1 Cakes & Louie: March 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

Thanks to Pinterest

It's Friday! And it's supposed to be 50 degrees in Chicago! I've got a little bit of Spring fever and have refused to wear sweaters for the last few days, and everything I'm drawn to is more colorful than ever. Here's what I'm hoping is in store for the weekend, thanks to some inspiration from Pinterest.

- Pretty marbled Easter eggs. Does anyone else still insist on dyeing eggs every year, even as an adult? Besides the fact that I love hard boiled eggs but literally only make them at Easter time, I love that there's always new dyeing techniques popping up to try out. These ones would be a perfect way to use up some of the old nail polish I have and don't really use anymore.

- Washi tape on EVERYTHING. What an easy way to make almost anything more colorful! Washi tape is insanely cheap now that it's crazy popular, and it's not super sticky so it would likely peel off most surfaces after a few weeks if you change your mind. 

- Thumbtack art. I'm pretty sure I have an old small bulletin board laying around that would be fun to try this with. It looks like the perfect project for a rainy day... or a lazy Saturday at home like I'm planning for tomorrow.

- Booties + a spring dress. So, I'm totally in love with my new shoes, and I also have a total girl crush on Kendi, so pulling fashion inspiration from her is a no-brainer. Yay for what looks like an effortless way to look cute in church on Easter Sunday!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Little Things

Way back when I first started this blog, I used to randomly do posts I titled "The Little Things", which were essentially just a mental dump of things I'd seen or found around the web that I found interesting or inspiring throughout the week. I've had a few "ooh I need to remember that!" moments this week, so here's to bringing this little series back!

Here's what's been catching my eye this week -

- This quick read from Daily Perricone on foods that are great for your skin. I knew about most of these, but it's always a good reminder to re-read the list. And, I've never been a fan of blueberries but am loving them in smoothies lately, so it's nice to see them on the good list!

- My new favorite blog: Thug Kitchen. Cracks me up. Basically, someone takes pretty food pictures, overlays a bunch of really obscene (but true) text over them, and then posts a recipe to go along with it. I kind of think my boss would love it, and I'm totally hooked. Warning: not suitable for those who are opposed to a LOT of profanity.

- Huffington Post's plea to bring the holidays down a notch. I don't even have kids yet and seeing some of the stuff other moms do for their kids on Pinterest already makes me feel insecure about living up to the expectations of going all out for every. little. holiday. This post is a great reminder that it isn't all about goodie bags and perfectly decorated cupcakes all the time.

- This quote has really hit home for me this week as I've thought about where I am overall with my life and where I'd like to be. Something I've always known I wanted to do but was kind of too afraid to try was being on the board for a non-profit. Well, thanks to a great friend that's involved with an awesome organization, I am now the newest advisory board member for a foundation that is committed to finding a cure for cancer - a cause that's very near and dear to me. More on this later, but for now, it's all about taking chances for me!

Time to start making plans for the weekend! I'm heading to dinner with one of my absolute favorite guys (hi Jamie!) on Friday night, going to an art show with a bunch of work friends after that, and spending Easter Sunday with the hubs and his family. I cannot wait for inevitable goofing around with our nieces and lots of ham and mashed potatoes :).

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Getting Dolled Up

As the bestie's wedding gets closer and closer (we're under 100 days folks!) we've started thinking about some of the fun little details... you know, like how we're going to do our hair and makeup. The important stuff ;). Bridget is using the same girls that did hair and makeup for our wedding, so we already know they're great, and they're super affordable too which is always nice.

Bridget is the best bride ever in the sense that she's been ridiculously laid back and is letting each of us girls pick out our own gray dress. I found a REAL fun strapless number at Nordstrom Rack on a whim, so I'm set in that camp. I'm super excited about my dress, and if the bride is up for it, I'm also excited to give a little bit more of a dramatic makeup look a shot. Since I literally do my makeup the same way every single day, I figure having someone do it professionally is a great chance to try out something new. Smoky eye, here I come!

And when it comes to hair, I'm hoping to go with something that walks the perfect line between fun/casual and classy/sophisticated. Here's some inspiration for both hair and makeup that I've been pinning.

What do you think? Can I pull off makeup that's a little more bold? Or is this look not summery enough for a June wedding?

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Shoes from my Dreams

I've never really been a shoe fanatic, and to be perfectly honest, I sort of hate shoe shopping in general. 99% of my flats are from Target and cost $14.99 or less a pair, and I usually grab a couple cute pairs of flat sandals at the Gap Outlet when it gets warm and they last me through the summer. For the colder months though, I've found it important to buy quality boots that will last. I snatched up my beloved navy gloss Hunter boots on Gilt last year, and I absolutely love them for rain or snow. And at the beginning of this winter I got super lucky and found brown boots, black boots AND gray boots at Nordstrom Rack all in one trip, and I've been set for the entire season.

As much as I don't usually swoon over shoes, I've really been wanting a pair of booties to wear with skinny jeans for a LONG time. But, as per usual, I had a very very specific list of requirements for what I wanted, so it's taken several months to track something down. Thanks to a work bonus and some shopping with Manda over the weekend, I have found the booties of my dreams, and I am so excited about them.

From Dolce Vita and an awesome $79 at Nordstrom Rack (also available at ModCloth, although not on sale), these shoes meet all of the requirements I had in mind - suede, gray-ish, not too tall chunky heel and nice and "loose" at the top. To say I love them would be an understatement.

Did anyone else splurge a little this weekend? I also grabbed a bottle of Marc Jacobs Daisy perfume and am excited to have a fresh new scent for spring!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Wish List: Pantone Pairings

Minneapolis based designer David Schwen started a series of "Pantone Pairings" with food that I first discovered thanks to Instagram last month. While his #pantonepairings hashtag ended up sparking lots of knockoffs, David's original works are incredible and flawless. And now, he's offering limited edition prints of many of the awesome pairings, and I am eager to grab one to frame and hang somewhere in the kitchen at home. Problem is, I can't decide which one!

I love the simplicity of salt + pepper -
But chips + salsa are pretty much my favorite things -

Peanut butter + jelly is kind of the perfect classic -

 And so is cake + ice cream (And it's vanilla ice cream! Which I can eat!) -

Pancakes + syrup would be fitting for us considering we go through Costco-sized boxes of Bisquick real good and quick... but this one is lacking some fun color for me -

Bacon + eggs just might be the winner. We have a deep love for bacon in our household, and this also fits in to the classic feel I like from some of the others -

Thoughts? Which one is your favorite? There's lots more on the Pantone Pairings website to choose from, too!

Happy Friday friends! Hope your weekends are as fun as I think mine is going to be!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thanks to Pinterest - Warming Up

I'm ready for Spring, and I imagine most of Chicago agrees. I've realized before that my Pinterest seems to shift inevitably with the changing seasons - I pin lots of lighter recipes and brighter colors and outfits involving sunglasses and casual dresses as the weather gets nicer (or, as the weather is supposed to be getting nicer, as in Chicago). This week, I'm drawn to exactly those things, and I'm looking forward to trying out a few things starting this weekend.

Clockwise from top left:
- It's no secret I'm head over heels in love with our recent kitchen makeover. We still have to tackle the backsplash, but thankfully that isn't something that has to be done at a specific time. Other than that, the room is complete with the exception of a few decorative touches - like cabinet hardware! I've wanted to use brass hardware somewhere in the house for awhile now, but wasn't sure if it would work next to stainless steel appliances. This image totally solidified that for me, and I'm officially on the hunt for affordable pieces similar to those in the photo.
- I've never made a recipe from Annie's Eats that wasn't absolutely fantastic, so I'm sure her "Ungreen Green Smoothie" will be equally as awesome. I had leftover blueberries from our St. Patrick's Day breakfast party that I froze for smoothies, so this is definitely a must-try for this weekend.
- I'm officially hooked on quinoa. The last time I made it, I made WAY too much and couldn't get through it before it went bad. These patties are the perfect way to use up leftovers, and I'm sure the flavors added are easily tweaked for more variety.
- I have the farthest thing possible from a green thumb, which really bums me out. Thankfully, composting should require little to no skill in the gardening department, and this tutorial is super simple and should take no time at all to get going as soon as the weather breaks a little.
- Umm. This shirt is amazing. That is all.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

If I had a Million Dollars: Jonathan Adler for JCP

People. I don't know how I missed this. The one and only Jonathan Adler has launched a line of things I can afford at JCPenney. And I, of course, want everything.

After stumbling on this earth shattering news via Pinterest, I obviously did some crazed virtual window shopping and settled on a ridiculous number of items from the collection that I've decided I just have to have. I'm sure it comes as a surprise to absolutely no one that I am enamored with nearly every single thing that involves an owl or a bright color, as evidenced by my little roundup below. I cannot wait to go and check all of this out in person (full disclosure: I might go tonight) and get my hands on a couple of pieces.

My favorites are below and are majority decorative accents as we really don't need any furniture. Let me tell you this though - if I were rich I would snatch up 6 of those tufted chairs for the dining room in a heartbeat. I'm in love. I'm also smitten with the lamps (and their price tags) and think both would be welcome pops of color in our updated bedroom. We've talked about hiring an electrician to put in an outlet on the bed side of our room so we can actually have lamps on the nightstands, and these are making me want to do that sooner than later! Based on a couple of in-store photos I've seen it looks like the lamps are teeny-tiny, which could explain the low prices, but that could be perfect for our cramped bedsides. The kitchen goodies would also be perfect little accessories to amp up the space - the canisters would be gorgeous on the counter or kitchen cart, but air-tight is a must have for me so we'll see what they're like in person. And the owl bookends and candle holder? Have to have.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14

Is there anything in the full collection that you're as excited about as I am? 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Getting Healthy-ish in the Kitchen

I mentioned last week in my "Thanks to Pinterest" post that Dan typically works late on Monday nights, so I try to use that as an excuse to make new recipes that he wouldn't like to join me in taste-testing. Usually, that means something that's a little lighter and healthier than our norm. But, as a total carb-addict myself, I have to get creative with meals that will still fill me up and make me still feel like I'm eating the delicious carb-y goodness of bread or pasta that I know and love. Thankfully, I'm loving experimenting with things like polenta and quinoa, so while I know these recipes aren't the same as eating a salad or something, they're a step in the right direction for me and I'm excited to have a few new (and super simple!) favorites in my arsenal.

First up was The Lucky Penny's Cauliflower Pizza Crust, which I tackled the night I said I would and shared with Manda. To put it simply - we are in love. Seriously. This crust was INCREDIBLE, and I'm regretting having posted in on my blog because I genuinely think I could have passed it off as a regular old pizza to the hubs if he hadn't known I was experimenting with cauliflower. Oh well. More for me.

I also made a shrimp and polenta dinner for myself and Bridget on a Monday night that was loosely based on a Today's Parent recipe I found on Pinterest. I only had a polenta "log" instead of instant, so I just threw a few thick slices in a pan with some olive oil and didn't bother to season it at all. I cooked up some shrimp with red pepper flakes, whole peeled tomatoes and a little garlic, and threw in a handful of spinach at the last minute, and served it all over the polenta slices. Delicious and took less than 15 minutes to get together!

Finally, with the rest of my frozen shrimp I whipped up a "Zesty Shrimp and Quinoa" recipe last night, which I also found on Pinterest. Based on the comments on the recipe (and the fact that I only had a little soy sauce anyways), I knocked down the amount of sauce pretty drastically but kept the quinoa portion the same. In the end, I think I used about 1/8 cup of soy sauce and half as much balsamic vinegar, and a little more garlic than called for. I also skipped the onion and hot sauce and threw broccoli in at the end. I'm already looking forward to leftovers for dinner tonight.

I haven't yet tackled the other projects mentioned in my Pinterest post, mostly because I'm being indecisive about the details of them, and partially because I've been busy hanging with my favorite bride (that'd be Bridget) to finish up her wedding invitations that I've had the honor of designing! I'm really excited to see the invites finished and love the little tweaks we've made as we perfected them. If you ask me, the route I went with the invites is absolutely spot on for Bridget - the fonts, flouirishes and colors make them really pretty, but the wording is witty and fun. Basically, my best friend on paper ;). I can't wait to show them off here once they're mailed and guests have all received them!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


It's been one of those weeks... and it's only Wednesday. I blame daylight savings time, which I absolutely love because it means it isn't dark at 4pm anymore, but I also despise because it means that when my alarm goes off at 6:45 my body still thinks it's 5:45... and that just doesn't really fly with me. Regardless, I love the quote above. It gives me hope that Spring really is just around the corner, which means I won't have to shiver walking to the office or put slippers on the second I walk in the house. It means that soon, there won't be any more ice for me to slip on (it's happened a ridiculous amount of times this year), and it means that I can put away the big bulky sweaters and break out some fun flats. It means evening walks with Dan and Louie, grilling dinners on the back porch and just feeling more refreshed in general. I can't wait.

I'm over you, Winter. Please go away soon.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Thanks to Pinterest

Last week was bananas. And that's putting it nicely. I am so looking forward to this week being much more low key and have no real plans outside of going to the gym and spending lots of time at home cooking, cleaning and crafting.

I've decided to start trying to use my Pinterest a little more intentionally, and figured an easy way to do that is to grab a few pins each week that I actually plan to try out. Of course, there's also a couple on there that are just inspiration and dreaming, but that's what makes Pinterest so much fun, right?

So behold, my newest little blog "series" - Thanks to Pinterest. I'll be back at the end of the week or early next week with an update on what I actually tried, and how everything worked out!

Clockwise from top left:
- Our "grownup bedroom" makeover is reeeeeeally close to being complete, and I am thrilled with how it's all looking. I have a few finishing touches to tackle before I post the whole room, but it's getting there. One thing I want to try is making some snazzy gold antlers for above our bed, as seen in Cait Weingartner's recent studio tour on The Everygirl. Granted, by DIY'ing this I'm not sure it really screams "grownup bedroom", but I still want the room to feel like us, so a little quirky will go a long way in there. 

- I've kind of gotten the whole curling my hair with a flatiron thing down, and I'm embarrassingly proud of myself for finally learning how (I'm 30, so it's a little pitiful that I didn't master this decades ago). Now, I'd love to figure out the trick to looser, more casual waves like this photo. And then I would like to dye my hair darker like hers, but I'll try to talk myself out of that one.

- The hubs works late on Monday nights, so I generally try to make it a healthy dinner night for myself since he won't usually go for those kinds of meals. Last week I threw together a shrimp and polenta dish for Bridget and myself and I loved the results. It was literally on the table in less than 15 minutes, so I'm sure it will become a new favorite for me. Tonight, I'm going to give The Lucky Penny's cauliflower pizza crust a try! 

- I have a couple of square canvases hanging around that never got used for wedding projects. I'm thinking about using a more sappy word like "love" and trying out something like I Spy DIY's Hi Painting for the bedroom.

- Finally, this is obviously not happening anytime soon, but I've decided that a weekend away to Issaquah, Washington's Treehouse Point is a MUST sometime in the future. Maybe when we decide to have kids I can talk Dan into this as a "babymoon", which is obviously totally necessary.

And speaking of babies... my sister-in-law is due with their THIRD boy any day now, and I cannot wait to see pictures of the little guy. AND, my brother and his wife are expecting later this year as well! Cousins are the best and I loved growing up with a ton of them. I'm excited that my kids are clearly going to be in the same boat someday!

Happy Monday! Here's to the migraine I woke up with going away. Like now.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Happy Weekend!

Tomorrow kicks off the official wedding celebrations for my bestie - it's Bridget's bridal shower! I'm super excited that her wedding is getting closer each day - it means lots of projects and crafts! And, considering my wedding quite literally wouldn't have happened without Bridget, I'm pumped to be on the other side now and let her delegate projects to me to help make her vision come to life. There's so many times I can recall just in the last few years that I really needed Bridget, and she's been there for me every single time. The e-card above kind of perfectly describes our friendship, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I spent last night cranking out fun little details like signs for the favor table and the last few name tags for all the lovely ladies attending tomorrow, and believe it or not, I feel like I'm actually in a good spot with my list. I am SO excited to spend some time with all of the bridesmaids getting to know each other better, and extra excited for the champagne bar... and candy bar... and dessert table...

I'm also excited that today marks the beginning of March. It's always one of my favorite months thanks to Forest Park St. Patrick's Day (next Saturday!) which is quite literally my favorite day of the year. This year, we're expecting about 40 people at our annual breakfast at the house, and I can't wait. We ordered t-shirts, there's a hashtag for fun photos, and Jeff is coming in from out of town.

Outside of my favorite day of the year, I'm looking to March to be kind of a restart for the healthy lifestyle I was loving so much in January. I did such a great job with going to the gym and eating better... and then I had a pitch at work that involved a week of late nights (no gym) and lots of ordering in for the team. I was barely back in the swing of things for a week before I came down with the stomach flu and a cold, and flat out didn't have the energy to workout for two weeks. Not cool. I guess the good news is that given I had no appetite and pretty much lived on chicken noodle soup for 10 days, it's not like I was pigging out on cheeseburgers or anything. I finally got a couple of workouts in this week and after tomorrow's shower I'm set on getting back to eating well.

What are your plans for the weekend?