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Shop Small

With Thanksgiving next week and the ensuing holiday shopping that comes with the holiday.  Maybe you've already started?  I want to take a second and remind you to shop small.  Our small businesses are more in jeopardy than ever.  It's a result of several things: our current administration, growing online companies which I won't name but personally try to avoid buying from.

If you skipped that paragraph: shop small!  It's where the creative gifts are anyway.

Are you confused on where to start?  Below are a few of my favorites in Chicago since I'm still discovering new favorites in St. Louis.

A great place to start is one of the many holiday bazaars around Chicago: Renegade (be prepared for crowds), Show of Hands was already last weekend!

Books: Unabridged (Lakeview), City Lit (Logan Square)
Children's Toys: Play (Logan Square)
Posters, Ornaments, Lotion, Fun Stuff: Inkling (Lakeview), FourSided (Lakeview), Shop 1021 (Logan Square)
Coffee: Coffee & Tea Exchange (La…
Recent posts

Using Pumpkins After Halloween

We carved our pumpkins, Halloween came and went.  Then it's time to cook the pumpkin!  Pumpkins are food after all.  They're a squash.

I should note before this year I haven't had outdoor space so I only cooked tiny pumpkins, usually for pumpkin bread or something.
This year though, we had two big pumpkins!  And I had no idea how much pumpkin you get from one.  I was planning to use both for a pumpkin mac and cheese.  After one the crockpot was overflowing...
I might use the other for a pumpkin soup or something.
I cut off the carved part and threw that away, cleaned out the inside and worked on cutting off the skin, just like any squash.  Be careful when you do this, I slice my thumb a bit, which was unfortunate.
For pumpkin #1 I ended up combining these recipes a bit: Crockpot Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese Recipe and Creamy Crock Pot Butternut Mac & Cheese.  Essentially I wanted to use spices that make sense with pumpkin, but I liked some of the other ingredients with the b…

Interesting Dialects

Happy Halloween!  Just for fun!

This NYT quiz made it's rounds before, but all the sudden people are passing it around again.

After splitting my life between a small town south of St. Louis and Chicago, I got Overland Park, Kansas, St. Louis, Missouri, and Grand Rapids, Michigan....


Give it a try!

Farmer's Market Boxes

Last weekend we went to visit my brother and his family for my nephew's 6th birthday!  They moved a week before the visit so they were a bit overwhelmed with life.  They soon asked if I wanted to take the last box and 1/2 of their farmer's market boxes home with me.  It's the last of the summer boxes they signed up for and they were just tired of the creativity required to cook with vegetables they're not used to.


First, you may be wondering what a farmer's market box is.  While I have not signed up for one, what I understand is you sign up for weekly boxes through a season, in their case summer.  You'll get assorted items from a local farmer, but you won't know what you're getting.  They did receive an email each week highlighting a few of the vegetables with a recipe suggestion or two.

I was so excited to try out a few things I haven't cooked with before.

Creamy Crock Pot Butternut Mac & Cheese - I substituted delicata squash for the butternu…


For the past year, I've essentially been watching my succulent die. 

We moved to St. Louis and clearly Mike & I aren't the only ones who like this weather more.  I looked over at my succulent the other day and saw it was sprouting!  SPROUTING!  I literally changed nothing but the climate.  And it made me feel so proud of myself (for no reason at all). 

I also looked up at my aloe plant and it has all kinds of new sprouts too.  I also changed nothing. 

More sunlight?  Maybe.  I think they just like the climate though.

Note:  I did kill my mums.  Please say they're supposed to die.

New Jeans

When we set out to develop denim, we were
told we couldn’t do it all. That commercial denim
destroys the environment. That only super-stretchy sells.
That designer jeans need a designer price tag.
Good thing we don’t do what we’re told.via Everlane
I heard about a new jean that was environmentally friendly with ethical factories and I was almost all in.  Then I found out they were selling for $68.  Jeans you can feel good about?  Yes.

And this is me.  I've moved over to almost exclusively purchase jeans from Madewell (which is so expensive), but I love how they look and feel.

I figured I would save some money and take a chance.

They even let you go inside the denim factory!

I love when you purchase them online you can choose from different sizes and heights for the model to have a better idea how they will fit on you.  I'm 5'4" and I never know if I should get regular length or ankle length (and they turn out to be regular for me).  I was able to choose a 5'6" model a…


In honor of our 1 month-i-versary, we're married!  Today Mike wore the shirt he wore on our first date, which I oddly remember and he doesn't wear often.  I said, "You're wearing our first date outfit and it's our month-i-versary!" :)

It has been quite the month.  We celebrated my sister's birthday (always quite the affair), packed, moved, took a little trip to Nashville, went to LouFest!  (Mike drove back and forth from Chicago-St. Louis 4 times.  (3 times in one week.)

I'd love to share some of our wedding photos, if you're interested, with a couple big call outs first.  We loved our photographer, both in personality and photo quality (Jenn Shaffer) and our flowers (Stems).  We also got a great cake from Weber's Bakery.