34 posts categorized "Everyday Life"

November 01, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Did you do anything fun? After changing my costume idea a million times I settled on a Piranha Plant from Super Mario Brothers.

IMG_0209

Piranha Plant

I was able to put the whole thing together in about 5 hours using only things I found in my apartment. I know most people don't randomly find large rolls of 1/2 inch foam in the back of their closets but...eh. I'll take it.

In addition to my costume, I've been meaning to post pics of my Halloween decorations for a while now. Better late than never!

Halloween Decor

Halloween Decor

Halloween Decor

Halloween Decor

Halloween Decor

Halloween Decor

Halloween Decor

Tonight I spent a quiet evening at home with with friends making dinner and passing out candy. It was pretty awesome. I could handle Halloween taking place once a week.

Halloween Treats!

October 08, 2011

Favorite Places: Eckerts Orchards

I'm lucky enough to live close to an incredible orchard/farm. Eckert's is family owned and operated and grows everything from berries to pumpkins. Each season offers it's own selection of crops for you to go out and pick on your own. With it being fall, I of course went out to pick apples. Twenty pounds of apples to be specific, all of them Jonathan or Golden delicious.

Golden Delicious Apples

Golden Delicious Apples

Birds Nest

In addition to the orchards Eckert's also has a full grocery store, restaurant, ice cream stand, garden center and petting zoo. The grocery store features a huge selection of locally made sauces, jams, picked vegetables and bakery items. While I was there they were hand dipping caramel apples!

Reeses Caramel Apples

Reeses Caramel Apples

Reeses Caramel Apples

The apples looked really good, but after picking twenty pounds of them and knowing that I would be eating them for a while I opted for a pumpkin pie concrete over a caramel apple. Easily my favorite fall treat! It was over 80 degrees outside that day so you have to forgive the melty image and just believe me when I say that it was heaven in a cup. Come on - a slice of fresh pumpkin pie blended into homemade frozen custard - yes please!

Pumpkin Pie Concrete

I picked up all of the little pumpkins pictured to start decorating for Halloween. I'm hoping to make some serious progress on that this afternoon. Are you doing anything fun today?

September 28, 2011

Soup's On!

Sorry for my recent silence. I think my internet service provider has it out for me - in that they aren't providing me with internet service. I've spent multiple hours on the phone each day for the past four days and it's still not resolved. I'm still working on it. Ugh, lets talk about nicer things...

Like cooler weather and homemade soup! I really just love everything about fall. I love fall holidays, fall fashion, trading out tank tops and shorts for sweaters and jeans, pumpkins and apples and the sound of leaves crunching under my feet. Crisp cool mornings are refreshing and I swear they make my coffee taste better. The second cooler weather sets in I instantly start craving soup. On our first cool night this year I had some friends over and made a big pot of corn chowder with cheese garlic bread to go alongside it. It was phenomenal!

IMG_2504

Tomorrow I'm heading out of town for the weekend. The upside to this is that I'll have a solid internet connection while I'm gone. More posts are on the way I promise! Including a new outfit and favorite places post. Hope your week is treating you well!

P.S. What's your favorite fall weather soup? I need to start stock piling ideas for the next batch!

September 18, 2011

Photo Dump

If you follow me on twitter you've probably already seen all of these, but if you don't here's a little glimpse into this past week.

IMG_0072

I've been tandem biking with my cousin Ginny Thursday nights as my cross training for the warrior dash. The bike is ancient and weighs a ton but it's magenta with sparkly silver seats - you have to love it!

IMG_0079

My favorite salesman in the office brought me back some new key caps from one of his trips. This firmly secures his title of "favorite".

IMG_0080

Nautical striped nails. I recently bought a slew of Essie polishes, all in shades that remind me of peacocks. I used the Dainty Squids taping method to get my stripes. My attempt at stripes last week was wretched but I thought they looked nice this time.

IMG_0081

St. Louis has a surprising number of local brewery's. One of the largest and most popular is Schlafly. I'm really not a fan of beer, but my cousins drove in to attend Schlafly's annual Hops in the City beer tasting so I met up with them and sampled a few. The Raspberry Hefeweizen was my favorite. Hanging out with my cousins is also my favorite. :)

IMG_0085

Last night I attended our local men's roller derby championship bout. It was such an exciting game! The GateKeepers have only been around for two years and they're already one of the top ranking teams in the nation. Congrats to the South Grand Slammers our new local champions!

Today I have a list a mile long of things I need to get caught up on. Luckily its rainy and cold outside so I shouldn't be tempted to cast aside all responsibility in favor of picking apples and then spending the rest of the day baking them into things. That will have to wait until next weekend. I love fall!

September 15, 2011

The Squirrels Strike Again.

I'm not sure if you recall me mentioning this before or not, but the squirrels in my neighborhood are crazy. I've traveled the U.S. pretty extensively since high school. Having slept in every continental U.S. state at least once, but usually multiple days, and then having had the opportunity to live in multiple cities throughout the Midwest I feel like I have a fair grasp on the behaviors of common fauna.

My college campus was littered with squirrels. They out numbered the human population at least 3 to 1. There were whole comics devoted to them in local papers. The population explosion was easy to understand. The campus was located in the center of the Shenandoah forest with large portions of the campus remaining heavily wooded. Temperatures were usually mild and the students were always willing to hand out a free meal to a woodland friend. It was very common to pass a few students hand feeding squirrels pop-tarts or pizza crusts almost anywhere you went. I'm not saying that I encourage this behavior, just that it happened, frequently.

With the squirrels being that familiar with the human population there were bound to be some extra ordinary encounters between the two. I heard a number of stories of squirrels treating humans like trees and bounding off of them mid sprint before hitting the next tree in their path like pin balls. Or of squirrels chasing each other and getting so lost in their own activities that they just stopped paying attention to where they were going and crashing right into students like little furry missiles. Squirrels would enter dorm rooms or refuse to give up their places on park benches. These are all strange, but pretty benign activities.

The squirrels in my neighborhood are different. They are stealthy, and aggressive and apparently possess indestructible stomachs. When I take my dogs outside they bark at them from the tree tops and then proceed to throw twigs and nuts at us until we leave. They scale the walls of my apartment upside down and knock on my windows. They eat my lawn furniture. Wooden chairs! Why would a squirrel eat a wooden chair?

I haven't been able to hang Christmas lights the entire time I've lived here. The first Year I put them out entwined with fake leaves and the squirrels ate the light bulbs. I thought they might have been confused by the leaves, but surely they learned their lesson. The bulbs are made of glass and I found no dead squirrels. The next day I put the leaves out again this time with fresh lights. Same result. The third day I left the leaves off thinking the squirrels just couldn't handle them. They STILL ate the bulbs! They will viciously attack anything I leave on my porch from furniture to lights to pumpkins and now apparently my plants.

For some reason, up to this point, they've basically ignored my plants. Go figure. Every now and then they'll do a little digging or steal some moss. Today they went all out. Half of the dirt in my coffee plant is gone and Oscar, my Christmas cactus, took a brutal beating. It looks like I'll be doing some replanting this weekend, and probably making room for some plants inside the apartment.

IMG_0070

IMG_0071

September 11, 2011

My Renegade Chicago Trip

Chicago's renegade craft fair was this weekend. I had seriously considered going but talked myself out of it to save funds for an upcoming trip to New York. When I found out that one of my favorite bands from my youth was playing a free show the same weekend just blocks away from renegade all bets were off. I threw a few items (most notable: cookies, propel and an embarrassing amount of nail polish) into a bag, loaded some audio books onto the ipad and headed out the door.

Everyone has a band or a collection of songs that brings back strong fond memories. For me, The Get Up Kids fall under this category. There are a hand full of their albums that were the sound track to some of the happiest periods of my life. I will ALWAYS love them. I can't hear some of their songs without laughing or grinning like a maniac. I clearly remember the day their break up was announced. It was devastating. As much as I loved them I hadn't ever made it to a live show due one silly reason or another. It was crushing to think that I wouldn't ever see them live.

When I found out they'd reformed they instantly went onto my bucket list. I had to see them before I died. None of us were getting any younger so my opportunities were feeling slimmer. Saturday's show was amazing. I headed straight to the front of the stage with the rest of the die hard super fans where we jumped and danced and sang along to every word. They played a few tracks off of the new album, but there were a lot of songs from the old albums, my two favorites among them. Truly awesome show!

IMG_0059

IMG_0061

IMG_0063

IMG_0064

IMG_0065

We headed out this morning for brunch before hitting the craft fair. I somehow always forget how warm it is at Renegade every year. For some reason I always think I should be chilly and dress too warmly. This year was no exception and I walked around melting in a sweater and scarf. Maybe next year I'll learn.

IMG_0066

The booths this year were incredible! I was super excited to see Shawn and Jen of Shawnimals again. As well as a number of my favorite screen printers and fellow crafters from my days working with Chicago's Dep-Art-Ment sales. I also really loved getting the chance to meet Elsie, Rachel and Emma from Red Velvet. I always get a little tongue tied when meeting new people that I admire. Hopefully I wasn't too awkward!

Since I really am supposed to be saving money for my New York trip I strictly limited how much I was allowed to spend at renegade and managed to only walk away with one small print and a couple of stickers. I really love the print though, I couldn't pass it by.

IMG_0067

A little Twin Peaks reference. I love Agent Cooper. <3

There really were so many inspiring things there. Next year I'll be sure to plan my trip a little better so I can bring some more of it home. I might even register for a booth!

September 09, 2011

Water Soluble Thread - It's Magical!

Hi guys! Just wanted to let you know about a new post I have up on Totally Stichin'. It introduces you to water soluble thread and then walks you through how to use it. You can read it here.

WST_Materials

It's like a magic wand for your sewing kit. I kid you not.

This weekend I'm switching out my fall clothes just in time to head to Renegade Chicago. Are any of you heading up there? If so tweet at me! I'm looking forward to seeing some of my favorite crafters! I should also have a some posts with fall ideas and pics from my trip. Talk to you soon!

September 03, 2011

Hour by Hour

I was a little disappointed to see that virtually all of my instagram pictures were of food the other day. Today I tried branching out a little bit and taking one photo per hour of things that I did during the day. Mind you, this was a pretty slow Saturday. There are still a number of food shots, but eh, I like food. Here is what my day looked like:

  IMG_0042

7:00 am - Puppy face. I almost always wake up to tiny paws and cold noses gently prodding my face asking to go outside.

IMG_0043

8:00 am - First cup of coffee of the day. Browsing emails and recent events in the lives of my friends.

IMG_0044

9:00 am - Laundry. Like Whoa.

IMG_0045

10:00 am - I put my hair up in pin curls after I got out of the shower in preparation for an event later in the evening.

IMG_0046

11:00 am - Blog. Write a few posts and brainstorm some others. Also, there is more coffee - I'm on my third cup here.

IMG_0047

12:00 noon - Break for lunch - veggie blt. Yum.

IMG_0048

1:00 pm - Take another break from blogging to weave in some loose ends on the never ending french toast scarf I'm making. Not joking. I started this thing two years ago, but this is the year, THIS ENDS NOW. Or at least this season, because after about 15 min of weaving I totally went back to the internet.

IMG_0049

2:00 pm - Break away from the computer and start sifting through recipes for something to bring to the party.

IMG_0051

3:00 pm - I decided on cupcakes and cocktails. Mayan Chocolate Espresso. <3

IMG_0050

4:00 pm - Pin curls = Bigger hair. Awesome.

IMG_0052

5:00 pm - Working on a shop update for tomorrow so I take inventory of what I have and what I should make next.

IMG_0053

6:00 pm - Cupcakes are iced! I might have also brewed a little more coffee. Cupcakes are great with coffee!

IMG_0054

7:00 pm - Heading out to grab my final cocktail ingredients.

I'm heading out to my party now, hope you're enjoying your holiday weekend!

September's blog posts are looking good, be sure to check back!

August 30, 2011

Photo Dump

I'm sorry I've been so quiet! Usually I take Sunday to focus on lining up my posts for the week and establishing some type of order in my apartment. It seems like this week I was lucky to buy groceries. I just haven't had time to eat them. ;) Here are some recent snap shots.

IMG_0022


IMG_0026

IMG_0038

IMG_0039

IMG_0040

Apparently I only take photos of my food. Sorry guys, it was a week of good eating! I promise I'll be back with more content tomorrow. Have a great day!

August 24, 2011

Favorite Places: Bodega

It's the long awaited Bodega post! I've been saying for months that I would show you around a mexican grocery store. Today is the day! I LOVE bodegas! When I was little my Ita would take me shopping with her and while she did shop at traditional American grocery stores, we would always make an extra stop at a bodega on the way home. There are a lot of things you just can't get anywhere else. Here are some of my favorites from my local bodega:

IMG_1799

At my local store the first thing you run into is a giant shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe. To most Americans this might seem odd. It is huge, it is gaudy, it is covered in tacky silk flowers and candles with images of saints on them. To me this is home.

My Ita was fashionable. She was always dressed to the nines in an outfit following the latest trends with her hair and makeup perfect. She also carried a special place in her heart for kitsch. Her house was decorated with classic mid-century furniture nestled atop thick red plush carpet. It was peppered throughout with an incredible assortment of knick-knacks and mementos collected over the years. They ranged everywhere from elegant crystal and jade sculptures to chinese lanterns and sequined sombreros. I may have missed out on perfect hair and make up, but the kitsch lives strong within me. I keep a tiny Dia De Los Muertos shrine in my apartment now. It just looks right.

IMG_1807

Were you looking to create a tiny shrine of your own? Look no further friend, everything you need is right here! The selection of candles in my local bodega is staggering.

IMG_1808

I actually own these ones. :)

IMG_1794

Moving into the food category. You are bound to encounter a wide array of dried chilies. They vary immensely so it's best to head into the store with a recipe and Chile name in hand rather than try to blindly select one from the masses.

IMG_1797

I primarily use Chile Anchos. They are rich in flavor and color and mild in heat. I use them to make enchiladas, but they can be used in hundreds of sauces and soups.

IMG_1810

I addition to a meat and dairy counter my store features a fruit carving counter! How awesome is that? You can buy fresh sliced tropical fruits - On a Stick! So amazingly good.

IMG_1805

IMG_1806

The back half of my store leaves the groceries behind and becomes a super store. It's pretty incredible. They carry all kinds of clothing from soccer shirts and baby clothes to quinceanera dresses and boys tuxedos. There are CD's, DVD's wedding decorations, lawn ornaments and intricately inlaid wooden tables like the one pictured above. Crazy right?!?

IMG_1803

IMG_1804

Remember my embroidery find? I got it at the Bodega!

IMG_1801

IMG_1800

IMG_1802

My favorite part of the bodega is the massive pastry case as you head for the checkout. Word of warning: Mexican pastries are beautiful hands down, but they are nothing like the pastries you would find at your corner bistro. The first two pastries pictured are conchas the last are elotito. There are some noticeable differences between these pastries and the ones you're probably used to.

The first is sugar. They may be sweet rolls but they are surprisingly low in sugar. My Ita didn't like them for this reason. They look like they would be almost donut like when in reality, they're only slightly sweetened. The other most notable difference is texture. I'm not entirely sure why because I've never seen them made, but they are really dry. Even fresh out of the oven. They are not at all buttery or chewy.

I know I probably just painted a horrible picture of them but I wasn't trying to, promise! I am seriously addicted to these things! They are the perfect accompaniment to a morning cup of coffee. The perfect snack to pair with a mug of hot chocolate!  If you ever find yourself in need of a good sturdy bread to use in a bread pudding - yeah, best bread pudding I've had in my life. On your way out of the store go ahead and pick one out. You will hopefully be pleasantly surprised!

Next time I'll take pics of my staple purchases.