Thursday, May 27, 2010

Our Anniversary

Yesterday, May 26th, was our 3rd anniversary. We've really been focused on being extra frugal, not eating out, and really trying to redo our whole budget. As the one with no willpower whatsoever, I wanted to go somewhere "fancy" (don't even ask what that entails because I don't know that even I can explain it), and ever practical, Ian wanted to go somewhere within our budget- $30. Ian & I couldn't decide on a local place to eat dinner that met both our requirements, so we decided to cook dinner together. I pulled out my handy Eating Well 500 Calorie Dinners recipe book, and flipped to page 128: Lemon-Garlic Shrimp & Vegetables.

Ian agreed to make a run to our local Earth Fare and pick up the things we needed for the recipe, which turned out to be most of the items in the recipe.

Towards the end of the day, Ian showed up at my work with a dozen beautiful roses!  That picture isn't the dozen he got me, and in no way compares to the beauty of the ones he got me, but I ran out of time and will have to post the actual picture later.

Anyway, we get home and start cooking. It was a very simple recipe to cook. While Ian was chopping the asparagus and red bell pepper, I was prepping the shrimp and measuring out other things we needed.

The best thing I love about that cookbook is that it pairs side dishes and/or desserts and drinks with each meal. For this recipe, it said we could have a side of cauliflower & couscous or quinoa with fresh herbs AND a choice from two other sides. We love quinoa, so that's our go-to grain. Since Earth Fare was out of the quinoa we regularly get, Ian got red quinoa. We both thought the red quinoa had a slightly stronger and somehow slightly different flavor than regular quinoa. Also, when I was washing the quinoa, it smelled like peanuts! Anyway, I digress...

So the coolest thing about all this (besides it being our anniversary and having a romantic date night at home), was that we ended up both getting what we wanted. Ian spent $25 at Earth Fare for the dinner ingredients and dessert (we split a chocolate vegan cupcake). We saved the bell pepper seeds to plant next year, and we still have probably .75 lbs of shrimp left. We also have a ton of quinoa left, but we can use that with just about any dish! I got my fancy meal, and a chocolate dessert, so life was good! All in all, it was a great deal and a fantastic meal!

Now for a rant.

Dear Earth Fare:
Would you please publish a vegan baking cookbook? I promise if you publish one I'll still eat at your store! I'd give anything to know how you make your vegan cupcakes. I also had a coconut date bar that was out of this world. I bought a vegan dessert book, and everything I baked out of it was dry and not very good. I'm a great baker of non-vegan goods, so trying to replicate your recipes might restore my faith in vegan baking!

Monday, May 24, 2010

I'm a sucker...

Normally I do not do these sort of things, but a friend went to New Zealand last summer and loved it. In fact, he came back a changed man.

I'm not saying I need to be changed, but it would be fantastic to finally get to go on a honeymoon with Ian, albeit three years later! So head on over to and enter their contest! If you win the trip for two to New Zealand, you have to take me because I told you about it. Deal? Deal.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

It's a start!

A few days ago, we visited our soon to be home (hopefully) and did some outside work. Among pulling vines, pruning trees, and mowing grass, we planted some of our heirloom Brandywine organic tomatoes that we started from seed in Columbia on our balcony. Granted, these guys don't look like much right now, but hopefully they will grow tall and produce some nice greenish-red tomatoes that will taste great!

Here are some pics that were taken by Ash as I got my first lesson on tilling up the ground and the finished result.  I tilled one small strip that would accommodate six plants.  We'll try to keep you updated on these beauties!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ian's Earth Fare video


Just in case you haven't already seen it, here's Ian's video for the Earth Fare video contest. If you like the video, share it with your friends! Even the honorable mentions get fantastic prizes, and having an Earth Fare gift certificate in any amount would be so helpful with the economy as it is!

Happiness is...

Orange iris

It's iris time in Tennessee!
We were back in Tennessee this past weekend, and the irises were really putting on a show! One of our neighbors has reportedly spent $300 on fancy varieties of irises, and I must say they are beautiful!

We're headed back to Tennessee tomorrow after work, but I don't know that I'll get to take (m)any pictures. Ian has an interview, and I'm sure I'll be working outside. As I first reported here, Ian and I are gearing up for something MAJOR. I don't want to say anything publicly and jinx us, but things are really looking up. If this comes into fruition, it will truly be a life changing experience for the both of us.

...and no, we're not expecting a baby.

Anyway, I just wanted to share a bit of our happiness. Living in such a big city (yes, I know Columbia isn't like NYC) can really erode your love for your fellow man. Being around family like we were this weekend, and having people be so excited for's just so refreshing.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Introducing our Kodak DuaFlex IV

Kodak DuaFlex IV
So this is our newest camera, the Kodak DuaFlex IV. We haven't had any of the film developed yet, and all of the film we're using is technically expired, so it's all going to be one huge, fun experiment!

This camera takes 620 film, and yes, I know what you're saying...

But Ashlie...they don't make 620 film anymore!
I know, but it can be had. If you loved me, you'd go to B&H and buy me a roll or two!

But why don't you just use 120 film?
Well, that's certainly a possibility, but again, this is all new, and Ian and I both want to take it slow. Plus, I'm not terribly keen on the idea of fumbling around in the dark in attempt to respool film from one spool to the next just to get 120 to work.

So why *this* camera?
Ian and I found a DuaFlex II in a local antique mall. It was $20 and it looked like it was missing a part. I instantly fell head over heels in love with it, and left determined to see a) if $20 was a good deal, b) what, if anything was missing off that camera, and c) will it work? That is, do they still make film for it?
I have to admit I was a little sad to find out that these cameras were selling for as little as $5 on ebay, because even as broke as we are, I would've put down my last $20 to have that DuaFlex II (priorities, anyone?). The more Ian researched these cameras, the more he fell in love. He did all the research and found the camera we ended up getting off of ebay. We've decided to share the camera since it's something we're both very interested in.

Anyway, I'll keep you updated with what's going on. I'm going to call tomorrow and see how much it'll cost to get our film developed. Thankfully, we have a great mom & pop (weird saying that because it's owned by two twentysomething guys) camera shop that develops this type of film.

All my best,

Ian's birthday burgers

Ian's birthday was in the first week of May. I got him some nice tickets to see Tony Bennett, but since that concert isn't until June 10th, I wanted to do something special.

I knew Earth Fare had some yummy sounding burgers in their meat case, but we'd never had a chance to try them. So for Ian's birthday dinner I went to Earth Fare with every intention on buying two black (Angus) and bleu (cheese)  burgers, and a sweet potato to make baked sweet potato fries (or chips, as Ian calls them).

However, my inner impulse shopper got the best of me. As the man at the meat counter helped me [and I must say he was incredibly friendly and knowledgeable], I eyed two other burger options I wanted to try. The first was a feta cheese, spinach, and turkey...boy did it look tempting! But out of the corner of my eye I spotted the gouda bison burgers. Then I asked myself, "Ok. We eat spinach all the time. When will we ever get the nerve to try bison?"

I ended up buying two black and bleus and two bison burgers. We ate the bison burgers for Ian's birthday dinner. I must say that the meat counter man was correct in that the bison burgers really need no condiments. They're good just as they are. We topped our burgers with some Rudi's whole wheat buns, and the meal was fantastic.

The following night Ian cooked the black & bleu burgers, and filmed it. He's going to enter the video in Earth Fare's "my decade, my health, my journey" contest. In the video he shows what an amazing meal you can make for less than you'd spend on a nasty, chemical-filled value meal. Let's goad him into posting it here! Leave a comment or tweet him @iconway and hopefully he'll post it!

More later.

Back again!

F-16 and P-51 Mustang
Hi folks,
I'm back again. Life's been getting in the way of taking pictures and posting them. I've been considering redoing this blog to make it fit more of my life, and be less about selling photography. I've found that if people want your photography, they'll just email you, which works for me!

I've posted here a picture from ShawFest 2010. It was a fantastic show at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, SC. I have more pictures to upload, but I haven't had the chance to upload them.

I also got another camera, but I'll save that for another post...