Backpack, Backpack

Remember when wearing backpacks with both straps on your shoulders was uncool?

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{photo via Slate article, which makes me SO HAPPY that there’s been an investigative study}

Personally, I was almost always a two-strapper, because it was just more comfortable. I had A LOT of books in those backpacks, because…well, I was a classic nerd. And classic nerds used both straps to keep their backs upright (well…as upright as possible while still maintaining their low self-esteem poor posture).

Thankfully, the garment itself, a backpack, will never go out of style. It’s practical, it can be “cool,” and it’s easy on the back. A win-win-win!

Easy Bruschetta

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Living in the midwest affords us plenty of farm-fresh fare. This year, my family re-joined a CSA (community-supported agriculture) at Millsap Farms. We belonged a few years ago, and it was such an amazing experience. Each week we’d receive a box of fruits & vegetables. To offset the cost, we’d work the farm a few days over the season, which was an eye-opening experience. I mean, who even knew what Kohlrabi is!?

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This year, we are more hands-off, and the box of produce is delivered to our house, and we paid extra to skip the work hours. But the vegetables still taste oh so delicious! And each week, we’ve been receiving a giant bag of basil and a pint of multi-colored cherry tomatoes. That means one thing: BRUSCHETTA!

Now, I’m no connoisseur. But I do know that I like my bruschetta garlicky, oily, and full of flavor. So here’s how I make mine:

INGREDIENTS:

  • cherry tomatoes (pint)
  • about 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • handful of basil
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • can of artichokes (drained)
  1. Slice the tomatoes in half. Put in a bowl.
  2. Roll up the basil leaves and cut them into thin strips for a chiffonade. { –> How to Chiffonade Basil via The Pioneer Woman }
  3. Add basil to tomatoes, drizzle balsamic vinegar to quickly coat the tomatoes. Start with a little, you can add more later.
  4. Chop the drained artichokes into bite-size pieces or smaller. Add to bowl.
  5. Mix everything together.
  6. In a skillet, add a few tablespoons olive oil and the garlic, and heat until just brown. Pour the garlic and oil on top of the tomatoes. Let marinate.
  7. EAT!

I love slicing french bread, buttering it, and toasting it in the oven Or prepare a big bowl of linguini and add this to the top, with a shaving of parmesan cheese. Or just grab a fork and eat straight out of the bowl. Serve with nice mineral-y white wine (I love J’s Pinot Gris), and you got yourself a summer dinner!

Do you have a favorite recipe that you use during an abundance of tomatoes? We’d love to hear!

Not even Semi-Homemade

If you’ve been following along, you know we love to entertain. Part of the fun is menu crafting, deciding what to make from scratch, what to collaborate on with the grocery store, and what to just unpackage and put on a pretty plate.

Last week Stephanie hosted a Bunco party for some friends, and because of her schedule, she didn’t have time to prepare much. But it looked like she did…

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Click to read more about easy entertaining!

Makin’ Whoopie (Pies)

There was a period of time where we made a lot of whoopie…pies. (har har)

They’re just SO tasty, and fun to make. And with such a variety of flavors, the options are endless! (Trust me…we’ve tried to make them all.)

The best still, though, are the classic version. A chocolate cake-ish sandwich, with marshmallow creme. Think a Moonpie, or a Double Doozie. Or, a Whoopie Pie!

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Click more for the recipe!

Poolside Reads 2018

As much as we’d love to say “beach reads,” living smack dab in the middle of the country doesn’t always qualify us for living the beach life. But poolside, yes.

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And with kids who are old enough and competent enough to swim, that means L I V I N’. However, it means not being upset if you’re in the thick of a whodunnit and your kids start dunking each other under water. So books need to be easy to look away from.

Are you able to read at the pool? What are some of your favorites? Keep reading for a list on our stacks…

Time for Tea

There are so many talented and inspiring ladies that we want to meet in our city, so Stephanie has started hosting tea parties at her house, as an excuse to invite them over and get to know them better.

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photo by Chuck Travers @ 417Home

They are a fun way to mix & mingle in a unique setting. Stephanie has a large dining table and an even larger collection of mismatched tea cups, which just invites conversation and connection.

Each party is usually on a weekday morning, and caters toward women of every walk of life. It’s not just for ladies who brunch! Mamas, Entrepreneurs, Teachers, Artists, Do-ers, Bloggers, Retirees, 9-to-5ers, you name it.

Of course there’s tea in cute cups, French press coffee, scones, and Prosecco. She doesn’t expect any of her guests to bring something, but every once in a while a quiche or a bottle of Irish Whiskey shows up. They are never turned down.

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The last tea was a small affair, twin style. Stephanie invited me (her twin sister), and a set of creative twins who we ABSOLUTELY LOVE and wanted to spend more time with. It was a quiet lovely morning, and I got to hold a brand new baby. Win win!

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Want to set up your own tea party? Keep reading for more ideas!

Birth of Venus

The first time I remember seeing the depiction of Venus de Milo was in the movie “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen“. It left such an impression that when I saw the painting “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli, I was like, hey! It’s like that scene from the movie!

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(Everything always comes back to the movies for us…)

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Since that time as a 7-year-old, it remains a painting I still obsess over. Her imperfect and irregular body! Floating on a seashell! Mystery, jealousy, divine! I loved it as a little kid, I love it as a big kid.

Which might explain this recent art purchase by the talented Sarah Jones:

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Made me wonder what other Venus-inspired treasures I could add to my collection…