Winter Break

5126_HOWELL_ORANGE1

This break I really want to do some baking. I feel like it has been so long since I made anything sweet. I remember a time that seem like forever ago where I was using my mixer every week, creating delightful treats. Winter always brings a plethora of inspiration to bake something sweet, doughy and sleepy. Over the next few weeks I’m going to bake some delicious somethings to soothe those Winter blues.

I’ve been feeling a little tapped out creatively and find the best way to recharge is to step away from my computer and enjoy some of my hobbies, like baking. Another one of my hobbies that always inspires other aspects of my life is photography. Before applying to the graphic design program I’m currently in I actually contemplated whether I wanted to apply to the photography program instead. I would love at some point in my life to dabble with photography professionally. I shot a wedding in the French countryside in 2012 and it was amazing!

I’ve really missed writing on this blog. It’s been so long. I feel so rusty and out of shape. Hopefully it won’t take to long to get back into the swing of things.

Fifty Lessons I’ve Learnt

Big Yellow Flowers

1. Life is short. We only have one chance – the sooner you realize this the sooner you can really start living yours.
2. The world is only against you if you believe it is.
3. You are always going to be your worst critic. It is usually wise to ignore “that” voice. You know the one I’m talking about.
4. Just like most things in life, you get out what you put in.
5. Don’t take life too seriously {see #1}
6. Try something new at least once a month. Paint, dance, sing, skydive or learn to knit. Anything! It is easy to say no, but it may be wonderful if you say yes.
7. Your parents don’t know all the answers. They are just like you – trying to navigate their way through life the best they can.
8. It is okay to lose friends as we get older. Sometimes you grow apart, it is no-one’s fault, it is just the natural progression of that relationship.
9. There is nothing about your body that you should feel ashamed or embarrassed about. You are the way you were made and that is an amazing thing.
10. The likely-hood of the Earth existing is less than 0.01 per cent over four billion years, the fact that you exist is even smaller. Still don’t think you are amazing?

Lone wolflower11. There is never enough chocolate.
12. Or hugs.
13. Life IS hard. It is the people we surround ourselves with that make it easier.
14. Happiness isn’t all about material possessions, it is about making your life have meaning & pleasure.
15. Past behaviour is the most reliable indicator of future behaviour.
16. If it seems too good to be true it probably is.
17. Learn to trust your instincts, they are usually spot on.
18. Some ignorance is invincible, don’t waste your time. Move on.
19. Please & thank you will get further in life. Good manners is appreciated, but bad manners is remembered forever.
20. The food you cook will never taste as amazing as the food someone else cooks.

Spring Blossom 21. Toast will land butter side down 99% of the time. More so if you’re already running late.
22. The only way to extend your comfort zone is to live outside of it every now & then.
23. If you’re in a hurry there will be traffic everywhere.
24. Super Mario World (SNES) was the best video game ever invented.
25. All my friends agree with #24.
26. You really do learn the value of something once it is gone.
27. There are more grey areas in life than black & white ones.
28. If it looks grey outside and you don’t take a jacket, it WILL rain.
29. Everyone has a story to tell.

Droplets 30. It isn’t about always being right. If it were, we’d never learn anything.
31. That saying fuck over & over is a great way to vent.
32. The same goes for the words shit, bitch, bugger & wanker
33. I’m always right. So are you.
34. I’m always offending someone.
35. But it’s okay to not care.
36. You are never going to make everyone happy 100% of the time.
37. It is okay to be a little different. Imagine how boring it’d be if we were all the same.
38. Ice cream makes everything all better again. Well for at least five minutes anyway.
39. Imitation is the highest form of flattery.

Cute Duck 40. Yes my arse did look fat in that.
41. Sex in the shower is never quick nor easy and usually results in injury.
42. And sex will never be quiet when your mother-in-law is in the next room no matter how hard you try.
43. Bad things happen to bad people but we only care when they happen to good people.
44. There is no such thing as taking too many photos. You’ll look back in twenty years and be glad you did.
46. Marrying my best friend was the best thing I’ve ever done.
47. Nobody is normal.
48. Your friends love you anyway.
49. Total Eclipse of the Heart is best up high and sung to at the top of your lungs.
50. I’ve still got a lot to learn.

Running Handstands & Limoncello Pound Cake

Fancy Nerd Limoncello Pound Cake

When I was five years old my favourite thing in the whole world was gymnastics. I went to gymnastics once or twice a week. My parents were very young and didn’t earn a lot of money, but they saw how much I loved gym and bought me my own set of monkeybars. Not a cheap plastic set but actual metal ones that you get at the park. I practiced on the monkeybars and in my backyard on the grass. I was pretty obsessed and, naturally, thought I knew everything.

Fancy Nerd Limoncello Pound Cake

One day I had my non gymnast school friend and my neighbour who was a gymnast over. We were playing in my backyard, doing handstands and cartwheels, talking about gynmastics, specifically handstands and the different types of them. You know, the important stuff.

“What about running handstands?” I asked.

“There’s no such thing” my neighbour challenged.

“Yes there are” I rebutted.

“No there isn’t” she replied.

“Yes there are, watch” accepting her challenge.

Fancy Nerd Limoncello Pound Cake

So off I ran as fast as my little legs could carry me because I was going to do the best running handstand that there ever was.

I plant my hands on the ground and land a handstand and then all the momentum I’d built up running followed. Suddenly. Now I’m on my face in the ground. And my wrist is rather bent.

Embarrassed and rather injured I run straight to my mum who takes me straight to hospital where they confirm I’ve broken both of the bones in my wrist.

Fancy Nerd Limoncello Pound Cake

I don’t remember how long it took to me to recover, in fact I can’t even remember any of the pain. I do remember doing another handstand and cartwheel though. I didn’t let the fear stop me. Naturally I was scared because I knew what I could do now if I wasn’t careful. But cartwheels and handstands are waaaay more fun. Or so I remember, I haven’t actually tried in two decades so this Spring I’m putting it on my to do list.

Fancy Nerd Limoncello Pound Cake

This delightful recipe is also something I’ve had on my to do list for a while now. I thought Spring time would be the perfect time to try it out. I was lucky enough to already have the ingredients. This cake is so light and fluffy. The lemon has the right amount of sweetness that I guarantee you’ll be going back for seconds or maybe even thirds.

Fancy Nerd Limoncello Pound Cake

Limoncello Pound Cake
adapted from Mela e Cannella

170 g butter, softened
170 g caster sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
3 eggs
11/2 tablespoon Limoncello
175 g flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Method:
Preheat oven to 170 °C, grease loaf tin.
In a bowl mix the butter, sugar and lemon zest until the mixture is light and creamy.
Gradually add the Limoncello and eggs, beating well.
Sift the flour and baking powder into the butter and mix well.
Pour loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes, checking the middle of the cake with a toothpick to check if it is baked through.
Remove from the oven and let cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove and let cool on a rack.
Dust with icing sugar (powdered sugar).

Running in the Seattle Spring Rain

© Leila Howell

I’m one week into the new school quarter and already the assignments are piling up. I’m not feeling stressed like I usually do. Three weeks ago I started running with my Mr. I could barely go three minutes before I absolutely had to stop because “I might be having a heart attack”. Today I went a mile and a half without stopping and kept a pace of 11.12 minute/mile. I even went running in the rain this week, I didn’t let it deter me and send me back to my warm comfy bed, I got out there and boy did I feel alive! I’m now asking the Mr if he wants to go for a run instead of him dragging me out the door. I crave it. It has dropped my stress levels. Thanks to all those amazing endorphins!

I got my camera out into the sunshine and shot some of the beautiful blooms around my neighbourhood this week. I just love Spring in Seattle. Tulips line the garden beds and Cherry Blossoms are raining their petals down. I’ve been playing around in Photoshop a lot lately and decided to take a break from school work to make my own little interpretation of Spring around Capitol Hill. I made this is Photoshop with photos I shot on my walk home from school. I really enjoyed making this and am thinking about making a series. What do you think?

Recharging at Goldmeyer Hot Springs

Goldmeyer Hike & Camp

One of my favourite things about living in Washington is that you are never far from an outdoor adventure. There are so many parks, trails, hikes, camps etc to last several lifetimes. I’ve decided that while I’m living in this beautiful place to take advantage of all of it. This week Dan & I set off an adventure with some friends to the nearby Goldmeyer hot springs.

Goldmeyer Hike & Camp

Goldmeyer Hike & Camp

Goldmeyer Hike & Camp

It took a two hour drive to get to get to the trail head and then another 4.5 mile hike to get to the campgrounds & hot springs. You have to hike in with your camping gear if you want to stay the night, so we both carried 15kg packs filled with everything we need (and more) for our overnight adventure.

Goldmeyer Hike & Camp

The reward at the end of the trek, the hot springs! They were out of this world amazing. These were my first hot springs and will certainly not be my last! There are three pools. The top one is a cave that goes back about 15 feet and is very hot. I could only stay in there for 5-10 minutes at a time before feeling like I was going to over heat. Then the one in the middle which I thought was the perfect temperature and the bottom pool which still warm but the cooler of the three.

Goldmeyer Hike & Camp

I love getting away from the noise of the city and into the calm of the wilderness. The air is fresh and there is no internet or Facebook to distract you. For a whole 24 hours I was not contactable and it felt great. I didn’t realize until I was out in the woods how much I needed to get away from it all. It was the perfect recharge before the Spring quarter begins on Monday and I’m back at school. I feel refreshed, inspired and ready to take on the challenges ahead.

Goldmeyer Hike & Camp

Goldmeyer Hike & Camp

Happy weekend! x

A Spring in my step.

Fancy Nerd Spring Flowers

Spring has finally sprung and there is pretty all around! Spring break has been  exactly what I needed after such a hectic quarter at school. I’ve spent time laying in bed to well past noon, playing video games, climbing, running and this weekend I’m going on a hike & camp to some hot springs. It has been nice focusing on finding my balance again. The biggest thing that has been making smile are the birds are chirping and the flowers are blooming!! I need to start getting my dSLR out again but in the meantime here are some shots I’ve taken while outside exercising.

Fancy Nerd Spring Flowers

Fancy Nerd Spring Flowers

Fancy Nerd Spring Flowers

Fancy Nerd Spring Flowers

Fancy Nerd Spring Flowers

Fancy Nerd Spring Flowers

Fancy Nerd Spring Flowers

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