5 Things I Love – Sept 6

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1. Retro Owls

I’ve been seeing them all over the place – material at the fabric store, decorating hobo bags, Etsy finds – and I must admit I’m quite enamored of them. Check out these rainbow hued ceramic fellows or these fluffy friends by hilary cosgrove. Winston & Squeak break the mold a bit, but they also make smile every time I see them ;)

2. Temptations by Jello

I gave in. The French Silk was on sale and my mom has been talking about freezing yoplait whips then eating them like ice cream… so, I gave in. I bought them. I froze them. I ate them like ice cream. Now I’m hooked.

3. Glitch

Back over a year & a half ago I first heard about this new massive multi-player online game called Glitch during a web conference and was so intrigued I jumped at the chance to join the testing group, which I was able to do last winter during the alpha test. The world has grown A LOT since then, moved from to beta and I’m still loving it so it only seemed right that it finally make it’s way on here. Look for a post with screenshots and more soon…

4. Mr. Men & Little Miss

These cartoons and books were a favorite of mine when I was little so I was stoked to see them return. I may just have to stock up on them for my hypothetical future children to make sure they can enjoy them too.

5. Belize Necklace

I knew that I liked this necklace and that it was much prettier in person after seeing at the lia sophia conference this summer, but now that I own it I’ve moved from like to love. Paired with the Cyclone hoops it makes a fabulous copper statement which I personally am greatly enjoying.

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5 Things I Love – Aug 15

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1. Louis Vuitton Creatures by Billie Achilleos

These critters are fabulous by nature with their oh so high end materials, but even more so they are awesome works of art and cute to boot.

2. The Return of Ankle Boots and Booties

I’m guessing that perhaps this is due to the influence of Steampunk working it’s way out to the rest of the population, but I have recently noticed that lace up ankle boots much like those of the Victorian era and turn of the century have found there way back into fashion. I, for one, am stoked about this. Great detailing and boots – what’s not to love. A couple of examples of this are Madden Girl’s Devotid Bootie, which is a flat, and the Gwyneth Meg Bootie which has a modern buckle twist and 3.5 inch heel. I’m also loving the BX by Bronx Maron Bootie with it’s slight heel, side buckle and stitch detailing.

3.Free Classics for Mobile Reading

Blame it on ‘The Great & Powerful Oz’, which just started filming in Michigan a few weeks back, but I love that I can get all of Frank Baum’s books along with a host of other classics for free on my iPod touch which means no worries about interloaning or late fees while I sate my curiosity on what Baum has to say about the Wizard beyond The Wizard of Oz. Of course, if you’re interested in the Wizard as well and don’t want to download them all seperately, you can get bundled versions like this Kindle edition for $1 or less.

4.Back to School Shopping Season

Despite my apparently youthful appearance (I often get asked if I’m a student) I don’t actually do back to school shopping for school, but the sales are great even for those of us not attending this fall. For instance, my printer recently decided that blue was the one and only color worth printing in. With the sales going on for school I was able to get a nice new printer that will print in a full array of colors for 45% off the retail price which is pretty darn awesome.

5.Pearson Cooking Classics Quick-Cooking Black Beans

These would be the beans that I used in yesterday’s black beans & rice recipe. I don’t particularly care for beans in general, but black beans are on my willing to consume list and these not only cook fast but have a great taste too.

5 Things I Love – Aug 8

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1. Nintendo Cartridge Clocks

Nostalgia meets utility in these re-purposed bits of childhood memories. Of course, choosing your game may be as difficult as beating that final level was back when Nintendo was the latest and greatest in technology ;)

2. Sara Bareilles Kaleidoscope Heart

I may have mentioned ‘King of Anything’ in a previous post, but really I love the whole album. It’s got a great jazzy feel and lyrics that surprise you from time to time. I enjoy the inclusion of songs that are just bit different like ‘Not Alone’ with it’s darker, more bluesy tone.

3. Raspberry Pretzel Cheesecake Fudge

Yes, this oh so succulent item does exist. I came across it while at Cabelas this past weekend and one bite had me hooked. I don’t know who thought of it, but the layers of raspberry syrup, salty pretzels and cheesecake fudge are scrumptious.

4. Porcelain Berry Basket

I suppose it only makes sense with my love of fresh food from the farmer’s market that I would have an affinity for these basket/dishes. They’re simple, fun, functional and the artist makes them in several glazes for those who may want something a little off from white.

5. Chick-fil-a

Considering that this was listed among my top want-to-dos for my fam’s trip down to Pennsylvania this past weekend, it just seemed wrong not to include Chick-fil-a on the list today. We don’t have any in Michigan, but my friends got my hooked in college and now it’s only rarely (usually on trips to visit my brother) that I get the opportunity to enjoy one of their original chicken sandwiches, waffles fries and a sweet carrot & raisin salad.

5 Things I Love – Aug 1

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1. A Perfect Day by Natasha Bedingfield

I had forgotten how much I love this hidden single from her Unwritten album. Maybe I’m just a bit different, but I think we can all find things that appeal to our inner selves in the song, especially with lines like “all the mundane has brought out the rebel I was born to be”.

2. Turner St. Outdoor Theater

This past Friday was the last show of the summer, but the gals and I had a fabulous fun ladies’ night catching their showing of The Princess Bride. Next summer’s line-up is already in the works including recent classics like Seabiscuit and Little Miss Sunshine.

3. Apple Cider Cinnamon Popcorn

What would a night at the movies be without some tasty popcorn? Luckily, Cravings Popcorn in Old Town wouldn’t consign Turner Street visitors to such a fate. While there are a variety of lovely flavors available, this is one of my favorites :)

4. Proenza Schueler Fall 2011 Belts

I spied these whilst browsing Marie Claire and while they fall outside of what I’m willing to spend on a belt, the color contrasts and funky shape make them fun and different (they’re #14 on the accessories page).

5. Madeleines

I was first introduced to this light, airy French cookie at Starbucks and was reminded just how good they are today. In fact, I think I may have to add to my ‘recipes to try’ list.

5 Things I Love – July 4

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Soooo, those conference posts? They’ll go live this week. I always forget how mentally exhausting it can be. I thought I’d be able to get one up on Saturday, but a flash storm hit my parents place and knocked out the cable company so it was a no phone, cable or internet kind of thing. Thankfully we were spared from the power outage unlike a few blocks over. Anyway, here’s this week’s five…

1. Fireworks

Yes, they are bright, shiny, sparkly and fun to look at, but what I really love about fireworks is that it’s an excuse to bring together friends and family and have a good time. The first round of fireworks I went to this past weekend was totally messed up by the storm earlier in the day, but we had a great night in spite of it. In fact, it wouldn’t have been so memorable had the day gone off without a hitch.

2. Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon

I may be a bit biased due to my being an extra in it, but I actually really enjoyed the movie. It was funny. There was a plot. Explosions happened. Great editing in of old real life film footage. The topper for me, though, was that Alen Tudyk (aka Wash in Firefly) was in it and he was fabulous. I would see it again just for him.

3. Cracker Barrel

We have literally planned road trips by Cracker Barrel locations. I kid you not. My family may not be Southern, but we appreciate that down home cooking anyway. It’s definitely a top restaurant choice for our whole family and it’s not expensive to boot.

4. Modjeskas

Of course, when I think of Cracker Barrel I can’t help but think of modjeskas. Never heard of them? Next time you’re there check out the glass candy containers behind the counter and give one of these wax paper wrapped babies a try. Creamy caramel wrapped around a marshmallow center. Mmmmm.

5. Horseshoes

This kind of goes back to the 4th of July & fireworks, but I played horseshoes for the first time in years today. My form could use some work and my arm may hate me tomorrow, but I got a ringer and had fun doing it.

5 Things I Love – June 20

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1. Opal Applique Clutch in Multi

As may become apparent at some point, I have a thing for clutches. Never mind that I rarely am anywhere that I would carry such a thing. This particular clutch is another one that caught my eye in Marie Claire, though it’s much more affordable than Stella McCartney’s.

2. V8 V-Fusion Raspberry Green Tea

As a kid who hated tomatoes growing up I never thought I would want to drink V8, but the combo of green tea and raspberries brings together two things I love for a great, healthy beverage choice.

3. Michigan Awesome

Michigan Awesome is this, well, awesome little company who makes t-shirts for Michiganders at heart who are proud to show it. I’ve got a list of their styles I intend to acquire, the most recent of which being ‘4 Out of 5’ and ‘Michigangster’.

4. Neuro Web Design by Susan Weinschenk

I was first introduced to this book last year when my manager came up one morning and asked if I could read and produce notes on the book for presentation at an afternoon meeting. Thankfully, it’s a really great book which meant I didn’t mind immersing myself completely in it for a few hours or reintroducing myself last month for our design workshop. To me it’s a must read for anyone who works with customers and the web.

5. Bear River Valley Cereal

I stumbled across this brand while perusing Big Lots and am wishing I had stocked up more at the time because not only are they a bagged cereal (so 75% less packing is used) but they’re all natural, whole grains and tasty to boot.

5 Things I Love – June 6

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1. Irish Brown Bread

Every Saturday a very nice gent from the Brighton branch of Great Harvest Bread Company comes up to our farmer’s market and tempts us all with the lovely aroma of fresh bread. Usually I am able to resist, but I actually needed bread last week and got their Irish brown bread on his recommendation. It’s amazing. I’m not usually a huge straight bread person but for this I will actually make toast in the morning.

2. Mumford & Sons’ ‘Sigh No More’

I fell in love with Mumford & Sons the first time I heard ‘Little Lion Man’ on the radio. Buying the album has just solidified this. Obviously I’m not alone since their US tour is sold out.

3. Elephant Ears

Every June Curwood festival rolls around bringing with it a mixture of trepidation, annoyance, bemusement and anticipation. The first two are easily explained by my living right in the middle of it. My parking lot becomes vendor space, loiterers abound for days before and people behave stupidly. The bemusement lies in the watching of said people. Especially when combined with the People of Curwood site, but this is supposed to be about elephant ears. Every year those vendors come bearing them and, I admit it, I can’t resist. Fried batter covered in buttery, cinnamon sugary sweetness? Yes, please. The best vendor at Curwood is the Lutheran Church’s old trailer. Not only do theirs cost $1 less than the others, but you can literally see them roll out the dough before frying it to golden brown perfection. Well worth the wait for a once a year treat.

4. Firefly

The sadly truncated TV series of course. I was in college at the time that it was airing and so only caught a few episodes at the time, but I remember well my family raving about it. A couple of years ago my brother was kind enough to gift me with the season for my birthday and now it’s a mainstay for those times when I decide to actually use my television.

5. Hatch Show Print

I was talking to one of my lia sophia ladies last night who happens to be in Nashville for the Country Music Festival, which reminded me of my favorite place to go when I’m in downtown Nashville – Hatch Show Print shop. Located right on Broadway just a few blocks north of the river, Hatch does amazing handcrafted letterpress posters and has since 1879. There’s a great 8 minute video about the shop from the Smithsonian that you can watch on YouTube.

5 Things I Love – May 9

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1. Spring

Spring has finally arrived! Ok, so really Spring arrived with the rain storms and the mud and all of that, but by Spring I mean that the sun has actually been shining during the day and the temperature has been in the 60s. It’s glorious. Of course, the one negative side effect is that in terms of in-office seasons we have entered into the season of sub-arctic air conditioning. The budding trees and balmy afternoons are worth it.

2. Water Crackers

I don’t recall now which came first, my visits to the UK or my love of water crackers, but the first surely cemented the second. Water crackers with jam. Water crackers with Nutella. Water crackers with cucumber as they were presented at the Mother’s Day tea my mom and I attended this past weekend. I love them all.

3. Gypsy Cold Care

Rumor has hit our office of the zombie virus of 2011 coming our way (ones of the banes of the open office space), which has reminded me of my love of Traditional Medicinals Gypsy Cold Care tea. While peppermint and cinnamon may sound like an odd combination, it actually has a good flavor and helps fight off congestion. Perhaps now is the time for a preventative stock up…

4. Kermit’s Bein’ Green

Somehow a co-worker and I got into a discussion of our love for this song this past week so I thought I’d share the love beyond our office. It’s definitely one of my favorite Muppet songs. There is also an entertaining variation of the song via Oscar the Grouch’s interpretation of being green that I came across while link searching. Thank you, YouTube suggestions bar for this discovery.

5. Farmer’s Market

I have written before of my love for farmer’s markets and ours opened this past Saturday which has me pretty stoked. In fact, I’m planning on doing a recipe series based on using farmer’s market foods like kale, swiss chard and whatever else appears as the crops roll in.

Adventures at Arts, Beats & Eats

This past Monday my mum and I trekked down to Royal Oak to partake of Arts, Beats and Eats. For those who are unfamiliar, its an annual festival that brings in concerts, restaurants and artists both from the local area and other parts of the United States.

This is actually the first year that the festival has been held in Royal Oak. Previous it’s been in Pontiac, so the flavor was a bit different this year from when we went last year.

We chose to attend on Monday for a variety of reasons, the largest being that we were otherwise occupied on Saturday and Sunday, but we also wanted to catch the Kansas concert. It really ended up working out in our favor, because while it was crowded on Monday it was nothing compared to the crowds earlier in the weekend.

Now, I’ve read a lot of complaints about the crowds and the parking and such, but I guess my mum and I tend to expect such things and view it all as an adventure. It also was a bit dreary Monday deterring some and we employ such techniques as walking behind the stalls on the sidewalk to skip large sections of crowd which definitely helps.

People waiting for food at Arts, Beats and Eats

I’m not going to say the crowds weren’t bad at points, but what I found more frustrating than the crowds were actually the stroller jams. I know I don’t have any kids of my own, but I’ve worked with them in one form or another for a good portion of my life and a festival like this is not the place to bring your two year old. There was a kids area, but it really was set up more for older children who can greatly benefit from being exposed to all of the different art, music and culture.

Back to us, Mum and I decided to park at the high school because it was $5 cheaper and a whole lot less crazy than trying to park in town. Much to my delight, the shuttle service was being run by Indian Trails which is actually based about 5 minutes from my apartment so I was also supporting my peeps parking there. It was also great because they dropped and picked us up at the gate.

We found the stage we sought with only one stop for directions and, being a bit early, jaunted off again in search of liquid refreshment. We didn’t really want to spend our food tickets on water, so we were quite pleased to find a little ice cream shop with a vending machine. I’m certain they made a killing last weekend from folks like us.Kansas live performance at Arts, Beats and Eats

When we arrived back for the concert the area was packed with people. I grew up listening to Kansas, but I find it’s always interesting to hear bands I grew up on now that I’m an adult. I know their hits, of course, and we actually heard them perform ‘Dust in the Wind’ but I never realized they had as much instrumental music as they performed. Not that I minded. I’m a bit of a fangirl when it comes to electric violins and one of their guys was definitely rocking his out.

We listened for the better part of their set, slowly working our way back into the less compact crowd before decided to make our way over to the art section of the festival. We’re both fascinated to see what types of artists are there, especially being a juried show. Some of the artists we love, others, well, we’re just not their audience.

Last year when we attended we were introduced to the artwork of Laura Lee Junge, who is now located at the Jackson Junge Gallery in Chicago and we were quite excited to find them at Arts, Beats and Eats once more. Her work is full of whimsy and bright, beautiful color.

While Angels Sleep by L Lee Junge

This year I gave into temptation and purchased a small version of While Angels Sleep, Your Love Shall Keep to add to my home collection of as yet un-hung artwork. I almost purchased Out of the Sounds of Silence He Summons the Symphony but there is such glorious detail in it I’m going to save up to buy a larger print. What I really want is the $500 large framed copy that they had at the festival, but it’s a little out of my price range at the moment.

In a lovely bit of happenstance, we ran into Gwen – my sister from another mother – and her husband wandering an art cul-de-sac. They had to depart for evening plans so we couldn’t talk long, but it was a fun and unexpected occurrence. Now, some of my friends are shaking their heads reading this and saying that I’m always running into people I know, but that didn’t make it any less wonderful when it happens.

As for the eats, that was our last stop. After much perusal we settled on farm cheese pierogis and fried pickles. I know it’s an odd combination, but I love pierogis and mum’s been wanting to try fried pickles for awhile. Both were excellent. Just thinking about them makes my mouth water.

Cafe Muse grilled cheese is a must go back and try

Last year we hit the festival and then left, but this year our explorations expanded to the stores that had stayed open in the midst of festivities. A pair of shoes and purse wishlist later, we decided that we’d have to come back and shop Royal Oak again, which is really what they hope to get out of such events.

My friend Becks over at Detroit Moxie posed the question of whether or not people thought the festival was a success at its new location and while I can’t speak for the festival as a whole, for us it was great day. There are definitely kinks that need to be worked out before next year’s festival, but overall we had fun and came out with a list of restaurants we want to try out, stores we wish to shop at and a gallery we really want to visit.