Sunday, July 31, 2011

Saturday girls-day-out

Long overdue get together with one of my favorite gals yesterday.
And it looked a little something like this...

with Essie Strawberry Sorbet on the hands,

and Essie Bahama Mama on the feet,

...all while sipping Starbucks Passion Fruit Tea Lemonade,
gossiping, and watching SATC 2.

We ended the afternoon indulging on french onion soup,
warm lobster and avocado salad,
and moules frites at Le Bouchon.

Yesterday was my only day off until next Saturday,
so I made sure to get it while I could.
Hope you're all having a fabulous weekend!

Saturday, July 30, 2011


I saw this neat idea in an Irish home design magazine
and I'm in love!  Probably because I love maps!

The idea comes from an Etsy artist (who doesn't love Etsy?!)

You send her the specifics about the maps you want to use,
such as maps of
your neighborhood, where you & your sweetie met, a favorite vacation spot, etc.

Then, she designs the piece, submits it to you for your approval,
and before you know it,
you have personalized, meaningful art for your bookshelves!

I want one so bad!

~Image via Etsy~

Friday, July 29, 2011

Under the Tuscan sun

Well, not quite Tuscan, but Italian for sure!

Loving getting off a little earlier in the afternoons this summer...
(Cheers to Clinicals at a hospital near our place!)
So when I lay out on our balcony, I can imagine I'm back in the Cinque Terre when I close my eyes.

(Now if only I could make the fresh seafood and pasta and jugs of wine reappear!)

~Images via Sunsurfer & little bits of lovely~

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Blueberry thrill

Blueberry Walnut Bars.
One word: YUM.

Alex paused the series finale of Smallville while eating.
(If you know Alex, this is major.)

Me:  What?
Alex: WOW.
Me: Is this recipe a keeper?
Alex:  Big time.

Recipe follows:
  • 2/3 c ground walnuts
  • 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp plus 1/3 c sugar, divided
  • 1/3 c old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 pkg (8 oz.) reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c reduced-fat whipped topping
  • 2 Tbsp blueberry preserves
  • 1 1/2 c fresh blueberries

Combine the walnuts, cracker crumbs, 2 Tbsp sugar, oats, and butter.
Press onto the bottom of an 8-in square baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 350 for 9-11 minutes until set and edges are lightly browned.
Cool on a wire rack.
(P.S. Do any of you actually have a wire rack?  I do not and have fared well in my baking endeavors thus far.  Just sayin'.)

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and remaining sugar until smooth.
Beat in orange juice and vanilla.
Fold in whipped topping.
Spread over crust.

In a microwave safe bowl,
beat preserves on high for 15-20 seconds or until warmed.
Gently stir in fresh blueberries.
Spoon over filling.
Refrigerate until serving...Enjoy!

Blueberries, walnuts, and oats...those are healthy things, right?
With 167 calories per square,
I think this is a dessert worth treating yourself to!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


The nursing world does an exemplary job
at making you realize how much we all take good health for granted.
 Being healthy and alive is truly the best thing
to ever hope for yourself and anyone you love.
When you're having a bad day,
take a step back and think to yourself...

You could have cancer metastasizing its evil way throughout your body,
wracking every nook and cranny with its inevitable doom.
You and your family could be living on an estimated timeline...
days, weeks, months...
each minute a physical and emotional struggle,
forcing you to question when enough's enough.

You could be 20 years old, but look like you're 5,
wrapped into a contracted little ball,
unable to communicate or do anything meaningful in life,
with alarming seizures that terrify your parents...
making them wonder each time..."is this the end ?"...
Their guilt expresses itself as a vacant stare, devoid of all emotion,
all because they, two people in love,
had an extremely rare, unknown genetic mutation that causes you to be this way.
Yet, they never leave your side because you are, and always will be, their life.

You could be 28, just about to graduate with your Masters degree,
living with an unknown ticking time bomb of blood vessels
in your head, ready to pop and bleed out, when you least expect it,
leaving your wonderful family and fiance to make unthinkable decisions 
regarding your wishes at the end of your young life.

Your son could have Down syndrome,
requiring the utmost patience & caretaking on your part over the years.
He could live to be 53 before his health takes some nasty turns,
just about the time you, an elderly single woman, are too fragile
to be at his side through the long, lonely hospital nights,
leaving you with feelings of inexplicable guilt and helplessness,
as you place faith in the nurses' hands to comfort him when he's scared.

At an annual Memorial Day family gathering,
your fun and adorable teenage brother could dive into a pool,
only to surface, paralyzed from the neck down,
requiring ventilator support and long-term nursing home care
for the remainder of his life, however long that might be.

You and your husband could try years to have another baby,
and when you finally do and your world finally feels complete,
you experience a rare bleeding condition during labor,
have a catastrophic stroke and are declared "brain dead,"
forcing your doting husband and young children to come say goodbye
as they unwillingly withdraw you from all the life-sustaining tubes coming out of every orifice.

I have witnessed every single one of these stories,
and many more.
While I also have uplifting stories to tell
(because those are the ones that keep us going and doing what we do),
it's the sad ones that seem to stick with you.
Their names, their families' faces, and the sounds of their wailing despair,
will probably haunt me for the rest of my life.
Yet, I feel blessed
to be allowed in and trusted to take of these patients and their families
at the most vulnerable times in their life.

Bottom line:
Even though 2011 has been fairly shitastic thus far,
I am so thankful for my health,
and that I have the best family and friends,
who are all here to love and support me and each other
on this short, but wonderful journey.
One day, if Alex & I are lucky enough to be blessed with children,
I hope not for a boy or a girl,
or that they have this color hair or that number of freckles.
I only hope and pray that they are HEALTHY.

We must enjoy our time together and cherish the good memories,
because none of us are guaranteed tomorrow, nor a pretty one at that.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pink and orange

I LOVE this color combo.
It reeks of spring, summer, and full-on good cheer!
I think it particularly works well for things like
birthday parties and bridal/baby showers.
So festive!

I love it so much that I think I might also like
to incorporate it into my wardrobe...

Thank you, DSquared2.

~Images via Zalita @ flikr, Sugar Plum Invitations, & DSquared2~

Monday, July 25, 2011

Happy Bday, baby bro!

Can you believe my little brother turned 27 yesterday?!
Wait.  I thought I was 27.  No?
Eeeks.  I feel old balls!

So handsome and funny, that C$.
Hope this year is filled with nothing but the best for him!

We've been in La Crosse, WI celebrating all weekend.
Here are the CliffsNotes...
  (with this as your soundtrack, seeing as Hall & Oates got a lot of airtime over the past few days!)

The "Lil D" basketball tourney...
It was literally 106 degrees under blazing sunshine,
a.k.a. the whole environment smelled like sweaty penis.
I awoke Friday evening to Colin and Alex DESTROYING my Royal Wedding mags
to create a Royal Wedding themed tournament bracket.  The nerve!
After a tough early loss, Alex (last year's champ) & his partner worked their way up through the "Commoners" bracket to play against Colin in the championship game for the 3rd year in a times!

P.S.  My honey needs some sun, don't you think?
I didn't realize I was married to Captain of the Pale Force.
At least he's in the running to star in Powder 2.
Just kidding, my love! ;)
(Revenge for the pics he took of me playing Buck Hunter!)

Birthday dinner celebration...
After a few Leinie's Summer Shandy's & Schlitz Tall Boys
and a couple heated rounds of Catch Phrase,
we hit up Three Rivers Lodge in downtown La X,
where things like cheese curds, walleye burgers, & walnut balls were consumed
and "Happy Birthday" was sung (to the b-day boy's displeasure.)

There was a Danish wedding going on next door which provided amusement
during bathroom breaks.

...the merriment continued throughout the night
at Dublin Square and The Stateroom!
I swear, it is possible to get rip-roaring drunk on $10 in this town.
This is a good thing while the debauchery is occurring,
but a very, very, BAD thing come the following morning.
The fuzziness of these photos sum it up pretty darn well.

A berfday for da books, brotha - hope you enjoyed it!

Guestbook genius

How great and unique are these wedding guestbooks?
I love the idea of guests selecting a book,
and writing something personal to the bride and groom.

It's hard to see, but some of the other "topics" include:
"What's your favorite memory of us?"
"What should we do on date night?"
"When did you know we were meant for each other?"

If I were a wedding planner
(and sometimes I wish I were!)
I would totally incorporate this idea.
I think it would also be super cute at an anniversary party!

{first spotted over at the ever-fabulous Me Oh My blog}

Saturday, July 23, 2011

B & W

Black and white.
While I like my photos this way,
I otherwise typically find this color combo capital B boring.

I'd also be lying if I said this doesn't immediately pop into my head:
(C'mon, you know you agree.)

That is one trippy ass video.

These rooms, however, may have me convinced
that a palate of b&w can actually be quite stunning.

First up? Living rooms.
(I think the pops of color, whether in floral arrangements or art,
really help round out these rooms.)

This black slate farmer's sink is pretty damn drool worthy:

(P.S.  Is a ghost washing that eggplant?)

But perhaps my favorite black and white application is in the dining room...

The especially dig the white capiz chandelier is this bedroom:

On a final note, 
kudos to you if you can complete these MJ lyrics for me:
"I took my baby on a Saturday ____________ ."
'Cuz I honestly have no clue.
Bang? Bend?
Do tell.

(Disclaimer: The other photo was collected for my own home inspiration files and I do not know its source of origin.
If you know, please inform me & I will correctly cite!)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bon Iver

In the past, he'd occasionally pop up on my Pandora.
In a recent Vanity Fair (read: the one with Wills + Kate),
I was reminded of how AWESOME this fella from the home state is!
(That's right, peeps.  He's originally from Eau Claire, WI.  Boom.)

Justin Vernon coined the name Bon Iver circa 5 years ago.
It's a French pun on bon hiver (good winter),
because that's when he retreated to his native Wisconsin
post- major life drama,
and spent the "good winter" in Fall Creek writing his kick ass new album(s).

You Tube stinks in that they have limited new Bon Iver shit.
Hence, you will just have to enjoy this old Bonnie Rait cover:
(Adele's version ain't bad either.)

He's playing at the Chicago Theater Sunday night.
I'm pissed that I just realized this now...always slow on the uptake.
I also just realized he kind of looks like a bearded Andy Samberg.
Hmmm...odd visual. Still love him.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

One more final to go!

Cramming for the next 15 hours.

What? I can multi-task!


~Image via The City Sage & bits of truth~

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Heard on the street

Some of my favorite quips
from the "Heard on the Street" column
in TimeOut Chicago magazine.

Some people are seriously RIDICULOUS.
And I love it. :)

You have your inappropriate...
  • "I thought South Africa was like the Lincoln Park of Africa." "There is no Lincoln Park of Africa."
  • Why do lesbians today look so much like 90's emo boys?
  • That kid's a future slut, fo' sho.
  • White people drink the shit out of wine and we smoke the f- out of some Newports.

You have your overt sexual raunch...
  • Could it be I'm having a sexual awakening because I'm attracted to so many people on American Idol?
  • Tonight's the last night I'm allowing myself to beat off.
  • Where to girls hide their boobs all winter?
  • My d%@$ is the equivalent of Maya Angelou.

Some flat-out grossness...
  • Why is a Q-tip caked with wax so satisfying?
  • I was almost crippled when I finally got off.
  • This guy is kind of a straight Bruce Vilanch, sans the Sally Jessy glasses.

Things that just make you go, "hmmm"...
  • I'm 23 with a money tree.
  • Stealing from work was so much easier before all this technology.
  • This music makes me feel like I'm about to get a colonic.
  • Jalapeno scares me.  I'm very white that way.

And straight-up facts...
  • Guys have to worry about holding back two things:  tears and boners.
  • I don't care how asexual you are; after 30 years on this planet, you have to f#&! something.
  • Wow, what a difference caffeine and a dump makes!

Comments of this liking bring me back to the Badger Herald "Shout-outs" section
that I so very much enjoyed during my college days.
Sample {HERE}.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Issue No. 7

The lastest Anthro catalog has me swooning yet again.
Glimpses of my current favorites...

The colors!  The textures!
Loving the bold pops and that vintage charm.
Now if only I won the lottery (or at least an Anthropologie sweepstakes)...

~Images via Anthropologie~

Monday, July 18, 2011

Motivators get studying.
And  to workout.
And to generally get my shit together.

Hope these images and words of wisdom inspire you
to tackle a project you've been meaning to get done, too!

~Images via bits of truth & Athleta~

Amazing Amsterdam

I think this apartment is to die.
It has that clean, yet country-shabby-chic thing going on,
right in the middle of a major Euro metropolis.
Not to mention the stunning natural light coming through those Cathedral windows!

That fur throw isn't even gross!
(I usually equate fur anything to trashy sex.
That one actually looks cozy and inviting for an innocent little cat nap.)

Coldplay's "Amsterdam" is not too shabby either.

Can't wait to seem them again...they're headlining at Lolla in just a few short weeks!

~Images via "b bloesem living"~