Friday, August 31, 2012

A Surprise Giveaway!

Are you ready for a fun giveaway?!?

Are you anything like me and love receiving surprise parcels in the mail??? As much as I enjoy getting them,  it's also just as much (if not more) of a thrill sending them.

With Fall fast approaching, I thought we could all share in the joy of our anticipation by sharing a few Fall ideas =) 

I will be doing a guest post over on Becs amazing blog about "The Top 6 Things To Do This Fall" and hearing from you is the perfect inspiration for getting started!  

The giveaway is easy and really fun.  In order to enter for a chance to win, all you need to do is leave a comment below listing your top 3 favorite things about Fall.  It can be anything from a favorite food, drink, activity, or even a Fall craft.  It is always great hearing your ideas, so please Share, Share, Share!!
The winner will be drawn randomly and the giveaway ends in the evening on September 4th.

As the title hints, it is a surprise giveaway ( but you won't be disappointed, I promise =)

I can't wait to hear all your wonderful Fall ideas.

Happy Fall ( almost september ) and Good Luck!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Dear Wednesday,
Thank you for being smack dab in the middle of the week because it means that we are half way to the weekend!

Dear Weekend,
Did I say that I'm really looking forward to you because the weekend means a bunch of us will be up at my boyfriends family's cabin in Galena where we will celebrate Labor Day Weekend in style!

Dear Stitchfix,
Yesterday I received an e-mail notification saying you were on your way to my house!  Cannot wait to try you for the very first time =)  For those of you unfamiliar with Stitchfix, it is an online service that has the latest trends, the best new brands, delivered right to your doorstep (all tailored to your personal style and price range : )!!!! all comes as a complete surprise!!! How fun is that??

Dear Boyfriend,
Wow, you are the best!  Not just because of who you are, but also because you show up at my house at 9pm at night with my favorite Passion Iced Tea Lemonade from Starbucks.  Thanks for teaching me to be more thoughtful.

Dear Readers,
There will be a fun giveaway coming up really soon, stay tuned because you don't want to miss out on this one =)  It may or may not include some of my favorite products.  Okay I'm not telling any more! =)

Have an amazing day!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

London Days

Anyone want to take a little trip through London with me?  Some of my favorite memories are from studying in Rome my last semester of college.  But before arriving in Rome, my good friend and I traveled to London & Ireland for 10 days!

It rained the very first day we were there and of course I would forget my J.Crew umbrella back in the youth hostel = )  Oh well, I ended up buying the biggest umbrella EVER right outside of Buckingham palace that I ended up using all the time. 

Will & Kate's House = )

If you ever make it to London, Serpentines Bar & Kitchen is an absolute MUST!!!  It is the cutest place ever, located on a lake in Hyde Park.  

An amazing view of Big Ben from the London Eye at night.

We ventured through the streets of Portobello Market all afternoon.

Sooo.....I'm letting you in on a little hidden secret.  Ssshhh, don't tell.  Okay, well someone else told me first, but....If you want to find the best scones with clotted cream & jam in all of London, Teapod is another absolute, no excuses, have to visit place for sure!  

This girl is the best!  It was such a blessing to travel with this dear friend for 10 whole days.  And even better being roommates together for an entire semester in Rome.

Seriously ladies, we sat at Serpentines for hours on end....sipping cappucinos, tea, eating incredible food, journaling all afternoon and watching the ducks in the park.  I love how laid back and relaxed the British people were.  We enjoyed this place SO much that we even went back a second day!

Inside Serpentines Bar & Kitchen
Love this girl =)

We finally found Pimms & Lemonade!   So delicious.

Ahhhh... seriously, I was overwhelmed by their unbelievably cute markets!

Oh Yum, I'm drooling again!  Not only was this scone out of this world, but their tea was unlike any I've ever had.  Of course we bought several bags to bring home!

Have you ever seen so many people simply relaxing and enjoying the great outdoors?  I think I could live here =) 

Hopefully one day I will go back with my friend & my mum!  I'd love to take this trip all over again.  I'm sure I would discover so much more the second time round.

Have you ever been to London?  If so, do you have any favorite places or things to do there?  Please, let me in on your little secrets so I can enjoy them next time I go back. =)

Monday, August 27, 2012


Okay okay, so while the sky does have that beginning of fall look to it, I know I really shouldn't be talking fall yet because it is still waaay too hot out to actually feel like fall.

I'm good and ready though.  The fresh mulch is down and the mums are planted.  Halleluiah, something done early for once!  hee hee

It isn't so sad saying goodbye to summer when you have all of this to look forward to = )
Above: Some of my favorite magazine clippings from the british edition of Country Living

This was my morning reading corner which I miss since redoing the bedroom.  Guess I'll have to fix that! 

Yes, I am a total lover of plaid blankets, books & big cups of coffee!
I brought my blanket back from Ireland last year.

Here is a Fall inspirational page from my dream book.  What a great idea ~ bringing the neighborhood together for a bulb planting party in your back yard!

Ireland is a wonderful place to be during early Fall.  Can I please go back tomorrow???

It's almost time to pick some apples (and eat a dozen I mean one cider donut :)  I totally cannot wait!

Happy beginning of Fall everyone!

What are you looking forward to the most about Fall?  Any special traditions?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fresh MILK

 Just so you all know (because I'm sure you all really care about this :), I DO drink raw milk and personally think it's the best!  
I've always been the girl to ask for drinks to be made with whole milk at coffee houses & I'm not afraid of drinking all that "fatty" cream = )   Bring it on baby!!!
Here is a great link with information on the health benefits of raw milk and why pasturized milk isn't healthy for you.

 While I love whole milk, I love organic raw milk even better!  There are so many health benefits to drinking milk in the raw.  I definitely think it is worth the extra money.

Ha, ha, not all these jars were mine!
I was ecstatic to find out that there was a little farm 3 min. from my house where I could get fresh milk.

I swear, this milk makes my coffee taste that much better (and it's not just in my head :)

So delicious.  It made for the best afternoon nespresso cappuccino!  

What is your favorite milk?  It's totally fine if you're a skim milk girl, we can still be friends = )

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Summers End

This summer has been pretty much wonderful.  I've gone from Minnesota, to Hawaii and then back up north to Wisconsin!  

Can you tell the travel bug bit me? =)

This year we made some new memories at the lake.  Little Corporal has some of the most amazing ice cream.....and I'm not the biggest fan of ice cream to begin with sooo....yeah, that tells you how yummy it was!

Admit it, you're totally jealous that you aren't a part of my awesome C Razy family!!!!  Yes, they seriously put together an olympic skit with theme music and all!  ha ha they're great.

It wouldn't be vacation without a trip to Silvercryst.  THE. best. steak. sandwiches. EVER!!!

I'm gonna miss this girl (and I already do!) because we can't go on any more adventures like these..... 

But not to worry, my travels aren't over yet.  I won't have to wait too long to see this girl again because Minnesota, here I come =)  Fall, you better be beautiful when I come and visit you in October!

Happy Friday =)  Hope it's a good one!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Boat Music

My brother is pretty much the best at finding new music.  Enough said.  
This year for vacation he came up with over 100 new songs to take on the boat =) 
(You're the best, Sam!)

This was probably one of our favorites to rock out to on the boat.   Maybe the title "ships in the night" has something to do with the fact that it is great boat music:

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, August 20, 2012

picture post

Summer is coming to a close and I'm now home from vacation.  As shocking as it might sound, I was kind of ready to come home.  Yep, I'm ready to get into the swing of things again!  

Sooo as you can see from the post below, I was pretty happy to get some great reading time in over vaca.  And OK, I freely admit it, I took waaay too many photos = ) 

I promise not to bombard you with all of them, but I do have a few more to share.  A summers grand finale post to come soon!

Moving on . . . to grey skies and chilly weather.  I did go with my mum today (spur-of-the-moment is always best) and we had our nails done.  Now the colors on my toes are moving into fall-ish shades and I'm loving it!!!

Hope you're all having a great week!

Highclere Castle (the real Downton Abbey)

Happy NEWS ~ over vacation I was able to read all about the lost legacy of Highclere Castle.  It's true, the story of "Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey" was a wonderful read and I highly recommend it to all of you.

And YES, for all you Downton Abbey fans with an insatiable desire to learn more about this story, or for those of you who might be needing a little "fix" as you eagerly sit on the edge of your sofa for the 3rd series to finally arrive, this page turner will definitely keep you coming back for more!!!

Okay, not to be a huge tease or anything, but I am thrilled to share a few points that will probably leave  you running for your car to pick up this book now = )  I promise to try not give anything away.

The story has fascinating correlations between the book and TV series both in the characters and scenarios that unfold.   For example, it seems to me that Lady Almina represents Lady Cybil in many ways.  As for the rest of the correlations....I'll leave you to wonder = )

Being a lover of travel myself and reading how often the people in this book traveled, I'm SOooo happy to say that travel doesn't take nearly that long these days..... no train to boat, boat to motor car, motor car to train and so forth and so on for days on end.  Gosh that must have been horrible!!!

It was awesome finding out that the countess and earl of Highclere Castle were always having and arranging parties!  Speaking from personal experience, I know that throwing parties can be a blast, but I don't think I'll ever be like Almina who could, "manage these occasions in her sleep" do to the fact that she planned so many.  Ha, ha!

I think the book is well written, although the author does tend to jump around a little throwing in random points that don't seem to come at the proper time.  Also NOTE: it may be helpful having a dictionary and pen on hand as one is bound to come across a new word or two, seriously, I learned alot!

Of course one of my favorite actresses in the entire series is Maggie Smith ~ not only because we share the same name =) but because she has Maggie moments like these:
  You have to agree, her comments are pretty hysterical.

I'll leave you with a quote that I underlined (yes, I write in my books all the time! :) In speaking about women Almina says, "In the dark ages, which are not very far behind us, we used to be called the weaker sex. We never were, and we never shall be weaker in our patriotism.  In this as in all similar matter we are neither inferior nor superior, but only very different and I am convinced that we shall do most good to our country and her cause if instead of imitating men we endeavour to widen and perhaps enrich the spirit of public life by being simply ourselves."

I'm terribly sorry if I went on and on, but I just had to smash in and share all of this wonderful Downton Abbey goodness with you.  Basically, this book is a must read if you ( or your boyfriend = )  are smitten with the Downton Abbey TV series.  

Happy reading!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Blogging & Grilling!

Yep of course! Doing a teeny weeny bit of blogging while on vacation.  It is even more fun if you are sipping on a strawberry martini during the process =)  Surprising, right?! 

 Making homemade pizza sauce for pizzas on the grill is also a favorite new highlight!

Everyone enjoys putting together their own personal pizza, but why wouldn't you if you could top it with mushrooms, tomatoes, pepperoni, roasted peppers, onions and cheese?!?

Yeah it's just that fun!!!

Ta Da ~ the finished product ~ oh soooo yummy!

 These homemade pizzas are seriously the best pizza EVER and NO I am not being biased : )   We have even figured out how to make them in the house during the winter because they are just that dang good!!!  Oh, did I forget to mention, they taste even more amazing if you've spent a lovely summers day on this lake!  

Did you know that Green Lake is deepest lake in Wisconsin?  Yep, it is pretty much my favorite lake ever!!!  

More exciting posts to come soon.  Have a great day!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

She is coming back!

This girl is freaking awesome!  Although she has to drive 5 hours to get here, she is coming back to the lake house this weekend.   While I live in Chicago and she lives in Minnesota, this will be record for us to see each other 4 times in one year!!!  I love how Rachel puts in caring effort to make things happen and does things spur of the moment, literally.  

She came and spent this past weekend at the lake house and nonchalantly said "hey, I should totally just drive back up next weekend too!"  That being said, it was already a done deal.  She is coming back!  I'm extra excited because she will finally have a chance to meet my boyfriend, Charles.  

Yep, we are prepared to have loads more fun together this upcoming weekend!  Of course I'll post to prove it (I promise I'll try NOT to make you jealous).

Hope you are all enjoying your last weeks of summer!  What are your last plans for the season?

Mug Shots

Oh brother, what will people think of us!  "Mug shots" was the perfect combination of espresso & a "little" photo shoot =)  Sunday I spent a good portion of the morning in Mugs with Ray Band ( aka Rachel) and some of my siblings.  It is the cutest local organic coffee house near Green Lake.  

Well, it's kinda become tradition that we spend at least one morning here.  Thanks to a very patient and loving brother (who pretends to hate enjoy taking a million pics of us) we end up with quirky shots like these:

I think we should definitely order one of these to go!  Cause we REALLY "need" it : )

Well hello there little cutie!  Bella with her hot chocolate


I can't wait to take Charles here when he comes up to see me this weekend!!!  I love that my boyfriend can appreciate coffee like me =)  Good thing, I know.  

Thank Heavens for Mugs coffee house!

P.S. Oops, I have a confession to make.  I am not addicted to coffee or anything, but I have to admit that as I sit and type this post about Mugs coffee, I am currently sitting in Sugar Lips coffee house AGAIN!!!!   In my defense, it is grey out and super rainy, so it's only appropriate to be in a warm coffee house right now, right???