Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Halloween

We are one day away from the start of the holiday season!  Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and Jon and I always dress up and go out with friends to sing karaoke. We went out this past weekend as Ms. Scarlet and Mr. Green from the classic game/movie Clue. It was a fun costume to put together (thank you and we had a fun night out singing our favorites.  Here are a few of my favorite Halloween blog posts to help you celebrate this year. Happy Halloween everyone!

  1. A spooky punch to serve at your party or for the adults that stop by with the trick-or-treaters
  2. Even though I'm a dog person, I do love these photos of Blackie.
  3. I don't have baby fever, but Taza's kids make me want little ones to dress up! Especially as Anna Wintour!
  4. I still find myself looking at wedding blogs, and here is an gothic inspired wedding perfect for Halloween!
  5. Put together a last minute Halloween dinner for some friends!

Friday, October 25, 2013

It Feels Like Home

Years ago, I remember sitting in my college apartment, reading an email that just told me I was accepted for a study abroad program in Florence Italy.  To be honest, I was shocked.  For some reason, I didn't think I would get in.  I think because none of my other sisters had studied abroad, so for some reason I didn't think I was meant to either. Months later, I was living in a beautiful apartment in Florence, living with girls I had just met a few weeks prior. I have thousands of memories and stories from my time there, but a few of them stand out more than the others. This is one such story. 

Towards the end of my time in Florence, I was getting very homesick. It's hard to even admit now because I would do anything to go back and live there again!  However, I had lived there a few months, and was really homesick. I missed my friends and family, but mostly I missed my sisters. (this was before Skype or FaceTime was popular).  The first weekend of November, my friend Kim from Germany (we met when she was a foreign exchange student at my high school), asked if I wanted to visit her and her family. I was reluctant for a few reasons (being a broke college student was one of them), but in the end decided to take the overnight train to see her. I arrived very early in the morning at the Stuttgart train station; the sun hadn't even come up yet, and the station was deserted. She was standing there waiting to see me and holding a leash with Lena (her Bernese mountain dog) on the other end.  I gave her and Lena a hug, tired but happy to see such excited faces.  We drove in her car to the bakery so we could pick up some fresh bread for breakfast that morning (side note: Germans know bread. They are bread artists if you will). Kim was chatting away and I remember watching the sunrise as we pulled up to her family home with Lena wagging her tail to get out.  I was greeted by her parents and Kim showed me to my room for the weekend. It was a lovely space on the top floor perfect for my stay. Kim had put DVD's of "Sex and the City" in my room in case I needed some American TV. After showing me around the house, we sat down for a typical German breakfast of soft boiled eggs, German rolls, and a variety of cheeses.  Kim made a pot of tea and we drank every last drop while talking and catching up on life.  It was during my conversation with her and her mom Sabine, that I realized how happy I was.  This was exactly what I needed, time with my "sister" and some time with my "mom." My heart could not have been more full with love and comfort, and instantly my entire outlook on the rest of my semester there changed for the better.  I had the most wonderful weekend there, hiking in the hills of Stuttgart, shopping with Kim and her mom in the local boutiques, and dining out with the whole family (including Lena!) at a beautiful local restaurant. It was the most wonderful feeling to be "home" again. Even as I looked out the window on the train back to Italy, I held in my hand a letter from her dad Eberhart, thanking me for coming out that weekend and giving me a little money for the trip home like all wonderful dads do.  

I was fortunate enough to have their whole family attend our wedding in Italy this past May. Kim was with me when I was getting dressed for the ceremony, and her father was the first to give a speech at our wedding dinner. I believe that people across the world are connected in so many ways, and you can find family and comfort when you least expect it. I am so blessed for my friendship with Kim, and so happy to know that I always have a place in Germany that feels like home. 


Sabine's art studio

Kim and Lena

Hiking in Stuttgart

My beautiful German sister

An incredible and loving speech at our wedding

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Little Things

Sunshine through the autumn leaves

It has been a busy week and I am very much looking forward to the weekend.  Work is picking up and I find myself setting a goals outside of work hours that keep me just as busy. However, I am happy to be working on so many things that I love and still having the time to spend with Jon and my friends on the weekends. I hope you all had a great week and have something special planned for the weekend, even if it's perfecting the art of doing nothing. Cheers!

These candles smell amazing and I love the wine bottle touch

It's never to early to teach kids to cook

Special mid week social at the Hotel Ivy

Gorgeous architecture at the Itasca building

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wheatberry Salad

I have most of Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa cookbooks. They have such great recipes and I always find them easy to follow with delicious results.  I wouldn't call this Wheatberry Salad a fail by any means, but it definitely did not turn out the way I expected.  The wheat berries took twice as long to cook as the instructions said, and I they didn't really turn "soft." It was more like "chewy."Nonetheless, it was an easy dish to make (I even made pesto sauce while waiting for the wheat berries to cook) and I look forward to having it for lunches this week.

Raw Wheatberries

I use Alessi coarse salt when I salt water for cooking

Ombre Onions

Fall Colors

Monday, October 7, 2013

Seasonal Changes

As most of the country begins their slow decent into the autumn season, Minnesota tends to jump in full force the moment we have one day less than 70 degrees. The leaves are turning beautiful colors of orange, yellow and red, and the chilly weather is making it tough to leave my house in the morning without a jacket and scarf. I welcome the change of seasons and have already made updates to my wardrobe and living spaces. Here are some quick tips on how you can make some easy changes to embrace the autumn season.

1.  Stock up on baking items.  Do an inventory of your spices, baking ingredients, and tools to see what you need. I just picked up some new cookie sheets from Kitchen Window as my old ones needed to be donated. Baking is much more fun when I know that I already have everything I need, and then I can make my pumpkin bread during the week.

2.  Switch your bedding.  This is something that a friend of mine showed me, and I am determined to do it this year. Currently I have an all white duvet cover and it's perfect for spring/summer months.  However, this bedding would add such a seasonal element without changing the entire look of the bedroom.

3. Add some cozy to your living room. Slipcovers for pillows are the best invention ever.  It allows me to change the look of the couch without finding a space to store the old ones.  I love this pillow as I am change to darker colors and textured fabrics for the cooler months.  I have also pulled out my favorite throw and think I may have to buy this rug one to throw over a chair once the snow begins to fall.  Stock up on votive candles to scatter throughout your space to add a warm ambiance, especially if you don't have a fireplace.

4. Wardrobe transitions.  Pack away all of your shorts, mini skirts, and other summer items you won't be needing for a few months. Even though feng shui says not to keep stuff under your bed, these storage bins allow me to keep all my summer items clean and packed away until next year (or until a winter getaway). This is also a great time to donate all of those summer items you didn't use, and take inventory of what you will need this season (for me, I need some new black booties).

Friday, October 4, 2013

Scary Movie List

I have to admit, I am a total wuss.  I do not like horror films and I rarely get pleasure out of being scared.  That is not to say that I would not be good in scary situations, (I would never follow a serial killer into the basement of his home as Jodie Foster did in Silence of the Lambs) and I like to think that I can think fast in panic situations.  However, I do like the spooky spirit of Halloween, and enjoy watching some semi-scary movies made for wusses (thank you Disney) this time of year.  Old movies in black and white are my favorite, and the scary movies give me enough thrill to watch in the dark on a chilly October evening.  Here is my list of movies I will be watching this weekend while I begin to put together my costume for Halloween.

1. Hocus Pocus
2. Young Frankenstein
3. Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein

4. Clue
5. Practical Magic
6. Rear Window

7. Death Becomes Her
8. The Craft
9. The Birds

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


I was totally thrilled to find a new acronym this fall.  PSL was posted on so many things around my office and pinterest, it took me a minute to figure out what the heck it meant.  PSYis the pistachio nut  guy with the funny dance, PS4 is the video game thing where I can play mario cart...What the heck was PSL?!?  And then it dawned on me, it was like someone threw a pumpkin at my head and said, "Guess what time of year it is?!"  It's pumpkin season! Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back!  Ok, confession, I've never had a PSL from Starbucks or any other mass coffee producer.  To be honest, those fancy coffee drinks aren't worth the calories to me.  However, I do love all things pumpkin, so I figured I should see if I can make this recipe at home first. Thank you pinterest for being a better search engine than google in times like these.  I found this lovely recipe and whipped up a batch of pumpkin spice syrup so I can add it to my coffee any time.  Side note: this makes a lot of syrup (like 3 cups), so plan on getting a few cute bottles and give some extra syrup to friends. Side side note: this is the first part in a 3 part Pumpkin Spice Series (noted for future posts that I need to look at ingredients lists before coming home and not assume I already have everything in the pantry for pumpkin butter or turnovers.) More Pumpkin Spice recipes to come!