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.]