why don’t you… | …read a scary read

For some reason when the weather changes from humid and sweaty to crisp and clean, one of my favorite things to do is curl up with a big ol’ bowl of popcorn and watch a terrifying, sleep-with-the-lights-on movie. It’s actually the ONLY time you will catch me watching a scary movie and my limit is like one, maybe two if the first fell more on the suspense side that horror side.

Maybe it’s because I just had a baby or maybe because I’m getting older, but in the past year, I seem to have developed a terror threshold. I couldn’t handle some of the scarier ones; the effects were just too real! I decided to head to Library. Even though books can be equally downright scary, my visual imagination has to be more tame than a Hollywood make up artist.

Horror Books 2014

Here are my picks of stories that will seriously have you on the edge of your seat:

1. I Remember You: A Ghost Story by Yrsa Sigurdardottir. This is one of those novels that alternates between one story and another every other chapter leaving horrifyingly wonderful cliffhangers until near the end, you find out why they’re connected. Alternating between a group of friends who set out with the intention of renovating a dilapidated home into a bed and breakfast and a psychologist who starts out investigating a vandalism case that quickly leads to details about his missing son, they come to learn ghosts, twists, hauntings and suspense are their common bond.  It’s event based on true events, which I know, I know, whatever that means, but in my opinion, still makes the story better.

2. The Never List by Koethi Zan.

3. Dracula by Brahm Stoker (annotated by Leslie Klinger. Because vampires are so hot right now. Because the origin of the blood sucking legend is really rather interesting!

4. The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror by David J. Skal. Quite the interesting opinion that social and historical events directly impact the portrayal of horror in our media.

If those don’t do it for you, head on over to goodreads and check our their horror category to pick your own titles or if you’re a traditionalist and want to stick to the horror flick, check out this list available to stream on Netflix. Read or watch, make a night of it and don’t forget the popcorn!


autumn perfected: butternut squash gnocchi

Squash, Shrooms, and Sage: the three ingredients that make this dish my new autumn favorite. Tossed with a brown butter and garlic sauce, it’s probably the best meal I’ve ever made. I may or may not have made another batch for my roommate just so she could tell me how good it was… The dense dumplings stick to your ribs and the farmers market-fresh mushrooms and sage add an earthy sense of dining.  Add a glass of red wine and it’s a meal to impress.

I followed this recipe from Iowa Girl Eats, but put a little of my own spin on it…


the mantel in fall

Besides the fact it’s non-functional, I have a perfect, charming fireplace. That is a statement I hope I can always testify to (minus the non-functional part). When the chill of late fall arrives and the sun sets at 6:00 p.m., there is nothing better than plopping down with a book, my new  throw from West Elm, and Starbucks in front of a crackling flame.

As I suffer from a rare case of ADD when it comes to decorating, my mantel is also my best friend. In my living room it’s the focal point, having been painted a bright white, taking up an entire wall (along with it’s built-shelving). Because it’s the focal point, I can decorate as much or little as I please and it will still have a dramatic affect on the room. I can change it by the season, holiday, or whenever I feel the room needs a new dynamic.

Read more for details on how I created a mantel that celebrates my favorite things about fall: school days, crisp weather, football season, and sweater weather…


love for your laptop | desktop backgrounds

Fall is officially here, and at least in Milwaukee, has not been shy about it’s arrival. I could not be more thrilled. Fall is by far, my favorite time of year. It’s almost evokes a Pavlovian response. As the view from my office window changes from various hues of green to a sea of gold, maroon, and burnt orange, so does my appetite. I suddenly have the cravings for chili and endlessly search for a new cornbread recipe. My bank account cringes when the crisp air reminds me of colder temperatures and I suddenly must have a new wardrobe of sweaters, boots, and skinny jeans. I also love this time of year for the change in attitude. Time seems to slow. Regrouping occurs. An energy that is lost over summer schemes is renewed. Here is my checklist for Fall activities:  (more…)

day of the turkey and thankful thinking

Things I’m Loving about Thanksgiving this Year:
1. My hometown’s Turkey Day 5K (aka an excuse to eat one more slice of pie). Even if your town doesn’t have an organized race, plan on going for a long run, walk or bike ride bright and early with family and friends.
2. Pack vs. Lions; enough said.
3. The opportunity to thank the Lord for how blessed I am.
4. Finding the perfect sweater to go with my new suede pumps.
5. A new pumpkin cookie recipe! Glazed with chocolate and made with pumpkin puree, they’re amazing. Click here for the full recipe and instructions!

daaang. it’s cold.

This time of year is not the greatest. In fact, I usually turn a cognitive eye towards the late-fall chill by wearing flip flops all through October reminding myself, “No snow, you’re good to go,” and insisting frozen yogurt is the best in 40 degree weather (completely ignoring the fact I’m wearing gloves, obviously).

However, I do love Hot Apple Cider and have a great recipe for an inexpensive version. Upon realizing our house is somehow down to one lone coaster, I made some inexpensive coasters that I won’t have to worry about if they mysteriously disappear.

Hot Apple Cider
Ingredients: 16 oz. of Organic Apple Juice (this will give you more flavor and a better consistency), Rinds of One Orange and One Lemon, Cinnamon (Stick or Ground).
Directions: Throw everything into a pot and let simmer for 5-10 min. Pour through a strainer to remove rinds.
Cut and sand 1/2 inch sections of birch wood. Using acrylic paint and samples of wood stain, decorate and finish with a semi-gloss spray or hodge-podge.

cobbler and scary movies

Apples, apples, apples; they’ve always been the fruit of the “fall.” In the midwest, families and friends plan weekends at the orchard, eating apple pie and cider. Don’t get me wrong, I would never let the season pass without making a home-made carmel apple; however, little do people know, pears are also in season starting in early October. I started noticing different varieties of pears in the market, so decided to do a little taste test and try a new recipe. My favorite was the red bartlett pear and the new recipe? An adapted version of Southern Living’s Carmel Pear and Apple Cobbler.

Following the recipe, first cook the apples and pears.

Pour carmel mixture into greased cookware (I chose 1/2 pint jars for an upcoming party- perfect individually sized portions)

Spoon muffin mixture on top and bake 20-25 min (with pan underneath in case of boil-over)

Serve with whipped topping or ice cream! -Cheers