Saturday, October 31, 2009

happy halloween!

i am so excited for halloween this year and let me tell you why.... living in chicago, we never get to do the trick-or-treat thing. we have never been able to hand out candy to cute little kids dressed up in adorable costumes because most of them trick or treat at the storefronts in the popular neighborhoods. they just don't trick or treat in the neighborhoods... maybe its too hard to organize or its too hard to differentiate neighborhoods. but, either way, we've never gotten to sit at our door and hand out candy.

, this year, we live in a building that is hosting its own trick or treat event. YAY -- i am thrilled! we've decorated our apartment for halloween and both kids and dogs come by for trick or treating. i can't wait to see the kiddies and some of those cute puppies in little halloween costumes.
i'm hoping to take some fun photos of the night... so those may be posted soon.

happy halloween to you. hope you get lots of great candy!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Recipe of the Day: Pumpkin Bread Pudding

another great fall recipe... this one's a dessert. i'm a bit partial to pumpkin flavor, if you couldn't tell. enjoy!

pumpkin bread pudding
courtesy gourmet magazine, ian knauer
makes 6 servings

1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin

1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs plus 1 yolk

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground allspice

pinch of ground cloves

5 cup scubed (1-inch) da
y old baguette or crusty bread
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted

preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in the middle.

whisk together cream, pumpkin, milk, sugar, eggs, yolk, salt, and spices in a bowl.

toss bread cubes with butter in another bowl, then add pumpkin mixture and toss to coat.

transfer to an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish and bake until custard is set, 25-30 minutes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

harry benson recap

i thought i would provide a quick recap from my evening with harry benson and a quick photo of the night. harry benson was very charming and such a pleasure to listen to. he's seen some really amazing things in his lifetime. he took us through a selection of his photographs and told the stories behind them. all, in all, it was a really fun evening.

(isn't my new iphone app cool... it makes pictures into polaroids... i love it!)

a few highlights:

** harry arrived in the US with the beatles and never left. his photographs capture so many moments of beatles history... when lennon said they were more powerful than god, when they met mohammed ali, paul composing at the piano with stella, their arrival in the US.

** i asked him if there was anyone left that he was interested in photographing... he said putin. and maybe the pope... reading the sports page in bed... to humanize him a bit. :)

** he has a great picture of greta garbo, swimming along in antigua when she just happened to float by the boat that he was on with friends.

** elizabeth taylor allowed harry to take photographs of her both pre and post her brain surgery. she really marches to her own drummer doesn't she?

** harry believes that in the world of photographers versus reporters, photographers are able to understand subtle nuances of things that are happening. photographers are also able to get much closer to subjects through their art. reporters are simply 'too busy taking notes to see what's really happening'. he said that while working at the nixon white house, the photographers could see that something was happening within the staff... but the reporters were missing it for the most part.

** he was there when bobby kennedy was shot, at martin luther king's funeral, in somalia at the refugee camps, at the watts riots, in afghanistan with the army, with the ira in ireland, when the berlin wall went up and when it went down, when nixon resigned, with michael jackson on neverland ranch...

what an amazing life.

what a long, strange trip its been!

after months of looking for a job here in Chicago, i'm happy to report that i'm finally starting a new position. (yay!) i'm really excited about the new job, and lucky for me, its even in the city! hooray - a short commute... no more driving out to the 'burbs for work! i'll be leading the marketing efforts for Baker furniture, a division of Kohler, and can't wait to get started.

i'll be starting in early november, so stay tuned for more updates. hooray for "re-employment" and my own paychecks coming in the door again. i missed those little guys an awful lot! :)
(i'm sure my favorite stores did too...)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Recipe of the Day: Pumpkin Muffins

a great treat for fall and its from the "healthy cooking lady" (as I call her). these are really tasty. bon appetit!

pumpkin muffins
courtesy of ellie krieger

cooking spray
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole grain pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tbsp unsulphered molasses
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
1/4 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds (optional, you could also frost them with cream cheese or something else if you like)

preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray

in a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and whole wheat flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.

in a large bowl, whisk the sugar, molasses, oil and 1 egg until combined. Add the other egg and whisk well. Whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla. whisk in the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk. whisk just until combined.

pour the batter into the muffin pan and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds. tap pan on counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of 1 of the muffins comes out clean.

let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. run a knife around the muffins to lossen them and unmold. cool completely on the rack.

Friday, October 16, 2009

peace out

i hope you all have a wonderful weekend. i'm hoping to enjoy some beautiful fall foliage at our friend's wedding this weekend.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

my, oh, my!

i just had to let you all in on a little secret. my husband is the best. seriously, i definitely won the lottery in the husband department. i can't say enough about how great he is. and, yet, he just keeps getting better and better... he's aging like fine wine is what i like to say. (wink)

last night, he showed up for no apparent reason with this:

the amazingly beautiful bracelet that i've been eyeing for months on end... waiting for a sale. i've been scouring ebay for it, only to lose auctions at the last minute. i have been to several stores to try it on, but they are always sold out. somehow, he remembered that i mentioned it one time, awhile ago ... and here it appeared last night. out of the blue. just for me. in a beautifully packaged box with a bright pink ribbon and a lovely card. (sigh). it was wonderful!

hello, cool walls!

just spotted: this great Etsy shop! For those of you who haven't been on Etsy, get there immediately. Its the most amazing assortment of hand crafted jewelry, fashion, artwork, candles, pottery, and designs around. Individual artists/crafters open their own shops and you can buy directly from them through Etsy.

check out my latest find -- Decor Designs. They have the most amazing wall decals. Perfect in any home and even with plenty of cool designs for kids rooms.

i know i'm brainstorming options... maybe you are too?
another cool spot for fun wall decals & decor is Blik. They h
ave a ton of cool designs (including some amazing ones for those of you who have kids - how fun in a kids room?!). Here are a few...

i love this faux headboard...

An Evening with Harry Benson

I'm so excited! Friday night, the Chicago Photography Center (where I took my photography class) is hosting an evening with Harry Benson.

Harry Benson is in his late 70's now and has photographed many famous celebrities and world leaders throughout his life. From The Beatles, Michael Jackson and Janis Joplin to Martin Luther King Jr. to Elizabeth Taylor to Benazir Bhutto to the Clinton's. From Bobby Kennedy's assassination to Hurricane Katrina's aftermath and the falling of the Berlin Wall, his camera has seen it all. He's even photographed every U.S. President from Eisenhower to Barack Obama.

I'm really excited for the event and will certainly provide a quick recap if there is anything fun to share after the event!

If you're interested, NPR did an interview with him and you can listen to it here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Another Photoshop Nightmare

It looks like Ralph Lauren is now following in Self Magazine's footsteps. Following the Kelly Clarkson/Self Magazine photosh
op "weightloss" flub, and the amount of negative publicity that followed, I can't believe another image like this has surfaced.

In this image, Ralph Lauren edited the model's body to the point where it almost looks deformed. Her head now looks almost as large if not larger than her hips.

She was on tv this morning talking about this
incident (she's also been let go from RL)... she's 5' 10" and 120 pounds -- hardly a heavyweight.

For those of you not familiar with the Kelly Clarkson/Self Magazine photoshop disaster... here's a telling image.

The editors of Self, intensely defended their position and edit job saying:
"Yes, of course we do post-production corrections on our images," Editor-in-Chief Lucy Danziger tells ET. Airbrushing images is an industry standard, and the mag stands behind its decision. "SELF magazine inspires and informs our 6 million readers each month to reach their all around best," Lucy adds. "Kelly Clarkson exudes confidence, and is a great role model for women of all sizes and stages of their life. She works out and is strong and healthy, and our picture shows her confidence and beauty. She literally glows from within. That is the feeling we'd all want to have. We love this cover and we love Kelly Clarkson."
hmmm... i guess they think being her best is about being skinny. yikes! SELF magazine... what is going on here?

SELF's Editor in Chief also put a post on her blog talking more about this issue. Read it here.

interested in learning more about some photoshop editing disasters? click here.

Update: Thought I'd add another dimension to this article. Check out this Glamour magazine blog posting based on the picture below.

and here's the story The Today Show did on her photo:

Jam Session

I just added music to the blog (fun!). There is a fun little playlist at the bottom of the screen. If its bothering you, please scroll down to the bottom of the page and you can turn it off or change the music selection to suit your tastes! Personally, I'm kind of digging it. :)

Crazy Love

Michael Buble's new CD, Crazy Love, is out in stores now. Since I happened to catch him on Oprah recently, singing "Haven't Met You Yet", I'm kind of crushing on him. He's such a cutie and has such a great voice. Thought I'd include his new song and one of my old favorites. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fabulous Giveaway

Another great giveaway on one of my favorite blogs, Rockstar Diaries. The winner will get to choose ANY piece from Shabby Apple's new fitness line.

Isn't it so cute?

Check out the Shabby Apple fitness gear here.

And enter the contest here before Friday, October 16th.

Good luck!

You Gotta Love Don Draper

For those of you who watch Mad Men... a little fun with Don. The man certainly has a way with the ladies.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Weekend Roundup

We had a lot of fun this weekend, so I thought I'd share a quick recap and some fun photos.

We stopped in at the Green City Market on Saturday morning. I have been wanting to go to it for some time and I'm so glad we did - its AMAZING! So much fresh and organic produce, tons of local dairies selling freshly made cheeses, herbs, flowers, honey, and all sorts of yummy food stalls. We had some delicious apple cider donuts and a panini sandwich for breakfast. It was a beautiful fall day and the market was packed - I couldn't believe how busy it was. Chef demonstrations, bands playing... all sorts of great things going on. And, the best part is that it goes all year -- soon it will move indoors! How exciting is that?! I can't wait to go back again this Saturday!

Then, on our way back home, we stumbled upon a unique event in Chicago. They were raising the drawbridges to let the sailboats go through to put their boats to dock for the winter. I was so excited, that Jamey immediately pulled the car over... and lucky for me... I still had my camera from the morning at the farmers' market, so I was able to get some great shots of all the sailboats going through the raised bridges. Thanks to a great sport of a husband who dropped me off at a few different spots around the city to get some fun shots!

And, finally, on Sunday morning we cheered on the Chicago Marathon! I woke up pretty early because I wanted to get some photos of the elite runners. I was hoping to catch a shot of Deena Kastor... but missed her in the women's elite group, unfortunately. I did get a lot of great shots of the event. Its so amazing to watch all of the runners -- it always inspires me every year. But, as Jerry says in Seinfeld, "I choose not to run".... at least, the marathon, that is.

We were lucky enough to catch our friends in the mix too -- so I've included some fun shots of them at miles 13 & 16... don't they look fab for running a half marathon already?! WOW. You go guys!

Wheelchair marathoners come through first, followed by the elite runners. Below is the police escort, time car, and photographers coming through before the elites.

The runner in the yellow shirt on the left won the race and beat the course record for an extra $100K.

here come the elite women and their time car. The women's winner is in the bright pink on the far right side.

And, here come our friends! yay!

Hope you had a great weekend too!

Recipe of the Day: Damn Hot Peppers

Courtesy of Michael Chiarello

Note: These peppers are definitely spicy, but nothing out of this world. If you like spice, these are great! We're serving them on rolls for game day, but they'd be great with pasta, sausage, etc. Enjoy!


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

7 green peppers, halved, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 pound jalapenos, sliced into 1/8 inch thick rounds

56 oz. canned crushed tomatoes or 7 cups fresh tomato concasse

small bunch basil leaves

salt to taste

Directions: Heat oil in a large pot. Add green peppers and let them sweat 2-3 minutes. Add jalapenos and salt to taste. Cook over medium-high heat for 20 minutes or until peppers have softened and are partially tender. There will still be some liquid left in the pot.

Add the tomatoes and the basil leaves. Lower the heat and continue to cook for about 30 minutes, until the peppers are tender. Add additional salt, if needed. Remove from heat. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

** if canning, add 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, place in canning jars and process according to manufacturer's instructions.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fun Giveaway

I have been seeing these prints for awhile now and think they are just that perfect bit of whimsy for a home. This giveaway is for a print and a t-shirt in any color of your choosing.

The phrase was a propaganda poster produced by the British government in 1939 during the beginning of World War II. It was intended as a "last case scenario" to be used only if the Nazis succeeded in invading Great Britain in order to "stiffen resolve". Two and a half million copies were printed, although the poster was only distribued in very limited numbers. It was only rediscovered in 2000 when it fell out of a book at a second hand book shop in England.

Find the giveaway rules and enter to win here. Deadline is midnight tonight, so get there ASAP!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Ahhhhh.... LA.

Weather like this makes me miss you even more.

Fall is certainly here now, and the signs are everywhere. We're going to have really cold weather here this weekend in Chicago (sorry, marathoners!) and may even have to break out gloves & scarves.

Hope you all have a great weekend with friends/family!

Good Luck Marathoners!

Sunday is the big day for many people who have been training for months on end. They've been getting up at 5am to run along the lakefront path here in Chicago and across millions of other cities. They've been running 5 miles, 10 miles, 20 miles on a weekend to get ready and have put their body to the test. I've never run a full marathon... but even training for a 1/2 marathon takes tremendous dedication, planning, and enthusiasm. Kudos to anyone who attempts to run the marathon - its quite a feat!

A quick shout out to some dear friends who will be running on Sunday -- GOOD LUCK JEN & JJ! We'll be rooting for you at Miles 13 & 16. And good luck to everyone running! This is what you've been working so hard for.

(I just love these pictures of the runners going over the drawbridges -- how cool!)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Do you have "Good Hair"?

Just updated the video, so it should show better now!

I saw this trailer the other day in a theater and thought it was absolutely hilarious.

In his documentary, Good Hair, Chris Rock covers the black community's relationship with hair from a variety of different viewpoints. Jamey and I will definitely check this out when it comes to Chicago. It
starts 10/9 in select cities.... who knows when it will come to yours!

The movies website says:
An exposé of comic proportions that only Chris Rock could pull off, GOOD HAIR visits beauty salons and hairstyling battles, scientific laboratories and Indian temples to explore the way hairstyles impact the activities, pocketbooks, sexual relationships, and self-esteem of the black community.

Director Jeff Stilson follows Chris Rock on this raucous adventure prompted by Rock's daughter approaching him and asking, "Daddy, how come I don't have good hair?" Haircare professionals, beautyshop and barbershop patrons, as well as celebrities including Ice-T, Nia Long, Paul Mooney, Raven Symoné, Dr. Maya Angelou, Salt n Pepa, Eve and Reverend Al Sharpton all candidly offer their stories and observations to Rock while he struggles with the task of figuring out how to respond to his daughter's question.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My new favorite t-shirt!

I recently came across this hilarious t-shirt. Created by a Brooklyn designer, this new NY slogan is a bit more in-line with the current economic situation, don't you think? Only $14.99 and pretty funny if you ask me.

Buy them here.