Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Packing Advice

My trip to Germany is around the corner and I am super excited to see my family! It will also be nice for my brother and I to see our grandfather finally back in his "homeland". When my grandfather and mother flew over a few weeks ago, the airlines lost one of their suitcases, which made me even more determined to make sure I fit everything in a carry-on. Here is a great list of advice from Real Simple that I will use this week!

I will blog this week about my recent visit from friends:) 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Happy Weekend

Happy Weekend!! What will you be up to? A few friends of mine will be in town for the and I know it is going to be a really good time! I hope you have a wonderful weekend with a lot of fun along the way - just remember that "A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men" - Willy Wonka 

P.S. We will be eating deep dish pizza tonight - wouldn't it be fun to make this at home though?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sea Salted Caramel Apples

I cannot believe it is already Thursday and I haven't posted anything yet - my bad! Truth be told, I haven't had the chance to look at other peoples blogs this week or catch up on other reading either. I've been battling some kind of cold that refuses to come out fully or go away. I know I need lots of water and rest, but I haven't gotten much of either, which means I haven't been listening to my body as well as I should! But, today is a new day - I will work on both and by this weekend, I hope to be refreshed! Speaking of this weekend, I am hoping to make these sea salt caramel apples (below). Salty+sweet treats are always so satisfying and there is no time like the present for apples in the Midwest!

(Picture and Recipe from dulanotes.com)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fall Side Dishes

It totally feels like Fall in Chicago and it makes me want to start cooking! John calls me Queen of the side dish, because I tend to make a lot of them and forget about a main dish:)
Here are some awesome Fall inspired sides from The Food Network - I plan on making them all!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Book Club

Happy Monday - I have a feeling this is going to be a great week! Book club is tonight and it's my turn to pick out the next read. I'm still debating between Firefly Lane and The Cukoo's Calling.... Wish we could read both! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Apple Bread

(Picture and recipe from: A Farmgirl Dabbles)

Happy Hump Day! Tonight I am going to make some apple bread for a snack. I've never actually made apple bread, so I'm excited to try it out! Here is the recipe I will go off of if you want to make some with me! Hopefully by 2014, I will have both zucchini and apple bread recipes that are calorie worthy!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Busy Day

Oh what a day this has been already! The car won't start and needs a new battery, John's phone decides that it has lived long enough and breaks, my train to work gets stuck on the tracks for what seemed like forever (but in reality was about 15 minutes), our to - do list seems to be 5 miles long and work is crazy busy! Instead of getting overwhelmed , I've decided to look at all of this as an adventure - don't you think a true adventure starts when everything stops working correctly? 
I refuse to dread the rest of the day! Tonight will be the night we take on as a challenge! Let's see if we can complete cleaning our place, picking up a new phone for John, working out, making dinner, grocery shop, finishing the laundry... You know what, I won't bore you with the rest of the list, but the point I am attempting to reiterate is that, life is always throwing unwanted tasks our way, and it is up to us to decide if they are worth stressing about or not. In the end, time will pass and all will eventually be OK - so stress wisely.

In the meantime, I have found an easy list of salads that will cut down on dinner time (they all look amazing)- Thank you Martha for saving my dinner butt again!!

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Here I am at 27! When I was in high school, I was convinced I would have been married to my high school sweetheart, have had one baby and another on the way, own a big house on a lake and also have a phenomenal career. In my naivete, I believed I would always be healthy, strong and know exactly what I wanted in life.

Then, life happened. There were twists and turns only God could have predicted. There were high points that surpassed my dreams and low points that I wouldn't have believed without living them.

Yes, there is much more that I still do not know, but here is what I have learned thus far.

1. The energy you put out in this World will come back to you in fold, so if you are kind to yourself and to others, you will surely find kindness heading your way.
2. Never be afraid to question, but have your limit. If something is good/feels good, allow it to be.
3. Water is a body and minds best friend so drink up!
4. Do not take yourself so seriously - laughter heals most wounds.
5.  Life is fleeting, so enjoy and respect the present.

Never in my wildest dreams, did I think I would have the friends that I do. Thank you for showing me what true beauty is and accepting me, beauty marks and scars included. I was blessed to be born into a family that taught me the true meaning of love and humility - those lessons are the foundation of who I am, and without you, I would not be me. Lastly, without meeting John, I would not have believed love reached as far and wide as it does. Thank you for showing me the importance of standing up for myself and how to accept love for what it is. Above all else, thank you for showing me how amazing this life can be.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Heather and Donny's Wedding

(The Beautiful Couple!)

(John with the puppies Sunday - Nap time! )

I hope everyone had a great weekend! We were extremely busy - but for a good cause. John and I had the pleasure of being a part of our good friend's wedding (Heather and Donny). John was in the wedding party and I was busy taking pictures:) They are both such amazing people and it was our privilege to be a part of their day. 
Our Sunday was extremely lazy and I think we are still recovering! Hopefully we will be in good shape by my birthday...
Tonight is a night of rest and catching up on my reading after I get my tooth fixed. My Mom just told me about a documentary called Buck, and it looks really good, so I will put that on my list to watch tonight as well!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Background Music

"You know, one of the tragedies of real life is that there is no background music." - Annie Proulx

Friday, August 16, 2013

Enjoy your weekend!

Enjoy your weekend and take time to have some dessert... I don't know about you, but I could go for this recipe - popcorn and M&M's :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Weekend Wedding Highlights

Hello There! I have been exhausted from all my travels lately, and haven't been able to find a calm enough moment to write - But as I have found one, I will share with you a bit about the weekend.

The weekend started with a visit to my Opa's house. Here is Gretchen, our family dog. It is hard to believe she is nine years old already. It's even harder to believe I've been in Chicago for eight of her nine years! She is a rock in our family and has been the favorite child since the day she was carried in our door. My mother always wanted a third, so it was fitting that my father bought her and we took her before he past - a parting gift to my mother if you will. 

As I left Cleveland and entered into New York State, I could not stop staring out the window (was not the one driving, so don't worry!). What a beautiful World we live in... if only humans reflected more of the peaceful nature and less of the natural disasters.

What a Bride! Cam is always gorgeous, but she was a serious beauty on her wedding day. The wedding was outside on the top of a ski hill, and the weather was as perfect a day as ever. 

Night crept in and the party ended shortly after. I can honestly say it was a night to remember - a night to live for. Celebrating the love and commitment of two people you deeply care about is probably one of the most important celebrations still around (and should be around for anyone and everyone). I was happy to be a part of it, to share my loving energy with them, and to be surrounded for an entire weekend by feelings of pour good and happily ever after.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Cam's Wedding Day

Tomorrow, I will be flying to Cleveland to partake in my high school besties wedding. You cannot be by these two without feeling their love and smiling - they are meant to walk this earth together, and I feel honored to be a part of their very special day. Will update with pictures soon:) 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Lemon S'mores

Lately, I have been craving lemony things. There are not too many desserts (in my humble opinion) that can rival a lemon bar..  at least I thought that before I found a recipe on Cooking Classy for Lemon Smore's - My mind was blown! You don't just have to have a s'more with chocolate and marshmallows - you can do pretty much anything in-between two graham crackers... Why didn't I think of this before? After all, s'more's happen to be my ultimate favorite dessert in the World. I will be making these soon, and cannot wait to try out fruit and nut butters as well! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Happy Friday

Happy Friday! Here is a little quote to take with you this weekend:

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
- Dalai Lama

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Perfect Popsicles

I kind of love the Whole Foods Blog... They have some yummy recipes and useful tips and tutorials as well - like how to make the best popsicles ever. It seems like I write about popsicles a lot in the Summer and that's because they are the absolute perfect snack. Speaking of... I could use a popsicle right now!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Mac and Cheese Bake

P.S. Doesn't this mac and cheese look so amazing? I may have to make it for our next get-together!

A Surprise Gift

After work, I was a little sad about coming home without being able to see John and give him a hug goodbye before his trip - After taking Ballou out, I walked into our bedroom to a very sweet goodbye note, a new helmet for my bike and a FitBit - It was like Christmas in July! 

It's true that I am not the most graceful and/or coordinated of bike riders, so this helmet will absolutely come in handy  - as well as put John and my friends (Maggie!!) at ease when they ride with me. My bike goal right now is to stop blowing through stop signs :) 

I usually do not brag, but I just felt like I needed to share my happiness. Big thank you to my best friend and the most amazing man I know! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Reading Time

John is leaving for San Diego today, which leaves me with a few days of reading!! Once again, I am into another Pat Conroy novel - South of Broad - His books are hard for me to start because I know I cannot put them down until the very end. Our next book club book is going to be, A Midwife's tale; The life of Martha Balard, based on her diary , 1785 - 1812. Follow along if you can!

Besides that, I will be making housewarming gifts for two of my friends that just moved - I am thinking of filling a cookie jar with dish towels, nice soaps and random kitchen supplies they might need. Here are a few items that will absolutely make it into both gifts! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Stack Wines

Have you seen these cleverly named "Stack wines" yet? They seem to be popping up everywhere and would be so easy to travel with on picnics and to the beach! It is also nice to have a serving of wine poured out already so you know how much you are consuming. I am totally going to try them out and hopefully they will be my new adult juice box:)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer Goals

Voom - the weekend is over and Monday is well on its way! 
How is it that summer days seem shorter, even though they are technically longer? Yesterday, I painted my nails a fun color, and was so proud of myself for sitting still long enough to let them dry... or so I thought...

... It turns out I did not sit still long enough to let them really dry, and ended up smooshing them right after I took this picture - thankfully I did have this as evidence!

As for those popsicles I was supposed to make, I am behind on that as well. We ended up grabbing ice cream instead from our favorite local spot - I got a  scoop of peach! 

(Yes, that is considered one scoop!)

Moving ahead this week, I am ready to implement my Summer goals that I have not been taking seriously - getting back to the gym at least 5 days a week and cutting back on snacking throughout the day... What are your Summer goals? Maybe we can work on motivating each other!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Happy Weekend!

The heat wave in the Midwest is supposed to end tonight - that means it is safe to romp around again!

I will hopefully be at the beach (with John and an umbrella) for part of the day tomorrow. My plan is to make these pineapple lime basil popsicles tonight, so we can snack on them when we get back!  

Have fun and stay hydrated! 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mom Dancing

When John and I biked to Burger Fest last weekend, we were already in great moods. How could you not be happy walking around and eating yummy food while listening to the live music? I didn't think the day could get better... Until we stopped at the front stage again and caught a glimpse of the "mom dancer" - as John named her. Seeing how happy she was made everyone around her smile! I love people that can let loose and not worry about judgement - maybe at the next festival we go to, I will get out there by myself and shake my tail feather - I dare you to do the same!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dreaming in Vanilla

Last week I was cleaning the house and happened to have a cooking show on. I wasn't fully paying attention what was being made, but I did turn around to see the chef scrapping the vanilla caviar out of the bean.... and have not stopped thinking about it yet! There are a few flavors that can live up to vanilla, and fresh vanilla bean in anything can be counted on as delicious. 

Here are three recipes I found that will hopefully quench my vanilla taste buds! 

I would love to bring these Vanilla cupcakes to a party! 

Alton Brown is one of my favorites, and I have a feeling his Vanilla ice cream recipe would be a quick favorite. This is on my list-to-make,once I get an ice cream attachment for my KitchenAid mixer:)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Warm Weather Weekend

 Dull moments were hard to come by this weekend! It is weekends like this that give me a greater appreciation for my life.
 Time flew with book club, street festivals, lounging at the beach, bike rides and dinner with friends. Monday did come quick, but being satisfied with the weekend made starting a new week feel a bit better somehow. 

Tonight, I am going to make a big salad and some baked mozzarella sticks for dinner! Have you ever made them at home? Hopefully they are as easy as they look. Have a great night with whatever you do:)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer Grilling

There is seriously no better time than the summer for grilling out - everything seems to be in season and at the peak of yummyness! 

Our grill is a bit small for any major grilling, but for two people, it works perfectly. Yesterday John was manning our grill and was complaining that my veggies were hogging most of the space. As you can see from this picture, we had about one veggie skewer too many. In the end, John got everything to fit...Dinner was a bit burnt, but John has the rest of the summer to work on his grill techniques! 

Have a wonderful weekend, and take some time to relax!

P.s. Here is an awesome Sriracha marinade recipe for grilling chicken - and if you are a veggie lover like me, here is a portobello marinade I want to try as well!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

New Looks For Julesmoksha

As you might have noticed...
I have been playing around with a few new looks! 
Hopefully I will settle on something I love soon, but until then, I apologize for the constant 

Here are pretty pictures of flowers from around town to make it up to you:)

(Yes, that is an old Banksy in the background!)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Banana Ice-Cream

Happy Monday:) 

I hope everyone had a great weekend - the weather in Chicago was perfectly nice, but now it is raining and a bit sad outside. No outdoor concert for us afterall ... 

Instead, I will make this banana ice-cream for Ballou and John. It looks so good and  calls for only two ingredients - cannot wait to try it out! 

Friday, July 5, 2013

This Summer

This Summer is finally feeling like a real summer! I say that because it has been more like Fall than Summer... And even though Fall is my favorite season, it still does not belong right now - all seasons need their time to shine, so hopefully the weather will stay beautiful for the next two months and Summer can live out in its full beauty! 

This past Monday, Jess, Mike, John and I all went to Millenium Park for the free music- what an awesome view we had from our picnic blankets! We will be going this upcoming Monday as well before Jess and Mike leave for NYC - just to soak up those last memories.

I hope you had a great 4th and enjoy your weekend with whatever you will be up to! Sending my love and good energy~


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