November 27, 2008

thanksgiving wishes

From the cranberry relish to the pumpkin pie and everything in between, I hope you have a joyful and delightful day.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

(Pinecone Turkey from Martha Stewart Living.)

November 26, 2008

what I'm thankful for

A small list - in no particular order - of things I'm grateful for this Thanksgiving season:

cuddles with lulu * afternoon naps * the endless love and support of family and friends * starbucks vanilla steamers * tuesday night yoga * that our country is capable of greatness * weekend breakfasts * sweet mandy b's buttercream frosting * sunny mornings * going home for the holidays * the best nail salon that's right across the street * my health & the health of my loved ones * free samples at trader joe's * swiffer sheets (without which our house would be overtaken by dog hair!) * my mom's chocolate chip cookies * that no matter what happens, I still have hope

November 25, 2008

do you know the muffin man?

My friend, Jen, and I were busy bakers in my kitchen last night... whipping up two delicious batches of muffins for my office's Thanksgiving potluck today. As you can see... I couldn't pick just one recipe. Just like I predicted!

(Whole Wheat Apple Muffins & Pumpkin Muffins)

*Please disregard all of the background messiness (how embarassing!) on the countertop. My pleas for a cleaned-up picture redo were politely declined. But the good thing is - see that Crate & Barrel box back there? - well, in it was the most beautiful silver cake stand - you can see it on the edge of the table (to the right of the muffins) - from my darling Juju and "Uncle" Jason. What a wonderful birthday present indeed! THANK YOU!*

November 24, 2008

thanksgiving table setting

It's only three days away, and I can't get Thanksgiving dinner out of my mind! Turkey and stuffing and cranberries... and pumpkin pie! Isn't this a lovely way to decorate the table for your holiday dinner?

Photo by the amazing Miki Duisterhof. Be sure to check out the rest of her portfolio. Inspiration guaranteed!

November 21, 2008

photo inspiration

Just looking at this makes me happy. Makes me want to go out this weekend to find a perfect green wreath.

(via Simply Photo)

in my recipe box: pumpkin & whole wheat apple muffins

We're having a potluck breakfast at work next week. I know I want to bring a batch of muffins, and I also know that I want them to be with seasonal ingredients, but what I can't decide is which recipe to make. I've narrowed it down to two: Pumpkin or Whole Wheat Apple. They both look so delicious... so how's a girl to choose?

Pumpkin Muffins from Gourmet via Muffin Top.
Whole Wheat Apple Muffins adapted from King Arthur Flour via Smitten Kitchen.

I think the answer might be to make both!

November 19, 2008

spotlight: whitney smith

Oh it feels so good to play on Etsy!

I can't take my eyes off of the adorable handmade ceramics from Whitney Smith. I'd buy every last piece if I could. Of course, the cupcake stands hold a very special place in my heart.

(via Design is Mine - a favorite!)

mini holiday cards

From the Inkspot Workshop Holiday '08 Collection...

I {heart} these handmade mini cards and their frosty white envelopes.

From top:
Pinwheel Snowman Cards * Mod Ornament Cards * Tree Bird Cards * Pinwheel Tree Christmas Cards

November 18, 2008

let's dress up

LOVE this. Perfect for a holiday fete.

(Evening's Promise Dress from Anthropologie - $158)

design inspiration: swedish interiors

Georgeous interiors shot by photographer Mari Eriksson. The vintage furnishings, minimal design style and walls awash in white are so very Swedish.

recipe to try: crispy chocolate marshmallow treats

From the September issue of Everyday Food. So easy and tasty.

Makes 16
6 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for pan
1 bag (10.5 oz) mini marshmallows
1/4 c. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
6 c. crisp rice cereal
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line bottom and two sides with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on both sides. Butter paper and set pan aside.
In a large saucepan, combine butter, marshmallows and cocoa. Cook over medium, stirring frequently, until melted, about 6 minutes. Stir in rice cereal. Press rice mixture into prepared pan; drizzle with melted chocolate. Let cool to room temp; cut into 16 bars.
To store, keep in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 5 days.

November 17, 2008

design inspiration: white out

I feel like I've just closed the lid on the Halloween decorations bin, and already I've got Christmas on the brain. But you know? I totally don’t even mind. I love Christmas and say, the sooner the better! Listening to carols, baking sweet treats, decorating with twinkle lights. Love all of it. And so I have no problem whatsoever with getting in the Christmas spirit even if it is only the middle of November. Here are some lovely ideas for decorating when you’ve got a white palette. And you know how I feel about white…

Gold and Green pop in this neutral living room ; a simple white dining table is bedecked with vintage accessories; a snowy white bathroom is simply elegant with a single green wreath; and ok, so this bedroom doesn’t exactly scream Christmas, but I love it anyway and would give anything to have a little corner exactly like it.

By the way, I got these photos from which is celebrating the holidays by doing "100 Days of Holidays" with a daily email full of ideas for the holiday season. They run the gamut from seasonal recipes and craft projects to decorating tips and gift list ideas. Each morning I flip through slide shows full of spectacular photos and walk away with more ideas than I can count. Looking for Thanksgiving ideas? Be sure to check it out!

November 7, 2008

happy day

It's hard to believe that it's been a year since that little idea to start a blog blossomed in my head. Thank you all so much for your visits. I've certainly enjoyed having you.

And now I'd like to wish a wonderful weekend to you and yours.


chicago fave: chicago honey co-op

Yep – you read that right. I’m talking about a bee farm on the west side of Chicago with nothing but urban landscape for miles and miles. It's The Chicago Honey Co-op, home to over 100 hives.

The beekeepers, dedicated to practicing sustainable agriculture, started the farm a few years ago and have been churning out chemical-free honey ever since. Not only do they have an awareness of their impact on the environment in the big picture, they’ve also focused on their impact much closer to home and are providing job opportunities to the under-employed in the area. I read a big article about the Co-op earlier this year in the Chicago Tribune and was so blown over by how they’ve embraced the community by bringing jobs to those who in many others’ eyes would be seen as undesirable.

In addition to honey, which tastes amazingly good, by the way, they also make pure beeswax candles and soaps, scrubs and balms. During the summer, they sell their wares at Chicago farmer’s markets, but for those not in the area – and all of us locals who are getting ready to face another winter – their products are available online too.

November 6, 2008

hide and seek

I double heart these tiny cloth boxes (just 3 x 1.5 inches) that close up using origami folds and open again to reveal the treasures you’ve tucked inside. Perfect for jewelry, extra buttons, paper clips or cotton swabs, this cute box can be used for all sorts of things.

The Slate Pebble pattern is my favorite.

Hide Box available from Virtu in Chicago and online.

November 5, 2008

table dressing

A bunch of catalogs arrived in the mail last night. As I flipped through, the table settings kept catching my eye, and so I was inspired to come up with a setting of my own. It's nice to mix and match styles for a personalized look, so here's how I'm setting my table:

It starts with the dinnerware. I love this understated white with pebble-textured rim collection from Pier-1. At $4-5 per piece, the price is right! To add a bit of pizazz to the table, I'm bringing in a beautiful line of stemware from Anthropologie with an etched floral pattern that is delicate and ethereal. The handmade pewter serving set from Uncommon Goods has a branch handle and maple leaf scoop... perfect for an autumn gathering! The simplicity of this flatware from Pottery Barn is striking. It's very sculptural. And finally, there's the placemat (also from PB). Layers of silkscreened "leaves" dress up any table.

Now all we need is the food!

Sandy Lane Dinnerware from Pier-1 ($4-5).
Horta Stemware from Anthropologie ($12).
Maple Leaf Serving Set from Uncommon Goods ($80).
Collins Flatware from Pottery Barn ($45 for a 5-piece setting).
Flocked Leaf Placemat from Pottery Barn ($69 set/6).

November 4, 2008

spotlight: up in the air somewhere

I love love love the line of ceramic pieces by Chicago-based designer Susan Dwyer of Up in the Air Somewhere. Using Chicago’s industrial architecture as her muse with its linear and minimal qualities, Susan designs simple yet elegant vases, votives, pitches and planters. Her pieces have an organic essence and that they are hand-made ensures a one-of-a-kind uniqueness.

I think any of these would be a perfect Christmas gift for a few lovelies on my list, and I'm sure you'll find a few too. But do know this: the deadline for orders is November 12th for delivery in time for Christmas. So get shopping!

Up in the Air Somewhere * Available in Chicago at Post 27.

November 3, 2008


I decided a few weeks ago that I could really use some help in the jewelry department. I have a tendency to stick with the same old tried and true pieces - a diamond pendant necklace from Wade's grandma, my silver Tiffany "Bead" earrings from Wade, and my black-faced watch that I never leave home without. And it's not that there's anything wrong with any of these pieces. Quite the opposite, actually... I LOVE them. But because I love them so, they never get tucked back into my jewelry box at night. Instead, they sit right there on the bathroom counter for me to slip back on in the morning, and I don't even bother to give a thought to something else. It's mostly out of laziness, I guess. But then all those other worthy beads and baubles in my jewelry box hardly ever get to see the light of day.

And so it's high time I do something about this. I'm pretty certain it would be impossible to ignore any of these gorgeous pieces if they were in my jewelry box:

Foliage Sparkle Ring (from Banana Republic); Sun Chip Ring (from Anthropologie)

Novelty Owl Necklace; Peacock Brooch Necklace (both from Banana Republic)
Cabochon Studded Bracelet (from Banana Republic); Concentric Cuff (from Anthropologie)