Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Friday | Healthy Living.

It is just so much easier for us in the Midwest to eat fresh (not to mention local) in the summer months.  I don't even envy California's sunshine (OK, I do); I envy their year-round bounty of produce.  I've been really good about exercising over the last few months, but my food intake hasn't matched that dedication.  Here say I: I'm recommitting.  Must take advantage of farmers' markets and low produce prices while I can!

So what are you up to on this last weekend of June?!  I think I need to get a little sun on my skin before the 4th next weekend.  My alabaster complexion is officially pathetic.  Mostly, I just need a big ol' 48-hour break from work, which has left me at my wit's end this week!

Oh and don't forget: Google Reader is going bye bye.  I hope you will join me on Feedly here, subscribe via email (see box in top right corner!), try out Blog Lovin' (I never have - any users out there?), or just visit plain old  See you Monday!

Have a wonderful weekend.

xo. di.

*image property of Diane Crary

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wedding | Bridal Party Garland.

File this under unnecessary but pretty and a sweet touch: a little decoration for the bridal party's dressing room.  Cause why not add another personal somethin-somethin?  I created this one for my sister's wedding last summer.

I began by printing 8x10 pictures of her wedding dress and our bridesmaid dresses.

Taped 'em down, traced 'em up.  Her colors were "honey and wheat," so I went with kraft paper and a pale yellow for the dresses, and a creamy white for the bride.  

Then cut 'em out.

All ready for assembly.  

I used a long piece of pretty ribbon and some miniature clothespins to attach the garland together; both can be found at any craft store or even on Amazon.  I played with spacing until I liked it - there's no wrong answer here.

I found the above quote very apt, and decided to incorporate it in.  

And then because I can't stop brainstorming, I added little tags to each dress for each of the bridesmaids (and of course the bride).

If you were making one of these for yourself and were so inclined, you could send your bridesmaid home with her little figure.  A teeny memento of the day!  

*If you are interested in me creating a custom bridal party garland for your wedding (or your friend's, your sister's, etc), let's talk!  Leave me a note in the comments or email me at!*

xo. di.

*images property of Diane Crary

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Netflix Gems | Better Off Ted.

Notwithstanding the constantly growing catalog of available content on Netflix Instant, I know there are a lot of people out there who feel like they can’t find anything to watch.   With this periodic series – Netflix Gems – I aim to introduce you to movies, tv shows and documentaries you may not know are hiding in there.  While Netflix is still lagging behind where I think it should be on new releases and current seasons of television, there’s a whole bunch of awesome there as well, so let's talk about it right here.

Going through Arrested Development withdrawal?  I have your solution: two 13-episode seasons of Better Off Ted, ABC's bizarre workplace comedy (2009-2010) that so did not belong on this network, but I'm glad we were given even this abbreviated run.  

Jay Harrington (ladies: eye candy!) is Ted, single dad and head of research & development at "evil" corporate conglomerate Veridian Dynamics, who has to tow the moral line between his executive boss Veronica (Portia de Rossi) (ladies: gorgeous work wardrobe candy!), his 2 head scientists Lem and Phil (Malcolm Barrett and Jonathan Slavin) and his will-they-won't-they romantic interest Linda (Andrea Anders).  

A fairly run-of-the-mill premise that is anything but.  If you want absurdist, surrealist, joke-piling comedy ala Arrested, make your way through this show.

Did you laugh at this?  No?  Well, watch the show anyway.  You will :)

xo. di.

*image 1,2,3,4,5

Monday, June 24, 2013

Grateful | June 24, 2013.

I am Grateful.  

A day at the races with beautiful weather; Quiet moments; An intense Mad Men finale (What did everyone think?  I'm still ruminating); And finally, Happy Birthday, Dad!  

Pictures of the Week.

{top: current read; and they're off!; middle: my bets (I won nuthin); supermoon!; bottom: new crafting; Mike Wazowski!}

Links Worth Sharing.
Have a wonderful week.

xo. di.    

*images property of Diane Crary

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Fridays | Summer Proper.

Happy Longest Day of the Year, and welcome to summer proper!  We're probably towards the end of this year's peonies, so I chose to share a picture of this week's farmers' market purchase.  Sick of peonies around here you say?  #dealwithit.

So how are we feeling about the introduction of video to Instagram yesterday?  Design Love Fest was on the ball and put out a great post on why she's digging it.  So far, I'd have to agree.  I put up a quick one last night to test it out (it's very dumb.  again, #dealwithit).  

This weekend, we'll be betting on the ponies at Arlington Park for the first time, getting in a Pixar fix (Mike Wazowski!), and dodging isolated t-storms.  How about you?

Have a wonderful weekend.

xo. di.

*image property of Diane Crary

Thursday, June 20, 2013

My Switch to Feedly.

If you are a committed Google Reader user (like I was), you were likely pretty frustrated/sad/devastated when Google announced a few months ago that it would be retiring the service on July 1, 2013.  After looking into a few different replacement readers, I decided to move on over to Feedly, which I've been using for about 3 weeks now.    

Quick aside before I show you around Feedly, don't know what a "reader" is?  It is life-changing, for good and bad.  It allows you to add any website with a feed (simplified definition - a stream of updated content, like blogs and most news sites), so that you do not need to go to each individual website every day and see if there is a new post.  Instead, the updates show up in the reader, so you never miss a thing.  But, the ease of keeping up with multiple sites makes you less discriminating in what you add to your reader, and you can get overwhelmed quickly.  So word of advice if you become a reader addict: weed out, early and often!  

Now on to Feedly:    

Oh did they ever make it easy for us Google Reader users!  Go to, then click on that "Connect to Google Reader" button.  Login to your Google account.  Follow  the instructions and prompts.  

Allow Feedly to access your Google Reader account.  

And ta da, all your Google Reader subscriptions are now transferred into your Feedly account!

My favorite part of Feedly so far may be its app on the iPhone and iPad (you can download for free).  It has such a clean display, both as an app and on a regular computer.  And I love the "Save for Later" function for videos or long articles that I can't read right away. 

There are, of course, a couple of downsides: (1) Feedly does not yet have the same search functions that Google Reader had, though they are working on it; and (2) all formatting is completely taken away from a blog post: fonts, colors, and, my biggest pet peeve, the sizing of pictures (which I spend a lot of time making consistent around here), are all removed when you view through Feedly.  

And if you never had Google Reader?  Just create a Feedly account and begin adding your favorite blogs and news sites.  To do that, when you're logged in, there are 3 little horizontal lines in the top left corner.  When you hover over it, a menu pops up.  The 3rd option down is "+ Add Content."  Click on it, and then you'll be able to type in the feed you wish to add. For example, type either "" or "," and then click the "+" to the right of it to add to my little blog to your account.

What have you been trying out as Google Reader comes to an end?  Any tips or suggestions?  Has anyone else tried and liked Feedly?  And let me know if there are any questions about the service as well.

xo. di.

*images property of Diane Crary
*I received no compensation or other benefit for this post - these are purely my personal opinions on Feedly

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wedding | Maid of Honor Speech.

{me in action at my sister's wedding last August}

My sister was honored to serve as the matron-of-honor at her good friend's wedding this past weekend, and in helping her tweak her speech, I was inspired to write down a few tips I learned not only in being hers last August (pictured above), but over the many lovely weddings I've attended since I hit a certain age.

(1) BREVITY.  This is numero uno because it is so. important.  No one, especially after a few drinks, has the attention span for a long-winded speech from someone who does not respond to "Mr. President."

(2) Explain yourself.  Do not focus too much on your relationship with the bride, as the speech should be about wishing the couple well, BUT also make it understood why you are the one chosen to be there next to her.

(3) Sweet and sentimental.  You must give the happy couple "congratulations," "best wishes," and/or "a lifetime of happiness."  Do not forget to actually address them specifically and acknowledge why you are standing before their 183 guests.

(4) Funny.  If you tell an anecdote or funny story, it should be (a) obvious why this is the one you picked to share (relevance!) and (b) keep it short (back to #1!), or people will tune out before the punchline and/or get confused.

(5) Speaking of funny.  Without opening a can of worms, for whatever reason, many people still believe women are not as funny as men.  To that I say anything Tina Fey & Amy Poehler.  But this means a lot of guests will assume the best man will be the funny one and steal the spotlight.  It is not a competition (obviously), but being sure of what you are saying, sweet, maybe emotional, and sneaking in a laugh or two, you'll charm the guests up good.  More importantly, give the bride and groom the well wishes they deserve and will treasure.

(6) No such thing as perfection.  You'll always think of something you wish you had said months after (I'm still doing this with my sister), but it is never all going to come to you at the moment you put your speech together.  So push perfection out of your mind.  Get your real, sporadic thoughts down on paper (maybe have a glass of wine first to loosen up the mind!), then go back to it in a few days and see what clicks.  And if you are able to memorize it before the big day, all the better, as you'll seem far more natural.

Have any other tips on building a maid of honor speech?  Agree or disagree with any of my suggestions?  Tell us in the comments!

xo. di.

*image by Andrew Williamson Photography

Monday, June 17, 2013

Grateful | June 17, 2013.

I am Grateful.  

For the end of C and my juice cleanse; a super fun girlfriend-heavy weekend; and FaceTime, which allowed me to wish my dad a happy father's day "in person" yesterday.

Pictures of the Week.

{New little vintage elk friend on our coffee table}
{Each day of our cleanse looked exactly like this}
{Posing at the Joffrey Ballet Blue Masquerade Ball}
{Action Booth - you were required to jump - was a huge hit!}
{Saturday walk in the neighborhood - oh, this house!}
{Spent Sunday afternoon learning 6 different embroidery stitches at a Dabble class - so fun!}

Links Worth Sharing.
  • A Glimpse of Glamour brought to my attention this Elle article on How to Learn to Love Exercise.
  • Sophie of The Littlest Things always blows me away with her photography skills.  Her shots from her trip to Sissinghurst Castle in Kent, England are no exception.
  • Photographer Lenny Gilmore captured some gorgeous shots of The Joffrey Ballet Dancers I thought was worth sharing.
  • Speaking of ballerinas, The Everygirl's interview with NYC Ballet Principal Dancer Sara Mearns was lovely - she was so open and honest, it's a great peak into the mind of a professional ballerina.
  • And finally, if you're watching NBC's Hannibal (which you totally should be because this show is unbelievably good), definitely follow along Janice Poon's (the show's food stylist!) blog Feeding Hannibal.  So interesting!
Have a wonderful week.

xo. di.    

*images property of Diane Crary

Friday, June 14, 2013

Spring Forward | Revelry.

This week was interesting.  Certainly dominated by our 3-day juice cleanse (Monday - Wednesday), which was intense.  Quick summary of our experience: it was very unpredictable.  C did really well all day 1; I was miserable and craving every food place I passed, even stuff I would never touch otherwise.  Day 2, I was feeling awesome and C was angry at the world (though I took a yoga class that night and felt so weak).  Day 3, both pretty miserable.  I ended up going to bed at 9:30 just so I could escape my hunger and for the promise of Thursday, when I could eat solid food again.  I cannot believe C made it through all 3 OT's of the Stanley Cup Finals Game 1 on such an empty stomach that night!  

But maybe we're just babies?  I've read plenty of accounts from people who had awesome experiences with juice cleanses (here, here and here, for example), and it's not like we were starving ourselves; in fact, we were getting way more nutrients than we normally do.  Some positives: I do feel healthier and "lighter," not in a weight-loss sense, just in a "my body feels taken care of" way; though I don't think I'll be signing up for another cleanse any time soon (maybe ever), I would experiment with juice meal-replacement (like Johanna does), and Peeled's juices were quite tasty and nutritious; and finally, more green tea will be consumed going forward and less coffee.  That's me anyway; C has an irrational hatred of it (I'll spare you his actual phrasing on just how gross he thinks green tea is).  

But enough about that, I am thrilled that it's Friday, I'm back to normal eating, and I get to wear a mask to a fancy party tonight.  

Have a wonderful weekend.

xo. di.

*image property of Diane Crary

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Inspiration | Masquerade Ball.

I am pretty excited about my Friday night plans this weekend, as I will be attending the Joffrey Ballet's Inaugural Blue Masquerade Ball, organized by the Joffrey Auxiliary Board, the young professionals' board of which I am proud to be a part.  Getting dressed up and wearing a mask, and it's not even Halloween yet?  I'm there.  And by the way, if any fellow Chicagoans would like to join in the revelry, tickets are still available here.

xo. di.

*images for Vogue December 17 via dustjacket attic 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Recipe | Pan-Seared Portobello Burgers.

I cannot believe I'm blogging about food on my last day of a 3-day juice cleanse (have mercy, I want real food!), but it's all I can think about right now, so here goes.  Visiting the farmers' market on a Saturday in summer is one of my greatest joys.  I have recently added portobello "burgers" to my repertoire, and every time I make them, declares them the best meal ever (he's prone to hyperbole, but I'll take it!).   

The fresh, organic ingredients I pick up at the market (which usually include the mushrooms themselves, fresh herb bread, arugula, asparagus, and cheese) are a factor in the deliciousness, but the real secret is in the super-easy marinade.  Since we city-folk do not have a balcony nor a grill, we go the pan-seared way.  There are plenty of recipes online, but we have fallen in love with this one, from Delectable Planet.  

4 large portobello mushrooms, with stems removed
2 T red wine or water (we go with the wine for richness)
2 T soy sauce
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 gloves garlic, minced
1/2 t dried oregano

Combine all ingredients but the mushrooms in a large skillet and heat on medium-high until the mixture begins to bubble.  Add mushrooms, top side down, turn the heat to low-medium, and cover for 3 minutes.  Turn mushrooms over and cook for another 5 minutes.  If the pan becomes dry at any point, add water by the tablespoon ( we've never encountered this). 

Serve the mushrooms on nice, fresh bread, topped with arugula, some cooked asparagus, tomato slices, and cheese (blue cheese is a favorite of mine, but we used the frying cheese from the market last weekend and it was dynamite.  I fried that up in a separate pan while the mushrooms were cooking).  

You can also totally serve them up sans bread (like a steak!), with some vegetables, an arugula salad, and maybe some cous-cous or quinoa (I'm just spit-balling now, my juice-cleanse-brain can't stop thinking about this meal!).  Use the left-over marinade as a sauce.

Nom nom.  Enjoy.

xo. di.

*images property of Diane Crary

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Grateful | June 10, 2013.

I am Grateful.  

Sunshine and 70 degrees does so much to improve my mood.  I also enjoyed the Old Town Art Fair, college friends' adorable son's first birthday, a stop in to some other good friends, and a nice slew of little projects completed in the last week.  As an aside, C and I start our first ever 3-day juice cleanse today (through Peeled).  Wish us luck.  My family thinks I am going to kill him (I get...testy when I'm hungry.  See: this card), but here goes nothing!   

Pictures of the Week.

So I was realllly lax in my picture-taking this week.  As consolation prize, I have some pictures I took of lovely peonies I purchased on Saturday at the Green City Market.  

Links Worth Sharing.
Have a wonderful week.

xo. di.    

*images property of Diane Crary

Friday, June 7, 2013

Spring Forward | Evenings.

Some nights, particularly during the summer months, you have to make like the Newsies and seize the day.  On Monday evening, when I realized I'd be late to pilates class at my gym due to an exceptionally slow bus, I decided to hop off early and walk the rest of the way home.  It was the first day without suffocating humidity in about a week, and even though it was only 65 degrees, the sun was shining brightly.  I texted C to see if he could come meet me on my walk.  About 20 minutes later, we were watching a lion perched on his very own pride rock at the Lincoln Park Zoo.  When the zoo closed, we wandered over to Cafe Brauer's Patio for an al fresco dinner overlooking the pond.  It was such a nice, spontaneous night.    

Summer evenings are so precious.  We must all take full advantage!

Have a wonderful weekend.

xo. di.

*images property of Diane Crary, taken on my iPhone
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