Category Archives: My Semi Stepford Life

“Resolutions”.

In the past, I haven’t typically been a resolution-er. Resolution has always been kind of a dirty word to me,  since they feel more than a little cliche and usually turn out to be just a generally good way to disappoint yourself. However, last year I was forced to put pen to paper and create a list of goals for myself at work and it turned out to be a super powerful exercise- I accomplished nearly every one of my very ambitious goals, and exceeded them by quite a bit. So now I’m a believer! Jerry and I even embarked on the same formal goal-setting process for 2015 and came up with some joint goals as a couple. To carve out a few personal goals just for myself I think this is a pretty good start:

  • Take more pictures! I’m usually more of an enjoy-the-moment gal than a photographically-document-the-moment gal, but I’d like to change that. At least a bit. For many reasons, but two of which are that I barely had enough pictures from 2014 to scrape together my annual photo desk calendar Christmas gift for Jerry, and also that now I have a blog (as you may have noticed) and I find pictures to be a pretty critical part of a food/lifestyle/whatever the heck kind of blog this is.
  • Carve out more time for blogging. I’d like to blog at least twice a week, and devote enough time to writing content and photography that I’m proud of what I put out there into the world, instead of just flinging stuff together late at night… not that I ever do that or anything.
  • Cook and eat at least one vegetarian dinner a week. I often eat meals that happen to be vegetarian, but I’ve read some articles on the benefits of being a “flexitarian” and I think it would be a fun and healthful experiment to try out on my carnivorous husband.
  • Read more! There was a time when I was a huge bookworm and plowed through several books a week, and I think I was likely a more intelligent and interesting person then. I’d like to read at least one book a month. I know, I know, dream big! But for me, this would actually be quite an improvement over my current habit, which entails reading while on planes, exclusively. In pursuit of this goal, I just downloaded and started reading Amy Poehler’s book Yes Please and I can’t stop ROFLing, for reals.

I’d like to round out the list to 5 items, but my brain can’t think of anything else right now because I’ve been out of town for the weekend and just got back and went on a colossal cleaning spree, Big Bang is on the tele in the background and my writing is constantly interrupted by hilarious jokes that I have to laugh at, and my husband is loudly sighing beside me waiting for me to be done with this so that we can start a new West Wing rerun already.

But I haven’t forgotten my second goal, I’ll be back tomorrow with a new recipe and maybe a life update. See ya on the flip side!

Long Time No Blog

Well helloooo there! I haven’t posted anything in a few weeks, but I figured that no one would really notice because I wasn’t sure that anyone else was reading this here collection of recipes and ramblings. Turns out I was wrong; I have had at least one person (besides my mom, I know what you’re thinking) tell me it’s been a really long time since my last post. I mean it’s not like I have hoards of readers, and I’m not getting offered a book deal anytime soon (or ever), but it warms my heart to know that at least one of my friends enjoys my semi-regular brain and food dumps here!

This post is going to be a little short on the words since I am sickie right now, with a nose that continues to run worse and worse by the hour. Thusly, I feel like crap and look like Rudolph. Just keeping it festive around here, like I do.  Speaking of festive, here’s a collection of pictures to sum up how I’ve been spending the beginning of my holiday season:

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The best carpet I’ve ever seen. I want it all over everywhere.IMG_0137 IMG_0142 IMG_0143

Date night at Vermillion, our fave restaurant in Chi-town
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Lunch at a Chicago restaurant discovery we made, where I had my first-ever lobster roll. A place so nice we ate there twice. In two days.IMG_0158 IMG_0163

Lounging. Life is so hard.

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Surprise sister selfies. Aren’t they the best?IMG_0166

Appetizers that my parent’s neighbors brought over for Thanksgiving. We were all admiring how cute the penguins were! Turns out they were supposed to be turkeys… Whoopsies.

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Went to my high school alma mater’s football playoff game. Never thought I’d see the day. I didn’t even have this much school spirit when I actually went to school there!
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The martini trio at Perry’s: blueberry cucumber, something I don’t remember, and pineapple ginger mojito. It was even better than you’re imaging.

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Spinach and feta quiche with quinoa crust, thanks to this month’s edition of Cooking Light.

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My macho husband doing macho things, like racing a McLaren, NBD.IMG_0203Homemade dough. Homemade sauce. Homemade dressing. And not homemade wine because that would be horrible. Trust me, I speak from experience.

 

A Stepford Gift Guide: Christmas 2014

In high school, when Christmas time would roll around, the only ringtone playing on my black Motorola Razr cell phone (anyone remember those?) was Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You. And while that little diddy is catchy and all, we all know that it’s a load of bull, right?  Because all we really want for Christmas is allllll the things.

Now, listen. Before you get all Bah Humbug on me, yes, I know that it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet. But think about it. It’s really smartest to be prepared with your wish list AT Thanksgiving dinner, so when all of your people are there you can make your top wish list items known. My mother taught me this lesson early on. As a kid, when all my aunts, uncles, and my parent’s friends would come over on Thanksgiving, they would all ask my mom what my sister and I wanted for Christmas. So my mom always required that she have have our Christmas wish lists on hand to pass out. This year was no exception. Without fail, about 3 weeks prior to Thanksgiving I got a text. “Gonna need xmas lists real soon :)” Yup. Riiiight on time.

In recent years, when she has asked me what I want, I have been responding with answers similar to what my dad always says when faced when the same question. (Growing up, I would always ask him what he wanted for Christmas, his birthday, etc, and he always had the same answer: “Uhhh… Well… I pretty much have everything I want. I guess I could always use some more dress socks…” Dress socks. I know.) For the last couple of years I felt like I didn’t have very many ideas to put on my wish list (#whitegirlproblems) and I had been struggling to come up with things. But this year I am FULL of things I want, for some reason, and I’m not sure why. Maybe because I’ve been putting off buying the “wants” and trying to focus on only buying the “needs”. Maybe it’s because now I’m an adult with a husband and kids and a mortgage and a property tax bill that still needs to be paid? AH! I am stressing out just from typing all of that!

So to make a long story long, Mom, here it is. In no particular order, I give you my annual Christmas Wish List, version 2014. And for all of you out there who aren’t my mom, I’d say this list is still worth a look-see. I feel pretty confident that this non-comprehensive list will serve as a great Holiday Gift Guide for all the Stepford-ish gals in your life!

  • Let’s kick this list off with the perfect stocking stuffer. I LOVE this Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment! I got my first tube as a gift from my cousin several years ago and I have been addicted ever since.  It’s a little pricey as far as chapstick goes, so I would rarely it buy it for myself, but that’s why it makes the perfect gift! It will make your lips super hydrated, soft, and smooth, so that you never have to worry about feeling like Tracy with her crusty-crusts. (If you didn’t understand that reference, click here and watch the video. You’re welcome.)

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  • While we are on subject of beauty products, there is another one I have been dying to try but just cannot bring myself to spend the money on. (The fact that they don’t carry it at grocery stores is also a major obstacle for me, since that’s where I buy all my makeup. I know, I need to grow up already!) I feel like everyone and their mom has one of the Urban Decay Naked eye shadow palettes and raves about it. I don’t have one and it kinda makes me feel like I’m left out of the cool kids club. I’d love to graduate to big-girl makeup and find out what all the fuss is about by starting with any one of these:

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  • Now when it comes to perfume, I like to have a few at a time, and mix up what I’m wearing depending on whether it’s day or night, a casual/normal day, or special occasion. But I’ve been using my go-tos for years. And while it’s kind of cool to have a signature scent, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that it’s probably not cool anymore for that signature scent to be Britney Spears Fantasy. (#embarrassing) I got a sample of the Angel perfume from Neiman Marcus earlier this year, and I ran out within a few days because I loved it so much. I want a full bottle of it so it can become my new signature scent.

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  • And if I’m going to have nice cosmetics, it’s only reasonable that I have somewhere beautiful to store them. I got a super cute makeup bag from my mother in law a few Christmases ago. It was the little makeup bag that could, until about 6 months ago when the zipper bust. I need a new one, but I’m not picky. My only requirements are that it be somewhat large, so that I can fit my hairbrush, toothbrush case, and makeup brush case in it when I’m traveling, but not so large that it takes up too much room on the bathroom counter, where I typically leave it out 24/7. And cute. It has to be cute, of course.  For example purposes, here are a couple (at drastically different price points) that look like they might work:

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  • For work I always jot down notes in a small notebook, and mine is completely falling apart. Not to mention that it has a simple blue leather cover with one line of white lettering, and a white ribbon through the middle to save your place. At first glance, everyone gives it a strange look and asks “um, is that a Bible?” Look, I’m as Christian as the next girl, and I think the Bible is great, but that’s not always the best way to kick off a conversation about a cloud-based HRIS system. I’d like a new smallish notebook that won’t fall apart or start a religious debate. I think this one is adorable, but any cute, not-full-size lined notebook would do!

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  • And speaking of cute paper products that keep you organized, I am tired of using the boring black planner that my work provides! I want something to help me keep my sh*t together, but in STYLE, you know what I’m sayin? I have heard wonderful things about the Erin Condren Life Planners, so I’d love to have one of my very own for 2015. I’d be happy with any of them, but I think this one is particularly presh (personalized with my own name of course):

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  • I know it’s very Basic of me, but I’m a sucker for a good scented candle. I like to keep pretty scented candles in just about every room of my house. And of course, I like the good stuff, and I’m not talking about Yankee Candle Company. Not that Yankee Candle Company candles aren’t good, I just like the candles that are chicer, and more expensive. Naturally. My favorites that I have found so far are the Voluspa brand, but I think any of the candles on this link from Anthropologie look super chic and would fit the bill. Again, the fact that they are expensive, yet I am cheap, means that I rarely buy these (let’s face it) non-essential items, but again, that’s why they’d make the perfect gift!
  • Once again, I’m going to just own the fact that I’m as Basic as they come. I love me some Lululemon. It’s cute enough to wear running around, doing errands, etc, and then people never know if you just worked out, if youre’re about to work out, or (as is usually the case with me) neither. I would be happy with just about anything from there, but here’s a few pieces that I especially like:

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  • Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to be a part of the lookbook for the Noonday Fall 2014 Collection. And oh. My. Word. The owner, Jessica, is a doll, as is the rest of her team. The stuff is beyond beautiful, and their mission really speaks to me. I want basically everything from them, but here are a few of my favorite pieces:

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  • You know this list wouldn’t be complete without at least one kitchen item. I believe I may have mentioned it before, but a nice  set of vintage-y champagne coupes are really calling my name right now! Or maybe I’ve been watching too much Mad Men, either way.

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  • Speaking of shoes, I also wouldn’t hate it if I had a pair of these in black:

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I think I’ve rambled on long enough, so there you have it, Mom folks. A long list of Stuff I Like that other Stepford-ish ladies would probably like too.

I’m so excited for the Christmas season!!!