New Orleans Color Palettes

By April 16, 2015 Design, Photography

Hello! Life has been crazy here in Blacksburg. We’re so busy finishing the semester and gearing up for graduation in just a few short weeks. We thought it would be fun to share a few pictures from Tara’s spring break trip to New Orleans. We used the photos to make a few lovely color palettes, just like we’ve done before with our Venice photos. The New Orleans colors are absolutely breathtaking – even in non-stop rain. As always, you can download these color palettes for free at Adobe Color. If you’re interested, you can see a few more photos of the trip on Tara’s Instagram.

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Download Bourbon Street Palette

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Download Pink Palette

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Download Waterfront Palette

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Download Orange Tree Palette

 

3D Printing: Low Poly Animals

By March 24, 2015 Design

Last weekend we made our first attempt at 3D printing. After a little trial and error, we figured it out and printed this cute (and festive) little bunny. If you have access to a MakerBot 3D printer, we highly recommended trying it out. It’s really fun and easy! You can browse all kind of compatible templates from MakerBot Thingiverse. We ended up using this template and scaling it down to fit the MakerBot mini. You will need to download the MakerBot Desktop software in order to print.

3d printing_program

The process is really simple. Once you’ve downloaded the software, you can import your design and manipulate it. Press play and the MakerBot does all the work! The printer heats up a plastic filament, emits it through nozzle, and layers it to make your design. This bunny took about an hour and 15 minutes.

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Check out the video on our Instagram.

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3d printing is on the rise! This recent article on NPR shares a new 3d printing method that sculpts the liquid. We hope to make more creatures soon!
 

Sesame Ginger Soba Noodles

By March 6, 2015 Food

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This is a recipe I make all the time. It’s quick, easy, and you can make substitutions with the veggies you have on hand. Plus, its super healthy and basically vegan (although it does use honey but you could substitute that for agave). The sauce is AWESOME and I use it almost every time I cook tofu! The recipe is adapted from here.

 

Ingredients | Serves 2
6 oz soba noodles
1 14oz package of tofu
1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
1 red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onion
Sesame Seeds (for garnish)

 

Ginger Sauce Ingredients
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons cup honey
2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon tapioca flour (or corstarch) dissolved in water
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Prep

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Directions
First cook the soba noodles according to the package and set aside. Heat the olive oil or coconut oil in a large pan on medium high heat. Chop the tofu into bite size pieces and allow to cook until lightly browned on one side. Then mix and let brown on the other side. While the tofu is cooking, chop the red pepper, green onions, and garlic. Add the peppers to the pan and cook until soft. While the peppers and tofu are cooking, mix the soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, sesame oil, tapioca flour, ground ginger, garlic, and red pepper in a small bowl. Add the noodles and the sauce to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the green onions and sesame seeds to garnish.

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Best of 2015 Playlist

By February 27, 2015 Music

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It’s only the end of February but there’s already so much good music out! So here are our favorite songs of 2015… so far. A few highlights include Belle & Sebastian, José González, and Punch Brothers. We hope you stay warm this weekend and relax with this chill, happy playlist.  

 

 

You can check out our old playlists here: 1 | 2 | 3

 

NOLS: Backpacking in the Pacific Northwest

By February 20, 2015 Photography

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Three summers ago in May and June 2012, I embarked on a one month NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) backpacking trip in the Pacific Northwest. I spent most of the time traveling through the Pasayten Wilderness in the Okanogan National Forest. If you’ve never heard of it before, NOLS is a wilderness school that “takes students of all ages on remote wilderness expeditions and teaches them technical outdoor skills, leadership, and environmental ethics.” Students are usually in their mid 20s, so I was actually one of the youngest students on the trip. A typical course is usually one month long and led by two instructors. However, the last week is spent on a student-led expedition where you navigate through the back-country without the instructors. Here is a more detailed description of my course. Even though I took this trip a few years ago, all the snow we’ve been getting here brought back memories of my experience so I wanted to share a few snippets. This is just a tiny glimpse into the amazing diversity of landscapes I saw. I could write several much (much much) longer posts on exactly where we went and how we got there but I’ll try to keep it short for now.

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The pictures above are from our very first campsite in the Pasayten Wilderness. Because it was May and still early in the season, the mountains were completely covered in snow. And yes, it was freezing! It even snowed some days on the trip and we did plenty of snow camping at our higher elevation campsites.

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Climbing up to see these views was the most intense hiking I’ve ever done. It’s colder and windier than you care to imagine and the inclines are so steep you’re not sure you’re going to make it. But you do, and you see this, and it’s completely worth it.

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I have very vivid memories of us singing Simon & Garfunkel nonstop while hiking this ridge. It was cold.

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The highlight of backpacking is obviously back-country cooking! When you’re backpacking, your mornings and evenings are completely centered around cooking. Every day starts with a warm breakfast, packing lunch and snacks for the day, and ends with the slow process of cooking dinner. Most of the recipes we made came from the NOLS Cookery or just from our imaginations. Back-country pizza is the best food in the world. No contest.

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This was my home and my outfit for about 30 days. Trust me, it’s all you need.

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Seriously living the life. If you’re really into the photos, you can explore my friend Caroline’s flickr. She is a photographer and documented this adventure in amazing detail. Have you done any backpacking before? I would love to see! Let me know what you think.

-Tara

 

Valentine’s Day Bloody Mary

By February 14, 2015 Food

Bloody Mary Garnishes

Happy Valentine’s Day! We decided making Bloody Marys would be the perfect way to celebrate this red and pink holiday. Plus, these are made with whole tomatoes pureed in the NutriBullet, so they are extra fresh and wholesome. It only takes a few minutes to blend everything together so this cocktail is a great Valentine’s brunch add on. Have you ever tried making your own Bloody Mary’s?

Bloody Mary_Ingredients

Ingredients (Serves 2)
4 large tomatoes
4 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tsp prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp Tabasco
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp Old Bay
3 shots of vodka
 
Garnish
lime
celery
bacon
olives
Old Bay and salt for the rim

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Directions
Start by pureeing the tomatoes in your NutriBullet. You will most likely need to do this two at a time (just don’t go past the max line). You can easily do this step in a blender or food processor as well, depending on what you have on hand. In a large pitcher, mix the tomato juice, lemon juice, lime juice, worcestershire sauce, horseradish, Tabasco, salt, pepper, and Old Bay until combined. Add in the vodka, adjusting for your taste preference.
 
Pour some Old Bay and coarse sea salt onto a flat dish. Wet the rims of two tall glasses. Roll the rims of the glass around the Old Bay and salt to create a festive rim. Pour the Bloody Mary mixture into the cups and add some celery, bacon, and olives to finish. Yum!

Bloody Marys overhead

Bloody Marys

This is the second recipe we’ve posted using our NutriBullet (our first was a Fig and Raspberry Smoothie). We seriously love this thing! It’s a game-changer when it comes to smoothies and mixed drinks. Have you made anything exciting with yours?