Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Dream: To make cheese

I always wanted a cheese shop or to have a creamery, that is until I realized how much work goes into one wheel of cheese. I am all for working hard, but holy cow (no pun intended) cheese is an art form. So instead of making it I will just to continue to eat it and put my dream of making cheese aside (along with winning American Idol and of course being an international movie star).

I do love cheese though. Soft, firm, goat, sheep or cow I love it all. There is truly not enough time to sample all the wonderful cheeses in the world. It seems that artisan cheese is the latest and greatest thing for the masses. Good thing I have been ahead of the curve in this category. As a card carrying member of the Culture magazine and the resident lurker of many NW cheese sources I am proud to say I  am a super cheese head. While I don't have the trained palate of a professional I do have the taste buds of an enthusiast. If you are looking for a great gift or even a little splurge for yourself here are some of the best cheese of the web (and of course locally in Seattle)!

The Cheese Cellar - The do have a web site, however not an online shop. This shop is worth going to in person if you happen to be in the Seattle area. They know their stuff and can teach you a few things too! For those of you without plans on coming to Seattle, you can order a cheese of the month club by calling them directly. Totally worth it!

Murrary's Cheese - Based in New York this is an online cheeser's dream. They have cheese for cheese and then some cheese on top and did I say it's online! Plus I do recommend stopping in the store if you are in the NYC area. So yummy and worth every dollar you spend.

Cowgirl Creamery - This is one of my favorite creameries. I had the pleasure of meeting one of the owners at a party in Napa and have been addicted to the cheese ever since. They have a great online website that has a store, information and lots and lots of cheese. They have three brick and mortar stores as well and I have only been to the The Ferry Plaza in San Francisco (this is a must go to even if you aren't into cheese), but I am sure they are all fantastic.

Good thing it's almost lunch time, this has made me hungry!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Working for the weekend!

Ain't it the truth? This past weekend has been crazy busy visiting with friends, family and doing a little deal shopping. My best deal was my brand new gorgeous grey UGGs that I scored for $10. Yes 10 dollars! Love it when I get a great deal. My mom and sister found some great items too. It was a fantastic, sunny, warm, deal having weekend. So needless to say I was a little sad Monday came a little too quickly. So here is what I have on tap this week to get prepared for the three day weekend.

I decided that I am going to make strawberry infused vodka for some yummy strawberry lemonade to sip while enjoying a birthday party for my 1 year old niece. I will follow up with the recipe and results on Friday (I have to taste test before going to the party).

Looks pretty good even without the four day infusion process!

We are having another garage sale this weekend so that means cleaning of the closet. I have really tried to be good about getting rid of things as new things come in, but sometimes it's hard to say goodbye to that sparkly club shirt. I know that I haven't been to a club in about 3 years, but that is so not the point. It's season changing time so it is always a good idea to go through and clean out the items that you didn't wear this summer even though you swore you would when you cleaned out your closet in the spring. I know I am not the only one.

I am totally going to make this, because it looks delicious and should not take forever to make. Plus I really enjoy pork chops.
Recipe from Kurtz Corner

I am going to try this peel that I received in my Birchbox this month. It has promise, but I will for sure let you know how it goes.

Free Shipping from BirchBox

Lastly I am going to hunt down some blue mason jars. I have a few projects that they would be perfect for, but they are a little hard to find (well at least places that aren't charging an arm and a leg).

Enjoy your Monday!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Rabbit Hole of Craft Bloggers

I was bored one evening and found myself on the web looking for a craft project involving chandelier glass pieces. I found tons of great ideas and then I spied the white rabbit. I followed him from blog to blog to blog and seriously found so many crafty inspirations that it will keep me busy for weeks when the weather turns. Seriously how do people come up with the stuff? I like to do crafts and love coming up with unique and interesting projects, but the creativity that these people has makes my funky wine cork board look like a kindergartner came up with it. Seriously this is entirely true (however I am proud to have tasted the wine that every cork was a part of. That's something, no?). So I thought today would be a perfect day to share some of my favorite crafts that I have yet to do, but plan on getting to. It might get your creative juices flowing too. If you are like me you may spy the rabbit. If you dare to click through you may just land at a Mad Hatter tea party (no I am not kidding there is an entire craft build for a Mad Hatter tea party), but it is a pretty fun looking party.

Out of all the glass chandelier ideas, this is my favorite.
I can't wait to get this one done.
By Frugalicious Me
Super cute and super easy. Perfect pop
of color to a fall outfit.
By kitty cats and airplanes
My grandmother used to collect buttons. I think she was going
for a million, but was just a little short. We did keep some when
clearing out her house so I may just need to make this happen.
By The Swell Life
I just have to make this. I have been wanting a bag like this
for months. Looks pretty easy too. Now I just need to learn to sew.
By Style Scrapbook
How cute are these coasters? You could use any type of
paper or photographs and presto instant gift that is unique
and not totally cheesy!
By Light Refreshments Served
There are so many more I could spend all day posting links. Instead I will just post them on Pintrest where you will find these and about a million more if you join. You may hate me for getting you into it when you can't stop pinning, but trust me it's a worthwhile time waster!!

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Travel in Style

I was on this live chat with Johanna Uurasjarvi, who is the designer behind the brand Leifsdottir that you can find at Anthropologie among other retailers, and there were lots of really great Q&A's. The one that caught my eye though was the question about what to travel with in the season changing months like say October. Her answer was simple and easy to put together, dresses. You can add tights, jacket and boots and be cozy or if the weather is warm you can pair with flats and you're set. I thought for a minute about it and then realized that is the best and easiest thing I have heard. Why did I not think of this? So I decided to look for some perfect pieces that can easily go from summer to fall weather and share them with you. Johanna also mentioned a travel outfit that she has as a go to every time. Dress, tights, flats and cashmere wrap. Again duh, sounds perfect and I think I found the perfect dress for me.

I thought I would start with one from her own
collection. Add a cardigan and scarf  for cold
 weather or pair with heels or flats for warm weather.
Leifsdottir Persian Floral Dress, Anthropologie.
I love this dress. Period. Tights, boots and done!
Ann Taylor, Modern Croc Blouson dress
These boots are super amazing and would great with
almost any dress. Nordstrom Frye, Harlow Campus Boot.
Cashmere is always worth the price and these wraps are
lovely. I love this in the Pewter Heather above, because it will
go with everything. White+Warren Cashmere Travel Wrap
So while on the White+Warren site I found the perfect
airplane dress. This is fantastic!
Scoop Neck Modal Dress.
So I need to get my shop on now! Safe travels.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

LDR

Not to be confused with LDS (just in case we get a few stragglers) it means long distance relationship. So I never thought when I started this blog I would really explore this, but here is the thing there is very little on the subject. There is advice and opinions, but so little on actual trying to figure this damn thing out. I just read this article on the mommy blogger community that praised the support and love to be found there, so I thought to myself well there has to be an LDR community right? Well not really. There are some college loves, but nothing fit what I was experiencing. I know that they exist, but where are they?

I am so much luckier than most. We see each other often and the power of the Internet is the reason we can have this relationship. With all that 5000 miles isn't that much is it? Well sometimes it feels like a million. Other days it's ok and some days it is nice to have quiet. The thing I am looking for is how do you make the change? Do I move there and leave my family? What about him? That's a generalization because each and every situation is different and complex. There is no perfect formula. I know this yet I am searching for that community of support. Does it exist?

Hello? Is this thing on?

Monday, August 22, 2011

PING...you're it.

I am super lucky in that I have some wonderful international friends, colleagues and even better those super close to me. The upsides to this are huge. Places to stay when in Europe, people who know the best places to go in several countries and most importantly a place to get a home cooked meal while abroad. The downsides are it can be hard to stay in touch and for reasons I can't even imagine phone calls are still stupid expensive. There is of course email, Facebook, twitter and Skype (where you can do free video calls as well as chats). These are great for when you are at home or at least somewhere with WiFi, but what about just out and about with your phone? I have international texting plan, but that is only good for 100 texts a month and it can get used up fast. There are several instant messaging applications, but sometimes they don't work well across all platforms. So while it's good for you on  your iPhone it may not be good for them on their BlackBerry.

Since I love to investigate all forms of cellular communication I was super excited when I found Ping Chat. It seemed to have everything I needed and was free to install. I was even more excited when I found out it works super well on most phones so almost everyone could be on it (I hear they are working on a Windows phone app too). Another big perk is I can also send photos and video instantly from my phone during the chat (that is currently extra on my international texting plan). So now I can chat whenever and wherever with all my favorite international people and not worry about any extra charges. Now I just need to work on not being on my phone all the time, guess maybe it's a good thing there is a large time difference!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Shopaholic Meets Math

What a week this has been. My days have been filled with math, spreadsheets and phone calls and if you know me the first two are not high in my arsenal of bad-assness. Plus-ing (my version of math) is best left to those that didn't need two tutors to not flunk chemistry. In fact the only math I can do super quick is percentages and that's only because I need to think of it like purchasing something on sale. You know like when something is 50% off and then an additional 15% off because you use your special store card. That kind of math I can whip out super quick, the rest I leave to my calculator of the Internet to solve. Yes we can all be proud of me.

Now that we are all thinking of sales I think we should explore what is going on in the cyber world for some deals. What better way to end the week then a little retail therapy to make the bad numbers go away. Here is what is on my list of purchases.

These are from Ann Taylor and right now you can
get $20 off plus free shipping on pants. I will take
these and one other pair of ankle pants. Perfect!

Banana Republic has the Mad Men collection
that was designed by the costume designer of
(duh) Mad Men. I love this dress and there is a
few accessories (among other items) that are
catching my eye as well. Right now you can get
25% off your entire purchase plus free hipping
when you spend over $100. Consider this dress
in my closet. This sale ends tomorrow so hurry!

Turkish towels, from AshBlue. I so want these. They are all cotton,
can be used as tablecloths, wraps or actual towels
and Gwennie (Paltrow) recommends them. So if you
use the discount code GOOP, you will get 10% off your
purchase. So I think I will, thank you very much!
This is a rug that I super, really, totally need.
While not on 'sale' it is at Overstock so it's
still discounted. If you haven't checked out
O.co I highly suggest it. They have a pretty
large array of products that rotate often, so
it's always got something new.

Those are the top of my list today that I could actually purchase. I could show you my wish list, but it looks like Kim Kardashian's wedding registry (aka not cheap) so I will keep that to myself.

Have a great weekend and please don't send me math equations, unless you want to know the quadratic equation. I know that by heart to the tune of Pop Goes the Weasel (and also to Burning Down the House). Thank you to Mr. Baumgartner who was my high school Algebra teacher and drilled this into my brain for life.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Vampires Suck

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one of my favorite shows back when it was on. Sarah Michelle Gellar who played Buffy always had a pretty great wardrobe and super awesome hair that for the most part stayed in place while she was slaying said vampires and other demon-y type things. She also had the perfect highlighter on her cheeks. Really I do notice these things and yes I know that's crazy.

I love a good highlighter for the cheeks, but you have to be careful with these or you could end up looking like you just doused yourself with stripper dust or worse an aging raver that hasn't quite gotten out of the 90's (seriously am I the only one that thinks the 90's were only a few years ago and not a decade?). So lucky me when I got introduced to Laura Geller Bronze-n-Brighten. This is the perfect blend of bronzer with just a touch of highlighter. Even if you're unsure on how to apply this you really can't make a mistake since it's a touch and not a whole smack of color. I wore this throughout my vacation brushed over my tinted moisturizer and it gave me the slightly put together but clearly on vacation look I was going for. I think this permanently has a spot in my summer to fall make-up arsenal.

To bring this post full circle, the crazy kids from Buffy used to hang out at a high school hangout  called the Bronze. See it was just meant to happen. Now I need to go watch some old episodes of Buffy on Netflix.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Come and see the sites

The past few months have been filled with so many new web sites that I have been checking out. It seems like they are popping up all over the place recently or perhaps I just have been paying a little bit more attention lately. Either way I have found some fun and interesting sites that I really want to share with you. It's a good way to wrap up your work week by wasting the last few hours of the day on the web and I highly recommend it. Although I personal would never do such a thing (my boss does read this blog!).

I have written about this before but I love Pinterest. As another blogger recently said, I have been mainlining this site for the past few months. It's essentially the manila folder for all of my favorite things I come across on the web. It's similar to tearing things out of a magazine and placing in your someday folder, but less messy since you don't need glue or scissors. Also since it does have a social media aspect you can check out what your friends or even just strangers are into to. It's just super awesome, period. Check it out. You won't regret it. It is still invite only and you can request an invite, but that can take a week or longer to get. If you must have ASAP shoot me an email or post in the comments and I will send you an instant invite: shannonin30s at gmail dot com

Thanks to the twitterverse I recently followed up on a recommendation from Demi Moore (aka @mrskutcher) on a sale site called Fab.com. This is not your run of the mill discount on designer products site, it is way more interesting than that. This site has fun, some times off the wall and different products that they sell for a set amount of time at completely reasonable prices. Like this:

Super cool!

This is an invite site as well, but I requested an invite and had one within about 5 minutes or I can send you an invite to this as well if you want! Just let me know.

Lastly I will wax poetic about Birchbox again, but this time for their extremely awesome site and not just the monthly box of goodness. They have tips and tutorials on the site that have literally changed the way I put on my makeup. They have insider stylist and professional ideas and tips that I have always wanted to know, but have never knew how to do without looking like a clown or a celeb right before she is forced into rehab. They also have a great blog that has information about makeup and beyond. Definitely worth a few minutes of your time. I also suggest you follow them on twitter and then you will be in the know when they post new things!

P.S. If you are not on twitter, please get on it. Like now. You're actually missing out on some pretty amazing things. Should you need more convincing read this awesome post from one of my favorite bloggers Barefoot Foodie. She is pretty hilarious.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mile High Skin Club

So as some of you may have guessed I have been on vacation livin' it up in Italy. It was great and fantastic and fun was had by all. The only downside to this was the 10 hour plane ride to and the return, as it leads to havoc on my skin. I travel quite a bit and this has lead me to be searching for products that help rehydrate my skin and make me feel a little better about the world upon my arrival (Since of course my outlook on life is dependent on my skin and hair feeling and looking fabulous. This can lead to bad days. I am just saying). A couple of years ago I had the craziest travel schedule that involved me crossing the country in a non sensible fashion with 6-7 hour flights every few weeks and I must say the outlook on life was grim. That is until I found Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega Mushroom Skin Calming Mask and my outlook turned sunny!

I used this on a Seattle to Boston trip and noticed that by putting it on when I went to bed on the first day I arrived I woke up to soft, silky, ready to face the day skin. I have also used this if I have a red skin day and put it on as a quick mask and really, truly see a difference. It does exactly what it says calms my skin, truth in advertising. What a concept. Now that I have also found my magical oil and use this in combination with the mask I have not had the dry, red skin I used to get while traveling and being stuck in hotels and convention centers all day. Outlook is clear skies and temperature is in the 80's, everyone is a lot happier to be around me now. Thank you Origins.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ready for your close up?

I recently have gotten into photography. To be clear I have yet to take a class and have only done some research on the internet to help get an idea of what I am doing. I have a Cannon EOS Rebel with a 28-135 lens. When researching cameras it was hard to decide exactly what to get, but after months in camera store and playing with a borrowed camera this was the best for me both money and ease of use. I know my camera can do more than what I am currently doing with it and totally have way more to learn about it, but I have come across some great sites that I wanted to share for those that are also learning!

Kevin and Amanda - This is an excellent post on a quick guide to understanding your camera if you are a newbie like me. Easy to understand so you can actually start talking about settings on your camera instead of just agreeing with others when the topic comes up!

Digital Photography School - 13 most popular photography tips from the site. Introduction to food photography was my favorite.

Photo Tuts - 100 tips for beginners and professionals alike. Seriously some of this stuff is just amazing. Can't wait to try a few of them out. So many tips that it may take me awhile to get to all of them!

I just was on vacation and have done my best to try as many of these idea, tips and directions as possible!!


Monday, August 1, 2011

Off on Holiday

So my original plan was to keep the posts coming during my holiday in Italy, however I need a full break from the interwebs so I will be taking off this week and will be back at it next Monday with a whole bunch of new stuff.

See you then! Ciao
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