Guys, this particular #AskAwayFriday is extra special: I double-booked myself! We’re in for twice the fun, right? Just so I wouldn’t go too crazy, I decided to do five questions each from the two bloggers I swapped with, rather than winding up with a super long post with twenty questions and answers.
Ask Away Friday is a fantastic blog hop and question swap, hosted by Tamara Like Camera, Mrs. TeeLoveLifeLaughter, Christy at Uplifting Families, Stacey at This Momma’s Ramblings (my partner last week!), and Amber at Bold Fit Mom (my partner from my first AAK).
I swapped questions with Jenny of Express Bus Mama, who lives in Connecticut and blogs about her life as a working mom. What an inspiration! Jenny’s sense of humor comes through in her posts, as well as her passion for blogging and her love for her son. Be sure to check out her answers to my questions!
Here are my answers to her questions:
I love that you embrace a vegetarian lifestyle. What are your tips for someone who would like to move towards this way of eating?
Oh gosh! I gave up eating red meat when I was in eighth grade- so I was one of those teenage vegetarians who didn’t really know how to eat a balanced diet. I think the best thing I can say is focus on vegetables and whole grains. Right now, I’m making my lunch and it’s so simple and so yummy: quinoa and fresh spinach mixed with olive oil, topped with chickpeas and sesame seeds, plus maybe some lemon juice and fresh garlic. Of course, it’s easy to go for easy meals like replacement meat (I admit, I am loving Morningstar Farms bacon lately), but those are not always as good for you as they seem. Foods like beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains have plenty of protein.
Vegetables galore! Spaghetti squash with sauteed spinach and bell pepper.
Homemade veggie stew: spinach, potatoes, onion, carrot, celery. This was probably before I threw in some kidney beans.
Your photography is beautiful and makes me dream of places I want to visit some day. Share a couple of picture-taking tips for the non-photographer.
Natural light, natural light, natural light! Also, turn off your flash if you can. Get up close. Play with the settings on your camera rather than defaulting on Auto mode. I’m no expert- I can’t explain what the f-stop is and my camera has auto focus only- but I have learned a lot in the past few years, particularly from my husband Andy
You’ve been blogging for quite a while and are a pro! What are your tips for the beginner blogger?
Ha! I would never consider myself a pro, but thank you! I think my biggest blogging tips would be consistency (post regularly!), and remembering that you only get what you give. If you’re blogging just for you, then that’s fine, but if you’re trying to get people to read your posts, you have to read other blogs, too. Tweet, share, like, and comment on the blogs that interest you- chances are, they’ll come over and check out your posts, too.
You are very well traveled. Absolute favorite place you’ve been and the one place you’ll never return to?
Hmmm, this is interesting. I can’t think of a place I would never return to! It’s easier to think of a place within the U.S. for this question- okay, Gary, Indiana. I highly doubt I’d go back there, since when I visited it was just a quick stop off the Interstate: Hmm, I wonder what Michael Jackson’s hometown is like.
As for favorite places, I talked about Nicaragua’s Isla de Ometepe
recently, and I love
Italy: I’ve been there three different times! I love that there is always more to see, and I can’t wait to travel through Italy with Andy someday.
In mountainous Tuscany in February…
And the Cinque Terre village of Vernazza in September. Gorgeous any time of year!
Your husband is British and you’ve featured some recipes from his homeland on your blog. What’s the one British meal that every American must try?
Andy says toad in a hole
. Then he added beans on toast. I say fish and chips- and I don’t even eat fish anymore! But it’s just such a quintessential British meal
I also swapped questions with Beth at Structure in an Unstructured Life
, who I’m pretty sure is a superhero because she’s a full-time working mom of two boys and is all about simplicity and reducing chaos in her home. She blogs about marriage, family, organization, budgeting and happiness. I’m so glad #AskAwayFriday has introduced me to so many amazing women!Check out Beth’s answers to my questions here
Here are my answers five of her questions:
Your recent post has one of my favorite quotes as the title: If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. What’s something you’ve realized you need to do differently so you can get something better?
I need to treat my body better for sure! My body doesn’t love dairy as much as my mind does, which stinks (ha!) but it’s something I really need to accept already.
You’re a travel lover; I’m a bit of a homebody. 🙂 Tell me three things that convince me to want to travel to distant lands.
Three things…oh man. Three is so limiting! I am more inspired when I am traveling than any other time. I feel more alive, more Christy, if that makes any sense. There is so much beauty to see outside of our own towns and states and countries- things we never would have imagined. Travel is a photographer’s dream!
At the Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve in central Costa Rica
Sideview mirror reflection in colorful Granada, Nicaragua.
Of course, there is the education and mind-opening aspects to travel. We don’t know how limited our scope is until we spend time in other countries and experience how other people live. I love learning by seeing and doing- whether it’s new foods
, a foreign language
, or different styles of architecture
I think we might have similar taste in books (we both loved The Time Traveler’s Wife). What’s on your summer reading list?
Whew! Now you’ve gotten me all pumped to read!
You’ve written about your struggles with depression and anxiety, both of which I am familiar with. What is one thing you wish more people knew about these issues?
I want those who struggle with depression and anxiety to know that they are not alone, because when you are in the thick of it, mental illness can be the most isolating thing in the world. I want more people (myself included) to fully accept that it is not your fault, nor is it a curse.
For friends and loved ones of those suffering from depression and anxiety, trying to ‘fix the problem’ or offering advice does not usually help. Know that the best thing you can do is unconditionally love that person. Offer your ear to listen, your arms for a hug, and your time to go for walks together, because exercise and being in nature both help significantly.
Favorite meal of the day – breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Another tough one! I’ll go with breakfast
, since there are so many different ways to enjoy the same few ingredients. I love making Dutch Baby pancakes
(though not lately as they’re loaded with butter, grrr), with or without add-ins like berries, chocolate chips, or canned pumpkin. I also love eggs in a basket, blueberry waffles, and simple, hearty oatmeal.
Your love and admiration for your husband come through in your writing. Tell me one trait of his that you adore and one that drives you crazy.
I read this question out loud to Andy and he perked up and batted his eyes. Ha! I’ll start off with what drives me crazy: little things like leaving the toaster oven door open when he’s finished with it. Or not resealing the bread bag! (I’m not perfect either: I don’t wash the dishes nearly as often as he does)
And something I adore: his photography! Andy is so creatively minded and so passionate about his art, and that seeps into our relationship. I love having a million and one photos of us from the seven years we’ve known each other. I also love Andy’s generosity: he is generous with his art, his spirit, his time, and his energy.
Some photos aren’t the most flattering, but they always recall fun memories!
We looked sooo different when we first started dating in 2007!
Whew! I made it! Thank you so much Jenny and Beth for swapping this week! If you’d like to participate in Ask Away Friday, contact me or any of the hosts listed above, OR you can head over to our Facebook group
and join in on the fun.Have a good weekend everyone and I’ll see you back here on Sunday for another travel retrospective
I never picture Andy speaking with a British accent, but I guess he must, right?
I love beans on toast with cheese and so does Des!
“The Time Traveler’s Wife” is in my top three best books ever. It destroyed my heart, though.
I like to think that Cassidy really loves my photography too – and the fact that I’m documenting our lives so much.
Although I’m not as good as Andy is about making myself get in the photo!
Haha, that first line made me laugh. Absolutely he has an accent!
Andy loves beans on toast more than I do…I’m cool with it once in awhile, but he could have it allll the time.
Oh yes, TTTW is one of my favorites ever. The first time I read it was during our break-up time, and I was in Costa Rica and so lonely and tearful. Somehow, though, I have kept on reading it again and again!
I am *sure* that Cassidy loves your photography- how could he not?!
(getting started on your questions now, hope to send them to you by tomorrow night!)
I really enjoyed our swap. Loved your questions and your answers to mine! I’m totally making toad in a hole since I love all things British. Also great tips for the beginner vegetarian. I could easily switch over if I didn’t live with a bunch of meateaters!
Me too, Jenny 🙂 I love most things British- Andy actually asked why I put that since he was sort of joking. I didn’t know that! Which, incidentally, is another British thing- humor so understated that it’s easy to miss. He said shepherd’s pie would be his serious answer.
My sister recently started doing a ‘weekday vegetarian’ thing- just eating meat on the weekends basically. Maybe something like that would work? Or just Meatless Mondays?
I’m a new reader from the AAF Facebook group. LOVED seeing all your photos, now I’m inspired to go back and read other posts of yours, as well as head outside with my iphone and try to snap a few photos of my own 🙂
Your love for your husband really shines through and that’s a wonderful thing to see. So happy to get to “meet” you, I look forward to following your blog!
Welcome! I’m so happy to see a new face, and maybe we can swap with each other this summer!
Hearing that I’ve inspired you to go out with your camera makes me happy 🙂 Thank you for the kinds words!
I love what you said that some pictures are not flattering but they have the best memories!! So true because I recently made a photo blog post and most of the photos are not flattering but they’re so nostalgic and I still keep them because of the memories.
I love your travel photos as always since I’ve visited your blog. And that village near the ocean looks so wonderful!! Plus the food – oh so good! I don’t think I can ever be a vegetarian though, hehe.
Thanks- part of me can’t believe that I posted that underwater shot, haha! So glad we found each other through #AAF, Rea. I’m getting lost in your photos, as well!
Travel is a photographer’s dream! So many of my favorite photos are from my travels…mostly because I usually put them in photo books and tell my stories alongside of them! I love the photo of the village you shared! It’s gorgeous!
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That’s such a nice practice, Michelle. Part of me wants to make some travel photo books, since nearly all of my photos are online. Looking at something in your hands makes such a difference!
Nice to meet you, Christy! I adore my husband too! Traveling is such a luxury that I hope to take advantage of in the future. Your and his pictures are wonderful. I think you description of someone who has depression or anxiety is spot on. A listening ear is necessary and I need to be forced out of the house into nature sometimes, but it always helps!
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Likewise, April 🙂 I hear you on needing to be forced out of the house sometimes- that’s me in the winter. Though this past winter I was nannying for the first time, so I was more forcing the little boy, haha.
Travel is worth it, I promise!
Wow, I love to get to knw you a little through this Askawayfriday post. I love your vegetarian lifestyle tips.
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I’m sorry if this is a duplicate comment – WP says s o but I don’t think I published it. Wow, I love to get to know you a little through this Askawayfriday post. I love your vegetarian lifestyle tips. And I can relate to feelign lonely in my experience of mental illness.
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It is a duplicate, but no worries, Astrid! Whenever something like that happens to me, I try refreshing the page to see if my comment showed up to avoid leaving two.
Thank you! I couldn’t imagine eating meat anymore after all these years, and for environmental reasons, I just don’t want to.
Hope you’re having a nice Sunday 🙂
You and your husband Andy are very cute together 🙂 Glad you’ve found each other, it’s never easy finding that right partner in life that makes you smile and love them even when they drive you bonkers -with things like leaving the toaster door open 😛 my partner is the worst with the dishes but I give him credit for trying! Thanks, you’ve also successfully made my mouth water and now I want all the foods in the photos!! Hope you and Andy have a great weekend Christy! -Iva
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Thanks, Iva! It certainly isn’t easy and we had a bumpy road at first, but in this moment, I’d say I’m pretty happy 🙂
I admit, my mouth starts watering a little bit, too, when I look back at the food pics, haha.
Let me just say I am officially hungry! The beans on toast: I used to eat that as a child but adding the cheese on top is genius! Oh and the waffles with syrup and are those bananas? YumYummy! I need to go eat. Great swap and answers especially for double booking!
Thanks Tiffany- Andy will put cheese on top of anything 🙂 I had never heard of beans on toast until I met him!
Yes, blueberry waffles with banana slices. That waffle maker was one of two we got for our wedding, and though we didn’t ask for one at all, we’ve given it plenty of good use.
I am wanting a DSLR camera so that I can learn how to take awesome photos for my blog. I know that if the lighting is perfect, my cell phone does a good job. Maybe when I upgrade, I will find a cell camera that works better.
Sorry if you get double comments…things are going wonky for me tonight! Such wonderful swaps, Christy! Those are such beautiful photos. I too love the history of places and would so love to travel someday, especially to the UK and Ireland. I am sure that I would be like a kid in a candy store. I think that I could go to a more veggie based existence along with my lil miss, but hubby and lil man would mutiny for sure. You are so right that for someone with depression there is no real advice or quick fix for it, it really kind of is what it is. Hope you have an amazing week! 🙂
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