Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Saturday Morning Rituals

 Some Saturday morning rituals

Lattes and pastries at Floriole's

Fresh fruits and veggies at the Green City Farmer's Market

Listening to this man play drums for all the kids at the park (He is AWESOME.)

Scenic walk back home

Friday, September 14, 2012

Things I will NOT be wearing this winter

When I was packing for my move to Chicago, I didn't have room for a lot of my winter clothes. My dad was already planning to fly to Madison for my cousin's wedding this summer, so I packed a bag of clothes for him to check on the plane and give to me when we met in Madison. It seemed like a brilliant plan...until the airport lost his luggage and clothes got shipped back to Virginia (my dad ended up buying a button down shirt from a Walmart-type store on the way to the wedding!).

My dad ended up repacking my clothes into boxes and shipping them to me. When the first package arrived this week, I was excited to break into my scarves and boots. THIS, however, is what I found:

-Pink Adidas backpack from 8th grade, containing my 8th grade algebra notes, a bouncy ball, half-finished "gimp" key chain, and unopened candy necklace.
-A blue polyester track jacket. The type a girl in drama club has to buy at Target to look cool because she doesn't play sports. Number "23," again not my number.
-Not one, but TWO, pairs of colorful Roo shoes. I thought these were so cool. The high top ones I actually bought for a clown costume when my best friend in high school made me take "Clown Class" with her. See above about how I wasn't on a cool sports team in 8th grade.
-Horrifying fuzzy scarf.

These are some things I will NOT be wearing this winter.

The best part though might have been the doodles in my algebra notes. I have self-diagnosed Restless Hand Syndrome, and I doodle in the margins of my notes to concentrate. I didn't realize it had started so early.

Good thing I clearly labeled that one as "sheep."

Thought this combined J and M was a sneaky way to disguise my middle school crush. SHAMED.

Anyway, I called my dad to inquire about all the odd stuff in the package, because I definitely did not pack it originally.

"Oh yeah," he said. "I had some extra room, so I looked for stuff that I thought was yours."

"But, daaad," I whined. "It's like my algebra notes from 8th grade! What am I supposed to do with it?"

"I guess it's time to do what you should have done in 9th grade: Throw it out."


Labor Day Dune Hike

 Over Labor Day weekend, we soaked up one of the last hot days of summer at the Indiana Dunes State Park. It reminded me a little bit of Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine, though with a lake instead of the ocean and much smaller heights. (My Dad made fun of the highest summit at the Indiana Dunes. "Wow, a whopping 180 ft!" he said.)

For the record, it was actually a great workout. We were walking on the sand the whole time, so when there was a steep incline, you slid down half a step for every step you took. We walked for about two miles right along the lake front, and ended up walking about 7 miles total. We met a couple from Indiana who said they go camping at the park during the winter, and have had to shovel out their campsite in the past. Sounds totally crazy, but I bet the lake looks beautiful, so we might have to go back.

Andrew was happy because he got to wear his serious hiking boots. He also learned the value of a pony tail.

P.S. I just discovered this pretty song about the end of summer.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Apartment Tour: Living Room

Not to brag too much, but we probably have one of the nicest apartments two young twenty-somethings could have in the entire city, if not the US. It was built in the late 19th century, and our own-bedroom unit features gorgeous bay windows, high ceilings, a cozy fire place, stained glass windows, and a tiny balcony. We're so thrilled to get to call it home! Here is a little tour of our living room. Above is the view of the layout from the dining room.

Andrew and I both love large, framed wall hangings. We still have a pile of prints and paintings that we are trying to make room for! Above the mantle is a Hundertwasser from Andrew's grandparents' collection, a print of a Japanese painting I bought at the AIC gift store, and a nautical painting from Andrew's grandmother's house. Our collection of artwork is eclectic but classic, which is an aesthetic we love.

Keeping with the nautical theme, we have a burgee from the Beach Club Andrew sailed at as a kid and a ship's hull model. I am really fond of the burgee. The pillow Andrew actually made with two RRL handkerchiefs.

Coffee Table. Coasters are from Anthropologie.

 This isn't the best picture, but we have a beautiful desk, found at an estate sale, that gets lots of natural light from the windows.

I posted this before, but here again is our dresser bar complete with collegiate flag, duck decoys and a photo of Andrew's great grandfather who, trust me, looks super WASPy.

Some of my favorite details:

There's still so much art we need to hang up and some furniture upgrades that would be lovely, but I love this room so much.

Apartment Tour: Dining Room

So after some of this,

A few of these,

And three trips to Home Depot in 48 hours, we have a newly built, assembled and upholstered dining room set.

The dining room decor could use still some work, but I'm thrilled to have a real table and chairs! (We were previously using this awful set of Ikea chairs that I am pretty sure I called "the chairs of Satan" in a moment of desperation. Yeah, they were bad.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Chicago Highlights

 View from Fullerton Beach

 Bikes on Chicago Ave., River North

 Picnickers at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion 

 The Jay Pritzker Pavilion at sundown

The Vertigo Sky Lounge

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

After visiting the farmer's market last Saturday, I had more tomatoes than we knew what to do with--so I made my own tomato spaghetti sauce. I started with a recipe from my grandmother's Cooking Down East by Marjorie Standish (a family favorite), but ended up with my own creation.

I used:
One large red tomato, diced
5-10 yellow Roma tomatoes, cut in half
1 slice onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 large links Italian sausage
3 tablespoons butter
2 table spoons flour 

I started by taking the sausages out of their casings, tearing them into 1 inch pieces, and throwing them into a large frying pan. Once they were brown and juicy, I added the red and yellow tomatoes, onion slices, sugar, salt and pepper, and let the mixture simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes. Next, I added the butter and flour and stirred the mixture, continuing to cook over low heat, until it thickened into a sauce.

That's it! Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil and serve with shredded parmesan cheese. Yum.

P.S. This is really a great book for cooking basics. The recipes are simple and really bare-boned, which allows you to experiment with extra seasonings and flavors. For example, the tomato sauce recipe I used originally called for canned tomatoes, but I easily substituted the fresh tomatoes I got at the farmer's market, and added in the Italian sausage.

It's also a fun cookbook because it was published 1969, but Marjorie Standish started writing her recipes for the Maine Sunday Telegram in 1948! It definitely has that "like grandma made it" quality, and my copy even has my nana's comments in the margins. She noted in neat cursive when she did something different from the recipe, or when my grandfather really liked a specific dish. It is remarkable to have the physical evidence of so many shared homemade meals, I am happy to be the third generation to use this book.

Mount Agamenticus

Also while in Maine, we "hiked" Mount Agamenticus. After being in the flat midwest, we were so excited to go on a real hike, and Andrew read about Mount Agamenticus which was right in York, Maine where we were staying. When we told my mom our plans, and asked how long we would need to do the hike, she just laughed at us. 

"Um, you drive up it?" she explained.

Yup. Apparently there are some nice actual hikes, but since it was rainy, we just walked around and enjoyed the misty views.