Saturday, January 30, 2010

Susan Monson Photography

Here is a link to my photography blog. Susan Monson Photography.

I am trying to build up a portfolio, so if you are interested in a photo shoot with you and/or your family, please leave a comment for me or email me at

I am trying to keep the cost low so that I can get a number of people to build up my portfolio. I am just starting out. This endeavor has been in the back of my mind for a really long time. I've wanted to do this for years, and now I am doing it!

Tell me what you think...

With Love,

Ready for tomorrow!

I am ready to have a good night sleep, getting up tomorrow and going with the girlies to our writing class and hanging out afterward! It has been a LONG time since I've had that much time for myself.

The last two days, my sciatica has been acting up really bad, and nothing seems to help it. My sweetheart has told me to take a little extra time after class tomorrow to chill with the lovely ladies. I can't wait!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ringo Starr by Farr

I am forewarning you that this is a really dorky post.

We watch a lot of Thomas the Tank Engine here in this household. I have heard MANY MANY MANY narrators... okay, I have really only heard 4 or so, (George Carlin, Alec Baldwin, Michael Brandon, Pierce Brosnan).

I bought the video, The Great Discovery for Ez last year when his train obsession started, and that one has Pierce Brosnan on it. I got so used to hearing him narrate that when I heard some of the others in the older stories, it didn't sound right.

Well, I "rented" a video from the library called The Best of Percy, (Percy is Ez's favorite) and was surprised to hear in one of the stories, the voice of Ringo Starr. HE IS BY FAR THE BEST NARRATOR FOR THIS SERIES!

I know this post sounds like I care which narrator is telling the story, like I'm a big fan or something, but let me explain. When you have a two year old who wants to watch Thomas the Tank Engine over and over, it helps when the voice doesn't grate on your nerves.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Homesick HOLLAH

Okay, I don't say "HOLLAH" in real life unless I'm making fun of someone, but I felt it was appropriate for this posting, seeing as I needed an "H" word that meant the same thing, (roughly) as "SHOUT OUT."

Can I just say how much I miss Chico, California? When my mother decided to follow my grandparents to Paradise from Oakland, CA when I was 9, I wasn't happy about it. I must admit that growing up in Paradise/Chico area was OFTEN boring, and I couldn't wait to leave.

I moved out as soon as I could to Utah, where I stayed for two years, then it was on to San Diego for 6 months. I was so sad to leave San Diego. Being 5 miles from the beach is NEVER a sad thing... unless it's hurricane season. Anyway, back to the point, I kept feeling pulled back to home, and I reluctantly left my San Diego to return. I stayed another 8 months, and moved back to Utah. Thankfully, I met my sweetheart and we moved back to my hometown for the next 3 1/2 years. I am so grateful for that time I had there. I won't go in to all the details right now because it would completely distract from the main reason I am writing this, so I will leave that story for another day.

However, other adventures were calling, and we moved away again. This time to Las Vegas, Nevada. After a year and a half, we'd had enough and moved back to Utah where we have remained for the last almost 3 years, and where we will continue to remain until my husband finishes his bachelor's degree in December.

I haven't been home since I left it behind on November 21, 2005. I miss it very much. I didn't really miss it until this year when we started thinking about the next step in our lives. Where will we go after school is out? We've been contemplating either Las Vegas, or Chico. We are both hoping to call Chico home again after school is out... at least for a year. We both miss it tremendously, and we would rather have our son experience Chico's eccentric, hippy-dippy style, than Las Vegas' hell on earth atmosphere. The only thing keeping us from making that decision is that we will have family in Vegas, and none in Chico. We still have our dear friends there, but truth be told, I have no family there anymore after my grandfather died.

So, we have the pull of family being close in Vegas, and the pull of all of Chico's wonderful outdoor beauty and fun that Chico has to offer...

Until we make our FINAL decision, I will post a few things that remind me of home.

The first thing, is R.W. Knudsen mango spritzer that we had the other night after my horrible day turned out to be nothing. We bought some good, (non-caffeinated) sodas to cheer me up. One of the sodas was the mango spritzer, and I immediately missed home with one sip.

I missed home so much it made me dizzy.

Now on to some other things that remind me of home:

Sierra Nevada ANYTHING. But, since we don't drink alcohol, the only thing I have from them, is this mustard.

And of course, my homesick Hollah wouldn't be complete without Nag Champa... One sniff of this incense, and I am immediately transported back to Downtown Chico...

Just a few things I have to remind me of home until the day when we (HOPEFULLY) move back.

With Love,

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Yesterday was a roller coaster ride

For the last week, I have been getting sharp pains in left breast. They are these stabbing, shooting pains, in my breast area under my arm. Two days ago it became a constant, throbbing pain, and every now and then I would get those sharp pains again.

Yesterday, I woke up to an intense pain in the same spot, and decided to feel to see if there was something there. My heart sank as I felt a lump about the size of a nickel.

Immediately the thoughts started to come to me that it might be Inflammatory Breast cancer, because of my family history. I do tend to worry a little too much- something else that seems to run in my family. But, I was scared. I had never found a lump like that before and never had this pain.

I woke my husband up to tell him, and I started sobbing. He was so good to hold me and let me cry. He asked if I wanted to not go to my creative writing class that morning, but I quickly decided that I should go, because I wanted something to take my mind off of all the worries.

So, my friends Olivia and Debbie and I drove down to the writing class together, and it was so fun to just talk and laugh with them. Of course, talking about the book in my head helped too. It was just so nice to have a few hours where I didn't have to worry about what was happening.

When Olivia dropped me off, I went inside and my husband asked me how I was feeling. Immediately, all the worries and feelings came back and I just started crying again.

So, after lunch with friends, and a shopping trip for my husband and his dad, (and a nap for Ez and me) we went to the urgent care clinic, and the doctor checked me out.

She said she didn't think it was a lymphatic infection, and she definitely felt the lump. However, she diagnosed me with all the information that I gave her, as having FIBROCYSTIC BREAST DISEASE, (which I found out isn't really necessarily a DISEASE at all. It is very common, and isn't a precursor for breast cancer in any way. However, it can make DETECTING cancer lumps much more difficult because of the cysts that form.

So, basically I have fibrous tissue in my breasts that are cystic, and usually it happens along with a girl's monthly cycle, and every once in a while the cysts flare up and will cause me problems... like now.

I have never had this pain before that has lasted this long. The doctor told me that it can take a month or two for the cyst to return back to normal. She did, however, order an ultrasound to rule anything else out. She also gave me a prescription for Ibuprofen to ease the pain. It doesn't help much.

So, I had panic, followed by a nice few hours with some sweet girls, followed by worry, and then relief.

I don't have breast cancer. But, this pain might become a regular part of my life.

Even though it is an awful pain, I'll take the pain over the worries and struggles that Breast Cancer brings.

To find out more about Inflammatory Breast Cancer click here.

With Love,

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Please check out Lola's Lovelies!

Please check out a blog I created, inspired by my Beautiful Auntie Lola.

For My Sharon...

There are a lot of people out there who haven't had the pleasure of meeting and knowing my cousin Sharon. She is one of the sweetest people I know, and I love her very much.

Sharon, like so many other women in this world, is fighting breast cancer, and doing so very gracefully.

She inspires me very much, and, since she loved the vintage-y hair lovely that I made, I decided to make her one. Because of her battle, I was inspired to create one that I thought celebrated her, and the strength she exudes during this fight.

I want to emphasize that this is a one and only. No other one will be the same, because, no one is like Sharon. She is an individual, as are all women. We should celebrate our uniqueness and our individuality!

Behold! Sharon's Hair Lovely!

I don't know a single person who hasn't been affected in some way by Breast Cancer. Those lovely little pink ribbons of awareness hold a special place in my heart. Ask anyone, I'm a sucker for them. I love them so much, that I put one on Sharon's hair lovely, because she should be proud of the brave fight she is fighting.

I love you Sharon!

With Love,

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Vintage hair accessories... (SIGH)

Well, after the last attempt, I decided to try, try again.

This is what I came up with.

I attached a hair clip to the back of the rosettes, and hooked it on to a head band I knitted.

It passed the husband test. He thinks it's sexy. I think HE'S sexy.

They take a little time to make, but when you create something that is pretty, that you like to wear, there is (almost) nothing better.

With love,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Old West Hooker with a twist

My friend Olivia and I have been trying to figure out how to make these fancy hair accessories for a while, and I think I've done it.

Well, here is my first crack at trying to be fancy.

First I used some scrap satin that I had in my fabric stash to see if I could even ATTEMPT replicating what I had seen. This is what I came up with.

So, seeing as it seemed easier than I thought it would be, I went to the fabric store and purchased some "faux silk" at a FRACTION of the price Dobiani silk is, some feathers and tulle, and a few little stick on gems for a little bedazzlement.

I put them all together and this is what I got.

What do you think? Keep in mind it's my first attempt at this fancy stuff, so it's not going to be PERFECT. I think I will get a better feel for it as I go. I think this one kind of ended up looking like those hair accessories that the hookers in the old West used to wear. But, I like it.

However, I think this one turned out lovely in it's own way, and I think it would be pretty on a headband, don't you?

With Love,

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chocolate Mousse PIE! (And it's gluten-free too!)

There are two things in this world that are hard for a girl to say "no" to. One, is chocolate. The other... something a bit more sinful. I will keep this post about the first... Chocolate. It seems to be on my mind a lot lately.

So, without further ado, I introduce my latest creation...

Yes, you are seeing correctly. That is Chocolate Mousse PIE! It's gluten-free too, so go ahead and try it!

Sadly, I haven't figured out how to make a gluten/dairy/sugar/calorie free pie yet, but if I do, I will DEFINITELY post it here.

Now, what was I saying again?

Oh yes... Chocolate Mousse Pie... MMMMM!

I started with the pie crust. I remembered reading something about making a crust out of nuts... peanuts? Almonds? CASHEWS! That's what it was! Talk about delicious! I love cashews.

I found a recipe, (that I must admit I haven't tried in its entirety, but that looks delicious none the same) on a blog by Russell James, who is a renowned "RAW Chef." His food looks amazing, and you can find his recipe for cashew crust here. I recommend looking through his assortment of delicious foods to inspire your own creative process in the kitchen.

Now, I am not a "RAW FOODIE" like some people out there, but I do believe that SOME, if not MOST foods should be raw. It's kind of one of those "NEW LEAF" things I'm trying to turn over.

Anyway, I took that cashew crust of his and put a little spin on it. My own version will begin...



1 1/2- 2 Cups Raw Cashews
2 Tablespoons Raw Agave Nectar (or honey depending on taste preference)
1/4 Cup Butter (softened)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (to make it gluten-free, use one without carmel color)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional- I didn't have any, so I didn't use it)

Process in a high powered blender or food processor, all cashews in to a flour. (It will be crumbly). Empty in to a mixing bowl. Add all other ingredients and mix well with a fork. Press (with a spoon or clean fingers) in to a pie plate, making sure there are no spots where the pie plate is peaking through the bottom. Put in freezer to allow to set up.

Now, for the filling, you can refer to a recipe I posted earlier for Homemade Chocolate Mousse, or you can continue reading below.


12 oz Chocolate of your choice (I prefer DARK chocolate, but it's up to you)
4 eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (again, gluten-free)
Pinch of salt
8 oz HOT Rooibos tea in Orange Spice (Use ANY herbal tea that sounds good to you)

Blend in a high powered blender, the chocolate, eggs, vanilla and salt, until smooth.

Add to the blender the HOT tea that you prepared ahead of time, and blend for another minute.

Pour the chocolate mixture in to the prepared pie crust, and place in freezer for about an hour or two. Remove pie from the freezer and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

This passed the husband test.

Slice, eat, enjoy!

With Love,

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair...

Do you remember that song? "If you're going to San Francisco, Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair..." It's been in my head the last few days.

The truth is, I think all girls should wear flowers in their hair. There is something so beautiful about a girl with a flower in her hair. I like to make mine.

I have a lot of yarn. Since I just learned to knit and am becoming more proficient in crochet, I must say I have become somewhat obsessed with different varieties of yarn, in all colors and textures.

During all my crafting, I have bought all manner of ribbons and silk flowers and yarn and needles and things of that sort. So one day, I decided to put it all together and see if I could make a pretty flower for my hair.

I think I created something, unique. In fact, I've never seen anything like it before. Perhaps you have, but for me, not only did this flower give me satisfaction that I could CREATE, but that I could wear it and be a bit original too.

No two I have made are exactly alike.

Tell me what you you like it? If you would like to have one, please leave a comment on this posting and let me know. I can make all different colors.

With Love,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Block town

I am sitting here enjoying my sweetheart and my sweet little one building a block town together. Ez has some wooden train tracks and blocks, and he wanted Daddy to play blocks with him, so they decided to build a block town.

After four or more attempts at building more than one structure, Daddy gave up and said, "I don't think he understands what building a town means." When one building was completed by the both of them, Ez would wreck it Godzilla style, then say, "Oh no! Blocks fall down!"

Maybe we'll try again another time.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Stained Glass Stars

Does anyone out there that might by chance read this, read the Nie Nie Dialogues? She is profoundly inspiring. If you don't, you should. Well, upon reading her blog around Christmas time, I happened across this photo:

Do you see those STARS?! I must say that as soon as I saw this picture, I almost had a heart attack trying to find out where she got them. I have been looking for something like this for a LONG time. Alas, there was not a note about them that I could find.

So, I was talking to my friend Olivia yesterday and she mentioned emailing NieNie's sister Jane over at the CJane blog because Jane sometimes answers questions people have about stuff they see on NieNie's blog.

Then today I got a text from Olivia and she said that Jane had already answered the question on her blog. I quickly checked it out and found this:

and this:

Oh! And this:

It turns out the man who makes these stars is on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and his daughter has taken over while he's gone.

Check out the site here.

I love these so much. I want one of each color and size. Can you just imagine these gloriously, gorgeous stars hanging in every kitchen window?

If you know my husband, please drop him a hint!

With Love,

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Falafels, Teapots and Crazy hair

Here are a few of my favorite things from today...

Ez asks for "Crazy hair" almost daily now. It tears my husband and me up every time we do it, because he looks so grown up with wax in his hair.

Gluten-free Falafels... They are amazing. I love Mediterranean food, and falafels are like, Mediterranean Hush Puppies, (which I also love). I was so happy to find these tasty things a few weeks ago. I have been saving them for a day much like today when I needed something delicious.

It's not much, but it's my stainless steel teapot. I love tea. I think I'm going to make it a habit to have herbal tea every night before bed.

With Love,

A new found love...

This is to celebrate a new found love of all things handmade and beautiful.

The above photo collage is from Emma Lamb's blog, which you can find here.

The above pictures, and the first picture, (the one of the fireplace and the crocheted hearts strung above it) are some of my favorites from Attic24's blog, which you can find by clicking on my side bar, or here.

Don't you just LOVE those stars?! I am IN LOVE with those stars!

Anyway, not much to say, just sharing some beauty that I found while surfing the blogs out there.

I might have to try my hand at making a garland of hearts for valentines day, or make a garland of stars for every day! Wouldn't that just be the cheeriest thing?

With Love,