Sunday, December 22, 2013

4 Things.

Hello and Merry Christmas week!
Let's hope your shopping is finished and your refrigerator is stocked and you are taking some time to relax this week! My best holiday shopping tip is: Create a wish list on amazon throughout the year, gathering ideas for your family and friends, then when it's time to do your shopping, you can finish it off in no time!

This would make a simple and easy addition to the cookie platter.  So pretty too!
A yummy appetizer, could even serve on New Year's Eve!
I'm buying one of these, to make tags out of anything!
And finally, if you don't happen to live in a winter wonderland like I do, wintery scenes to make at home. (I can just look out my window.)
Merry Christmas to you and yours!!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

4 Things.

I took this picture about a week ago.  Pretty, no?  But also a cold, hard dose of reality.  It's been cold, really cold this past week.  It's been tough to take.  But I guess I better get used to it.  No signs of warming up any time soon!  I've been reading lots of books, watching Lifetime Holiday movies and drinking lots of hot tea.  It looks like the weather has been pretty miserable everywhere, so I'm not in it alone! Stay warm!

It's soup weather, all over the country. I made this delicious one for dinner tonight.  Highly recommend!
Easy holiday appetizers.
The perfect thing to do with all those bottle brush trees I keep buying.
Adorable free printable reindeer holiday card.  Perfect to tie on top of a present!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

4 Things.

Wishing a very happy Thanksgiving week to you!  If you're traveling, I hope you reach your final destination as planned and with peace.  Where ever you are, be there with a thankful heart.

Here's an alternative holiday dessert, low fat too!  Skinny Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars.
This would make an easy, simple and modern hostess gift for a thanksgiving guest or would look really pretty on the buffet table, for a thanksgiving host.
If you're acting as a guest this week, perhaps you might like to offer to make breakfast!  Maybe this Hash Brown Quiche?
And finally, the Essential Thanksgiving.  Sometimes you can't mess with tradition.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

4 Things

Are you enjoying the fall weather where you are?  Earlier last week, it was unbearably cold here in Minneapolis, but by Thursday, regular fall weather resumed, thank goodness.  Thanksgiving is almost here!  My favorite holiday.  I can't wait to visit my family, very soon!
And with that, here are some seasonal posts from around the web:
Pomegranates are in season and are popping up in the produce department. A friend of mine was eating this at lunch last week and I had to have the recipe!  Yum.
Apple season is a big deal here in the upper Midwest.  And locally picked apples really are so much better than the one bought in the grocery store.  I sort of overbought at the last farmer's market of the season, last weekend.  In order to use a few up, and make dinner, I plan on making this recipe for Pork Chops with Apple Chutney.
The 10 Laws of Thanksgiving Dinner.
Maybe you're not making thanksgiving dinner and you're a guest.  Wouldn't this Pumpculent make a lovely hostess gift?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

4 Things

It is just me, or does November 1st feel like the beginning of the holiday season?  I'm excited about the holidays.  There have been lots of changes (umm...big move to a new city) and I'm looking forward to some traditions.  And to see my family!
I haven't made any jewelry lately. 
-I love this new Friendship Bracelet idea.
-Or how about this pretty glass bracelet?
Thanksgiving is right around the corner!  I might convince my family to try this Roasted Cranberry Sauce, this year.
If you're planning on any handmade gifts this year, it's time to get started!   I like this simple, but pretty pot holder.  And it uses up fabric scraps!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

4 (ok, 5) Things.

Hi Friends!  I completely forgot to post last week.  Sorry!  I'm back and doing well.  It was REALLY cold here last week.  It came up sort of suddenly, which was a little tough to take. But it's been much warmer this weekend.  And the fall colors are lovely.  Especially when seen around a lake.  We have a few of those around here. And now onto to my favorite  things I've found on the internet this week.
-Some things are just silly enough to crack me up.  Brides throwing cats
-Have you heard of Humans of New York?  It's a beautiful and honest account of the people one photographer sees day to day in NYC.  His book recently came out!  You can also follow Brandon Stanton's blog here.
-This would be a really fun Halloween treat
-I have a love hate relationship with the shellac manicure.  Love the long lasting manicure, hate the difficult removal and the weakening of my nails.  I can't wait to try the new Vinylux manicure!

And a bonus link: Roasting pumpkin seeds

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Four Things

Autumn.  Glorious.  Really, really beautiful here in the upper Midwest! I had trouble downloading my own picture, so you'll have to appreciate this one. Unbelievable fall color!  Next week, I promise to download my own pictures of the MN Fall glory!
Like most people, I love my iphone!  But I hate how smudgey the touch pad gets.  This is such a clever DIY!
Here are some fun Halloween printables.  I love the little bats!
These Sashiko Sampler Potholders would make the best Christmas presents!
Fear of Flying, was assigned reading when I took creative writing in college.  At the time, so provocative!  Hard to believe it's 40 years old!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

4 Things.

Hmm.  I'm suffering from writer's block.  I'm thinking about going to bed early.  And what I'm going to wear to work tomorrow.  Now that I can't wear jeans, it's a thing.  Everyday.  Except Friday.  Ok, I'll happily accept that I have nothing to write about and will get on to the main event.  This week's 4 Things.  Have a great week!!

A free printable of my favorite quote.
I'm still looking for some throw pillows.  Maybe I should just make my own?
It's almost October, how adorable is this Halloween treat?
And another fun October idea, a pumpkin house number.  So clever!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

4 Things.

Hello, Friends!  Sorry I missed posting last week.  I had been visiting my family and just plum forgot!  Chances are, I was sleeping when I should have been blogging. 
Happy First Day of Fall!  By far my favorite season. The weather has
been nothing short of glorious here in Minnesota.  Sunny and highs in the low 70s.  And just today, I started to notice some leaves changing color.  I know that it will be bitterly cold before I know it, so I'm spending as much time as possible outside. 
And with that, here's this week 4 things. A sort of autumnal edition.
I love to bake, but rarely do.  But may have to try my hand at this Fresh Apple Cake.
Another yummy baking activity could be these Skinny Pumpkin Spiced Snickerdoodles.
You know I love chili and can't wait to try this Vegetarian Black Bean Chili recipe.
And with the onslaught on colder weather, we'll need some crafts to do.  How about this Perfect Whatever Bag?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

4 Things.

While we may be headed straight for fall, I still think there's a little time for Chopped Chicken and Couscous Salad. There's still a few good week's of Farmer's Markets left here in Minnesota.

With cooler temps heading our way, how about stitching up a reusable coffee cup sleeve?

This post took me way back, to when I was about 14.  My first kiss was with a boy in an empty class room after chapel (I went to parochial school).  Do you remember yours?

I have two of these "economical" lamps.  I'm considering getting rid of them, but perhaps I'll recreate them!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

4 Things.

Good heavens.  We are having a unprecedented heat wave here in the upper Midwest and it's been so, so very hot!    A month ago I was complaining that it was too cold and that I miss true summer weather.  Be careful what you wish for, right?  I can't complain too much, I have air conditioning at home and at work.

While I'm surviving a heatwave, it's hard to believe that I will need soup recipes, but I'm certain that the winter will come fast and furious soon enough.  So how about this Crock Pot Creamy Tomato Soup

And while we're still suffering through the heat, how about some popsicles?

Love this bedroom!

Air plants + String art!

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Map.

I have a big empty wall that I've been trying to fill in my bathroom.  Trying to fill it with something interesting, colorful and inexpensive.  Something to off set my rather serious gray stripe shower curtain.  I really like my shower curtain, but needed to introduce a little color.  I was in a fun little shop over the weekend that had a bin of old maps and other papers, each for $2 or $3.  And that's when I came across this map.  It's really nothing special.  Just an old AAA map for $2.  But I thought that if I threw it in a frame, it might brighten up the place.  I bought a standard poster frame, trimmed the map down a little, stuck it in the frame and bravely hung it on the wall.
Exactly the look I was going for.  Bright, cheerful, simple. 
At the same fun little shop, I purchased this little piece of string art.  It was only $22 and I could not pass it up!  (If you ever find yourself in Minneapolis, I highly recommend you stop in Piccadilly Prairie!)
Here it is hung on the opposite wall, with a few other things I've had for a long time. 
And with that, my bathroom is complete!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

4 Things.

I've been fighting a bad case of wanderlust lately.  I'm used to being a fairly frequent traveler and since my job doesn't require travel, it seems strange to not make a monthly (or so) visit somewhere.  Getting used to it, but a strange feeling.  One tip I received when moving to Minneapolis, to help in getting through the winter, was to plan a winter getaway somewhere warm.  So that's exactly what I'm doing! 

And now onto this week's 4 Things:
I'm anticipating a colder than I'm used to winter here in Minneapolis, perhaps I need to make a new throw to keep me warm?
-Letting go of insecurities....  Easier said than done.
-Mini-Pancake Push Pops?  Yes, please!
-I'm late to this party (I believe it was the hot book last year.)  But have you read Girl Gone by Gillian Flynn yet?  I'm not finished yet, but it's so good!  I highly recommend it.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

4 Things.

Hello, friends!  Hope everyone is having a great weekend.  After an unseasonably cold summer here in Minnesota, the weather has warmed up this past weekend.  It finally feels like summer!  I plan on heading down to the pool this afternoon.  Must soak it up while it lasts!

And now a few things I found on the web this week...
-I have not been cooking much since I moved, but need to get back into it!  I think I'll make this yummy recipe this week.
-A few creative apps for your ipad.
-12 things you own too many of.  Take it from the girl who just moved and is STILL GETTING RID OF STUFF.  It's annoying.  Get rid of stuff you don't need!  Once you started, it gets easier, I promise.  And be really careful about what you bring home.  I feel like this is a big lesson that I've learned this summer.
-Here's a fun take on a classic dessert.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

4 Things

A dandelion fountain! 

Change often teaches you something about yourself.  Sometimes big things, sometimes little things.  A little lesson I recently learned about myself is that I hate furniture shopping.  If you know me at all, you know that I love shopping.  For just about anything.  (But I dislike malls, perhaps that's for another day.)  But what is it about furniture?  It's not even about the money.  I made a point to set aside money once I knew I was moving just for this purpose.  I've been getting completely hung up on interior design.  What is my style?  I'm not entirely sure.  Since I'm a grown up now, I'm trying to curate a well put together look instead of just buying stuff.  I think I'm getting there.  I bought a couch the 2nd day I was in Minneapolis and I've also purchased a coffee table. The media console was completely a different story.  I've been shopping for one for weeks and weeks on end.  Finally, yesterday, I actually bought one!  I'm happy I held out for one that I really like.  And that it has storage.  It's the one in the middle of the picture below.  Whew. 

I purchased it at a crazy small and congested furniture store called Nadeau.  As you can see in this picture, they had things stacked up at least 3 high! In a mass produced, Ikea world (not that there is anything wrong with Ikea, I have plenty of things from there too), they have a different approach.  Their tag line is "Furniture with a Soul."  From their website: "we are dedicated to enhancing our customers' lives by consistently discovering and offering unique, handcrafted and affordable furniture that brings beauty, warmth, and a bit of authentic, ethnic culture into their homes."  Nothing is mass-produced or assembly required!  They have locations all over the country, perhaps there's one in your neck of the woods.

Now on to this week's 4 things.
Potato stamping.
This looks like a great way to use farmer's market purchases.
Happy people.
Are you an introvert like me?  I've been reading Quiet by Susan Cain.  Can't recommend this enough!!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I know, I know....

It's been a while since I've blogged!  I've missed it and will be getting back to regularly scheduled programming.  I used to research for my blog at lunch time and then would write my scheduled post on Thursday, also at lunch. I don't have that luxury any more, I plan on researching in the evening and writing on Sunday morning, posting on Monday morning.  Sound good?
I've been doing well and feel like I'm fitting in pretty easily here in Minneapolis.  My apartment is coming together.  I still need to buy a few pieces of furniture.  I detest furniture shopping and have realized that I don't have a knack for interior design.  At all.  So, there are a few piles of things here and there.  I also realized that I have too much stuff and have been editing my collection of junk.  I've also been very careful about what I bring home.  But I digress...
On to this week's "4 Things"!
-Love this video about a family that sold everything and is taking a country wide road trip.  I really admire people who have the courage to live differently.
-An interesting dating experiment
-Love these curtains!!
-This looks like the perfect summer dinner
(I forgot to mention...the above picture is of Lake Calhoun, the biggest lake here in Minneapolis.  So beautiful!  I live about a mile from it.)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

On Leaving Baltimore

The unknown.  It's exciting and a little scary.  I'm packing up and leaving Baltimore for what I'm considering a new beginning.  In a new town, with a new job.  I am very excited.  But a little nervous.  All of this change at once is overwhelming!  I also have made lots of friends here.  It's hard to say good bye.  Change is always hard.  Even when it's something good.

There are benches all over that proclaim Baltimore, "The Greatest City in America."  I'm not entirely sure I agree with that, but it still is a great city.  The people here are friendly, maybe a little rough, but honest.  It's not really that big of a city.  Pretty easy to get around, except for that pesky harbor.
Here are a few of my favorite places:
Place to visit:  Fort McHenry.  I love Fort McHenry.  So full of history, but also just a beautiful place to hang out.   I have spent many a Sunday afternoon with a picnic and a newspaper, watching the sailboats go by.
Restaurants:  Here's something you may not know about me.  I'm not a fan of a fancy restaurant.  I like a  restaurant with a fun ambiance and really good food.  I don't think that it has to be expensive.  I recommend Hersh's Pizza and Drinks.  It also happens to be right down the street from my building.
Bar: This is a very unfussy place, but very genuine!  If you want a true nautical experience, check out Captain Larry's.  The people are friendly and the food is good!
Wine Shop:  After all my talk about an unfussy restaurant, I have to recommend the Wine Market.  It's both a wine shop and bistro.  The food is excellent, as is the wine. I haven't bought a bad bottle of wine from there.  Great selection.
Day Trips: Downtown Ellicott City is really only about 30-40 minutes away but I LOVE it there.  Small town quaint.  Great boutiques and antique shops alike.  Great restaurants too!
What I'll Miss the Most: Living in a condensed city environment.  I've really gotten used to either walking or taking really short drives to get everywhere.  I also live and work right by the harbor.  This is the first time in my life that I've lived by the water and I have loved it!
I will miss seeing it everyday!
What I'll Miss the Least: Baltimore is not very safe.  I am fortunate to be able to afford to live in a secure building, but the crime is rampant.  Here are a few recent stories.  Two more shot...  Mayor addresses shootings...  (And these are about this past weekend!)  I have to admit, that I have lived here in Baltimore City for 5 years and have not had any issues, but it will be nice not to have to worry so much about it.

All in all, it's been a good run!  I've enjoyed living on the east coast, but am looking forward to returning to the Midwest!

Friday, June 21, 2013

4 Things.

Happy first day of Summer!!
Make your own clothing rack!
This bread looks yummy.
Mix & Match homemade popsicles.
I'm in love with this chicken coop. (And it was built by a 13 year old kid!)

Friday, June 14, 2013

4 Things.

Change.  It's hard.  Even when it's something you really really want.  It's still hard.  That's what I'm going through these days.  It's going to be ok.  It's going to be better than ok.  I know this.  That doesn't make it any less difficult.  Lots of deep breaths. 
These quotes really have nothing to do with anything, but I found them on my iphone and thought they were really good. 
Only one more week in Spring.  The first day of Summer in just one week!  With that in mind...
-The best budget rose wines at Trader Joe's.
-Fish tacos!
-9 Secrets to Homemade Lemonade.
-Thoughts on container gardening.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

4 Things

Hello!  I went to a really fun flea market last weekend and thought I'd share a few of my finds.
I couldn't resist this set of glasses.  I LOVE vintage souvenir items and this set was only $4!  They are in perfect condition.  Definitely my favorite find of the day!
I also picked up this vintage saltine tin.  I have been on the hunt for one of these for years.  It's a little rusty in the bottom, so I don't think I'll be storing any actual food in it.  But will be great for some craft supplies!

Now on to this week's "4 Things."
-15 things you should give up to be happy.  #1 & #2 have already started me thinking.  Great article!
-And also How Happiness Changes with Age.  Another great article!
Now, for a less philosophical topic... Looking to make some new jewelry this summer?
-Looks like you can just stop by your local hardware store to get the supplies needed for this necklace!
-And while you're at the hardware store, pick up some cording to make this bracelet.

Friday, May 31, 2013

4 Things.

Hello, faithful readers.  I've missed posting for the last few weeks.  I hope to be able to get back on schedule.  I really try to be present in the moment, but lately I have felt like time is really getting away from me. Memorial Day has come and gone.  And with that, the unofficial start of Summer!  Whew.  Where has the time gone?  Although summer is my favorite season. 
-Have you heard about the Brimfield Antique Show?  I've read a lot about it and hope go some day!  It's in Massachusetts, so not the most convinent location....  But looks amazing!  It's the largest outdoor antique show/flea market in the world!!  About an hour from Boston.  The next show is in July...
-We are all reeling from the news of the catastrophic tornado that recently hit Moore, OK.  I grew up in the midwest and have taken cover in my basement more times than I can count.  Scary stuff.  If you're interested in helping, here are a few places!
-Now that it's almost summer, here are 15 classic summer cocktail recipes.
-If you'll looking for something a little different to grill, how about this recipe for a Grilled Sweet and Spicy Shrimp Pizza?

Friday, May 10, 2013

4 Things

After what felt like a cold and rainy week, I'm looking forward to some warmth and sunshine this weekend!

And in honor of Mother's Day this Sunday, I enjoyed this post from Pretty Prudent, where a few bloggers share their best advice they've given their daughters.  My favorite is from Ashley and her blog Lil Blue Boo who shares "Make good choices. And if you happen to make a bad one: take responsibility. If you make things right, you don’t have to feel bad about it anymore. You release it: *poof* and then you are free to be and do your best."

I'm considering investing in a dremel tool, just so I can make these sunglasses.
I love this idea for Silver Leaf Art.
This may be the perfect tote tutorial.  You can't have too many of them.
Need a new table cloth for Spring and Summer?  How about a Polka Dot one?  

Friday, May 3, 2013

4 Things.

-I'm going to give these Braided Bead and Hemp Bracelets from Happy Hour Projects a try soon. 
-Intending on a little Cinco de Mayo celebration, but want to keep it low fat?  How about Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps?  (from SkinnyTaste.)
 -And speaking of Cinco de Mayo, have you tried the Pioneer Women's Restaurant Style Salsa
-If you're looking for a fun summer project, or perhaps a Mother's Day gift (right around the corner, May 12th!!), how about this Fruit Welcome Mat? From The House that Lars Built.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

4 Things

-It's Flea Market season!  At least around here, you start to see these pop up around Spring and Summer.  I can usually find where and when one might be taking place by looking on Craig's list and checking the local paper on line.  Here's a fun tutorial to turn an old frame into a tray.
-I think I've previously posted a tutorial on this, but I really want to try string art.  This tutorial is very detailed, but makes it seem pretty easy.  If only I could decide which word to use...
-It's no secret that I love totes.  I have far too many that a person really needs, but I've been looking for a new challenge.  This DIY Rope Bag has definitely made the short list!
-I think I was about 10 years old when Legal Eagles came out.  After seeing this movie, I developed a huge crush on Robert Redford.  Possibly my first crush on a real person (I think my first real crush was on Kermit the Frog.)  He's 77 years old and still making and staring in movies.  His latest movie is coming out, The Company You Keep.

Monday, April 22, 2013

More Vegetables in Your Diet

This is not an uncommon problem.  We all need more vegetables in your diet.  I had a few aging tomatoes in my fruit basket and was looking for a way to use them.  After a few on line searches, I came across pizzas.  On flat breads.  Like this one from Pioneer Woman.  I don't like salads, but pizza...who doesn't like pizza?  So I bought some mushrooms and zucchini.  Roasted them, along with the old tomatoes, in a 425 oven and set them aside until I was ready to make my pizza.  I also broiled a few chicken cutlets marinated in Italian salad dressing (about 7 minutes per side) to add to the pizza (if you've read this blog ever, you know I'm all about protein).  The next steps were easy.  I had purchased some naan flat bread, spread a little prepared pizza sauce (purchased near the spaghetti sauce), topped the sauce with the roasted vegetables and chicken, followed by some shredded cheese and baked the whole thing for about 7 minutes in a 450 degree oven.  I also had a simple salad on the side (even more veggies)!  And there you have it.  A very easy dinner.  Lots and lots of vegetables!

Friday, April 19, 2013

4 Things.

-Now that the weather is getting nice, I see picnics and bbqs in our future.  I do love a pasta salad and think this one seems simple, easy and is so beautiful!  You could throw in some pepperoni or ham for a little protein.
-Mindy Kaling.  Have you been watching her show on Fox, The Mindy Project?  I was sort of late to this party, but have been watching the previous episodes on the Fox TV app.  She is funny, like really funny.  I also recently read her book, "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)".  Which is smart, funny, honest and touching.  I read every night before I go to sleep and it's not often that I read anything that makes me actually laugh out loud.  Buy this book to read this summer while traveling or sitting on the beach or simply while sitting on your couch.  It's perfect for any occasion.
-Need to do a little shopping?  Might I recommend checking out Brickyard Buffalo?  They are an online pop-up market that sells many handmade items from small businesses often at a big discount. I recently bought this deal from Gingiber.  I love dishtowels and decided to replace a few in my collection.  They are adorable and excellent quality and came within a week.
-Earlier this year, I bought a Keurig, which I love, but in warmer weather, I like iced coffee. In the past, I've seen some recipes for iced coffee that were for really big batches. And used a whole pound of ground coffee. I found this intimidating.  I found this cold brewed iced coffee and it only uses 1/3 cup of ground coffee.  Think I'll give it a shot next weekend. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

4 Things

One of the best things about spring in Maryland is the flowering trees.  They are every where.  Everyone knows about the cherry blossoms in DC and yes, those are very special and absolutely gorgeous.  But what no one ever mentions is that the whole state is covered with flowering trees.   (I know, I know.  Technically DC isn't part of Maryland.  It's a district of it's own, but you'd see why Maryland or Virginia would try to claim it.)  Unfortunately, I also am allergic to all of the pollen that comes with these trees.  I may have even looked like I had been in a fight earlier this week, my right eye (just the right one) was quite swollen and beyond itchy.  Despite this discomfort, I appreciate the beauty that spring brings.
And now, a few links from around the web.
-I love this giant cross stitch!  Made from fairly simple and inexpensive materials, for big impact.
-I feel like I may have posted this before, but I really want to try to make a painting like this. Although I'm overwhelmed by all the paint I'd have to buy.
-This is a smart and simple way to organize jewelry.
-There seems to be a glitter nail polish shortage.  (Seriously.  I want to buy gold glitter nail polish and really can't find any anywhere!)  Looks like I can make my own now.
Wishing you all a great weekend!  I will be forcing myself to clean out my closet (posting this here to keep me honest).  Jealous?

Friday, April 5, 2013

4 Things.

One of my favorite things about Spring:  Daffodils!  They are so yellow, hearty and beautiful.  Sometimes even blooming through the snow.  I bought a few small bouquets of unbloomed daffodils at the grocery store this week (for next to nothing) and have been enjoying watching them slowly bloom.
And now, a few posts from around the web:
-I don't wear earrings, so in spring and summer, I'm all about the bracelet.  (They work better with short sleeves.) I have many, many of them, but love this tutorial for a leather cuff.  This would also work with oil cloth. 
-I'll be trying this recipe for Spring Stir Fried Chicken with Sugar Snap Peas & Carrots this weekend. Looks so delicious and easy.
-Here's something practical that I have not been doing correctly.  How to Safely Clean Your Cellphone.
-Mad Men returns this Sunday with a 2 hour season premier!  I am unnaturally excited about the return of a TV show.  But it's just that good.

Friday, March 29, 2013

4 Things.

They are calling this the "winter that wasn't" here in the mid-Atlantic states.  The winter weather has really been very mild and now it won't go away!  We are not the only people in the United States feeling this pain.  And soon enough, we'll be complaining that it's too hot.  But it is putting a bit of a damper on the upcoming Easter festivities.  Will we be hunting for eggs in the snow?
-I have this fantasy of living on a little land, with maybe some chickens?  Probably not going to happen, but I did love reading about this family's maple syrup harvest.  Seems very idyllic, doesn't it?
-Due to metal allergies, I very rarely wear earrings, but I love these Fabric Leaf earrings.  And think that they could easily be converted to some sort of necklace.
-Easter is this weekend!  Although we are all cursing the weather, I love the Pioneer Women's idea of Krispy Easter Eggs.  She basically making rice crispy treats in egg shapes, but so, so cute!  Looks easy and something you could do with small children.  (I think there's a quite a few of them home on Spring Break this week.)
-And I'll close this week with a shopping tip.  As the Easter stuff goes on clearance next week, keep you're eyes open for those ceramic egg "cartons".  They have these at Athropologie, but for what it is, their price is pretty steep.  They have them in the seasonal Easter stuff at places like Joanns.  Here's another one at Kohl's.  These are very handy for storing beads, using when making jewelry or I suppose you could just leave one on your dresser to store earrings.  My point is, they usually only have them around for Easter, then put on clearance.  I bought one at Joanns a few years back for $2-3.  And use it all the time.  So buy a few, you'll find all sorts of uses for them!

Friday, March 22, 2013

4 Things.


I am longing for spring!  It's hard to believe that it is "spring" because it sure still feels like winter.  Hopefully the above picture will remind you that we won't have to don our down parkas for too much longer....

-Being a bit cooped up for recovery from surgery over the last few weeks, has given me a serious case of wanderlust.  Oahu, Hawaii looks like an amazing place to visit!
-This Crepe Paper Pom Pom Garland looks easy and so festive!  Would be perfect for any spring or summer party.  Perhaps if you're hosting Easter brunch?
-Since I have grass allergies, perhaps this isn't the best thing for me to grow in my home, but I love the way these wheatgrass planters look.
-I may not be in my 20s any longer, but I promise that no matter your age, this list of 19 Things to Stop Doing In Your 20s will make you think. 
(And one bonus link, since evidently I can't count...  And it's a good one!)
-Planning to dye some eggs?  Here's my favorite way to Make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

4 Things.

This is new to me.  Have I been living under a rock?  I just realized that you can watch instant videos on  I discovered this by being disappointed by the selection of movies at my local redbox, realizing that my cable wasn't hooked up correctly for "on demand" movies and being frustrated by the slow download time on iTunes.  The rentals really are instant and less expensive than on iTunes!  Oh, technology.  You never cease to amaze me.

Kate Spade is launching an affordable clothing line called Saturday

Tina Fey's secret to success, "Say yes, and you'll figure it out afterward."

And finally, did you know that Easter is March 31?  Right around the corner!  Take a look at a few Easter craft round ups found: here , here and here.

Friday, March 1, 2013

My Convalescence.

And just like that, I find myself at the end of medical leave.  A lot of people have asked me what I've done during my time off. The short answer: sleep. That first week was really hard. I didn't know what to expect and it was definitely much harder than I would have imagined.  I was in a lot of pain (5 hours of laproscopic surgery makes your abdomen very sore).  After I was released from the hospital, I basically slept and read back issues of Better Homes and Gardens for the first three days.  In between walks around my grandma's house.  That's one thing I definitely didn't expect.  They insist that you walk A LOT post surgery.  (In fact, they had me up and walking probably an hour after I woke up after surgery.)  It keeps you from getting blood clots and fluid in your lungs and helps your systems get back to working again.  It was really cold that week, so I couldn't go outside.  So, I did laps up and down the hallway and up and down the stairs.  (Then I needed a nap.)   After that, I started to come out of the fog a little.  But still slept a lot.  I think my body was just taking time to heal.  I didn't like it one bit, all of that sleep is really not like me.  Sometimes, you just have to listen to your body and try not to feel like a complete sloth for sleeping for a 12 hour stretch then needing a 3 hour nap in the afternoon.  I am happy to report that those days are now behind me.  Finally, by Thursday morning, the pain had subsided a lot, I really felt more like myself and I officially started to feel pretty bored.  The fact that it took me almost two weeks to feel bored is truly a testament to how much I needed this time to recover.  Thank goodness this whole ordeal is over.  I had my post-op visit with my doctor just this afternoon and can return to work on Monday, a whole week earlier than expected.  I am so thankful for my quick recovery and especially for my heath! 

But since there was quite a bit of downtime, I did watch quite a bit of TV and a few movies. 
-I watched almost the entire series (thus far) of Elementary on CBS.  Such a good show!  I had been DVRing the series but hadn't had time to watch yet.  I highly recommend it!
-I watched "Letters to Juliet", from ABC Family that I had also DVRed.  Certainly not an academy award winner.  In fact, a completely and totally predictable plot and screenplay.  But a good light hearted romantic comedy.  The perfect thing to watch while cooped up inside. The cinematography was unbelievable.  I must find a way to get to Tuscany.
-I also watched The Perks of Being a WallflowerIt's based on a novel of the same name by Stephen Chbosky (he also wrote the screenplay).  It's about kids in high school in the early 90's.  (Not unlike me.)  They went to the Rocky Horror Picture show.  They exchanged mix tapes.  Ahh, the humble mix tape.  Those were the days.  There were some great quotes in this movie.  "You see things and you understand; that's a perk of being a wallflower."  "We can't chose where we come from but we can choose where we go from there."  This was a great movie although a bit dark and a little sad.

When I wasn't sleeping or watching TV, I was reading.
-I read lots of magazines.  (I think I was given 5 different ones.)  I adore magazines and happily read them cover to cover.  It was the perfect thing to read between naps.
-I also read "Hearburn" by Nora Ephron.  I had watched and loved all of her movies but had not read any of her books.  This book was written in 1983.  Apparently it was adapted for the screen, although I haven't seen the movie.  It was also a precursor to her Academy Award winning screenplay and one of my favorite movies of all time "When Harry Met Sally."  I even recognized a few lines from the movie in this book.  And it's sort of fun to read a book where someone types on a typewriter.  This book was just like Ephron's screenplays, funny, sad and true.  Here's an article from the Huffington Post where the late Ephron discussed her divorce and writing Heartburn.
-I have started reading "Paris in Love: A Memior" by Eloisa James.  I think that memoirs may be my favorite book genre and this one has not disappointed me one bit!  It's about a women who sells everything (after her recovery from breast cancer) and moves with her family to Paris for a year.  I'm only about half way through, but I highly recommend this memoir!  (And I must get to Paris.  Apparently recovery has given me a serious case of wanderlust.)

I also had my fill of crafting.  Months ago, I purchased this embroidery pattern from Pam Garrison's etsy shop.  It's a rather intricate design, so I've only almost made it through the script in the center.  I only hope that I keep at it when I return to work! 
I also made (and promptly forgot to photograph) a set of Olliblocks for a friend's baby shower that I sadly cannot attend.  Before my surgery, I took the downloaded file to a print shop to have printed onto good paper with a laser print (a home printer would not have stood up to the decoupage process).  I had also previously ordered the actual blocks on line.  So all I had to do was cut up the papers and decoupage onto the blocks.  It took a little while for the glue to dry between layers but it was very simple!  I can't wait to see these stacked on a bookcase in her nursery!

As I told my doctor today, I feel better today than the day before my surgery.  I honestly didn't realize how horrible I had felt and how much pain I was in before surgery until just a few days ago.  I am so happy to have all of this behind me.  A big thank you for all of my friends and family support during this ordeal.   I hope for this blog to return to regularly scheduled programming next week!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Preparing Food for Recovery from Surgery & Freezer Meals

In preparation for recovery from surgery (I was told that I would be home from work for about 3 weeks), I did quite a bit of cooking and freezing.  I was told that I would not feel like cooking (or cleaning, although who ever feels like cleaning) and that I should have a few meals in the bag.  I avoid most traditional frozen foods because of my allergies to preservatives (except for frozen foods from Trade Joe's and plain frozen vegetables, those are safe for me to eat).  Therefore, had to make my own.  I knew I had to make meals that were low-fat (for general health reasons and because I no longer have a gallbladder), high fiber and high in protein.  I still don't have much of an appetite or much energy and am so thankful that I had the forethought to plan ahead.  I made two different soups and two main dishes. I also was taken to the grocery store before coming home where I picked up skim milk, whole wheat bread, raw vegetables and a roast chicken (you can eat off of one of those for days!!).  I had cereal and lots of fruit (my mother sent me a fruit basket) as well as some shelf stable snacks at home. 
Here are the recipes that I made to freeze:
Honey Garlic Chicken  I'll make some rice in my rice cooker and frozen broccoli to serve with this. 
Shepard's Pie  This recipe even lists "freezer directions."  I froze it in my 9" x 9" pyrex dish and can just pop it in the oven when ready to eat, after thawing.  (This is the first thing I defrosted and it is very good!  Lots of flavor!)
Slow Cooker Lentil Stew
Tortilla Soup  Inspired by this recipe.  I actually made this in my crock pot (those Midwestern roots run deep) and added chicken (high in protein). 
I also have frozen berries, frozen bananas, frozen spinach and pomegranate juice so that I can make smoothies.  I like these recipes from Whole Living Magazine
And while I try not to use these normally, I had a good supply of paper plates and plastic cups on hand.  No need to do dishes!

And finally, I am not great at drinking water.  I know, I know.  It's not that I don't, I just don't like it.  So while I do drink lots and lots of water, I also have lots of herbal tea bags on hand, bottles of Yumberry Pomegranate SoBe Lifewater, lime Perrier and San Pellegrino Limonata sparkling water.  Here's the recipe for my favorite mocktail.  It's pretty easy.  Fill a glass with ice, fill mostly with Blackberry Raspberry sparkling water and top with a splash Cran-Raspberry juice.  Delish!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

What To Bring For A Surgical Hospital Stay (A Brief Story of My Recent Medical Issues.)

I'm home!  Where have I been?  Long story short, I had surgery, just one week ago.  I had two issues that needed to be addressed, gallstones and an ovarian cyst.  Does anyone really want to read my long story of medical diagnosis?  Probably not, but just in case someone out in the internet land can gain something from my experience...  In September I started having pain in my right abdomen, coupled with spotting.  After an ultrasound, I was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst.  But there was a good chance it was dermoid (very good chance that it was benign). There was some hope that it would just go away by itself.  Followed with a 2nd ultrasound as well as a CAT scan, only to find that it still remained.  The CAT scan also showed that I had lots of gallstones.   I have a family history of this issue so I wasn't too surprised.  And that also further explained the right abdominal pain.  After seeing quite a few doctors, I finally found two surgeons that were willing to work together to remove both my gallbladder and my ovarian cyst at the same time.  This is not the most common thing to do.  And I had to work with surgeons to coordinate the whole thing.  The greatest lesson I've learned through this whole ordeal is that you really have to be an advocate for your own health and to trust your instincts.  Really trust your instincts. I knew that the best thing for me was to have both surgeries at once and had to really beg my primary care physician for a referral to a general surgeon.  She was sort of taking the gallstones situation lightly.  But in the end, got in touch with the right surgeons, who provided me with the best care.  And am feeling better each and every day.  Since I don't live near my mother or sister, I was lucky enough to have my grandma and uncle take me in for a few days post surgery.  (They only live about 40 miles away.)  They took great care of me and I will be forever grateful for their kindness and care. 
And finally, for the practical part of this blog post.  Before I had surgery, I looked on line for some tips on what to take to the hospital.  (For full disclosure, I was originally told that I would have at least one night's stay in the hospital.  That's when I got these things together.  When the hospital coordinator contacted me, she told me that the surgery would be Out Patient, so I didn't actually bring these things with me to the hospital.  In the end, I was admitted and wished I would have brought my bag along.)  The only information I could find on line was for hospital stays for giving birth.  So, I thought I would share what I would have packed to bring along to the hospital, for a surgical stay.

 I don't believe that I have had any experience where people have told me what to expect more.  And let me start by saying that they have mostly been wrong.  Just know that your experience is your experience.  And don't believe everything that non-medical advisees tell you.  First of all, keep in mind that you aren't going to a hotel.  They might provide you with morphine, but not usually shampoo.  (At least this was my experience, your hospital may be different.)  I would suggest you bring the bare minimum toiletries.  Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, chapstick.  If you are a contact wearer like me, a glasses case for whoever comes with you to keep your glasses in.  (You can't wear contacts during surgery.)  Some reading material.  Just a couple of things.  You'll probably sleep that first night, but may feel up to some light reading in the morning.  If you're in for more than one night, you'll want to bring shampoo and body wash.  They did offer me towels.  Don't forget the flip flops.  You'll want them for the shower.  (I hate to say it, but hospitals are crawling with germs.  The bad stuff.  Like C-Diff.)  Also, bring your phone charger, a comfy going home outfit and extra underwear and socks.  (Don't bring valuables!  I was lucky enough to have a private room, but that may not always be the case.)  That should cover it.  Hope this helps!