Saturday, October 31, 2009

DIY Art Prints

The best part about having our own space in this world - whether it be a single room, an apartment, a house, an RV -whatever space is completely and utterly yours....the best part is the freedom we hold to pick and choose what we would like to surround ourselves with and look at everyday of our lives.

What makes you happy? What's your favorite color? What makes you smile? Reminds you of special memories? What is your creative vision?

Well, the biggest shock to me personally about people's selections for their homes - is when the walls are decorated with store-bought-dime-a-dozen-generic-general-just-because art/photo prints.

Admittedly, I am a photographer and have a professional side-photography-business (www.charmbytasha.com) in addition to my full-time duties as a publicist - however I promise making a beautifully original custom art photo print is easy as pie.

Step 1 - Take a photo. Since this is an ART print objective - your photo should be of a place or thing that holds special meaning to you- and for better abstract-art-effect, it should be a close up - zoom in to the little bit that is just your favorite. The bit that drew you to think of this special place or thing. If you're unable to zoom in as far as you'd like, try an interesting and unexpected angle.

{I was in California last Thanksgiving for my lovely cousin's wedding. In the guest room I was sleeping in was this STUNNING chandelier....it was such a special trip, a whirlwind, a welcomed break from my life on the east coast - and as I drifted off to sleep this is the angle I would see the chandelier from and I just thought it was gorgeous and needed to be captured in an image - when I see this now I don't just see a chandelier - I see all of the memories from this trip playing back in my mind.}


Step 2 - Upload it to your computer & using a photo editing program (I use photoshop, but for the basic beginner - you can use the editing option in your iPhoto, or an online simple FREE photo editing program like BE FUNKY, which is amazing - www.befunky.com/create/ - or picknik or FotoFlexer) -- and just simply play with color hue, contrast, saturation, and effects. Press all the buttons you can and SEE WHAT HAPPENS. :-) You'll eventually land on an effect and color you love, and voila - a home made art print is born!


Step 3 - Order prints, frame & hang! And again for large prints I can't stress enough how incredible perfectposters.com is. So affordable, ships the same day, and so many options for print material - just fabulous.



HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween-EVE!

I flippin' love Halloween.

{ode of the kitchen towels - and NOTE: my fool proof BAMBOO! I don't lie!}


I will be closing this laptop and in about 2 seconds I'll be sinking into that couch right there....looking greatly foward to relaxing in front of our newly installed eco-friendly and energy efficient pellet stove. Best invesment. Ever. I just have to say if you're looking into alternative heating - pellets are marvelous. So affordable, renewable, and you still get that flame that gives you the cozy homey "gather 'round and snuggle in" feeling. Just in love. We'll see what winter brings....but theoretically only $500 worth of pellets is all it will take to keep our little dream home heated for the season!

Oh.......and did I mentioned I got engaged on my birthday? {10/21.....no wonder October is my favorite}

Whatta week.

<3

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Green-Thumb-Gene (& lack thereof)

Did anyone else not inherit their family's green-thumb-gene? Am I the only one over here leaf-ily-challenged?

What is it specifically about the concept of:
#1 dig a hole.
#2 plant something.
#3 water it so it doesn't die.

That I don't get?


It IS that easy, right? 1,2,3. Ugh.

Perhaps it's more horrifyingly embarrassing for me that I need fool-proof bamboo desktop plants (that actually SAY on the tag....NO DIRECT LIGHT and barely needs water so don't worry if you forget for 2 and a half months) because I grew up in a house that could in all likelihood qualify as the next great rain forest after the Amazon. With all of my mom's floor plants and hanging plants and table plants.....seriously, walking up the stairs into the living room might feel to a stranger like hiking in a heavily wooded national park.

Now this is not to make fun of my green-thumbed mother - oh no. I'm in AWE of this magnificent woman!!! I just don't know how she does it. Her yard is a botanical garden. Any and all colors you can imagine, the widest array of most beautiful plants, trees, flowers, it never ends, you can spend hours marveling at her work...I've told her many-a-times she should start charging $5 at the beginning of the driveway to enter.

Me on the other hand......ugh depressing! I'm not giving up though! Dreams of a grand garden - where I can pick my own herbs and veggies - will happen.....eventually.

Until then, I guess I'm fine enjoying my lovely (&fake) lillies ;-)





Monday, October 26, 2009

DIY Graphic Headboard

When we moved out of our apartment and into our house, I had a grand vision. Everything would be home-made, re-purposed, re-made, hand-crafted, and all considered 1-of-a-kind via my thrift-loving ways and DIY addiction.

Nothing more I hate than a home that looks like a cookie-cutter-show-room.

Exhibit #1 - One of my first orders of business was to create a dreamy master bedroom. That evokes the feeling of floating on a cloud and serenely calms your bones the minute you walk in. When I think of a dreamy state I think of things becoming blurry......that lapse of time in between falling asleep and fully waking up where your eyes aren't focused.

This train of thought led me to thinking about FADED LIGHTS.....and their soft glow. How I would love to always be surrounded by that.

I dragged out our strings of Christmas lights - in the dead of spring - and after the sun set, I secluded myself into the darkest corner and snapped a string of shots.





After selecting my favorite shot, I just brought up the picture in photoshop and played around with the color hue.



In the end I wanted the hue to match the exact color of our room - however this could be really great for contrasting colors - a stunning statement that would stand out. After finalizing my color hue, measuring around the bed and nailing down the perfect size print - I headed to my favorite printing website -- www.perfectposters.com.

Don't be fooled by the lackluster website! Don't be put off by the non-fancy format! This service absolutely delivers - at an extraordinarily low price. You can order poster size prints for a mere $8. Since a headboard is a special focal point in a bedroom, I sprung to get this printed on CANVAS. Once my gorgeous canvas print arrived I embarked on stretching & staple-gunning it myself onto a wood frame (this included the first staple being excellently lodged into my hand) and after a few bandaids, help from the Mr., and some frusterating sighs...........VOILA!





The photos are from when we first moved in - hence the BARE-ness. There's been many-a-changes made in this room and some lovely additions. Also - we've painted ALL of the walls that soft jade color -- keep your eyes peeled for dream-state-bedroom-pictoral-update!


Friday, October 23, 2009

Today Is That Day

Hersheys. Ghiradelli. Godiva. Lindt. German chocolate. Belgian chocolate. Swiss Chocolate. Haut-Designer Chocolate to generic store-brand chocolate chips. Chocolate fondue to chocolate syrup. Chocolate chip cookies to chocolate cake.

I'm sorry, but some days I really do believe chocolate - of any brand/lightness/darkness/texture......is the answer.

Who cares what the question is?



Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever (proclaimed by me)
  • 2 sticks of butter at room temperature (vitally important!)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract (I'm big on flavor)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (plus a couple extra handfuls for good luck!)
Simple enough, the run of the mill blend the butter with the sugar, once creamy add the rest of the wet ingredients, slowly add the dry ingredients until all incorporated - then dump in ALL OF THAT CHOCOLATE. Extra handfuls necessary. And why not throw in some white chocolate chips for good measure.

Bake 350 degrees about 8 minutes (I like my cookies slightly UNDERcooked and chewyyyyy)
That perfect world right in between eating cookie dough and fully crumbly cookies.

YUM.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Charm By Tasha - Professional Photography


CHARM by Tasha

{professional photography}



Quarter Life

Today is indeed the day my lovely mother borned me into this world - 25 years ago.


VINTAGE ME

25 years on this earth I have lived, and it's quite extraordinary to think of what a human can experience in this amount of time. What realizations are reached, what things are learned, what people are met, what situations we're faced with, what range of emotions we feel, what level of self-awareness and world-awareness we achieve.

Growing up in a wonderful town, a beautiful state, surrounded by an endlessly kind, loving, and supportive family, making lifelong friends in elementary school, living in Germany with a marvelous family, traveling all over the world, moving to New York and living my big city dreams, graduating college with a degree I'm passionate about (public relations&photography), meeting my perfect match and falling in love, landing my dream job in my hometown of all places in the world, buying a home, achieving what I've always worked hard for....

I couldn't think of a better life and I'm so thankful, especially today, for everything, everyone, every memory, every adventure past and every adventure waiting to happen. CHEERS! To the next 25 years - I will love, I will push myself to uncomfortable limits, I will take risks and chances, I will travel, I will seize the day, I will make sure everyone I love knows I love them every time I'm able to tell them, I will cook new recipes, I will up my crafty-ante and challenge my creative brain, I will continue living in the moment, I will give, I will make people happy and help whenever I can, and, unfortunately, I will learn to love running on a treadmill. With surfing over for the season, I needed a cheap winter sport...and this new treadmill of mine was too good of a deal at $399 - on sale, plus coupons, plus no tax in New Hampshire. Beats an outrageous monthly gym membership! I'm running into the next quarter of my life!

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ME & BABY BROTHER!!!

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Childhood home

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Oh godddd

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My besttttttt friends, junior high mall trip

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Beautiful MOMMA!

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Poppa!

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Little Brother



Mom in the middle, Aunts, Nana, Cousin

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My love, surfing portrait

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SMOOCH!

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At the FAIR!

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Our little dream home <3>

Me & Baby Brother, this past weekend

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A self-portrait painting from college....how telling ;-)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Diet Coke Cupcakes

There's nothing I love more than the warmth and smell that permeates your home when something yummy is baking in the oven.

The thing about baking is the general consensus is it's time consuming - to schlepp all of your needed materials out - measure, mix, beat, add, mix more, add more, let sit, put in the fridge to chill, mix again, add more, finally get baking.





My friends, THIS IS THE ANSWER. The answer to all the times you fall through the door, home from a long draining day at work - and have zero effort left for crafting anything fancy, but have an insatiable craving for something sweet and not from 7-11. This is the answer to that diet you're on - where you think you can't have a cupcake! And this is the answer to all of you lazy @$e$ out there who can make this, and insanely impress people who underestimate you.

This is all it takes to make some freakin delicious (& healthIER) cupcakes!

1 box reduced sugar store-bought cake mix
1 can (12oz) of diet coke


THE END.
Mix it together, slap it into your cupcake pan, bake according to the box directions. Boom.
DIET COKE. Man, who is the genius who thought of this?

If you're really feeling like an over-achiever - adding a packet of instant Jell-O pudding is rumored to make your cupcakes even more chewy and moist.

These corresponding pairings work fabulously.
  • Chocolate cake mix & diet coke (optional: chocolate Jell-O pudding mix)
  • Vanilla cake mix & diet gingerale (pictured ABOVE - optional: vanilla Jell-O pudding mix)
  • Strawberry cake mix & diet raspberry (optional: lemon Jell-O pudding mix)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Baby Carrots

A sandwich bag full of baby carrots is a staple in my lunch pail. Just kidding, I don't use a lunch pail, I usually just throw stuff haphazardly into a leftover plastic grocery bag. Which needs to change because that's no kind of stable support for food swimming around in Tupperware containers. I'm holding out for one of those fancy neoprene designer BYO lunch bags. Such as below:

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In any case, as usual I digress.

Baby carrots. Now my first thought when it comes to carrots brings me back to Gerlingen, Germany. When I was a young eager girl (hey wait, I still am!) - well, back in the earlier 2000's - I wanted to live in a foreign place and assimilate completely into the local everyday life. So I participated in an exchange program and lived with a family in southern Germany. A family of four, the Boehmlers, complete with a doggie and elder Oma living just down the street. I have to say, grandparent's houses are universally alike. They all have some type of musty old-people odor, the fridge always has some type of odd juice, and the color scheme is always from the 70's.

My german host parents were pretty damn hip. They owned a Metalbau (a metal-work company), they were well off, energetic, so welcoming, and full of zest for life. I loved this family, including their daughter who happened to be right around my age - absolutely PERFECT placement I have to say on behalf of the exchange program. She was my instant-german-BFF. Gerlingen is a 'burb right outside of the city of Stuttgart - easy access - and she spent the entirety of my many months living with them showing me every facet of her life and region.

Now Momma Boehmler when you first met her looked a little bit shockingly tan. I never pictured Germans having such a glow - with a slightly orange tint. By the end of my time there it was clear how she achieved this look - and it's been branded into my brain forever.

Every single night, after we finished our dinner of sausages, assorted cheeses, little baby pickles, and yumm-o fresh bread and butter.......Momma Boehmler would take stance behind the big countertop peninsula in the kitchen, and whip out the juicer. She would then proceed to plop down a monstrous bag of HUGEEE thick long stalky carrots - still covered in dirt, still with leaves attached, as if she had walked in straight from yanking them out of the farmer's tended ground. She peeled them all in a flash - astoundingly quickly - and would begin shoving each one down into the juicer. By the end of her pile she had a JUG of carrot juice at her fingertips.......and yes, she would drink every last drop.

This occurence happened.......every single night.

And this occurence.....caused her to have orange skin. And this is a not a joke. She knew it - owned it - and was even proud of it! Her carrot-juice-drinking-self. It's healthy for you - (insert illustrious list of health benefits here)

So I sit here at lunch everyday....and as I crunch into my first baby carrot my mind always shoots back to my orange german. And then I wonder if I keep eating carrots everyday at lunch, will my skin achieve a shade of orange too? Good thing I stick with the babies, and it's only a sandwich bag full, not a sack full.

I also wonder if anyone would take some baby carrots if I did a carrot bowl instead of a candy bowl at my desk.

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Scanned in from the ye-old-days of developing actual film

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My exchange program counselor - who I'd check in with periodically about how things were going



I WILL find some photos of my actual host family :-) And I'll have new ones soon anyways as they're currently in the US and I'll be seeing them this weekend - for the first time in years!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Slump

IT'S dreadful, unpleasant, periodic, involuntary, unavoidable, and at this point we can all deduce that IT'S an inherent part of basic human nature.

"It" is: being engulfed in a SLUMP.

A slump, or “trudging through a valley on my way back up to the hills” as I like to call it, generally lasts a few days. You know the onslaught has occurred when you encounter a handful of select telltale signs, one being when you wake up and begin ready-ing yourself for the day you all of a sudden feel like a lazy-aimless-slow-moving Zeppelin, looking down into the stadium of rallying ill-fitting-clothes, shouting, shaking their big #1-SLUMP foam fingers at you. Or rather, perceived to be “ill-fitting” clothes at the moment, because I’m pretty sure it’s virtually impossible to gain 5 pounds in a 24 hour period. (however, I always say never underestimate the core-shocking habits of Americans – need I point to the latest TLC show:
“My Monkey Baby”….documenting a Tennessee couple who are raising a capuchin monkey wearing a dress, lipstick, and eyeshadow, named Jessica. Literal quote from the ‘dad’ – “She’s not a monkey, she’s my daughter!” Another gem he directed at the ‘mom’ – “She looks just like you!” )

I digress.

Uncomfortable in anything for some preposterous reason, you throw on ‘whatever’ and just get going. However even after a jug of caffeine, your morning POWERBAR, and some internal-cheering-for-yourself, you look at the clock – 11am – annnnnnnnd yup, you’re still slumping. Why is everyone and everything SO painfully annoying today? Why is looking at someone in the eye and enduring verbal communication so repulsive? (hi, and my JOB is public relations, what is THIS girl supposed to do?) Why so pessimistic today? You’re normally always an endless fountain of sunshine.

You start second guessing everything about yourself. Are you trying hard enough? Period? In Life? Are you working up to par? Are you eating healthy enough? Are you getting enough REM sleep? Are you exercising enough? Are you not doing a good enough job keeping in touch with friends? When’s the last time you visited Nana? Are you happy? Are you on the right path? Are you making every day meaningful? Did you make the right decisions? WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!!!!!

Normally when this periodic slump/crisis comes around, I re-evaluate, I look at things objectively, and most importantly I get a haircut.

I am an advocate for risks. What is more liberating when you’re overly consumed with the-meaning-of-life – than to stand on the edge of it all and take a huge risk, push yourself to an uncomfortable limit, and remind yourself of your mortality? It’s a quick perspective that pushes all of the trivial-worrying to zero.

For me, the quickest, most affordable, and always exciting risk-therapy is to get a drastic haircut. It’s just the gift that keeps on giving. Chop this, layer that, color here. Boom – a transformation.

Alright, I know you’re thinking getting a haircut isn’t risky and it’s certainly not “living on the edge” – but for me personally it’s the game-changer to knock me into the next greater mind-set – where soon thereafter I’m searching out all of the REAL possible risks I can take. The person who walked in feeling like a less-than-esteemed-glob, walks out with a kick in their step, a new image to showcase to the world, and a revived attitude that life is constantly changing – so let’s go with the flow and find something new that I’ve never done before. A new layer to add to my already heavily mosaic-ed life.

Of course I always come out of the slump realizing I didn’t gain 5 pounds, all of my clothes do fit – and I’m always especially loving the NEW items I purchased DURING my slump…..and yes I can have a day where I don’t want to exert effort to talk to other humans, and yes I try very hard, and I do my best work, and I eat quite healthy, alright – I could use more quality REM sleep, but I always make an effort to exercise in one way or another, and I keep excellent contact with friends, and I’ll visit Nana this week. I am happy. Exceedingly happy actually, and very lucky. I’m on A path, and it’s a pretty damn good one so I’m not going to complain. And since I refuse to regret anything in my life, I’m going to say I always make the right decisions according to my gut at the time.

This was a particularly good slump I have to say. The great slump of October 2009. I’m bidding it farewell and it’s bittersweet. We start new chapters all the time. Big chapters, tiny chapters – in a lifetime we’ll have lived through millions of chapters. I know this particular small slump and following new chapter had to have been set on by some recent key elements – namely one of my best friend’s since pre-school getting married and jetting off to her honeymoon. Can you think of reality giving you a bigger smack in the face than your childhood friend getting hitched? A bright red flashing light in your face and alarms sounding all around you - TIMES ARE A-CHANGIN'!!! This same best friend also lost over 100 pounds in the last two years and literally looks like an utterly different person. Awe-inspiring to say the least – it was incredible to see her hard work culminate on her wedding day. OVERWHELMING actually to think of our long history in life and the paths we've both traveled. It’s impossible not to turn the magnifying glass onto yourself and wonder what limits you can break within you. Additionally, my other half is away for a 2nd week of business in Maine. And oh you know……I happen to be turning 25 shortly. So here is Tasha, left alone to stew on all these developments and over-analyze.

A smattering of conclusions have emerged for me. I’m going to appreciate all of my times slumping during life – because they make reaching the hills of revelation that much more of a overflowingly enjoyable experience. I will forever continue to indulge in hair-invoked-therapy. It works. I’m going to make a concerted effort to discover one new thing every month, and challenge myself every day.

And I’m buying a treadmill.


Best Friends Since Childhood......MARIANNE - THEN in 2006 - and her now husband, Sterling


Marianne - NOW - and Sterling, last week


Best Friends


Friday, October 9, 2009

It's the Most Wonderul Time of the Year

And we're not talking about Christmas.

We're talking about the REALLY most wonderful time of the year. At least in the book of Haddad.

It's the yellow-electric-hues, the neon orange hues, the blood red hues. The crisp wispy air. The perfect chill that makes snuggling under a blanket just THAT much more enjoyable. The pumpkins. The corn. The crispy leaves. The costumes. The CREATIONS!

It's my birthday month. It's mysterious, full of fright, full of family memories, and full of annual apple picking. Jack-o-lanterns. Black cats. Witches. Candy. Hay-rides. Haunted houses.

Seriously, can someone name me a month and corresponding-happenings that could ever possibly beat this?

Admittedly, I've fallen off of the costume-band-wagon in recent years, however the discovery of the following astounding design by a MAC make-up artist has truly inspired me. I've never seen anything like it.







Speechless.


Additionally, I've done some serious research on a subject vitally important at this time. And I'm referring to my research on pumpkin carving. Who came up with this idea of pumpkin-stacking? Flippin' genius. Two pumpkins stacked, stars carved, and a lovely winding creepy black tree is painted on to bind the pieces together. Love. I'm also newly obsessed with white pumpkins. So mod man.