Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tufted Titmouse Giveaway

Michelle Schneider from The Art of Michelle is back this month with another giveaway!

Tufted Titmouse 2x3" Graphic and acrylic on paper

Isn't he great? I know exactly where I'd hang him. This giveaway requires no creative thinking or title brainstorming... which was my downfall last time! There are three ways to enter: comment on Michelle's blog post, like and share the link to the post on Facebook, and/or provide Michelle with your email address. Good luck, and thanks Michelle, for such a great giveaway!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Summer Solstice!

In honor of the first day of summer, I thought I'd share a little garden update with you. I'll have to be honest... Chris and I are probably the worst gardeners ever. After the initial excitement of planting our own garden, things slowed down a bit. Every couple of days or so, we would check on the garden's progress, mumble something about needing to weed, and wander back inside.

Last weekend, we finally got out to the garden for some much-needed tilling, weeding, and watering. It took two days of work and my knees suffered, but I'm glad we finally got out there. For some reason (frost, perhaps?) our cucumber and watermelon seeds never sprouted, so I replanted them... hopefully the land isn't cursed and we see some sprouts soon. Other than that, our little garden is doing surprisingly well.

The sugar snap peas are probably my favorite plant so far -- their flowers are so pretty and I can't wait till the peas are ripe and plump!

Hello, baby Roma tomatoes. These are Christopher's favorite. Our first tomato plants took a frost-beating about two weeks after planting. We planted two more to be on the safe side, but the original plants survived. Looks like I'll be making lots of bruschetta this season...

I told you I love these pea plants! Look at those little curlies. Cute, cute.

The mulberry trees by the river are also starting to ripen. Chris and his family don't particularly seem to care for the berries' flavor and woody stalks, but I like them. I'm wondering if I can find a use for them that everyone can enjoy. Some sort of pie or cobbler? Mulberry jam? Mulberry-orange muffins?

Our yellow squash and zucchini plants are doing well (from what I can tell, at least) and the green onion bulbs we transplanted have firmly taken root. The cilantro plants are healthy but sparse -- from the packet of 20+ seeds, only 5 tiny plants have sprouted. My guess is that we buried them too deep. From what I can tell, though, cilantro plants grow up and out. Hopefully we'll have plenty for summer guacamole and other Mexican-inspired dinners.

If you can, get outside and enjoy the longest day of the year. Southern Michigan has thunder storms in the forecast, but Chris and I are hoping that the rain holds off until after dinner... grilled burgers and corn on the cob. I love summer.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Dog Days Are Over

Is it really Monday again? Last week was as stressful as it was awesome, filled with car problems, a second job interview and a sequential job offer (!!!), a day trip to Illinois to visit my dear friends Abby and Sarah, some tasty BBQ ribs on Father's Day, and not enough sleep.

Since I received the job offer on Thursday, I've been playing "Dog Days Are Over" on repeat. I suppose you could call it my full time employment ballad. And who can resist a song with handclaps? Not me, that's for sure.  

Did you watch the video? Interesting, right? Not exactly what I'd expect from Florence + the Machine... but I love the song, regardless. It makes me happy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Joy of Cooking Blogs

Let me tell you a little something about being a wife: your husband expects you to make dinner on a daily basis. Christopher will tell you that in the first weeks of our marriage, he did all the cooking. And I will tell you that he is a liar. Sure, he made the occasional grilled chicken dinner, but for the most part I struggled through a few weeks of meals, including soupy alfredo sauce and chimichangas with a mysterious cinnamon flavor. I wouldn't say I was a bad cook, just an inexperienced one.

My skills have since greatly improved, and I think part of that is because I know how to pick better recipes. For most meals, I turn to the internet for said recipes. Currently, I read three food blogs: Gina's Skinny Recipes, Good Life Eats, and Joy the Baker. They all feature a variety of recipes and wonderful photography. Without them, I honestly don't know where my cooking skills would be.

Gina's Skinny Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili -- cheesy, hearty and soooo easy to make.

Gina's Skinny Recipes is the blog I turn to the most for every day, healthy dinner recipes. It's marketed as a Weight Watchers dieting blog, so serving size, calories, point values, and other nutrition facts are listed with each recipe, which is really handy even if you're not dieting. Some of her ingredients are a little tricky to find locally... broccoli rabe, for example, or imported cheese that was $20 a wedge at Kroger. Regardless, everything I have tried has turned out delicious, and with minimum headache. The the no-sodium Baked Seasoned Fries are incredible... I make them several times a month. I also recommend the Spinach Lasagna rolls, Coconut Chicken Salad, and the Shrimp Zucchini Pasta.

Santa Fe Chicken Salad Wraps from Good Life Eats

I recently found Good Life Eats via my Google Reader suggestions. From what I've seen, this website is chock-full of family friendly recipes. I'm really looking forward to making the Santa Fe Chicken Salad Wraps as soon the avocado sitting on my counter ripens up. Author Katie Goodman is also working on a new series entitled Eat Well, Spend Less which focuses on simple, budget friendly meals. She also has a ton of kitchen tips, like this duotone frosting how-to. Neat. Visual Bonus: her recipes are arranged by thumbnails in categories... hello summer recipes.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes from Joy the Baker. Yes please.

Oh, Joy the Baker. Have you heard of her? Do you know how awesome she is? In all honesty I haven't actually made anything from Joy's blog yet, but I've been drooling over her baked concoctions for a while now (I can thank Abby for this obsession.) Unlike the aforementioned blogs, Joy doesn't exactly promote healthy eating. She has recipes for things like Barbecue Buttermilk Onion Rings and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Toasted Marshmallow Cupcakes. Yeah. She encourages you to eat an entire buttery loaf of Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread. And I'm okay with that. To top it off, her writing style is hilarious and she has cute kitty.

That said, I'm looking to add to my cooking blog collection.... do you have any food blogs you read frequently or have you tried any tasty recipes lately? Care to share?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Oh Deer!

Please excuse the extreme zoom phone blur 

We currently have a mama deer and little speckled fawn living in the grassy knoll right outside our office at work. It's pretty much the cutest thing ever.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Oh Happy Day Parisian Getaway Giveaway!

Oh whats that you say? Jordan Ferney from Oh Happy Day is giving away a nine day TRIP TO PARIS in celebration of her blog's 5 year anniversary? And you get to visit her?? And she'll personally show you around the city? And if you want, you can go to the Louvre?! And all you have to do is comment, tweet, like her blog on Facebook, and/or share the link to enter on your blog? Done, I don't tweet, done, and done.

You should mosey on over to Oh Happy Day right now and enter. Even though it will decrease my chances of winning, it's too awesofantastamazing not to share/enter again :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Christopher Scott

GE Vintage Electric Fan by Christopher Scott

No... this isn't a recent garage sale find (I wish!) It's a painting. Yes, a painting, by contemporary photorealist Christopher Scott. His work was featured last week over on D*S and the moment I saw it I fell in love. Basically, he has painted every vintage item I would like to own. His limited, faded color palette and subject matter are the stuffs of my dreams.

After graduating college, Scott worked as a photographer in his college's art department before deciding to shut out the modern (digital photography) and embrace the old (oil painting.) You can definitely see his photographer's background in his painting style.

My favorite -- Baggage II

His pieces have a great blend of modern, clean lines and old, dusty or tarnished subjects. I love the limited palette and his use of creams, browns, and teals. The paintings have a certain personality and the items tell a story. I want one. And go figure -- his work has been purchased by J.Crew and Anthropologie. You can view more of Scott's paintings on his website right here, or read up on his work and artist's process at his blog.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Why is the week after a vacation always so stressful and busy?

 I Still See Monsters by Andrea Hubner via decor8 

Is it because this past weekend I did nothing but lounge around outside, play croquet and card games with the in-laws, and eat an obscene amount of grilled food? Perhaps. A more substantial post is coming soon, promise.