Wednesday, July 31, 2013

courage can contagious

"You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world's problems at once but don't ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own..." -Michelle Obama

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

afternoon inspiration: the Earth Harp

The Earth Harp, invented in 1999 by William Close, is the longest stringed instrument in the world. The instrument is set up using the surrounding architecture (buildings, natural landscapes, etc) so that the instrument actually becomes a part of the architecture..."the environment and architecture are transformed by the strings, forever changing the perception of those who see the installation." 

Close and his Earth Harp Collective have traveled all around the world giving some pretty magical performances, so be sure to check out this one below and read this interview from The New York Times for insight on Close's vision for the Earth Harp. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

ny visit, bachelorette festivities!

so last weekend-yes, last weekend...that's how behind I am! SO, last weekend my sister and I headed out to New York for my cousin's bachelorette party/annual cousins gathering and we had such a great time!

I can't deny that the heat was just a tad bit out of control, but we managed to push through as we traveled around Long Island on party bus for a winery tour, danced, played late-night charades, enjoyed a few moments at the beach, and caught up on one another's lives.

I feel pretty blessed to have such a wonderful family and can't wait to see all of them at the wedding in a few months-whenever that I see them multiple times in a year, it's a good year in my book :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

in the kitchen | kale and brussels sprouts salad

image by Christopher Testani

Brussels sprouts. Some people love them, others h-a-t-e these little baby cabbages. Personally, I am a huge fan-steamed, roasted, raw...I'm down for brussels sprouts of any variety.

On Sunday night, I joined my parents in the 'burbs for dinner and we were fortunate enough to have our good family friends in from Nashville also share the table with us. During our conversation, our friend mentioned how they had recently found a new recipe for brussels sprouts that is sure to please any one, so naturally I had to look into.

Lucky for me, this took all of two seconds, and I happen to have enough of the ingredients laying around to make my own twist on the dish. So if you are looking for something quick, easy, healthy, and pretty darn delicious, give this one a whirl!

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad
adapted from Bon Appetit

1lb brussels sprouts, sliced very thin or grated
1 C kale, leaves thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 C roasted almonds, chopped

2-3 T Balsamic vinaigrette dressing (yes, I cheated)
1 T Dijon mustard
1-2 T olive oil
1 T lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Mix balsamic vinaigrette dressing, mustard, lemon juice, and garlic in a small bowl and set aside. 

2. Toss shredded brussels sprouts, kale, and pepper in a large bowl. Add in crushed almonds. 

3. Toss salad with your somewhat-homemade dressing

4. Serve immediately paired with a lovely white wine and fresh bread :)

Bon appetit! 

Friday, July 12, 2013

a summer of festivals

Milwaukee might be best known for its abundance in cheese, brats, and beer, but the one of the other (many!) great parts about this city is most certainly its' abundance of festivals all summer long! Summerfest, Bastille Days, Festival of the Arts, Festa Italiana, German Fest, Mexican Fiesta, Indian Summer Fest, to name a few PLUS a whole handful of neighborhood street fairs and festivals all summer long...whew!

So far I have managed to make it out for a few things! First was Summerfest aka the world's largest music festival-we went and saw a few sets put on by Minneapolis-based hip-hop collective, Rhymesayers, which featured P.O.S., Brother Ali, and Atmosphere. I also got to experience my very first country music concert (Craig Morgan) a few nights later...there is a first time for everything!

^^my brother filming k'naan

Just last night I also got to experience Milwaukee's Bastille Days celebration...we meandered through the crowds, watched the "Storm the Bastille" 5K in action, and even tried frog legs! Ry and I decided that we would definitely have to participate in the run next year-it looks like a great time, more of a "fun run" than a race! 

^^ mmmm frog legs.

Do you have a favorite summer festival in Milwaukee or your own hometown? Summer always seems to go by so quickly, so make sure you get out there and have some fun (but maybe skip the frog legs!)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

an all-american weekend

^^sunsets at the cottage

^^ice cream treats at the well

^^fireworks, naturally.

^^first boat ride for Colton!

^^had to get Grandma in the big chair

^^sunsets back in Milwaukee

We had a lovely, but jam-packed holiday weekend: boating, swimming, knee-boarding, soaking up the sun, eating way too much BBQ, experiencing my first country music concert, and loads of family time. I was definitely exhausted by the time I got back to the apartment on Sunday night, but it was such a fun weekend. 

Now I am slowly getting back into the real world, though it's already Wednesday, so can't really complain! I hope you were able to do all sorts of fun activities for your holiday weekend too! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

in the kitchen | boom boom baked beans

Well this is pretty much a guest post coming straight to you from my mom featuring the infamous boom boom baked beans! Consider this an upgrade to the standard baked beans in a can situation and pretty perfect for your 4th of July barbecue (I'll definitely be whipping this up to share with Ry's family!) 

This dish has quickly become a family favorite and if you like REAL bacon in your baked beans, then this is sure to impress you (and your friends!). 

Boom Boom Baked Beans 
via my mom

-6 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped coarsely
-1 large yellow onion
-2 cans of B&M Original Baked Beans
-1 can red kidney
-1 can dark red kidney
-1 can butter beans
-1 can cannelini beans
1-2 Tbsp brown sugar*
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard (or mustard powder)*
1 Tbsp Ketchup*
*These are estimates, so feel free to play around with the taste as you to make it to your liking!

1. Cook bacon and set aside. Do not throw bacon fat away.
2. Chop onions and cook in bacon fat until they are transparent, set aside.
3. Using a strainer, drain all the beans except for the canned "original baked beans" (helpful to have a large bowl to keep all the beans in as you rinse them)
4. Place the beans in a large pot. Open the two "original baked beans" and add them to the pot with the sauce from the cans
5. Add in brown sugar, Dijon mustard/mustard powder and ketchup and mix all together. Once you have the desired flavor, add the onions and most of the bacon; mix ingredients. 
6. Pour into a casserole dish or Pyrex dish. Put the remaining bacon on top. 
7. Bake in 350 oven until really hot all the way through...approx. 30 minutes.

Serve with your favorite grilled meal (burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob-the possibilities are endless!)

Bon appetit! 

Monday, July 1, 2013

life lately

a visual of what's been going on in my time and place...trips to duluth, serendipitous reunions with friends, lovely summer sunsets, flowers bloomin',  quality time with Bailey, and gorgeous views of the city!