Saturday, April 28, 2012

have a happy weekend

ahh yes, Saturday. So nice to see you...I hope all of you have had or are having a great start to your weekend! I hope to find some time to catch up on some reading, probably a bit of cleaning, but overall just taking time to relax! 
Julia Child and husband Paul
What will you be doing? 
Feel free to check out my web "round up" if you are laying low...see you Monday! 

A great resource for business cards, stationary, and even personalized stickers!

Sometimes I wish my life had room for nights out on the town in these

I've been debating about taking the plunge into the "ombre" hair world-my inspiration here...

These look delicious! (via Cup of Jo)

Some really great "food for thought" on the issue of modern day racism and guess what? It's still not cool...

Have time for some DIY this weekend? Check out these mason jar crafts  or this pretty hair comb from P.S. I Made This

xo, Maggie

Thursday, April 26, 2012

spotlight on Duluth music!

I don't know how many of you follow David Letterman's late night show, but I just had to give a shout out to the Duluth band, Trampled by Turtles who made their first national television debut the other night on his show! You can watch them perform their new release, "Alone" from their new album: Stars and Satellites that was released just last week...
I have had a chance to see these guys in action a few times in the last couple years and they just have the best energy and always put on a great show. Their new album (available for purchase here) has a bit more of a mellow feel to it, but it's nice to see their talents evolve in a different way. Duluth's Annual Homegrown Music Festival begins this Sunday and Trampled will be playing, what is sure to be a sold out show on's going to be a blast! Who says nothing exciting ever happens in Duluth?!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What suits you?

Even though I feel like it could be quite awhile til I need to bust out all my summer attire, summer time is on my mind...laying out in the sun, bbqs, hanging out at the lakefront (Duluth has such a great one!). With summertime on my mind, swimsuits are naturally apart of the equation. 
I typically lean to the more modest suits, though bikinis have found their way into the line up as well, but what I really wanted to add to the collection was a great one piece! There are so many really chic and fashionable one pieces now and I'd say you can definitely find one that won't make you feel frumpy or un-sexy at all. While on my visit to Chicago, I was in H&M and stumbled upon this great suit, a gorgeous emerald color that has kind of a vintage vibe to it and with a price tag of $25 I couldn't resist!
How do you feel about the one-piece movement? Own any already? I can't wait to try this puppy out...fingers crossed summer doesn't take too long to arrive! Here are few others that aren't too hard on the budget and look like they will accentuate you in all the right places!
 American Apparel, $45                                                                                          Old Navy, $45

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

sweet n' spicy salmon tacos

Last night I whipped up some tasty salmon tacos for dinner using a modified version of this recipe I found. I had intended on grilling up the fish but I decided to just bake it instead which worked out just great! 
I put the rub on the salmon; a mix of brown sugar, chili pepper, and garlic.
While I let that sit and let the oven preheat to 400, I decided to use some left over purple cabbage to make a salad as a topping for the tacos...I shredded carrots, jicama, chopped red peppers and some red onion. For a light dressing, I used some of the leftover mix from the rub and added lime juice and oil, which turned out really well and added a nice lil kick to it because of the chili pepper.
I baked the salmon for 20 mins and it turned out perfectly! It flaked really nicely to divide up for Ry and I to add to our tacos (used corn tortillas from the Co-op) and I also diced up a bit of avocado to add on top as well. All in all, I'd say this was a success and we will definitely make these again. I would even have just the salmon with the rub on it's on with a different side.

Try them out and let me know how it goes! Bon appetit!

Monday, April 23, 2012

weekend recap: fun times in Chicago!

Well I am back from Chicago and it was such a great weekend! I feel blessed to have such wonderful people in my was nice to just hop right back into things like we had never left-laughing, story telling, exploring the city, cooking, and everything else in between! 
I managed to cover a ton of ground-I think I literally walked for three days straight, but it felt good! 

On Friday, I had the day to myself to I was able to get my hair cut at Art + Science (if you're in Chicago-get your hair cut there!!) and I walked around the Lincoln Park neighborhood for awhile, stopping into Argo Tea for my favorite Mate Latte. From there I made the trek towards Michigan Ave for a bit of retail therapy and of course, people watching :) I met up with Jules and Jessica at Rick Bayless's lunch spot, Xoco, for a deeelicious sandwich and the best cup of hot chocolate I have ever had! Seriously. 
Our other girlfriend, Annie, came in later that night and after munching on some tasty Thai from Kozy's we went out to enjoy the night!

Saturday was great too-homemade french toast and fruit salad...walking around Lincoln Park, free Luna bars at Lululemon!, lunch at Athenian Room, downtown craziness, more people watching, great conversations, riding the brown line. We decided to go to Big Star, an amazing taco joint and whiskey bar in Wicker Park for dinner along with our friends Chewy and John-more great conversations and of course the tacos, oh the tacos! 

I hope all of you had great weekends too! Tonight I'm looking forward to cooking up some fish tacos with Ry, so be on the look out for some recipes for that! 

xo, Maggie

Thursday, April 19, 2012

off to the windy city!

I am SO excited to be heading out to Chicago later today for a long overdue weekend to see some of friends in the "big city". I went to school/lived in Chicago for about five years and it will always have such a special place in my heart. 
photo by Drew Castelhano Photography
One of my favorite things about traveling to Chicago is that I still feel right at home there. For those of you who know me, I have practically no sense of direction, so after living there for so long, I was finally able to get myself around the city without getting completely turned around! Now when I am back in town, I can get around to all my favorite spots and not feel like a complete tourist (not that being a tourist doesn't come with its own fun!). My good girlfriend will be in from Nashville as well, which makes the trip even better since visits are so hard to figure out with all of us being all over the place these days. 
I hope to spend some time strolling downtown, getting my haircut by my fave stylist at Art + Science salon, exploring Wicker Park, and of course simply enjoying the company of the people that aren't in my life quite as much as I like!
Enjoy the rest of your's practically Friday, which means it's practically the weekend for all of you who are putting in hard work for the rest of the week :)

p.s. thoughts on the few changes to the blog? still playing around with blogger a bit!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

mid-week weekend recap

How is it already Wednesday?!
As soon as I start to think the week is going to drag on, I stumble upon Wednesday and realize I wish I had maybe a few more spare minutes in the week! In an attempt to slow things down this week, I thought I'd rewind a bit and share a few shots from our  visit to Minneapolis. We had lots of fun seeing our friends there and were part of a jam-packed show at First Ave. for 4ontheFloor...I felt like a sardine! 
Ry and I also went to Muddy Waters for a beer and ended staying for dinner too. We shared some really awesome yucca fries with a lime chimichurri sauce. For dinner, I had their delicious fish tacos (Brooklyn Lager tempura, slaw & red onions) and Ry went for a twist on some classic hot dogs with the Mexicali Dog (Beef dogs, bacon, Ancho, queso, cilantro AND radishes). Both dishes were delicious and I just love the whole ambience of Muddy Waters...annd it happens to be a frequent pit stop for some of our favorite performers from Doomtree-a hip-hop collective based in Minneapolis. No celeb spottings this time around though!

Saturday morning ended up being a gorgeous day in Minneapolis, so after having a big breakfast at the Uptown Diner, we decided a stroll around the neighborhood was a must! There were so many people out and about, enjoying the sun and taking advantage of the warmer weather...we've been pretty cooped up with this hit-or-miss spring we have been having! All in all it was a really nice weekend...a good mix of fun and relaxing!
strolling along the lake
I hope all of your weeks are moving as fast or as slow as you need them too! 
Until next time :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

photo inspiration

There are so many wonderful photographers out there-I envy their eye for capturing such amazing moments and having such interesting styles. I hope to invest in a better camera in the near future and even though I might not ever reach the level of some of the photographers I love, I certainly will always look to them for are a few of my favorites!

Stephanie Bassos Photography

Brooke Shaden Photography

Who inspires you?

Friday, April 13, 2012

have the loveliest of weekends!

I am off to Minneapolis for a fun night with Ry and friends! We'll be seeing 4ontheFloor at First Ave-we're beginning to feel like groupies these days when it comes to this group. I love Duluth, but it is really nice to have a sliightly larger city to make visits too when life seems too slow here.

What will you and yours be doing this weekend? Traveling? Staying home? I also have scheduled in some craft time (I told you I am determined!) and hope to go on a hike with a friend on Sunday-fingers crossed that the weather is going to be nice!

See you all Monday!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

family history

one of my favorite things is seeing old pictures of my grandparents-you always know them in their "grandma & grandpa" days, but to get a glimpse of them in their youth or young adult years is always a treat. here are some wonderful photos of my mom's parents that she shared with me awhile back...

Does your family have lots of photos of your grandparents "back in the day?" If you do, treasure them! 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

determined to d i y

I have a ridiculous amount of craft projects and DIY ideas saved everywhere-in email drafts, on sticky notes, and of course on pinterest. Despite my good intentions to spend my evenings crafting, it has been far too long since I have put aside time or found the 
time to focus on any projects. 
I have decided that this must change and my inspiration is coming from one of my favorite bloggers: a pair and a spare. If you have not checked out her blog, I highly recommend it, especially if you are into the DIY/fashion scene. Today she featured these amazing silk shorts that I have put right on the top of my list...check it out:
diy scarf shorts via a pair and a spare
Awesome right?! Well I am traveling to Chicago next week and I am going to be on the lookout for a great scarf to use on this project so I can have my own pair of scarf print shorts. Since I have to wait until I find the perfect scarf for my shorts, I have had this project patiently waiting in the wings and I think that this week/end is going to be the perfect time to get it done! 
chalkboard vino glasses
What kinds of DIY projects have you been wanting to do? Feel free to share! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Apparently, these....

are the way straight to this guy's heart...

Never seen someone so happy over cookies. It's the little things that count.
Here is the super simple recipe from Vivo Bello I used, super duper easy! 

What are the ways straight to your heart??

Monday, April 9, 2012

P.S. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

reuse it!

I stumbled upon this nifty little product over the weekend and I think it is such a great idea! 
It's called the "Wrap-N-Mat" sandwich wrap, a reusable carrier to wrap up your sandwiches and then, viola! It also gives you a nice little placemat to use while enjoying your sandwich. I try really hard to bring my lunch in for work so I don't spend money on lunches (though it is tempting!). I think that I might have to try this product out, especially since it's not too costly, about $18 for a set of three. Not that I have kids of my own, but I also think that this would be a great thing to have on hand for mom's who are making lots of lunches for the kiddos each day...imagine all the ziplock baggies you would save?! For now I will just have to try out these our for Ry and me :)

Would you give the Wrap-N-Mat a go? 
What are other ways you try to stay environmentally friendly?

Friday, April 6, 2012

have a happy weekend!

 In case you were dying to know, the tortilla bake was deeelicious, so you should definitely give it a whirl! Ry's feedback was that he only wished I had made more so we would have even more leftovers :)
We're sticking around Duluth this weekend and I am hoping to get something done around our house, do some reading, and hopefully cooking on Sunday for our Easter festivities! Do you celebrate Easter? Whether or not you do, I hope you find time for friends, family and anything else that makes your heart happy! 

Hoppy Easter from Reef to you!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

awkward...nope, just awesome!

I sat down to gather my thoughts today and realized that there really has been nothing awkward going on in my life this past week...very weird...I bet next week will be real interesting! Still, I figured there is nothing wrong with just acknowledging the "awesome's" so far this week!
-the feeling that spring really is just around the corner...breathe in that fresh air!
-hikes in Chester Creek, a hiking spot right in the middle of town (going to make this a regular thing on my agenda)
-my shellac manicure staying strong, no chips at all! I'm impressed.
-new puppies at work (new foundland, golden retriever, black lab mix-I die.)
-sippin' on tasty Pagan brews outside, soaking up the sun
-late night chats with the roomies (and by late night I mean 9:30...we're old!)
-Anytime Fitness's new & improved facilities...hallelujah! 
-countdowns in my planner til seeing friends in Chicago

-this lil' number that I decided to cook up tonight: Spinach and Chicken Tortilla Bake
Here's the recipe if you are looking for something easy for your dinner tonight
Spinach and Chicken Tortilla Bake (adapted from Rachel Ray)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 chicken cutlets (about 1 pound)
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups store-bought salsa verde *I plan on substituting this for a slightly less spicy salsa
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
4 large (8″) flour tortillas
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 cups baby spinach (about 1/4 pound)
2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese *Going to use a combo of cheddar and pepper jack
Preheat the oven to 450°. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add to the pan and cook, turning once, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Let cool, then shred the meat.
Whisk together the salsa verde and ricotta; season with salt and pepper. In a greased 9-inch square baking dish, layer one-third of the salsa mixture, tortillas, chicken, onion, spinach and pepper jack; repeat twice. Bake until golden-brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Serve with side of salsa and sour cream!
Yield:  4 servings

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

(another) very important birthday!

Well it's just been an especially busy few weeks with birthdays for so many people in my life, but I am particularly excited to wish this special lady a happy mom! There's really no way of explaining how important she is to me, but I would be oh so lost without her advice, humor, and willingness to sing along to any and all musicals at the drop of a hat! 
so happy happy birthday mom, life's a whole lot brighter with you in it! 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Ina Garten is one of my favorite chef's to get recipes from...they are almost always really approachable and are most definitely crowd pleasers! 
My sister requested that I make the Wild Mushroom Risotto as a part of her birthday dinner, so with my mom out of town, I stepped up to the plate. And let me tell you, it was a home run! The combination of the mushrooms, shallots, and pancetta make for such a delicious taste-I was surprised there were even left overs! We enjoyed the risotto along side some perfectly cooked steaks, salad with homemade dressing and of course, bread.
Wild Mushroom Risotto, adapted from the Barefoot Contessa


  • 1/2 pound fresh or dried porcini or cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2 pound portabella mushroom (the smaller sized ones)
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots (3 shallots)
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving


If using dried porcinis: Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl and pour 2 cups boiling water over them. Set aside for 30 minutes. Scoop the morels from the water with a slotted spoon, reserving the liquid. You should have 2 cups; if not, add water to make 2 cups. Drain the porcini mushrooms and rinse once more. If some of the mushrooms are large, cut into 2 or 3 pieces.  Set the mushrooms and the liquid aside separately.
Meanwhile, remove and discard the stems of the portabellas and rub any dirt off the caps with a damp paper towel. Dont rinse them! Slice thickly and set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock with the 2 cups of reserved mushroom liquid (if you used the dried porcinis) and bring to a simmer.
In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the pancetta and shallots over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add the portabella and  porcini mushrooms and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of the chicken stock mixture to the rice plus the saffron, salt, and pepper. Stir and simmer over low heat until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock mixture, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry before adding more of the stock mixture. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 25 to 30 minutes total. When done, the risotto should be thick and creamy and not at all dry. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan cheese. Serve hot in bowls with extra cheese.
Bon appetit!

Monday, April 2, 2012

weekend recap

     well it was another lovely weekend in Milwaukee with my family-this time for a 21st birthday celebration for my sister! I still can't believe that she is actually 21...that she is in college, heck almost done with college-they grow up so fast :) 
     we had a lot of fun with my brother and his girlfriend in the adorable neighborhood of Bay View (about 10mins south of downtown). We had a few drinks at this great place, Sugar Maple, which has 60 craft beers on tap (!!!) with a nice ambiance, aannd their feature soup was cream of caramelized onion soup! I would definitely recommend it. 

bar at Sugar Maple
Other highlights of the weekend: a tasty breakfast at Flipside, my first experience getting my nails done with the chellac polish (still holding up well!), an AH-mazing home cooked meal (I'll share the risotto recipe tomrrow), and a kick-butt martini at my parent's favorite bar, Ernie's. 
!All in all, a solid weekend with a solid family :)