Wednesday, August 21, 2013

For Your Aural Pleasure

Do any of y'all listen to podcasts? I know they're kind of old news, but I discovered them when I finally jumped on the iPhone bandwagon in January and I am totally addicted. Here are my top five faves (in alphabetical order, for fairness):

This American Life
Ira Glass's long-running show on NPR also puts up their weekly hour every Monday. With subjects ranging from recidivism to map-making, there's always something interesting in the show to keep your mind engaged. Throw in Glass's surprisingly soothing voice, and you've got the perfect enriching radio piece.
When You Should Listen: On your commute, or your Monday lunch break.

Stuff You Missed in History Class
I'm just gonna go ahead and show my hand on this one...this is my favorite podcast. Such my favorite that I've almost run out of (3 years!) of back episodes. I guess I'm just a sucker for the kind of fun bits of trivia that show up here! Subjects range widely, with current hosts Holly and Tracy exploring world history in easily digestible episodes between 20 and 40 minutes long. Luckily, they put out two new episodes a week, so it's pretty easy to get my fix.
When You Should Listen: At the gym during cardio, keeps your mind off the pain and focused!

Stuff You Should Know
Chronic jokesters Josh and Chuck bring listeners two episodes a week chock full of things you didn't even know you wanted to learn. With titles like "How Beer Works" and "Is there such a thing as a truth serum?," how could you not be intrigued. Admittedly, some shows captivate me more than others -- I'm sorry, I just couldn't bring myself to care about Bitcoin -- but there are so many episodes that it might very well be impossible to run out of listening material.
When You Should Listen: In bed before you fall asleep, while cooking dinner, or on a long road trip.

The Moth
This gem features short stories told live, without notes, at Moth events around the country. Some of the stores featured are told by well-known writers or performers, while others are told by "normal" people. The topics range wildly, from a day in the life to events with a global impact. What they all have in common is that they are deeply personal and beautifully told. Chances are, your emotions will run the full spectrum as you follow the podcast's updates, but it's fully worth what you can learn about the world.
When You Should Listen: When you need 15 minutes to reboot and get a new perspective on life.

Welcome to Night Vale
The newest addition to my must-listen gaggle. This bimonthly podcast concerns  the goings on of fictional (or maybe not...) Night Vale, AZ. The voice of Night Vale has an eerily deadpan delivery of the increasingly strange events in the town, causing you to become worried for its citizens and stay oddly amused at the same time. I would give more details, but I wouldn't want the sheriff's Secret Police to come knocking...
When You Should Listen: On an exceptionally beautiful day to stave off the creeps.

So there you have it! Best part is, theyre all free! What do y'all like to listen to?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Baked Turkey and Black Bean Meatballs

I don't think I've ever made such a concerted effort to make a food item healthy.  I think I may have actually pulled it off (though, of course, I couldn't resist throwing in a little cheesy goodness). The best part is that it is soooo easy to make these, and you could just as easily make turkey burgers out of the this recipe, I'm sure they'd taste great with a bit of a crust on them.

Baked Turkey and Black Bean Meatballs
Serves 4-6

1 lb. 99% Lean Ground Turkey
2 oz. crumbled feta
1 15.5 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup flaxseed meal
1 whole egg
1 small onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. table salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put rack in the center of the oven. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil.

2.) In a large bowl, use your hands to combine all ingredients, making sure the egg and flaxseed meal are evenly incorporated. Take care not to over mix.

3.) Form the mixture into meatballs, about 1/3 cup mixture in each one. Place on baking sheet.

4.) Bake for 35 minutes, or until cooked through.

5.) Enjoy! I find mustard is the perfect condiment for these bad boys.

What Everyone's Losing Their Shit Over - Fall '13

If you read any of the same blogs I do, or any other beauty-related blogs at all, you may have noticed some recurring items in many different posts. That's right, y'all, Fall releases have wormed their way into our reality and the actual season draws inexorably closer. So here's what everyone has been losing their shit over in the blogging world, which means the real world will join in on in about 5, 4, 3...

Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick

This "creamy badass luxury" from eternal favorite Urban Decay comes in 22 shades, which is really quite a large release, if you ask me. Then again, this is filling a glaring void in the UD oeuvre, so I guess they decided to go big. By all reports, these apply beautifully, and the shade selection has a little something for every style. These are definitely on my must try list.

Butter London Colour Clash Collection

One of the fall releases for cult brand Butter London, these six shades straddle the border between neon and creme, two trends that I think will still be really hot heading into fall. I have seen these show up with raves on just about every nail blog, pushing me closer to an in appropriately expensive nail lacquer purchase.

Chanel Le Blush Cremè de Chanel

It's no secret that cream blush is a super hot item right now. It's also no secret that Chanel knows what it's doing when it comes to makeup (and fashion, and perfume...). That makes the fabled fashion house's entry into this product really exciting, and the reviews have been almost universally positive. If there's one splurge item for me this fall, don't be surprised to see my sidling up to the high-end counter some time in the near future.

So those are the hottest picks around the blogosphere for this coming season. What do you think? Have you tried any of them yet, or has something else caught your eye? Let me know!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lungs for Josie!

Hello all! As some of you may know, one of my very close friends has Cystic Fibrosis and found herself in desperate need of a double lung transplant.  I am pleased to report that Josie received new lungs on July 28th! Her recovery is going smoothly so far, and though she has a long journey ahead of her, the change this has made in her life is awe-inspiring.

As you can imagine, a procedure of that magnitude incurs an unbelievable cost. While her family is fortunate enough to have health insurance, they are still personally responsible for many thousands of dollars related to the wonderful, life-saving care she has received. Many have already demonstrated their generosity and donated toward her cause, but there's still a ways to go.

You can find Josie's fundraising page here:

Every little bit helps, so even if you can only give a dollar, or even just a shout out for her page, it would be deeply appreciated by Josie, her family, and everyone else who cared about her, myself included!

I hope you all are having a terrific Friday and have a wonderful weekend ahead!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

It's All in the Details

One of the things I like best about living in Chicago are the individual touches on many of the buildings around the city. I've seen some of the loveliest little details hidden away on residential streets in the thick of it all. Walking around Lincoln Park last night, I noticed some really beautiful stained glass. I just think it adds a lot of character to a place!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Thursday!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pink Lemonade

I would say "morose" is not too strong a word to describe myself between the ages of 12 and 21, which is why I find it a little bit surprising that I love bright colors. But it's true. I EFFING LOVE BRIGHT COLORS.

I used Essie Watermelon, my current favorite pink, and Julep Bea for this look. I really want to like Bea, it's a great yellow, and it's opaque in a couple of coats, but it did that bubbling thing under the top coat. I'll have to be a little gentler with the bottle next time.

This look is brightening my day! I've got a bad case of can't-look-away-from-my-nails. Makes walking even more dangerous than usual for me. Eeeek!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Getting Ready Rag

I don't care what you say, everyone has some jams that they love to listen to while getting dressed. Nothing like pumping it up as you change your outfit six times because it turned out that shirt you wanted to wear isn't clean after all and neither is anything else because you're bad at remembering to do your laundry. My current four song fix goes something like this:

"Just Give Me a Reason"
Pink ft. Nate Ruess

"Yoü and I"
Lady Gaga

"Pretty Girl Rock"
Keri Hilson

"Death to my Hometown"
Bruce Springsteen ft. Tom Morello

What gets you raring and ready to go?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Tomato, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

I appreciate that this photo makes this look totally terrifying, but those are the kind of food pictures you get when you really want to get down to eating what you've just cooked.

Tomato, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken
Serves 3-4

3 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts
5 oz. frozen spinach
4 oz. goat cheese
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
3 tbsp. cream cheese
2 tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Clean chicken breasts. Using a thin, sharp knife, butterfly each one, taking care not to pierce the top or bottom of the opening. Season breasts with salt and pepper.

3. Prepare spinach according to package directions. While it cooks, combine cream cheese, goat cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes in a medium-sized bowl. Add spinach and mix together (the heat from the spinach should soften the cheese and make it easier to combine). Season to taste.

4. Stuff each chicken breast with spinach mixture, there should be just enough for all three. If you'd like, secure opening with toothpicks.

5. Place chicken in a glass baking dish, being sure not to crowd the pan. Drizzle with olive oil.

6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Serve immediately.

I think this makes an excellent late summer dinner, especially if accompanied by a lightly dressed green salad and a nice white wine. Enjoy!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Hurry, It's Lovely Up Here

Yesterday, the Lilly Pulitzer Facebook page posted the most beautiful pattern painting.  How great are these colors? It just feels like the slow segue August makes into Fall.

I was inspired to do a nail art design, something I am not usually inclined to do as a result of my chronically shaky hands. Results were predictable.

I think what it lacks in finesse is made up for in enthusiasm. It wasn't hard, as I'm sure you could tell, just involved patiently waiting for each new splotch of color to dry.

I used Essie for the whole mani, Grow Stronger for the base coat, and then (in order) The Girls are Out, In the Cab-ana, The More the Merrier, and Hip-anema.

Have you tried anything new lately?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Clinique Chubby Stick Intense

We've all heard of the Clinique Chubby Stick, yes? People just lose they damn minds over those suckers.  Of course, I'm no exception, and I've been lusting after a particular one myself for months.

The Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Heftiest Hibiscus. Clinique does this cute thing where they've made all the names alliterative. Just a nice kitschy touch, I think. I just love full coverage lip products, they give a touch of glamour to the everyday, so I'm definitely more attracted to the intense formula in this line. Heftiest Hibiscus is a beautiful red orange that reads coral on me, so it must have some pink undertones that come through in the wear. Application is seamless, and the twist up applicator guarantees that you won't lose a bunch of product to a pencil sharpener. I've found that wear time is about 5 hours before a touch up is needed, and it leaves a nice stain, so it won't disappear entirely.

Available wherever Clinique is sold ($16).