At Home

Summer of Pie: Strawberry Rhubarb

When it comes to dessert, there’s nothing I love more than a good pie. As a kid, my grandmother would make a chocolate cream pie that I would eat as slowly as possible, willing it to last forever. My dad shares my love for pie in a big way, and it’s been fun to drop him off slices over the last few years as I’ve tried different recipes.

Anyway, you get the point - we love pie around here. And so, I’m declaring it the summer of pie! I’m baking one pie per week, all summer long. That’s the goal anyway ;) Of course, it’s the best time for berry pies, but I’m hoping to try out a bunch of new recipes, and perfect the ones I’ve tried and not quite gotten right. And I don’t hear anyone complaining about being the taste testers.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Recipe

First up: strawberry rhubarb. One of my favorites, but my first attempt at one last year didn’t go according to plan. This time, I went with a recipe from the Red Truck Bakery Cookbook (I definitely judged this cookbook by it’s cover - so cute!), and it turned out much better! This was slightly adapted, mostly because I didn’t have (or have enough of) some of the ingredients in the original recipe, which are:

For the filling

3-4 stalks of fresh rhubarb (2 1/2 cups), sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
4 cups of fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

For the crust

…I always use this pie crust recipe from the Pioneer Woman

The steps:

  1. Prepare the crust.

  2. Prep the rhubarb and strawberries and combine in a medium-large bowl.

  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the rest of the filling ingredients above. Add the mixture to the rhubarb and strawberries, mix, and let it sit while you roll the crust.

  4. Roll one disc of dough and place in a pie dish.

  5. Pour the strawberry rhubarb mixture into the crust. Over top of the mixture, scatter up to 2 tablespoons of butter, cut into cubes.

  6. Roll second disc of dough and place overtop the strawberry rhubarb mixture. Trim the dough and crimp the edges.

  7. Brush the top with egg wash (1 egg white + 1tbsp water), and sprinkle with sugar.

  8. Bake at 375 for 90 minutes.

My notes + adaptations:

  1. I always bake my fruit pies for 15 minutes at 425, followed by 45-50 minutes at 375 (or until the filling is bubbling). Oh! And I always use a crust shield like this after the first 15 minutes so the crust doesn’t burn.

  2. My 4 stalks of fresh rhubarb only amounted to 1 1/3 cups. I’d definitely be sure I had the 2 1/2 cups next time since I couldn’t taste enough rhubarb in the pie.

  3. I’d cut the rhubarb into 1/2 inch or even 1 inch pieces next time. Personal preference, but I just like the larger bites of rhubarb and think it might help to give it a little more pop.

  4. I didn’t have a lemon, so I skipped the lemon zest and lemon juice - I’d definitely add it next time for a little more zing (…that’s a thing, right?).

  5. Another of my cookbooks (this one) mentions that you can chop and freeze your rhubarb the day before to help release excess moisture, and then thaw it in a strainer before you add it to the pie. Adding to the list for next time!

  6. That same cookbook also adds brown sugar, allspice, cardamom, cloves, and cocktail bitters to some of their rhubarb pies. May have to try mixing some of these into a future pie.

I think that’s it! Overall, the pie was really good, it just needed a little something I couldn’t quite put my finger on - but more rhubarb and lemon juice / zest might just do it! Any other tips?! Can’t wait to try this one again.

At Home: Blue + White Planters

For those of you who asked (aka - my sister!), I wanted to share a little round-up of my favorite blue and white planters and where to snag them. So maybe this is just a really great excuse to do a little online window shopping, however, if it helps you find some inspiration - all the better! Most of mine are vintage, which tends to be my preference - probably the thrill of the (endless) hunt through Etsy listings and antique shops that makes it that much more satisfying to find a good one. That, and I love the idea of giving an item a second chance instead of seeing it get tossed out.

So, without further ado, some favorites are below! You may have to beat me to some of the vintage ones though ;)

Chinoiserie Planter
Blue and White Planters

(And since we’re on the topic of blue and white, this gingham button down is a favorite this spring!)

Blue and White Pots Chinoiserie

Happy shopping!

The Story Behind The Yellow Note

AAF12E79-E225-40FD-B14A-5CB5B39D5155.JPG

“So…The Yellow Note. You mean like a post-it?” The conversation inevitably goes there when I introduce myself and business. I figure most people must envision those yellow sticky notes, haphazardly stuck above an office desk, and piling up in the trash can once the task written on it has been completed.

But, the yellow notes I’m referring to are worth keeping. In fact, I’ve got a shoebox full of them that I’ve been collecting since before I could read.

I started my business back in 2013, after a few degrees and a career in social work left me longing for a creative outlet. Deciding to start my own thing was easy, but what held me back was deciding on a name. Back then, I was starting an Etsy shop and selling stationery and custom address stamps. I wanted something catchy and cute, but turns out, so did everyone else. The domains of most of the names I thought of were taken, and when something wasn’t, I just couldn’t commit to it. There was no connection there.

And I wasn’t just looking for connection to a business name. I wanted the shop (and now, creative studio) to actually provide connection for others, be it through a handwritten note that they addressed using one of our address stamps, or now, through our photography and Instagram, a connection to a place they used to know or longed to visit made through a photo we’ve taken. A connection to one another, to the simpler things, the little things, the everyday moments. In a world where we can connect all day via iPhones and Instagram, I longed for sweet and simple connections made the old fashioned way.

Like coming downstairs in the morning as a kid, after my dad had left for work, and finding a note on the table, just for me.

“Can’t believe it’s your last day of kindergarten - feels like only yesterday that I watched you get on the bus for the first time.”

“You’ve worked so hard studying for this test. You’ll do great!”.

“Good luck in your game today - I’ll be there right when I get out of work!”.

“I’m so proud of you.”

And there it was. The notes my dad has been writing for me since I was little. Most of them written on yellow note paper. Connections made, the old fashioned way. Moments captured via yellow note. A shoebox full of nostalgia. Simpler times. Happy moments. Words of encouragement and love.

Just like the yellow note delivery has changed over the years (my dad hand writes the notes and texts me a picture of them, and delivers a hard copy later :), The Yellow Note as a business has evolved as well, from stationery to photography and creative consulting. But, the meaning and purpose of a yellow note will always remain - connection - and one of my favorite parts is connecting with all of you. So, thank you. It means so much to have you along for the ride.

And thanks for all the notes, Dad. Love you!

--

P.S. - After a bit of a hiatus, we re-opened The Yellow Note online shop. So excited to get back into creating address stamps for you to send your own “yellow notes”, and even more excited to launch some new products to help you send more letters very soon. Pop in here, if you’re so inclined :)  


One Second Everyday(ish) | 2018

Typically around this time I share my One Second Everyday video with you and sing its praises as the greatest way to document the everyday since I don’t know, disposable cameras. And while I started out strong this year, for one reason or another, it started slipping my mind and the project faded pretty quickly once I got out of the habit.

Probably the main thing that contributed was that I made a concerted effort to spend less time on my phone in 2018. I got an Apple watch for Christmas last year which meant I was able to have my phone with me less and my real camera with me more, but that also meant I was less able to capture moments with video.

While we’re pretty bummed that we don’t have a full video for this year (seriously, I just watched our 2016 and 2017 videos as I’m writing this and now I’m even more sad we don’t have a full one for 2018!), I did snag enough seconds to piece together a mini video, just about 60 seconds long. Everyday(ish) or not, it’s so much fun to see our years chronicled this way, and as I’ve said in past posts, it makes you realize that bad days are few and far between and it’s the little moments that truly bring us joy throughout the year instead of the big trips and grand scenery.

SO! I’m back on board for 2019 and I’m holding myself accountable by sharing the highlights here on the blog at the end of every month. Seriously, hold me to it! And let me know if you decide to give it a try (or if you’ve done it before). If you can get (and stay) in the habit, you won’t regret it. It’s addicting and gives me all the warm and fuzzies re-watching our videos from years past. And hey, even if you only remember every fifth day, you’ll still have a pretty darn good memento from the year.

I included most of my tips and tricks for the project in my 2016 post here, but my most important tip going into this year is this: just get the second! If you have your phone with you and you remember to take the second - do it then! Yes, there might be a more exciting or pretty second you could record later, but just in case you forget, take one right then. You can always delete it later if you grab another one, but at least you’ll have it.

Happy 2019! Hope your year is filled with the people and experiences that make you happiest (and some video to remember them by).  

Tools of the Trade

iPhone Tripod: So helpful when you want to jump in the shot instead of always being behind the camera (which I highly recommend, by the way!). We also like this one for using when there’s not a flat surface to put the other one on.

Camera Remote: Great for starting and stopping the video recording remotely

One Second Everyday App

At Home: The Before Tour

Home sweet home. It feels like we spent much of the spring and early summer on the go, but with our pup's ACL surgery and recovery, it’s been kind of nice to spend a bit more time at home! I’ve shared bits and pieces of our old house on Instagram, and I figure it’s high time I take you all on a little tour of the place. But what’s a home tour without a good “before” tour and a little backstory? :)  

Entry + Living Room (Before)

Entry + Living Room (Before)

We bought our center hall colonial almost five years ago, after it had been on the market for at least three years. It was built in 1900 and came complete with wall to wall carpet, some dark paneling, and royal blue countertops. Behind all that, there was a ton of character (and a ton of opportunity to add more) that we couldn’t pass up. We loved the layout of the first floor (we tend to like separate spaces instead of open concept, but we love having a circular “flow") - plus, we knew the back porch could be something special (despite the fact that we realized it was leaking when it rained the day after we got the keys!). 

Living Room (Before)

Living Room (Before)

Truth be told, we’ve had a bit of a love / hate relationship with this place over the last few years. If you’ve ever lived through a complete renovation (like floor boards open to the basement, no kitchen for months kind of renovation), you totally know what I mean. Quite literally, we’ve put our blood, sweat, and tears into this house (and definitely watched The Money Pit on repeat to make ourselves feel better - classic Tom Hanks is good for that). But now, with most of the hard work and renovation behind us, we’re so happy it’s ours (though that will never stop me from keeping an eye on the real estate market, you know, just in case ;)    

Dining Room (Before) - Check out those black and red built-ins!

Dining Room (Before) - Check out those black and red built-ins!

A lot of the house still feels a bit “un-done” decor wise, but perhaps this little tour will hold me accountable for getting some spaces finished up, as well as getting some advice from you all on decisions I have yet to make (bay window treatments - help!).  

Master Bedroom (Before)

Master Bedroom (Before)

Stay tuned for the After Tour of one of the only rooms I’d consider “done” - the kitchen!

Kitchen (Before) - Those royal blue countertops!

Kitchen (Before) - Those royal blue countertops!

Where's the Wagoneer?

Jeep Grand Wagoneer

“What about this one?”, I asked as I turned my iPhone in his direction. On the screen was a burgundy 1987 Grand Wagoneer, looking shiny and new under the Oklahoma sun.

Amused, Tom grabbed my phone and flipped through the photos. His eyes seemed to smile, and before I knew it we were on the phone with Larry, the current owner. 

Buying a vehicle sight unseen (and having it shipped across the country) seems a little crazy, but if you know us, that’s kind of our style. Our best decisions have always been made without over-analyzing. And when I say best, I don’t necessarily mean the most wise. I mean the most fun. 

Less than 24 hours later, our wagon was on her way.

We laid eyes on our old gal in person for the first time two weeks later, as she barreled down our upstate New York street entirely too fast on the back of a flatbed truck. Larry was nice enough to make sure it arrived with a full tank of gas, or so we thought. When we ran out of gas a few hours later with the gauge still pointed at Full, we knew this would be the first of many adventures and mis-adventures.

We got to know our Jeep even better over those next few months. Including the importance of checking to be sure those unreliable power windows will go up completely before entering the automatic car wash. And making sure to bring ponchos for next time.

More often than not, our rides in the Jeep don’t have a destination. With Tom Petty or John Mellencamp as our soundtrack, we wind along the back roads with coffee and country store donuts in hand, dropping crumbs and debating which way to turn next. 

We’ve watched the sun rise over the ocean in Maine from the front seat, and run out of gas on the country roads of Vermont in the heat of summer. We’ve hauled firewood, freshly picked apples, barn sale finds, Christmas trees, and our most precious cargo, our labs Murphy and Max. We’ve chased hot air balloons down dirt roads, locked the keys inside, and had the sweetest conversations with folks we’ve met at gas stations, reminiscing about their old Wagoneer. 

There’s just something about walking out of a restaurant or grocery store and seeing that old Wagoneer sitting there waiting for us. It brings a smile to my face. To us, this isn’t just a car. It’s a feeling. It’s our happy place. And we can’t wait to see where she brings us next. 

One Second Everyday | 2017

If you’ve been following along here for a bit, you might remember that last January I professed my love for a new to me app that’s been a game changer for me when it comes to documenting the everyday. And now I’m back this year to tell you - I love it even more. 

I included a run down of the One Second Everyday app in last year’s post, so check it out here if you’re thinking about giving it a try (and please give it a try - you’ll love it!). But to make a long story short, I recorded one second of video, every day, through all of 2017. The good, the bad, the boring and the exciting. And it’s truly my favorite thing ever.  

I’m not the greatest at documenting the little things (well, except those 8,000 photos of our dogs on my iPhone). I can look back at a year and pick out the highlights - exciting life events, a fun vacation - but what about the average day? What did we binge on Netflix? What house projects were we working on? What was our go-to weeknight dinner? And that’s where this little app comes in.    

I’m admittedly a bit lazy when it comes to creating something tangible with my photos. I’ve got 10,000+ photos on my iPhone at any given time and not a printed photo or photo book to show for it (working on that this year!). BUT, perhaps because it’s so easy and so restrictive (just pick ONE second!), the One Second Everyday app is something that has just stuck for me. I honestly can’t picture a year without it now that I’ve started (and I can’t help but wish I had started doing this years ago - what were we even doing in 2013?!).

Can’t wait to see what 2018 brings! And friends, would love to know if you tried this out for 2017, or if you’ll be doing it for 2018 (start now!). 

Documenting the Everyday

One of my goals for 2016 was to document the "everyday" a bit better.  I love taking photos, editing, and posting to Instagram, but I started to feel like I was missing the little things that made our life ours in the day to day.  The quiet moments at home on the couch with the dogs.  Making breakfast on Sunday morning.  Sitting on the back porch on a summer night.  Going out to dinner at our favorite restaurant.  Even the mundane:  mowing the lawn, loading the dishwasher, walking the dogs around the block, telling the dogs to stop barking

If you think back three, four, five years - you likely remember the big things (Bought our first home!  Went on a road trip!), but I can't necessarily remember what we did on an average day.  What show was our favorite?  Where did we get takeout?  Who did we get drinks with on Friday night?  Enter my new favorite app:  One Second Everyday.  (And for the record, this isn't sponsored!

I recorded one second, every single day, through all of 2016.  The fun seconds, the boring seconds, the happy and sad seconds.  It's not perfect, it's not fancy, but it's us.  And it might be my favorite thing ever. 

Here's a highlight of some of my favorite seconds of 2016, if you'd like to see.  

Lessons learned

When I started this project, it was my goal to just make it through.  When I finished this project, I was professing my love for it to anyone who would listen.  2016 was not a perfect year.  There were some sad days and we got some bad news.  BUT.  The biggest thing I've learned from this little project is that although there were some bad days, the good days outnumber the bad by far.  This video is the best proof.  

Tips and Tricks

Want to try?  You're going to love it.  Here are some general tips and tricks I've learned along the way.

Just get the second.  The hardest thing about this project is sticking with it.  You'll forget.  You'll think there's nothing worth capturing today.  Just get the second.  You'll be glad you did.  You can also set reminders within the app - just go to the menu at top right, and select Reminders.

You can cheat.  Alright, so I didn't exactly take a video every day.  I did forget a handful of times, and so I just took two videos the next day, and popped the extra second in to fill the previous day.  Here's how.

It doesn't have to be perfect.  Life isn't perfect.  You're going to have bad days.  I recorded our bad days, whether I was sick in bed, or sitting next to a box of tissues with some bad news.  I promise, when you see your year stitched together in seconds, it gives such perspective to see the good day after your bad day.

Also, it doesn't have to be perfect.  When I first started, I was so excited to get the creative shot.  That artistically directed second.  As time went on, I was thrilled just to have recorded a second that day.  Do your best not to overthink it, and you'll be more likely to stick with it.

Get in the shot!  I've seen some videos recorded solely from the first person perspective, but I preferred to get myself in the frame whenever I could.  I bought this iPhone tripod, which came in so handy when I wanted to hop into the video.

Hold your phone horizontally.  It ensures the video, when stitched together, looks uniform and feels more like a movie instead of an Instagram story.

Don't forget the sounds.  I didn't think much about it at the time, but after watching the video, I appreciate the sound within the clips so much more.  The dogs nails as they run on the hardwood floors.  The sound of the news on the tv in the background.  How loud Murphy groans when he wants you to keep petting him.  My family singing Happy Birthday.  All things a photo can't capture and sound bites that I'll absolutely treasure in five years.  (Side note: while I did add music over our highlight clip above in iMovie, our full year movie has no music since I love the little sounds so much).

The Technical Stuff

Edit larger clips.  When I say that I recorded one second, I mean to say that I edited my longer clips down to one second.  You can do this within the app, or right within the video in your Photo Album.  I preferred the latter, and then I just inserted my chosen one second into the app for that day.

So much storage.  Video takes up so much space on your phone.  The app saves your one second clips, so feel free to delete or store your videos elsewhere once you've saved your second in the app.

Save and save again.  After all this work, I wasn't taking any chances with losing this project.  You can "mash" your seconds together to form your movie at any time to watch and save.  I saved about every two weeks and exported to a USB drive as well as my computer.

Tools of the Trade

1 Second Everyday App

Tripod:  We use this all the time for video and photo

Camera Remote:  Start and stop recording your video remotely.  Also great to use for photos when you don't want to make a mad dash to beat the self timer!

USB-Apple Lightning Drive: Works great for getting photos/videos off your phone and transferring to your computer quickly and without cords

I'm absolutely doing this again for 2017!  I'd love to hear if you're going to give it a try (don't feel like you have to wait for a new year to start!), and if you've done this before, I'd love to hear how it went for you!