balcony garden

my new favorite spot is the corner seat on my balcony where I can see just about all there is to see, including my mini balcony garden.

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I’m growing some basil, mint, cilantro along with some d e l i c i o u s lettuce and the cutest of strawberries.

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of course at the rate I’m producing berries we’re going to have one a week, which doesn’t make for a very good shortcake season, now does it?

I’m hoping to make up for the lack of berries with some home grown tomatoes, which I use in my new favorite breakfast: softboiled eggs and tomatoes. (I had no idea this combo was so amazing) I’ve gotten into the habit of boiling 8-10 eggs (6min, 30 seconds) at the beginning of the week and keeping them peeled and in the fridge so I can just pull them out and have a fresh creamy soft boiled egg whenever I need one. (highly recommend)

 

served with salt and pepper and a twist trader joes every day seasoning blend: delightful. (I use that stuff on everything)

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every night, even if I don’t sit out on the balcony, I try to get a photo of the sunset, and every night it does not disappoint.

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I’m looking forward to an entire summer of every changing horizons and fresh produce from my balcony garden!

xo

All images © 2013-2019 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

new life.

well friends, it’s been a while. *checks calendar*

yep, almost a year! I’m sitting in a new apartment, and hey, if you’re keeping track, this is our fifteenth move since 2009! this one, though, is finally starting to feel like home. we overlook the lake and a bunch of green–the effect of which cannot be underestimated.

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as an added bonus, every night we get a sunset show

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b r e a t h t a k i n g 

we’ve done a lot of downsizing, purging of things along the way (remember we lived in our car for a year) so over the past two years, we’ve been slowly adding things, with the thought that eventually we may be living a back on the road in a van or an RV. (a girl can dream) so, with that in mind our choices have been focused on function and design; less impulse buys.

living with less is generally a great way to exist anyway (Marie Kondo I was on to this way before your cute little netflix gig) the absense of clutter helps me focus; there’s less to clean, it’s brighter!

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I’ll be doing a full post on the design / things I made or bought for the apartment within the next few weeks. 

oh i almost forgot!  we have a new family member:

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introducing grace ff hopper, her name in honor of the first female pioneer of computer programming and a legend. our hopper enjoys naps, chasing her favorite crumpled up target receipt around the living room and chirping at the birds that land on our balcony railing. she has her own instagram account that she’s not very good at updating, and has recently been trained to walk on a leash and sleep in a crate overnight (!!) I’m obsessed and my entire camera roll is now cat photos. be prepared.

well. ok.

if it’s sunshine-y where you are, get out and enjoy it; and here’s a smoothie recipe I just whipped up this morning:

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maple banana walnut smoothie:

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8 ounces unsweetened coconut milk (I use SoDelicious)

1/8 cup unsweetened greek yogurt

1/2 cup frozen organic pineapple

1/4 cup organic walnuts

1 tsp. real maple syrup (my syrup of choice is Crown Maple)

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

starting with coconut milk, add all ingredients, in order, to blender or nutribullet and blend until smooth.

 

xo, j

 

 

All images © 2013-2019 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

spring cleaning

*inhale*

let it go.

freshen up your space.

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clear your desk.

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and while you’re here, it may be time to lighten up your digital life.

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a few years ago, while upgrading to a new computer, I lost over two years worth of photo files. it was heartbreaking, as it spanned an especially important part of my life. I was able to buy a recovery program and retrieve a small portion of them (maybe 5%) but the rest of those memories are gone.

the files on my computer, phone, and back up drives are precious to me; but are they going to be there when I want to show them to my future self? will they be around and readable in 5, 10, 20 years?

future technologies are developing so fast that we may not be able to read the data on a thumb drive shortly. think about all of the vhs tapes or even dvds your mother (or grandma) has and no one has the equipment to watch them on….who’s to say this isn’t the future for this laptop I’m typing on right now?

I have two huge bins filled with shoe boxes of photo envelopes that date from the late 1980’s to the early 2000’s. there they sit in their envelopes, just as I left them, dated and organized, in a waterproof container ready for me to look at whenever I choose. the colors haven’t faded, and thanks to some forethought, most of the negatives are still there with the photos they represent. I imagine my children will have them to look at for years, just as I can still look at photos of my long passed relatives.

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my solution or should I say my current obsession is to edit and organize my digital photo files (all 40,000+ of them) into printed photo books so they are accessible as a readable history. this is very time-consuming (to say the least) expensive (gimme those coupon codes) but it’s also a great way to dump the files I don’t need, and give me security in knowing the photos will be around a little while longer.

cathedral of st. john the baptist, parma ohio

cathedral of st. john the baptist, parma ohio

having prints made of some of my favorites is also on my list (you know, the ‘when I have all the moneys’ list) 

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yorktown lanes, parma ohio

so, if you need me, I will be here, scouring through thousands of files, picking the perfect photos to tuck in a book that hopefully somebody years from now will pick up and go,

wow.

what a great memory.

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snow day, garrison new york

 

*for an interesting look at this whole digital media reliance vs the old school method might I suggest the movie california typewriter  (not a paid endorsement!) 

All images © 2013-2018 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

 

abandoned.

traveling to the poconos during the seventies meant you were either on your honeymoon, entertaining business guests, or you were a ‘swinger.’

 

traveling to the poconos in 2017 means you’re either a youtube urban explorer out for the next great video shoot of an abandoned resort, or you’re a family headed to the big indoor waterpark/hotel/human petri dish.

this past week my daughter and I headed to the poconos in hopes of being able to sneak a peek into the past. I plotted out several abandoned places along our route, with the intent of photographing and exploring as many as we could along the way. our first stop in scranton was a bust (torn down and replaced with new homes) our second stop, scranton lace factory, was not conducive to interior exploration but we did take a few exterior shots.

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when we arrived in the poconos and couldn’t get into the summit resort we proceeded to our main destination; penn hills.

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if you know anything about abandoned poconos, you’re familiar with penn hills. let’s just say there’s not much stopping just about anyone from exploring the 85+ acres of pure 70’s honeymoon kitsch (or what’s left of it)

 

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the blend of modernist architecture, mixed with graffiti, broken glass, and the force of nature kept stopping me in my tracks.

 

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at times it was overwhelming.

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human damages far exceeding the unrelenting force of nature.

 

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we only saw a fraction of the property, but it was simply amazing.

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I would have loved to have seen this place kept intact, the bones of the architecture are so fantastic, and it could have been brilliantly returned to it’s glory as a vintage throwback (hipsters would’ve loved overpaying to sleep in a round bed!)

but back taxes and bad business decisions have left it to rot, and it appears that it will most likely be bulldozed rather than restored.

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it made for a wonderful adventure, one we won’t soon forget.

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All images © 2013-2017 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

obsessions.

first off, maybe you’ve noticed I’ve made some changes around here. I’m not entirely convinced that I love it yet, still tweaking the edges, but it was time for a new look so I picked a new theme and well, here we are. let me know what you think! (or not, you know I’m not one to order people around… and ok, if you really know me, then you know that’s a bold faced lie right there.)

on to my latest obsessions which all revolve around design and decorating. specifically light, airy, modern items like this dining room:

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or this bedroom, with a bed I could imagine spending the whole day in:

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I’m researching every possible sofa in internet sofa land: currently landing on this one from article as a favorite with a strict no coffee drinking rule applied to all who sit!sectional

the reason for all my obsessing over household items (you should see my pinterest) is we are going to be settling down again, taking a break from the nomadic life we’ve been living these past few years. Mr. X is going to be getting a coding certification and we’ll be staying put in our old hometown at least for a few years as he gets his foothold in a career.

I imagine we’ll hit the road again in the future (we still have so much more to see!)

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but, for now I look forward to organizing my laundry room and watering plants, figuring out where to put my baking sheets and things of other high importance. it will be good to have a place to call home, again.

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unless otherwise credited, All images © 2013-2017 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

memorial day.

it seems as though I haven’t had much to say about this year, from the looks of my posts here. in reality, there’s so much going on, so much keeping my thoughts occupied about the future of our world that creating beautiful blog posts have been the furthest thing from my mind.

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but memorial day weekend is here, and this weekend traditionally marks a time in the calendar year where things tend to shift; we pack away the long pants, and pull out the summer skirts. we dust off the picnic gear, stow away the snow boots. so maybe it’s time to shift my thinking as well. back to focusing on beauty and creativity, and away from despair and darkness; looking towards a future of hope, one where there’s always that open road ahead, where you never know what will meet you. where the adventure awaits.

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so we sit, and plan, looking forward to more travel; discussing a trip to acadia national park and plotting our next adventure. always moving forward, hoping and focusing on a positive future for everyone.

CLOUDS

All images © 2013-2019 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

public lands, a love story.

last year we were so fortunate to be able to experience so many of our public lands, parks and monuments. I decided to start collecting patches along the way as a way to remember the places we had seen.

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I bought our first official patch at the padre island national seashore. the kind volunteer behind the counter at the gift shop explained to us how we could drive onto the beach and camp there. he also told us how the beach in texas is considered a highway, and if we chose to we could drive for miles on it. we were thrilled with the possibility.

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it was there that I started thinking about this quilt. from every park, monument, forest or historical site that we stopped at with a visitor center, I bought a patch and added it to this quilt. it’s like a living memory, a work in progress. hand stitching the patches over fabric that is covering holes in the antique bedcover that is older than me.

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when we were at yellowstone, it just happened to be the month of the 100 year anniversary of this amazing place. we were lucky enough to be caught in the middle of a herd of bison crossing the road; they were feet from our car, and I will never forget that feeling, the feeling that we were visiting their home. we were their guests. it was humbling. and it was my favorite day.

death valley was spectacular.

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our year of travel took us from cleveland ohio to the eastern shore of texas,

to the peaks of alaska, and back around…

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we stopped at badlands national park after visiting deadwood and sturgis.

we were not disappointed. even saw the elusive big horn ram.

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this is one of our favorite campsites; a wildlife preserve in western nevada.

without the bureau of land management, the national forests, the department of antiquities, the national monuments or the national forests none of this would have been possible. we have so much left to see. and we saw so much.

it is vital that they stay funded, operating and protected.