Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Birthday Weekend

Last weekend came and went in a flash—obviously I'm still recovering a bit. I had an awesome birthday and want to thank everyone who sent a wish to me, I appreciate it more than you know!

We spent Saturday doing some shopping on the east side—hitting up the big Nordstrom sale and doing some decent damage at Crate & Barrel. We've been planning a bit more entertaining and have been wanting to round out our glassware sets, so we picked those up, and as always some extra gadgets found their way into our basket(s). Is it just me, or does that store put a spell on you?! {Like I said, I'm getting old.}

The rain stopped that evening, just in time for Burning River Fest. It was our first year there and I definitely won't miss it again! Have you guys gone before? I feel like I've been totally missing out the last few years.

The views were amazing, the food trucks and vendors showed up with their best, and the Christmas Ale was flowing. The fest is intended to raise awareness of the environmental issues affecting the Great Lakes and Cuyahoga River area, and there were a range of ecological groups available to answer questions and offer volunteer opportunities. The bands were great, too—the night ended with an energy-filled set by Bethesda, an indie-folk collect from Kent.

Sunday was my birthday, and thankfully we just spent some time relaxing after the night before. Jim made an awesome brunch with my favorite things: French toast with fresh berries + whipped cream, bacon and mimosas. A Sunday at home was the perfect excuse to crush a bottle of Chandon, anyway!

It was the perfect weekend celebration, and with my sister's birthday just a week after mine, there's still a lot more around the corner! Thank you to everyone who made it so great!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hello, 27

I'm going to go ahead and warn you — if you don't think birthdays are awesome, and worth celebrating for an entire week, and don't want to hear about mine, feel free to move along. We're about to get a little introspective up in here.

My 27th birthday is on Sunday. This number always seemed like such a big deal to me. I think it's a cultural thing—our obsession with 27—but I know I'm not the only one who feels like this is the year of accomplishment. You're too young to be old, too old to be {really} young. You should have your shit together (or at least really be working on it) but still not be wasting your youth with being too serious. By just writing this post, I am proving my old-ness has already taken effect...but don't worry. I still take shots.

When I was younger, I used to think about my late-twenties and wonder when it was all going to "happen" for me. I don't think I had a real idea of what "happening" meant, but I look around at my life now and think that this is just what I imagined, and then some.

I am lucky in love with someone who can literally make me wet my pants laughing, who makes the everyday moments feel special, and who's been my partner in crime for the last four years. We were fortunate enough to become homeowners last year, and cultivating/designing our home has been the most challenging and most rewarding experience I've had. You know you're getting old when you're counting the days to when your new mailbox arrives, or when you lose sleep over which color to stain your floors {"will dark floors show too much dust...oh but they're so beautiful!"} The strangest feeling I've ever felt was when we walked into our empty house for the first time, a shell of someone else's daily memories, and felt the overwhelming need to remove it all and make it ours. We've worked so, so hard since that day, and in such a short time we've added our own stamp on it and finally feel like we belong.

I enjoy my job and get to spend each day doing what I studied for years to do—which thankfully makes my student loan payments feel a tiny bit less maddening. I'm also grateful to run a growing small business, which has taught me many lessons in patience, persistence, and resourcefulness. It's shown me that a creative outlet can create madness while somehow still providing you with sanity. It's one of the many, many things I look forward to when I come home and switch out of my day-job mode. I feel confident that I've found the creative path I was meant to be on.

My family and friends are truly the glue who hold me all together. I have to thank you all, and my wonderful readers, who have supported me and been here for me through all of my adventures and been there to send a text or tweet or handwritten note when I've really needed it. People think that we've forgotten how to communicate with each other in the onslaught of technology, but I actually think it's enhanced my relationships in a lot of ways {mostly with Emojicons}.

So grateful for 26—here's to another year—onward and upward! And to hopefully getting that food processor I really wanted {see? OLD.}

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Recipe: Summer Cherry Pie

There's a history to my love of pie-making. Ready for a quick story?

My second year of college, I was working as an Intern at an agency in Cleveland that frequently had cook-offs, bake-offs, and contests. That summer, they were having a pie-baking contest and even though I was the intern, I wasn't off the hook. I had never baked a pie before in my life and thought I was in for some tough competition, so I chose an unconventional pie recipe to make up for inexperience — a gingerbread linzertorte with raspberry filling. Looking back at this recipe, this is obviously a holiday pie and I probably shouldn't have made one in the middle of the summer {remember this, college kids: you are not at your intellectual peak}! I made a practice pie, messed it up, and made another one. The second one looked great, and everyone loved it at the tasting. I ended up winning the contest, and it was love at first pie.

We got a huge haul of local cherries in our Fresh Fork bag last week, and they were a bit sour for casual eating, which makes them perfect for baking. I made this cherry pie after scouring the internet for the right recipe, and I think I've found the perfect one. A little touch of almond extract enhances the filling, while boiling the cherries with sugar creates that gooey filling I was going after. It was pretty easy, not too time consuming, and {most importantly} tasted great!

I didn't have a pitter, so we followed the toothpick method to pit the cherries—but I've also heard that a paperclip or bobby pin work well. So interesting!

What's your favorite type of pie? Fruit? Pecan? Pumpkin...! I'm thinking about pumpkin pie without trying to rush into fall—but I can't help myself!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Kate Spade hits CLE

Good morning!

It's Monday and I'm not having it — luckily, I have a glamorous blast of color to share to get us going.

Last Thursday, Kate Spade officially launched the opening of their store here in Cleveland, at Beachwood Mall. My dear friend Maria of the style letters hosted the night, offering style tips and being the best shopping enabler anyone could ask for {she has this effect on me}.

The store is jaw-droppingly chic — full of saturated color, dizzying patterns, and a 60's inspired metallic wallpaper that would make Andy Warhol's heart skip a beat.

The event was also a great opportunity to meet up with other bloggers and makers that I've been in contact with through social media — nothing like a face-to-face meeting to make it less creepy to stalk their blogs!

With Becky of The Pumpkin Spot and Kimberly from Smitten in Cle

Alicia of Simple Hands Studio, Maria, myself, Kimberly, Becky, Jen of Why CLE?, and Nadine of Blog - The New Black

I enjoyed some macarons and pink lemonade and left the store high on sugar and color. Thank you Kate Spade CLE for throwing such a great bash, and Maria for hosting and generally just being cute and fabulous! The turnout was amazing, I had a great time meeting everyone, and will be back to shop over {and over} again.

{ Some photos snagged from the style letters' Instagram }

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Color Crush: Bold Cobalt

Cobalt has been popping up everywhere lately, and something about this pure, intense hue has me hooked. It might be triggering the art history lover in me — this color is derived from lapis lazuli, the highly-worshipped stone used in dyes, art, and pottery in ancient times. From ancient Egypt to the empires of Rome and Greece, lapis lazuli was used to represent godliness, truth, and purity. Its pure pigmentation complements natural elements, while still making a statement. It's interesting to see the "pop of color" concept evolving — this is giving us a break from neons, but carrying that blue PS1 would certainly have just as much impact!

I've never been much of a pure blue person, but this punchy color might have changed my mind. It's just starting to gain momentum, so I think we'll be seeing a lot more of it come fall and winter of this year. What do you think about this bold blue?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fourth of July Wrap-up

Hi everyone!

Hope you all had a fun {and safe} holiday weekend! The 4th is my fave, and we had a great time over here. We enjoyed some time on the boat, ate a ton of food, caught the fireworks at Lakewood park, and got some bike riding in. It finally feels like summer has started! Here are some snaps from our weekend:

Watermelon margarita popsicles (obviously loving our new popsicle mold). Recipe via The Comfort of Cooking.

Couldn't resist a little patriotic bandana shaming. 

Tubing on the 4th — this tube has cup holders and was the best thing ever invented.

Cooper's first time at the beach — the water was still a little chilly, but is finally swimmable!

What did you guys do to celebrate the Fourth?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer Holiday

Happy pre-Fourth of July, everyone!

The Fourth is one of my favorite holidays – beers, boats, grilling, fireworks – and all things AMERICA!

I'll be away from the blog for the next couple of days, and back next week with some more summer-inspired posts. For now, enjoy this amazing recipe for Raspberry, Strawberry, and Mint popsicles. I bought a popsicle mold recently and these were the first pops I made. They're just like your favorite store-bought fruit pop, but BETTER, and obviously not full of preservatives and dyes. The mint makes them so refreshing, too – perfect to reach for on a hot day. I'm now scheming what flavors are next...maybe some boozy margarita pops?

Enjoy, and have a happy and safe Fourth of July!