Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Years


What are you doing for New Years Eve? John and I are still a little up in the air...

All I know, is that I want to wear a black dress and this bright lipstick for the night:

Fun, right?

I also found a website(beautymark) that listed "the 5 Sexiest makeup looks of all time", which are as follows (taken straight from the website):

Classic, simple and easy ways to rev up your makeup look, here are our fave makeup looks of all time….

The Smokey Eye
Such a great look for anyone wanting to vamp it up.  Stila Smoky Eye Palette $52 makes it easy. Follow the step to step, base colour, lid, crease and liner. Makes it super simple and fast.

Glossy Nude Lip
Concentrate the gloss in the center of the lip to make it appear the largest. Picking a colour with a little bit of glimmer in it will also reflect the light to make your pout look it’s plumpest. We love Principessa Kitten Pink Gloss $16.

Dewy Skin
Nothing looks healthier than soft, dewy skin. Takes years off a face! Stila’s Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer $42 is perfect for this. It has a hint of coverage, a little bit of shimmer and still protects you with SPF 15.

Red Lips
Nothing is more classic than a red lip. Your best bet is to pick a moisturizing lip stick, some reds can be very matte which can dry out your lips completely. Avoid this by sticking with a hydrating formula. Try Kevyn Aucoin Blood Roses $28.

Strong Brows
Gone are the days of pencil thin brows. Natural thick brows are all the rage so start growing! If you’ve already over “tweezed” then bring out the brow powder and fill those suckers in. We love Paula Dorf’s Paula Dorf’s Brow Powder $28, it comes with two colours and some wax to help hold your brows in place.

Maybe I will do one of these instead... we will see...

Have you picked your New Years Resolution yet? Do you make a new one every year?

I have decided to have two: Do some form of exercise everyday (this one is both mine and John's), and floss every night (no matter how tired I am)

Whatever You are doing on New Years Eve, I wish you a great night, and the most AMAZING start to 2012! 

Friday Word Day

This morning, I woke up hoping there would be snow on the ground,
 but once again it was raining in Chicago...
Oh well, I guess it will be a day to stay inside and finish up what is left on my check-list before the New Year is here...

First on my list: Fix my internet connection- Now I am in a heated battle with my Linksye's box... I want to throw the whole thing out the window and watch it break into a million pieces! Why are routers so immensely complicated? When I called the Cisco 800 number, I was sent to their hotline in India once again, and they will only help me if I pay them 39.99 for a new year warranty... AHHHH, I am damned and determined to figure it out without paying another fee...

After 3 1/2 hours of frustration,  I am taking a break from the stupid box, taking a deep breath, and coming back to it when I am calm...which might just be next week...

Ok, Here is Friday Word of the Day:

Thwart- to run counter to as to effectively oppose or baffle; contravene; defeat the hopes or aspirations of

*Synonym: baffle, beat, foil, frustrate

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Kitchen of the Year

Before 2011 is swept under the rug and 2012 takes center stage, I wanted to show the 2011 Kitchen of the Year, by House Beautiful.  This was designed by Chief Tyler Florence, and is being showcased at the Rockefeller Center.

 Talk about a dream kitchen! I am seriously in love with this design, and will keep these photo's with me if the opportunity of designing my own kitchen ever arises.

These are a few of my favorite pictures of the kitchen, but more can be found on the House Beautiful website.... Hope you have fun day dreaming with me!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

23 1/2 Hours



Please take a minute to watch this video. It is a wonderful look at what a 1/2 hour of exercise can do for us, and it also has a lot of great facts and studies to back it up! Love it!!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Brown Butter Soft Pretzels



Have you ever made home-made pretzels? It is a holiday traditions for many people, but my family never practiced the art...It's my belief that it's never too late to start new traditions and I want to learn how to make them before the end of 2011 (that way I am a pro by 2012)!
 This gives me a week to get baking, folding, and taste-testing done... This is the recipe I think I am going to try first, because the steps are really well explained. They even have step-by-step pictures as well!


Cannot wait to try them with some German mustard! Check out the recipe and make them with me!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays


To all the ones I love, to the one's I still have yet to fall in love with, and to those whom I may never have the honor of meeting, I wish you warmth, happiness and peace within during this Holiday Season.

Not everybody celebrates a holiday at this time, but, I find that it's a perfect time for anybody to take a moment for reflection...reflection on who we are and who makes our World a better place to be...
Time to reflect on, if we really take the time to celebrate them, and us, enough...

 I read an article where a husband was raving about his wife, and how she was the reason he survived cancer... he mentioned that, it's easy to take the one's closest to the hearts for-granted, and at times, we tend to treat strangers nicer than we do loved ones...

This really made me think about my life and actions. Time to slow down, take a few deep breath's, and remember who touches your heart with their actions and love... they are the true-life presents that will forever be irreplaceable, unique and amazing.

Thank you for being my present. I adore you. 

Friday Word Day

Friday is here once again, and it is officially the Holiday Season! Are you ready for the Holidays? What will you be doing during your free time? Any crafts on the list? This our dinning room table, that I have painted the color of  Benjamin Moore's Deep Space

I turned out pretty great, and started a bit of a painting kick for me... not always a safe kick to be on!  
Before...
And After! 

Well, whatever you will be up to this weekend, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of Holidays.... and to stay in the Holiday mood, Friday word of the day is:

Mirth - gladness or gaiety as shown by, or accompanied with laugher. 

*Synonym: cheer, festivity, glee




Thursday, December 22, 2011

Warm Mulled Wine

John and I went on a date last night to the Christ Kindle Market. We ate German food, drank yummy mulled wine (aka Gluhwein), and snacked on warm candied cashews. It was an absolute treat, and something I love to do every year in Chicago. 

(Traditional German Cookies... John and I are not fans of how they taste, but they are cute anyways.)

 (look at the grease on that window from the sausages! But, oh did they smell great...)
 (Hungry John! After waiting in three lines, he finally got his food!)
(Downtown Christmas tree... wonder how much energy is used to light that bad boy up?)


When I was living in Prague, one of my favorite drinks to enjoy on a cold night was mulled wine. Every time I sip on the sweet and spiced drink, it brings me back to 21 again. Here is Ina Garten's version that I found and thought I would share with you. I know I will be making this over the Holiday Season!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Easy Appetizer Ideas

Appetizers have been my favorite food at past parties because the grazer in me can wander from one bite-size snack to the next. Besides the cookie exchange (which turned out great) there is nothing on my agenda to host... but that doesn't mean I can't plan fabulous parties in my head!

 If I were to have a Holiday party, I would absolutely make these fun finger foods.
Hopefully they will come in handy for you this season! (click on the link, and it will take you to the originating web source!)








Tuesday, December 20, 2011

If You Were a Shoe


If you were a shoe, what kind would you be? 


I think I would be something like this...
Wedge...defiantly a wedge. But then again, that might be what I wish I were like if I was a shoe... which was not really the exact question I was trying to get at... 

Makes me think about my perception of who I am, and who I really am... or are they one in the same? 

So... what kind of shoe are you? 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Here's a Thought...



I am reading A New Earth, by: Eckhart Tolle, and he said five great things in chapter 2 that I loved and wanted to share...


  • Life isn't as serious as my mind makes it out to be.
  • you are never really attached to a thing but to a thought that has 'I', 'me', or 'mine' in it.
  • Jesus said... 'if someone takes your shirt, let him have your coat as well.'... " it doesn't mean you should never lock your door. All it means is that sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on."
  • attachment to things drops away by itself when you no longer seek to find yourself in them.
  • Unease, restlessness, boredom, anxiety, dissatisfaction, are the result of unfulfilled wanting. 

Great thoughts to spend some time on...

The Best Christmas Gift

I have to share the best Christmas gift I received this year! 
This is a Christmas video my best friends made for all of their friends...they have sent a few, but this is the latest one...you cannot help but smile and feel happy when watching them together...
When I watch these little movies, I am reminded of how lucky I am... 
If I could fly around the World and hand pick the perfect friends, I would choose just the ones I have. They love me unconditionally, make me laugh every single day, and know before I do when I need them the most... they truly are my angels. 

video


Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Word Day

(Picture from March Vogue Issue)

Did you send out holiday cards this year? For some reason this year, it has taken me a full two weeks to actually get through writing and sending mine out. Typing obviously takes the place of writing now, so my hand cramped every couple letters I wrote. Amazing how true the saying, "if you don''t use it, you'll loose it." really is.

This weekend is filled with John's work party, my cookie exchange, a family dinner, and an ugly sweater party... What will you be up too this weekend? Holiday gift shopping? Baking cookies? Wrapping gifts? Packing up for next weeks travels?

Whatever it is you will be up to this weekend, please do me one little favor... take some time to relax, rewind, and enjoy some quite...whether with a nice cup of tea and a book, playing with your animal, taking a mid-day nap... believe me, the next weekend will be hectic for all of us, and resting up now can really help your body, mind and soul.

Ok, I will be done asking favors from you now, and will leave you with Fridays word!

Elate: to make proud or joyful; marked by high spirits

*Synonym: joy, delight, thrill, bliss

 Pronounced \i-ˈlā-təd\





Thursday, December 15, 2011

Broiled Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts


Broiled Brussels Sprouts and Hazelnuts... Do I have to say more?

  • Turn broiler on, While waiting to heat up, trim about a pound of brussels sprouts and give them a rough chop. 
  • Spread them out on a baking sheet and drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil,  and sprinkle a little sea salt (or kosher salt) and pepper. Toss together. 
  • Broil for about five minutes, or until the edges start turning a little brown. 
  • Take some hazelnuts and give them a chop (like you did the brussels sprouts). Shake the pan till you get all the brussels sprouts flipped over, and then add the chopped hazelnuts. Let broil for a few more minutes (about three). 
  • Sprinkle on freshly chopped parsley and lemon juice. 
Recipe comes from the wonderful Mark Bittman...thank you for sharing! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Earliest Memory




Do you have a first memory? One you can remember from a time before words formed in your mouth? A memory that sticks with you through the years, and can be replayed in your mind, untouched by the passing of time?

I do not have a clear memory that comes to mind before preschool. Vaguely, I can remember the feeling of being past around at my Grandmothers house, and hugging my brother for a picture...but nothing is clear and crisp.


My first real memory was in preschool. l remember having my father bring a change of clothes for me when I had an accident. He hugged me and told me everyone has accidents and to make sure I speak up if I feel the urge to go... as my loved ones know, I seem to have the smallest bladder known to man, and have not stopped asking for the restroom since. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hostess Gifting!

I have found yet another great hostess gift and have to share it! 

A bottle of wine, a dishtowel, and a nice ribbon... voila! Anthropolige always has sales on dish towels, and Target has some great ones too! 



Back to the Roots


A few years ago in late Spring, I was buying my groceries at a local farmers market. While I was walking around the beautiful display of fresh baked bread and cookies, fragrant cut flowers and vibrant fruits and vegetables, I stopped at a table filled with fungi. There were a few different types of mushrooms, and I decided to pick one at random. 

That was one of the best culinary choices and food experiences that I have ever made. 
I still do not know exactly what kind of mushroom I ate, but they were incredible and beyond any taste I would have ever expected from a mushroom. 

Now, I have stumbled upon this awesome mushroom kit that not only grows gourmet mushrooms, but uses recycled coffee grounds to do so! Awesome!


If anyone is looking for an unique gift for one of your foodie loved ones,(and you happen to know they love mushrooms like me! ) this would really make an impressive find! 


Monday, December 12, 2011

Crock Pot Apple Butter


Hello all! I miss you and I apologize for skipping out on Friday word day! The truth of the matter, is that I was feeling a bit under the weather and could not get myself motivated to turn on my little MacBook and type. After a nice weekend has past, I am finally feeling a bit better, and ready to have a great week. Christmas time is around the corner, and I am close to being ready for the holiday...how about you?
 As I was listening to my morning dose of NPR, it was interesting to hear a segment about 2011 Christmas gifts. This year, it is all about tech products, and not so much clothes...you don't have to go try on or guess at your loved ones sizes when buying digital gifts...makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

If you are not on the tech wagon and are making homemade gifts, I have one more for you that takes very little energy, but quite a few hours to make. Apple-butter is so delicious on warm toast and seems to taste of winter. Pairing a jar with a homemade label and some spiced tea would make would make this a lovely gift to any party host, family member, or friend... don't you think?

I hope you enjoy the recipe! Thank you teacherbyday,chefbynight for sharing this yummy recipe with us. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sitting by a Fire


Today is cold... that deep cold that seems to seep in through the cracks and chills you down to the bone...wouldn't it be a wonderful time to sit around a fire, sipping hot toddies with your loved ones? Sounds like my kind of night!

We do not have a fire place in our apartment, so I will not be sitting around one tonight, but I will be participating in the first meeting of my new book-club, and I am so excited to have the girls over later! Unfortunately, holiday plans have gotten in the way for some people... but the party must go on...book-talking, wine, and smores made over the flames from my indoor fire-pit... not a bad night indeed. What will you be doing this chilly night?



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Smiling Baby

Isn't this baby pacifier hilarious! Hope it put a smile on your face, like it did mine....oh babies! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Poop Happens



I know, I know...this is a very taboo topic... but I find myself sending this article to many people I know, and I might as well share it with all of you!

If you ever wanted to know my favorite organ, you would find no hesitation in my answer. It's the colon, and I think it is fascinating....with 80% of all human energy consumed by the act of digestion/eating ( Starting from putting the food in your mouth, and ending at the...end product.)...there is something to be said about the role of your large and small intestine.

Enough of that... just read the article! It will at least give you an insight of what is going on inside of you...Enjoy!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Kale and Roasted Vegetable Soup


Happy Monday! It's Day 1 for the detox, and I did not calculate how much harder it would be with all the wonderful holiday food around. In the winter, we eat foods that keep us warm, and this detox really limits a lot of flavor's (duh, it's a detox!)....an extra component to the challenge!

I found this awesome looking Kale and roasted vegetable soup recipe, I think it is a pretty tasty treat that works (with a few adjustments to ingredients) on this detox. We  are supposed to be eating mainly raw, but I think I am going to have to throw something warm into the mix to keep John on task (who wanted a bagel and cream cheese this morning, when we were only hours into the first day of our Detox!). 

If you are not on this Detox, please make, eat and enjoy this yummy soup!


Thank you simplyrecipes, for the yummy idea! 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Detox Time


Tomorrow is the first day of a mini-four-day-detox, and, as promised, I will break down every part of it!
I am going to attach a pyramid to give you an idea of where my mind is going... It is from Dr. Weil (one of my favorites!) and I love his thoughts on aging and inflamation. You see, the main stress on a body is inflamation...when there is something that does not feel right, your body will start to inflame as a protection mechanism... Through this, lots of your energy is wasted and your body is working over time to fix problems and function at normal capacity.
 You may start to feel sluggish, gain weight, have troubles focusing, have stronger food cravings for foods you know you shouldn't really be eating... and the list goes on.

My main goal for us, is to use a few days of our lives to reboot our body, minds, and tastebuds. Once you cut out junk, you will stop having cravings for it. After the detox, you are free to do what you like..but I am hoping this will help us all want to work out, eat right and maintain a health lifestyle...
The Rules:
(I do not believe in all liquid diets, so we will have some grains!)
Liquids: Water, Herbal tea (no caffine), 1 to 2 cups juice a day, veggie juice (if you have a juicer-if not you are totally allowed to get some at the store)
Grains: Brown rice (please try to buy organic), unsalted raw nuts, oats (as in any form of oatmeal you would like), millet, quinoa, spelt
Beans: Chickpeas, Navy beans, black beans, pinto beans (if any of these are canned, then drain and rinse before eating)
Fruits: At least 4 of apples, any berries, bananas, grapes, oranges, lemons and limes, pears,  grapfruits, kiwi and melons if they are still in season by you-but try not to because you want to eat close to what season. (so eat less bananas, kiwi and melon and eat more apples, grapefruits and pears) . You may also snack on dried fruit as well.  
Veggies: Any and all you want of Spinach, Kale, mixed baby greens, (really any greens minus butter lettuce and romain)  celery, cucumber, onion, peppers, carrots, broccoli, asparagus, garlic, root veggies (beets, celery root...) squash, cauliflower, cabagge,  zuchini, sprouting greens (alfalfa, bean sprouts...) - limited amount of corn, avocado, eggplant, mushrooms and tomatoes.
Seeds: Any that are unsalted and raw ( sunflower, pumpkin, chia, flax...)
Vinegar: Apple cider and balsamic
*If you feel like your sugar is low, reach for fruit -grapes and banana's have higher amounts of sugar, so you may want those for a quick fix.
*If you are feeling tired, reach for seeds. pumpkin, chia, sunflower..all are great energy boosters!
*If you are so starving and cannot take it, eat some brown rice or avocado, and drink lots of liquids..but DO NOT drink liquids while you are eating. Your body needs to break down the food without any extra liquid! It helps your tummy acids work more effeciently and you burn more calories (hence the french, italians and Germans never really drink water at the dinnertable!)
Stay away from: all seasonings, no dairy of any kind...actually no animal product for that matter (no meat, fish, poultry allowed). Be sparing on your oil use, and only extra virgin olive oil if any. Anything that has not made the list stay away from!

Portions:
  • Drink as much water and herbal tea as you would like. Try to drink warm lemon water right when you wake up and an hour before going to bed!
  • Drink only 1 or 2 cups of fruit juice IF it is 100% juice, and make sure that it is organic..if the ingredient list is longer than just the fruit, it is not what you want (because most juice has extra sugar)
  • Drink as much veggie juice as you want if you have a juicer.. I may be the only one, so if you go to the store and by carrot juice, that would be great! just mix your carrot and apple juice together for a wonderful treat! 
  • Try to eat your fruits before 7 pm
  • No food at all after 8pm
  • You are more than welcome to have 2 grains a day (so oatmeal in the AM and brown rice in the evening as an example) but NO MORE!!!!
  • Beans and nuts can be eaten once a day. NO MORE. 
  • Make your lunch heavy on veggies. 
  • Snacking in between your 3 to 5 meals is ok, but small snacks in the form of seeds, sprouts, veggies...
  • The less heat on your food the better... so steam veggies if you need to soften them! 
  • Eat less of the grains and beans and more of the veggies and liquids! 
  • One of your 3 meals or 2 of your 5 meals need to be mainly liquids.
This is not a detox that is super strict, but one that will clean out our palates, clean out our colons, and give your body a jump start on new habits. Lets start on Monday and end on Thursday this time around. 
Let me know your thoughts! and if you partner friends want to join, share the invite! If there is something you have a question on ASK!
Remember, if it is not on this list, than stay away!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Word Day


Happy Friday! Now that the week is winding down, it's time to take inventory of all that needs to get done, before the next wave of holidays are knocking at the front door...it is after all, the first week of December!
Today, Claire and I will be shopping around for boy-christmas-gifts. Why is it so easy to purchase gifts for girls, and infinitely harder to find the "right" present for the boys in our lives? Maybe this is just a problem we are having, but a problem non-the-less. 

Any "boy" gift ideas you want to share that were great in the past? 

Enjoy the weekend. Please take some time to relax, and get ready, because Monday is the day for the DETOX!!! I will post it on Sunday night, so that everyone can look it over. monday will be game day! 

Now for the festive Friday word:

Convivial: Fun-loving; found of eating, drinking, and merry company; jovial. 

*Synonyms: festive, cheerful, merry, pleasant, sociable.

Sounds like: [kuhn-viv-ee-uhl]

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Chile Infused Vodka





Are you making any of your gifts this holiday season? In the past, I have tried to give as many home-made gifts as I could...those were always my favorite (and still are!). This year, I was thinking of making some flavored vodka, and came across this infusion recipe at foodnetwork. How yummy would this be in a bloody mary or on the rocks? I have to try it! 



Ingredients:

  • One 750 ml bottle flavorless Vodka
  • 2 medium ancho chilies, wiped clean
  • 2 whole jalapeno chilies, washed and thoroughly dried

Directions:

In the original bottle or in a decorative bottle of your choice, combine the chilies with the vodka. Cap tightly and leave to infuse for 7 to 10 days in a dark place. Replace the original cap with a narrow liquor spout with a screen (available from bar suppliers). Use the infused vodka to make martinis or other cocktails, being aware that with every day the chili flavor will get stronger. If you plan to keep the vodka for more than 10 days more, it is advisable to strain out the chilies.


Another great recipe I found (and the picture above) came from thedogsbreakfast

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Spoiled Generation


Are we a spoiled generation? Was it our parent's who had nothing, and in return, gave us everything? I know this is not the story of my life, but it is the story of a lot of people I know, and a struggling dilemma for a lot of parents. It seems as though society makes it difficult for parents not to spoil their children... commercials, advertisements, school... toys, fashion, and new inventions are all around our pee-wee generation, and it is undeniably easier to give in than to hold one's ground. 

What kind of people do we grow up to be if we always had what we wanted?... how do we cope through times of failure without having the past ability of knowing how to react? 

I have been thinking about this a lot lately...not because I am ready for children, but because I see this disconnect everyday. All I have to do is walk down the street to the local stores around me and listen to the mommy's, daddy's and grandparent's giving into to demands placed on them by their little munchkins when they find something they want. 

And sometimes it is not the parents at all, but the outside world that spoils children. A family friend just took her little ones to a birthday party, and the toys they came back with in their goodie bags were nicer than other children would receive from Santa at Christmas. 

I am not saying that it is a bad or good thing, I am just letting you know what I have been thinking about and want to know your thoughts on the subject... Were you spoiled? Do you think it is a pro or a con for societies youth to have all the glitter and gold they could possibly want? 

All I know is that, amidst the plethora of toys my god-child has, her favorite one is still her "toy rock" that she found in her back yard...now what does that tell us?


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Organized Space

These pictures of organized space make me sooo happy! Just looking at them makes me want to put things away! Are you a person who likes to put things in there place?
I absolutely am... there is a satisfaction of finding a home for everything...Oh the lessons you learn from Mary Poppins...

Kitchen Pantry-Chalkboard door...
Kitchen cork-board for recipes and paper...
Amazing work space...
Serious use of natural color...
Cookbooks, with all different flatware...
Wonderful closet...
Fun beach house look...
Talk about making a brunch easy to plate...

Does this look like your house? 

Thank you Martha Stewart, Better Homes and Gardens and Espacio Vital for the wonderful pictures!

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