Category Archives: life

life local

We Got A Dog!

I know, I’ve been horrible about posting lately.  My excuses?  I was sick, then Ava was sick, then I got sick again, and then Ava again.  I’ve also had a bad case of  the ‘I’m Sooo Over Winter’ blues.  And we just adopted a dog.

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This is Sufjan.  (Pronounced Soof e yahn, but Ava says it has to be said like this – Soof john.)  That was the name the shelter gave him and it just stuck.  We haven’t even had him a week yet and we are already totally in love with him.  We had been talking about getting a dog, but still hadn’t decided that it was the right time.  Sometimes we would randomly stop by a shelter and have a looksie, but it wasn’t until we met this little guy that we had some serious thinking to do.

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As Ava was walking past his room at PAWS, he jumped up at the door and began pawing at the window.  Ava knelt down next to it and started pawing back.  It was adorable and went on for a few minutes.  We had a private meeting with him and he just seemed so sweet .. and so sad.  Three days later we brought him home.  So far, he is totally awesome.  House trained, crate trained, great on the leash, doesn’t mind our cats, and kind of lazy.  I think he’s starting to like us too.  But I do wonder what kind of life he had… someone obviously took the time to train him and care for him (he is btwn 5 and 7 years old).  He was picked up as a stray, which seems odd because he’s such a sweet little guy.  I do feel like he’s missing someone and I hope we can make him feel safe and happy with us.

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We had to take Sufjan for his check-up on Saturday and while we were waiting to be seen, this chubbers walked in.  Is that a fat wiener dog or what?!  We were trying not to crack up.  Poor guy!  LOL

Have a great day! XO

cooking decor life shopping

4 Crushes & A Confession

This weather is really sucking the motivation out of me.  And I can tell that Ava is getting bored with playing inside.  It has been a long, cold winter and I am totally, completely, 100 percent over it.  I just want to stay at home, walk around in slipper boots (also leggings & a comfy oversized sweater), sip hot coffee, and do absolutely nothing.  Thank goodness Ava keeps me on my toes or I might turn into a hermit.

While I may not have felt like writing any posts this week, I did find the time to lolligag around on the internet looking for vintage area rugs on ebay, searching craigslist for planters and pots, and totally falling for my 4 new crushes…

CRUSH #1:  MOCIUN

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This ring.  I love it sooooo much.

And I think I’ve found a replacement for our scratched white IKEA bowls…

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(eric bonnin kam ice cream bowl @ mociun)

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CRUSH #2:  JERSEY ICE CREAM COMPANY

It was pure luck that I stumbled upon this instagram feed for @jerseyicecreamco .  I was instantly smitten with the beautiful travel pics and curious about the remodeling.

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A visit to their site lead me to some amazing “before & after” shots from their design & build work.  Here are two “afters”:

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The wood wall is gorgeous.  So is the rug.  And the bed.  Love it.

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Again, amazing wood walls … amazing use of wood all around.  This room has such a calming demeanor – like a permanent vacation.  I need to buy a house just to have this team go to work on it!

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CRUSH #3:  CAULIFLOWER SAUCE

Yes, you read that correctly.  I have a crush on cauliflower sauce.  It’s delicious.  My husband had no idea he was eating pasta drenched in cauliflower sauce when I  adapted the “alfredo” recipe from Oh She Glows (I left out the yeast and added a dash of nutmeg).  I can’t wait to try this variation from Pinch of Yum:

cauliflowerPOY

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CRUSH #4:  POLENTA FRIES

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I was inspired to try these when I saw the pics & recipe on Spoon Fork Bacon .  I shortcutted the recipe by using a roll of organic polenta I had in the fridge.  I cut it into fry shapes, rolled them around in a little bit of olive oil on a baking sheet and popped them into a 375 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes (depending on how crispy you want them).  After about 20 mins, I flipped them over.  I finished them off with a dash of salt & cracked pepper and we ate them just like that.  No condiment required.  My daughter did insist on ketchup for hers.  Of course.

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A CONFESSION

Why a confession?  Because they are fun … who doesn’t like hearing a little secret about someone?  So here is my confession (and moms, don’t hate.).  I do not like playing Barbies with my daughter.  Well, not just with my daughter, but in general.  I despise it.  Just hearing the words “Let’s play Barbies” makes me cringe.  Oh, I still do it but we put a time limit on it (if I didn’t, I would have to play Barbies all day.  every day.).  It never used to bother me.  Maybe I have reached my dollhouse limit.  I love doing everything else with the little miss and I’m always full of alternative suggestions, but The Barbies always win.  And why can’t they make pants that actually stay on Ken when he sits down?

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Have a Great Weekend, Everyone!  XO

creativity life

Dear Spring, Please Hurry!

We are expecting more snow here in Chicago this weekend.  I am seriously sick of it.  I have never anticipated the coming of a season so much in my whole life.  I need green and sun and flowers.  Especially flowers.

I have big plans for our sunken patio and back porch areas and it is sooooo frustrating that it’s way too cold to get started.

 I did go on a mini shopping spree yesterday and brought home three tiny succulents, two beautiful hanging plants, some potted ivy, and a bag of organic soil.  For now, they will have to be content fighting over the slivers of sunlight that make it through our windows.

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This morning I found myself scrolling through a search for “flowers” on pinterest and daydreaming about spring and sunshine and beautiful blooms.

blushpeoniesvia pinterst

landlse

via lifestyle & living

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via padlocks & pearls

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via wed society

Hurry Up, Spring!  XO!

life

Happy Valentine’s Day

Hope everyone is having a lovely day today!  My husband had the luxury of working from home today so he picked our little one up from pre-school and took her on one of their little adventures while I am home getting things ready for our mini party.  Ava will have to find heart-shaped things around our house, leading her to a few sweet surprises.  A Valentine Scavenger Hunt!

The husband and I have no big plans … we are just looking forward to putting Ava to bed, pouring some glasses of red wine, lighting up the fireplace, and watching a movie.  Peace and quiet and a bit of relaxing.  I know, boring … but it has been a long week and we can get all fancied up and go out anytime.  I’ve got everything I need right here.

Lalalove!!!! XO!

cooking creativity life

Snow Ice Cream & Real Snow Cones

The snow just keeps coming.  I couldn’t even get out of our garage to take Ava to school today (despite my hour of shoveling), so instead we put on our snow gear, had a little fun, and even managed to shovel a bit of the sidewalks.  All that hard work made us hungry (and really cold) so we headed inside for  a nice warm bowl of tomato soup served with toasted peanut butter sandwiches.  Then I remembered all of the posts I’ve been seeing about making ice cream and snow cones out of real snow and so we gave it a try!

This is our MAPLE VANILLA Snow Ice Cream (adapted from the recipe below).  We used vanilla extract, maple syrup, cinnamon, and lightly sweetened almond milk.  Instead of stirring it together, I used my milk frother (no idea if that helped anything or not, but I’m just really into frothy milk right now.).  Then we started mixing in the snow and voila – snow ice cream!

Check out some other good snow recipes below!!

CHOCOLATE Snow Ice Cream by Just a Girl

VANILLA MAPLE Snow Ice Cream by Mama Papa Bubba

SNOW Cones by Pastry Affair

MAPLE Snow TAFFY! by Family.com

XO

life shopping

Pencil Crush!

Helping my daughter with her homework has made me nostalgic for pencils.  Yes, nostalgic.  I didn’t recall the last time I had used one.  I’m always typing or tapping and when I do write something down I grab a pen from the drawer full of pens (how does that always happen?!  why do we have so many pens? – because I don’t remember ever buying any!).  But as soon as I heard the lead push across the paper I remembered how much I used to love drawing and writing with pencils.  I even had a cute little pencil case.  I was obsessed with my handwriting – didn’t like it – so I would sit down and trace over writing samples I thought looked nice .  Over and over again.  And now my love for pencils and handwriting things has returned.  Of course, I’ll never give up the pen but the pencil’s forgiveness for mistakes is hard to beat.

Princess Bride pastel pencil set by The Carbon Crusader

Anchorman engraved pencils from Earmark

The Paris Collection by Amanda Catherine Designs

Always Sunny pencils (LOVE THEM!) from Pop Culture Pencils

creativity life

Starting to Read Again

I miss reading.  I used to be able to curl up with a good book (sometimes for hours) and just let myself escape into the story.  The excuse is always that I don’t have the time, which is completely lame because I do have the time.  I might have to “sacrifice” a Facebook session or rousing game of Word Feud here and there, but there it is – the time.

For Christmas I received a good ol’ hardback copy of “The Shining Girls” by Lauren Beukes.

PLOT

“In Depression-era Chicago, Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. But it comes at a cost. He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential. He stalks them through their lives across different eras, leaving anachronistic clues on their bodies, until, in 1989, one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and turns the hunt around.”

Time travel … murder … suspense … a twist … I cannot wait to read this book!  Every day.  And I’ll let you know what I thought of it when I reach the end.  XO

decor DIY life

Keys To My Heart – Mini Garland

One of my Christmas gifts from my husband was an envelope filled with old keys (he knows me so well).

I picked out the heart shaped keys and strung them on some string.

They fit in quite nicely with our Portland ‘Walking Sticks’.

A nice hint of Valentine’s Day without screaming it.  Subtle enough to leave up all the time.  XO

cooking DIY life

Cardamom Coffee

It’s Monday and school is closed (tomorrow too!) and we got to enjoy a lazy, no rush kind of morning.  This occasion called for something more than my regular mug of morning coffee so I decided to amp it up with some cardamom.  The aroma and flavor are subtle, yet obviously there (if that makes any sense).  It definitely sets the mood for a calm, relaxing day.

I crack open a few pods and drop them on top of my coffee grounds.  Start off with just one or two crushed pods so you can adjust the strength from there.  I just pour hot water over my grounds, but this will work in a drip maker too.

I like to serve it up black or add a bit of frothy almond milk.  Ahhhhh, enjoy!

XO

life local shopping

5 Things I Miss About Portland

Last year, we moved to Portland, OR for about 6 months.  I still miss it and here are five reasons why.

1.  THE FOREST

We had the pleasure of living about half a block away from a trail head entrance into Forest Park, one of the country’s largest (5100+ acres) urban forest reserves.  It was our Wonderland.  Ava never stopped looking for fairies and it was easy to believe they could exist there.  That forest is magical.  The scenery/greenery all over Portland is amazing.  Spring is beyond imagination.  Every time we went outside we were like, “Whoa – it’s so colorful here”.

2.  NEW SEASONS

(image via new seasons)

New Seasons really is the ultimate neighborhood grocery store.  We do plenty of grocery shopping and have visited lots of different grocery stores in lots of different cities, but this is the only one I’ve ever found myself missing.  It’s sort of like a Whole Foods except there is so much more local stuff – the “Home Grown”  produce rocks.  Every time we went we found new things to try and were never disappointed with the selection.  Love this place.

3.  SCRAP

(image via eric steindler)

Now this place does not look like much from the photo, but trust me, it’s AWESOME.  SCRAP is a donation based creative reuse store.  You can find pretty much any craft based item here – glue, yarn, paper, boxes of buttons, crayons, ribbons, stencils, wood & metal scraps, buckets of foam, corks, ceramic tiles, etc. (I think you get the idea).  A collage artist’s dream.  Always new stuff to check out and because they run off of donations, it is super cheap.  We filled up our basket one day and spent about five bucks.  Score.

4.  LOCAL MADE EVERYTHING

The sense of community is abounding in Portland, which is what I feel drives people to make and create.  At least half (if not more) of my husband’s and my Christmas gifts were made in Oregon.  If you live in Portland and aren’t making or growing something, you’re doing it wrong.  A few faves:

Capturing the pure essence of the forest – Juniper Ridge

Self-proclaimed “plant nerds” at Portland Apothecary making amazing teas, extracts, and more

Delicious “farm to cone” ice cream – Salt & Straw

My list of faves could go on for days.  The people of Portland know how to get down.

5.  PAPER BAGS

Yes, I miss paper bags.  Sure, we have them here in Chicago.  You see them at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and some smaller shops, but in Portland you get them EVERYWHERE.  Even Target.  I detest plastic bags.  I try to always bring my own shopping totes, but I will admit that sometimes I forget or sometimes I have more items than I have bags.  When I have to bring items home in plastic bags I always drop them off to be recycled, but I’d just rather them not be around at all.  Don’t even get me started on the recycling issues here – it’s horrible.  People have no idea what they can and can’t recycle and where we live, it rarely gets picked up.  So yes, I miss paper bags.

And there you have it, five things I miss about Portland.  I’m not sure if it’s in the cards for us to move back there, but we will definitely visit again and may even end up somewhere close by.

XO

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