Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A yummy treat

I made these chocolate-covered peanut butter pretzel bites a few weeks ago for a work pot luck and they were a huge hit! If you are a fan of the salty/sweet combo give these a try. I found this simple recipe here.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hello, yellow!

This is my polish of the moment. Nails, Inc. is another UK brand and pretty new to Sephora.
This shade is Carnaby Street and is described as a "bright sunflower yellow."

This is the only Nails, Inc color I've tried and I dont like the fact that it doesnt go on evenly, even two coats of this bright shade doesnt look too great. But the color is pretty and the brand has sooo many more fun ones so I'm sure I'll be purchasing another. (Did I say another? This was actually Katie's purchase and I just borrowed)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cats and Dogs

We have a dog

His name is Fred

Our dog has a cat

His name is Dusty Miller

They are brothers and best friends

They fight

They play

They cuddle

the end :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Upper Michigan: A True Story

April 2007. Three girls headed on a car trip from Northern Illinois to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It was me, my sister Katie, and our bff Michelle. Our destination? Ontonagon, MI...a small touristy town right on the edge of Lake Superior. We just wanted to take a road trip...somewhere we'd never been before, somewhere pretty, lots of trees, do a little hiking. We drove up through Wisconsin and as soon as we hit the U.P we noticed a drastic change. Tall, ominous trees; narrow, winding roads; small and completely desolate towns. Every store, rustic and cabin-like, had a CLOSED sign hanging from it's doors...this included gas stations. We remember one thing that didn't seem that important when we were doing our trip research: October through May is "off season" in the U.P. Now we realize this might be a problem. One supremely eerie thing we notice: every town has several taxidermy offices. If you've ever seen the movie "Wrong Turn," this is what all of Upper Michigan reminded me of. We half expected cannibalistic men to come out and get us. It takes about an hour and a half to drive through the UP until we hit our hotel. The setting of the sun and arrival of darkness of course makes things even weirder. Finally we arrive at our hotel, relieved it's on the new/clean side and check in. While in the lobby, my sister gets out her phone to let our parents know of our safe arrival. Failing, she looks to the clerk at the desk, "There's no cell reception here?" All the girl does is laugh. Interesting. We sleep well for the night, eat a stale complimentary breakfast in the morning and head out the door to start our day. We had arrived so late and it had been so dark that we notice something now...our hotel is right on the shore of Lake Superior and it's absolutely beautiful. This starts our day off with good attitudes and we end up having the prettiest hike of our lives! Hours later, we are spent and hungry. Luckily our hotel has a restaurant attached...something with "pub & grub" in the name. We order some food to go and while we are waiting for it to be ready, we walk down the road to a building donning the name "General Store" that surprisingly has an OPEN sign on it's door. We go in to buy something to drink. The store is empty. There is an overwhelming stench of cigarettes and armpits. The old, green carpeting is stained. The shelves are sparingly lined with typical convenient store food, all covered in a layer of dust. There is a tv on in the corner of the store...Jerry Springer is on and the volume is quite loud. We grab our sodas out of the refrigerated shelves and while doing so, we realize that several of these refrigerators are dark, and warm inside. Oh,'s just doesn't really need to be cold right? We are still waiting for the store clerk to appear. Then we hear something weird. A woman's voice. It's coming from an answering machine. We find this odd. An answering machine at the check-out counter of a convenient store? "This is your wife! Where are you??" the impatient woman asks. She actually calls twice while we're there. We tell Michelle to go check to see if there's a back room and that we might find someone there. "No way! I'm afraid I'll find a dead body!" is her logical reply. We pick out some postcards and, sick of waiting, we decide all we can do is leave a note with some cash on the counter. We walk out the door and along-side the building we see a suspicious man who acknowledges us, "Were you in the store?" We tell him what we took and about the note and the money while watching the suspicious man chaining his garage dumpster shut. "So the bears don't get in." But he couldn't fool us. We knew he had taken that store owner, murdered him and locked him in the garbage!! Anyway, we went back to the restaurant, got our "grub" and went down by the lake to eat. Katie takes a sip of her beverage and makes a face, "something is wrong with this." We all examine our bottles and learn the sodas had expired. A year ago. This last meal in the U.P. was the perfect punctuation to our weekend.

the end

Friday, September 9, 2011

I just subscribed to Hobby Farms magazine

What is a hobby farm? It's a farm you have, just for fun, without it being your primary source of income. It has always been my dream to be a farm girl but when I used to mention it to friends I would only get negative feedback: "Do you know how much work a farm is??" "You really think that you are going to wake up at 5am every day??" But they just didn't see my vision of a farm.

It has just been in the last year or so that I first heard the term "hobby farm" or even "urban homestead" and when I learned that actual people are out there living my dream, I knew I wasn't so weird and that this could really happen some day. These people live in regular houses, with regular-sized backyards (or even tiny backyards!) and they have gardens, they grow vegetables, they grow herbs, they have chickens! Can you imagine having organic produce and cage-free eggs without Whole Foods prices? Some people even have a cow or a goat and pasteurize their own milk and make their own cheese! This is my dream people!

Of course right now I do not own a home or have a backyard but that doesn't mean I can't get a head start on the research. In addition to subscribing to Hobby Farms magazine, I have bought a few books: including Keeping a Family Cow, The Encyclopedia of Country Living which is the one I'm looking forward most to diving into constantly in the years to come. It promises to teach me "how to cultivate a garden, buy land, bake bread, raise farm animals, make sausage, milk a goat, grow herbs, churn butter, catch a pig, make soap, work with bees and more!"