Friday, July 31, 2015

Week in Review

Baiiiiiiii, July.  This summer is flying by, but I am thrilled to have the next two (long!) weekends to spend at home, with the pup and not much to do.  Bliss.

Week in Pictures 
she got string for her birthday // profile // killer fog 
who orders anchovies?! // this is my home now // gorgeous friend wedding
my childhood home, emptied // Fenway // horse bestie on the highway

Links I Love

I just finished this book and absolutely loved it 

This story has been featured in every corner of the internet, but gosh, I just love it!

These pictures are incredible, and I really, really hope that the subjects/photographers are found

First impressions seriously matter

I love quizzes that tell me more about myself, so this one about introverts was the best

This weekend, this drink is happening

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July Budget

True to my no buy goals, this month has been light on shopping.  It was a bit stupid to schedule a no buy for a month with notoriously good sales, but it certainly helped me curb what might have been some out of control spending.  Here's what I got -
nordstrom haul

1 + 3 // Halogen Tee - $15 each
2 // Street Level Bucket Bag - $32
4 // Zella Leggings - $33
5 // Zella Capris - $28
6 // Frye Boots - gift

So, not exactly a no buy, but pretty good, and everything was discounted. My incredibly sweet parents bought me the boots as a thanks-for-helping-us-move present, which is amazing.  They're the most beautiful things ever.  I left them on my dresser so I can admire them until it finally gets cold enough for me to wear them. They get a quick pet every time I walk by.  The bucket bag is exactly what I was looking for and a perfect addition to my (complete for now) handbag collection, and the leggings/tees were replacements for worn-out items.   All in all, pretty good!

Linking up with Fran and the other budgeting bloggers!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Best Things I Ever Ate

Inspired by my favorite Food Network show and an astonishing lack of current blog creatively, here's a list of delicious things I've eaten -

Best Ice Cream - Murphy's, Dublin/Dingle Ireland // I wrote about this in my Ireland post, but the ice cream is pretty much worth flying across the Atlantic for...

Best Breakfast - Bluestone Lane, NYC // When I was in NYC last summer, I put this tiny little spot on my list, and ended up going for breakfast every day I was there.  The avocado toast can't be beat.

Best Dessert - Creme Brulee at the Ritz Carlton, Boston // My dad took me to the Ritz after we saw the Nutcracker together a few times, and it was my first creme brulee experience.  So far, no one's been able to top them.

Best Deep Dish Pizza - Giordano's, Chicago // I feel like it's a huge cliche, but dude.  Moment of silence for the mouth explosions with this pizze...

Best Bar Pizza - Red Wing Pizza, Walpole MA // In case you ever find yourself by Gillette stadium, put this hole in the wall on the agenda.  The pizza is amazing (my family loves the various meat options, I like the pineapple) and the seafood is fabulous too.

Best Macarons - La Duree, Paris //  The macarons are delicious, the restaurant is flawless and the packaging is allllllll the heart eye emojis.

Best Salad - Baby Kale, Farmer in the Dell, Walpole MA // Homemade cornbread croutons, a light and tart viniagrette on top of fresh, fabulous veggies.  You can't go wrong there, but I happily eat this salad once a day when I'm at my parent's.

Best Tapas - Purple Pig, Chicago //  I am still salivating at the thought of this meal, and am plotting a return in the fall. Well worth whatever ridiculous wait they have at the time.  I wrote more about it here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Summer Lunch Ideas

I was going to call this a recipe post, but these aren't really recipes.  In fact, they're mostly just ingredient lists.  This time of year - when it's either so beautiful I can't bear to spend time in the kitchen, or so hot that looking at my stove makes me need to lie down, feeding myself becomes a fun game. Basically, the 'recipe' needs to be quick, require little to no heat and use as many fresh ingredients as possible. Here's what I've come up with so far -

Roasted Beet Salad

Roasted beets -soak beets for however long, scrub and dry them, then rub them olive oil, salt and pepper and chuck in the oven at 350 for 45? minutes
Greens - whatever's fresh at the CSA
Dressing - if you're feeling fancy

Radish Sandwich - it's the weirdest combination ever, but just go with it

Fresh radishes
Good butter

Fruit and Feta Salad

Mint simple syrup - heat 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and 1 cup mint leaves until boiling, stirring frequently. Once it's boiled for a bit, take the whole thing off the stove and allow to cool before straining out the mint leaves

None of these foods look as beautiful when I eat them as they did for these pictures, but the recipes are fool-proof and use mostly fresh, local ingredients, which means I can pull a pretty good meal off even when my brain feels like it's melting out of my head.  Cause that's what summer's all about.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Lust List // Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

I picked a really crap month to do a no-buy...  Nordstrom just launched their Anniversary sale, which means there are loads of pretty things for less money.  I'm holding off, but the sale ends August 2, so I may end up placing an order on a few of the things I've been drooling over -

professionalish, nordstrom, nordstrom anniversary sale, wish list

1 // Halogen Denim Shirt - I've actually had this on my radar for a while, and it's half the price of the J Crew version
2 // Tory Burch Flats - "heart eye emoji"
3 // Street Level Bucket Bag - The search is over, the perfect bucket bag has been found
4 // NARS Lip Set - These kinds of sets aren't usually appealing, but I'm drooling over all three colors
5 // 1 Madison Coat - Long, hooded, cozy, lots of pockets - the perfect winter coat
6 // Citizens of Humanity Jeans - My absolute favorite jeans, in the perfect wash, on sale
7 // Louise et Cie Boots -The black boots currently in my closet are nearing the end of their well-worn lives, and these are perfect replacements

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Day in the Life

Inspired by Fran, who lives a significantly more exciting life than me, here's what I get up to on a daily basis

6:15 am - The pretty, pretty princess and I wake up.  I snuggle her one handed and scroll through instagram with the other.

6:40 am - Breakfast, makeup and House of Cards.  Breakfast is always the same (barley, black beans, sautéed tomatoes, egg), but my makeup changes. Today's face brought to you by - foundation, bronzer, highlighter, eyelid primer, my new favorite mascara and eyebrow gel

7:05 am - First walk of the day.  Now that it's warmer out, I try to make our first walk a bit longer, before the heat really kicks in.

8:03 am - Pup in her crate, iced coffee in hand, and I'm off to work.  Today's pretty quiet, so I'm playing catch up with a bunch of projects I need to finish.

12:20 pm - Home for lunch.  I would usually have something with at least one fresh ingredient, but we're leaving for vacation and it's slim pickings.

12:42 pm - Second walk of the day, accompanied by a stick so long she is in danger of taking out other pedestrians. After, she goes back in her crate and I go back to work

4:30 pm - Quitting time!  I go home, curse the humid, nasty afternoon and rescue the pup for her third walk.  She takes a record 4 breaks in a 35 minute walk.

5:15 pm - Putter around the house, doing laundry, making the bed, packing etc

6:22 pm - Dinner.  Tonight is tomatoes, collard greens and cannelinis, dumped in a pan with a bit of white wine, garlic, salt and pepper

7:01 pm - Shower.  I make it as cold as I can stand it and layer on the frivolous products, in anticipation of 4 days roughing it while camping.  Today I used - clarifying shampoo, hydrating shampoo, conditioner (the best), body wash, in shower lotion (my favorite invention since wifi)

7:40 pm - Final walk of the day.  Tallulah enjoys her nightly stare down with the asshat geese that live on our pond.

8:26 pm - Crawl into bed with my book and ice cream.  I spent the next hour or so reading, then passed out good and early #grandmastatus

And that's my day. Mostly just dog walks punctuated by eating and occasional work. According to my Jawbone, I took 17,254 steps,which is above average for me, but not by much. Overall, a pretty good day!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Book Review //H is for Hawk, Dead Wake, The Painter, Euphoria, Mapmaker's Children

A bigger list than usual, but I've gotten into a really good reading groove - a definite benefit of no students around.

H is for Hawk // I put this on my to-read list after seeing all of the hype.  After finishing it, I can understand why people were losing their collective minds, but I have to say - I wasn't all that impressed. The story is about a woman who, after a death in the family, adopts a goshawk and decides to tame her.  In terms of the writing, it's beautifully done. I felt very sympathetic to the characters and it definitely made me interest in hawking, but I was a bit bummed by the utter lack of plot.  If you're going to tame a deadly bird, couldn't there be some sort of near-maiming?  I guess, because it's a memoir, you can't just invent dramatic events... Oh well. It's a lovely book, despite it's lack of bird-on-lady violence.

Dead Wake //  After devouring Devil in the White City, I had high hopes for Erik Larson's newest book. Dead Wake follows the tragedy that was the last crossing of the Lusitania, both from the Lusitania's perspective and the U-boat that would eventually target it.  True to Larson's style, he made every character nearly tangible, including so many details it felt like I was there.  Unfortunately, the end of the book was a bit flat.  I mean, a bunch of stuff happened, but I felt like the build-up just petered out.  Which is ironic, considering what the end of the actual Lusitania was like... For all of the drama about monitoring the U-boat's progress, the details about mistakes made by the crew and the misplaced confidence of nearly everyone on board, the ending (both of the book and the boat) was swift and pretty straightforward.

The Painter // My favorite book of this list.  Peter Heller is an incredibly talented writer, with a gift for creating dynamic, tragic, likable-but-repulsive characters. I was completely hooked on this book from about the third page - like, read it in any time I was idle for more than 60 seconds, hooked.  In an over-simplified way, the story is about a man who gets in way over his head with a bunch of rough dudes. Telling you any more would kind of ruin things.  The book will definitely not be everyone's cup of tea - it's rough and kind of scary and certainly not a light read, but the ending was one of the most satisfying I've read in a while and, again, Heller's a magician with words.

Euphoria // I really wish I had read this book in college.  As an anthropology major, I appreciated this story for it's apt description of an ethnographer's life in the 1930's, as well as it's beautiful story and careful tragedy.  The story moved quickly, and each of the three anthropologists featured was illustrated beautifully.  The drama definitely explodes in the end of the book, though the ending felt a bit rushed/sudden.  Like most of the books on this list, it's not much a light, beach read, but it's certainly worth putting on your list

Mapmaker's Children // I tend to love historical fiction, especially when it's woman-focused.  This story follows two women who occupied the same home at two different times - one modern, one pre-Civil War.  I was pretty disappointed by the historical story line - Sarah was a bit flat, and the story focused mostly on her love life, instead of the incredible work she was doing with the Underground Railroad.  Eden, the present day occupant, was more interesting, but the character development felt rushed.  There were a few twists and turns that seemed to create gratuitous drama, but overall, I loved the story. The opposing viewpoints were well-done, and the shared real estate was a great anchor point for both stories. (PS, I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review).

I'm currently reading One Summer, tis the season for historical fiction/non-fiction.  I don't hate it.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Project 365 // July 1 - July 12

July 1
 July 2
 July 3
 July 4
 July 5
 July 6
 July 7
 July 8
 July 9
 July 10
 July 11
 July 12

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Pupdate and a Book Challenge

I realized last week that I've been neglecting Tallulah in the blogosphere.  Not in real life.  In real life she gets nearly constant attention. Anyway!  Baby girl turns 1 at the end of this month, and I wish I had done a better job documenting her first year.

Tallulah tapped out at about 60 pounds, and while I whine about her not being as big as I wanted, she's really the perfect size.  Big enough to snuggle like a champ, but small enough that she fits in most of the places I need her to be (including under my head board...).

how she rides in the car // crate sharing // with her sun and stars

She sleeps like a champ, and I finally figured out what she'll eat, so that's nice. Her chewing of inappropriate things is still going strong, but she loves her crate and is pretty happy to hang out in there.  I'm enrolling her in shock collar training later in the month, in an attempt to teach her to come. Her favorite thing to do is stay just out of reach, taunting me and slowly draining me of my will to live.  Can't wait for that to end.

cone of shame // lula and june // stick longer than her

Overall, she's a joy. Even when she's being a little booger, she's often very funny and always damn cute.  She's been such a trooper with all the traveling we've done this summer and has been so adaptable to all the changes. I'm excited to see what her second year brings!

And now for something completely different!  I'm joining Kristen for her literary challenge.  Below is my list of ten books that I'll be reading -

YA book // I'll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson
Non-US author // Last Letter from Your Lover, by Jojo Moyes
Recommended book // Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo (recommended by Estee, essiebutton on youtube)
Book that's been on my list for 1+ year // Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
Book with a kickass female character // It Was Me All Along, by Andie Mitchell (the memoir that one of my favorite food bloggers published)
Book that's been adapted for the screen // Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, by JK Rowling (sorry not sorry, Mom)
Book written by a celeb // Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, by Mindy Kaling
Book with a one word title // Beloved, Toni Morrison
Suspenseful book // Eyes on You, Kate White
A summer related book // One Summer, byBill Bryson

And that's that!  Mindy Kaling and Beloved are up first, can't wait!

Monday, July 6, 2015

5 Days in Chicago

For whatever reason, Chicago is one of the cities I always knew that I would like, and had been looking for a reason to visit for a few years.  I heard about the Out of Chicago photography conference on a favorite photo blog, and decided it was as good an excuse as any.  I ended up spending 5 days in the city, 2 of which were spent in different photography classes. The rest of my trip, here's what I got up to -


The Purple Pig - The number one rated restaurant in my area, according to Yelp, The Purple Pig was high on my to-do list.  I ended up going at 9 on a Saturday night, and lucked out with bar seating, rather than waiting 2+ hours...  The wine list made my head spin, but the lovely bartender saw my look of terror, asked me a few questions and recommended a (delicious) glass of Spanish red.  It's a tapas place with mostly meat options, but I was grateful to eliminate those - it would have been impossible to choose.  I ended up with bobota (greek cornbread with feta and honey), smashed potatoes with a tzatziki sauce and salt cured greek yogurt.  Everything was divine.  A definite must-do.  It's a little expensive (small plates between 8 and 14 dollars, entrees around 25), but so worth it.

Glazed and Infused - Apparently, artisanal donuts are the new cupcakes. Who knew?  Though not a big donut eater, I figured I'd take the plunge once.  If I had the time, I would have gone to Doughnut Vault, which is apparently the best, but involves long waits in line on Saturday mornings.  Instead, I opted for a fried ice cream donut from Glazed and Infused. It was pretty spectacular, as far as donuts go and the coffee was delicious.  While I don't think I'll be adding donuts to the regular menu, it was a pretty great treat.

Native - As the least crunchy of vegetarians, I rarely gravitate towards vegan restaurants, but this place had some pretty spectacular reviews on my beloved yelp, so I figured it was worth a go.  While it would never fool a meat-eater, the "bacon cheeseburger" I had was delicious, and the lavender blueberry lemonade was even better.  Honestly, I would go back just for the drink options.

Giordano's - A no-brainer on the Chicago-style pizza front.  I went for dinner on a Friday night and had to wait for about 45 minutes.  They have you order while you wait, because the pizzas take so long, and once I was seated, dinner came quickly.  The pizza is unbelievably delicious. It's also about 4 days worth of calories in a personal size and I ended up taking half of it to go.  Time did all sorts of wonders for the slices, they were even better cold.  An absolute must do.


Millenium Park - Try and avoid this when you go to Chicago - it's impossible. The park is sprawling, beautiful and even better after dark.  A picture under the Bean is required, but there are tons of other cool things going on.  Playgrounds a plenty, easy access public restrooms and I got lucky and caught one of the free concerts they put on in the amphitheater.  If you're looking for a place to see the sunset, head out to the Adler Planetarium - gorgeous, full views of the skyline and a vair convenient bus the will drop you back off in the city.

Lincoln Park Zoo - I'm a zoo lover, so I figured a trip to a free, gorgeous park was a must.  The day I went was pretty overcast and drizzly, which ended up being great.  Other than having to battle several hundred school children for the best views of the gorillas, I had the park to myself. The monkeys were my favorite part - I grabbed a seat right up against one of the windows and was able to spend 30+ minutes communing with the gorillas.

Pride - Very happily, SCOTUS made the marriage equality decision a few days before I was able to attend Chicago Pride.  It was my first Pride parade, made all the more exciting by the great news.  I had a blast watching the parade, taking a ton of pictures and watching the two police men in front of me trying to avoid frequent attempts to put beads on them or make out with them.  Great fun was had by all.

Architecture - I didn't end up doing the official architecture tour, but wish I had. Chicago is so diverse in terms of building styles, and while I love walking around and observing it all, I wish I had learned more. One of the classes I did with my conference was a photowalk focusing on urban landscapes, which I loved and was thrilled to see more of the skyline.


Freehand Chicago - Dudes, this is the coolest hostel/hotel ever. Seriously - it's immaculate, the rooms have private bathrooms and there's a deeply cool bar on the first floor.  Plus, free breakfast and some of the best coffee I've had.  An absolute, all around win.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Photo 365 // June 15 - June 30

Once again posting a massive catch up. I'll get back on track this week.
June 15th
 June 16th
 June 17th
 June 18th
 June 19th
 June 20th
 June 21st
 June 22nd
June 23rd
 June 24th
 June 25th
 June 26th
 June 27th
 June 28th
June 29th
 June 30th