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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Chirp Chirp

When we, scratch that, when I was registering for our wedding I seriously started out with 5 or 6 different sets of dinnerware/china on our list from 3 or 4 different stores. They weren't all fancy, some were casual and only one or two were "fine", but I can't help it I just really like dishes!

Of course by the time our registries went public I had widdled that down and one of the many patterns that got "cut" was this super-cute Lenox pattern, called Chirp:

Most anyone that knows me, knows that I love birds but this set was just too expensive for casual/everydayware and too kitschy/themey/birdy to count as my timeless fine china. So I sadly let it go.

So now, well after our wedding and with no room left in my china cabinet, Target is tempting me with their much more affordable and just as cute version! It's called Spring Song and it makes me happy:

Isn't it darling?

Have I purchased it? No. 

Will I? Not in the near future. 

But I'm hoping that I might inspire someone with more room in their china cabinet and more fun money left in their bank account (preferably someone that I know!) to buy it AND to invite me over for a fabulous luncheon featuring these lovely birdie place settings.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Buon Appetito!

I am so excited about this tour we just booked while we will be in Florence. It's called Taste Florence and from the reviews on TripAdvisor it appears to be a foodie's dream.

Here is the description we got from our contact.


Our tour brings you to Florence's San Lorenzo neighborhood. We first
stop at the central market, where the locals do their shopping. Here,
we taste several cheeses, including pecorino and parmigiano, balsamic
vinegars and glazes, crostini, sauces and chutneys, wine, and more.

Our next stop is at a local wine shop. This enoteca is a hidden
treasure! Here, we taste Tuscan wines and learn about their origins.

Now we head toward the Uffizi galleries, passing by the Duomo and
other monuments. Our last stop is at one of Florence's oldest and best
gelato shops, where we try gelato, sorbetto, semi-freddi and granita
and learn how they are made. The gelato shop uses only fresh, natural

My mouth is watering already and we still have 2 1/2 months until we get to experience it. The cutest part, is the photo that they sent us to tell us where to meet:

I love the stellar info-graphics here. Hopefully we don't stand in front of the wrong door and miss it ;-)

Buon Appetito!

Monday, June 8, 2009

What are you getting your dad for Father's Day?

Father's Day is just around the corner and I need help thinking of a gift! 

I could do something wedding related, like a framed photo of us from the wedding:

And I could get him the Loudon Wainwright CD with the song "Daughter" that we danced to at my wedding:

But I also feel like I need something else from both me and Dave. Plus, I have a Father-in-Law to buy for as well...Any ideas?

Yummy Gelato

I wasn't feeling well today, but this just made my day a whole lot better: Ciao Bella Pistachio Gelato!

I highly recommend you try it. I can't wait to compare it to the gelato in Italy in a few months!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

My First Subject: A Furry Little Gentleman

I busted my new camera out of the box today, and my dog Louie was my lucky first subject. I only shot a few; I didn't get carried away because I haven't even read the manual yet!

But here are the first few of the furry little fellow...

From his ottoman by the window, his own private perching place:

On the floor, by our bed. This is his nighttime resting place since his daddy doesn't allow him actually ON the bed:

And here he is with his perfect posture. Good Boy!:

These are by no means professional quality but they are already worlds above what comes out of my little point and shoot camera. Look out for MANY more photos to come... as soon as I know what I am doing ;-)

Love Nest

I can finally share the first framed fruit of my labor from my screen-printing class.

I started with one layer of a dark turquoise/jade green colored ink that I mixed and then I printed over it in white with a photo emulsion layer of a nest and the word "love" that I had designed in PhotoShop. 

Next, I bought a simple and affordable white frame from Target and voila! We have a new, handmade piece for our bedroom/love nest!

I have a few more different prints from my course, but this is definitely my favorite. Most of the time was spent learning the techniques on the spot, so there wasn't a lot of concepting time to think about exactly WHAT I wanted the end product to look like. I do hope to take another course though soon, and now that I know the basics I can come armed with lots of other fun ideas.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Our New Camera

It's been a month since my big Kentucky Derby win and I decided to put my winnings to good use by finally ordering our new DSLR camera online!

I settled on a Pentax K200D SLR Digital Camera with 18-55mm Lens and purchased it online from B&H Photo with no tax and free shipping!

I did a lot of comparison shopping and comparative research, and ultimately settled on the Pentax because:

a). I've owned a Pentax point-and-shoot in the past and it lasted me 6 years with amazing quality photos, I have yet to find a comparable replacement.

b). It's equipped with Pentax's Shake Reduction mechanism, which reduces camera shake for sharp, blur-free images.

c). It's body is sturdier than most I compared it to, with dust-proof, water-resistant construction.

d). This Pentax will accept ANY Pentax lens ever made, even from decades past. No, I don't own old Pentax lenses right now, but I like that I have the option to find many interchangeable and affordable lenses in the future, new or used, that will extend the life of my camera body, hence making it less likely to become obsolete to me.

The best news is that it is supposed to me delivered TOMORROW. I can't wait to open it up and try it out this weekend. I know I have a lot to learn but it will be a fun process.

I'll be sure to start posting many more photos very soon!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My hips don’t lie.

On Monday, at the ripe old age of 28, I found out that I have a degenerative arthritis in my right hip. YUCK!

This diagnosis came from a long and winding road of doctor’s appointments, which started out 3 months ago to initially look into some facial twitching, fatigue and headaches I was having.

After seeing my general doctor I was referred to a neurologist and later a rheumatologist who over time each subjected me to a combination of blood tests, a brain MRI, a head & neck MRA and X-rays to my knees and hip.

In the end, the MRI & MRA were both clear, and I had some irregular blood tests that were investigated but eventually they ruled out Lupus, MS and other autoimmune diseases. Lastly, they looked into my joint pain and found some early degeneration in my right hip. Uh oh. So now I write this entry still with my twitchy eye & unexplained headaches but with the addition of a bum hip! Hmmm. Not the outcome I had hoped for, but I can definitely deal with it.

So in terms of what I need to do about the arthritis, I really need to just start moving. I’m in the most pain when I sit still for long periods of time, which makes it hard when I sit at a desk for 10 hours a day. Really what it comes down to is that I need to exercise and make my muscles stronger around the area in a low/no impact way. My doctor said that running outside or on a treadmill is OUT (phew! I hate running), and that an elliptical is OK, a bike is much better and that swimming is the best. But can I really bring myself to join the blue hairs at the Y for water aerobics??

Maybe so! Because today, the strangest things happened to me. And old high school friend befriended me on Facebook. (ok, I know that part is not so weird, but hear me out.) Her name is Kim. She just joined the behemoth social networking site today and of all things just happens to read my latest facebook update which read: “Stephanie has a degenerative hip at the age of 28... anyone want to join me for some water aerobics?”

She replies to it saying, “join the club...“ and inserts this link.

Intrigued, I click on the article to find a story about water exercise with who else but 28-year-old KIM quoted all over the place. She too has arthritis and is doing water aerobics despite the senior citizen stereotype! And she says it kicks her butt! What are the odds that a long lost high school friend will be quoted in the St. Louis Post Dispatch about arthritis & water aerobics, just days before I get diagnosed with hip arthritis, then finds me on facebook that very same week and shares it with me??

Too bad I do not live in STL or else I would join her class! But nonetheless, she and this article have inspired me to get over my initial thoughts about water exercise and start investigating Chicago classes I can take.

Long story, well L-O-N-G, I hope to take my new found challenge of having arthritis at a young age in stride and to find new inspiration to become more active. Even if it involves a swim cap and making friends a few decades older than me ;-) .


About Me

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I'm a St. Louis native, but I have been living in Chicago since 2005 and am loving every windy minute of it. I enjoy cooking (more-so eating), home decorating and really anything creative. I'm a supporter of DIY & handmade goods, a fledgling foodie and a connoisseur of kitsch. I spend my days filling online shopping carts, emptying them and repeating the process all over again. Most of all I love spending time with my husband, Dave, our first child, Claire and my dog, Louie.

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