Monday, September 28, 2009

Coat Dress

I sincerely regret having discovered Fashion Valley's Anthropologie... walking into that store was a lapse in judgement, as was trying on this Blustery Days Dress Jacket
( check out the"wine" color).
This store oozes sophisticated vintage charm with its selection of Country Living-style aprons,
antique reproduction cabinet hardware...

--better I stop there.

If you have a shoe-string budget and a sewing machine, you may want to click here for some fashionable alternatives (though not exactly Anthropologie, a few of these patterns are a worthy distraction).

Sunday, September 27, 2009

...Pumpkin-Time is Around the Corner!

The pumpkin patch at Bates Nut Farm opened up this weekend. Click here to view their event calender (scarecrow contests, Halloween costume contests, and craft fairs...).


Ordering a plate of baby-back barbecued ribs from Stockdale's is on my To-Do list...

This restaurant serves fine southern cuisine (Alabama-style), and is located next to the Joan Kroc Center. Their simple menu includes sweet tea, okra, collard greens, smothered pork chops, seafood gumbo, and "famous fried shrimp." Though I didn't see any pot likker soup on that menu, it definitely sounds like an authentic soul food restaurant.

Also on my To-Do list is this Southern Living recipe for Easy Pork Grillades Over Panko-Crusted Grits Patties. Originally published in Glorious Grits: America's Favorite Comfort Food, just reading this recipe makes me hungry.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Back to School Jacket patterns

So, I've never actually attempted sewing jackets from scratch for my kids, but if I were to be so bold, these Oliver+S patterns would be just the ticket.
...Maybe it's time to break out the sewing machine?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Enter the World of Podcasts

Just call me Jenny-Come-Lately...

Having only now discovered podcasts and how they enhance my iPod experience to the nth-degree, I'd like to share some tips with the rest of my behind-the-times kinfolk.

Rather than taking the responsibility of explaining what a podcast actually is, I am going to suggest all unenlightened readers to click here (wikipedia's definition).

If you own an iPod and have internet access via the iTunes Store, you've got all you need to get started...prepare to enter a whole new world once you select "podcasts" from the iTunes Store menu.
Suggestion: browse through the endless categories and select a feature from NPR. Opt to "view all podcasts" (on your right), and you will be introduced to NPR On Demand. There are 11+ categories to choose from in the left hand column, the "Arts" being one of my favorites. Within this category, you will find podcasts on topics such as books, food, & pop-culture. You have the option of either subscribing to podcasts (which will automatically download the most recent episode and all future episodes), or downloading selected episodes of your choice.
Once the podcasts have been fully downloaded, you can find them in your iTunes library (... if you wish to listen to the podcasts directly from your iPod, you may have to click and drag selected episodes from your library to your device).

click here to access podcasts from NPR's official website.

Some of my favorite podcasts so far: Bon Appetit's Podcasts, Epicurious: Food and Drink, Gardenfork Radio, B&N (Barnes & Noble) Meet the Writers, NPR Music Podcasts, NPR Live Concerts from All Songs Considered Podcast, Washington Post Book World Podcasts, CNN Complete Update... the list is soon-to-be endless.

Finding the time to listen to these podcasts is another matter all together.

(P.S. So far, all podcasts I have selected have been free to download &/or subscribe to... haven't figured out yet if all podcasts in general are free.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Moms of Picky Eaters Get Creative

If the Goodbyn lunchboxes (bento-style) struck your fancy, then click here to read creative culinary laments from a mother of a picky pre-schooler. This mama baits her child with art--and what child would turn down a meal of hands-on edible arts & crafts? This is even more inspiring than the Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious.

Feeling bento-inspired? Click here for lots of bento recipes (& don't forget to check out Moo Moo Foodie, the mom-blogger's site which addresses picky pre-school-aged eaters)...

photo credits: Bill Watterson & MooMoo Foodie

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Goodbyn™ lunchbox

The Goodbyn™ lunchbox:

"A. easy-to-open ears
kid-tested intuitively-designed animal ears make for easy opening.
B. built-in handle
easy for both kids and parents to carry.
C. top container
perfect for leftovers, apples, oranges, even a banana!
D. bottom container
fits stacked sandwich halves, bagel, pasta salad, chips, yogurt or cereal.
E. side containers
great for dips, sauces, vegetables, crackers, nuts, berries, or dried fruit.
F. 8.5-ounce bottle
eliminates need for juice boxes.
G. sticker set
each goodbyn comes with three sheets of stickers so the kids can make each lunchbox their own!"
--cut & pasted from Goodbyn website
P.S. BPA & Phthalate-free, dishwasher-safe, recyclable, 6 separate air-tight compartments, & three sheets of hundreds of stickers...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sushi Wallet

Check out more fun felted knitting patterns at Maggie Pace's Pick Up Sticks...

Photo credits: Maggie May's Pick Up Sticks

3 Quick Bathroom Updates

I found some pages from an old Country Living Magazine issue stuffed under our couch cushions... Izzy must have been inspired enough to rip them out and put them somewhere safe (she likes to flip through her mom's magazines every now and then). I figured these pages must have been pretty important for her to take the time to so carefully rip them out and hide them... important enough to post, anyway!

terry cloth armchair cover

Sink Skirt

Display Shelves (constructed from an old wine crate & a gilded frame)

3 Quick Bathroom Updates
Click the link above for these easy how-to steps that will get your creative-nesting-instinct-juices flowing...
Posted using ShareThis

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I am loving my bicycle right now. The fall semester has commenced, and the community colleges are more crowded than ever--hence, parking has gotten even more horrendous. Bicycling to class from home has proven to be a rewarding solution... no more parking hassles, I get my aerobic work out for the day, and to top it all off...I get to feel the wind in my hair. Doesn't get much better.

In need of a tune-up after it was hauled out of storage, my bicycle was worked on by Thomas Bike Shop in South Park... what a great little shop!!! This business has been open since 1907, and is attached to a charming Queen Anne Victorian house. The drive through North Park and South Park alone is a nostalgic little treat--lots of vintage, artsy shops and eateries are clustered along Fern Street and 30th. The best part? On Fern Street (between Ivy & Hawthorne) there is a wholesale meat supply company that is called Rigel Meats, and then just a few doors up on the same block is a salon called Isabel... I must have taken a drive down Fern Street sometime before Rigel was born, and the rest was history, perhaps? Gotta love silly coincidences like this...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Starbucks has been providing recipe cards at the registers, and though I don't get in there too often, so far I have managed to collect a banana bread recipe and an oatmeal cookie recipe.

(Gotta love those freebies-- weekly iTunes downloads are another treat available at the registers. Check for new Starbucks iTunes cards every Tuesday.)

Their cookie recipe looked so delicious I couldn't wait to cook up a batch--except I had trouble bringing myself to add the raisins... I had to go for chocolate chips, instead. Why go to the trouble of making an "outrageous oatmeal cookie" if there is not going to be any chocolate involved?
If you happen to be an oatmeal cookie fan, check out this blog... margarita cookies, mojitio cookies, Fluffernutter cookies, savory Parmesan & black olive cookies--this guy has thought of everything, and loves to experiment with his ingredients.

Helpful tip: I don't know about you, but I love my cookies soft and chewy. Try putting your bowl of dough in the refrigerator between batches, in order to keep your butter and eggs cold. Warmer ingredients will spread more in the oven, but a colder dough will yield a thicker cookie.

Here's the official Starbucks "Outrageous Oatmeal Cookie" recipe, adapted to accommodate chocolate cravings (sans the raisins and cranberries; fruit substituted with lots of chocolate chips and some crushed pecans):

  • 1 1/2 c old fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
  • 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c packed dk-brown sugar
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • pecans (crushed or chopped)
  • (fruit lovers: 4 Tbsp each dark raisins and golden raisins for topping, 1/4 c each dark raisins and golden raisins to mix-in, and 1/4 c dried cranberries to mix in...omit chocolate chips and pecans...this follows the original recipe)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend together oats, flour (& raisins / cranberries if omitting chocolate), baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg, cinnamon and vanilla; beat until combined. Gradually add oat mixture; beat until combined. (Combine raisins for toppings in separate bowl and set aside, if omitting chocolate chips and pecans). Combine chocolate chips and pecans (use own preferred amount) into dough. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto two baking sheets. (Place 1 mounded teaspoon of raisins on top of dough, if omitting chocolate). Bake until cookies are golden brown but still soft, 12-16 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on sheets; transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Note: Original Starbucks recipe does not include chocolate or pecans.

photo credit:,