Friday, July 27, 2012

more than co-workers...

Well, today was my last day at a job I have come to hold near and dear to my heart. The ladies I work with are one in a million and I feel so lucky to have spent nearly two years by their sides, such a blessing and an honor. I feel like all of them have set the bar so high, it's going to be tough to find anyone who can be just as wonderful. Last night two of them hosted us for a going-away party and it was so perfect! 

1. my co-worker has one of the cutest houses I've seen in awhile-so homey and made me just want to move into our new place even sooner! 

2. We definitely scored an A+ on our appetizer creations (curried cashews, greek dip, guacamole, caprese salad-I told you I was on a tomato kick!) 

3. The company was great :) We all had a such a fun time, maybe even too much fun! 

I am pretty much all packed up (I hope!) and feeling a mix of emotions with the move having approached so quickly! A few friends and I are hanging out this evening and hitting up one of our favorite spots, The Anchor Bar (ironically across the bridge in Superior, WI) for some kick-butt burgers and cheap beers and then out to enjoy one last night in Duluth. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

fresh tomatoes on my mind

The past week I have just been craving fresh tomatoes with everything! We have a great local farm in Superior, Wi, Bay Produce, that has some of the best tomatoes I have ever had, seriously.
Ry and I made BLT's on Monday night, but added a really great goat cheese spread on our freshly baked whole wheat bread. And I have been snacking on tomatoes with just a bit of salt and pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Of course, one of my all time favorite tomato dishes is a caprese salad, BUT you add avocado on it too...SO DELICIOUS! 

What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy this fine veggie of the vine? Feel free to share! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

weekend recap: lake life!

all in all, this past weekend was pure great. 
...good friends, perfect weather, boating, grilling, and late night talks by the fire...
yep. I'm going to miss these guys.


Monday, July 23, 2012

in the kitchen: Peach Oatmeal Muffins

image from Scaling Back

Good morning! 
I had come across this Peach Oatmeal Muffin on Pinterest (of course) and thought it would be perfect to try out over the weekend while we were at our friend's cabin. The recipe was pretty simple and didn't take too long to whip up. I think I added just a teensy bit too much sugar to the peach/butter/sugar topping, but certainly didn't ruin anything! I was happy with the final product-the sweet peach top made a perfect balance for the just slightly cinnamon flavored muffin. I would definitely recommend adding this to your recipe box-perfect for everyone AND I think you could switch peaches out for some other fruits if peaches aren't your thing....
Peach Oatmeal muffins from Scaling Back
makes 12 muffins
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
For the topping:
  • 2 medium peaches
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees
For the topping:
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, add the sugar and grated ginger and cook until the sugar is dissolved.  Add the peaches to the pan and cook until they start to release their juices.  Set aside to cool slightly while you prepare the batter.
For the muffins:
Place the cup of oats in the milk and let soak for at least 15 minutes (you can soak them the night before if you want to make them first thing in the morning).  Mix together the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder.  Add the eggs, vanilla and oil to the milk and oat mixture then pour the wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  Mix just until combined, don’t overmix or you will have tough muffins.  
Fill cups of a lightly greased muffin tin two-thirds to three-quarters full.  Top the muffins with 2 slices of peaches and spoon any remaining juices over the top.  Place muffins in the oven and immediately drop the temperature to 400 degrees.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and firm to the touch.


Friday, July 20, 2012

have a splendid weekend!

Ry and I and our "Duluth family" are heading to our friend's cabin for a weekend at the lake and I am OH SO excited!!! This is more or less my last hoorah with all of our friends before taking off for Milwaukee, so I can't wait to enjoy the lake, some brews, and as always the laughs!
Have a great weekend and I will see ya on Monday :)

Local Spot: Lake Ave. Restuarant & Bar

Many people consider Duluth far off and remote, but it really is a great city with some realllyyyy great spots throughout the city and up the shore to enjoy some awesome local cuisine.
Last night some of my co-workers and I decided to grab a drink (or two) and a bite to eat at the local Lake Avenue Restaurant and Bar that is right in the Canal Park area of Duluth, hot spot for locals and tourists, especially during the summer season because of all the great patios to on and enjoy the view of the lake.

I decided to have a glass of the L’Orangerie, a french Chardonnay which was really delicious and refreshing-had hints of lemon zest, hazelnut, and pineapple. We then all decided to share one of the tastiest appetizers I have had in a long time, the Caprese Eclair...amazing!!! I know, a caprese eclair? Trust me, it was delicious. It was actually a really light appetizer despite the name-heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil and white truffled in a puff pastry-I am officially determined to try and make my own version of this at home so I can enjoy it all the time.

We decided to continue the good eating and all shared the stuffed pepper (with rice and other veggies) with a side of fresh sour cream, sliced avocado, and chutney. Amazingly fresh and we were again impressed and since a few of us were still on a food high decided to finish the night with one of my favorite treats, the chorizo stuffed dates: dates, smoked bacon and chorizo sausage served with smoked pepper aioli. They are just the perfect combination of sweet, salty and savory all in one bite! 

Aside from the fabulous food, what really made the night was the wonderful company...I am so lucky to work with such amazing women and to be able to call them friends on top of that. They have definitely set the bar high for co-workers and I am going to miss them oh so much once I leave for Milwaukee! 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

in the kitchen: Baked Turkey Egg Rolls

The other day Ry accidentally got egg roll wrappers as he was on the search for spring roll wrappers, so naturally we couldn't let those puppies go to waste! I know how egg rolls, despite their small size, can tend to be an unhealthy meal choice, so I wanted to make sure I could find a good tasting, but somewhat healthy recipe. I was in luck and found just was I needed at one of my favorite blog stops, Iowa Girl Bakes! I used her Baked Egg Roll recipe as a guide, making a few changes based on what ingredients I already had etc. Overall I was pretty pleased with the way they turned out...I did forget to tell Ry to put olive oil on them before baking, so they had a slight resemblance to E.T. when they came out, BUT I added the oil and threw them under the broiler for a bit to crisp them up and they looked much better!

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats
Makes 14 rolls 

2 cups cabbage (I used purple, but you can use the white kind or pre-packaged mix)
1lb ground turkey
2 tsp oil (vegetable or olive oil)
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 carrot, shredded
1 tbsp ginger + 1 tbsp garlic (I had the pre blended kind with garlic)
2-3 tbsp soy sauce
Dash (or two) red pepper flakes
Egg roll wrappers (I used up one package)

1. If you have a head of cabbage (purple or white) you will want to chop up about half of the head, depending on how big it is or how much you like cabbage. If you are using the pre-cut "cabbage slaw", then you're good to go! Put the cabbage in a micro-waveable bowl and heat for 5mins. Note: for the purple cabbage you might need an extra minute or two to get it soft enough)

2. Chop up onions, mushrooms, and shred carrot. Set aside.

3. In medium skillet, heat oil and then add your ginger/garlic mixture. Let this heat for a few minutes, but if you are using fresh garlic be careful it doesn't burn! 

4. Cook turkey until it is no longer pink. Add mushrooms and onions, sauteing until both are soft. Then add in carrots and cabbage, mixing all together. Add red pepper flakes and soy sauce, stir in and then set aside to cool for a bit.

5. Pre-heat oven to 400. Get your egg roll-makin' station ready: small bowl of water, clean surface and your egg roll fixings!

6. Lay out your egg roll wrapper, like a diamond (see below) and add about 3 tablespoons of your filling on the wrapper

7. Fold the bottom corner up. Then fold the left and right corners in toward the middle...

8. Wet the top corner with a little bit of your water, then roll the egg roll over one time and seal with the corner that is wet! (sorry, hands were full and forgot to grab a shot!) Continue this procss until you have used up your filling or your egg roll wrappers-whatever comes first :)

9. Before putting in the oven, lightly coat with oil on both sides. Bake for 10-15 minutes on one side, flip over and then bake for another 10 minutes or until they are a golden brown. *Like I said before, I originall forgot to put the oil on before baking, but was able to remedy the situation by adding the oil after they had baked and putting them under the broiler (low) for about 3 minutes!

10. Serve with a dipping sauce, we used Annie's Shitake Sesame dressing or whatever side dish you are in the mood for! 
Bon Appetit!

Monday, July 16, 2012

DIY inspiration: nesting

As our departure date grows nearer, I am getting really excited about the prospect of Ry and I (and Reef!) having our own space. I am what I like to call, a "nester". No matter how long I am going to be in a place-hotels, vacation stays, studying abroad-I have to nest, settle in and make the space my own. Even if it means just a few pictures up or actually using the drawers at a hotel (I'm a dork, I know!) Anyways, with that in mind, I have had my eye on lots of home inspirations on Pinterest lately and thought I would share a few of my favorite ideas/tips/projects I have found for sprucing up your space and really making it your own AND finding ways to maximize your space...

  Wall-mounted spice rack

Using a closet as an office (assuming you can spare a closet!)

chalk board walls

Feel free to check me out on Pinterest for more home & design inspirations and d i y projects!

weekend recap

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had some time to something fun/inspiring/relaxing/exciting this weekend! Ryan and I went to one of our favorite spots, the Northern Waters Smokehaus, for a quick bite to eat-he had the Cajun Fin (House-smoked Cajun salmon, green onion cream cheese, roasted red peppers, pepperoncini and lettuce on stirat) and I opted for the Buffalo 06, their oldie, but a goodie corned beef sandwich (swiss, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing)

I totally forgot to snap a shot of our eats, but luckily other visitors to the Smokehaus have posted pics for me to share with you :)

If you ever visit Duluth or are driving through, you HAVE to go to the Smokehaus-it is deeelicious and if smoked fish is your thing, you can even order from them online! After chowing down on our sammys, we went to the Zinema 2 to (finally!) see Moonrise Kingdom. I really love supporting the Zinema, a locally owned theater here that is known for showing indie flicks/film festival hits and having quirky showings like Bloody Sunday films (horror movies and a bloody mary bar of course!). But anyways, Moonrise was such a sweet and endearing film, seriously. The two main characters, Suzy and Sam, are just awesome and I think everyone can relate to feeling different and not quite normal at some point in their life and these two capture the awkwardness perfectly. Great performances by every person in the cast-Wes Anderson, you sure do know how to make a film! It was a lot of fun and I'm definitely glad we took the time to go check it out...

Other weekend activities:
-apartment searching online (what did people do before craigslist?!)
-a lil shoe shoppin'! Two pairs, $46! Bargain shopping success.
-went on a very hot run with Reef
-P90X yoga with Ry, which was basically hot yoga since the house was 85 degrees
-visited with our roommates family up the shore, too much fun! Made me miss my family, near & far!
-had a verry lazy Sunday: Game of Thrones watching, frisbee throwing with Reef, and reading

All in all, a solid weekend.

Friday, July 13, 2012

starting the weekend out right

Normally this might have meant that I went to a happy hour or something like that, but nope! I tried out a work out routine from the ladies at Tone It Up! I feel like they are becoming pretty popular, both with their fitness videos and nutrition plan. These ladies definitely have the fitness and nutrition thing down which is obvious when you see their super fit bods, but hey everyone needs a little inspiration and motivation!

I have their "Beach Babe" dvd and decided to try out the HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training) video and the Bikini Sculpt videos, for just under an hour work out. I really liked both of them and felt like it was a good work out, but I wasn't struggling to do complicated moves or jump 10 feet in the air! The TIU ladies are actually kind of funny/endearing to watch; leading the workouts in a casual, approachable way...and on a beach, naturally. If you feel like adding some of their workouts into your routine, you can check out videos on their website and sign up for their emails which give you nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle tips! (no, I don't work for them, just like their style!). Here's a good ab routine you can try out this weekend....see you monday!

accessorize: initials

for as long as I can remember, I have always been on the hunt for the perfect "everyday" necklace. Over the years I have certainly found a few, but I always end up switching them up for something different, but I suppose variety is the spice of life, right?? Lately I have had my eye on monogram or initial necklaces (and rings!) What is your go-to jewelry? Here are some of my favorites I have found....

Thursday, July 12, 2012

DIY: blank card creations

Awhile back I purchased a set of blank white note cards and I have been having some fun using them lately! I tend to keep it simple and of course, Etsy always offer inspiration (aka the lawn mower card seen below). I have struggled to find time in my life for lots of crafting, but when I can, I try to at least do a little thing here and there. I think these card are one great way that I have been able to get crafty and you can easily do this too! Seriously, do it! I found my blank cards at Michael's, possibly even in the dollar bin and then just use fine tip sharpies for the images and text. Take a peek at a few I have done lately! (I also threw one that I did awhile back that were using colored card stock & a one-hole punch-DIY motto: keep it simple!)

Supplies needed:
-set of blank cards (white or any color really)
-Fine-point Sharpies (I like the Sharpie Pen best for the text)
-Colored cardstock & a one-hole punch for the last type of card
-Your imagination! But of course, peruse the world wide web for inspiration :)

sorry for the reddish tint on the pics, swear they are white cards! 

(inside page)
Happy crafting! 

wise words

making this my thought for the day...hope yours has started off well! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

packing our bags...

I am excited to tell you that in just a few weeks, Love Type Thing will officially be coming at ya from Milwaukee, Wi! 
 After almost two wonderful years here in Duluth (about six for Ryan!), Ry and I decided that we wanted to get back a bit closer to our families and try to move back to the Milwaukee area. I was fortunate enough to recently find a job, which means this move is really happening! 

I have to say that it is truly bittersweet, which is ironic, because when I first moved up to Duluth, I told Ry-"we are only staying here for one.year!"...I had come from five years in Chicago and couldn't imagine that I would find my niche here, but I have so enjoyed all the people and experiences over the past few years! We are both so lucky to have such amazing friends up here, a beautiful city to explore, a organization that I simply have adored working for, and great family who always have their door open for us, a tasty dinner, and a glass of wine. Despite all of this, we know it is just that time for us to move on. 

Things I am looking forward to:
1. Family! My parents & both sets of Ry's parents are within thirty mins or less of the city and that is just glorious compared to our six-ish hour long drive from Duluth. And my brother is Milwaukee as well, which is great! 

2. Biking! Okay fine, there is totally biking in Duluth, but these hills are killer.

3. Having our own place-current roomies aka my Duluth family, you know I love you, but I think we are all looking forward to a lil more elbow room...

4. Rediscovering Milwaukee. Though I have hung out in the city, I have never actually lived in Milwaukee...I am sure there are lots of hidden treasures waiting to be found.

5. Train rides to Chicago! Some of my wonderful college friends will now just be a short hour and a half train ride away from me...pure bliss :)

6. Life changes. Okay, actually that part makes me anxious, but also excited! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

be a beast!

Happy Monday everyone! It's going to be one of those crazy busy weeks, but I thought you should join me in starting of your morning by taking a peek at what is sure to be an amazing movie that my girlfriend (thanks Jani!) told me about last night....Beasts of the Southern Wild.

I got chills just watching the preview and immediately fell in love with the little girl who plays the lead, Quvenzhan√© Wallis, who is clearly one talented actress, even at the age of 8 years old! The film has been getting rave reviews since it's debut at the Sundance Film Festival and I cannot wait til I can get a chance to see it for myself!

"...Waters gonna rise up, wild animals gonna rerun from the grave, and everything south of the levee is goin’ under, in this tale of a six year old named Hushpuppy, who lives with her daddy at the edge of the world..."

Read more about the film's soundtrack here

Friday, July 6, 2012

poster of paris

Thanks to a friend's recommendation and the fact it was still 100 degrees outside, my mom and I decided to check out the Milwaukee Art Museum's "Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec & His Contemporaries" yesterday afternoon. We lucked out because it was actually free to get in last night which is always an added bonus! 

The MAM has got to be one of my favorite spots in the city-the architecture of the building and it's location right on the lakefront is perfection. If you are every in the area, you really have to take the time to check it out-even if it's just looking at it from the outside, so. cool. 
The exhibition was really interesting and visually really fun to look at. We learned about Jules Cheret, known as the "Father of the Poster", who inspired many of the other printers of that time, all working to advertise the different artists, performers, performance spaces, and products throughout the streets of Paris. Apparently at times, every single wall space was completely covered with all of these posters-not a bare spot to be found! I loved that the "celebrities" of the time could be found in many of the posters and some of the printers would often give attention to those who weren't very famous at all, they just liked them. Good to know a poster printer at that time I suppose! People quickly recognized the talent and the value of the posters and often would steal them for their collections. 

My two favorite prints you can see below! The first by Jules Cheret, who always had dramatically elongated figures interacting with the text, and the other is by Pierre Bonnard, who actually did not have a very long poster-making career, but was said to have inspired many of the other creators in their own work.

I was really glad we took the time to go see this exhibit-it was such a fun (and cool, literally) way to spend the afternoon. The "Posters of Paris" is at the Milwaukee Art Museum until September 9th and is definitely worth checking out!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

an all-american kind of day

despite the CRAZY heat wave here, it was another wonderful 4th of July celebration with an entertaining parade, tasty BBQ, refreshing brews, some crafting (had to escape the heat!) and the biggest fireworks I have ever seen!

Hope you all had a great day too! 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

morning inspiration

Suprise! After traveling through the night, I am now writing to you from my parent's kitchen in Wisconsin! Sneaky huh? I love being home for the 4th, very classic small town celebration, so even though Ry couldn't get away, I decided to make the trip. Sidenote-I have discovered that my body no longer can handle overnight trips on the bus. And to think I used to make that trip & even longer in college to see Ry! :)

During my travels last night, I stumbled upon this awesome TED talk (if you haven't every checked out TED talks, you must! So.wonderful.) that I just had to's a little under 20 minutes, but you can just listen along as you finish your morning routine or sip on your coffee....if nothing else, just listen to the first few minutes to the first spoken poem that Sarah Kay shares with the audience.

Sarah Kay, "If I should have a daughter" -spoken word poet & founder of Project V.O.I.C.E

Knowing that some day I might have a daughter of my own, her words in the first poem just struck a cord with me and I knew I wanted to save her words for a day in the unknown future that I could pass along....hope you enjoy!  

Monday, July 2, 2012

weekend recap!

Despite there being a bit too much of work time in my weekend, it still managed to be a pretty fun few days! Our old roommate was in town, so naturally we found ourselves sippin' on some brews and chatting most of the weekend, enjoying the pretty great summer weather.
We hit up a local Mexican restaurant for a bite to eat on Saturday-Ry made friends with the bartender discussing the best kind of tequila for sipping (I don't think I can stomach it anymore!) and had an amazing view of the lake & bridge while we ate.

Our lovely friends, Lizzy & Sam had us over for a long overdue BBQ...let's face it, summer is not really summer until you start grilling! And we wrapped things up on Sunday night with yet another super tasty BBQ with Ry's Aunt & Uncle (they treat us oh so well!). 
Oh and of course, we had to watch some of the Olympic trials...I think I was more stressed out than those gymnasts-they do some amazingly scary moves, but I can't wait for the games to official begin!
How was your weekend? I hope it was glorious! 

p.s. I am going strong on my detox intermittently, but it's happening & I'm feeling good :)