Thursday, May 31, 2012

Duluth Superior Film Festival: King Curling

Last night kicked off the start of the annual Duluth Superior Film Festival! This is my first year attending and I was definitely impressed with the opening night events a the Clyde Iron in West Duluth. I am actually volunteering for the event on Saturday night, which has the perk of getting an all access pass for all the films, special events, and music performances! Note: if you can volunteer for events/music festivals/etc., seriously do it! You always meet some great people and get to participate in the event for little to usually no cost...a good deal all around :)
The feature film for opening night was a Norwegian comedy called, King Curling. It follows the story of a competitive curling player, Truls Paulsen, who was once the reigning champion; but due to his obsessive compulsive and juust a little bit of mental instability, he is banned from playing the sport for ten years. He returns to the game in hopes of winning money to save his beloved coach and the film follows him as he rounds up his old team and meets some interesting characters along the way. Check out the trailer below....

I really enjoyed King Curling-so did the rest of the attendees as well; clapping and laughing out loud throughout the whole film! Truls is ultimately a lovable character despite his OCD and the cast of friends is hilarious (all with their own issues going on). I would absolutely recommend checking this movie out...still trying to figure out where you can view it other than film festivals, but I am sure there are some internet savvy people out there who can find a way to come by it! I'll be checking out more of the events and films the rest of the week/end, so I'll be sure to update you as it goes on! 
Have any of you seen any great films lately? Feel free to share :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

baby shower in Philly!

Well, I had really meant to write more about my trip out East sooner, but the holiday weekend just flew by and I didn't get around to it! But I am happy share a few photos with you from my trip-it really was so wonderful to spend some time with my cousins and aunts annd second cousins, all while celebrating my cousin Katie's first baby on the way! 
My mom's cousin, Christy, graciously offered her home in the Villanova neighborhood of Philly, to host the baby shower and it worked beautifully! We had a great group of ladies come out to celebrate, tasty food, and I was pretty proud of how my banner turned out :)
it's a Fodera!
And remember the blessing beads necklace I told you we were going to create for Katie? It turned out perfectly! We all shared our well-wishes and advice and of course a few tears as the moms there remembered the first days with their kiddos...

All in all, it was a fabulous weekend with such amazing women! Can't wait til the next time we are all reunited and of course, until I get to meet lil' baby Fodera!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Enjoy the long weekend!

where I wish I would be this weekend!

Ahhh, the weekend is practically here and even better that it is a long one! I hope that you all have a bit more exciting plans in store than me-I'm stuck working-and that the weather is better than here in Duluth-rain all weekend-but I'll be making the best of it...

-Reading more of the 2nd part of 50 Shade of Grey, too hard to put down!
-Getting to the fabric store to find a pattern for the lovely fabric I found at Mood in NYC!
-Catching up with friends before summer sweeps them away on adventures
-Listening to the new Kimbra album ("Settle Down" is one of my faves, especially the music video: )
-BBQ, rain or shine on Sunday! It's Memorial Day weekend, it's a must!

What will all of you be doing this weekend? Whatever it may be, enjoy and I hope all is well in your time and place :)

p.s. Don't forget to hit up some those sales this weekend! 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sales everywhere!

For all you fashionistas out there, you've got to love that Memorial Day weekend means it is time to hit up the sales at all your favorite stores! Here are a few to be on the lookout for this weekend and through Monday....

J.Crew: an extra 30% off sale items (code is LOVEIT) like this great linen sweater, perfect for cool summer nights...

GAP: Up to 40% on lots of great summer gear, like these jewel-toned shorts or this maxi dress...

Threadsence: 30% off all tops (code: TOPOFF30), my favorites are definitely these two! 

Ruche: 15% off storewide (code: MEMSALE15) I love this lace jacket!

If you are a StyleMint member, you can gain access to their "warehouse sale" and get your hands on some of the tees for just $19.99! (Code is: MEMDAYSM)

Happy holiday weekend shopping! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Comfort food: Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

Yesterday I mentioned how perfect this Vidalia onion & Wild rice soup (via Smitten Kitchen) sounded and what do ya know, I followed through and whipped it up last night! 

The soup was so easy to make and really only took a little while because of having to cook the wild rice. I also had some leftover baked chicken, seasoned lightly with salt, pepper, and thyme, that I decided to shred and add into the soup-so delicious! 

I also added a sea salt vegetable bouillon cube to the chicken broth instead of the herb bundle the recipe called for. I thought that this was a great substitute and added the perfect amount of flavor to the broth. The only thing missing for us was the homemade baguette croutons, but the flavor of the soup was spot on, so the added carbs weren't missed at all!
image from Smitten Kitchen

Chicken & Vidalia Onion Soup with Wild Rice
very slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Serves 4
1/2 cup wild rice, uncooked
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 pounds (about 4) Vidalia onions, or other sweet onions, quartered and very thinly sliced
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Sea Salt & Vegetable bouillon cube
Salt and pepper
8 slices baguette
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Blue cheese if you are making the baguette croutons!
Cook the wild rice in a small saucepan according to package directions. Usually, 2 cups of water is the amount needed for 1/2 cup wild rice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a very low simmer and cover the pot. Let it cook, undisturbed, until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed, about 50 to 55 minutes. Set aside.
Melt the butter in the bottom of a 4- to 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over moderately low heat. Add the onions, toss to coat them in oil and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to real low and let them slowly steep for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, uncover the pot, raise the heat slightly and season the onions with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook onions, stirring frequently, for another 15 to 25 minutes, until they are tender, limp and sweet. Add the stock and simmer for 20 minutes. Wrap the herbs (see Note up top) in a small piece of cheesecloth and tie with kitchen string. Trotter suggests you drop the bundle into the broth for one minute, then remove it, but after going through such an effort to make one, I decided to leave mine in a little longer; it made me feel better. Adjust seasonings with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush both sides of the baguette slices with oil. Bake on a baking sheet until light golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. While the croutons are still warm, spread them with blue cheese.
To serve, divide the rice among four bowls, and ladle broth and onions on top. Float two croutons in the center of each bowl, and sprinkle with more pepper. Eat immediately.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

out sick

after avoiding colds/sore throats for some time, I have been out for the count the past few days with a not-so-fun cold. Promise I'll be back soon to share about my travels out east and other fun things!

Until then....
-Did you know that Etsy now has a site all about weddings, it looks awesome!
-Currently, in love with this monogram necklace from Von Eshna spotted on The Daybook
-I was so excited to shop at Mood Fabrics on Friday and also happy to see they are online too! Sign up today for emails with discounts etc.!
-I have totally been sucked in 50 Shades of Grey...have you picked it up?! So scandalous, but I can't wait to get to the second book!
-This vidalia onion & wild rice soup from Smitten Kitchen sounds amazing...perfect for runny noses and cozying up all day!

Hope everyone is having a good start to the week...should be back in action soon! 

Friday, May 18, 2012

a day in NYC

Very early Thursday morning, I began my trip out east for the annual cousins weekend! Since my flight was getting in before my cousin was off of work, I decided to take advantage of the day and go into NYC to wander around and explore. 

Now I have been to New York dozens of times, but a typical trip doesn't involve being downtown because our family lives just outside the city. Regardless, I felt confident that I could figure out how to get myself around (despite my reputation for always being lost!). Lucky for me, I was able to take the train right from JFK down to Penn Station, which put me practically in Times Square-perfect! 
After having a quick bite to eat and orientating myself with the area, I set out to see some sights. I was struck immediately by the different energy that you feel in NYC compared to other cities I have been too. Having spent nearly five years in Chicago, I don't consider myself a stranger to urban life, but Chicago really is so much more midwest and doesn't feel nearly as fast-paced as New York is, which is why so many people love to thrive off the energy that so obviously exists here.

As I entered into the center of Times Square, I stumbled upon a dance company that was having a performance for the day. It was a really interesting type of modern dance, using a sort of Middle Eastern type of music. The director of the company spoke, explaining that their company has a program that collaborates with a local senior citizen center to create performance with the young and the old. After that, they proceeded to put on an amazing show with both sets of was so moving to see these elder women dancing and so clearly loving what they were doing. I was so happy that I got to watch them.
After watching them perform for awhile, I decided to listen to my inner fashion-geek and walk over to Parsons The New School for Design aka where all the Project Runway contestants slave away during a majority of their time on the show. From there, I continued through the Garment District and just a few blocks away I found Mood Fabrics! For those of you who watch the show, this is where the designers go to get all their fabric and other supplies for their projects-I knew I had to go in there! Up three floors, elevator doors opened, and there it was, in all it's glory with endless amounts of fabrics, buttons, trimmings, feathers, and sequins! It was really fun to see all the different people in the store, shopping around for different projects-there were definitely some characters there; people watching at its best. Of course, I couldn't resist buying a bit of fabric and I am hoping to make a fun summer skirt with my finds.
After a doing some more walking around and sipping on a tasty iced coffee, I headed back to Penn Station to catch the LIRR out to where my cousin lives. I was so excited to see her and work on some of the favors for the baby shower on Saturday! All in all, a really fun day....more pictures and details to come once I get back! Hope all of you have a fun weekend ahead :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Weight of the Nation

HBO premiered part one of its' "Weight of the Nation" documentary this week and I encourage you all to take some time to watch it for yourself! You don't have HBO you say? No worries, HBO is allowing the general public to view the film online because the reality is, is that the issue of obesity in our nation is very real. 
I personally try to maintain a healthy life style, but of course end up with more days not at the gym then I would like and of course, working a desk job doesn't help anything either! Regardless, I do my best to buy organic when I can, incorporate a good variety of veggies and's the little things that can either add up to help or hurt in the end when it comes to healthy living. 

A little more about the film series....
"The centerpiece of THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION campaign is the four-part documentary series, each featuring case studies, interviews with our nation’s leading experts, and individuals and their families struggling with obesity. The first film, CONSEQUENCES, examines the scope of the obesity epidemic and explores the serious health consequences of being overweight or obese. The second, CHOICES, offers viewers the skinny on fat, revealing what science has shown about how to lose weight, maintain weight loss and prevent weight gain. The third, CHILDREN IN CRISIS, documents the damage obesity is doing to our nation’s children. Through individual stories, this film describes how the strong forces at work in our society are causing children to consume too many calories and expend too little energy; tackling subjects from school lunches to the decline of physical education, the demise of school recess and the marketing of unhealthy food to children. The fourth film, CHALLENGES, examines the major driving forces causing the obesity epidemic, including agriculture, economics, evolutionary biology, food marketing, racial and socioeconomic disparities, physical inactivity, American food culture, and the strong influence of the food and beverage industry." 

Visit HBO to watch part 1 & 2 of the film series and feel free to share your thoughts! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

weekend recap & the week ahead!

There was lots of fun to be had this past weekend-great weather, great friends, and top moments:

1. Getting to see where three of my roomies grew up in Brainerd, Mn. I'm in love with their houses :)
2. Catching some rays while Ry was kegging beers at the Pagan...finally a chance to work on that tan!
3. BBQ with new friends...can't beat fresh fruit, brats, and beer (man, I am a midwest girl!)
4. Exploring Lester Creek with Ry & lil Reef aka me trying to keep up with the two of them! 
5. Getting to watch the segment my brother helped produce on Milwaukee Public TV-SO cool! Check it out here if you want to...
6. Lounging outside with Ry's aunt & Uncle, playin' with their new pup...wonderful

All in all it was a solid weekend all around! The best part is, I now only have a few days until I am heading off to NYC/Philly for my cousins' weekend and baby shower for my cousin Katie! I am realli excited to have some time to explore NYC on my own during the day on Thursday (thanks to a very early morning flight-it was the cheapest, what can I say!) and then spending time with my amazing family! This is the third year for me joining in on the now annual cousins weekend and I just love that we work so hard to try and see each other despite our hectic lives and the distance between us. The cherry on top of this trip is that I am going to get to see one of my dearest friends, Jani, in NYC on Sunday morning, because she will just so happen to be there for her own weekend about good timing! 

So let the countdown begin, only two more days! What do you have in your week ahead?

And don't forget....

Friday, May 11, 2012

grillin' and good times

With warmer weather finally upon us here in Duluth, grillin' on Park Point beach was a given...can't wait for more days at the lake and fun times with my wonderful Duluth family :)

What are your favorite things to do at the start of summer??

Thursday, May 10, 2012

awkward & awesome Thursday

Well, it's been awhile since I have done an edition of awkward and awesome and there's no time like the present...especially when sharing these moments with you! 
New Zealand, 2008
-strangers trying to hold your hand...don't ask.
-missing a button on your blouse (good thing I work with all women!)
-I've said it once, I'll say it a million times, but every little thing that happens on the DTA
-people thinking your name is "Nancy" and repeatedly addressing you as such. 
-booking two of the same flights...maybe that should be in a "awful" category?!

-my girlfriend and I realizing we will be in NYC on the same day next week!
-the amazing dinner I had last night at Lake Ave Restaurant & Bar: beef brisket w/asparagus and root vegetable pancakes and cranberry pan sauce
-catching up with friends
-this guy. bravo!
-fresh homemade pasta...cannot wait to use my parent's old pasta machine all the time!
-my parents...they just never stop with the love and support.
-planning a baby shower/reunion with my cousins in NYC/Philly, if you could only see the spread sheets! 
-this young woman's "Brave Collection" bracelets, working to raise money to end sex trafficking in Cambodia
-enjoying last moments before my roommate goes off to her big girl job! 
-planning and dreaming about the future...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

listening to | Beach House: Bloom

NPR just released a "First Listen" of Beach House's fourth album, Bloom....I am in love. There is just something so effortless and dreamy about their music. I encourage you to check out the album, you can listen to it in its entirety here as well as pre-order the album via iTunes or Amazon.  My personal favorites are "Wild" and "Other People" I have had it on repeat for a few days and can't wait to have it for my own! 

excerpt from NPR: 
The band's fourth album, Bloom, is unquestionably a Beach House record, and one that on the surface feels more like a continuation than the product of evolution. That is, until you go back and hear how far this band has truly come. Through its first three records, Beach House's development has followed an almost imperceptibly subtle yet linear path: The murky production has become cleaner and less hissy. The vocal lines shine brighter through the haze. The aching, dreamy melodies are more memorable.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Met Gala fashion

     When events come around like the Met Gala, dubbed the "fashionista prom" by Huffington Post, I wish I could be a celebrity for just one night...oh to get a chance to wear one of those gowns-that would be priceless! There were so many amazing outfits-some head turners for not so great reasons, but hey, sometimes it's about taking risks and it can often pay off with setting new "red carpet trends.' Do you have a favorite celebrity event you wish you could attend? 
     Celebrity or not, I think it's always great to get dolled up every now and a then and do something out of the ordinary...go to the theater, have a gourmet meal, or order yourself a fancy martini at the bar (my favorite is the cucumber lavender martini at the Zeitgeist)
Check out some of the best looks from Met Gala's red carpet! 

Dianna Argon, wearing Caroline Herrera

January Jones, Versace

Rooney Mara, Givenchy Haute Couture
Emma Roberts, Escada
Apparently feathers were in! 
Beyonce, Cate Blanchett & Diane Kruger

Monday, May 7, 2012

the little things

 My mom sent this drawing to me in the mail last week and it just made my day.
It's always good to be reminded of how important the little things can be...

homemade cards
fresh pasta
home cooked meals
fresh flowers
clean sheets
a good book

...Happy Monday to all of you...

Friday, May 4, 2012

time for the weekend!

Once again the week has gone by in a blink of an eye-not going to lie, the universe seemed to be playing a lot of jokes on me this week, but luckily there were lots of fun things going on and good times with my roommates to distract me. 
We had a fun night at more Homegrown shows last night...this time we saw Portage at the Thirsty Pagan (where Ry brews beer!) and they were really great...their music just makes me happy! Before the show ended, we darted over to another venue to see our friends band, Fearless Moral Inventory, for a more rowdy and head-banging good time! Homegrown always keeps you moving since there are so many shows going on all throughout the night.
Live recording from Portage
With Ry in Milwaukee for his mom's birthday celebration and the roommates out of town, I figure tonight I can take some time to get some projects done around the house (that laundry pile doesn't ever seem to take care of itself!), and of course continue my Mad Men marathon :) Pretty exciting, huh? The Homegrown fun will continue Saturday and I am even volunteering at one of the venues on Sunday and hopefully will be meeting up with a friend for drinks and apps before she leaves for an exciting trip to Haiti! What will you be doing this weekend? 

Have lots of fun, whatever your plans may be! xo, Maggie

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Comfort food: grilled cheese!

The other night Ry decided to whip up one of our favorite comfort foods for dinner...grilled cheese! Best thing about grilled cheese has got to be all the fun ways you can "jazz" it up. This time used white cheddar cheese, ham, and blue cheese...perhaps it was more like mix between a panini and a grilled cheese with the ham on it, but it was so tasty! And of course, paired with some old fashion tomato soup, you can't go wrong. In fact I made another one for dinner last night :)
Here are some other really great ideas for how to "jazz up" a classic grilled cheese...
bon appetit!

Mozzarella Grilled Cheese via An Edible Symphony

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Surprises are the best!

I love when I have the chance to surprise friends or family...especially my parents! Ry and I had an opportunity for an impromptu trip to Milwaukee on Sunday and it had "surprise" written all over it for my mom. I hadn't been able to spend a lot of time with her on my last visits home, so I was looking forward to putting in some quality time! We stopped by a new winery near my parent's house called the Chiselled Grape and we were both really impressed with their wine selection! We went with the "Little Red Dress" for my mom; a nice blend of Sangiovese, classic Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Their Barbera was also really phenomenal! 
Even though drive was not so fun, as it always is, but walking in unexpected to my parent's house was awesome! We had some delicious jalapeno gin martinis, a new creation of my dad's 

We also had some great homemade bruschetta and I was really happy to see my mom bust out the pasta maker to whip up some homemade pasta to go with some delicious grilled pork...there's really no going back from fresh pasta! We finished off dinner with some classic strawberry short cake...deelish! 

I really love spending time with my family...there are always great debates, stories, laughing...always makes me grateful for them when I get to see everyone. What are some of your favorite things to do with your family?

In other news, the Homegrown Music Festival is in full swing here in Duluth! Last night I checked out The Boomchucks and Big Wave Dave and the much fun and pretty great people watching. Tonight is the big Trampled by Turtles show-we'll see if we can get in, but I am also hoping to see Sarah Krueger too (you can download her new CD this week for $5-do it!) 
Gotta love live and local music! 

xo, Maggie

Tuesday, May 1, 2012