Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween




Happy Halloween! Are you dressing up for the day? Ballou told me she wanted to dress up as Santa Claus, but when it was time to put on the costume, she was none-to-happy with me...hmmm, maybe I misunderstood her...

When I was watching Sunday Morning Show, this segment about dressing animals came on and it made me laugh (click above link to watch). What is our human fascination with dressing up our little beasts? Are we that worried they will feel left out? Between John's distaste for Halloween, and Ballou's lack of interest in her costume, I am the only one who will have to take this holiday head on! But then again, it's so much more fun to dress up Ballou than it is myself...
  I decided not to torture Ballou all day with her costume, but I will save it for Christmas, just in case I find her in more festive of a mood!




Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Word Day


What will you be up to this Halloween weekend? John hates Halloween, and does not want to dress up... I didn't even know not liking Halloween was an option? What is going on with people not liking holidays? Has the World turned into Scroog-land? It is my opinion, the crux of this notlikingholidays issue, is that Americans don't have enough holidays to celebrate in general, therefore see the ones we do have as more of a chore than a gift.
 Everyday can be a celebration! I wonder if Occupy Wall Street people could help me implement a bi-weekly Holiday...I should start it, Occupy Holiday!
Ok, Ok, I know that would also be a lot of work, but I think it could really jump-start our economy! (I can feel my Uncle Mike and Eddy rolling their eyes at me just about now).

I will stop with my mini tangent, but would love to hear your opinion on this matter! Are you a Holiday Hoochie like me, or a Bah-Humbug like John? 

Either way, I love you anyways and hope you enjoy your weekend... and here is your Friday word!

Crux -a basic, decisive, vital, or pivotal point 


* Synonyms: essence, heart, core

P.S. Crux can also mean a perplexing difficulty, or can be another word for cross as well...just letting you know! 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Just Keep Swimming!

(Picture of John and I from summer...less swimming and more relaxing with friends!)

Have you been swimming lately? Lordy, I decided to add it into my workout, and I don't remember it being so challenging. Didn't I spend my childhood summers swimming around in a pool? Wasn't I in good enough shape to jump right in like Phelps? nope!
You see, my anxiety has been running a bit on the higher side lately, and I thought a great workout would really help to calm me down...swimming sounds perfect right? Wrong! Well, wrong if you made your goal 20 laps like I did. By the second lap, I wanted to go home...but I stuck it out and made it through all 20 of my striving-oh-so-high goal!

By the time I got home and showered, my energy was zapped and my body felt extremely sore, (and not the good sore). Frantic to feel better, I shoved two banana's, a handful of carrots, water and tea down my throat...that didn't help as quickly as I was hoping it too, so I called John, who laughed and told me to relax and watch a movie...seeing as I am horrible at relaxing for long periods of time, I decided to go on a little walk and come home to do what always helps me feel better...window-web shop!

If I were a real swimmer, this would be my wish list:
Even though swimming presented itself as a great challenge than I predicted, I know that I will keep add it. Just the amount of air you get into your lungs is amazing, and I know my immune system will stay stronger throughout winter because of it. Do you swim all season long? Any swimming tips you want to share? Don't be a stranger, let me know!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Pumpkins Life



 It's still Pumpkin season, and I am loving every second of it! Pumpkins on porches, in windows and reasturants... But do you know how long pumpkins actually last? I didn't...so I did some digging, and found some useful information:

  • Pumpkins can last around 8 to 10 weeks, if they were picked disease free and healthy
  • The best temperature to store pumpkins is between 50 and 55 degrees (Fahrenheit)
  • The best pumpkins are those with their stems still on, but carry it by the bottom, and not the stem itself.
  • There are more than 200 types of Halloween type pumpkins, and they can range from 1 to 150 pounds!
Here is the link to NPR's article if you want more Pumpkin knowledge!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Indo Boards!


     Sometimes, getting to the gym becomes a super pain in the rump, don't you agree? On those can't-leave-the-house-days, I have been looking for something that is easy to do at home, but still gives you a great workout... and I think I have found it! The Indo-Board!! It does not take up much room, strengthens your core, and seems really fun. The board was originally made for surfers who wanted to stay in shape out of the water, but I think it can be beneficial for any and everybody (I mean, it almost has perfect ratings on every website I visit!). This board is definitely on my Christmas list. Check out this video of a girl rocking out on her Indo-Board...hopefully, that will be me soon!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Do You Chew?


When you are eating a meal, how many times do you actually chew each bite? I remember watching my brother eat... shoveling food into his mouth without taking a break to finish chewing the food that's already there... I would be mesmerized... seriously, how does that work?
I know it's a known fact that taking your time while eating, and chewing your food more is a good thing, but now research has come out with specifics on how much it helps! According to Health Magazine, October 2011, Chewing each bite 40 times (usually we chew around 15 times) may help you eat around 12 calories less per meal. Chewing more is also found to prevent hunger by lowering the hormone ghrelin (an appetite-stimulating hormone) and increasing cholecystokinin (an appetite-reducing hormone).

Think about how quickly those calories add up just by slowing down and chewing more! I am absolutely going to keep this in mind, and chew a little extra before swallowing that bite!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Word Day...


Happy Friday! Did you know I like words? Actually it's more of a love thing than a like thing, but I guess that's not either here not there... There are so many wonderful words that, I believe, do not get enough use... If "a word is a bridge between myself and another" -Mikhail Bakhtin , then why not use more expressive words to build those connections? Every Friday I will post a word that I think should be utilized more, and lets all try to incorporate that word in our weekend conversations! Wonderful fun!

Ok here is our first Friday word:

Epicure- A person with refined taste, especially in food and wine. 

*Synonym: Gourmet 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dogeared Necklaces

For my birthday, my sister gave me a wonderful charm necklace. My charm was a little gold wing, and on the card came a mantra that read "I am healthy and my body is strong". What an amazing gift! The company she found the necklace from is called Dogeared, and they have the most amazing charm necklaces for almost any occasion you would want to celebrate. I will totally keep them in my back pocket when in need of a meaningful gift. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Split Pea Julia's Way

 
  As you may already know, Julia Child's is one of my hero's! I mean, how can you not love a woman with that kind of passion, curiosity and excitement for life? She was not afraid to try new things, take a leap of faith, get messy, or make mistakes; making her recipes that much more fabulous. One of my favorite adopted recipe from Julia Child's, is Simply Recipes take on her Split Pea Soup from her cookbook, The Way To Cook. It is the perfect soup for a cold and rainy day...I think I will make some right away. Bon Appetit!

P.S. To make it a vegetarian soup, omit the ham hacks and just add a veggie bullion cube to flavor!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday's Great Space


Happy Tuesday! Don't you want to be this doggie right now... I love this relaxed space. Stacked cushions and slip covered furniture makes for a more comfortable "My home is your home" kind of feel...

Thanks to House Beautiful for sharing Ellen O'Neill's great space!

Monday, October 17, 2011

As We Grow...


How was your weekend? Did you get to do all you wanted? My main weekend activity was celebrating  Jessica's (one of my very best friends) birthday. In an attempt to be Ms. Crafty, I decided to buy a good bottle of wine and turn it into the her birthday card... Unfortunately, I ended up eating a bad breakfast and found myself in the bathroom for most of the day...gross, I know! As I was on the phone with another friend (first, informing her of the horrors that came after breakfast) I started telling her about Jessica's party, and she immediately pointed out it was a 1/2 hour before I was supposed to leave...crap!  I had not even started to get ready, let alone create my birthday wine-card!

Time to get to work! I measured out my card-stock to make sure the label I was supposed to peel off was covered...then wrote a little message, attached the picture I printed (thank the Lord I took care of that days before) and got tape out...now, the original plan was to do more of modge podge, decoupagey thing, but my new time constraints left me with little choice. Once I started taping, my cute little present went ugly. The tape bubbled and made lines all over the picture...worst of all, I was in such a hurry, I forgot the S on the word Cheers... (Cheer to 25... Oh, great!)... disappointed with my craft job, I decided to give her the crappy card anyways...

Jessica's first comment upon opening her present..."nice tape job...your so cute"...

It was the perfect gift for Jessica, and the next time I create what's really in my head, I know she will be super impressed!

The best part of being with real friends is that they love you unconditionally... no matter how dorky you act, or how un-crafty your birthday cards are. They love you for you, and that is the most amazing gift anyone could ever have. Jessica is just that kind of friend, CheerS to 25 Jessica and to another year of memories! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Berry Pie Kinda Weekend


Lately, I have been thinking a lot about pie... I do not know why really. It's not that I have the largest sweet tooth... and I don't eat pie on the regular...
Well, whatever it is that's making me think of pie so much has me really focused on learning how to make the perfect home-made pie crust. I have heard chefs say that making crust can be one of the most challenging culinary feats. 101 CookBooks had a post a little bit ago about Berry Pie, and then another on Maple Buttermilk Pie. The pie crust on both seem not too challenging to master... so I will start with the Berry, and see how the crust turns out. I am hoping to be in expert territory by Christmas (here's to my fellow optimists!)...let the pie-games begin!

Any suggestions or secrets to making the perfect pie-crust?

With or without pie, I hope your weekend is sweet! 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

You and I BY: Ingrid Michaelson


It's time my ukulele gets more use, and this Ingrid Michaelson song became a new inspiration for me to practice... Seriously, I feel like I wrote this song to John... she is so cute, the song is so awesome, I am loving the name Ingrid and I cannot wait to be a pro at her song on my uke!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stay-in Bed Day


On the go,go,go this morning and still soooo sleepy  -very strange for me, as I am one of those annoying morning people- but not today I guess...no, no. Today I didn't really feel like getting out of bed... It's one of those, stay-in-bed/movie-watchen/ordering-in/nap-till-noon kinda days...I think it is going to rain later today anyways...
 Stay-in-bed-days are just not the same when you don't have a friend with you, and I think I would really go crazy after a few hours of staying still..Probably a good thing John is at work, and I am on a search for work... no lazy days over here. Maybe my coffee will snap me back in work mode...wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bottle Bouquet


I totally dig this Bottle Bouquet idea! Seriously, why have I not thought of something like this yet...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Camping


As far back as I can remember, camping has always been a constant activity that threaded through my life. When I asked John if he would like to plan a trip this year, the answer was a strong and determined NO...I am shocked that people actually do not enjoy camping! Ok, I get that there are bugs, and a lack of electricity, bathrooms and heating/cooling... but there is so much to experience without our common amenities around  holding our hands.

A friend and I stumbled upon my camping dilemma problem while chatting it up during lunch this past weekend, and she promised to help plan a trip in a cabin this fall... I am hoping John will have so much fun and maybe I could convince him to move onto a tenting trip!

This week I will (hopefully) start organizing a group of people and our little cabin-camping trip. When I started to think about supplies I need to buy I put a trip to REI on my to-do list, but these fast drying travel towels I found from The Container Store are super useful and pretty neat!

What are your thoughts on camping? Are you one with the great outdoors, or more of an indoor kinda person?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Weekend Whereabouts

Where will you be this weekend? The weather is Chicago is absolutely beautiful, so Ballou and I will be spending as much time outside as we possibly can! The leaves are changing. Green to red, orange, yellow and brown. As they crunch under my feet, I revisit memories of raking large piles of leaves together with the neighborhood kids and taking turns to see who can take the biggest jump into the pile...What is your favorite Fall memory?

...Happy weekend...Happy Fall...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ice Balls

I once heard that Japanese cooks start off with learning how to shape ice into perfect circles before they learn anything with food. Circle cubes melt a lot slower, thus keeping your drink cooler and less watery for longer. What a great idea...but who is going to do all of that work? In a search, I found the company,  Prepara, who makes ice ball molds that can be filled with anything you like...mint leaves, lemon slices, a splash of juice, cucumbers, a flower... Check them out, and dress up your drinks!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Square One

Square One... I seem to find myself in this square more than any other square. It's really not a bad place to be per se...It's just the beginning...again.
Beginnings...better than the end in most cases. The land of fresh starts, open fields and open pages... Beauty lies in the creativity of square one; giving you the adrenaline to make it into square two . Here, you can put on a new pair of glasses and choose to see your future in whatever way you feel like seeing it. Whether they are metal or plastic, clear or tortoise shell...it is a choice left up to you.
Oprah once said, "as you become more clear about who you really are, you'll be better able to decide what is best for you- the first time.", and I guess that is what happens when you can turn around, and see square one a million miles away. Until then, I am still laughing, crying, loving and learning in square one... always preparing to make it into the next square of life.


What square do you find yourself in?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

In-Season List


Trying to eat seasonal can be tricky to do at times in Western culture. Even when the seasons change, our grocery stores remain as colorful and uni-seasonal as ever. Eating foods in season are a fresher and more natural choice for your body. But how do we know what and when food is in season? I found a cool website that will break all of the months/locations down for you to see.


They even change the list of fresh produce from the beginning and end of months! Check it out, and see what's locally in-season around you! 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ten Odd Beauty Products Throughout History


Are you a home remedy kind of person? I know that I am... examples you ask? I use olive oil to help with dry skin, petroleum jelly as my eye cream, and coffee grinds mixed with honey for my weekly facial scrub. The home remedy way has always been more fulfilling to me... I mean, at least I know 100% what I am using on my body...

Here is an article (posted below) that I have found on TLC's website, highlighting ten different products used in beauty regiments throughout the ages. It might be shocking to know what is actually in the products we regularly spend so much money on. I know some of the ingredients really surprised me!



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