Friday, July 25, 2014

First Impressions

We have a very tiny entryway in our apartment. How tiny? It's about 3 feet x 4 feet. Right now, it's beige and boring. I want to do something to spice it up a bit and give a better first impression of our home. Because of the small space, I feel that it can handle a very bold statement. But what kind of statement? Do I want bright, glossy color?

Lonny

A bold, painted-on pattern?

Apartment Therapy

Wallpaper?

Better Homes and Gardens

Maybe something architectural?

Jenna Sue

Something on the ceiling?

Apartment Therapy

Maybe I should focus on the door itself.

Made By Girl

What kind of statement would catch your eye as a guest?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Weekender Bags

Summer is the season of quick getaways. Whether it's a weekend at the beach on Long Island or 4th of July at my in-laws' lake house in Michigan, I'm tired of having to take my wheeled suitcase with me when I take short trips. It's time to invest in a weekender bag. My criteria are as follows:

  • can hold enough for 3 days of travel
  • front pocket
  • shoulder strap
  • stylish
  • around $100 or cheaper


Everlane

This Everlane bag is almost perfect. It's simple, sturdy, and stylish. The only things I don't like are the lack of a shoulder strap and lack of a front pocket. I like to have my phone accessible without having to unzip my bag when I travel.

Kate Spade Saturday

My favorite part about this Kate Spade Saturday Weekender Bag is the zippered shoe compartment on the bottom. You could also use it for dirty laundry. It seems a bit small, though, and the price is over budget.

Zappos

This Herschel bag has the size of the Everlane bag and the shoulder strap and shoe compartment of the Kate Spade Saturday bag. Still no front pocket, though.

Lo & Sons

The Lo and Sons O.G. bag has quite the fan club on the internet, and it's easy to see why. With compartments for everything, it's great for work, the gym, quick trips, and even a carry-on bag. The only problem is the price. $295 seems a bit steep for something I'll only use a few times a year.

Do you have a favorite weekender bag?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Happy Birthday, Prince George!

Today, the future king of England turns 1. Happy birthday, Prince George! This blog post is basically just an excuse to post photos of the adorable baby prince, so let's get to it.







I can't handle the cuteness!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Book Report: Kitchen Confidential

I love Anthony Bourdain's shows. I watch reruns of No Reservations all the time and episodes of his CNN show are taking up so much space on my DVR because I don't want to delete them. But I'd never read the thing that propelled him to fame: this book.

Kitchen Confidential is a hybrid memoir, exposé, and how-to (and what not to do) guide. This book has a reputation as "shocking," and, well, I didn't find the shocking parts all that shocking. Anthony - or Tony, as his friends call him - has a quick wit and a sharp, slightly sadistic sense of humor.  He makes the life of a chef sound wholly unappealing, though also kind of fascinating. He successfully smack-talks just about everybody and everything in the restaurant industry while also making it very clear just how much he loves it. Everything in this book comes back to his love of and appreciation for food. From his first oyster as a boy in France to running his own kitchen in New York City, Bourdain's focus is on taking simple ingredients and cooking them to delicious perfection in an efficient manner, which is apparently much easier said than done.

The book could've done with a bit more editing (I found some of the bad-boy stories laid on a bit thick), but overall, this is a really interesting, funny page-turner. If you've ever thought about going into the restaurant business, enjoy the art of cooking, or just really like to eat, I recommend checking out Kitchen Confidential. B+

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Little Navy Dress

Everyone extols the virtues of the Little Black Dress, but I find that during the summer, I'm more drawn to navy than black. Plus, almost everyone looks good in navy, while black can be a bit severe. This is why I'm launching my search for the perfect Little Navy Dress.

This is the vanilla ice cream of LNDs: sweet, safe, goes with everything. Add a blazer for work or a sparkly necklace for a night out. This dress is a wardrobe workhorse.

Nordstrom

I love the full skirt and cream stripe on this dress. Pair it with red accessories for a nautical vibe or metallics for a more sophisticated look.

ModCloth

This dress is perfect for work or for the weekend, and the pleated waistline is flattering on every figure.

Boden

I love the idea of a long-sleeved dress for the cooler months. In Chicago, I'd get a solid 8 months of wear out of this dress.

Asos

Do you prefer black or navy? Do you have a LND?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream

When we got married, all of my aunts and uncles bought us our KitchenAid stand mixer along with the ice cream maker attachment. More than 2 years after receiving the gift, I finally got around to using the ice cream maker! I had a ton of leftover strawberries and figured strawberry ice cream would be the best way to use them up. The main reason I hadn't used the ice cream maker was because I was intimidated by the idea of homemade ice cream. It seemed so difficult, like it would take forever and require too many ingredients and be messy. After looking at several recipes, I created this one, and boy, was it good.



Ingredients:
  • 1 cup strawberries, diced (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp vodka (optional - It prevents the ice cream from becoming rock-hard in the freezer.)
  1. Combine strawberries, sugar, and balsamic vinegar into a bowl. Stir together and let sit for about 15 minutes.
  2. Put strawberry mixture in food processor and add half of the heavy cream. Process until the texture is to your liking.
  3. Add remainder of cream and the vodka.
  4. Follow your ice cream maker's instructions regarding freezing.
I was shocked by how simple this recipe was, and I can't wait to make it again! I do have a bunch of diced peaches in my freezer, waiting to be used in something...

Monday, July 7, 2014

Marine Corps Marathon Training: Weeks 1-4

Last year, I did weekly training updates, but for marathon #2, I feel like that might be overkill, so I'm going to keep my updates monthly.

Week 1 - I was on trial this week out in the suburbs, which meant 12-14 hour days. I was impressed that I managed to sneak in one 2.5 mile run during the week in addition to my first long run: 6 miles on Saturday. Adam and I got out and biked for about 45 minutes for some cross-training on Sunday.

Week 2 - I was really looking forward to doing my long run in Central Park this week, but JetBlue and the weather had different plans. My Wednesday night flight got canceled, so I ended up running in Chicago before my flight on Thursday and then doing a slow-and-hungover 2 miler on Fire Island on Saturday morning.

Week 3 - It was a cutback week, and I discovered that the new Hedwig and the Angry Inch cast recording is the exact same length as a 4-mile run (guess what my new favorite distance is?), so I'm chalking this week up as a success, despite my awful, hot-and-humid "long" run.

Week 4 - I finally bought new shoes this week, and my legs thanked me. I also ventured into true long run territory this week (anything under 8 miles feels like I'm cheating when I call it a "long run") with a 9-miler around my in-laws' lake in Michigan over the holiday weekend.

My legs are sore, but I finally feel like I'm getting in the groove of training. I slacked a bit the first two weeks, but now that I have new shoes, I'm feeling much more motivated to pound the pavement. So far, so good!