May 28, 2010

tgif + happy holiday + etsy spotlight: alicia bock

I cannot get enough of Alicia's work, and I think this is the perfect photo for my weekend send-off.

To me, Memorial Day Weekend is the official start to summer. I'm hoping mine will include lots of lazy days under the sun...

(The Start of Something Good by Alicia Bock)

Happy Weekend, My Lovelies!
xo, Kristin

May 27, 2010

your decorating style: a quiz!

It's official. I'm 'Cozy Casual'.

You see, a few months back, I took a fun quiz in the March issue of Real Simple. (I cannot resist those magazine quizzes!) It was super quick with one page full of different objects -- a Bertoia chair, a potted orchid, a stack of leather-bound books, a cashmere throw to name a few -- and all I had to do was mark those that I was drawn to. No thinking, just quick picks. There were probably about 30 or so items, and each was marked with either an A, B, C, or D. After making my picks, I tallied the letters. And my majority was C: Cozy Casual.

Cozy Casual is... Warm. It's traditional. It's weathered. Laid-back farmhouse style. "Just about any movie by Nancy Meyers." Oh yes. That's me. Most definitely.

Herewith, a few interiors that I think have that Cozy Casual feel...

(1. My Home Ideas)

(2. Design Sponge)

(3. Country Living)

(4. NY Times Style Magazine)

(5. Decorology)

Put 'em all together, do a bit of editing, and together they'd make a fine home, no?

Play along with me! I'd love to know what your style is.

May 26, 2010

spotlight: spool no. 72

I just can't get enough of the clothes at Spool No. 72.

Like this little red, white & blue number...

(MacIntosh Dress)

Pair it with some nautical wedges and a delicate gold necklace, and you'll be hitting the streets in some serious summer style.

May 25, 2010

what's cooking: last week's menu

Monday - Pasta Ponza (I used a combination of red grape tomatoes and heirloom cherry tomatoes. the dish was super pretty with the mix of reds, yellows and greens. And tasty, too!)
Tuesday - Mushroom Risotto with Peas
Wednesday - Spinach & Feta Quiche
Thursday - leftovers
Friday - Herb Roasted Chicken with Three Pepper Couscous

Fave? It's really hard to top quiche in my book. Though the pasta did come close.
No least. yippee!

Oops! I forgot to take pictures. Don't worry, though, Martha's got it covered...


May 21, 2010

tgif + etsy spotlight: jena ardell

A trip to the beach would be just wonderful...

(Beach Sign by Jena Ardell)

Happy weekend, My Lovelies!
xo, Kristin

May 20, 2010

spotlight: nina in vorm ceramics

I am in love.

With an Etsy shop...

(Spirograph and Dots Cake Plate and Big Dots and Bunting Pitcher)

After taking a peek for yourself, isn't it easy to see why?

(Via hooray)

May 19, 2010

spotlight: wood & wool stool

Holly may be on to something.

I'm getting a very strong "i've-gotta-have-one" response whenever I have a little look-see at these charming wood & wool stools...

(wood & wool stools)

Ingrid makes each by hand from recycled wood and then adds a hand-crocheted slipcover. No two are alike. And each one is lovelier than the next. How on earth do you choose a favorite?

(PS -- I really like those chickens, too!)

May 18, 2010

10 things: getting to know "this is life"

Hooray... it's time for another 10 Things! (It's been a while.)

Today we're getting to know Robyn of This is Life. I, for one, think she is adorable both inside and out. With writing that inspires and gorgeous photography to ogle, This is Life is quite simply a feel-good blog. Robyn embraces everything that life has to offer, and she lives it to the fullest with passion, with gratitude and with honesty.

I feel really honored that she has taken the time to share with us her 10 Things. So, let's not waste a second more.

On to Robyn's 10 Things!

i'm happiest when... when i have woken up with the sunrise, when i am wearing a dress, when i am at an open air market, when i am inspired.

the best place to be in the summer... lounging on the local pacific beach with a picnic, wandering the streets of paris, sipping chilled wine on an urban patio.

i could spend the whole day... taking photographs, writing to do lists, planning and preparing a dinner party, kissing my love.

i always wanted to be... to be loved, to be influential, to be a traveler, to be a mother.

favorite thing about my house... that it has wide windows overlooking the mountains, that we hung a large framed vintage map of paris, that it is tiny and intimate and temporary.

for inspiration i... collect photographs of beautiful people, of beautiful places, of beautiful things.

it's worth the splurge... a classic tiffany & co. engagement ring, a ticket to travel in europe until you become someone new, a glass of champagne, a piece of rich-dark-single-origin chocolate.

words i live by... living in the moment could be the meaning of life.

day i'd love to live again... the day we first met, the day we first danced, the day we first kissed.

brings out the best in me... a pair of heels does, a creative project does, he does.

Robyn -- you are fantastic. I am such a fan. Thank you so very much.
xo, Kristin

May 17, 2010

what's cooking: last week's menu

Another week in the books.
Do we all agree that time is moving just a bit too quickly?

Monday - Black Bean Cakes with Roasted Corn Salad and (Trader Joe's) Cornbread
Tuesday - Lemon Spaghetti with Grilled Chicken
Wednesday - Grilled Chicken Tacos with Guacamole
Thursday - leftovers
Friday - Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Favorite? Kind of hard to say... hmm... I really liked everything and nothing was such a knock-out that it stands out to me. I have to say it was a four-way tie. (I know... how very boring of me!)

A photo of the bean cakes...

Hope you have a wonderful week, Dears!

May 14, 2010

tgif + etsy spotlight: kristy bee

"I see the world through rose-colored glasses..."

Let's all try it, shall we?
This is so lovely to me.

(Je Vois La Vie en Rose by Kristy Bee.)

Happy weekend, My Lovelies!
xo, Kristin

May 13, 2010

my weekend recap

I'm sure most of you are already thinking about the weekend ahead, but I wanted to share with you a bit of my Mother's Day. It was my first as a Mama, and well, it was quite perfect, actually...

waking to bright sunshine * melting at the happy faces smiling up at me from their cribs * spying a vase of fresh blooms on the table - surprise! * savoring a slice of spinach & goat cheese quiche at Caffe de Luca * sipping a mug of spicy chai tea latte * enjoying a peaceful family walk * tucking away a treat to enjoy at home - yes, another one! * sharing kisses, hugs and cuddles with my three true loves * feeling quite giddy about a present! from my in-laws * peering into shop windows in Lincoln Square * ordering german chocolate cake and carrot cake - with four forks - at Cafe Selmarie * laughing on the phone with my mama - and missing her like crazy * tucking into bed a bit early with my book * drifting dreamily off to sleep knowing that I am the luckiest woman in the world

And even though it came a few days late due to some shipping snafus... LOVING my present.

To my darling babies, my sweet, sweet Henry & Amelia - you can't possibly know the tremendous joy I feel in my heart when I gaze into your bright eyes, on your shining faces. You can't know the way my love for you grows evermore each day. Or how I get a lump in my throat when I think about the sheer magnitude of the task I've been given... to be your mother. How I have this instinct to fiercely protect you from harm. How I beam with pride as I watch you learn and grow. You came into my life and flipped it upside down, and now I can't imagine a second of it without you. You are my best gift ever.

To my dear Husband -- you are my one, my only. I feel like I can do anything when you are by my side. You remind me to smile if I am feeling down. You help me up when I fall. You make me feel beautiful at times when I am anything but. Thank you for making this day - and every day - so special.

(Images 1, 2, 3, & 4 all posted by Anna here and here)

May 12, 2010

a laughing bellyache

Ever laugh so hard that you stop making noise? You're doubled over in fits of giggles, mouth wide open but no noise coming out?

Well, it was me when I was reading this...

Thanks, Honey, for sharing your blog find with me. I love when we laugh-without-making-noise together.

May 11, 2010

what's cooking: last week's menu - the recipes!

Per a few requests...

Vegetable Pad Thai
(adapted from Everyday Food Mag - May 2010)

Boil 8 oz dry, wide rice noodles and set aside. (I got mine from Trader Joe's.)

Whisk together 3 tbsps brown sugar, 3 tbsp fresh lime juice and 4 tbsp soy sauce.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tsps canola oil over medium-high heat. Add 1 julienned red bell pepper and 1 julienned yellow bell pepper and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add 3 thinly sliced scallions and 1 minced garlic clove and cook an additional 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat, add noodles and sauce and toss it all together. Top with 1/2 cup rough chopped cilantro and 1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts.

Prosciutto & Mushroom Quesadillas
(also from Everyday Food Mag - I think the April or March 2010 issue)

In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Add 1/2 medium red onion, diced and 2 garlic cloves, minced. Season with salt & pepper. Cook until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add 1 package sliced button mushrooms and cook until browned and soft, about 8 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl and toss with 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice. Wipe skillet clean.

Divide 1/4 pound each thinly sliced prosciutto and grated gruyere cheese, mushroom mixture, and 6 cups baby arugula among bottom halves of 4 10-inch flour tortillas. Fold top halves over filling to close. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in skillet over medium high and cook each quesadilla until cheese melts and tortilla is crisp and browned.

Hope you enjoy these dishes as much as we did. Let me know how they go!

what's cooking: last week's menu

A little taste of everywhere last week: Asia, Italy and Mexico!

Monday - Vegetable Pad Thai
Tuesday - Prosciutto & Mushroom Quesadillas
Wednesday - Arugula Salad with Roasted Turkey & Strawberries
Thursday - Flank Steak on Garlic Bread
Friday - Steak Tacos with Guacamole

Favorite? The Veggie Pad Thai. Quick + Easy + Tasty = One happy Mama.
No least... though, the salad was a bit thrown together last minute. I'm glad it worked out!

The Pad Thai...

I baked up some Triple Chipper Cookies, too...

That's dark, milk AND white chocolate chips. YUM!

I don't have time to post the recipes now, but if you want any of the above, let me know. Thanks!

May 8, 2010

tgi(saturday) + etsy spotlight: alice b. gardens

Oh oh, a day late! The sentiment is still the same...

This weekend sit down, put your feet up and have a cuppa.
Savor every minute.

(Thrifty by Alice B. Gardens)

Happy weekend, My Lovelies!
xo, Kristin

May 7, 2010

darling blue & white

I am still very much loving this easy, breezy color combo.
And here are more favorites to show it.

A charming country kitchen...

Measure, measure with these porcelain spoons...

Because life's more fun when you add polka-dots. (Even when it comes to donning a swimsuit...)

A real stunner of a teapot...

(Photo credits: kitchen-Mary Ruffle, swimsuit-City Sage)

May 6, 2010

"me" time

I had the most wonderful afternoon yesterday. With a babysitter coming for the afternoon and a bright sun high in the sky, I decided to play "hooky" from my to-do list. Four hours disappear in a blink when you're having fun.

An afternoon in the life of a mommy with some free time...

She leaves the house on a dazzling, sunshiney day for a trip to Bucktown for some shopping and lunch. Stopping in first at The Painted Lady, she spies a gorgeous vintage milkglass vase half-hidden on the lowest shelf of an accessory-laden bookcase. Leaving the shop, that vase is tucked safely under her arm, just where it belongs. She pops into Robin Richman to ogle some designer duds and peek at the sparklies in the cases, and at Virtu, she finds the perfect Mother's Day gift. There's a lightness to her step as she strolls down to The Goddess & Grocer, a favorite lunching spot. Grilled chicken, crispy bacon and buttery avocado on ciabatta are perfect. Eating them, uninterrupted, while reading a tabloid magazine is bliss. In her world, no meal is complete without a little something sweet. She savors every sticky bite of gooey marshmallow, crispies, tart raspberry jelly and dark chocolate chunks. And as she licks her fingers clean, she can't help but smile. With a full belly and the afternoon winding down, she has only time to make a few more stops. She samples the eco-friendly hand lotions at Grasshopper 510 and gets a lovely "woven" ceramic bowl at Crosell & Co.. A few Mother's Day gifts from Paper & Print, and she's on the road again. This time, to home.

Now, over 24 hours later, the contentment from a peaceful afternoon stays with her like a hangover as she cuddles her two loves and waits for "Papa" to return home.

(I loved this post when I read it a few days back and wanted to give her writing style a try. I hope Robyn knows that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!)

what's cooking: last week's menu

May already, and I have managed to make dinner every weeknight since the big ball dropped. I'm pretty proud of myself! Hardly a resolution anymore -- it's just the way we do things now.

Here's the recap:

Monday - leftovers (my parents were in for the weekend, and we had a ton of food in the fridge, so leftovers it was!)
Tuesday - Potato Pizza with Side Salad
Wednesday - Chicken Curry over Coconut Rice
Thursday - Mushroom Bowties
Friday - Turkey Burgers with Avocado & Pepperjack on Pretzel Rolls

Favorite? A two-way tie: loved the pizza and really loved the burger, too.

Well, the streak is over... there is a least favorite this week. I was not a big fan of the curry. The sauce had plain yogurt and milk, and despite adding 3 tablespoons of curry powder and some sauteed onions, I still just tasted all that dairy. The coconut rice was pretty tasty, though, so at least there's that.

(Potato Pizza, Chicken Curry & Mushroom Bowties)

Potato Pizza
(I made up my own version after tasting this at one of my favorite pizzerias here in Chicago, Frasca.)
Roll out 1 lb of pizza dough and place in a large, cornmeal-dusted sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and set aside. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high in a large skillet. Add 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced and 1 clove minced garlic. Cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, thinly slice 1 large potato and arrange slices on top of shallots and garlic in pan. Saute until browned, flip and saute other side, about 4 minutes each side. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle dough with 2 cups lite mozzarella cheese and spread potato mixture evenly over cheese. Top with a dash of red pepper flakes. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes or until edges of crust and cheese are golden brown.

Mushroom Bowties
Cook 3/4 lb bowtie pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and set aside, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsps olive oil over medium-high in a large skillet. Add 1 diced shallot and 2 cloves minced garlic. Cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add 1 package sliced baby bella mushrooms and saute until browned. Season with salt and pepper. Remove pan from heat and add reserved pasta, 1/2 cup rough chopped parsley, and 1 cup grated parmesan cheese. Toss it all together (adding pasta water as neeeded) and serve.

Bon appetit!