Friday, August 31, 2012

Five things

Here's what's good this week...

Of Monsters and Men
Sounds just like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, no?
(This is still one of my top 10 favorite songs of all-time.)

Striped J. Crew sweaters
It's almost fall and these fun, lightweight sweaters have me swooning.

HBO Classical Baby - The Music Show
I know babies aren't supposed to watch TV.
But sometimes mommy needs to make dinner, pee, water the plants, etc.
And this can't be sooooo bad right?
Classical music set to bright animation?
C'mon...He LOVES it!

That and Curious George.  Obviously.
Look at the focus!

What harm could learning short little life lessons be?
Confession:  Even if he falls asleep mid-ep, I usually watch it until the end.  Will George get the train cars back in the correct order?  Of course he will!  And also because I cannot get over the Man in the Yellow Hat's ridiculous daily ensemble of said yellow hat and baggy yellow diaper pants.

Loose, twisty up-do's.
Perfect while it's still hot out and/or un-washed locks.
And chic enough to wear to work / out for an evening!

It appears to be a serious problem - read about it {HERE} and {HERE}.
Moral of the story?
"Don't do what your children can do for themselves."
"And don't do what children can 'almost do' for themselves."
"Don't confuse your needs with their needs."
I can't think of better tips for fostering confident and independent offspring.
Must keep repeating these mantras to myself, because it's not always easy to do!

And a few more links, for your viewing pleasure...

House plants that clean the air.

Cute article about what makes a marriage really work.

Is anyone surprised by this?  (Not me.)

How to transfer photos to wood.  (This would look adorable in a cluster of 3!)

It's almost fall, which means it's almost time to make all-things-pumpkin!
I think I will start with this Saturday morning breakfast treat soon.

This and this are hilarous.

TGIF, m'loves!

~image via j. crew / photos by b / image via pinterest~

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Popsicle cocktails

It is, like, 100 degrees out today.
And muggy as hell.

Thus, I would like one of these...

Or these...

Or, an ice cold beer out of a canoe cooler!

AMAZING summer/Labor Day party ideas, no?

~images via pinterest~

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It's my birthday and I'll blog if I want to.

As I cracked stretched my less-than-limber arms in bed this morning,
slathered hand cream on my rough hands, and put on my glasses
so that I could see what my son was up to on the baby monitor next to my bed,
I took an extra moment to contemplate the fact
that I awoke this morning as a 30 year old woman.

Thirty. Years. Old.
What happened to the 20-something girl dancing on top of a bar in downtown Milwaukee?

Wasn't it just last year that I was turning 26 in the Recovery Room in La Crosse, having an entire bar full of patrons sing me "Happy Birthday" followed immediately by a group embrace and karaoke rendition to this at bar time?  #CraziestBirthdayMomentEver

(Close second = 28th in Madison with possible snow fall, stumbling on a Michael Jackson street fest, losing credit cards down the sewer, sharing a cab with men in GS ski suits, and the worst hangover known to man...all with the lady above.)

To the year of my 25th, when my husband surprised me with my out-of-town friends & brother in Madison for Badger football opening weekend...

Didn't I just turn 23 and have my first "fancy" night out in Chicago, atop the John Hancock building with my then-boyfriend-now-husband?  Followed by SIX more years of impeccably delicious & fancy birthday dinners in the Windy City!
What memories.

What happened to the perpetual student, who just wanted new highlighters for her birthday?

I swear I'm still that bright-eyed 22 year old girl, living on Langdon St.,
imagining all the good, yet challenging, things that "real life" was about to offer me.

And didn't I just get a Nitty Gritty beer mug and balloon crown for turning 21?
(Who could forget when those balloons got caught in the ceiling fan, mid-dance moves? YIKES.  Admittedly, not my finest moment.)

(Hold the phone...I'm still that much fun, right guys??)

High school doesn't seem like too distant of a memory.
In fact, I can still vividly remember some of my childhood birthday parties...

...I'm looking at you, house on 29th Court, McDonald's, Chuck E. Cheese, Holiday Inn pool party, and the first co-ed, pontoon/sandbar party in 6th grade!
Ooo-eee, we are lookin' GOOD!

Yep, I remember them all.
All equally special!

Perhaps I'm a slightly less fun & crazy b-day girl than I was 5-10 years ago.
I'm definitely a few pounds heavier,
with a wrinkle or two surrounding my eyes,
(but thankfully no gray hairs...yet!).
Today I wake up possibly a little wiser,
and certainly full of even more love for the wonderful man next to me,
my family and friends (both near and far),
as well as a new love, too profound to describe,
for that little person I watch snooze away on the monitor.

You see, the thing I like best about birthdays,
are not the presents (although much appreciated!).
(And it's certainly not about blowing out that raging blaze of birthday candles!)
It's about the calls, cards, and even the heart-felt facebook posts
I receive from the people who matter the most.
I'm always blown away by the outpouring of good cheer!
Maybe we're too busy with our day-to-day and we don't talk as often as we'd like.
But when I open a piece of mail or hear a familiar voice
calling to wish me a happy day,
calling to say they wish they were here with me,
calling to say "I love you"?
That's  what birthdays are all about.

Birthdays, to me, are a reminder of how much you are loved.
It's about reflecting on all the people and things that make life wonderful.
It's the one day of the year that is truly "your day".
Why not be a little selfish and enjoy it?
There are 364 other days to celebrate everyone else!

(I may take my own advice, pack up my son, and hit up the Public Market for a lobster roll from here and then head down to enjoy it lakeside.  Weather permitting!  Followed likely by takeout, wine, & season 4 Sons of Anarchy season finales with the huzz!)

I'm very grateful for all the lovely people
who have taken time out of their day (and last weekend!)
to celebrate this "milestone" birthday with me.
 I love you all!  SO much.

Cheers to the next 30!
(God willing!)
May they all be just as fun and memorable as the first 30.

P.S.  Speaking of "others," I can't wait  to surprise my kids with an onslaught of birthday balloons and streamers when they awake on their birthday morning!

That and their favorite meal + birthday cake of choice.  Right, Dad?

  ~image via pinterest / photos by b / image via

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Not your typical terra cotta pots

Herb garden:  noun.  
1. Shit even a non-green thumb like me can't kill.
2.  Sure fire way to liven up your summer recipes.

Good thing this statement is true:

I realize the summer is nearly over, but
here are my out-of-the-box ideas for planting your herbs and flowers...

Brightly colored rain boots!

Pots on a red pallet.

Hanging galvanized tubs with chalkboard labels.

Mason jars!

Rows of tin coffee cans.

Perhaps my favorite, discovered in the neighbor's yard,
are vintage Coca Cola crates!

Absolutely LOVE this idea!
Add these to my thrift store shopping list.

~images via real simple &  / photos by b~

Monday, August 27, 2012

Farmers' market fate

So last weekend at the Farmers' market,
I purchased the following:

Sweet corn
Green beans
Cherry tomatoes

I also had zucchini, green peppers, and tomatoes from my parents' garden.
(I planted my tomatoes at the end of July, so they're still a-growin'.)

I made spaghetti in corn stock with cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, and basil in a simple butter sauce.  We also enjoyed two nights of blackberries over homemade mixed berry ice cream and noshed on some BLT's, fruit smoothies, a veggie & ricotta tart, sausage & pepper hoagies (leftovers made into a chunky marinara over pasta), a corn-bacon-scallion hash, and a "birthday" zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting.

But what to do with the beans and peaches??

Enter:  Farmers' market fate.

I stumbled across a recipe in BH&G for, wait for it...
Grilled Chicken and Peaches with Green Beans and Orzo.

Even though it sounded a little weird, I figured why mess with destiny?
It is sooooo simple and quick.
And surprisingly delicious!
The contrasting flavors and textures pair beautifully.
Sweet peaches + crunch beans + salty feta + (almost) creamy orzo.
And a meal that covers protein, starch, fruit, veggie, & dairy in one bowl!
Not to mention it's real purrrrty.
I made a few adaptations to the recipe, and here it is...

~ 1 lb of Chicken tenderloins (you could substitute breasts)
1 1/2 c orzo pasta
1/2 lb green beans, cut in half
2 peaches, pitted, peeled, and chopped
~1/2 c feta cheese, crumbled
Olive oil
Splash of red or white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook orzo in salted, boiling water according to package.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet.
Season chicken tenders and add to pan, browning ~3-4 minutes per side until done.
(You could also cook them on a grill.)
While the chicken cooks, prep your beans and peaches.

Remove the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest.

Saute green beans in a little more olive oil for ~5 minutes, seasoning to taste.
Meanwhile, put cooked orzo into a bowl and season with olive oil and vinegar.
Slice the chicken tenders and add them to the bowl.

Toss peach chunks in with green beans for one minute (or less) to warm through.
Add them to the chicken and orzo.  
Top with feta cheese crumbles and stir to combine.
If you're feeling wild, add a few more feta cheese crumbles on top.

Serve with white wine.

My husband raved  about this one-dish wonder.
I couldn't believe it is sort of a "chick" dish, no?
But I'll take the compliments!


P.S.  It is also great served as a cold salad for lunch the next day.

~photos by b~

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Birthday weekend!

Can't wait to celebrate my big 3-0 tonight
with some of my favorites!

Wait.  Let's rephrase that...
It is true that I cannot wait to celebrate with my pals this evening.
I could, however, do without the whole becoming a tricenarian thing.

How has it been a whole year since this happened?!
What a whirlwind, fabulous 29th year it has been!

Happy {Birthday} Saturday!
Recap to come!

~image via pinterest~

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Friday Five

The weather has been bangin' this week.
And I can't wait to celebrate the end of August with both of my main squeezes,
as well as with some of my friends Saturday night!
Here's what I'm digging this week...

Foster the People
Remember  my love for them? {HERE}
That song still tickles my pickle.
And this jam is no exception:

"Takeout Tuesdays" in Schlitz Park
Food truck extravaganza!
And lunchtime fun with my two favorites.

(Note the teeth fixation.  Then send me good vibes.  Or booze.)
I think we will make this a weekly ritual for as long as I am granted the luxury of Tuesdays off.  You can find us perched on a bench along the Riverwalk.

Peanut Butter Panda Puffs
Am I the only non-child who is in love with this cereal?
I care not.

Buy it at Trader Joe's for about $2-3 less than at Whole Foods.
Surprise, surprise.

Stylish ponytails.
Why can't mine ever look like these?

Freakin' models.

An apology to the parents I judged...
Holy cow.  I second every sentiment!  A must read, whether you have kids or not.
We have recently experienced some unfortunate baby meltdowns in Church/restaurants and I have felt the glares from non-parents...glares that I'm sure I once gave to a poor mother (or two) and her screaming child on a plane, for example.  But I feel you now, woman.  I feel  you.  Woof!  And I am sorry.

But, gosh darn it, I do still believe my kids will be the best behaved ones around.
I'll make sure to it!!

Thank you , Clifford.  :)

And a few more links, just for fun...

This bedtime calculator is so cool! I wonder if it actually works?

Speaking of bracelets, how adorable is this mini bow bangle by kate spade?

Remember my rant about being a homemaker?  (How could you forget?)
Well, check this -ish out.  Word to your mother.  Literally.

Thinking about reading this book.

I would like these shoes.  Minus the zero on that price tag, however.

This is funny...and very true!

I want to make Mario Batali's recipe for spaghetti with green tomatoes and pesto.
I was drooling while watching him make this the other day on The Chew.
That is, until he took a bite of his own food and proclaimed,
"Damn, I'm a good cook!"
I then instantly snapped out of it and remembered why I abhor him.
I'll still try the recipe, however, seeing as this one was such a damn delight.

The West Nile Virus is rampant.  Be careful out there!
(Read:  Now's probably night the time for homemade spray!)

Ta ta for now, kids.
May your weekend be all things fun and amazing!

~photos by b / images via naturespath, wit and delight, plumprettydelight~

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I love you times infinity.

Totally grooving on the infinity jewelry.
A lovely symbol of that "til death do us part" kind of love!
Here are my favorites...

Budget:  Bracelet
{HERE} via Etsy

Aside:  Why the hell is this made in China?
 Doesn't that go against some sort of Etsy principal?!?
I recently scored a similar one for about the same price at H&M.
It, however, was probably also made in China.
(Note:  If you can get past the whole not-made-in-the-good-ol'-US-of-A thing,
the same seller also makes an adorable anchor bracelet, too.)

Splurge:  Diamond Ring
{HERE} via Etsy.

Loving it on the middle finger, too.  Gorg!
Perfect anniversary gift, no?

~images via Etsy~

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wine walls

Let's face it.
We all simply cannot be granted the luxury of a wine cellar.
So here are a couple of fun ways to display your bottles...

What a space saving and gorgeous linear built-in!

And how about some fun with simple terra cotta pots?
Also space-saving when put above the cabinets.
And how great does it look paired with the brick and white?

I need to drum up a creative way to store my vino - stat!

~images via pinterest & coco+kelley~