Happy Birthday Ali!

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To the blue to my red,

the coffee to my cream,

the sauv to my blanc…

To the painter extraordinaire,

the on-the-spot-recipe genius,

the alley furniture hero,

the poufmaster (and all around great hair-posesser),

the sweeper of my broken glasses many other messes…

To my younger-older sister,

my best friend -

I love you!

Cheers to the great year I know you have ahead of  you.

Hippo birdie!

ll

Northern Lights Over Teepees in Yellowknife, Canada


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I cannot even begin to make sense of the tragedy in Sandy Hook. But really, who will ever be able to do that? I can’t stop reading the news, looking at photos, trying to understand. These are heartbreaking days, and my thoughts and prayers are constantly with the families of the 28 that we lost in a senseless act of violence.

My blog-friend Sean wrote this great post with a reminder to reach out to those who might be silently suffering, who might need a little human connection. It just has to stop going this far.

My grandfather sent me these photos in an email this morning. When I saw them, I wondered how something like this could be of the same planet that we live on today.

This blog is typically about lighter things — food, fun, etc. so this is a bit random, I know, but I thought that the most productive thing I could contribute today would be something this astonishingly, radiantly beautiful.

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(I searched for a while to try to find the original source of the images from the email. I am fairly certain they’re from Aurora Village, the company that sets up these teepee viewings.)

ll 

Face Scrub – Au Natural

Apparently watching Made in Chelsea makes me say things like “au natural.”  I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter the similarities, when you compare The Hill and MiC, the British accent, and saying “En Route” instead of “on our way” adds class EVERY time, and couldn’t be more jealous, but I digress.

The other night I sat around catching up (read: watching every episode available ondemand) on the show, I found myself googling ways to shake my dry and dull winter skin before it got scary.  It turns out, the ingredients I needed were handily in my cluttered, dirty little kitchen cabinet.  I scooped them up, reminded myself to clean out my cabinets yet again, and got to work.

Honey Sugar Olive Oil Face Scrub

Mix 3 parts honey, to one part olive oil and add enough sugar to give the scrub the consistency of…well, a scrub.  It’s not complicated, I swear.  Don’t make the mix too oily or it will slide right off your moneymaker, and don’t make it too honeylicious, or it will be impossible to spread.  It’s trial and error, go with the flow!

The honey in the scrub will draw out the impurities in your skin and nix any nagging city scum sitting on top of your pores.  The sugar acts as mother nature’s sweet little exfoliant, scrubbing your skin without tearing or dragging.  The olive oil continues it’s act as basically the most versatile and beneficial ingredient known to mankind and leaves you supple and smooth.  The best part is that these ingredients very likely exist right under your clever little nose, so take the hike to your kitchen, attack with a spoon and slather on your face.

Life in Pictures

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A new furniture rehab project making it debut in the near future!

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A Cupcake ATM in my neighborhood you say? Check out the sprinkles by you for this awesome creation.

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A view of the harbor from the south-shore on a typically windy Chicago day.

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A quick canoe pitstop for a glass of smuggled white wine.

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Candyality Chicago style truffles – so cute!

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Quite possibly the biggest tree I’ve ever seen….and quite possibly the only plaid shirt I own.

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Stuffed shells with ground turkey, sun dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese, topped with a white wine and lemon cream sauce.

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A long hike on a warm fall day – yes, that is a murse I’m wearing.

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A beautiful bridge at sunset.

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Our chilly (I can’t believe it just snowed in early- [okay fine, mid-] November) skyline.

RPM Italian – The Look

Our RPM Italian dream has finally come true.  One warm September evening, Laura and I thought to ourselves, what could be the harm in just calling them to see when their next rezzie was? As it turns out, others had the same idea, because the next available weekend reservation was in November.  We snatched that bad boy up, marked our calendars and began the countdown.

With November creeping up, we eagerly looked forward to our hot date with mouths watering and menus favorite-d on google.  While I’d love to tell you about the delicious eats, I think it’s more important to tell you about the real event – what we wore!

Only kidding, I’m not crazy, we had the bolognese, I know who the star of this show is (food!).  But since Laura is out of town on business – and she holds the pics – the best we can do is give you a peek at the outfits.  Sorry to disappoint :)

 

L&A

Loving London

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As expected, I am totally in love with this city. It’s absolutely stunning – soaring modern architecture against castles and huge expanses of parks. It doesn’t hurt that the weather has been insanely perfect the whole time I’ve been here. There have been a few showers but on the whole, it’s been crisp, sunny fall weather; the perfect backdrop for exploring!

A few things:

  • I’ve found it less expensive than I anticipated. I am obviously very lucky to be travelling for work and I do imagine that renting a flat or hotel room would be extremely expensive here; similar to New York, space is at an absolute premium. However, I’ve found that there’s a huge range of both costs and choices when choosing food and shopping — yes, it would be easy to go crazy and spend a ton, but it’s definitely not impossible to keep it under control, either!
  • I’ve noticed a lot of Londoners reading while walking and even reading while running. To borrow a phrase from my new British friends, “wonderful and weird.”
  • England’s bad rap for their food and cooking is totally undeserved — I have eaten a ton of great food in my time here. Indian, tapas, pastries, yum. There is a HUGE food culture here too, beyond just the restaurant scene. I went to Borough Market, the city’s biggest and most notable on Saturday and was so glad I did (best “toasted cheese” aka “grilled cheese” OF MY LIFE!!) but that was honestly choosing one from a list of many, many Saturday food markets. I’ll be back for more, London!
  • On the toasted-cheese/pastries note… thank goodness London is an incredibly safe and therefore incredibly walkable city. I’ve walked to and from work every day and did a ton of exploring this weekend, walking literally everywhere. It’s not on any type of grid so I’ve relied fairly heavily on Google maps, but thanks to the River, I’ve started to be better able to orient myself when out and about and do feel that I am getting the hang of it!

Dumb American in London moments:

  • The River Thames is pronounced “Temms” – please, kill me. No one corrected me for like a week.
  • Though my head knows that I should look right first to check for cars coming when crossing the street, it has proven nearly impossible to reverse 28 years of left-right-left checking and I look like a total weirdo at every street corner, shaking my head back and forth at least 10 times. It’s habit fighting logic and I’m just a mess.
  • Speaking of things being on opposite sides of what I’m used to, the escalators are also reversed so I have tried to go up the down escalator twice.
  • I cannot work my microwave to save my life. I’m not sure if this is a cultural difference or because I’m staying in a high-efficiency green building. Either way, I definitely ate cold curry for dinner tonight.

Apologies for the short (and week late post!) but I’ve been trying to see and do as much as I can in the non-working hours and am therefore finding myself totally exhausted every night! In tonight’s case, I had a stressful (sarcasm) day of tapas, the Tower of London and cold curry… also, Downton Abbey’s on soon and that is serious business here. :)

Cheers from London!

I’ve been fighting with my wireless here but will be posting lots of pictures when I get home!

Life Lately

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sunrise over the lake // homemade chicken tortilla soup // teachers strike // super authentic in my new Guinness tee straight from Dublin

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date night outfit // “wig shop” at Untitled // Moscow Mule, fave drink ever

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Wrigley! // coffee in one hand, vino in the other // skyline and el tracks

Happy Friday

 

 

We made it! Happy Friday :) Fall has officially arrived and we’ve decided to face the tragedy of summer’s end head-on by what else? Shopping for sweaters and boots!

Busy but fun weekends on the books for both of us and we’re looking forward to sharing a lot of great posts next week.

This week, we added new pages to the top of the blog to categorize all of our posts so they’re more easily accessible. So much fun to look back on our posts over the past year. What is it about fall that makes us want to be that much more productive?  Left over effects from our school days, most likely! Someone buy us new trapper keepers, please and thanks.

Some reads for your weekend:

 

Jessie, the Design Daredevil with David Bromstad behind the scenes on the White Room Challenge

  • We are BEYOND excited for our blogging buddy, the Design Daredevil.  Jessie will be tearing up HGTV tonight on the White Room Challenge! We already knew that she was gorgeous, talented and hilarious, but this story about her incredible passion for design and the struggles she has gone through to make her dreams happen really seals the deal – we are madly in love. Set your DVRs!
  • We’ll never admit how much time we spent this week watching Bad Lip Reading videos on YouTube, absolutely CRYING laughing. Whatever your political leanings are, these are hilarious. (Thanks, Shai!)
  • Martha Stewart’s Autumn Apple Recipe Guide has us drooling – but how to choose? Cheddar crusted apple pie? Apple butternut squash soup? Quinoa and apple salad with curry dressing? Yes please!
  • Orrrr if you’d prefer a cocktail, check out Huffington Posts’ Top 5 Autumn Apple Cocktails – cheers!
  • We loved this inspirational post over at Story of My Life on following your dreams and sticking with them.
  • We cannot go on without knowing at some point in our lives we can be a Chengdu Pambassador – we share this opportunity begrudgingly. Hug a panda, guys!

Have a great weekend!

Thankful Thursday

I promise we’re not turning this into a self help blog. But, when I saw this clip this morning on my beloved Good Morning America, I knew I really wanted to share it. I absolutely love everything about Robin Roberts – she’s hilarious, self-deprecating and totally gorgeous but above all, incredibly strong and incredibly inspirational. Her positive ‘tude through her many trials and tribulations never seems to waver.

I was particularly moved by her message that we should all “Change the way you think to change the way you feel.” If she can maintain that kind of perspective from the position she’s in right now, I’m sure going to make this day a great day and remind myself to do the same every day.

Happy Thursday :)