thanks so much!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Mountains


As you read this, I'm hanging out in the mountains. Maybe I'm searching for black bears, shopping at an outlet mall, enjoying a meal at the Pancake Pantry, browsing local pottery, or hiking some dangerous mountain trail. I hope you're having as much fun as I am! ;)

While I'm away from my computer, my brother has graciously agreed to update my facebook and twitter with the latest updates and reminders to vote in the Martha Stewart American Made contest. So if anything fishy is posted, it's not really me! ;) I would love if you would keep voting and spreading the word! I'll have so much to share when I return, but for now, I'm enjoying the break.

Have a great week!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Butternut Vegetable Soup


I LOVE going to farmer's markets this time of year. Call me crazy, but big wooden bins piled high with winter squashes and pumpkins in shades of brown, orange, blue, and green make me squeal with delight. (Tell me I'm not the only one, please.) This butternut soup is one of my favorite meals on a chilly day- so perfect for the coming fall season! I found the original recipe several years ago on allrecipes.com when I was searching for ways to use my massive harvest of kale. I tweaked it slightly, but it's basically the same. 



One thing I have discovered- this soup tastes much better the next day. I don't know what it is, but the flavor pops so much more after it's been chilled and reheated. Trust me on this one.



BUTTERNUT VEGETABLE SOUP (serves 10)
- 2 TB. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 4 large carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled & cubed
- 8 cups chicken stock (My mom makes homemade stock & I am convinced that is why this soup is so good. 
   Store bought is fine, if that's all you have.)
- 2 potatoes, cubed
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 4 cups finely chopped kale
- 2 cups cooked navy beans

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Add carrots and squash, cook and stir until squash begins to brown, about 15 minutes. Pour in the broth. Add potatoes, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Stir in kale and beans and simmer for 10 more minutes. Partially purée soup with a potato masher.



Serve & enjoy! For best results, refrigerate, reheat, serve, & enjoy!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

New Blog Design

Have you noticed the new look around here?! I'm in love.





After one failed attempt at working with a blog designer, I contacted the amazing Jordan Brantley of Create Like Crazy Design Studio, and I am SO GLAD I did! Not only did she do a fabulous job with the design- giving me exactly what I wanted when I wasn't even sure what that was, but she was also prompt in answering emails and getting the design finished. She even created fun little tabs for my recipe page.


I still want to add a list of favorite/inspiring blogs to the sidebar, so be on the lookout for that!

Thank you, Jordan, for being wonderful!
If you're in the market for a new blog design, I would highly suggest contacting Jordan!

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P.S. Will you take 10 seconds to vote for me in the Martha Stewart American Made Awards contest? It means so much!! 
Don't you want to see me in Martha Stewart Living?! ;)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Martha Stewart Contest Finalist!


Friends, I'm SO EXCITED to announce that I have been chosen as a finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made Award contest!! There were nearly 2,000 entries, and I am in the final 100! The winner receives $10,000 for their business, a feature in Martha Stewart Living magazine, and a trip to New York city to receive the award!!!!!


You can vote once per day starting now through September 24! I'm up against some companies with much bigger followings, so I appreciate every vote!!! Will you please share with your own fans, followers, friends, & family? It would mean the world!!!! 

VOTE HERE!

THANK YOU! Wishing you all a fabulous Friday!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Glasses


I ordered some trial frames from Warby Parker last week, and they arrived yesterday. Did you know you can order 5 frames for free? (free shipping, too!) Their glasses are just $95 a pair which is a steal compared to the ones at my local eye doctor. I don't think I've quite found "the ones" yet, so I'm going to keep hunting, but I couldn't resist trying a pair on Buster. Don't these just fit him so well?! What can I say- I love this dog.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Influence Conference: Pre-Conference meet & greet


Because I'm attending the Influence Conference in just 5 weeks (eeeeeekkk!), the Influence community is having a link-up today so everyone can get to know each other. If you're coming to Influence, I can't wait to meet you there! If you're not, there's still time to buy a ticket! I can guarantee that the conference will be spectacular! (Have you checked out the Influence blog? Have you seen the list of strategy sessions, life sessions, and workshops they are having? I think I'll want to clone myself so I can be in more then one session at once.)

If you're not attending Influence, maybe you can get to know me a little better anyways?



Three things you should know about me:

(1) I'm very introverted and quite shy. Don't be offended if I don't wildly run up to meet you. If you are the kind that will wildly run up to greet people, I envy you. Let's be friends, ok?

(2) I've been making & selling pottery for 4 years now & can see myself doing it for the rest of my life. (In fact, I will have my products for sale at the Sashes Market!) You can read my personal story about how it all started here.

(3) I'm 24 years old and single. I love a good love story, so please do share yours.

Two things I'm looking forward to about Influence:

(1) Meeting all the fabulous women that I know from the internet, of course!

(2) Being inspired, not only in blogging & business owning, but in life in general. I'm waiting for inspiration overload, because I know that bloggers are some of the most inspirational people around. 

One thing I can't leave home without:

(1) Ok, can't pick just one, but I know that I will have my water bottle. A girl's gotta stay hydrated, right?

I can't wait to meet you in October!!!!!