Monday, February 8, 2016

Recipe roundup: Beet the inspiration

Please excuse the pun in the title of this post - I couldn't resist :) Upping my beet game has been on my to do list for quite some time and I've finally got around to rounding up some of the most inspiring recipes to try. Beet is one of those vegetables that I really hated as a kid, but one I've came to really appreciate as an adult. I know that its rich, earthy taste is rather specific, and it doesn't have to suit everyone, but I personally enjoy it, and now that the beets are in season, I'm planning to take full advantage of their vibrant color and health benefits.

I usually cook a bunch of them in water, peel and store them in the fridge, and then throw them in whatever salad or power bowl I'm currently putting together. I even tried a beet smoothie, and it was an interesting experience - definitely something to do again! But I'd love to become a little bit more adventurous: I'm really tempted by a beet soup with coconut milk (it sounds like a pretty exotic combo to me), the beet & feta tart looks absolutely heavenly, and the veggie burger with beets sounds like the perfect lunch to bring to the office with me. But what draws me in the most are the beet ravioli: mastering the homemade pasta is currently on top of my wish list and these deep red dumplings are as beautiful as ever.

Now it's your turn to tell me: do you have a favorite way to prepare beets? Do you even like them? I would love to know!

Happy Monday, guys!

via Sugat et al.
Beet & feta tart (via Sugar et al.)

via The Pretty Blog
Beet soup (via The Pretty Blog)

via The Awesome Green
The ultimate veggie burger (via The Awesome Green)

via Pure Vegetarian
Beet dumplings (via Pure Vegetarian)

via Emilie Murmure
Beet, apple & coconut milk soup (via Emilie Murmure)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Weekend notes & link love #35

Image via Waiting on Martha

Although I'm skipping Valentine's day festivities altogether this year, I'm still not opposed to the idea of treating myself to a tiny (or not so tiny) little something that would make me smile. Meg's list is full of stylish and beautiful options, and I love that each item comes with an experience inspiration. Be sure to check it out - especially the travel section! (via Meg Biram)

I may be single right now, but I found myself nodding my head in approval all throughout reading Camille's post on keeping the romance alive. Grand gestures are rather useless, if the everyday kindness is nowhere to be found! After all, it's what you do every day, not once in a while, that truly matters! (via Camille Styles)

Becoming more organized is one of my biggest goals for 2016, and Abby's blog is definitely a huge source of inspiration. Her tips on how to get organized while living in a small space are all worth a try! (via Abby Lawson - Just a girl and her blog)

I've always thought of myself as having the ultimate black thumb: I was even able to kill cacti, which tends to be almost impossible! But ever since I got my own place, and started experimenting with different plants, I'm getting slightly better (I have killed a kalanchoe, but my orchids are still alive!). So this list of 8 houseplants that you can't kill comes in really handy! I'm really curious to see how many can survive on my watch :) (via Waiting on Martha)

And a few things you might have missed on The Charming Avenue:

A list of things that made my January more beautiful.

My first editorial letter.

My first monothematic monthly reading list. Hint: it's all about Provence! 

A few reads to inspire your best February.

Real talk: On closing the gap, honing your skills and becoming better at what you do every day. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Real talk: Closing the gap

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

                                                                                                     - Ira Glass

I read this quote over the weekend and I couldn't stop thinking about it ever since. I'm sure that this is something every creative person can relate to, and I find these words immensely inspiring and encouraging. It is true that often I am my own worst critic. I wouldn't go as far as calling myself a perfectionist, but I'm sure about my taste and I have a pretty specific set of standards that I measure my work against. And I'll go ahead and admit that I'm not always completely satisfied with the results of my efforts, especially when it comes to this blog. Raise your hands if you ever went a few days without publishing a single post because no idea that you'd come up with, written down or photographed seemed good enough to go online. (*raising my hand sheepishly*) I'm struggling with this more often than I care to admit.

But you know what? That's completely fine. I'm still learning my craft. And I never want to stop learning. To me, learning, making mistakes, scratching my work completely, deleting my words and starting all over again is the ultimate sign that I'm moving forward. That I'm evolving into a person that I'd love to become. That I'd rather step outside my comfort zone, challenge myself over and over again, stumble and fall, and then get up and try again, than stay safe and comfortable in my own little corner.

And I have Ira Glass to thank for reminding me that great successes and achievements aren't due to magic. We owe them to our own hard work, to the countless hours dedicated to honing our skills and to the refusal to give up. It may seem pretty obvious, but I'm the first to admit that it can be so easily forgotten in our world filled with picture-perfect Instagram photos, envy-inducing Facebook statuses and flawless blog posts.

This is one quote that I'll make sure to keep in mind whenever I doubt myself or my work. I hope we all can do the same.

I wish you all a successful, productive and happy February!

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