Thursday, May 30, 2013

wedding weekend in Portland!

finally had a minute to share a few photos from our trip to Portland last weekend! Though the weather wasn't always at it's best (luckily it was gorgeous on the wedding day!), we had such a lovely time seeing Ryan's family from Duluth and our family friends there, as we celebrated Lindsay and Greg gettin' hitched! 

^^standard pose as he checks out a new city

^^upon arrival, we were treated to deeelicious Spanish coffees at Huber's

^^shootin' pool with new friends at Edgefield's Lucky Staehly's Pool Hall. If you are ever in the Portland area, I highly recommend checking out Edgefield-it is one slick place! Covering about 74-acres, this place has about 10 restaurants, a spa, par-3 golf course, they brew their own beer, a distillery, winery, and gardens.

^^wedding amazing are these tissue paper "puff balls"?!

We felt so fortunate to have been a part of this wedding weekend-these are some of my favorite people and it was a ton of fun to be right in the thick of things as the brought together this amazing day. Even though this trip didn't end up having a ton of sightseeing, I feel like the time we got to spend with our friends was truly invaluable. Besides, now we just have one more excuse to head back there for another visit in the future! 

So until next time Portland....

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

subway ballet

sorry for the prolonged silence-we got back late Monday night from our trip to Portland and now I've got a lot on my plate with the day job! I hope to share some of my pictures from Portland tomorrow, but in the mean time, check out these acrobatic subway riders...pretty impressive! 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Portland! Have a great weekend!

Ry and I took off bright and early Thursday morning for Portland, Oregon. We're here for a good family friend's wedding and I am hoping to get in a bit of exploring too! 

Hope you all enjoy your holiday weekend...see you Tuesday! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


sometimes when I am feeling blah and like things may not be going exactly my way, I stumble upon a story like this and it never fails to give me some much needed perspective on life.

Like Zach says, you shouldn't wait til you know you are dying to really start to in honor of Zach and all those who have taught us how to really live life to fullest, embrace this day, and every day, not wasting a single minute!

Monday, May 20, 2013

weekend recap: ode to madison

We ventured to Madison, WI on Saturday for a friend's going away party and decided to get there early so we could spend a few hours roaming the neighborhood and checking out the local scenery. With graduation going on and a killer farmer's market right in the thick of things at the Capitol Square, the city was definitely hoppin' with activity! 

I don't know if it was the great weather, the adorable neighborhood, the fun people or just a combination of all three, but we had such a wonderful day. I think I have little a crush on Madison...can't wait until the next visit! 

Friday, May 17, 2013

in the kitchen: chocolate chip cookie challenge!

Anu, our very excited & willing cookie judge!

So somehow a late night bar conversation about eating chocolate chip cookies with whole milk turned into a chocolate chip cookie bake off between Ryan and me...enter the 1st Annual Chocolate Chip Cookie Challenge! Without us even realizing it, this Wednesday was actually National Chocolate Chip Cookie day, so our bake off couldn't have come at a better time-talk about good timing!

The challenge: bake the best chocolate chip cookie
The judge: Anu
The rules: NO rules!
The details: We both found separate cookie recipes that we used for our cookies and of course, had secret ingredients that were revealed at the official judging last secret ingredients: Nutella, browned butter, sea salt. Ryan's secret ingredients: pudding mix and walnuts
The cookies...
Left: Ryan's Right: Mine!

The results: This might be slightly anti-climatic, but for our inaugural cookie challenge, I can't announce any official winners-Anu was too nice (or maybe just experiencing a chocolate chip cookie high) to pick her favorite. We all really loved the addition of the sea salt and Nutella to my batch and the pudding mix in Ryan's made the cookies extra fluffy and soft. I personally plan on combining our recipes together in the future to make one ultimate chocolate chip cookie! 

At the end of the day, I loved that we decided to just go for it and actually have a cookie bake off. It was such a fun and seriously delicious night...good people, warm cookies, can't beat that in my book! Have you ever had a bake off or cooking competition before? This was my second "official" cooking competition- I took the prize home a few years ago at my family reunion with this recipe! If you are interested in testing out the cookies that we made for the challenge (you really should!), my recipe is from Ambitious Kitchen and here is one for Ryan's version....enjoy and don't forget to wash it down with a big glass of milk! 

Bon appetit!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

one corner at a time: the bedroom

It's been awhile since I have shown you some of the progress I have made on the apartment and it is certainly feeling much more like home these days! Without realizing it, I sort of based the colors on my room off of a Swell Season concert poster (you can see a lil corner of it in the second to last photo) and used some cooler colors in my room compared to the rest of the apartment, making black & white, a jewel-toned green, and soft yellows the color palate....

As you can see, I have a few pairs of glasses (I blame Warby Parker and BonLook for my addiction). After seeing this idea on I Spy DIY, I decided it'd be more fun to show them off, using the hanger, than hide them in a drawer. I also really wanted some kind of vanity for the room, but didn't want to break the bank, so I figured I would try to use what I already had to create what I was looking for. By using one of my pashmina scarves on top of my old Ikea desk and getting a nicely framed mirror, I think I was able to accomplish the goal (more or less). I still peruse craigslist and antique shops every once and awhile to see if I can find a "genuine" vanity. My other "pride and joy" is the jewelry holder I made using a vintage frame I found a year or two ago-love it! 

I have the tendency to change my mind about what I want my sleeping space to feel and look like, but for right now I feel like it suits me well. My next bedroom project will be painting my dresser (not pictured) and hopefully finding some new knobs for the dresser drawers-maybe some like this or this!

Thanks for letting me share a bit of my space with you...more to come at a later date (dying to show off my kilim rug I bought a few months ago!)...have a lovely Thursday!

fave find 5.0: turntable kitchen!

Last weekend, we were at a friend's going away dinner and she received such an awesome present-a pairings box from Turntable Kitchen! Have you heard of it? 

As someone who pretty much always has to have music on in the background (whether or not I am cooking!), I think that the pairings box is simply ingenious. The creators, Kasey and Matthew, have combined their love of music and food to give us a way to explore new tastes and sounds and it's delivered right to your doorstep! Subscribers to the Turntable Kitchen receive a pairings box each month that features exclusive recipes, special ingredients, a limited edition 7-inch vinyl featuring favorite artists of Turntable's annnd digital mix tape for your listening pleasure as you prepare your special meal. The kit also provides notes on pairings for your meal and an occasional extra treat from their partnering businesses and organizations. 

Pure great. 

Turntable Kitchen's website also offers foodies and music lovers a way to check out some of their favorite recipes and listen to playlists as well in case making the monthly commitment isn't what you are looking for right now. I think I have already pinned practically every recipe on the site and definitely want to try out the eggplant & meyer lemon risotto, sage biscuits, phyllo wrapped tilapia, and oh man, these homemade thin mints look t-a-s-t-y! Hope you find a few recipes to try out too...see you in the kitchen! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

BOY at the Pabst Pub

I had some good luck Monday and was the winner of two tickets to see BOY perform at the Pabst Theater Pub last night. Since my sister is back in town, I decided to make a "sister night" out of it and invited her to join me to check them out! 

Despite the name, Boy is actually comprised of the female singing duo, Valeska Steiner (from Switzerland), and Sonja Glass (from Germany) and occasionally features the talents of full-time drummer of Phoenix, Thomas Hedlund. The show was at the Pabst Pub, a small bar and performance space connected to the Pabst Theater, and in my opinion, was the perfect venue for this intimate performance. Steiner and Glass were wonderfully entertaining and unintentionally funny in between songs. Their music is a bit reminiscent of Feist; a mix of playful/poppy songs like their hit "Little Numbers", but also a few slower and darker songs as well. If any of you have heard of First Aid Kit, I think you would like what BOY has to say...check out their acoustic performance of one of my favorite songs "Drive Darling" and see what you think! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

people vs. places

Not too many words for you today, so I thought I would share a photo project that I have been loving lately. 

People vs Places is a collaboration between photographers, Stephanie Bassos and Timothy Burkhart. This is a double exposure project, in which one of the duo shoots a roll of 35mm film and then the other uses the same roll of film to shoot again (typically "people" by Stephanie and "places" by Timothy) creating a beautifully, unplanned final product. Despite the unedited and unstructured nature of the project, the two have managed to create some pretty memorable and artistic images. I know I would love to have one or two of these in my apartment...what do you think? Feel free to check out their interview with Kodak's 1000 Words blog for more discussion on the creation of this project and how they work together. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

have a lovely weekend.

my mom's parents-Rome-circa 1966

ahhh weekend, so nice to see you! I am planning on a quiet night tonight in preparation to a fun-filled Saturday when we will be celebrating one of our good friend's birthdays and another's approaching departure to India with terrific food at the odd duck and drinks at Boone & Crockett in the Bay View neighborhood. With mother's day on Sunday, we'll be having some quality time with both of our moms which is perfect!

What will you be filling your weekend with? If you feel like perusing the web, here are some links to check out....

Can't afford photoshop, try this free photo editor recommended by TIME magazine

Hilarious goof-ups at work documented for your viewing pleasure

Wonderful things happening in world of marriage equality; NZ Parliament was even singing about it

Love this iPhone case and super excited for this iPhone photo app via A Beautiful Mess to come out!

Some really great blogging tips and advice

Work best in a cafe? You can create a cafe ambiance from anywhere!

Gorgeous 1000 Shillings hasnu infintity scarves made from recycled saris

Pretzel bites that I must convince Ry to make for me!

Clever starter kits for first time dog owners

I just love John Krasinski, don't you?   

Thursday, May 9, 2013

in the kitchen (with mom): linguine with brie, tomato, and basil

Some of my favorite times with my mom (and dad too!) have been in the kitchen. Our Sunday night dinners have become infamous among our friends-it is always a delicious meal and is always served at least an hour...maybe two hours later than planned! Being able to share stories, cook alongside my parents and learn all sorts of new recipes is such a wonderful experience. There is just something about the kitchen and cooking that brings people together, making life just a little bit better...and tastier!

SO I figured I would continue on with my mother's day "theme" and share a recipe with you that my mom has made for us many times and is definitely one of my favorite comfort dishes to have-both in the summer and winter! Best part, it's super simple and usually a big crowd pleaser...try it out tonight! 

Linguine with brie, tomato, and basil
adapted from mom! (serves 5-6)

4-5 ripe tomatoes (if you like roma, then go with at least 5), diced
1 pound brie cheese, cubed (remove as much rind as you prefer)
1 pkg/bunch basil, cut into strips
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 C olive oil
1 1/2 lb linguine pasta (feel free to use your fav pasta)
Salt & pepper to taste
*optional add-ins: Italian sausage, grilled chicken, toasted pine nuts

1. Toss diced tomatoes, cubed brie cheese, basil. and garlic in a large bowl with olive oil. Let ingredients sit in room temperature for 2-3 hours to let the brie cheese soften and all ingredients marinate in the olive oil/garlic goodness!

2. Prepare your pasta; Bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil (make sure to salt your water and a little bit of olive oil), then add pasta to the pot. Stir occasionally, letting the pasta cook for about 8-10 minutes. I like my pasta a little al dente, so just check a piece or two to see if it's ready!

3. Strain your pasta and toss it all into your bowl with the brie, tomato, basil and olive oil mixture. If you decided to include any protein or the toasted pine nuts, toss these in now. 

4. Serve immediately...pair with a fresh garden salad or homemade bread! 

bon appetit! 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

fave finds 4.0 | mother's day edition

garden-friendly tote \\ wine cork labels \\ seasonal cooking \\ zucchini bread

Mother's Day definitely snuck up on me this year! I thought some of you might be in the same boat as me and it would be beneficial to everyone to have some ideas for all the lovely moms out there! 

My mom is really excited to step up her vegetable garden this summer and you can never have too many gardening supplies, so a garden tote seemed perfect, a lil diy action using wine corks to label your garden, a cookbook with a focus on cooking seasonally with your vegetables, and one of my favorite treats: zucchini bread- exactly what I would love to have with my mom and a cup of coffee in the morning...

What will you be picking out for your mom this year? If nothing else, an extra hug and a big ol' "thanks for all that you do" always goes over well! 

Monday, May 6, 2013

celebration in indy

What a weekend! I had SO much fun in Indiana with the family-we BBQ'd, drank some craft beers, played Jenga and Yahtzee (Ry kicked all of our butts with FOUR Yahtzees!), watched my sister graduate, zip-lined!, and had one of my favorite comfort foods-linguine with tomatoes, brie, and basil (recipe to come).  Our accommodations at the Rawhide Ranch in Nashville, Indiana worked out perfectly! Didn't have to feel cramped in a hotel room and we didn't have to constantly eat out. Plus the owner, Derek, and his staff were all really wonderful and hilarious people, so we all felt really comfortable and at home throughout the weekend. All in all, a really fun and cozy weekend with the family...can't wait to celebrate my brother's graduation in just a few weeks! 

Friday, May 3, 2013

feeling nostalgic

As we head to my sis's graduation this weekend, I can't help but feel a bit nostalgic about my own college years. I kind of can't believe that I was preparing to walk across the stage for my own diploma just about four years ago-time really flies! I feel so lucky to have had the college experience that I in Chicago, meeting some of the best people, really growing up and figuring out the things that were and still are important to me. Oh yes, and having tons of fun all along the way!

My girlfriend and I were discussing the need to really live moment by moment, taking time to appreciate the people and places right in front of you because it all can go by so quickly! So make sure to soak it all in today and every day is good!

currently 6.0

Reading...honestly, I am still reading In Defense of Food (it's been a busy week or so!), but I am wanting to dive into Gillian Flynn's Dark Places real soon! I really liked her other book, Gone Girl (disturbing and creep as it was), so I think that this murder mystery will be right up my alley. Have any of you read it yet? If all else fails, I've got tons of books on my GoodReads list that I can check out!

Listening to The Great Gatsby's soundtrack (finally!). Once again, NPR's First Listen gets a high-five from me for giving us a sneak peek at the much-anticipated and talked about musical score. The soundtrack was produced by Jay-Z himself and features some of my favorites: Florence + the Machine, The xx, and Goyte. We still have to wait a week for the film itself to debut (who's planning on seeing it?), but I think this will keep me satisfied until then!

Loving SPRING! 'nuff said. No but really, despite this weekend's forecast not being that exciting, this past week we finally got a taste of some long overdue, glorious spring weather-thank goodness! Now I just need to get myself a new bike and life will be really good...

Excited for a weekend with the family to celebrate Liv's college graduation. One of the best things about being back in Milwaukee has been the time we have been able to spend with both of our families. Even with this extra time together, weekends away with everyone are still just as fun and meaningful-especially when celebrating such an exciting accomplishment. We opted to use to find accomodations for all of us and stumbled upon this great ranch's a ranch! So I am sure the weekend will be nothing less than entertaining and full of laughs.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

on the road: snack time!

This weekend we are heading to Bloomington, IN to see my sister graduate from college (!!!). While my parents are heading down Thursday, Ryan, my brother (TJ) and his lady (Danielle) take off Friday morning for our own little road trip. As we have been making our travel plans, it has been agreed upon that two things are at the top of our road trip essentials list: 1. music and 2. snacks! 

I will fully admit that I am using the term "road trip" very loosely, since this drive is only about 6 hours BUT that doesn't change the fact that some good tunes and tasty snacks can totally make any drive a little more enjoyable. I thought I would round up some good lookin' snack ideas that I have been wanting to try out. So check out the links above and then get ready to hit the road with your new favorite snack! As far as music goes...I've got a few favorite Pandora stations in mind and I might just have to make a "mix tape" too...