Monday, December 14, 2009

13-Year-Old Authors- Help their Bestseller Campaign!

The children of J's co-worker just wrote and published their first book... how cool is that?!

A note we were forwarded by the kids is below... they're asking everyone who is interested to buy a copy (or two!) tomorrow, December 15 from Amazon, so that they can have a best seller on their hands.

Our names are Owen and Dustin Schoenfeld, we are thirteen years old and we have written a book called It Isn't Just A Game.

It Isn't Just A Game is the story of two kids, Alex and Corey, who play a baseball video game. Whatever they do in the game actually happens to their favorite team The Chicago White Sox. Once they realize this, they plan their whole summer around the White Sox's schedule, hoping to lead them to a World Series title. As the plot thickens, Alex and Corey encounter crazy events and wonder if a game can really be more than just a game.

It took us a total of three years to complete our book and as most writers will tell you, it was "a long, yet rewarding project."

Now we hope we can achieve our ultimate dream, which is our book becoming a bestseller. Our best shot at this is if multiple books are bought all on the same day. The day we have chosen to take a shot at this dream is December 15th, the book's release date.

If you are interested in this book, we would very much appreciate if you would purchase our book at on December 15th. Please pass this email along to anyone on your mailing list that may be interested. This book would make a great holiday gift for any young reader or baseball fan.

Thank you so much for taking your time to read this email.

Feel free to visit us at our website:
or email us @

Here is the link to Amazon if you choose to buy it on December 15th

Thank you again,
Owen and Dustin Schoenfeld

Friday, December 11, 2009

Baked Eggs = Yummy

There is this great little cafe/ coffee shop (Julius Meinl on Southport in Lakeview) in Chicago that introduced me to the most amazing breakfast food - baked eggs! They offer several options (J likes the bacon and swiss cheese), but my favorite includes yummy goat cheese. Rather than heading out whenever I have a craving for baked eggs, lately we've been eating a ton of them at home... if it sounds good, here's how you can make them too:

Baked Eggs

1. Heat the oven to 375
Baked Eggs2. Rub some butter along the inside of an oven-safe dish (a small ramekin or bowl)
3. Crack two eggs into the dish
4. Add 1-2 tablespoons milk or cream (depending on how rich you want it!)
5. Sprinkle with goat cheese
6. Pierce the yolk of each egg 1-2 times with a fork
7. Put the dish(es) on a cookie sheet and into the oven - bake for 20-30 minutes, until the yolk is the desired level of done-ness (not sure that is a word!)

You're done - serve with some toast and enjoy!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


For the first time this winter, we're getting snow here in Chicago... not that I am complaining that it has taken so long- I would much prefer if we could skip winter all together. But, you have to admit, it can be quite pretty:

Picture from Mark Cassino

Photo from charlesimages on flickr

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Craftiness: Wintertime Drink Mixes

I'm full of ideas for what to make/ create for the ladies in my life, but the men are another story. I think guys are just harder to shop for in general, nevermind craft for!

With some family get-togethers quickly approaching, I need a plan. Quickly. I am thinking that some drink mixes to make warm drinks could hit the spot... some ideas I've found and may try to pull off:

Friday, December 4, 2009

Happy Friday... enjoy some weekend awesomeness!

I recently discovered the website 1000 Awesome Things and love it. Nothing crazy like winning the lottery is listed, just those everyday little victories we've all experienced. Just read through the list... there are sure to be tons that make you say "yea!" when you come across them. Some favorites of mine:

#995 Finding money you didn’t even know you lost
#959 Planning for snoozes
#953 When cashiers open up new check-out lanes at the grocery store
#840 Popping Bubble Wrap

Picture from Elizabeth Green on flickr

Wishing you an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Loving It: Snarky Wine Tags

'Tis the time of year for holiday parties and wine is a common gift to bring your lovely host/ess, but you need a way to make your bottle stand out... enter these hilarious tags from PoppTags:

Originally found via swissmiss

Love the unexpected combination of snarkiness with gorgeous letterpress. Plus, its nice to have a sense of humour around the fact that, while its not the most creative gift in the world, its likely one your friends will enjoy getting!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chandelier Love

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday (love a 4-day weekend!), I met a friend for lunch at Sepia, a restaurant here in Chicago. Not only do they have yummy food, but I couldn't stop staring at these gorgeous chandeliers they had hanging in the middle of the restaurant.


If I ever have the kind of home with a Dining Room, I may have to steal this idea...!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Craftiness: Handmade Holidays

Every year I intend to make homemade gifts, but rarely am organized enough to make it happen.... but I am determined to make it happen this year! Some items on my to-do list:

Craft Roundup: Gifts

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Funny

I came across this funny picture over at Wonderwall & it made me giggle... I always think its so funny when you see a big strong man walking such a fluffy little dog! Not that anyone in our house looks super intimidating walking our munchkins...!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Letterpress at Home

Yesterday I received an email from PaperSource (and my lovely friend Mara- hi!) about their new QuicKutz L Letterpress Machine... it's essentially a tool that will do for Letterpress what Gocco did (sob!) for Screenprinting.

You can read some great reviews all over the web: I liked this one from One Little Spark and Craft Critique (includes a video). You can also see a promotional video of the machine in action here.

From what I am seeing the tool looks very easy to use & seems to produce a nice finished product. Negatives are that they claim you need to use their ink (though I always bought gocco ink & was ok with it...) & that the process seems a bit tedious, especially if you were trying to produce a lot of prints. Thinking of a letterpress wedding invitation, with all the different pieces... yikes!

There are a bunch of plates you can buy (some come with the kit), but because that would be way too straightforward simple for me, I'm really interested to see if the tool would support custom plates (ex: those made by boxcar press). The question seems to be getting echoed throughout blogland, so I am hoping that means we'll have some testers and answers soon! I also found this thread on the QuicKutz forums that seems to indicate that they're planning to also provide a plate-creation option-yay!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Loving It: Isa Form Prints

I adore these super-cute prints from Isa Form, designed by Swedish artist Isabelle Norman Sällström- these first two would be great housewarming gifts & the final one is great for anyone who loves a little motivation. Most prints can be customized with your own text and/or colors.

You can find all them on her website here.  

Monday, November 16, 2009

Craftiness: Holiday Stockings

We moved over the winter and for the first time in years have a fireplace... so of course I now need some stockings for the upcoming holiday season! I found the following tutorials - hopefully one will inspire you too!

Christmas Stockings to Sew

Stockings to Sew: (Clockwise from top left corner)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pug Love: Have a Snuggly Weekend!

My pugs Frank + Boozer have the right idea.... lots and lots of snuggling!

Snuggle Pugs
my little breakfast burritos

Pug Yang
Pug Yang

Wishing you a restful weekend!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happiness = Group Dancing

I'm sure many of you have seen this, but had to share it for those who hadn't... I've been showing it to anyone who will crowd around my laptop & just adore it - its like bottled happiness! Seriously - try to watch without smiling or bopping along.

It was filmed during Oprah's season opening episode where they blocked off several blocks of Michigan Avenue here in Chicago for the big O. A lot of people in the city were upset, and rightfully so, that a celebrity gets such special treatment... but the Wave kinda makes up for it in my book. Sorry but it does.

They apparently got people to come in to learn the dance the day before & then everyone who knew it spread out throughout the crowd & taught the people around them. Oprah didn't know it was going it happen, so I also love her reaction - pretty much the same as mine when I first saw it!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hanging Planters - Bring my herb garden indoors!

Sky PlanterOver the summer I did a bit of gardening... we bought our first home last winter & come spring I was itching to make the most of our new (tiny) yard! First up on the garden's 'must have' list was lots of herbs: I've heard that they're super easy to grow (a must!), plus I'd love to cook more and use fresh herbs. I always hate buying fresh herbs at the grocery store - I never cook enough to use everything I buy before it goes bad & I hate feeling like I wasted it. So growing was the perfect solution: each time I needed herbs, I just ran out back to cut some. (Yes, I felt sooo very cool and often made a production of the whole thing. :)

So now that winter is coming, I'm playing with the idea of moving the herb garden indoors. Our kitchen doesn't get much natural light so I don't know how well any plants would fare, but I just adore these platers I found over on A Merry Mishap... so modern, yet functional! A grouping would look great and bring a nice shot of green come the gray, cold winter.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gorgeous Word Art

Over the summer my husband took me to the newly-opened Wit Hotel for our anniversary. The place has amazing decor, and its a Doubletree, so isn't crazy-expensive. Our room had this amazing collection of ambigrams by John Langdon up as artwork.
An ambigram - featured prominently in the novel Angels & Demons - is a word that can be read from different angles, like or MOW or NOON that can be turned through 180 degrees and still be read as the same words. I love gorgeous lettering, so of course couldn't resist these!

You can see more examples of his work on his website (he makes custom ones for couples - how cool for a wedding instead of a custom monogram!)... but for now enjoy these (super-rough, from my phone) closeup pics of some of the items in our room!

Wit Hotel Artwork - Syzygy

Wit Hotel Artwork - Philosophy, Art & Science

Wit Hotel Artwork - Reflect

Monday, November 9, 2009

Host(ess) Idea - Dress Up your Wine

Its getting to be that time of year... you know what I mean - we haven't even hit Thanksgiving yet, and the stores are all brimming with visions of holiday cheer! One thing that comes up again & again this time of year is the holiday party... but what to bring the host/ hostess?!

Of course a bottle of wine (or champagne!) is always nice, but it needs a little something special to make it stand out... and so it doesn't look as though you stopped by the liquor store on your way over (even if you did). I love this idea, found last year:

Originally from 2Modern, this item is no longer available, but would be pretty easy to make either using fabric scraps or old/ secondhand items from a thrift store. How cute would it be to use an old holiday sweater?! I think I'm gonna try & whip up a few of these... I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hello (again)!

I can't believe it has been almost a full year since I last posted. Wow. I never intended to be away for so long... things kinda got crazy & I had a mini meltdown-slash-quarterlife crisis (though I'm a few years too old for one) and this just kinda fell to the wayside. In the meantime I have managed to not only get a grip, but also bought & decorated our first place (fun! pictures to come!), learned to garden (some) & took some crafty classes. And of course my outside blog obsession didn't stop, so I have been saving ideas and links like crazy. And now I am back & ready to share it all with you!