Thursday, March 28, 2013

gravity and grace | brooklyn art museum

images via

Have any of you east coasters checked out the Brooklyn Art Museum recently? I certainly wish I could because I would love to see El Anatsui's "Grace & Gravity" installment. The exhibit features over 30 works in metal and wood that have been created into some pretty amazing sculptures. "Anatsui converts found materials into a new type of media that lies between sculpture and painting, combining aesthetic traditions from his birth country, Ghana; his home in Nsukka, Nigeria; and the global history of abstraction..." I really like how transformative the work is, changing what you think material should/could be used for into something much more and very beautiful too.
If you are in New York, the exhibit is running until the beginning of August, so you should stop by...I know I would!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

in the kitchen: morning smoothie

image via

For the past year and a half, I have tried to incorporate some kind of "green smoothie" into my daily routine. Drinking green smoothies is a great way to get in your fruit & veggies for the day and if you're usually running out the door in the morning,  it can make your morning routine a bit easier since you can just take your breakfast to go! I have been playing around with different fruit combinations and thought I would share my current fave with you so you can try it out too. If you want to read more about the benefits of the green smoothie and other recipes, I recommend checking out Linda Wagner's blog here.

Pineapple-Banana-Blueberry-Kale Smoothie

1/2 banana
1/2 C frozen pineapple
1/4 C fresh or frozen blueberries
large handful of kale (leaves only, remove from stem)
1/3 C coconut water (regular water works just fine too!)

Place all ingredients into blender to mix. Once everything is thoroughly blended, pour into a glass or your to go cup and enjoy!

*note: if you include the blueberries in your smoothie, it won't exactly be a bright green color, but still delicious!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

weekend visitor

This past weekend, one of my best friends left her balmy 60 degree weather in D.C. to come for a good ol' fashioned girls weekend in chilly Milwaukee! I was so excited to have her visit-it had been entirely too long since we had been able to spend some real quality time together.

We were able to check out a few local spots-a tour at Lakefront Brewery, lunch at Comet Cafe, sipped on some lattes at Brewed and I finally got to check out The Odd Duck (I highly recommend the scallops or the peanut butter chocolate cake/pie/magic-deliciousness!). And we even managed to get our nails done, making it an official girls weekend ;) Most of all, we talked...caught up on life and all the details that sometimes fall to the wayside when you are catching up on the phone. Definitely a wonderful weekend, spent with a wonderful friend!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

in the kitchen: frutti di mare

image via

On Tuesday, we celebrate Ry's dad's birthday and in a continued effort to broaden their horizons in the food world, Ry decided we would make something with shrimp and scallops. When he asked me for some recipe ideas, I immediately knew we would have to make a traditional Italian dish, frutti di mare!

I referred to a few different recipes and then kind of winged it from there and I think the final product turned out really well. The best part was that Ry's dad and step mom gave it two thumbs up! If you are a fan of seafood and you are looking for a tasty dish for dinner, definitely give this one a try...

Frutti di Mare (adapted from various recipes)

4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 C fresh basil, chopped
1/4 stick butter (or olive oil)
3/4 C dry white wine
1 medium red pepper, chopped
1 carton mushrooms (portabello or white), sliced
1 can crushed tomato
1 C parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 to 1lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 lb scallops (if you have larger scallops, quarter them)
1 box of linguine (or your fave pasta)

1. Place water on to boil for your pasta. Be sure to salt the water! If your pasta finishes cooking before the veggies and seafood, lightly coat with olive oil and set aside.

2. Melt butter in large skillet and then add your garlic, shallots, and mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms and onions are slightly softened and then add red pepper.

3. Add white wine to the veggies and let cook for about 5 minutes. Once liquid has been cooked down a bit and peppers are tender, add shrimp to the veggie mixture. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add scallops. Continue to cook until the shrimp are pink and begin to curl.

4. Add can of crushed tomatoes, stirring it in slowly. Add chopped basil. Cover skillet with lid and let the mixture simmer for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occassionally. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Add pasta into the the skillet and gently toss until the pasta is well coated with the tomato sauce. (You can also serve the pasta & sauce seperately if people want to spoon on the sauce mixture!)

Garnish with parmesan and serve with tasty bread or a salad (we had ciabatta bread from Breadsmith!)

bon appetit!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

we're ready for you spring!

Hello spring! Hello?? Anybody there?!
With today's high at about 20 degrees, I'd say we are all in serious need of springtime weather. I told Ry this morning that the cold is just plain oppressive. I think he thought I was being dramatic, but even he (who loves wintertime and snowboarding) is ready for warmer weather. So in hopes of kicking this spring season into gear, let's discuss some favorite things about spring! I'll go first....
1. Bike rides! I realize that there are some brave i.e. crazy people who ride year-round, but springtime is when the open road calls my name.
2. Spring flowers! When those flowers start to bloom and grass finally begins to grow back, there is nothing better than all those great smells in the air. I love seeing everything slowly start to creep up and out of the ground, especially the tulips!
3. Picnics! Because who doesn't like a good picnic in a great park...I'm looking forward to checking out the handful of different parks around Milwaukee and of course, the lovely lakefront.
4. Out with the old, in with the new...wardrobe! I am lover of boots, but I certainly won't complain when it's not a required item in my daily wardrobe. Same goes for sweaters and lots of layers...give me light and fresh!
5. Long walks! Nothing is worse than stepping outside and feeling completely assaulted by freezing temperatures and harsh winds. I have always loved being able to walk around and explore the neighborhoods I have lived in and it's always a million times better when the sun is shining down and birds chirping, don't you think??

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

another weekend, a few pics

just a few shots from the weekend-it was a chilly one, but the sunshine on Saturday during my walk with Bailey was beyond wonderful! Oh and I'm happy to report that my first attempt at making Irish soda bread was a definite success!

Friday, March 15, 2013

currently 4.0

Listening to Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience and l-o-v-i-n-g it! Seriously, JT can do no wrong in my book AND you still have a couple days to stream the entire album for free on iTunes. Just in case you might have any doubts that it isn't going to be another great album. And if you haven't seen some of his performances on Jimmy Fallon this week, you should definitely check it out, especially this one

Loving my new kilim rug that I got for the apartment! It was sort of the first big purchase I made for the space and I nervously awaited for it to arrive from Turkey (literally), but it is just perfect! I love how cozy it makes the living room. I will be sharing more pictures next week, so stay tuned...

Excited for St. Patrick's Day! Good food, green beer, great company and of course some cheery Irish tunes to make for a fun celebration. One of my favorite dishes on St. Patty's is Irish Soda bread, with extra raisins of course. My mom has got this recipe down to a science and I am going to give it a whirl this year-you should too! 

Reading or I guess I should say, about to be reading Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryly Sandberg. I have heard all sorts of things, good and bad, about this "feminist manifesto" and  I want to decide for myself whether or not Ms. Sandberg has some worthwhile ideas. As a woman in the workforce, I am always open to learning about ways to improve in the professional world. I have a feeling that it will make for great discussions, which is why I am looking forward to discussing with some of my girlfriends for an impromptu (and cross-country) book club. For more thoughts & opinions on the book and Sandberg, check out this out.

(Images 1, 3, 4)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

gorgeous ink.

I recently stumbled upon the beautiful tattoo and art of Brooklyn artist, Amanda Wachob and I just can't get enough! Her translation of her artwork into tattoo art (in my opinion) is pretty remarkable With the almost brush-like strokes of these watercolor-esque creations, it's hard to believe they are actually tattoos. You can read more about Amanda's tattoo work here and here...

[images via, final image via NYTimes]

Monday, March 11, 2013

rainy day: milwaukee art museum

(clearly skeptical about a photoshoot)

On Sunday we spent some of the very rainy afternoon checking out the Milwaukee Art Museum's new exhibit, Color Rush (clearly my use of b&w photos today is a bit ironic!)If you are into photography and want to learn more about the development of color photography, then I would definitely recommend checking it out. I found it really interesting to learn that the photography world didn't necessarily take color photography very seriously and didn't think of it as a "serious" form of art in its early stages.
Besides Colors Rush, I also stumbled on the latest display of student and community art work and fell in love with "alternative fashion" pieces. 

Hope you had a nice weekend too :)

[photo credit: images 1 & 3 from Ry's phone]

Friday, March 8, 2013

happy int'l women's day and 1000 Shillings sale!

It's international women's day people!

And even though you should always show love, appreciation, and respect for the women in your lives, take a moment today to go above and beyond. I know that I am incredibly blessed to have such amazing and inspiring women in my life: friends, family members, co-workers who have all taught me a little bit about myself and made me a better person.

Being that it is such a great day to support women, I have to mention my friends over at 1000 Shillings who continue to do amazing work with the women of the Namatala slums of Uganda. The Namatala ladies have made a lot of progress throughout this year-growing their businesses, being able to feed their families, and paying for education.

You can continue to help these incredible women by checking out their gorgeous handmade jewelry and taking advantage of their women's day sale! I've had my eye on the Ado necklace for awhile, so I might just have to get it today :)

p.s. If you are a photographer, filmmaker, journalist, product designer, or a social entrepreneur looking for a real adventure and what is sure to be an unforgettable experience, you should definitely check out the 1000 Shillings Fellowship opportunity for this coming summer. I so wish I could go, but I am hoping someone will see this and choose to be a part of something truly inspiring! Check it out, today!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

bug art. yep, you heard right!

Amblyn (detail) by Darkling Beetle

Blue Moth by Tiger Moth

Fly Miro #1 by Sarcophagid Fly

 Eleven Steps (detail) by Hissing Cockroach

I am no fan of insects in general, but I can't help to be anything other than fascinated by entemolgist, Steven Kutcher's artistic work with the insects he studies:

"I have made visible the hidden world of the insect footprint. When an insect walks on your hand, you may feel the legs move but nothing visible remains, only a sensation. These works of art render these insect tracks and routes visible, producing a visually pleasing piece while conveying pertinent, scientific information..."

Who knew creepy-crawlies could be so unintentionally talented? To learn more about his methods or to even get your hands on some of his work, check out his website here.

Monday, March 4, 2013

in the kitchen: wild rice and mushroom soup

annnd it's Monday again! oofda. With Ry out of town for the weekend, I had some time to catch up a few projects I had been putting off and then headed to the 'burbs to see my parents (and Bailey too!). The weather was surprisingly nice, so my mom and I were able to walk with Bailey and catch up-we could talk for hours! Later my mom, dad and I went their favorite spot in town and we sipped on our favorite (dirty) martinis, while munching on pistachios-the perfect combination in my opinion.

Even though I had the goal of getting some cooking done while I was home, my mom was actually the one who was cheffin' it up with this weekend with a delicious wild rice and mushroom soup from Cooks Illustrated. I am a huge fan of wild rice and can never get enough mushrooms, so this recipe was a great marrying of the two ingredients. Best of all, unlike a lot of other rice & mushroom soup recipes I have seen, this one required very little heavy cream, so you can enjoy practically guilt-free!

Fun fact: wild rice is actually not rice! It is an aquatic grass that grows naturally in lakes and is cultivated in man-made paddies.

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup via Cooks Illustrated

¼ cup dried shiitake mushrooms, rinsed
4 ¼ cups of water
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove peeled, 4 garlic cloves minced
Salt and pepper
¼ tsp baking soda
1 cup wild rice
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced (can be substituted for white mushrooms)
1 onion, chopped finely
1 tsp tomato paste
2/3 cup dried sherry
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 tbsp soy sauce
¼ cup cornstarch
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup fresh chives, minced
¼ tsp finely grated lemon zest
*don't be scared off by the ingredient list-the prep is actually very easy!

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Grind shiitake mushrooms in spice grinder (or blender) until finely ground.
  2. Bring 4 cups of water with thyme, bay leaf, garlic clove, ¾ tsp salt, and baking soda to a boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Add rice and return to a boil
  3. Cover saucepan, transfer to oven, and bake until rice is tender-about 35-50 minutes. Strain rice through mesh strainer, saving cooking liquid. Discard thyme, bay leaf, and garlic. Add water to your reserved liquid so that you have 3 cups of water.
  4. Melt butter in Dutch oven (or cooking pot) over high heat. Add cremini mushroom, onion, minced garlic, tomato paste, ¾ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are brown and a dark fond (residue) develops on the bottom of your pan.
  5. Add sherry, scraping up any browned bits and cook until reduced and pot is almost dry. (about 2 minutes). Add ground shiitake mushroom, reserved rice cooking liquid, and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer, covered, until mushrooms and onions are tender-about 20 minutes.
  6. Whisk corn starch and ¼ cup rice water in small bowl to form a roux. Stir the mixture into the soup, return to a simmer, and cook until thickened. Remove pot from heat and stir in wild rice, cream, chives and lemon zest. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve!

We paired our soup with a delicious fresh salad and our favorite homemade French bread...hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Bon appetit!

Friday, March 1, 2013

currently 3.0

Reading the lovely and beautifully written insights of Meg Fee. She has such a wonderful way with words and writes so honestly that it is truly refreshing to read. I admire her ability to share the highs and lows, struggles and successes of her life-I feel like I could drink lattes and chat all day with her! I especially love her series “a letter to the man who will make me an honest woman"(image)

Listening to the L.A. based indie group, Local Natives. My brother's girlfriend recently put them back on my radar (they had gotten lost in the shuffle of other music!) and I am so glad I have brought them back into my music mix. Per usual, I love the Tiny Desk concert they performed a year ago and I think you will too! (image)

Loving everything about Madewell's Spring Collection. Probably because I am dying for some Vitamin D and the smells of spring, so of course spring fashion comes into play as well. This floral silk blouse is gorgeous, but I've also got my eye on a few of their dresses, naturally.

Excited for a bit of r & r at my parent's house this weekend-isn't it funny, last week I was craving exactly the opposite (travel! adventure!), but this week felt like a doozy, so a little quiet is fine with me. I am really hoping that I can make some time to do a bit of cooking and these wine-roasted mushroom crostinis sound like something delicious to try out.