The weather in Chicago this past week has not been very Spring-y! Snow = Winter, not Spring! I am so over snow and the cold. I'd really like to believe that Spring is just around the corner. But if I can't get Spring weather I'm at least going to get Spring flavors. So keeping with last week's theme here are some lavender inspired Spring recipes.
I bought some chalkboard paint because I've been wanting a chalkboard wall in the kitchen for some time now. We're renters though and I don't want to actually paint the wall. And not because we can't paint our walls because we can, I just don't want the responsibility of having to repaint whenever we move...I know, I know- kinda lazy!
I bought a piece of ready-to-use plywood from Michael's Arts & Crafts, but I haven't painted it yet. I'm just not sure it's the right size for the wall space, so now I'm re-thinking the whole project. I've been looking for some inspiration and I think what I want to do is to use the chalkboard paint on clipboards and hang the clipboards on the wall.
Spring is here...finally...and I couldn't be happier! It was such a long winter, at times I felt like I would never see blue skies again or feel the warmth of the sun against my skin. I know, I know...a bit dramatic, but being cooped up for months at at time will do that to you.
When I first started looking for recipes to feature on this joyous day I kept thinking about the flavors of spring- what flavors remind me of spring? And for some reason I kept tasting lemon, asparagus and goat cheese. I don't know why those ingredient's "sprung" to mind, but they did. So here are some spring-time recipes for you to enjoy!
Good things are happening on this here blog of mine- not only did I get to collaborate with Julia yesterday, but today I'm collaborating with the talented Becky of Empty Wallet. Becky created Empty Wallet to share her love of the arts with the people of Chicago, but knowing that a lot of artists have empty wallets themselves only free or pay-what-you-can events are listed. I love that! I often say to Ebert "chicks dig economy", especially this unemployed chick. Empty Wallet is currently getting a makeover, so in the meantime you can look for free events here on create . your . happy!
The first event Empty Wallet has for us is a FREE public viewing at the Dearborn Observatory in Evanston. Every Friday at 8pm the Dearborn Observatory is open for public observing with the historic 18.5-inch refracting telescope. Spend an evening gazing into the night sky dreaming about boldly going where no man has gone before. Doesn't that sound lovely? And you can't beat free.
Remember when I mentioned wanting to collaborate with someone on something awesome? Well, I'd like to introduce you to Julia, the owner of Basya Berkman Vintage- a fabulous vintage shop on etsy. Julia is my first featured local guest and she's been kind enough to share a bit about herself. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I have!
What are a few of your favorite things to do in Chicago? Thrifting would be high on my list as it feeds both my shop and my creative soul! Some of my favorite pieces have come from the many neighborhood Salvation Army's and Village Discounts. One of my best finds was a red wool coat with black floral applique, c.1960s. I scored it for 49 cents and have worn it for over a decade now. My husband and I enjoy seeing plays and hearing live music. Remy Bumppo often puts on work by our favorite playwright, Tom Stoppard and Uncommon Ground in Edgewater has great local performers and good food.
What five things can't you live without? In no particular order and focusing on just ”things”, of course: hot tea, hot baths, books – the “real” kind, my laptop, and sweater tights!
What's your favorite vintage possession? My husband bought me two engagement rings (he couldn’t choose) from the 1930s/1940s that I treasure. One is rose gold and pearl and the other is white gold with gorgeously delicate scrollwork.
How do you put together a fabulous vintage outfit? I prefer vintage mixed in unusual ways, often with modern pieces, so I'm all for not being afraid to try unusual combinations. Pair a fancy chiffon dress with chunky boots or wear a pillbox hat with jeans and a vest. Stay open to possibilities, so many things come to life on the female form that just seem dead on the hanger. Try it on! Also, everything looks better in heels. Learn to love them. Platforms and tall wedge heels can be pretty comfortable.
What's your favorite Chicago store, restaurant or etsy shop? I love Bittersweet Café in Lakeview for incredible hot chocolate, sweets, and brunch. Akai Hana in Wilmette for the most kid-friendly Japanese food. Bookman’s Alley in Evanston is my favorite used book store hands down- it’s a world within a world. As far as clothes, I’m a shameless bargain hunter and enjoy the clearance racks at H&M and Urban Outfitters. For storefront vintage, the plainly named Antique and Resale Shoppe on the northwest side might be the best kept secret in town – affordable with an amazing selection.
How do you create balance between being a stay-at-home mom and an etsy shop owner? That’s my biggest challenge. I work mostly in the evenings and on the weekends when my husband is home. I try to include my kids in my work when possible. They are expert estate sale attendees at this point and I’ve been meaning to ask my son to try his hand at some of my book-keeping, so that he can practice some arithmetic while seeing how much the business has earned that month. The best thing was when I stopped feeling guilty whenever I needed to pull myself away to do work related tasks, and realized how positive it can to be for them to see mommy excited and immersed in her work.
Where do you get your inspiration? I can only gush and gush when trying to answer this! Apart from friends and fellow Etsy shop owners who are always doing amazingly creative things, I get inspiration from older movies, especially from Europe, they are full of incredible costumes and set designs that fuel me: Fellini, Tarkovsky, and Hitchcock, to name a few directors. I also can’t overlook films I saw growing up such as Flashdance and The Unbearable Lightness of Being where I consciously tried to copy the look of those heroines at different stages of my life. Style icons would include Bjork, Sophia Loren, and my aunt Victoria who turned me on to Erte when I was little. I still can’t shake the decadence he represents. Mad Men goes without saying, but I also adore British period dramas like Downton Abbey and The Cazalets. Then there are old fashion magazines and catalogues, as well as vintage and antique photographs that I collect. Finally, street fashion really excites me and I try to follow a few blogs/websites to get a feel for that. Here are three I like: leflattery, lookbook, keikolynn, plus one out of Finland which is pretty wild: hel-looks
How do you create your happy? It so happens that homeschooling my kids, collecting vintage clothes, running my Etsy shop – all are things I love to do and there are few boundaries between my family, my work, and my hobbies. The happiest days are when my passions intersect and show me new and exciting paths.
"There exists only the present instant...a Now which always and without end is itself new. There is no yesterday nor any tomorrow, but only Now, as it was a thousand years ago and as it will be a thousand years hence."
While Ebert and I were in the suburbs this weekend we were given a gift certificate for an overnight stay at the historic Hotel Baker. I love staying at hotels, especially the moment when you first open the door to your room- there's such a sense of anticipation and excitement as to what magic is waiting on the other side.
Our room had a lovely view of the Fox River.
And there was a gorgeous revolving door to the entrance of the hotel.
We dined with friends, then everyone came back to our room for wine and brownies. Maybe I'm getting old, and that's ok, but hanging out with friends in a nice a hotel room is a really fun evening!
We went to ZaZa's last night for dinner. Every time we eat Italian food Ebert always brings up this scene . . .
Hilarious, right? If you haven't seen Big Night then I highly suggest you plan an evening this weekened to make a big bowl of pasta, drink a glass or two of red wine, and enjoy the sibling squabbles of Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub. Buon appetito!
"Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars. Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait. The grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas." ~ Henry Ford
Sometimes I'm in utter amazement of how the Universe works- you always receive at exactly the right moment. It doesn't always feel like this to me, sometimes I feel like I'm floundering in a stagnant pool of mud...stuck, going nowhere with nothing happening. My dreams have been squashed. But, then in an instant everything changes. I'm filled with hope again, my dreams are bigger than ever, and there's magic...lots and lots of magic!
Today's magic was brought to me by the bringer of magic extraordinaire- the lovely Amy KR! She shared this on her blog today- a piece written by her 13 year-old daughter. It was exactly what I needed to hear!
Read it, pass it on, share it with others. Someone you know, it may even be yourself, needs to hear these words today so that they don't give up on their dreams.
The only thing I enjoyed about last week's Oscars was the 5 minutes that Billy Crystal was on stage. I really, really hope he comes back to host next year. I mean, come on, he received a standing ovation everybody wants him back.
Even though I was not inspired or entertained like I want to be when watching the Oscars we did have a plethora of delicious food to enjoy and that made up for a disappointing show.
Here's what we ate, and we ate a lot, while watching the Oscars. Some of the dishes were based on a character's name, which was a lot harder than I thought it would be but a really fun menu to create nonetheless. The other dishes were inspired by the overall theme of the movies, also quite clever and creative. Good thing it's such a long show, it allowed our bellies time to rest so that we could enjoy eating throughout the entire evening.
Here are the dishes for the 10 Best Picture nominees . . .
"Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength."