Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Favorite new jam.

I have lots of favorites.

Some are lifetime commitments:
Favorite Muppet - Miss Piggy, Est. 1983
Favorite Ice cream - Orange custard chocolate chip, Est. 1998
Favorite Color - Pink, Est. 1999
Favorite Husband - Mr. Z, Est. 2006

And some come and go like Lady Gaga's hair styles:
Favorite Song - Sweet Dreams (1982), Cold Hearted Snake (1988), Ice, Ice, Baby (1990), etc.
Favorite Sopranos Character - Dr. Melfi (November 2006), Adriana (December 2006), Silvio Dante (January 2007) Mmmhmmm... I watched 5 seasons of the Sopranos in one winter.

Well, this month I discovered a new favorite. A favorite jam. It's so tasty and goes very well with peanut butter on Ezekiel muffins.

Looks good, but can't forget the black gold!

What are some of your favorites?

Monday, May 24, 2010

I've made it!

Finally. I have a soccer trophy of my very own.

I have two little brothers who grew up playing soccer. For years my mom washed and carefully folded colorful t-shirts adorned with family tradition: the number 8 and "Hutch" written across the back. My dad played football in high school, he was number 88 and all his buds called him "Hutch." My brothers proudly followed suit.

Growing up, our foyer was littered with cleats and shin pads and stinky duffel bags were sometimes forgotten in the back of the minivan. My dad broke many lawn chairs, forcing them to rock back and forth in nervous excitement during games. On a family vacation to Scotland, one of the first things my family purchased was a soccer ball. The boys (dad plus two brothers) played in the wide open green space bouncing the ball off their heads, knees and feet.

We are a soccer family, and I'm so glad to finally be part of it!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Another outfit!

Today I'm wearing a dress I bought for $20 at a thrift shop in Amsterdam with a shirt I picked up from Red's Good Will goodies. I'm also donning the cream stretchy belt again. (Mr. Z will often comment if I wear this belt more than three times in one week...)

I've accessorized with awesome bird earrings made from bone (or antler?) that I got from my earring savvy SIL and a necklace that Mr. Z recently found cleaning out his closet. He's pretty sure it was a free gift his grandma got from a Fingerhut catalog. Isn't he a dear?

I'm sporting my favorite shoes today. Tan leather goes with just about anything.

These are four of the numerous (45) pictures I took of myself outside of my house this morning with my iPhone. A little ridiculous? Perhaps. But who doesn't love a self-imposed photo shoot in their driveway at 7:30 am?

I love putting together outfits and I love sharing them with you! I am the first to admit that I like getting my picture taken, I like looking good and yes, I am my own biggest fan (read more about that here). But let's not confuse this with arrogance, because one of my favorite things in the world is seeing other woman/girls who are THEIR own biggest fans as well!

And this little one takes the cake!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

More fun with patterns!

Have you been having as much fun as I am putting outfits together this spring?

Today's outfit comes to you from Red: yellow gingham shirt (I LOVE gingham) and green button-down sweater.

Miss Nancy B. (I believe!?): fabulous cream stretchy belt I wear at least once a week.

Mama Jennifer: the beautiful floral pattern skirt I picked out of her St. Vinnie's bags this past winter.

And Pareeeeee! The earrings I got in Paris with my mom.

I think I might start a movement: Slow Fashion. You know, like slow food - the idea that when you take time to learn where your ingredients come from, grow your own, cook your own, etc. your food tastes better?

Well, when I know that each piece of my outfit has a history or a story it puts an extra little spring in my step. When I can look at my earrings and remember the tiny jewelry store tucked in the streets of Ile Saint-Louis right down the road from the cafe where we sat and had red wine; or when I can look at my shirt, sweater, belt and skirt and think, these were given to me by my friends and I've paired them into new outfits that might not have been; when I can do these things, I feel good. And I'm a firm believer that when one feels good, one looks good.

I'll leave you with this super cute blog of a woman who wore the same dress for 365 days. It's amazing what you can do with accessories (not to mention a cute little figure with mile long stick legs...).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My little pony's all grown up!

Last week we moved Pixie from the barn to her new home up on the hill. You see Pixie spent her nights in the barn this past winter because I was paying for training. But now I have to decide between stable board and pasture board... and there is a significant price difference. And not that I don't love my horse, but there's no way I'm giving up lattes and sushi for the rest of my life so she can come inside at night when we all know that horses are meant to spend their nights under the starry sky, right? Or am I justifying?

In any case, this is her new home:

She's back with her momma, Ami and two other horses Teeter and Sweet Pea. She has a very special new neighbor, the studly stallion Junior:

Junior and Pixie's crew are separated by an electric fence and I do believe that fence is the only thing keeping my sweet little Pixie's "innocence" in tact. I told Farmer Ted that Mr. Z would be extremely unhappy if we had another mouth to feed and it didn't have his eyes.

I've been out to check on her a couple of times and she's adjusted well. I can certainly understand Junior's intense feelings, she is a beautiful horse!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Your voice sung lullabies and read stories about the Berenstein Bears and Blueberries for Sal and it continues to give sound advice and tell us how worthy and unique we are.

Your ears have listened to crying babies, musical numbers, cheering soccer/track crowds and stories about how our day went. Your ears are the best listening ears.

Your arms have cradled three babies, dug hundreds of flower beds and given countless hugs both soothing broken hearts and celebrating joyous occasions.

Your legs have carried you over mountains in Scotland, pedaled bikes with babes in tow and walked me to the bus stop and down the aisle.

Your hands have tied our shoes, graded papers, combed hair, baked tasty treats and fixed things around the house.

Your love is unconditional and teaches me everyday to be a better person, wife and friend. I will never be able to thank you enough for my life.

I love you!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Devilicious Bakery

Long ago, a friend and I created delicious and artistic cakes and sold them to co-workers for under-the-table cash. You see, we weren't an "actual" bakery, but the sinful creations flowing from out kitchen would have fooled anyone. We were on our way to fame and fortune with tasty treats in tow. People were actually paying us to make cakes for their own personal occasions! Of course, it usually took all night to whip up a masterpiece and after purchasing the ingredients and taking our labor into account we probably came out in the hole, but still, it was pretty cool.

And then life took over. I got a full-time job, got married and adopted Pixie. She and her husband moved to Mexico to teach English, then to New York for AmeriCorps, then to Wauwatosa to continue their teaching careers and raise their family. An adorable family that includes this little beauty here:

This little one by the way, is absolutely in love with Mr. Z and it's so fun to see him interact with his little fan.

Erin is my Devilicious Bakery partner and she brought her little one to Madison this weekend to attempt to make the French cookies, Macarons.

We were a bit nervous since the cookie is basically a meringue cookie and those can be tricky. You don't want to whip the batter too long because they will flatten out completely.

Miss Betty (the mixer) did a great job today, not only did she whip out a double batch of cookies, but butter-cream filling that took 30 minutes to beat (I learned that the longer you whip butter-cream, the better).

With these cookies, you pipe quarter sized dollops onto the cookie sheet then let them sit for 30 minutes to form a light crust before you pop them in the oven.

While the cookies were baking, we made the butter-cream. Four different flavors: pomegranate, almond, lemon and orange.

Then after the cookies cool, we piped the butter-cream on one and gently placed another on top.

This is the lemon cookie.

Here is a close up of the pomegranate and almond cookies (the pomegranate ones have pink filling and the almond ones are white).

A close up of a pomegranate macaron.

The final products.

The verdict? They kind of came out funny shaped, but they are so tasty! We used Penzey's flavoring and I think that is the key. High quality ingredients usually yield high quality tastiness.

If someone is interested in the recipe, post a comment and I'll add it.

It was so fun to bake with Erin again and having a special helper in the kitchen made it even better!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Fun in the Closet

Spring is my favorite time to get dressed. You don't need heavy-duty sweaters, yet you can still layer. And with layering comes crazy combinations of patterns and colors. This article shared by my fabulous friend inspired today's outfit of colorful polka-dots and stripes.

Both the shirt and vest were found at thrift stores. The shirt is one of my favorites.

The skirt is second hand from a good friend. I love shopping when my friends are cleaning out their closets!

The pin is a gift from Red. She was in Kentucky for work a couple of weeks ago and this little jewel was given out as swag. She's so kind to have thought of me!

So basically I'm wearing a very thrifty and cute outfit.... oh wait. I forgot the shoes.

These puppies are the most expensive pair of shoes I've ever bought! But so worth it. Aren't they cute?! I've had them for years and already had them re-soled. I love them.

How are you going to have fun with colors this spring? What kind of patterns will hook up in your closet? Won't it be fun to find out?