Tag Archives: What I’m Into

What I’m into

We have zilch on the agenda for Memorial Day weekend, which is quite amazing, because we definitely need a long weekend to recover from all of the fun we’ve been having before graduation party and family reunion weekends have us traveling again.

Here are a few things I’ve been enjoying lately:

Family date night to Pedal Art at the DMSC. Joe scored tickets to the early evening poster show preview party, so we were able to attend the bike month event as a family and snag a great print before the crowds arrived. It’s so rare that the timing for those events works out for us, so I was in heaven with my 20 oz. chai latte pregnant lady splurge.

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Yummy Toddler Food. My friend Amy (who is admittedly somewhat neurotic about making sure her kiddo gets wholesome food) started Yummy Toddler Food and although many of the meals don’t quite work with Emmett’s allergies, the variety of recipes is great inspiration! Follow Amy on Instagram, too.

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Did you know you could DIY fruit snacks with a healthy supplement boost? (I also love her list of mealtime gear, which is would make practical baby shower/toddler birthday gifts. Emmett loves meal prep.)

Brunch in CB. We finally went to Dixie Quicks in downtown Council Bluffs when we were in the Omaha area for a wedding last weekend and it was a delightful and delicious spot right downtown. Any place that has gourmet chilaquiles and gives toddlers dinosaur figurines to play with is great, but this also has a little attached art gallery. If you find yourself in the area, check it out!

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Image source + more pics 

A fantastic bedside book. I finished “All the Light We Cannot See,” our next book club choice, ahead of schedule because I hated to put it down! The prose was lyrical, the chapters short but the novel thick, and it was set in WWII France, so pretty much my ideal combo. Definitely recommend.

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A mid-week visit from a long-lost friend. Alex, my freshman year college roommate, lives in Wyoming and Alaska and the last chance I got to see her was in the Dominican Republic at a wedding in 2012! It was so special to share Des Moines with her, especially a bike ride around Cumming Tap, a visit to the Jasper Winery Concert Series, and an afternoon outing to the Des Moines Art Center restaurant (nom!!!) for girl talk and Fiber: Sculpture 1960-present exhibition. It’s amazing! Go!

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Visitors are encouraged to walk through this piece and ring the bells and shells. It’s a dream. Also, there is a giant woven vagina. So.

We also visited Beaverdale Books and Backcountry Outfitters, where I bought what look like ballerina sandals for an 80-year old, but feel like the ultimate footwear for a lady who is going to be pregnant through the heat of summer. (Apparently they are “yoga lifestyle” shoes, but let’s be real – they are going to be utilized while eating fried things on a stick at the State Fair, walking the dog and at work.)

Off to soak up more long weekend. Code for: Take more naps!

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Gratitude list – Fall ’14

Sometimes a girl has to to catch her breath and send a great big ‘thank you’ to the Universe.

For:

Homemade Halloween costumes (Emmett’s mouse was my mother’s handiwork!) and events like Night Eyes and Scare Us Hill for kids.

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Picking beautifully green backyard broccoli for dinner.

Oak trees out my office window, and coming to a job that challenges me in all the best ways.

Snuggles from someone in super small Star Wars jammies.

Productive board meetings that involve Big Tomato Pizza and a bright future for YNPN DSM.

Apple cider and pulling out the sweater weather wardrobe.

A new season of Homeland and kick-back time to watch it with Joe.

Breaking in new running tights with my pup at my heels. (Or, really, with us both stopping by a tree to catch our breath every two blocks.)

Reading while baking. (Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl is our latest book club pick.)

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The way a carved pumpkin glows.

The bill for Emmett’s (third!) ER visit being not quite as awful as I’d hoped. Febrile seizure in the middle of the night. Apparently not a big deal, but terrifying.

A husband who speaks the love language of changing my oil and detailing my car instead of buying me flowers.

Getting to do Google hangouts with my grandpa.

All the Costco goat cheese.

My phone never really being lost/stolen and really just being on top of my car (parked!) or under the seat.

It’s the little things, people. 

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Low-key weekends

I had a lot going on during the week last week, so it felt great to enjoy a lazy weekend. We splashed around in some dried corn with the kids in our babysitting co-op and went for a family walk in the woods, but that’s about it. Today was a yoga pants and a second pot of coffee kind of a Sunday, indeed.

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Here’s some lazy girl homebody entertainment: Saturday night, Joe watched football on mute while I folded clothes and we listened to “Serial,” the new podcast by some of the producers of  “This American Life.”

Serial is a podcast that unfolds one nonfiction story, week by week, over the course of a season. The first season follows a did-he-really-do-it story of a teenage murder in Baltimore in 1999. It’a pretty compelling.  Check it out.

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Liking lately

I’m in denial about this whole summer-being-over thing, although once I unpack my sweaters, I’m sure I’ll change my tune.

Here are a few things I’ve been into:

To eat: A few friends hosted “Meatfest” last weekend, a backyard barbecue with insanely good smoked meats and a smorgasbord of sides. Great weather, better people. I asked Joe to make this roasted potato salad with shaved fennel and salsa verde, a killer potluck-pleasing dish he’s mastered. It’s for real.

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To read: I felt compelled to go to the library the other night, and made it to the Forest Avenue branch just before it closed for the evening. I’d never been there before, and the selection isn’t huge (they seem to cater to the ESL population that lives in the area), but this Sticks banner between two big tree sculptures made me smile.

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I picked up “The String Diaries” and raced through it this week. I can’t rave about the prose itself, but it’s a fast-paced thriller that reminded me of Gone Girl in ways. It has elements of the magical, but it uses one of my favorite techniques of bouncing around time periods and intertwining plots.

To make: Truth – I basically showed Joe this project and he made it for me. I have a huge empty wall in my office that’s been aching for artwork these past six months, and when I saw this, I felt like it would be a cool installation piece. Just a big frame, chicken wire, staples, spray paint, spacers and paper strips.

{photo via Sugar & Cloth}

{photo via Sugar & Cloth}

The project is by Sugar & Cloth, but I first saw it linked from Going Home to Roost. I have yet to get the paper and cut strips for it, but I might treat it like a gratitude journal, curling up messages of thanks as a daily meditation. I’ll probably post something to Instagram once it’s up in my office.

 To conquer: Emmett and I ran out first 5K together last week. DMU did a Friday evening run from campus, down around the sculpture park and back. We definitely didn’t PR or anything, but it was my goal to at least jog the whole thing, and I followed through. The kid didn’t even break a sweat.

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Nicole and Everett also ran, and Mollie and her daughter, Kaydin. I’m really starting to feel like part of the DMU community. It’s crazy to believe next week marks six months in my role there.

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Into – In the kitchen

Joe recently stumbled upon “The Mind of a Chef” on Netflix, and we’re obsessed. Season 1 follows Chef David Chang, founder of the Momofuku restaurant group, on culinary adventures that touch on food science, culture and the craft of creating world-class cuisine.

281010_287943754655346_914595738_oAnthony Bourdain is the show’s executive producer and narrator, and great chefs from around the world make appearances. It’s super fun. There are silly animations, and the passion these chefs have to play and experiment jumps off the screen.

In our own kitchen, we’ve been on a zucchini kick, and have baked several loaves of this Eating Well chocolate zucchini bread. Which we eat while watching “Mind of a Chef,” of course.

What are you watching/eating these days?

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Gratitude list

I’m in a listy mood and in the depths of winter, it’s always good to count my blessings.

Image via Katie Daisy

Image via Katie Daisy

In no order, a random 17 things I’ve felt grateful for lately:

1. A stroller jog during a reprieve from arctic temps. (I alternated running and walking each block because I am super out of shape, but the mere act of sweating put me in a better mindset.)

2. A book that can make me cry. Most recently, Life After Life, which I finished for book club this week. There’s something about stories that involve the WWII bombings of London that tear my heart.

3. My sewing machine. Stitch just released their upcoming classes, if you’re looking to learn.

4. Our chromecast. I try to pretend I’ve got better things to do than watch T.V. but being able to stream Scandal from the iPad on the big screen is nice.

5. Babyfriends, near and far. Emmett has this “Sassy Look Book” photo album toy, and I cut out pictures of his baby friends/my friends’ babies from Christmas cards we received. There are more little faces than pages! Lots of people I know have had or are about to welcome little ones this year, and I’m incredibly grateful that I’m not alone in this figuring-out-parenthood thing.

6. A rockstar leadership team for YNPN Des Moines. Our first birthday party was a success! Throwing an event is a thousand times easier when you have a great group of people who take responsibility and run with it.

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Libby gets things done.

7. Infant doses of Benadryl and Tylenol, tube socks and duct tape. We aren’t getting a lot of sleep in our house these days, thanks to an epic combo of eczema and teething. The winks we do get, we owe to that arsenal.

8. That my husband loves to cook. Joe’s been on a roll in the kitchen lately. He has a talent for knowing which ingredients go together and artfully sneaks kale into everything these days, with me barely noticing. I’m totally sending him Chelsea’s buffalo chicken enchilada recipe for the Superbowl.

9. Google hangouts, so my mom can play pat-a-cake with Emmett from her kitchen in the Chicago ‘burbs.

10. A warm home. Having our furnace on the fritz right when the temperature plummeted was a good reminder of what a huge blessing our house is – even with a fridge that makes a death rattle and floors that never stay clean.

11. Coffee and tea. Brewed in our French press, or at Gong Fu or Mars Cafe, or a cup enjoyed in a friends’ basement while our boys play. Sharing a warm beverage with a friend relaxes me and facilitates a connection that’s often the bright spot in my day.

12. Kayla’s shared reflections on waiting. A lot of bloggers I read incorporate their faith into posts. Sometimes the sentiments strike me from a more secular perspective. I appreciated her sharing this passageWhen you’re waiting, you’re not doing nothing. You’re doing the most important something there is. You’re allowing your soul to grow up… 

13. A trip on the calendar, to celebrate a friend. The official “Save the Date” arrived in the mail the other day, and we’re headed to a vineyard wedding in Virginia this summer! Hitting the dance floor with my high school friends is one of my all-time favorite activities. Cannot wait.

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14. Wardrobe updates. I did some post-holiday shopping when I was home (Oakbrook Mall has a Madewell store!) and added a few dressy neutral pieces that I think will serve me well. Still waiting for this dress to go on sale.

15. Picture texts. They’re like a postcard of a personal moment.

16. A good haircut. My stylist, Mollie at Salon Spa W, just returned from maternity leave and I needed to get into her chair something awful. I wish she could come and do my hair every day. Being well-coiffed for once is a total confidence boost.

17. Puppychow bars. I’m pretty sure Joe’s co-worker from Cuisine at Home invented these, and they are seriously as good as they sound. I can’t wait for the recipe to come out in an upcoming issue!

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Midwest snow queen essentials

Oh, the snow queen. She always looks so ethereal in those gauzy layers of white and blue, maybe a fur cape casually draped across her shoulders. We women of the Midwest know that’s not really how it works when the temperatures turn arctic, like they have been during the “Polar Vortex” we’re experiencing.

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It’s all about piling on the fleece, flannel and wool and leaving just the tiniest sliver of face exposed for the purpose of not running into trees when you’re out walking the dog. Most of my outfits for Wilbur’s morning and then before-bed walks involve my flannel cupcake print pajamas as a midlayer. It’s a good thing we live at a bustling intersection. Winters in Iowa are a time of year when I kind of understand cat people. Wilbur requires three walks a day, and won’t just mark the nearest fire hydrant and call it a day.

Here’s a little roundup of items that are fashionable and functional for even the frostiest weather. Yes, this is based around a skirt. The better for piling on underlayers, I think.

Start with some fleece-lined leggings or sweater tights with wool socks, of course.

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1. Orvis fleece hoodie (My mom got this for me for Christmas and I have been living in it.)

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2. Sorel boots (Joe gifted me a different style a few years ago and they have served me quite well.)

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3. GraceandLace leg warmers. I just got a pair of legwarmers and they definitely help keep the calf-area warm.

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4. Eddie Bauer skirt (Poly/spandex/wool blend FTW. I’m going to put this on my wardrobe wishlist.)

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5. Smartwool crew, or something else that’s not $100 but is cozier than your average cotton longsleeve.

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6. Boden down parka. I love everything Boden does. This parka manages to give its wearer a waist so she doesn’t look like a marshmallow!

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7. Wiksten hat & mittens (These are links to patterns.)

A cozy cowl from Cara’s shop or one of Jen’s creations should also help. I whipped up a more decorative cowl a few weeks ago. It’s main role is distracting from my tummy chub and not really warmth, though.

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You should also totally have something hot to look forward to after braving the cold. Our furnace was going kaput on Friday, but thankfully Joe was able to fix it after only a half day of teeth-chattering panic. Friday night we fired up Netflix and started watching Scandal. We binge-watched the entire first season in a night and are totally hooked. Olivia Pope’s wardrobe – swoon.

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