Category / Endeavors

cleaner eating chocolate chip cookies

three ingredient cookies | lifeinyellow.com

Okay, so I don’t know if chocolate chips are actually considered “clean eating”, but these cookies are made from no more than THREE ingredients, total, and none of them are eggs, butter, or granulated sugar!

three ingredient cookies | lifeinyellow.com

And did I mention? They’re DELISH! They’re chewy and sweet, and dare I say, almost good for you? The recipe’s so short it fits on a post-it:

three ingredient cookies | lifeinyellow.com

Which is exactly where I jotted it down, after my coworker brought a batch to work a couple weeks ago. Easy peasy!

three ingredient cookies | lifeinyellow.com

Mash your bananas first, so they blend easily with the oats.

three ingredient cookies | lifeinyellow.com

Add the chocolate, and scoop onto a VERY lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake and let them cool for several minutes to firm up … and enjoy!!

for those of us who can’t eat avocado…

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…I have life-changing news! Read on 🙂

I’ve had delicious guacamole just often enough to know how much I LOVE it…and also how much it does NOT love me back.

I never ate avocado growing up. It just wasn’t ever on the menu. Then, I tried guac for the first time. Ah-maz-ing. But I got terribly sick afterwards and didn’t draw a connection. I had it a handful of times after, with the same result. Then, for the longest time, I thought I couldn’t eat sushi because I’d feel awful afterwards…until I put it together and learned that there are tiny bits of ‘cado in the rolls!

So once I figured it out, I sadly gave up on avocado. It’s just not going to happen. I can order my sushi sans the fruit, but it’s guacamole that I continue to lust after at every Mexican restaurant we go to.

Then, this weekend, my friend, Sarah, CHANGED. MY. WORLD. She brought a guacamole with NO avocado — it’s made with broccoli! Broccamole.

Seriously. I died.

Find the recipe here – allergy or not, it’s DELICIOUS, nutritious, and tastes like the real thing!

(image: myrecipes.com)

Easy, Healthy Lunch: Turkey Cranberry Wraps

turkey cranberry wraps

It’s been a while since I posted an Easy, Healthy Lunch idea. (You can check out previous ones here and here). But in the spirit of a new year and resolving to cut back on added sugars/simple carbs (I’ll never be free of either but hey I’m trying!) I’ve been checking out some new, portable ideas for weekday lunches to take to the office.

I love the FLAVOR and freshness of this easy wrap recipe. I don’t even use the whole tortilla – once I roll this up and slice it, I toss the ends, so calorie-wise I log it at about 3/4 of a full tortilla.

Turkey Cranberry Wraps

1 spinach tortilla
1 wedge light Laughing Cow swiss
1/8 c. blue cheese crumbles
1/8 c. craisins
1-2 oz. turkey breast
handful of fresh spinach

Spread the Laughing Cow across one side of the tortilla edge to edge and layer all other ingredients. Roll tightly (the cheese will help it stay rolled up) and slice into mini roll-ups, discarding the ends.

(According to LoseIt, these log in at about 410 calories – and are very filling!)

Yum 🙂

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

ClickSmith Holiday

I can’t help but giggle to myself when I think of all the Friends Thanksgiving episodes I love to watch this time of year…I can hear Phoebe saying in a chipper voice, “Happy Needless Turkey Murder Day!” 🙂

I am overwhelmed by the things we have to be thankful for this year – health, happiness, friends and family, a roof over our heads, careers that challenge and reward us, and so much more. I’m grateful to each and every one of you that follow along with my creative endeavors – both readers here at Life In Yellow and the families who have welcomed me into their lives as ClickSmith Photography clients.

Thankful for each and every one of you and wishing you all a fabulous and safe holiday with your loved ones. 

regrouping for November | an Instagram essay

 

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Downtown, waiting to begin a family’s photography session.

In recent years, I learned of the phrase, “circling the wagons”. If you aren’t familiar, it alludes to regrouping and getting your game plan straight before proceeding. I feel like that is what November will be for me, and I’m looking forward to it. I have had SUCH a fun fall, spending beautiful afternoons outside photographing amazing families, and then twice as much time at home in my office, editing photos, blogging them, going through the motions of forming a business, designing collateral and launching the website, and reading/watching/learning from other photographers every chance I get.

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 Nighttime routine lately: Make tea, park it in front of the computer.

In the meantime, some things like this blog and workouts have fallen by the wayside. I have to remind myself that while I excitedly want to do it all, priorities have to be made and a realistic mindset is of value. 🙂 Not that I feel things are up and running, I feel like I can re-evaluate and enjoy a more relaxed pace as the early fall turns to holiday time.

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Checklist for a six-week photography business marketing course I enrolled in – very excited!

With the requests for family photos inevitably slowing down for winter time, I’m excited to re-focus on working on technique and learning more about how to grow this little business. I began a four-week course earlier this month centered on posing for various ages and group sizes but because things have been so busy, I’ve yet to start the coursework! I’m excited to have some free evenings again to dive into that information as well as the (intense!) marketing course pictured above.

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Waiting to have my head shot taken by a fellow photog friend!

Loosely related to marketing, I had my head shot taken last week for the website – this is me waiting to get started. I included this just because I know how much it annoys my brother when people take selfies. 🙂

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I’m planning to enjoy some more lounge time at home, reading and catching up on some fall TV with Pager. Having more time again means I can cook more at home – something I’ve been missing. And along with meal planning comes the workout refocus. I’m excited to get back to the gym (feeling READY!) and with a mix of elliptical and running, my mini-goal for the month of November is to attack my friend Robyn’s 30-day plank challenge. (Seriously, if you need a dose of inspiration, Robyn has it for you!)

And while it has been slower lately here on the blog, things are always in the works. I’m looking forward to collaborating with a fabulous company for a holiday neighbor gift DIY, working up a Thanksgiving tablescape, and before you know it, decking the halls for Christmas! Thanks to all for continuing to stop by and check in! Happy fall 🙂

refocus.

In the coming few weeks I’ll post here from time to time, but my energy and excitement is all focused on this new life step

I’m in the midst of shooting ten portfolio-building sessions in the coming few weeks, and between shoots I’m working on a web site, marketing material for new and potential clients, taking more classes, scouting locations, shopping for props and equipment, and editing, posting, and delivering photographs to sweet families like this one who’ve trusted me with their time to capture some moments.

ClickSmith Photography | Des Moines, Iowa

 

It’s exciting and happening faster than I would have planned, but I’m more than happy to roll with the pace. Just know that for the near future, my focus (pun intended) is on this little journey and wherever it leads me. I’d love it if you’d follow along with me here. 🙂

Hello Yum | Bestowed Box

When Bestowed contacted me to ask if I’d like to try and review one of the company’s monthly subscription boxes, I couldn’t hit “reply” quickly enough to say yes. I had seen advertisements for the company and while I’m a fan of subscription boxes, I hadn’t yet tried one for any of the natural/healthy snacks that are out there. I’m always on the hunt for new healthy snack and meal ideas, and the more “ready to eat” options I can learn about, the better. And a company whose mission is to help teach people to eat better is right up my alley.

Bestowed boxes

The first thing that struck me about the box when it arrived was the weight – this thing was literally loaded with goodies. Some were from brands I’d seen in the health section and others were new to me. I design for a food ingredients group through my day job, so I found myself scrutinizing the labels perhaps a bit more than a typical consumer, but was impressed to see lots of familiar labeling I’ve worked with before including Certified Vegan, USDA Organic, and Non-GMO Project Verified. Here’s the rundown of the contents and some notes on my favorites:

Bestowed-August-2013-Box

 

Lundberg Family Farms Santa Fe Barbecue Rice Chips. My box arrived right at lunchtime in our office. My coworker and I took these down, well, instantly. I don’t have a need to go gluten-free, but for no other reason than switching it up, I liked the nuttier taste of a rice based chip than a corn or potato one. The flavor was delish – I do love a BBQ chip!

Living Healthy World Flax & Chia Stick. I recently discovered chia and have been adding seeds to my cereal and yogurts, and drinking kombucha with chia floating in it (I know, sounds weird, but YUM). I also regularly make homemade protein bars for Page and me using milled flax. I’d use this product in either application – it was really fresh (no clumps!) and I liked the convenient grab-and-go packaging. I added some to my yogurt with a touch of cereal at the office one morning – very yummy.

Mighty Leaf Sunburst Green Iced Tea Pouch. I made a pitcher of this for the weekend and it didn’t hang around long. Very refreshing with the heat we’ve been having, but I’m lazy when it comes to my iced tea and for convenience alone, would probably keep buying the pre-brewed jugs from the store (we’re mildly addicted to our Trader Joes tea).

Cascadian Farm Crunchy Oats & Honey Granola Bar. I know some people don’t like these super-crunchy bars because they ARE messier, but they are my favorite kind! Reminds me of the Nature Valley ones I’ve been eating since I was a kid, but the healthier/organic kind! This served as a quick breakfast one morning last week and got me to lunchtime with no problem!

Miracle Noodle Angel Hair Noodles and Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegar. I haven’t used these yet, but I expect them to be some of my favorites in the box. I often make a dinner that uses both of these items, a veggie and steak stir-fry. I always start with a rice vinegar when I’m cooking meat in my wok, along with a little sesame oil. I did taste a little of the vinegar out of the bottle and was pleased that it tasted fresh and very flavorful (some can be more on the bland side). I have bought these ZERO CALORIE (!) noodles before, not understanding that they expire, well, more quickly than regular pasta. 🙂 I love any noodle and especially one with a fraction of the calories!

And to keep it real, I did have a least favorite item — the seaweed snacks. I’ll just leave it as a simple, “no thank you.” 😉

My husband, Page, the less health-food-prone of the two of us, did immediately call dibs on the Reboot supplements, which are more his thing than mine. The packaging was especially cool on these, with a seam separating the water from the dissolving powder, all in one packet. The purpose of the supplement is to combat oxidative stress, and you can drink right from the packet, on the go. (Perfect for after workouts!)

Aside from the items themselves, there was a booklet detailing all of the contents, along with recipes for ways to use them, and coupons along with suggestions for places to buy more of an item I liked. Especially with items I wasn’t certain what to do with, the booklet was especially helpful.

If you’re curious to try this subscription for yourself, you can receive $5 off your first box with code: 5OFFBESTOWED03. Just click their logo below to be taken to their site. Thanks to Bestowed for the opportunity to try a box!

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new and exciting

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I’ve been interested in photography for the longest time. At an early age, I would set up “studios” in our basement to photograph my bossed-around brothers willing subjects against such riveting backgrounds as wrinkled bed sheets and hastily-hung blankets. I dug and dug for examples of these artistic gems last weekend while home at my parents’ house, but the next best thing I could find was this page from a middle school autobiography project, detailing that I want to run my own photography studio when I’m older:

8th grade autobio

In college, I had my first exposure to some real photography classes as part of my journalism degree. I was more into the layout/design career path, not taking photographs, but I still have fond memories of the early exposure (pun intended) to shooting in manual mode and developing film in the darkroom.

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When my first job out of college centered around the scrapbooking industry, the interest in photography took on a new level, and I was rarely without my point-and-shoot capturing some over-flashed, poorly composed (but still recorded!) moments of my twenties. (PS – I reallllly liked dramatic tilt, can you tell? — That would be Lake Michigan in the background – and apparently there’s a tidal wave happening.)

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Two years ago, I finally bit the bullet and with birthday cash from family to help me, I purchased my first “real” camera, which I didn’t take out of Auto mode for a whole year. But all the while, I was following photography blogs, subscribing to newsletters, and taking a class here and there. In the shot above (party prep for my first Oscar party!) I was clearly still getting the hang of tack sharp focus.

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Photography excited me and scared me all at once. It was overwhelming to simultaneously think about aperture and shutter speed and ISO and lighting conditions and exposure…and that was without anyone in front of the lens to direct or pose at the same time. I worked on a LOT of still life shots over the following months — controlling the scene and the subject while figuring out all the other mechanics. The last of these to learn was clearly white balance…as seen in the yellow cast birthday cake slice (Happy birthday, Lulu – 2011!) shot above.

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I’m not usually a self-doubter, but in this case, I wondered if I could ever really get the hang of this. I decided to just start by learning more and more so I could get a better self-assessment. I took more classes at a local shop, purchased online video training, joined webinars, and read, read, read every book or blog I could find. And slowly, but surely, things started to click.

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I started taking impromptu shots of friends and family and putting them on facebook. A couple friends asked me to take family pictures for them. I was still very focused on getting all the camera settings right and not very good at doing any amount of directing or carrying on conversation with the people in the shots to make them feel comfortable while doing so. But I was thrilled for the practice, and fell in love with the fact that I got to be an observer of awesome moments between the people I was shooting. It wasn’t long before I realized I may have more practicing to do, but I was in love with photographing people.

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Love aside, the fact remained that I was quickly becoming aware of the mounting investment I was making in the equipment and the time it takes to shoot and edit each session. And yet with every round of photos I did for friends and family, I wanted to do “just one more” to further practice before making anything “official”.

After several “just one mores”, I finally feel confident and consistent enough, and like I’ve found my style, to start making this a bit more than a hobby. 🙂

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A huge THANK YOU to the encouraging friends and family who’ve helped me get this rolling! I’m excited for this new endeavor more than any other project I’ve taken on. For anyone interested, please visit me over at my facebook page (website coming soon!).