30 December 2010

Just Wishing You A...

Teapot Envy Roundup

Nearly every day at work my office mates and I have tea time. We take a few minutes, have a nice cup of tea and then go on with our day. It's amazing, and I highly recommend instituting it into your work day if possible. Sometimes we get a little fancy and involve snacks (cucumber sandwiches, cheese & crackers, etc). I'm slowly becoming aware of tea culture and what cute tea items are out there. Friends, meet the stackable teapot. Teapot, meet friends:
Calm Before the Store Tea Set

Tiger Lily Tea Pot

Tea Tower

I'm A Little Teapot

29 December 2010

Minimalist Makeovers

I am such a sucker for minimalism. If it were up to me, everything would be solid colors and simplicity. Check out these minimalist product makeovers. I prefer the minimal design every time. What do you think? Do you prefer the slimmed down design version, or are you a maximalist?

28 December 2010

Upcoming 2011 Fun

I've got exciting news, guys. I'm going to be a ballerina! Well, sort of. I'm going to try and be a ballerina. I've always wanted to take ballet lessons, but I never have. I didn't take lessons as a child, but I had major tutu envy. Thanks to the good people at Groupon, I signed up for 10 adult beginners ballet lessons. I'm half nervous, half excited. I don't plan on starting lessons till next year, but I will let you know how it goes. It's never to late to fulfill a childhood ambition, and everyone could do with a little more grace in their life, right?

2010 Amanda Music Awards

I know I've been light on the blog posts lately, but there's one thing I would never forget to post about. Ladies and gentlemen, it's time for the fourth annual Amanda Music Awards. I will remind you that these are the most biased and frivolous fictional music awards on the Internet, but that's how I roll. I love music, and it's such a huge part of my life that every year I dedicate a post to all the great things that went down. Join in the fun, and feel free to deal out your own award in the comments section. (view past year's awards 2009, 2008, 2007)

Best out if town show while I was at a work conference
The Swell Season @ First Avenue

Best Dance Party
Black Eyed Peas @ Allstate

Best Foreign Troubadour
Sondre Lerche @ Lincoln Hall

Most Rocking Female
St. Vincent @ Metro

Most Gusto Packed Into A Small Venue
Ha Ha Tonka @ Subterranean

Best Vest Worn While Performing
Kevin Andrew Prchal @ Subterranean

Strangest Crowd
My Gold Mask @ The Hideout

Best Consistent Shows
Vampire Weekend @ The Aragon & @ The Riv

Best Use of Glow Sticks
LCD Soundsystem @ The Aragon

Coolest Celeb Sighting At A Show
Josh Duhamel @ Black Eyed Pea

Best Outdoor Show
She & Him @ Millenium Park

Best Band Who Let Me Help Sell Merch for an Hour
Ludo @ The Metro

Best Soundtrack for a Movie I Didn't See
Going the Distance

Most Replayed Single on my iPod
Dog Days are Over- Florence + The Machine

Band I'm Dying to See Live in 2011
The Black Keys

Show I'm Most Upset I Missed
Tommy & the High Pilots @ The Beat Kitchen

Band that Continues to Amaze Me Despite Not Being Together Anymore
The Smiths

Fave British Duo
Slow Club

Worst Name for a Band I Like
Neon Trees

Best New Addition to My Workout Mix
Block After Block- Matt & Kim

24 November 2010

Beatles Mania

Last week Masterpiece Contemporary aired Lennon Naked, a biopic chronicling the life of John Lennon, starring Christopher Eccleston. I missed it, but plan on catching up by watching online. I did manage to catch Monday night's American Maters feature titled Lennon NYC. It features footage and interviews of John plus interviews with those closest to him, including lots of Yoko. Facinating. If you're a Beatles fan I highly recommend watching this documentary. American Masters always does a good job, and their coverage of Lennon is no expection.

I'm not done yet! Paste posted the 50 Best Beatles covers of all time. St. Vincent, Oasis, Regina Spektor, Ben Folds, The Black Keys and more make the list. I won't divulge all of it, you'll have to listen here to find out.

19 November 2010

Friday Tunes

Happy Friday! Let's celebrate the coming weekend with some of my favorite new tunes. Turn up your speakers and feel the fun.

17 November 2010

Picture Cook

Forget precise measurements and tedious cooking instructions. I want fun pictures! Check out Katie Shelly's Picture Cook. On her site, Katie illustrates ten recipes. Not only are these fun to look at, but they encourage a little kitchen experimentation. Cooking doesn't have to be a science. Throw a little of this in, then add a little of that and see what happens.

09 November 2010

Smell Like An Author

Can you smell that? Mmm... classic literature! The good people at Paddywax created signature scents after different authors. The Library collection includes diffusers and candles titled Poe, Whitman, Thoreau, Dickens and, oh yes, Austen! The scents seem fitting. Thoreau is cedar, moss and juniper- smells like the woods. Austen is gardenia, tuberose & jasmine- smells like class. Poe is cardamom, absynthe & sandalwood- smells spicy with a hint of poison. I'm not a huge perfume girl, but these really appeal to me.

08 November 2010

Hot Chocolate 5K

On Saturday, along with 30 thousand other people,  I ran in the Hot Chocolate 5K. It was a lovely 30 degrees outside that morning, but I ran and got my best 5K time yet. A year ago, I hadn't run more than a mile since high school. I gave running a very negative stigma, and equated it with teachers I didn't like who made me run around the track on a 90 degree day till I nearly passed out.  Then things changed. My friend (and running buddy pictured below) suggested we do a 5k in July, and the rest is history. Since then I've run three 5Ks, plus a race/scavenger hunt. I love it, but it gets better.

When I turned 20 I made a goal list titled "30 Things to Do Before I Turn 30." Thing #21: Run 5 miles without stopping. Again, if you asked me a year ago if I would be checking that number off my list, I would have laughed at you, but I totally checked it off. With a new pair of running shoes, a running buddy, a little thing called running club at work and enough determination I did it. Next year I've got an 8K and a 10K in my sight. Come next November, I'd like to do the 15K Hot Chocolate. What a different a year makes.
7:30 a.m. Saturday morning: Becky & I ready waiting to run the 5K

28 October 2010

Smiths Prints

Who doesn't love The Smiths? Oh Morrissey, I think you're great. On that note, know what else I think is great? These limited edition Smiths prints that are designed to resemble Penguin Classic book covers. It's a nerd mashup, and it makes me so happy.

22 October 2010

Friday Link Party

Happy Friday, friends! I urge you to let go of whatever woes and worry you may have had this week. Friday has come, let the weekend begin. To kick things off in style I've got some links for you. Enjoy, and we'll chat again on Monday.

21 October 2010

Live Crabs in A Vending Machine

The title of this post really says it all. I can't translate the video for you, and maybe it's best we don't know everything they're saying. But if you've ever thought, "Wow I wish I had a live crab right now. Maybe they should put live crabs in a vending machine," you should probably watch the following video or go to Shanghai. Oh China, you just made my Thursday so much better.

crabby vending
Uploaded by pubjapaned. - Explore international webcam videos.

The inside of the machine is kept at 5 degrees celsius, a temperature cold enough to make the crabs go into a state of hibernation. A sign states that all the crabs in the machine are fresh: if the crab is dead-on-arrival, they promise to give you three free crabs.


19 October 2010

Check It: 20x200

Since the move, I've been looking for some sort of art piece to hang above my bed. In the search I found 20x200. Their motto is (limited editions × low prices) + the internet = art for everyone. I am horrible at math, but I like that. 20x200 collaborates with a variety of artists to sell their limited edition prints. Each print comes with a signed and numbered 20x200 Certificate of Authenticity, fancy! If you're in the market for some original art and don't feel like dishing out bushels of cash, check out 20x200.

18 October 2010

Tights Roundup

It's tight season, my friends! Things have gone so far beyond basic black tights. Patterns, colors and prints- oh my! Check out some of my favorites and hit me up in the comments section with your own.

Super Sheer Spiral Tight
Brown Peacock Feather Tights
Happy Socks Colorblock Tight
Floral Spray Sweater Tights

Polka dot tights
Polka dot bear bottom tights

15 October 2010

Friday Link Party

Happy Friday, my dears! just finished a nice bowl of cheerios, it feels like fall outside, and I've got a red cardigan on. How can I not be happy with today? I hope you have a great weekend lined up for yourselves. I'm going to the a Fire game tomorrow and plan to get my tailgate on.

Giant gummy bear on a stick
Radiator shaped like a person
New English pub in Logan Square
I still love you, Marty McFly
My office-mate's awesome nutrition blog
Yes, the new GAP logo was a fail, but have you seen their new GAP Fit logo?
Is there anything Jack White can't do?
Did I mention Mr. T is my company's new spokesman? Well he is, and he made some pretty hilarious commercials. I'll share more later.
Gorgeous art deco invites

In honor of tomorrow's soccer game, here's a great track from Eux Autres:
<a href="http://euxautres.bandcamp.com/track/world-cup-fever-2010">World Cup Fever 2010 by Eux Autres</a>

14 October 2010

The Power of Nice

I believe in the power of nice. By that I mean I really stand behind things like common courtesy, saying please & thank you and trying to see the positive in situations. I'm not a pushover, and believe me it takes more self control than you might think to be nice sometimes but when I do, good things happen.

While waiting for the train this morning, I started up a conversation with a complete stranger. I sat down next to her, and instead of ignoring the person next to me, like I do most mornings, I smiled and made a remark about how crowded the train looked. The next thing I know we're talking, laughing and I find out not only does she have a sprained back but she's seven weeks pregnant. She was stressed because no one at work knows she's pregnant yet, so they don't understand why she can't take meds for the back pain. Wow, no one at work knows she's pregnant, but she told me, a complete stranger! She thanked me for listening and letting her unload. I wished her well with the pregnancy and felt great.

I took a little step out of my morning comfort zone and was friendly to a stranger. I ended up meeting an incredibly nice person, helping them out and feeling great the rest of the day. Score one for being nice.

13 October 2010

Yumaki Toothbrushes

Hello, gorgeous. Check out these toothbrushes from Yumaki. According to their site, Yumaki is an oral care brand that offers high-quality dental hygiene products that comes as new models & collections every season. Hmmm, interesting, but did I mention that their products are made of recyclable material? Now I love. I'd gladly polish my pearly whites with one of these babies.

12 October 2010

Check It: Automatic Cake Decorator

A Vienna-based studio is working on automatic cake decorator that uses a rotating platform, icing gun and host of other fancy gadgets to take the hassle of decorating. It might look like a game of Mousetrap, but the end result is pretty cool. It's like an edible Spirograph.

11 October 2010

Cupcake Crawl Recap

The first ever Cupcake Crawl was a success! We didn't quite make it to all the places we had intended, since we started a little late and forgot we might need to eat real food at some point, but what we did eat was delicious. Let's recap!

Here's the crawl crew, matching shirts and all. The shirts brought us a lot of attention and we had a few strangers wanting to join in the fun. Mental note for next time: Bring along extra shirts for new friends met along the way.

My orange creamsicle cupcake from Sweet Many B's. This little baby was amazing. Sweet Mandy B's cupcakes are my favorite in Chicago. The cake is light and moist, and the frosting is thick but not too sweet. Since they're so light, you could easy down more than one in a sitting. This is delicious but dangerous.

 The ladies chowing down at Sweet Mandy B's on blueberry pancake cupcakes with maple frosting.

A caramel apple cupcake/muffin hybrid.

Natalie & I at Molly's Cupcakes. Yes, we are sitting on swings at the counter. Swings at the counter! Molly's cupcakes have a denser cake with a lighter whipped frosting. The employees here are great. One of the owners really took an interest in our crawl and nearly joined our crew.

My peanut butter nutella cupcake at Molly's. Peanut butter cake & frosting with a creamy nutella middle.
A lovely box filled with a key lime pie cupcake from The Twisted Baker. The nice thing about this Old Town bakery is that the cupcakes are frosted to order. Fresh! I don't know if it was the unseasonably warm weather this weekend, or we got a bad batch of frosting but it went limp and started to slide off the cupcake. It made for a not so great visual, but was still tasty.

Frosting gone limp.

Those were the highlights! This was the first crawl I've organized and we got started a little later than planned. I think with some more planning and strategy this will happen again- bigger, better and with more batter!

07 October 2010

First Annual Cupcake Crawl

I cannot wait for this Saturday.  I've initiated and planned the first annual Cupcake Crawl. What the what you ask? Cupcake Crawl. A few friends and I are going to at least 5 different bakeries to sample some of the city's finest sweet treats. I'll be taking pictures along the way to document this excuse for a sugar coma. Since most of the bakeries don't close till 11pm (boy, do I love Chicago), we're getting started around 5, and will go till we've got sprinkles coming out of our eyes.

06 October 2010

Check It: Kate Spade Planner Inserts

I'm very loyal to my moleskin planner. I've used it for years, and refuse to convert to something electronic or a different brand. Nothing has even remotely tempted me to stray. That is until Kate Spade sent me an email. Behold the 2011 weekly inserts from artist Jenny Bowers. Sketches, and chocolates and colors- oh my! I love these. I'm still tempted, but not enough to change planners. Maybe I'll just collage a few pages on my own, sell my original art to Moleskin, make millions on the idea, enter Kate Spade's inner circle of design and friends and then get her to gift me a store and customer design pieces for me. Best idea ever? I think so.

05 October 2010

Brand Quiz: Numbered Names

"Specific numbers are sometimes associated with or incorporated into brand names. This is a quiz to match the number with the product or company. Give yourself extra points and a pat on the back, if you can explain how the connection came to be." Check out the full quiz and answers here.


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