Monday, December 20, 2010

double double

Tribune Tower

Days away from the holidays.
Looking out these windows will surely show these heavily trafficked streets.
Full of last-minute shoppers rushing from door to door to check off everyone on the list.
Holiday procrastination.

Lucky for us, we finished all of our shopping weeks ago, and for the most part have already handed off all the gifts. We did this as a way to save space; and since we don't have a tree, they can adorn their recipient's tree instead.

Michigan Ave. has been packed. Well, it is always packed, but now more than ever. We took a walk downtown on Sunday and were shoulder to shoulder with shoppers. I guess it's just a friendly (okay, not so friendly at all times) reminder that we live in a big city. We forget on our quaint northside that there is a hustling bustling downtown area.

I will apologize in advance if my posting becomes reduced to non-existent during this holiday season. We get serious about celebrating and lavishing time with family and friends. This is not to say that we will forget about our online friends and followers. We promise to be back with vengeance in the new year. :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

saturday skillet

Our Saturday Skillet: Potato Pancakes

Proud to say that we started the day with a breakfast that I will definitely be making again -- potato pancakes. While I like pancakes, it is one breakfast food I could do without (unless there are chocolate chips in them). I also am not a huge fan of potatoes when they are mashed. It's a consistency thing, and I am a consistency person. (It's the absolute only way I could be considered a picky eater. And it doesn't count because I still do eat things that don't totally do it for me with their consistency (i.e. oatmeal, refried beans, squash...etc.)

So anyway ... I didn't think that potato pancakes would be my thing, but goodness gracious -- they are delicious. They are a combo between hash browns and pancakes--and certainly contain all the carbs you need for the day. Coupled with pure maple syrup, apple sauce and good company = an excellent start to the weekend.

We cheated and bought a box so they were not homemade, and I will have to admit I was thoroughly impressed with the flavor. Anyway, enough about pancakes. It's on to dinner now.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

gingerbread cookies, not men

Today was a day for baking. Not sure if it was the blizzard, the strong winds or just my strong desire for something sweet. I also needed an excuse to get my mind off things.

Just last weekend I was marveling over all of the cookie cutters I have. None of which have a holiday theme, but it doesn't matter. Just because they don't stand out as "holiday cookies" doesn't mean they don't taste the same.

I realized last weekend that I have hardly used any of my cookie cutters. It was time to make some dinosaur, flower, cat, star, etc., etc. cookies.

My main dilemma with baking is this: It's just pm and me. While I love to make cakes, breads, cookies, pies and other sweets, as just two people it's hard to finish everything. Or, the problem is that we do finish everything and then feel gluttonous. I need to come up with a better system. Make a half batch (nearly impossible to yield the same results), freeze the dough (not recommended) or give some away (best option.).

This is a continued theme that goes beyond baking. We have a hard time getting through a loaf of bread, gallon of milk or block of cheese without having to throw some out. In most cases, rather than throw items out (minus the milk), we freeze things. Our freezer is on system overload right now though. Anyway, what tips do you have for saving and sharing?
Here's the recipe for the gingerbread cookies we made:
1/2 c shortening
1/2 c sugar
1 t baking powder
1 t ground ginger
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t clove
1/2 c molasses
1 egg
1 t vinegar
2 1/2 c flour
Preheat oven to 375. Bake 5-6 mins, until edges are brown. [Note: Do not overcook, or forget about cookies in oven. I burnt a round. :( ]

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My eyes are peeled.


'Tis the time for holiday deals, and lucky for us in a couple of short weeks the deals with be even sweeter. Every year around this time, pm and I get really excited about the prospect of buying new furniture for a very reduced price. Unfortunately, every year the prospects remain unattainable. We just don't have the livable space for a new couch, a dining room table...etc., etc.

This doesn't mean that we don't still look. Because we do, and we will.

In fact, sometimes I like to flip through the Crate & Barrel catalogue (among others) and dream about the things that would be nice to have even if we'll never have them. I used to play that same game as a kid. You page through a catalogue and have to choose your favorite thing on each page.

Anyway....I think we need to get married again. This way we can add all the things we didn't add to our registry the first time. For our first nuptials we had to ask for boring things (towels, plates, glasses, sheets... etc) because we did not have anything. Everything we owned fit into my Honda Civic, which included mostly clothes and one floor lamp. Now that we have all the things we need, I'd like to ask for all the things we want. First we need to get some more square footage. :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

sweet torture

I have a horrible sweet tooth. It's no secret. I've said if before and I will certainly say it again.

What is not helping my sweet tooth dilemma is the amount of sweets that are becoming available, but . . . not for eating. 'Tis the season when we get more mail about sales, holiday products and catalogues. The pages are all loaded with delectable holiday treats. There are so many treat options in print that it's making me feel increasingly guilty about not getting into the holiday spirit and baking.

I did make some banana bread over the weekend. Only ten more frozen bananas in the freezer to work with. I could use a good banana cookie recipe ... and if it applies to the holidays even better.

Monday, December 6, 2010


DIY snowflakes
Yes, success. Christmas shopping is complete. Almost all the gifts are wrapped and stored away. Wish we could say they were resting under the Christmas tree, but small apartment living isn't very conducive for having a tree. Instead, we've got some eucalyptus branches to give off some of that delightful 'piney' smell.

We put up some DIY snowflakes (photos to come soon) and are starting to ease our ways into the season. The snow this weekend actually makes it feel a lot more like winter is here. This is both a good and bad thing. It sure was pretty on Saturday, not so much today.

I've been dreaming of Christmas cookies, and am a little stumped as to where to begin. I know that one of these days coming up I'll get to making a few batches. If for nothing else it will keep the temperatures livable in here with having the oven on. Oh the joys of winter!

Thursday, December 2, 2010



Delicate. Fragile. Endearing. Subtle. Dreamy. Wistful.

This photo brings all of these words to mind for me. It also makes me think about lately I just haven't had the energy to write. It could be the lack of sunshine or the fact that I am not one for just slapping together a post without giving it some thought.

Quality is better than quantity.

The only thing that differs in the blogosphere is that your fans/followers expect a certain amount of product. I know in the past few months I haven't been giving it everything that I could. I am a little distracted & I will reveal my distractions soon enough. The multiple distractions in our lives in the past two months have required a lot more time and effort than I had originally intended. All good things though.

If only the race to the finish line was in sight. I sometimes wonder if we ever get a glimpse of the finish line in life. Every year about this time I start to reflect on the past year. This year, bar-none has gone by faster than any other year I have lived. I thought by now things would have slowed down a little. Boy, was I wrong. I have started to accept that once one thing slows down another one begins. If for nothing else, one can never grow bored. It also, as of late, also seems that one can never rest to catch their breath.

This brings me back to the photo above. I find it quite tranquil. It's simple, yet you cannot stop looking into the distance (the first exposure). And this, is what we all do day after day... look ahead to the distance to see what lies ahead.

If you are still following our lamentably sporadic posts, what do you do to stay focused on the future without being overwhelmed? :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Trip on I-94

Chicago I-94

Nothing says the holidays are here like traffic on I-94. Thankfully, we can't say that we had too many complaints this Thanksgiving. I remember past years being much worse -- when we either had to fly in or drive all the way through Chicago to get home.

Our American concept of distance is far different than that of others (namely our European counterparts). We don't consider a 4-5 hour car trip to be that out of the ordinary for a weekend trip. In fact, many of us choose to live that far away from family allowing us to be close, but not too close. And while, driving that amount of distance in a weekend may not be optimum, people do it all the time.

I don't remember that being so much of the case during the time I spent in Sevilla. A weekend trip to Madrid would have been planned for months. You also, rather than driving, would have either taken the train, plane or bus. Families all seem to live within a much closer distance to each other. In many senses, I really enjoy this. It's nice to know that from wherever you are, family is just 15-20 minutes away.

Pm and I have been moving closer and closer to my family. We went from Florida, to Michigan to Illinois. While I don't see us getting much closer than we are now, the ease of getting in the car for a quick visit spontaneously on a Saturday or Sunday is something that I could get used to.

What are your thoughts about distance and family? Hope that everyone had a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Desperate times...

...Call for desperate measures. Yeah, whatever. We all know the expression. We've all been there before. Everyone has desperate times.

Tonight is one of those desperate times for me. No energy to get out to do things for myself; instead, I'd rather have someone else be doing my dirty work. And while I am not a huge fan of this, I think it will all be worth it.

Now that I have either thoroughly bored you or intrigued you, I will tell you what the desperate measure is. (cue drum roll) I need ice cream. Not just ice cream, but an ice cream sundae. Not sure why on earth I have such a craving, as it is cold outside and normally any type of ice cream will do. I know in my post yesterday I listed all the things that I am grateful for. I left off my #1.

In my desperate times, pm is always there. While ice cream doesn't always qualify as my most desperate of times, bless his soul ... he's making an ice cream run for me right now.

The fact is this "run" has me laughing. Just a few short years ago, I never would have dreamed about going on an "ice cream" run on a Friday night. Nope. It was cheap beer all the way. Oh, how we've grown...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Round and round we go...

Navy Pier

I have been a gosh darn awful blogger these past weeks. Sadly, I haven't even had time to think about this space. That makes me sad, because is one of the spaces that I really enjoy. I like being able to unwind my day with writing about something and posting a photo.

Instead, now we all go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. This is where perpetual sleepiness comes in. I have been trying to get up earlier every morning to get things done for the day. So far, no good. Then again, that is what weekends are for, right? To finish all the things you didn't have time to do during the week.

Well, yes and no. Yes, I always seem to do all the chores and catch up 'on life' during the weekend. And, I hate it. I would prefer for the weekends to be chore free. I'd much rather have my free time on the weekend be spent on the things I actually want to do. This does not include washing floors, cleaning dishes, vacuuming, dusting....etc. We live in a small apartment and I feel like I am always in need to tidy up the nursery.

I am done complaining..... for now.

As we approach our day of thanks, I want to take a moment to reflect on all the things I am grateful for.
#1 Family & Friends. Couldn't have asked for a better, even if they are oceans away...
#2 Art. It has a way of expressing everything you want to express without words. This is, of course, very true of photography.
#3 Baking. I've said it once, I'll say it again. It is therapeutic. And, delicious.
#4 Beer. A strange thing to be thankful for, but it is something that brings out our creativity. Naturally, I like to drink it. However, I almost prefer to think about all the crazy batches and recipes we can conger up.

And that is my weekly round-up. Tonight I feel like this photo -- around and around I go....

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

coconut macaroons

Apparently all the rage in Paris centuries ago, these cookies are pretty epic.

Coconut Macaroons

I found for them to be a very simple (more simple - believe it or not - than my one-bowl chocolate cake recipe) and great treat to whip up for company or parties.

I also just have to mention that these cookies are extremely low-cal compared to many other sugary sweets. Not that I particularly care, but it does help when your conscience weighs in as you go to grab another 1-2 for taste :).

Without further ado, here's the recipe:

2 2/3 c flaked coconut
2/3 sugar
1/3 flour
1/4 t salt
3 egg whites
1/2 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 325F. Stir all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and drop mixture (teaspoon sized) onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 mins, or until edges are light brown. Bon Appetit! [You can also garnish with chocolate. Melt chocolate and dip cooled cookies until the mix. My preference = dark chocolate.]

Sunday, November 7, 2010

bird or fish?


Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to truly have a bird's eye view. We often get a glimpse of what it may be like when we are in a tall building looking down or on an airplane. This is just a glimpse. You don't get to control your movements, your height or your direction.

This brings me to a question I often thought about as a kid: If I could be a bird or a fish what would I choose?

I couldn't ever decide which I would prefer. I love to swim and have always been drawn to the water. I think it would be fascinating to see all the underwater wonderlands and to explore the depths of the sea unknown to mankind. On the other side, it would be awesome to fly. To come and go as you please and to be able to choose how close or far you wanted to be to the world. Ultimately, I think I would choose flight.

What would you choose?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mums the word.

flower (1 of 1)

Mum isn't the word, just the flowers in this picture.

I don't have any secrets. Well, I take that back; I have plenty of secrets. None of which are exciting enough to keep you at the edge of your seat while you continue to read. sorry.

I actually try to not have too many secrets. I am really good at keeping them, but I cannot say I have a whole lot of my own. I will openly admit, I do not always make the bed in the morning. I definitely do not always (gasp) do the dishes every night. And, I sneak sweets like none other.

Yeah, as I said before - not that exciting.

What is exciting though, is that we got a new camera. The photo above is the first one we'll putting out on the internets. It was taken with a Gakkenflex that we got from Maker SHED. It look pm a good hour to put together and it will certainly take us longer to decorate it so that it truly is ours.

The style reminds me of my all-time favorite -- the Holga. You will certainly see more to come from this fine piece of technology. ;)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Book End Day

No photo with this post, sorry.

Today my day ended just as it started. There were plenty of other things in between, but how it started and especially how it ended are what have brought a huge smile to my face.

I know I've said it before and I'll say it again, but I love public transportation. I always wanted to live in a city where our car could stay by the curb. On days like today, I think about all together selling the car. [I won't, fear not. Barbie still does get her use.]

Here's the breakdown of my book end day.
+ Arrive a station and be handed political propaganda. No surprise. The surprise was it was the freaking candidate handing out his postcard and he didn't as much as say good morning or make eye contact. I immediately forgot his name. Not impressed.
+ Business as usual. The ride to work was uneventful. I almost finished the crossword puzzle.

+ For the first leg of my trip I sit next to a clown. Yes, a clown. White face paint, red nose, wig. The whole kit & kaboodle. I was amused. Guess seeing a clown days before Halloween isn't that big of a surprise. At any rate, it just seemed early in the day for being in a costume.
+ The middle leg of my trip I sit next to 4 teenage girls. Also dressed up, but more like they are going to a very risque club, not to a costume party. These teens were downright obnoxious. Talking about drugs, sex, alcohol, you name it. Not to mention loud enough for the whole car to hear. I made a point to smile frequently at the grandpa sitting next to them. I bet he was hoping his grandkids don't talk and act that way. As was I...
+ Last leg of my trip there is a man getting his grove on in the station. Dancing away, happy as a clam. He told me he was planning to stay in this weekend, too dangerous to be outside with all the crazies for Halloween. This guy really made me laugh. I often think about breaking out in spontaneous dance or song when waiting for a train. Sometimes, depending on what is on my mp3 player, it is a challenge not to.
+ And here's for the book end. As I ride off to la casa, who is out on the political circuit? None other than Alexi Giannoulias.

Yeah, that was long-winded. I guess all my travels today on the train just remind me to keep my eyes open. You can always find something to lift your spirits & make you think. You can also always find someone to make you smile or want to slap them into adulthood. You just have to look for it.

Happy Weekend, at last!

Thursday, October 28, 2010



A swing is a swing, right? Whether it's a swing and a miss or an ace in the hole, it's still a swing.

Taking a swing means you at least step up to the plate.

I've never been much of a golfer. Always wanted to learn and always got frustrated by how slow my results were. Golfing for me was always a swing and a miss. Eventually I am able to connect, but I think all the years I spent playing baseball really messed up my form (or in this case: severe lack of form). Plus once I do connect, I always feel like I could have picked the ball up and thrown it further. *sigh

Maybe it's a past time I will pick up again sometime soon. Now if only I had time to take lessons and winter wasn't as it seems days upon us.

Here's to at least taking a swing. Cheers!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


It's not that I haven't been wanting to put the apron on and bake lately, it's just that I haven't made time for it. My free time has been limited and rather than spend this time on baking, I've been doing more cleaning, organizing and reading.

I wanted to bake something with a fall theme, but while still being relatively healthy. This is why I decided to make: dark chocolate maple & brown sugar oatmeal cookies. In case you were wondering, oatmeal is what make these cookies healthy. :) I have a loose scale for defining healthy.

It smells absolutely delightful on our apartment right now. Sweet and spicy. These cookies will be perfect when coupled with apple cider.

Without further ado, here's the recipe:

1 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1 t baking powder
1/4 t baking powder
3/4 c softened butter
2 eggs
1-1/2 c flour
1 t vanilla
2 c oatmeal
chocolate chips to taste

Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Oriental Amber

OG 1.052

It's 10:30a.m. on Sunday morning and this has been our morning agenda:
  • Brew coffee, drink coffee.
  • Eat breakfast.
  • Sanitize beer equipment.
  • Wash dishes.
  • Clean kitchen.
  • Begin brewing process.
  • Scan photos.
  • Listen to NPR.
  • Brew.
  • Clean kitchen.
  • Wash floors.
It has been a busy morning. We woke up this morning on the creative side of the bed. (Beer translation: Instead of following a recipe book or using a kit, we decided to make our own experimental amber ale.)

We have loads of tea and have enjoyed adding it to our brews. (Past batches have included: hibiscus green tea wheat, sangria tea ale & white tea steam). Today we decided to go with an oriental tea straight from the non-homelands of Germany (Rotbuschtee Orientalische).

Without further ado here is the recipe. (Please note: This is an experimental amber, and while we are confident it will turn out delicious, we aren't making any promises :)).

1 lb. crystal medium
6.6 lb. amber malt extract
.5 ga. Rotbuschtee Orientalische tea (steep apart from wort until very strong & add with boiling hops)
1 lb. honey (add with finishing hops)
1 oz. amarillo hops (boiling)
1 oz. cascade hops (finishing)
1056 American ale liquid yeast (Wyeast)
OG: 1.052

Do let us know if you have any questions. We'll be sure to post our review of the final product in the months to come.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Archival Discovery

Grand with State

I love taking walks down memory lane. Looking back at old photographs and reminiscing about the good old days (and the good now days). This photo was a great, as per the tile, archival discovery. Pm was looking through some of our older photos from Chicago and found this goodie. It was taken just about this time last year.

A year ago when he was here and I was still in Michigan. He jokes that this was when he was living on the streets with a sleeping bag. Truth be told, not true. He was being fed and housed just fine without me being around. I think he just missed me. :)

I was looking at a couple of very old photos last night; let's rewind back to elementary school when a dear pal of mine and I decide to dress up as old ladies for Halloween. Looking at those photos made me think about the whereabouts of a shoebox I have of all my photos. I know this shoebox is at my parents house, I am just not sure where. Next time I am home I will have to see if I can locate it. I am sure it is chock full of other good photos - from Halloweens past and beyond. Probably even includes some awkward high school dances and sporting team photos. Maybe it's best to wait... ;)

This brings me to the point of my post [and I better hurry before pm finishes off the last 90 Minute IPA -- I love you Dogfish Head -- we just poured]. I feel like when I was younger I did a much better job of documenting key experiences. This is not to say that I don't take photos of events and everything today, but it's different. Now instead of having hard-copy photos in albums (or shoeboxes) we have them saved on CDs, DVDs or on our computers. Face it: How often do you look through your digital archives?

I am an old soul. Always have been, always will be. I used to think it was a curse, but now I think it's a blessing. [Note to self: Theme for another blog post]

I still take film photos. We still put photos into albums and make prints of photos we like. I feel like this is no longer the norm, and it makes it increasingly harder to find great archival discoveries like the one that we found today.

Is there a quick fix to this? Yes and no, all depending on how much time and effort you want to put into it. Our (as in the ampm) quick fix is to take both digital and film photos. We try to weed through all the photo duds (ironically most tend to be with digital) and either upload them to Flickr or share them through Picasa albums. The ones we really like make it to the fridge, walls and postcards.

Do you have any tricks of the trade with your photos?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

On the road again

On the road again

...On the road again
Goin' places that I've never been.
Seein' things that I may never see again
And I can't wait to get on the road again....

- Willie Nelson, On the road again

Monday, October 18, 2010

Things I love.

Mars Cheese Castle

There are a handful of food items that I could absolutely not live without. Cheese is one them. (As is, in case you didn't already pick up on it: chocolate, ice cream, tomatoes, food & food...etc.). So why my love for cheese?

Well I would be remissed if I did not qualify this post. I am a Wisconsinite. Not born and raised, but raised. I used to only have experience with a few select varieties of cheese - american, swiss, colby, mozzarella, cheddar (hey, not bad!), but as I have grown so has my taste. Part of this may have been influenced by my jaunt to Espana and trying the many delightful ranks of aged cheeses. Of course, when paired with a good wine - how could I resist.

I truly think my *love for queso came from a trip to the zoo. I actually think it was the Brookfield zoo and there was an exhibit on how milk was made. The presentation at this exhibit talked about how cheese was made. I was probably all of 5-6 years old and was fascinated. So fascinated in fact, that my mom, younger brothers, aunt and cousins kept walking around and left me behind. I got lost (for the the first and only time I ever remember) over cheese & dairy products. How fitting, I guess. Needless to say, I was found.

To this day, one of the first things I scour the fridge for is cheese when I want a snack. Cheese & crackers are a staple. Usually though it's not just cheese & crackers; it becomes that paired with olives, vegetables, humus, cold cuts.... etc. Anyway, hope I made my point. I love cheese.

Plus, it's how we Americans encourage smiles in photos. Here's to c-h-e-e-s-e!

Totally unrelated, but still related: I have yet to enter into Mars Cheese. pm took this shot. This past summer the heat got the best of me multiple times. This particular day was the first of three mild heat strokes. blah.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

step up.

step up

Community. It's been a topic that has been on my mind a lot lately. What is it? How do you get involved in one? Where can you find one?

I am nearing by first year in the Windy City, and pm is just days away from being here for a year. While arguably we haven't completed rooted ourselves in this city, we have tried to partake in as much as we can in our neighborhood. We frequent the local shops, restaurants and bars and always try to take visitors to places close to home. We're building our own community from scratch.

Building a community from scratch isn't always easy. I've come to find that sometimes community finds you. Today on my way home on the EL, I really felt like part of the "Chicago community." Unlike during the summer months, with school back in session, my commute to and from work is packed to the gills. I'm lucky to have (thus far) always gotten a seat on the way to work; on my way home I always get a seat until I switch lines.

Most days it's an annoyance to have no room to move around when standing between stops. The driver slams on the breaks and you slam into everyone around you. Today was no different in that sense. The people were different though. The people in my' standing corner' actually conversed with each other. Real words. Real conversations. Okay, not about anything deep, but still.

This to me is community. Talking to your neighbors. Sharing in similar life experiences. Acknowledging those around you. I'm glad community found me today.

Monday, October 11, 2010

needed: more sunshine

Double sunset

The weekend was the perfect double dose of sunshine ... just like this double-exposure holga I took back in July.

There are a few things I always have to come to term with around this time of year.
1. It is going to start getting colder.
2. Green is going to be harder to come by in the great outdoors.
3. There is going to be less light during the day.

I haven't come up with plans to remedy all of the above, but I can at least start prepping myself for the month that lie ahead. Here's my plan thus far:

Remedy #1:
Put away summer clothes and bring out the hats, mittens and down coats. Look for bargains on sweaters and other winter gear. Until then, pm has a wonderful collection of over-sized sweatshirts. This is the best remedy of all, both for the pocket book and comfort.

Remedy #2:
Buy plants on sale and keep them alive and thriving during the winter months. We just bought a new jade plant. I am so incredibly excited by this, partly because we lost 3 jade plants just a month or two ago. I am determined to keep this new plant alive. I will not over water you, little jade; I will not over water you, little jade.

Remedy #3:
Get as many rays as you can now before it's too late. We're making a point to go for a walk right when we get home from work before it turns dark. We may also be investing in a winter "happy lamp" this year. We'll see just how glum it turns out to be this winter, before I commit.

What are your pre-winter remedies?

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Since we don't have any #10s in the archives to celebrate 10.10.10, I thought I'd at least post some numbers. Plus, I happen to like how these digits look. It isn't every day that you see staples on light posts. This must be because it seems like these days most light posts are metal, not wood.

All in all, it's just another day. Not one that we'll look back from years from now and be able to remember the course of events (even if they were grand :)). Suppose if we would have gone to a wedding, been born or ran the Chicago Marathon today it would have been a day to remember always. Days are days. They come and they go. Even if they look cool in print - 10.10.10.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Black & White

Lake Michigan

...The road is long
the memory slides
to the whole of my undoing
put aside
I put away
I push it back to get through each day
and all I feel is black and white
and I'm wound up small and tight
and I don't know who I am ...
~Sarah McLachlan, Black & White

It's a black & white kind of day. Not sure why, but it is.

We took this photo this summer on a camping trip. You can hardly tell from the photo what time of year it is. Maybe that's one reason why I like black and white photos so much -- there is a real timeless quality to them. One that you don't always get with color.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

spanish delight: empanada

empanada :)

Yesterday I had an awful day. Between being rained on during the day on Saturday and having the cold wind in my face most of Sunday, I woke up Monday to being quite sick. Fear not, I am doing better today. Nothing that a lot of r&r, orange juice, soup and meds couldn't fix.

That's one thing I've come to learn about myself. When I get sick, I get sick. My body doesn't mess around with just a little head cold or the flu. No way. Why have just a little when you can have it all? Anyway, this post is not to complain about my health.

Instead, it is to boast about my wonderful hubs. I have been craving and obsessing about empanada ever since I have a less than average meal at Ba Ba Reba (sorry for my honesty :)). The one thing on the menu that was actually worth eating was their empanada. Everything else, in my opinion and with my experience eating Spanish cuisine, screamed Americanized Spanish food. The food really got to me because (a) Spanish food is not difficult to make, (b) croquetas should not taste like fried fish or be served with tartar sauce and (c) good sangria should be not be served via tap. Okay, enough of that rant.

Back to my wonderful hubs. I came home from work today to the delightful smell of .... empanada. Thank goodness I can actually taste today. Pm made a delicious beef, chorizo and pepper empanada. It was delicious.

And so in lies one of my new goals: Try to cook my way through some of our favorite Spanish dishes from our Spanish cookbooks. This in itself will be challenge, mostly because I'm not as savvy as I'd like to be with the metric system when used for recipes. Not sure what the next dish will be, but I will be certain to keep this readership in the know. Approveche!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Are you talking to me?

First off -- I just had to add this clip; it inspired the naming of this photo. It's an inside joke pm and I have since it reminds us of our international wedding and all the things that got lost in translation. Fear not: If you speak just English you will understand 90% of this video. If you are Spanish, you hopefully will understand 90% too. :)

Enough of that diversion. Here's the photo, followed by my thoughts.

Are you talking to me? [Said with Spanish accent]

Time for a show of hands (maybe comments will work? :)): Who likes garden gnomes? Who doesn't? I happen to like them. That is not to say that I would buy one and decorate my outdoor spaces with it, but I do find them humorous. Every time I see one I have to smile. (And then wonder why someone bought it in the first place.) I also like to think that something is tending to or watching over the garden when I am not. For me the garden gnome is kind of like the scarecrow.

Anyway, pm does not like them. He finds them both tacky and creepy. I think it's because he has a thing with bearded men. He doesn't even believe (spoiler alert!) in Santa Claus. In fact, he feels the same way about Santa as he does about garden gnomes: creepy and tacky. Only difference, other than the plush red suite, is that Santa knows when you are sleeping, and knows when you're awake; the garden gnome does not. There has got to be something in that Spanish water.

I've been noticing a lot of garden flair lately. In part, yes, to the fact I have been making a point to notice all the flair. Chicagoans seem to like putting little artsy details in their front yards. Some past photos and examples include past post about our Pentax O-ME53 of the Wooden Totem and Red Star.

Hope this post inspires you to (a) articulate, (b) share your thoughts about garden gnomes and (c) get inspired to see garden flair on your daily walks.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Morning Coffee

Morning coffee

What's on my mind today?
Should I swim?
Should I fish?
Should I canoe?
I'll decide later.
Right now I'll just enjoy my morning roast.

Wish I could enjoy my daily coffee like this on the dock everyday. Here's to another day & another cup - dark roast & cream.

Monday, September 27, 2010

La Flor Solita.


The brisk autumn air is upon us. While it doesn't make me happy that little flowers like this one are soon going to go away, I am excited about pulling out the my woolen sweaters, leather boots, scarves and hot cocoa mugs.

I'm a Northern gal, what can I say? My lovely pm reminds me of this quite often. Part of the reason he does so, I think, is because he is a southern guy. [There's a song all about people like him: Los Delinquentes, Despues. They're singing all about la gente abajito del sol :)]

Regardless of being from the north or the south, I love fall. It's something about the changing of the leaves, the air and our clothes that almost forces us to change gears. Some of these changes admittedly may be against my will (aka -- fall cleaning and closed windows), but others bring excitement. Our biggest celebration . . . the cooling of the airs means we can brew again!! We kicked off yesterday with bottling our peach american wheat. This will give a little bottle of sunshine on cold days.

We've got lots of floral and herbal teas in the cabinet. Maybe we mesh some of these flavors and aromas into our next homebrew. Hmmm....

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Looking down.

Rave trampoline

Forehead pressed against hot vinyl.
Sun blazing its summer heat.
Cool views from down below.
We just wanted to be swimming with the fishes.
Instead we watch, we watch, we watch.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Michigan Avenue

Michigan Avenue

In our last post we talked about being inspired by "The Loop." The above photo directly illustrates exactly why downtown Chicago is inspirational and down right awesome.

This is the kind of Holga photo I would take; my style must be rubbing off on pm. Ever since I discovered that you can take multiple exposures on the same frame, I have a hard time not doing so. Part of this lies in the fact that:
  • Film isn't cheap and I want to maximize its use
  • It's fun to think about how you position and prepare each individual image while ultimately focusing on the end result
  • It's always a mystery of what you're going to get
  • Not many people shoot double exposures, so it makes my work different
I suppose I'll let pm take all the credit for this one.

Can you imagine this being your daily view from the office? Having a corner office overlooking all the constant madness and swarms of peeps below. Oh wait... this is his view. He's a lucky son-of-a-gun. I can't say I've ever had a view this good, but then again how many of us do? We're definitely get an enlargement made of this one. Maybe some prints of this will make it to our Etsy site too. (We'll let you know when that happens :))

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Inspiration #1

The Loop

I have been feeling like my creative inspiration has been wanning. I wanted to start thinking about things that inspire me and photographing them.

Here's to Inspiration #1: "The Loop"
Traveling to the loop on its own is inspiration. It's never see the same thing. The surrounds are always changing. People of all shapes, colors and sizes all wearing different patterns, styles and hues. Buildings of varying styles and eras, changing with the daylight and nightlife. Nature changing with the seasons, temperatures and locale in the city.

Once in the loop, it is easy to find inspiration because there is so much going on. My challenge to myself: Once downtown stop and take a moment to reflect on all of this "busyness." It's easy to get wrapped up on where you have to go and the "plan" rather than taking some time to relax and soak it all in.

What are some of your inspirations?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The placement problem.


Big city. Small world.

I am thinking today about all the people I have crossed throughout my life's journey. I've now lived in 5 states (6 if you count my short college summer stint in Colorado) and 1 foreign delight (Spain). Throughout each of these states, I've lived in multiple cities (roughly 8 on a quick count). Just imagine all the people I have crossed paths with throughout each of these locations. At some point or another, I've probably been in the same place at the same time with at least one person that you know. crazy.

For as big as this world is, it isn't. I seem to run into familiar faces a lot. The challenge I have with running into so many familiar faces is to try to recollect from where I recognize their face. Is it from school (if so, which one?), work, clubs, friends of friends...etc.

I have a great recollection of faces. My recollection of names and attaching these faces to a point in time, unfortunately, isn't as sharp as I would like for it be. Herein lies my problem: not being able to "place" on a timeline why a face is familiar. I am calling it my placement problem.

Just last week I ran into someone on the EL on my way to work. I instantly knew I knew this person. I racked my brain--and I still am even though I know the chances I see her again are slim to none--and could not place her. I also realized quickly she did not recognize me, so I stopped staring, smiling and trying to talk.

I want for my brain to function like a camera. You take the picture and it can instantly be saved, labeled, shared, stored or erased. I wish I could have a similar system with people I meet. Until then I will have a continued placement problem.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

back to the swing of things.


Why is that long weekends always go by the fastest? We were just starting to get comfortable and along comes Tuesday. Someone needs to invent a remote control for life already. Well, not really. It would sure be nice sometimes though.

This was the weekend of family & friends, projects and crossing things off the to-do list.

Pm kept busy for most of Saturday refinishing a bench of ours. He dusted it off, sanded it down and varnished it. It looks pretty awesome, and photos will be posted once the entire project is complete. This may first require us learning how to upholster furniture. More to come on that.

Projects & Family.
Sunday we shot some engagement photos. We have yet to do some post-processing and waiting for the film to be developed, but I am hoping we'll get some goodies. We'll be back for a repeat visit with these two. It helps when it's family and they are up to putting in a few more rounds of good smiles.

Meanwhile, while the above trunk project was happening, I caught up with some dear old pals. Nothing like being reunited with friends from yesteryears and being able to laugh about then, now and what's to come. My one pal has a way cute house. Makes me want one of my own. Patience, am, patience...

To Do List.
Restock the shelves... with beer. It has been a long, hot summer of not brewing. If you've been following the blog you know that it's because our apartment hasn't been the coolest place to hang out this summer. Heat and beer brewing don't really go hand in hand, so we decided to wait. Until... this weekend. We are brewing a Peach American Wheat. Should be ready to enjoy in a month or so. We just have to add the fresh (and now frozen) peaches. I'm thinking an IPA is next. Maybe in a couple of weeks?

And there we have it. A fun-filled weekend. It was just long enough to get refueled and re-energized, and not quite long enough to completely catch up on everything. That includes sleep. I shall do that now.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010



Today is a day of reflections. We are 3/4 the way through 2010, it's my dear sister's birthday, and we are days away from a 3 away weekend. Seems like a culmination of many things, but as the saying goes ... when it rains it pours. And, it did indeed pour this morning.

I've been thinking today about my resolutions for the year. I cannot say that I haven't done many of them, but then again I haven't done them all. Lucky for me I still have 3 months to make up for lost time. I plan to do just that.

Goal #1: Make cards and send out more snail mail. Want to get it? Let me know.
Goal #2: Read more. I spend nearly 2 hours of my day commuting. Therefore, I have time to cozy up on the train and read some good. Have some good leads? Let me know.
Goal #3: Get crafty: Take photos, make stuff and give stuff.
Goal #4: Purge. Reduce the unnecessary and do some spring cleaning this fall.

How are you doing on your resolutions?

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Sticks.

New toy and new window

calm. quiet. serene. empty. vast. beautiful. The great outdoors.

As strange as it sounds, I really miss being outside. When I had more free time, it was cold outside. Now even if I had more free time my schedule seems to be booked solid. I really can't complain - I just want to make more of a commitment to be outside and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts.

The weekend we were away and got to enjoy a slice of the outdoors, Minnesota style. Winding county roads, no street lights and the northern accent, yah. It made me a little melancholic for fall and slightly cooler weather. It did that same number for family. In the last 36 hours I have seen more family (including my own - all of my own, rock on!) than I have in years. Well, not really years, but it seems like it has been awhile. I guess the advantage to having to back-to-back family weddings in Minnesota is you have time to catch up on conversations and life happenings. All very nice indeed.

If it wasn't creeping into my sleeping time, I'd almost think about enjoying some outside time now. There are trees where we are in the city, so it still counts!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Beer Review: Great Divide Titan IPA

Great Divide Titan IPA

We enjoyed this beer while at the Yo-Yo Ma concert at the Ravinia Festival last Friday, which by the way was a really nice concert despite the rain and the fact we were both exhausted.

Coming back to the beer - it is hard to believe that this IPA (from Great Divide Brewing) has over 7% alcohol. Titan IPA is really easy to drink and I would say that even people that are not normally hoppy beers fans would enjoy it. This beer has a pretty amber color and a really nice head. It also has a slight citrus after taste and a very well balanced sweetness. Overall, it is a refreshing and ideal beer for summer.

I would say that this beer is great for a warm and humid Chicago summer afternoon, or for any warm and humid summer afternoons no matter where you are ;). It also would be a great party addition, a perfect way to introduce IPAs to folks who fear hops.

+Our next brew - of which we are waaayyy overdue, needs to be packing some hops. It also needs to be packing the fruit, since we have a freezer full of the summer reserves.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Don't forget to cover your nose

Oh, how I love the dog days of summer. What do I love . . . drinking lemonade on the dock, catching pan fish on every cast and jumping off the raft into the cool water. Sadly, it's been awhile since we've been able to enjoy those things, but when we did - we surely did.

We shot two rolls on the super sampler from the raft you see in this photo. We have yet to develop the second roll, and we are growing anxious with how those photos come out. I have always loved how these images turn out. Although I will say sometimes it can be somewhat of a challenge since it is hard to predict where you are focusing.

I did not even know this type of camera existed until we got married. We were hooked once we saw how cool these photos turn out. Ryan Fox is amazing! :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wedding season.

wedding (1 of 1)

It has been the summer of l.o.v.e. - - a summer of weddings. Seems like next summer will be the same way... How very exciting! We really enjoy being part of the celebration (and on the other side of the table). It always makes me think back to our special day. Sometimes I wish you could celebrate anniversaries the same way you do birthdays -- with all your family and friends.

I really enjoyed the whole planning process. Making invitations. Shopping around for a deal (steal) on flowers. Making jewelry. And more. Most of all, I think I enjoyed being able to do it all with pm and my mother. It was stressful at times, but for the most part we made the best of it and have lots of fun along the way.

Today I have a terrible sweet tooth, and as I was looking through photos we've taken recently to include in my post, I can across this photo. This cake was absolutely delicious. Light, fluffy and moist. Three things that are very hard to find in a wedding cake. I've never been one to make vanilla cakes, but this photo has inspired me to try it again. I think I need come up with a one-bowl vanilla cake recipe. That way my one-bowl chocolate cake recipe will not have to be my only fall back plan when I need a dessert whipped up fast.

I am thinking that this upcoming week is going to be the week of the tomato. More to come on that though. Time to eat. :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Heart to Heart.

It's not that I don't have motivation, it's just that sometimes I have a hard time finding it (and the hours in the day to use it).

As I patiently await for my strawberry rhubarb pie to be complete, I am reflecting on all the creative projects that pm and I wanted to accomplish as of late. We had a heart-to-heart talk last night as the ampm crew. Creating this blog and deciding to actively post was one of our New Year's resolutions. So far, so good. However, I just don't know that it is enough. I want for this blog to be what pushes us to use our creativity on a daily basis. This may not always constitute a post (perhaps a tweet on our ideas instead), but it should at least motivate us to always be thinking about the next project, the next post.

We've been working really hard lately on making our place feel like home. I have noticed that by removing the clutter, donating items we no longer use, and switching up our wall art I already have a lot more energy to do things when I am at home. No longer will I be victim to just the couch and TV. (That said: pm got some amazing deal on cable. We now have the design channels. This has been proven to be a great way to encourage our creativity. It has also really made us want a house. :)).

Timer is going off. Time to take out my pie! (I'll post a picture soon of my delectable delight).

We're going to take a creative Jump! in the days, weeks and months to come. Hope that you'll be along for the ride. Step on board with us. Forward, ho!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Baking on the mind.


This photo (which I took about two months ago in Grantsburg during a bread making class) is how I am feeling today. I want to bake, but just can't get past looking at the empty bowls and supplies I have in the kitchen. I know my baking results will be fruitful (pun fully intended).

I've got baking on the brain. I know it is because we bought a crate of strawberries (8-1 pint packages) over the weekend and I am thinking about pie, jam, bread...etc. One of my tasks for the evening is to prioritize that baking list. I refuse to let them go to waste.

On the top of my list is a strawberry rhubarb pie. I can use all market bought fruits! (Well, I don't know that rhubarb is technically a fruit; we got it recently at the Minneapolis Farmers' Market. Need to find a market here that is equally as awesome!)

Tonight we're making a strawberry almond salad. It's a simple, yet delicious salad.

Here's my recipe:
- Bag of spinach or spring greens (no iceberg lettuce allowed)
- 1.5 cups (~1 package) of fresh strawberries, halved
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- Gorgonzola cheese
- Balsamic dressing (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pseudo Bachelor(ette)

Wild Flower

Flowers remind me of nature. I've never been one who likes to get get flowers. They die. I'd rather get a plant, that way if it dies it is my fault. Flowers given as gifts make me wish it was chocolate instead. I enjoy chocolate and when it's gone I don't feel guilty since you have to eat it. Flowers go bad on their own.

Anyway, I chose this photo with this post because flowers remind me of girl time. And it's perfect since, I've had the place to myself for the last couple of days. Tonight I plan to celebrate and fully intend to take advantage of my pseudo-bacheloretteism. I have a few items on the mind - chick flick, wine and my comfort food. (Okay, so it's ice cream and chocolate, no big surprises!)

Every once and awhile I need to be able to play a sappy movie and not worry about what pm will think of me and my occasional lack of taste. Today is going to be that day. In fact, I better get to it.

[I do promise to write more soon. I realize I have been seriously neglecting this blog lately. Life has gotten busy. Not that it looks to be getting (un)busy any time soon, but I am planning to make more of a commitment to writing.]

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Summer Vacay!

Gilmore Lake

Not sure why I even have a "to-do" list if I don't even get around to doing the fun stuff on the list. Blogging is one of those fun things. It beats out cleaning, laundry and organizing.

We enjoyed some time up north Wisconsin recently. We thought we'd do something different to celebrate our three years of marriage, and since my family already had plans at a cabin - we signed right up! I wish we would have had more time. I wanted to catch something other than a pan fish (a life goal of mine) and I wanted to canoe. Oh well.... next time I guess I'll have to spend less time relaxing and more time doing.

Wait... that doesn't sound much like a vacation!

We'll be posting more photos from our recent adventures soon. This one is just to wet the palette. Makes me want to go swimming again.

[P.S. I know that pm may be kind of mad that I posted this photo from the in-store scan. I wouldn't appear quite so grainy if we scanned it en casa, which we will - just not yet. I happen to like to grainy look and feel. Plus with expired film you can never be to certain with what you'll get.]

Monday, July 26, 2010

Winter Lake

Glencoe Lake

I have been neglectful here lately. Sorry folks. We've been busying ourselves with too much these days, even if it's never enough. I always feel like we have to take advantage of the nice weather before it is gone. I've had good intentions to write more often. I will get better. I promise. We should have loads more new photos and material by the beginning of next week. (Waiting for some film as we speak to be developed. Get excited!)

That said: The heat has been reminding me of winter walks. This photo was from the lake surrounding our apartment in Ypsilanti. I cannot say that I miss the apartment, but I miss the winter walks.

What have you been thinking about lately to stay cool? (Other than ice cream; I have been thinking way too much about ice cream. Someday I am just going to have to buy a maker and all elastic pants. :))

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Empty Nest

Bird Feeder

Empty nest. Well, pm and I are many years away from this day considering we still have find our nest. This, however, is not what I wanted to talk about in my post today.

I went for a brief walk today around lunchtime. I wanted to get some fresh air and warm up after being in the a.c. most of the morning. It was a pleasant, quiet walk. Although one part of it definitely did not put me at ease.

I was approaching a sparrow and was very surprised on how close he was letting me get to him. It was when I was just feet away that I realized that it wasn't because he didn't see me, it was because he couldn't move. This poor little bird must have been taking his last few breaths.

This situation made me think about how very little we seem to actually see the animals in nature die around us of natural causes. We see flowers die, trees die, plants die with the changing of each season, but not animals. Not that they want spectators; it's not like any of us want spectators when that day comes. I just couldn't help feeling bad and sad.

That's why it is so important to live each day like it's your last. Hope that sparrow has all the bird seed and worms it could ask for now. He got me thinking deep thoughts today.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Home improvements

Sunday, normally a day of rest, was re-organize day at the ampm household. We've been meaning to get a second dresser now for quite some time. I'm not sure what was holding us back - it certainly wasn't our sanity. We got a new dresser yesterday and have spent the better part of today setting it up and organizing our living space.

The results -- a much more homey living space. We moved a "junk" table to the kitchen to remove the card table. We switched also switched around our desks. [pm has been wanting to rid our place as of late of all "college-type" decor. The card table fit this bill, as did the built-it-yourself wire shelving.]

I'm starting to feel like a real adult now. No more hodge-podge furniture. (Okay, I lied. We still have it, but it works. Yes, I swear it does.).

I think our place is slightly more sophisticated, but still unique. We still have to declutter of lives some, but at least we are in a step in the right direction.

+Like the Pritzker Auditorium super sampler photo? This photo totally works in our space. It's a nice reminder for us that we live in this city. Sometimes it is easy to forget when you spend the better part of the weekend on home improvements and connecting with old friends.

All in all (despite the heat and no a.c.) it was a SUPERB weekend.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lightning Speeds Ahead


This photo is an oldie from back in the days when we used to live in Southern Florida. I'd say, oh those were the days, but they really weren't. This isn't to say living in Florida wasn't fun while it lasted, but we were happy to move somewhere that actually has seasons. (Okay, so pm wasn't as excited as I was. :P).

What I do miss though are the walks on the beach, afternoon rain storms and sunshine. Oh and mojitos at DaDa's in Delray Beach. The best part about living in Florida was always having some place to go when we got bored --- for a walk on the beach. I miss being able to do that now. Say what you will, but the ocean isn't the same as Lake Michigan. They may look the same, but the air isn't. And, obviously neither is the water.

This photo was taken on my first digital camera - no flash, no tripod. I took a photography class and surprisingly was able to knock out some very decent pictures on my Olympus Stylus; a now retired model. Almost everyone else in my class had much fancier photo equipment. Goes to show that you need more than just good (aka expensive) equipment. I talk about equipment because I remember when I was showing this photo to the class my teacher kept saying it could not have been taken with my small digital camera. Well, yes it can.

It's now been three years since we left Florida. Time sure does goes by lightning fast, just like this train.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Somos los mejores del mundo!!

There is some celebrating in order -- Spain won the World Cup! (This is obviously not new news, and if you've been following our blog for awhile you know that pm is from Spain).

Needless to say - it's been an eventful day at the ampm household. Too bad we weren't in Spain to partake in all the victory fun. I bet the partying is probably still happening in streets all over the country. They sure know how to party hardy in Spain.

For me it was a rather lackluster game. Granted as a fellow (be it past) soccer player myself, I understand what big games and pressure can do to your head. I guess I was disappointed that the final score was only 1-0. I would have liked to see some more scoring from both teams. They certainly had their chances on both ends. *sigh

So here's a cute little side note about the game and the Spanish goalie, Iker Castillas. He's obviously a shy, and very emotional guy. (Did you notice that he never stopped crying once Spain finally scored? :)). Anyway, so his girlfriend is a Spanish journalist and they've been keeping their relationship pretty hush-hush during the World Cup. This video just goes to show how much you want to celebrate the happy times with those you care for. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Canned Goodness

Canned Goodness
While I wouldn't self identify as a hippie, pm may beg to differ. Instead of hippie, I'd call myself a global-concernist. (Yes, I may have just made that term up. If it makes it big, you can contact me for all royalties).

We've only got one earth and I like to look out for it. I recycle whenever possible, whatever possible. I've done this since I was in pre-school. In fact, I remember bringing home my sandwich baggies every day to wash for reuse. My mom had to inform me multiple times that this was not necessary and that it was okay (and more sanitary) to use a new bag daily. Eventually I conformed.

I'm getting long winded before I get to the point of this post -- Canned Goodness. Canning and preserving food has always fascinated me. I've tried once before and while I wouldn't say it was unsuccessful, it did not yield the results I would have hoped for. I believe my fascination with canning stemmed from my love of the Laura Ingalls Wilder series. Read all those books cover to cover more than one back in the day. I consider canning to be a very earth-friendly activity as it reduces food waste.

Anyway, last night, despite extreme temperatures in the kitchen, we made peach preserves. We bought loads of peaches (can you guess where?!) with the desire to try our hand at canning. It is a time consuming process and I hope that it pays off. I am still waiting for the preserves to set a little better. If they don't I'll use the contents as pie filling. Always have to be resourceful.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Feet Planted Firmly

Sandals & boat shoes

Hope you haven't been missing us too much these past few days. After posting something for one month straight, we've been easing back into posts. (To our defense we've been a little sluggish because of the heat).

I've been thinking a lot lately about home; and by home, I mean home as a place. Turns out where you live doesn't matter as much as who you live with and by. Part of the reason I've been thinking so much about home isn't because we're planning another move. Quite the contrary, we're planning to plant our feet firmly on the ground, just as I mentioned in the title.

My parental units, however, are moving. This is what has got me thinking so much about the meaning of home. Will I miss visiting my family in my childhood house? Yes. Will I still drive by the house on occasion to see how it's changed? Yes. Will I miss the house? No. I won't miss the house. I don't see the point in missing an item. I'll still have the memories made in that house and I'll still have my beloved family. (Admittedly, I did take multiple photos - film & digital - of their old home. Got to have something to refresh my mind someday!)

I've come to an age-old conclusion as I've been thinking about home: Home is where the heart is. Doesn't matter where it is, how long you're there, or how much stuff you have inside - I'd be nothing without having others in it to make you happy. What's home for you?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

DIY: Beer Light

Beer Light :)

Do you like beer? Do you like decorations that involve beer? Yeah, I thought so.

I saw these lamps at the Leinenkugel Lodge not too long ago and thought they were interesting. I also looked at the price and realized it would be easy to do something like this on your own for much less. Lamps are an easy dig at any thrift or resale shop. Collecting beer labels to add to the lamp shade is equally easy, if not easier.

Someday when pm and I have a cabin, it will be adorned with these lamps. (I can't even write that with a straight face, but one can dream, right?). Maybe instead of the cabin a basement would work. This would be a perfect addition to when we get a tap as well. Here's to hoping!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 30: Mission Completed!

First off, let me just say that being creative for 30 straight days has been a challenge. We have certainly enjoyed participated in a community effort and getting new inspirations and ideas from others. This is something that we will continue to do.

We've come to realize that it's not too hard to do at least one thing creative a day. The hard part comes with finding the motivation to post something about it. This is where the daily challenge has presented itself. Sometimes all you want to do after a day of work is relax. This is not to say that it is that hard to take some time to take pictures and write.

I've learned that I need to be better at dedicating time everyday to being creative. This involves keeping my eyes and ears open and to invite the opportunity to learn and try new things.

Hope that this challenge is only the beginning of our creative journey. (With that said: We may take a short break from posting daily. We'd like to establish a schedule we can stick to.)

So here is our last contribution, we just got the film from yesterday's photo walk (we'll post some more as soon as I scan them)

30 Days of Creativity - Day 30: Mission Completed!

Peace, Love and Happiness. Congrats for being a dedicated creative for 30 straight days!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 29: Salmorejo

We are still working through our tomatoes from our recent trip to the Maxwell Street Market. (Planning to restock our fridge with fresh produce this weekend.)

30 Days of Creativity - Day 29: Salmorejo

Here's a salmorejo (thick gazpacho) from an authentic Spaniard (pm):

+6-7 ripe tomatoes
+ 1/2 c olive oil
+ 3 garlic cloves
+ splash of vinegar
+ 1 cucumber
+ 1/2 baguette (soak in water beforehand to soften; strain water)
+ dash of salt
+ other vegetables as desired (carrots are good!)

Blender and puree everything together. Let it sit overnight in the fridge to absorb all flavors. Garnish with hard-boiled eggs and jamon serrano (or prosciutto where jamon serrano is not available). Tuna works well too.

And that's all for today folks. We're signing off early. Que aproveche!

Monday, June 28, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 28: Beach Time

30 Days of Creativity - Day 28: Lake Michigan Fisheye

Today we're feeling a little melancholic. We just spent an amazing weekend on the northwestern coast of Michigan camping at Orchard Lake State Park with some of our nearest and dearest Michigander pals. The park was much nicer than we had expected; and although the sites were very close together and weren't especially private, it worked out just fine.

The weather cooperated. We got to yell at kids that weren't ours to get out of our campsite. We ate what I swear to be the world's largest marshmallows. We spent an entire day on the sandy beach. And, we had fun. All in all, it was a wonderful trip. I've got to say though, it sure was hard to make the trek back on Sunday. I needed at least one more day of complete relaxation. (An easy task when no cell phone carrier has service.)

This photo was shot during our day at the beach with our fisheye lens. Just looking at it makes me want another day at beach with good company.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 27: Happy Birthday to Me

Yep. Today's my birthday. Not quite sure what the celebration will entail for the day just yet, but whatever it is I am excited for it. I like to try to do something fun and different for my birthday every year; otherwise, it just feels like I am getting older or like any other ordinary day.

I wanted to highlight one of my favorite cakes for my post today: Angel food cake. I know I mentioned in a past post that I have a summer birthday and we always made homemade ice cream. To compliment the ice cream I almost always requested angel food cake. As I have gotten older I have learned that sometimes the best angel food cakes happen to be the ones that are layered with sorbet. I am partial to mango and raspberry.

So cheers to me and another year. I am very excited for what it will bring.

Angel Food cake

Here's a recipe for angel food cake from Alton Brown. (Mine didn't use quite so many egg whites, but also didn't look as fluffy when complete.)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 26: Night Vision

Night vision

It's been awhile since I've posted a song to a post. This night shot got me thinking about R.E.M., and specifically Night Swimming. Love that song! (While this is an urban shot, and night swimming in my mind usually involves a rural location, it still reminds me of it. Not sure why, but it does.)

I am hoping to get some night swimming in soon. Maybe even tonight if I'm lucky.

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night/
The photograph on the dashboard, taken years ago,/
Turned around backwards so the windshield shows/
Every streetlight reveals the picture in reverse/
Still, it's so much clearer/
I forgot my shirt at the water's edge/
The moon is low tonight