Thursday, November 29, 2012

Five Things

Five things I'm grateful for are:
Afternoons spent sipping a delicious Italian cappuccino.  My equivalent to this here is cook street coffee right in town.
 Being awake since 4 am and seeing the sunrise in Venice.
 Taking in the magic of Venice!
 Appreciating beautiful architecture. 
 Hand picking olives and bringing home fresh olive oil.
I'm grateful for all the overwhelming beauty that surrounds us.  Take a moment to enjoy life, appreciating the gift of sight and being able to use our vision to see the beautiful things of this earth. 
What things are you grateful for today?

A Cabin Sort of Weekend

Boy am I happy camper to be blogging again!  I had to create more space for photos, surprise surprise, right?!?

Even though it's a little later than planned, I wanted to share some fun pictures from this past Thanksgiving weekend.

My boyfriend and I took two of my siblings up to his family's cabin in Galena.  We decided to go for a long weekend where we could all have fun, relax and enjoy good food and company. =)
Okay so I have to brag, Charles is the sweetest, ever.  He was and is the biggest help, volunteering (and as he tells me, enjoying) doing ALL the dishes and ALL the laundry the entire weekend!!!!  

He spoils me and makes life easy.  
We even had a blast cooking in the kitchen together, yay baby!!!
Here are a few snippets capturing the weekend.

 Over the weekend we enjoyed some amazing little raspberry cheesecakes!  They are soooo easy to make it's ridiculous, seriously ridiculous =)
Of course we also had salads every day to make sure we were well balanced.
Saturday night I tried a new recipe, maple-dijon mustard chicken with bacon couscous!!!  We all ended up loving this one.
It was one of the most relaxing weekends I can remember.  I just wished it had lasted a little bit longer.
Do you ever take weekend trips to a cabin or some place away from home?

Have a happy day!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pumpkin Spiced Latte Recipe

via pinterest. 

I find that the bone chilling winter days are the perfect opportunity to cozy up with a good book and a cup of tea, or as in my case, a large mug of coffee =)

Here is an incredible recipe for homemade pumpkin spiced lattes from Confections of a foodie bride:
For the pumpkin spice syrup:
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 cinnamon sticks or 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
3 Tbsp canned pumpkin

How to make the Pumpkin Spice Latte:
2-4 Tbsp very strongly brewed coffee
6-8 oz skim milk, very hot
2 Tbsp pumpkin spice syrup (to taste)
Whipped cream, optional
Salted caramel sauce, optional
  • I personally use whole milk =) and I also put in two shots of espresso instead of strong coffee.
All credit for the recipe goes to Confections of a foodie bride.  Be sure to check out her beautiful website and yummy pictures of her pumpkin spiced lattes!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ard Bia Cafe

What a beautiful gift it is to be able to travel the world. 
 Traveling is even sweeter if you can do it with a dear friend.
Brianna and I were blessed to take a 10 day trip through London and Ireland before we studied abroad in Rome.

"Go at least once a year to a place you've never been before."

During our time in Ireland, we randomly came upon this cute little cafe, Ard Bia.  
If you're ever in Galway, it's a definite must!!!

"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What!  You too?  I thought I was the only one." C.S. Lewis
I would definitely love to go back again!
These will always be memories I cherish with a very dear friend.  

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Blog inc.

I'm guessing some of you may have already found this awesome book, Blog inc.

I love how the book is a mix of tutorials and explanations as well as personal interviews with some of my favorite bloggers!!!

Here is the wonderful video from the recent live chat between Joy Cho and Naomi Davis:

Here is one of my favorite inspirational quotes from the book so far:

"Whenever I talk to friends or clients who are struggling to figure out the next phase of their life or career, I always encourage them to start a blog.  Maybe you're burnt out from your tedious 40-hour workweek and want to pursue your hobby of baking miniature pies full time.  Or maybe you're a filmmaker and want to start offering tutorials on how the average person can create short films.  A blog can be whatever you want it to be - a diary, a visual essay, an editorial space, a place for discussion and debate, or a scrapbook of inspiration.  More than anything, a blog is a great way to get your ideas out into the world and see what people have to say in response.  You could receive the feedback and kick in the pants you need to launch your new pie company or begin teaching film classes at your local college.  In this chapter, I'll explain why you should blog, the types of blogs you could potentially have, and the best part - how to get it all started."

Do you have any great blogging books you would recommend???  Please share the love!! =)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ambrosia Patisserie

How do we find ways to slow down and simply enjoy life?!?!

I'd say stopping by your favorite patisserie is a pretty darn good way to do that =)
Ambrosia is a long love of mine.  I would say that it's quite "convenient" only being 5 minutes away from home!!!  Yes, I can even walk here if I'm that desparate.....ooh more temptation!

Charles and I LOVE our venga and we both wish we could buy this in bulk on-line =)

Making decisions here is rather difficult, as you can see....
there are so many beautiful and delicious pastries and desserts.

It's like stepping into a European bakery!
I have to have a sticky pecan roll every time!!!
Charles and I enjoy spending time here relaxing and talking.
What are your favorite ways to slow down life and enjoy the little places in your town???

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Italian Friends

Okay, so they aren't exactly Italian, but we all did study abroad at some point!
 All four of us ladies studied in Rome at some point during our college career.  Katie (second from the right) studied the semester before the rest of us and was able to share her wonderful stories before we went.
 This past weekend we had a wonderful Roma ladies reunion =) It was so joyous to finally be together again and reminisce over our fond memories of our time spent together in Europe.

Saturday we took a day trip into Chicago and of course Katie and I had to show our out-of-town friends a highlight of the city!  Sprinkles did not disappoint.

 This time I tried the salted caramel and oh. my. goodness. it was phenomenal!!!!

Shirt ~ J.Crew, Scarf ~ Anthropology
Thank goodness for sweet friends!!!
Have a wonderful weekend =)