March 26, 2013

Sand Tarts



Last year at this time, I was fantasizing about sandcastle cakes. Now, I’ve decided to celebrate the birth of this blog with Martha’s fittingly adorable sand tarts. The recipe is simple, relatively mess-free, and yields the perfect treat for the special occasion. Though my boyfriend and I will be enjoying most of these tomorrow, I’ve tucked a few away in the freezer, with plans to take them down to the beach in my picnic basket as soon as the temperatures turn.


March 25, 2013

Lessons Learned

The start of a sandcastle that I found along Lake Michigan when I first decided to begin this blog
This week marks the one-year anniversary of my beloved blog. As they say, time flies when you are having fun. Though I can’t profess to have been the most consistent poster of all time over the last twelve months, I am proud to say that I stuck with it, and I now have over 130 posts (!) chronicling my days spent along the shores of Lake Michigan. This is all the encouragement that I need to keep the entries coming, and I look forward to sharing more of my life with you in the years to come.

As predicted, I have learned and, in some cases, confirmed a great deal through the blogging process. Among the lessons thus far:
  • Delicious food, nice shoes, fresh flowers, and clean sheets do wonders for a healthy state of mind.
  • Being in your 30s is an experience unto itself.
  • There’s something magical, addicting, and downright blog-ish about creating the bokeh effect with your camera.
  • Sometimes, work, after-hours commitments, wild weekends, travel and/or pure laziness get in the way of posting. When the opportunity arises, you reemerge, remind yourself of the importance of balance, and begin to compose your thoughts again.
  • Winters in Chicago are very, very, very long.
  • There are very few dilemmas that fun nail polish can’t cure.
  • Patient, camera-wielding boyfriends make life worth living.
  • There’s something incredibly special and uplifting in the act of appreciating the mundane.
  • An 800 sq. ft. condo can only hold so many possessions and afford so many adult luxuries.
  • Life is not perfect. Not even close. And the sooner you accept it, the better off you are.



March 20, 2013

What is the What?



Like any avid reader, I have my favorite authors. Shockingly, up until recently, that list did not include Dave Eggers. In the past few weeks, I’ve started to work my way through some of his books, and I have to say that the tone of his writing it unlike anything that I’ve ever experienced. Though he writes with intensity, it's in a way that is completely removed and objective—almost as though he is reading the thoughts of his characters in a deliberate, calm and measured manner.

I worked my way through Hologram for King first, and only because it was the newest of his books. After reading reviews of his other works online, I decided to next read What is the What. My words won’t ever do it justice. It’s one of those books that gives you insight into another way of life; in this case, the shocking story of the Lost Boys in Sudan as told through the eyes of Valentino Achak Deng. The story is horrific, even more so because it happened relatively recently. It’s insane to think that these sorts of atrocities are still happening, and that refugee camps are still a necessity. 

The first step to ending this madness is to become aware of it. To learn more about the situation in Africa, I highly suggest that you give the book a read and visit the UN’s website. I also recommend accompanying it with a viewing of the particularly startling documentary God Grew Tired Of Us, which both humorously and sadly shows the plight of refugees once they enter the U.S. 

March 18, 2013

Low Key

The celebration wouldn't have been complete without a few pints

It must be a sign that we are getting older—this year, we didn’t make it down to Chicago to see the dying of the river or overindulge in green beverages. Though we didn’t get as rowdy as in years past, there is something to be said for taking it easy and enjoying some of the simpler nods to St. Patrick’s Day, all of which certainly made us look forward to our upcoming trip to Ireland. 

The fact that the beer wasn't green didn't stop me from busting out my holiday socks
The perfect breakfast treat: fresh Irish Soda Bread
Quick-blooming signs of spring in vases throughout the condo
A hearty Irish stew that bubbled in the slow cooker all day long

March 13, 2013

Spring Showers

via

Our recent hallway cleaning frenzy led me to unearth my beloved trench coat, which I packed away far too many months ago. I also managed to dig out my well-worn Hunter boots for the first time in forever, which resulted in a simple, classic pairing that I lived in all rainy weekend long. Though it's not even April, these pictures have me hoping that the showers bring about early May flowers. 

via
via
via
via
via

March 12, 2013

Multiples

Complementary fortunes from Chinese take-out on Friday night

The snow has given way to rain, and the recent time change promises that spring is right around the corner. We used the slow-but-sure seasonal shift as an impetus for an active weekend centered on the house, where the motto certainly seemed to be: the more, the better.   

Transitioning into a warmer weather scent via my ever-growing collection of Diptyque fragrances
Shelf decorating inspiration at Anthropologie
Taking advantage of the sale at Oberweis and stocking up on some favorite ice cream flavors
Spontaneously cleaning out the hallway closets to install our new organizers