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After taking a quick glance around the studio, I found my object(s) for this week’s exfoliation. In college, I had illusions of grandeur as a stationary hobbiest (pretty sure that is not a word but I’ll stick with it). Within the span of two weeks I amassed a small treasure trove of stationary supplies. I enjoyed the pastime for a few months, and a handful of people received my handmade notes.

But since that time I have not made any stationary in Chicago. At all. That means I haven’t made cards in a year and a half. I have kept the box of supplies around “just in case” I need to make some cards. But c’mon, really? Just in case “I need to” make some cards? How many times have I bought adorable cards at Two Sided down the street? Enough said.

So the next move was finding a worthy (and willing) recipient for this stationary hobbiest’s bounty. Initially my dear part-time lady, Gertie, was disinterested in the stash. But once she caught a glimpse of some baby pink heart embossed paper, she was hooked.

Dolan Geiman is kind of a big deal

January 30th, 2009   |   Style

Before I moved to Chicago I worked for a few months at Heavenly Metal, in Ann Arbor Michigan. I have mentioned the owner, Vicki, quite a bit so far this month. I think that is because she
a) is a great friend who has taught me a lot about what is really important, and how to live a high quality life without lots of money
and b) knows all sorts of cool, interesting artists.Anyways, as I was saying, before I moved to Illinois, Vicki pressed this picture into my hands and said “You have to have this.” When she realized I did not recognize the artist, Dolan Geiman, she was incredulous. “Everyone knows who Dolan Gieman is,” she said.

So in case anyone else doesn’t know who Dolan Gieman is, now you do too.

my salad gets a makeunder

January 29th, 2009   |   Food

I am not really sure if this salad I had on Tuesday night really qualifies as a “makeunder” I mean, it’s not simpler than a regular salad. It actually is the vegetable portion of an amazing pasta dish my dear friend Vicki of Heavenly Metal taught me. So I guess it isn’t actually a salad makeunder but a pasta dish makeunder. Perfect. Now I can keep the title.

Either way the meal was great- I don’t love raw spinach salads, so this was a great way for me to get my leafy greens. Here is the ingredient list:

  • 1 bag fresh spinach – this is a great dish to make if you are close to the expiration date
  • chopped garlic (as much as you like, I used 3 cloves)
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • capers (as many as you like, but optional)
  • pesto (mine was from Trader Joes, optional but does add a nice flavor)
  • pine nuts, walnuts

Here is the preparation:

  1. Sear the pine nuts and walnuts in a pan on medium heat until brown, make sure to keep an eye on them and don’t let them burn. Put them to the side for later.
  2. Put olive oil in large pot with garlic and let simmer for a few minutes until warm, on medium heat. Once you see some sizzling action, throw the spinach into the pot and cover. Keep an eye on the greens as they wilt and add extra olive oil if needed. It should take 5-7 minutes and greens will look dark and squishy.
  3. In a bowl add cooked spinach, some spoonfuls of pesto, capers, the seared pine nuts, walnuts, and s+p as needed. Stir and enjoy.

PS- Ever notice dinner always tastes better by candle light?

See Anne of City Sage’s original post.

design crush: Rebecca Minkoff

January 29th, 2009   |   Wardrobe

It’s hard to say whether Rebecca Minkoff is considered a “popular” designer. On the one hand most of the tabloid celebrities are photographed with their Minkoff handbags, and she has a strong, devoted (read: cult-like) following. But on the other hand, though I have had a design crush on her styles for about a two years now, very few of my friends, design industry related or otherwise, seem to know she exists. Which is a shame. Because she certainly exists and has absoultely amazing handbags. So here are a few of my favorites:
And this one:
And here is my very own navy Mini Morning After Bag.
You can check out their new photo shoot on You Tube. Adorable.

easy waffles with berries

January 28th, 2009   |   Food

At long last I have finally whipped out the camera and started photographing the foods I am making on this whole vegan cleanse thing. This is what my breakfast looked like this morning. After hearing I am abstaining from: meat, dairy, alcohol (more moderation), sugar, and gluten (which has now been added back in my diet), a lot of friends have asked: “so what do you eat?”

Well the answer this morning was:

  • Banana gluten-free waffles from Trader Joes
  • Thawed frozen berries from Trader Joes
  • Agave nectar (a natural, milder, honey-like sweetener) from Trader Joes
  • Toasted walnuts from Trader Joes

So basically this post can be boiled down to two main points: that breakfast was freaking amazing and I really, really like Trader Joes.

intentional obsession: white marble

January 27th, 2009   |   Style

Though it may seem odd, my first love is actually home decor, not jewelry. Gasp. One day I plan to make interior design a more permanent part of my vocation, but for the moment I will stick with the jewels and leave the decor to my dreams.

However I still continue to evolve both my jewelry studio and apartment into spaces I adore. Ask Erwin, the decorating is never done. With this in mind, I plan to start a recurring post titled Intentional Obsessions (I.O.). The title meaning that these obsessions are part of my personal vision and though they are not in my life yet, I intend to incorporate them over time. Sound good? I think so. Plus sharing them will take the edge off the longing desire.

My first I.O. is white marble. One day I intend to have a kitchen with white marble counter tops like this:
(notice the icy blue wall color!) Or maybe a bathroom like this:
But until then I could always use this coffee table:
Or this end table:
Or heck, even these cheese trays:
A girl has to start somewhere.

no paint apartment? no problem!

January 27th, 2009   |   Style

What a great idea for those with apartments that don’t allow walls to be painted (many of us)! Or for those who are perhaps to lazy to paint walls in the first place (most of us). This image is from a recent post on Design Sponge.

First, I adore this icy blue color. I even chose it as my inspiration board’s background for 2009. But what is even cooler is that anyone can use painted shelving like this as a way to add color to a room while keeping the walls neutral or stark white.

I am definitely bookmarking this concept for my apartment move in October.

Jess LC goes international

January 27th, 2009   |   Life

Jess LC International
Exciting news! Jess LC has gone global. Over the past week we have shipped to Quebec, London, and Singapore.

Two points for pictures submitted with Jess LC jewelry worn outside the US!

Jess LC International – by Jess LC on Polyvore.com

scouts or cookies?

January 26th, 2009   |   Food

girl scout cookies
Yum. Just designing this post is making my stomach rumble. As I placed my annual Girl Scout Cookie order with a friend I began to miss the days when I was a Girl Scout. I learned a lot with that great group of girls in middle school and I am still good friends with one, Catherine, to this day. And though I am sure I learned a lot from this group, the only things that stand out are the memories of french toast made in a coffee can and our fear of the green toilet in the outhouse when camping.

So maybe all I really miss is… the cookies. My favorites are Samoas, any other votes out there?

girl scout cookies – by Jess LC on Polyvore.com

When taking a little stroll through various blogs I found Cakespy.com, the most adorable cupcake art I have ever seen. Not just because it is the only cupcake art I have ever seen but also because it actually is adorable. My personal favorite is this one:
Hey, if you can’t eat ’em, join ’em.

notes from the weekend

January 26th, 2009   |   Life

The most interesting part of my weekend pertained to the infamous ‘vegan cleanse’ Kaitlyn and I have been attempting. It eliminates drinking, and therefore discouraged me from going out Friday night. But I was able to rationalize going out Saturday and enjoyed a few drinks anyways. So much for abstaining.

After seven days living more (or less) on the vegan cleanse I did successfully do without: meat, dairy, added sugars, and gluten. Here were the positive outcomes of week 1:

  • I learned about new foods – I had never tried rice milk, grilled eggplant, soy mozzarella cheese, or brown rice pasta. I liked all of these new foods and plan to eat them more often in my normal diet as well.
  • I laid off the sugar – I am an admitted sugar freak and taking six days off of the hard stuff seemed difficult but I really didn’t miss it as much as I thought. Until Saturday. Then I splurged on dark chocolate with raspberry filling and some PB Whoppers. Once a week I think might be a better pace for sweets than the 1-2 servings a day I used to have.
  • I realized dairy is disposable – Up until this week I loved, loved, loved dairy. Brie was a weekly purchase and Greek yogurt with honey was a lunch staple. But going off the milky stuff turned out to be easier than I expected, and I don’t think I will go back to eating it as much as I used to after the next two weeks of the cleanse.

On the other hand, here are the not-so-nice realities:

  • Eating gluten-free is next to impossible – Limiting gluten was prescribed in the cleanse because millions of Americans are unknowingly allergic to gluten. After 1 week on the gluten-free bus I can say I did not feel any different and therefore deemed myself pro-gluten. I will continue to eat wheat the rest of the cleanse. Another annoyance with this stipulation was the fact that brown rice products like pasta and waffles had next to no protein and fiber compared to the whole wheat versions.
  • Eating out on the cleanse is actually impossible – Here is my advice about eating out on a cleanse like this one: don’t do it. I went out four times last week. Dinner 1 was at a Spanish tapas bar, Cafe Ba Ba Reeba, where all I could eat were olives and spicy potatoes. Dinner 2 at Justin’s, a bar and grill was somewhat easier- grilled veggie burrito (without the wrap and cheese) with black beans and a side salad. Dinner 3 at Bistrot Margot I skipped the menu altogether and ate beforehand. Dinner 4 was the best because we went to Karyn’s Cooked, a vegan restaurant, where I ordered the grilled veggie wrap (gluten and all).

So looking forward into week 2, I feel a bit wiser and much more satisfied knowing what obstacles are ahead when eating out and that I am going to eat wheat.

Look out whole wheat homemade zucchini bread.

[photo found here]

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