Happy Thanksgiving All!

Sorry I've been M.I.A. around here, couple of home and work projects keeping me busy, but I promise I'll catch you up soon. Like real soon.

Just wanted to say happy thanksgiving to all and leave you with a ditty from my daughters preschool.

"Oh I'm glad I'm not a turkey, a turkey, a turkey, I'm glad I'm not a turkey on thanksgiving day"

And since I don't want to leave you without some sort of photo, here she is singing it to you all!


Sandwich Flea Market

Several weekends ago, I made plans with my girlfriend to go to an outdoor flea market downstate. It was the last one of the year and we had never been to Sandwich, so we said why not. We also goaded my mom and her sister to come along with us. The weekend was supposed to be all rain but we figured hell if anything we'll wear ponchos.  The drive was beautiful and picturesque so that alone was worth the trip. I wish I was able to take photos, but as I was the driver.

Unfortunately, the fair itself was a bust. Maybe it was the threat of rain that kept a lot of the venders away, there were supposed to be 500 but there was maybe 150? Also it was the last one of the year so I'm thinking that was why the pickings were pretty slim. We did find a handful of venders that had some cool stuff, but I swear their prices were so overblown that it was ridiculous.

The antlers were $20 a piece, downtown Chicago, my friend was able to get them for $5 a piece, kind of a ripoff huh? I thought that going downstate, the prices would be more reasonable?
So the vender that was selling the wooden bowls and troughs wanted $400 for the first bowl. Are you friggin kidding, for an old wooden bowl? I understand the value of antiques that took skill, but a wooden bowl that was probably used to bake bread in?!?!
Needless to say I did not buy anything, my friends sister did get a couple of things, but most of the stuff was either not my taste or more than I wanted to spend on said particular item. Maybe next summer when there is more of an opportunity for more buyers we'll try it again, maybe. 

Although the flea was a bust the time spent with my mom and girlfriend was worth the trip. Oh and on the way home we hit up a Marshalls and ended up getting a few things there instead. Go figure.

Minerals and crystals

I need some bling for my home, something sparkly but not fake, and no rhinestones. I'm not a rhinestone kind of girl. I have seen these minerals and agates in several different uses, and I think I might need a new sparkly night table lamp. I currently own the crystals in jewelry form and I get so many compliments on them already. Maybe the agate platters, I really love the black crystal lamp with the spider but way too much out of my price range ($3,500.00). I think I'll have to start with the agate coasters.

And aren't crystals supposed to put people in a happy place? At least that's what Spencer from the Hills claims, although I'm not sure they did him any good.


Craigs Easy is just that... EASY

Like my profile says I scour Craigslist almost religiously. Although I try and narrow it down to what I'm currently cruisin' for, but I hate narrowing it down, sometimes a gem can be unearthed and you didn't even know you were looking for it. But in order to do that you must click on a bunch of links. Not anymore. Not with CraigsEasy, this has made my  craig habit sooo much easier to get. I have used this several times a day, and I swear it's an addiction. I would say go get Craig Easy, and I am, but that means my secret weapon is out there for all of you to use.

Fine, I'll play nice and hope the fastest one gets the prize. Def. go check it out, I swear it will become one of your favorite tools to find new bargains on craig.

What I also want to point out that I love is the favorite button on CraigEasy, I can store all the things that I'm currently looking at and go back and forth without losing any. 


Sorrel Soup

Have you ever had sorrel before? It looks like spinach but tastes like a lemon, tart, not bitter. Sorrel is very common in Europe, we eat it raw, picked straight out of the garden and it's sold in stores in jars to go into soup.

I started growing it several years ago and only last year did it actually "take". Sorrel is an easy leaf to grow, it reseeds itself every year and grows throughout the growing months. In zone 5 that means I have sorrel from May and I think I picked the last batch today, Nov 4th. Sometimes you can find sorrel at farmers markets all throughout the city, and if you can't than you can buy seeds and seed some for yourself. Since I had fresh sorrel I decided to make sorrel soup, while I write this there is only a small batch left.

I started with the rosol base and after I washed the sorrel and removed the hard stems, chopped it. Adding one tablespoon of butter, saute the sorrel until it changes from bright green to a dark khaki green, You might want to add some salt and pepper at this time. Once that's done, add it to the pot of stock that you pre-made, or to chicken stock. Next add a full tablespoon of flour and two large tablespoons of sour cream and mix together. I'd say pour but this mixture is too thick so put all of the mixture into the pot. You can then use a whisk to distribute the mixture into the soup or use and immersion blender as I do and puree the soup. I like the soup a bit tarter than what it is, so I add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice to the soup, based on your taste. Simmer the soup for a bit till the flavors meld together, its essentially done.

You can serve this soup as is, or you can add what we typically do, a hard boiled egg and some boiled potatoes.

You can google sorrel seeds or buy them through the link from Amazon. If there are other recipes for sorrel that you like and is not a soup I'd love it if you shared.


Sneak peak of things to reveal

As you may remember once upon a time I mentioned that I was doing a redo on the landscaping. Everything was going as planned when bad weather interrupted we scrapped that because we needed to get a new roof instead. That was actually the good news. In the landscaping plan there were a couple of other things that were going to get done, and FINALLY after the whole summer, we are in the home stretch. Well sort of. I'm only going to give a sneak peak, but come back soon for the whole shebang.

You might know what it is already, it's kinda clear, but you can't see the whole effect yet. 


Shrimp Spring Rolls

I recently defrosted a bag of shrimp, and after not using as much as I thought I would need. I was thinking what can I do with the leftover shrimp that I might not have to use now. So I decided to make spring rolls. If you don't know the difference between a spring roll and and egg roll the spring roll has a very thin rice paper sheet and the egg roll uses a thicker dough for its wrappers. Both very good but I wanted something that was a bit lighter. 

I've made crab wontons from scratch before but never spring rolls, thankfully I had a package of wrappers in the freezer on hand. I also had a package of dried wood ear mushrooms, which is an asian staple, they are a crunchy sort of mushroom if you can imagine that. I also had a bit of leftover cabbage. 

Wood ear mushrooms
cabbage shredded
carrots shredded
sesame oil
soy sauce
shrimp roll wrapper
canola oil for frying

First thing you need to do is soak the mushrooms, while those soak mince your shrimp and garlic and grate ginger into a bowl. Use as much garlic as you like, I used a bit too many cloves, even though we love garlic it was a bit strong in the spring rolls.

After the wood ears have softened enough thinly slice them if they aren't the precut variety, and add to the shrimp mixture. Add a tablespoon of sesame oil and soy.

In the meantime, sauté the cabbage and carrots in a bit of oil to soften them up. 

When your cabbage mixture has cooled you can start by assembling the rolls. One teaspoon of shrimp mixture and one of the cabbage mixture placed toward the front of the wrapper. Fold the front triangle over first and then the sides and then just keep rolling. Once you come to the end take your fingers and dip them into water and rub the seam before closing. And there you have it, a shrimp spring roll. Now you can do two things, you can choose to fry them up immediately, or you can freeze them for another day. If the shrimp has been defrosted for more than a day, I suggest you fry them up. If you feel that it's still fresh, freeze it and you have a quick snack next time you have a taste for something crunchy and hot.

I like to use ponzu sauce for dipping these, but if you don't have any on hand or don't know what it is you can substitute with equal parts soy and real lemon juice, not the stuff from a bottle. Most of the time thats fine but I tend to think it tastes like windex. 


Hey all it's my first guest post!!!

I'm guest posting on Stilettos and Diaper bags today! Go check out my guest post about making the easiest banana "ice cream" ever made. No ice cream maker needed.

If you came here from Stilettos and are a first timer, I would love it if you became a follower.


Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble -Shakespeare

Halloween has never been my FAVORITE holiday but with the influx of non-kitchy decor and I'm starting to like it more than for it's doorbell ringing madness!

I think this year I'll get in the mood and paint my nails and toes in the fab colors from NARS, although purple has always been a staple for me, I don't have this one from NARS yet. And maybe I can order the silk scarf in time for Sunday - although I can see myself wearing it through the season indefinitely. 

  1. Skull ring - I know its pretty pricey but a girl can dream right!
  2. NARS colors in Versailles and Purple Rain
  3. Skull votive - These are pretty large but how cool would they look scattered along the pathway to your door or on a table scattered among other decor, or food.
  4. Skull Candle - Don't hate me cuz I like skulls, they just evoke a more grown up halloween instead of pumpkins everywhere. I bet this smells very musky and heavy.
  5. Black crepe paper wreath
  6. Crackle Balls Lighting - This looks like a full moon, I bet you can use this for a bunch of other occasions too.
  7. Vintage Skull Print - BlackBaroque has a bunch of different designs but you know my thing with skulls and all.
  8. Dark moody flowers, like flowering cabbage, black calla lilies, monkey tails and ebony leaves - I help my mom doing flowers for weddings so it rubs off.
  9. Bat Bunting - How fun!
  10. Silk scarf - I couldn't decide which one I liked best, there are several that struck my fancy.
Hope you find some inspiration here to make your own spooky chic halloween.


Pumpkin patch and petting zoo

A couple of weekends ago my girlfriend and I took our two kids and went to the local pumpkin patch. We had planned to go the week before but glad we postponed our adventure since the weather turned out to be fabulous that weekend. We also decided to skip the LARGE advertised pumpkin patch - if you live anywhere near Chicago you know which one I'm talking about. I'm so glad we ended up coming here instead, no entrance fee, no hay ride fee and the petting zoo, which was the only thing you need to pay a fee for, was great. It wasn't just animals that were in a pen that you got to look at but instead you can get in with the animals and pet the small ones and actually hold them, unlike the big pumpkin place.

Arianna loved petting the baby ducks and getting into the pen with the goats, piglets and a plethora of animals - all babies. The best part was holding the soft little bunnies. I wish I had a ton of pics but I stupidly forgot to charge my camera battery before I left so I literally got maybe 10 shots in before the camera died.  Urghhh. Oh well it made me focus more on the experience with the kids instead of being behind the lens the whole time.  Here are a few outtakes that I was able to catch before it died for the day.

I love this last shot of them looking eye-to-eye, she got a bit scared when the calf stuck her tongue out, trying to get a taste of her. All in all, it was an excellent time spent with friends.


Happy Milestone Birthday to my chipmunk

I know she's going to cringe when she reads this headline but ever since we were little she would always get stopped for her chipmunk cheeks. And she HATED it, but I tend to think that they make her look beautiful and only accentuate her lovely smile. My sister turned 30 yesterday and although she doesn't look a day over 25 and has always been young at heart - she thinks this is old. I disagree, as one of her friends put it the other day, its not years in your life but the life in your years that truly make the person.

So here's wishing health, wealth and happiness to a beautiful, intelligent, and obsessive compulsive best friend a sister could ever have! Na zdrowie and sto lat!!


Zorro doesn't have to have all the fun!

Do you know what your going for Halloween as? Maybe some sort of masked crusader? Well you don't need to be a crusader if you want to wear a mask. I stumbled on these masks through etsy and man are they sexy! Just the right amount of mystery but so much precision that I'm amazed that it conforms to ones face so well. Seems as though they are custom made specifically for your face. I want one but I really don't have any place to wear it to, you think wearing it trick or treating with my 3 year old is too much?

Anyhow if you want to get one before Halloween you need to act fast, they are selling out quick go check em' out!


Artist Crush - Florian Nicolle

I have to introduce you to this fab-tastic artist, Florian Nicolle. I have been following his work for a bit and I'm amazed at how beautiful and fluid and multilayered his work is. I love the way he incorporates newsprint and different types of ink and washes and adds dimension to the work. It really is breathtaking. I'm sure as he gains popularity you will see him in more national newspapers and magazines, definitely keep an eye out for him.


Ruminations on Life

I found this great site and I can't keep it to myself some of the things listed on there had me cracking up out loud! Here are a few that I had to put down because they were too funny or true to miss. Enjoy.

One of life's great frustrations is the quest to get the refilled ice-cube tray back into the freezer without spilling water everywhere.

I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

Answering the same letter three times or more in a row on a Scantron test is absolutely petrifying. 

How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?

Our generation doesn't knock on doors. We will call or text to let you know we're outside

MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood. 

I hate when I think of something really great to say during a conversation but by the time I get a chance to speak, we're on a different topic. Do I let it pass and keep the good thought to myself, or do I awkwardly bring up the old topic again?

My GPS says "Estimated Arrival Time." I see "Time to Beat." 

I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Dammit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away? 

Does anyone else mutter "righty tighty and lefty loosey" when tightening or unscrewing anything?

Facebook is a lot like a fridge. When you're bored you keep opening and closing it every couple of minutes to see if there's anything good, but nothing ever changes.

Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart". 

Every phone should have the same charger. 

Everything's funnier when you're supposed to be quiet. 

My keyboard needs a removable crumb tray like my toaster. 

I don't know about you, but a highlight of my childhood was talking into the fan to hear my robot voice. 

Why do I always pack extra pairs of underwear when getting ready for a vacation? I haven't shit my pants in years. 

I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a dick from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!

How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

I wish it were appropriate to say to a complete stranger, "Excuse me, would you like me to show you how to discipline your child?" 

Was learning cursive really necessary? 

"I had to walk to school 40 miles in the snow... barefoot" was good in it's day. But imagine the sheer terror on your kid's face when you drop "When I was born there was no internet". 

If I see your pants sagging below your ass I know you didn't read the instructions that came with them.

I wish there was always a recycling bin next to people that hand out pamphlets. 

American Apparel ads equal marketing fail. Neither the phrase "3-D Flower Mesh Jumper" nor the emaciated model makes me want your hideous product. 

The concept of a raincoat without a hood is beyond me. I mean making it to work with my hair soaked and my makeup running, but with my outfit completely intact really isn't an accomplishment. 


Brown paper wrappings... These are a few of my favorite things

I remember back in grammar school, at the beginning of the year when the teachers passed out your new school books. They would request that we cover our books with brown paper collected from bags from grocery stores.  But who would have thought that many years later, I would want to cover my books on my own. It looks so uniform and clean, I just wish my penmanship was as pretty as the penmanship on this example.

I walked into Restoration Hardware the other day and they were singing my tune. The books on the shelves were covered in brown paper or linen paper and they looked fabulous. This would be a great way to uniformly have your books stored if the color method doesn't work for you. 

I started the color method but I like keeping categories of books together and so this method... not so much. So do I go ahead and brown paper and label ALL the books. That seems like a lot of work but it might be worth it. Add it to the list of things on my to do.


Pipe Dreams

Maybe I'm late on this trend but I've been keeping an eye on this for a bit wondering if you can pull it off and it not look homemade but chic. I have come to the consensus that it's pretty plausible that it can be chic if used sparingly. There isn't one piece that stands out more than the rest, I love them all, but I don't think that you can do the whole house in this style. Just too much. Now if only I could get my hands on some  beaten old wood and some old pipes, that would be fantastic. Add that to my list of to do...


Kitchen gadgets - vers. 2

Ok so the other side of the coin is the useless gadgets that clutter up our kitchen. How many things do I have that seriously only do one thing? Sometimes I forget that I have it since it's hardly used that I don't end up using it, or I think crap one more thing to wash,  I'll just use my knife instead.

Herb Scissors, seriously? Whats wrong with a knife or for that matter normal kitchen shears? 

Salad Spinner, I have one. Why? I ask myself the same thing. I usually just use the bowl that this came with, it's nice and light but have I spinned any lettuce in this? Maybe a few times, but for what it's worth I'd rather rinse my salad under the faucet and shake it off and let dry instead of pulling this contraption out. I mean it does exactly what it's supposed to do, and it does it well, just that it's only good for one purpose. I almost threw my spinner part away but I felt guilty since it was a shower gift and I was the one who asked for it.

Garlic Press - have this too! I don't ever use it so maybe I should just get rid of it. I can smash and chop garlic faster with my knife or if it needs to be really fine than I take out the grater and use that instead. Plus the knife and grater are much easier to clean than the dang holes in the garlic press. I cringe if I have to think about using the toothpick to get out all those left behind pieces of garlic that I couldn't get out with  brush. 

Egg Slicer, granted it does slice the egg in one pass but how hard is it to pass a knife over the egg a couple more times. Plus cleaning a knife pales in comparison to having to wipe every little wire and get the crud out of those crevices. 

Bagel Slicer - that much room dedicated to something that slices a bagel, if you don't have a bagel shop. Use a knife. 

Onion Goggles - I don't know, it seems that the more often I chop onions the more I'm prone to not tearing anymore. I can't remember when was the last time I teared up when I chopped onions. And I chop a lot of onions. Maybe for someone who has sensitive eyes? But really?

Tuna Strainer - because using the top of the can won't suffice? I mean this contraption is only good for one size of can. It's completely useless if you have the large can of tuna, and it takes up precious space in the drawer that most of us don't have room to give up.

All in all, I think that anything that is made for one purpose alone is a waste of money and space. Sometimes all you really need is a good knife or a great set of hands. Yes granted there are tools that are meant for one thing and are worth the space and price of owning it, but there really aren't that many. 

What are some of the useless things that you've come across? (or even own)


Kitchen gadgets - vers. 1

I wanna start by saying that I cook a lot and before I got married I registered for a bunch of stuff, I also bought a lot of stuff afterwards setting up my kitchen. I have to say that there is a lot of unnecessary crap out there. As I became more confident in the kitchen I came to the realization that a lot of these tools only did one thing and took more space than I had to spare. Looking trough my everyday "gadgets" I wanted to show you what my favorites were. None of these tools were brand specific except for the rice cooker - Ill get into that.
Rice Cooker (This really isn't essential unless your asian which my husband is Filipino so we cook a lot of rice) Although if you cook a good amount of rice or like oatmeal or rice onepot dishes - all of which a good rice cooker can handle - than this is essential. Notice I said good rice cooker not mediocre. Tiger brand is by far the best rice cooker out there - most rice eaters will tell you that this is the best brand, expensive, but lasts forever. My mother-in-law had hers for 20+ years. I have made all types of rice, white, black wild, brown - all come out perfect. No measuring really required, just a knuckle water test. (meaning 1 cup of rice, water sits to the first knuckle on your index finger white rice) I have made oatmeal in it, soaked it and cooked directly in this machine. Rice always comes out perfect and is always done much faster than when cooking on a pot with a lid - I think its the lifting of the lid and stirring that screws it up. 

Electric Kettle I love this gadget, boils water so much faster than a traditional kettle on the stove. While we were in Poland back in 1997 I noticed that EVERYONE had an electric kettle. So when we got back to the states we went out and got one too. Haven't gone back since. 

Cutting Boards I say you need a few in your kitchen. Having a wood one and a silicone/plastic one is essential. I have a few of each not too heavy, not too large or too small just a medium size where the food doesn't fall off the board and you can still lift it with one hand to pour food into pot. Don't buy glass ones - throw those out they dull your knife. 

Kitchen Knives A good set will set you back but if you take care of them they will last you forever. I don't care which brand you get Cutco, Henckels, Wüsthof, Shun etc. A good knife will be made out of stainless steel which resists corroding better is carbon stainless which is strong yet flexible. The part of the blade that goes into the handle (called the tang) should go all the way through on both sides. There are other factors that go into a good knife but I think that these are the most important ones. Also if you have a good knife, never stick it in the dishwasher, tends to dull the blade. 

• Citrus Squeeze I love this tool, makes squeezing limes and lemons sail right through. Don't get a plastic one either get something thats made out of metal and doesn't have plastic hinges. Trust me the first one I purchased was a nice see-through plastic one, after the first lime it was done for.

Graters probably the tool that has a ton of uses it grates ginger and garlic and cheese and spices and zests citrus and the larger grate instead of using my box grater, grates dry bread for bread crumbs.

Silicone Tongs I use silicone because I have anodized pots and pans and I don't want to scratch them with the metal tongs but what I like about this brand which is Giadas from Target is that you pull the little pull on the top to open and close them. So they don't take up a lot of space on your drawer. Theses come in several sizes I also have the oxo brand which work the same way.

What essentials do you have to have in order to function in your kitchen - I'd love to know leave me a comment. 

Next up is the kitchen tools that you can skip.


Rue the day!

At least I hope you won't have to rue the day you missed checking out rue magazine. It launched its premiere issue this week, unfortunately there is only an online version but I can still pull up my chair with a latte and flip through the pages with my mouse. Here are a couple of my favorite spreads and color combos - the navy and gold I'm lovin' that combo!


Junkin' Finds

I swore that I would go junkin' before the summer ended come hell or high water. So it was good for me that my friends mom had a garage sale and I scored on this huge wicker basket/hamper for $2.00.  I probably got the friend discount but everything counts. She had a ton of other stuff but I got there at 4 which for junkin' is like don't even bother. It's the perfect size for all of Ari's toys - we outgrew the small basket that was previously used for toys. A quick coat of white and silver spray paint makes it a bit less country.

I also picked up two ceramic planters and a bottle with a cork top. I will use the bottle for storing the loose sea salt that is currently sitting in a plastic bag. The planters,  at first I wanted to plant some moss in them but with winter coming and the air being very dry in our house it might be hard to keep moss green and fresh. Maybe some maidenhead ferns for the bathroom?

Planters $3.00 each, bottle .72¢, hamper $2.00, left over spray paint free. All in all I think I came away very well on my one junkin' trip.

Ohh here is a good tip, if you need to clean a bottle and don't have a bottle cleaner, fill it with dry rice some dish soap and water and shake it around. The rice will get in all the corners and edges and clean it. Works great on baby bottles with milk that is a bit stuck on. 


Thank you Dermalogica

You know those people that have awesome skin, the glowing flawless complexion that they can go with out makeup and still look fabulous type of skin? Yeah those people. 

I'm not one of those people, not by far. I have always had problem skin. It's not as bad as a teenager, but it wasn't what I thought I would have as a grown up. I always imagined that once you get out of your teenage years your skin becomes flawless, or least good enough to go without makeup. 

While I was pregnant, my skin became clear, might also have to do with all the vitamins I was taking. After the baby I kept taking the vitamins and the skin went back to its earlier condition. Not so nice.  I did take care of it, I got facials and had alpha-hydroxy masks done. It wasn't improving much. 

I was doing what I thought was the right things for my face. When one day I really looked at my one girlfriend and her skin was glowing. What was she doing? She preceded to tell me how she found this brand of face wash and is loving it. She said that she cant wait to wash her face in the morning, it feels so nice. It is a powder and when you put a bit of water in your palm, and rub over your face, the granules start foaming. It gently takes away the layer of dirt and dead skin that is constantly on your top level of your skin. She has been using Dermalogica for a while now and her face has looked fantastic. I always figured it was great genes and not great product.

The next day I went and researched the brand, I have to admit my interest was piqued. I liked what they had to say about the products plus all of them were made without harmful irritants. No artificial fragrances or colors, no mineral oils, no S.D. alcohol, and no comedogenic or allergy-causing ingredients. Being that my skin is sensitive I liked that and went to Ulta the same day to get a consult. I read that if you've never used their products before to have a specialist analyze your skin and recommend the products to you. 

I had the face mapping done and was told that although I have adult acne in some areas its mostly because the skin isn't shedding that layer of dead skin and clogging the pores. I would have thought that I would have been recommended the products in their acne system. Instead I was recommended that I use the cleanser or daily microfoliant. 

I went ahead and bought 3 products the microfoliant, special cleansing gel and the skin hydrating booster. The booster is a tiny little bottle and I paid $50 for 1 fl oz but it has been worth it. Since buying these products 7 months ago, I still have about 25% left. The booster only requires that you put a tiny dab on your fingers and spread it on your face under your day lotion. Man what a difference it makes in my skin especially in the winter months when its super dry and flaky. It apparently has: 
  • Hyaluronic Acid holds up to 1000 times its weight in water for hydration and improved elasticity.
  • Panthenol aids in tissue repair while hydrating skin.
  • Algae extracts help restore moisture balance.
In the summer I have used it by itself without any moisturizer, since I don't need much through the humid summer.

I just want to say no one is paying me to write this. I just want to say that I love this product. I noticed when I got a little lazy and went back to a soap cleanser my skin also went back to it's crappy self. You might think that it's too much to spend on skin care, but really it lasts forEVER and it is your face, it's the first thing people see when they meet you. I know. I had terrible skin and I remember the looks from people when they would notice my skin instead of me. 

I will never go back to the things I used before, even proactive never worked long enough for me, but this does and I'm a convert for life. 


Cymboly do szkoly

"Cymboly do szkoly" (tsim •bo • wy - doh -  szko • wy) thats what my dad used to say whenever we went back to school. No matter if it was grammar school or college, first day back. And now I say it to my daughter, which roughly translates from Polish to "dummies to school". Not so eloquent huh. But it makes me smile, my little poopsie started preschool and I have to pat myself on the back, she nor I cried.

How time flies but this chapter in our life is a great one. I need the 2.5 hrs of peace and quiet from all singing and dancing and screaming and talking and disney movies and "momma can I have a cookie" "Hot Mleczko"(in a baritone) and "Outside, please". I won't lie, it is very quiet, but I sort of like it.


Market after the Street Market

After we came from the Randolph Street Antique Market we went and got some lunch nearby at Market. I had never been there before but the food was delicious. We had a tuna tartar with crispy wontons and rare tuna and spring rolls which were ok but the bomb were the truffle french fries. I wish I didn't feel stupid taking picture of the food cuz the fries man they are something to write home about. They come in this cone that has two little cups one with ketchup and the other with something I call magic sauce. Yum it was so good, they are just the right kind of crispy and salty and soft inside, everything you want from a gourmet french fry and they have truffle oil on them. Hence the name truffle fries.

Ok so here is a pic I pilfered from their site of the tuna and one with the fries in the background. (wipe drool of chin)

And here is a pic of their awesome roof top, imagine what fun it would be to be up here at night with the chicago skyline on a nice summer night.

But what I really wanted to showcase was the magnificent tile work that was done in the basement on the way to the restrooms. The hallway was done in a long narrow tile and the wood covered the walls and ceiling but at the end of the hallway there was an alcove made of Carrera marble that Im not sure if it comes in this shape or you need someone to lay this way, but wow what a  statement it makes. 

Can I sing "LOVE IT", makes me want to run my hands over it. Although I don't know if its practical inside the home so many peaks and all must be a Be-atch to clean and all. But then again when is anything that's done in a commercial space practical for the home. It's the wow factor that makes you want to come back to certain places just for the ambiance.

Oh the lights in the hallway, they aren't just normal lights they are x-rays of body parts. It looks cools except I have no clue why or how it ties into the rest of the restaurant? Go figure. Anyhow if you are ever visiting Chicago I highly recommend a visit to Market, if you want to skip the crowd go in the day, at night it gets pretty busy as it is a bar and lounge.


Happy Dooms Day to my husband!!!!

Happy anniversary to the man I married and my best friend. I just want to say thanks and I love you, as you say, its dooms day. We got married on Sept. 11th 2004. And we were one of the first couples that took the plunge to get married on Sept 11th after THE Sept 11th. At least my husband can never, ever say that he forgot our anniversary and didn't see the day coming.  This year we have been together for 15 years and married for 6 of them. Yeah I know, it took awhile to get to the alter.


Antique Market in the heart of Chicago

Sorry I was away but summer had us pretty busy so I hope I can play catch up now with some of the things that we were up to.  A couple of weekends ago we went to the Randolph Street Antique Market, which happens once a month on Randolph in the heart of Chicago.  There is an assortment of junk and treasure depending on who you ask, but one thing that my friend and I both thought was true was that the prices were pretty fair for an antique market in Chicago.  Usually things are soo overpriced that I feel like I'd rather go out and buy the thing brand new and save myself some money instead. Granted there were a few things that were WAY overpriced. Like an edged tin 7' mirror that the guy wanted $1400.00 for, and he wouldn't budge. Not even one bit. No sale on that one.

But then there was a vender that was selling letters from signs that were for a pretty good price. I bought a few stainless steel ones for $2. a pop, and she had brass ones that were about 8" for $12. She also had a couple of moroccan tables I wish they were a foot smaller or if I had the room for a side table that big, sigh... need a bigger space.

Then there was this great cart although it was pricey but I can see someone putting  stuffed animals into it or if you had a large enough bathroom a bunch of colorful towels. What might be other ideas, I'd love to know what you would put into or do with it. 

Also there was a vender that had an old work table, I can see that as someones new workspace with a sleek laptop and high modern stool or maybe if you had a large enough foyer that can serve as the entrance table or even a buffet in a dining room. There are endless possibilities. She also had old railway lights that she was selling with the blue glass and she had a few that were in other color glass as well, although I don't remember which color those were. No matter, they were way to pricey for me. 
Check out these Chanel doors, I don't know where they came from but they were heavy. That might work nicely mounted behind a bed as a headboard on a dark painted wall possibly? Any other suggestions?

We ended the day with an impromptu jam session, Ari had spied some drums a xylophone and a little stool and once she started she roped my friend into playing along with her while she sang. She started to get a crowd of people checkin' her out, I mean wouldn't you watch if there was a kid singing and playing with no abandon. I should have put out a hat for some change, cuz I ended coming home with the xylophone in the end. 

At the end of Sept is the last Randolph Street Market for this year, they start again next year and if your here you should check it out; treasures/junk, food, and music all with a backdrop of Chicago city skyline.


Procrastination at its finest

Like I said in my bio, I am a procrastinator. In this situation, I have procrastinated to the point that it was embarrassing.  People would ask how long I've been married I'd reply "5.5 years" and ask to see my pics from the wedding, I would stare at them with a blank stare. Not that I didn't know what they were talking about. We had pictures taken, I just never got around to getting them developed. I had seen them right after the wedding, but I figured, ehh the photog has the digitals, we'll get it done soon. Soon stretched out to years and finally this spring my photographer contacted me and said there was going to be another increase in the price of the album.

Well that got my ass in gear. And the fact that our kid has more pics of her than our whole album - total, was disgusting. And so folks I finally put my nose to the grind and ordered my beautiful leather bound photo book album. God I'm not that much older but I feel as though I was sooo young in those pictures.

Our wedding day was wonderful. We had very incorporated Polish and Filipino traditions to our wedding. We had a Polish style blessing in the home and Filipino traditions during the mass, which were the cord veil and coin ceremony. We also had traditional Polish Highlanders playing at the wedding, which is a nod specifically where we come from in Poland. We also made our own vodka (If you've ever been to an 'off the boat' Polish wedding, you know what I'm talking about) And of course as usual Polish weddings go we partied till 4 a.m. Plus the next day we had something called poprawiny which translates to re-do.

When we walked out of the church its Polish tradition to throw money at the newlyweds, and whomever picks up the most rules the money hand. I think all my bridesmaids helped pick up only the larger denominations, and someone stuck a paper bill in my hand too. 

But I have to say with as large of a wedding as we had, 500 people, the thing that got me the most was the surprise that my parents got for us. We had booked a limo and a party bus for the bridal party but when we got out of the church... there was a traditional highlander horse and carriage waiting for us. 

I think I balled my eyes out when I saw that, not only was it a huge surprise but it was something that most girls coming from a highlander background hope to have in their wedding. I always dreamed of it but never voiced to anyone and to have that done on my special day, it still brings tears to my eyes. I can't even explain it.

And of course when we went to take our pictures in the park, we had to bring along a cooler with the homemade vodka and other booze to tide the bridal party over. Although this tradition was new to most of the Filipinos the Polish crew got them accustomed real quick. 

To say the reception was fun is an understatement. I think we were all pleasantly surprised how well opposite sides of the globe got along and partied so well. We had a band and a dj took over while the band took breaks plus the highlander group played while guests walked in. We danced and drank and ate till the early morning hours and the next day the party continued until late in the night. It was a great day, one I will remember and smile on, for the rest of my life. 

Phew what a summer!

If the rest of the year keeps going at the rate that it's been going I'm going to crap out. We have had one hell of a summer with the storms and the subsequent water and roof damage and then ensuing repairs. Also not mentioning the weather has made keeping a pool from turning green a living nightmare. These are the type of summers that I regret that we ever had a pool and not a pool man to keep it clean. And to think that we have actually used the pool a total of 2.5 times, and that being generous. Plus trying to get the remodel done in time for the kids' birthday party has also put a little pressure on.

So I'll post the before and afters of the remod some other time. I wanted to focus on the birthday party in this post. I just want to preface this as "I'm crazy". I have always wanted to make a cutesy little party for the poopsie, with banner flags and decorations that wasn't dependent on streamers bought from a store. So I started this year extra early that I would get everything I wanted to get done way before hand and not omit anything.

I wanted to do the paper tissue poof balls and I wanted to do cake balls and I also wanted to make her a keepsake cake topper. All while also cleaning after a remodel and cooking a majority of the food AND worry about bad weather that would make all my party planning caput.

This year we weren't going to throw her a huge party, it was only going to be the grandparents and our sibling with a few of my girlfriends with their kids, which isn't that huge considering we've had 60 plus birthday parties in the past.

Crazy is as crazy does - I actually accomplished the tasks I set before me. Although I have to admit a few people came to help to get it all done. Especially my friend Janice who I need to take out for dinner with everything that she helped me with.

But with no further ado..... as my poopsie says TADA!

I made waaaay more than in this pic but with everything going on I took this pic a day later after they were mostly gone. Boy were these good. Time consuming but good. My brothers' sweet girlfriend Iza made her  red velvet cake from scratch - no box mix here baby. I mixed it with cream cheese frosting and dipped them into dark cocoa. S'cuse me while I wipe the drool from my mouth, they were delicious. Everyone kept sneaking one, which I don't know why they needed to sneak they were out for everyone to eat, maybe cuz they tasted so decadent? 

And then there were the pom poms that I did the day before. They were supposed to hang outdoors but the rain was coming down pretty hard so we swapped that idea, instead to decorate inside.

I had the whole first floor covered, and the kids took some home at the end of the night.  

Last but definitely not least the craft that took me the longest to make was her cake topper. I figure we can reuse this every year maybe I'll change the dress out.  This topper took me about a week to make, it was the first time I made it so I was figuring out the way to get the head on the glue to use paint, dry paint again. Phew. I have to say it was worth it, I plan on making more for some friends and maybe with practice it will take less time to make, and look a bit more finished. 

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