21 April 2011

So Close...

Hi friends! Things are super busy around here. I've spent countless hours at various governmental agencies to get all my permits/licenses/leases signed. I've baked well over 500 cupcakes (which is not a huge amount, but when you're baking out of my crappy kitchen, well...it's a lot) within the last two weeks. But it's starting to pay off! I've booked quite a few events and two farmers markets already, which doesn't sound like a lot, but as Pete says: "you haven't even opened yet and you've already booked this stuff!"

What else is happening? Well, I quit my full-time job. Let me rephrase that - I wrote a resignation letter and my last day is Friday, April 29th. I don't know if I've really talked about my job all that much, but let me just say...I really, really had a very hard time with it. There were many factors that I loathed but the hardest part for me was sitting all day. The most walking I did was from building to building (maybe 50 feet) and from my desk to the copier. I started at computer screens for the better part of the day. It wasn't up my alley.

So in short I am VERY excited to get out of there and start doing what I love.

In other news, the weather in St. Louis has been crazy. Tuesday night found me, Pete and Scout hiding out in our bathroom (we live on the second floor of a four-family building), because the tornado alarms were going off and we don't know our neighbors and I really, really didn't want to go into our basement.

This happened.

I don't like storms.

Also, have I shown you my logo? I don't think so!

It was designed by my dear friend Marcy. Yay Marcy!

27 March 2011

Melody Federer

So I went to high school with Melody Federer. She was goofy and wonderful and gorgeous, and she still is!

She lived in Paris for a bit, singing in cafes, then moved back to New York City and now she's making music and actually making a splash.

Check out her music video. It's so pretty!

Also, keep an eye out for her. I think she's going to be huge.

21 March 2011

Farm Fresh Cupcakes

Sorry for the void of blog posts this last month or so.

But I actually have a good excuse! I am starting a business. FINALLY - something that I WANT to do with my time.

And guess what? It's a cupcake business!

It's called Farm Fresh Cupcakes. You should definitely become a fan on facebook and twitter. My website isn't 110% ready yet. Actually it isn't even like 60% ready yet, so I'm not going to link it. But I purchased the domain name and everything!

These last few weeks have been insane. I work at my day job all day, come home, and set up shop on the couch working on FFC things. It's like having two jobs - working on my business plan, applying to fairs and farmers markets to vend, reaching out to people to help me, creating and testing recipes, and coordinating all of this web stuff. Not to mention making lists of everything I need to pull this off - like a new mixer and lots of cupcake liners and junk like that.

It's gone really, really well so far - I was even mentioned in Sauce Magazine's blog! - but it's been exhausting. I'm not saying that I'll NEVER write again but it's quite likely that you won't be hearing much out of the happy notions corner of my brain for awhile.

So far, I have learned that I will be selling cupcakes every Saturday morning at the Tower Grove Farmer's Market - which was my first choice! If you're in the area, you should come say hi. It's until 12:30 p.m. by the playground, near the center of the park. I've also already booked a few private events (nothing huge, but nonetheless, it's experience!) along with one BIG festival but I can't really talk about it yet because I don't think it's official.

So. I'm not saying goodbye for good, and I always appreciate some comment-lovin', but to be honest I may not be back for awhile.

And I'm sad that I can't upload pictures of my creations to this blog post right now because I'm on my work computer and I can't access facebook (lame) and I also don't have my camera (double lame), but if you go the facebook link above you can see what I have so far.

I hope all is well with you, dear readers! Thanks for all of the support in the past. I would love to meet you in the coming months if you're in the St. Louis area!

p.s. that is my preliminary logo up there. in case you were wondering.

10 March 2011

10 Favorite Smells

What's that, you ask? I don't blog for a month and I come back to talk about my favorite smells? Well, here you go anyway.

These are in no particular order. Bridgett (whom I often gain inspiration from in many ways of life, but today - about her favorite smells) is so eloquent in naming her favorite smells. So, I'll try.

+ When we drive to Hilton Head Island, SC (it's about a 15 hour drive), we go through six states. But once we hit South Carolina, the air smells different. I've noticed this over the countless hours of someone in the car feeling carsick and cracking the window a bit. I've noticed this during the many bathroom breaks we take at rest stops and at roadside McDonald's.

There's always a long line once you get on the island. Traffic is awful because there are always first-year visitors who don't know where they're going or they've forgotten since last summer. But once we're on the island...we roll down all the windows in the car all the way and breathe in the muggy, salty ocean air. It's amazing. It tells me vacation is starting.

+ Baking. Bridgett said this, and I don't mean to copy, but yes, definitely baking. Cupcakes particularly (how could I not say that), but I make a three-berry pie in the summers and I pretty much just salivate while it's in the oven for 40 minutes. My grandma's chocolate cake has a very, very distinctive smell while it's in the oven. Something about the butter and sugar firming up in the oven is just heavenly.

+ Garlic and/or onions sizzling in olive oil on the stovetop. YUM.

+ Sunday mornings at the Hoffman House. It's the smell of my dad in his bathrobe, and me cuddling on his lap when I was five. The coffee grinder whirring and then the smell of coffee brewing shortly after. And then the 88.7, the St. Louis jazz station, softly playing in the background. Mom usually fries up some bacon, or cooks some eggs, or toasts some English muffins. Someone brings the newspaper in from outside, where it's been cooking on the brick walkway for awhile. Sometimes I still catch whiffs of this - when Pete and I did laundry every Sunday at my parents house we would come and the jazz station would be on and the smell of bacon would linger, but dad was fully dressed and was usually out in the garage working. SO nostalgic. Sometimes in the morning, Pete smells like my dad did. Is that weird? Oh well, I said it.

+ Rain. Yeah, it's typical, but I love the smell in the air here in St. Louis right before it rains, especially in the summer. During rain, I like that smell, and after the rain, too, but especially before it rains. There's tension and the air is heavy and it just smells so pretty.

+ Cigarettes. I know, it's awful. I've never, ever smoked a cigarette (well, I've never smoked anything, EVER) but the smell of cigarettes reminds me of working at Joanie's. I used to take calls for pizza deliveries on Tuesdays and Friday nights when I was in high school, and the little phone station was on the stoop from the stairs leading from the kitchen into the basement. The waiters and bussers and kitchen staff would take smoke breaks and hang out down by the phone. I would leave every night reeking of cigarette smoke and pizza. As a naive little Catholic high school girl, I would listen to their stories of digging graves (seriously) and stuffing drugs up their behinds to smuggle it into the US (yes, seriously) and take it all with a grain of salt. They would blow smoke in my face and I hated it but I kind of loved the attention.

Also on cigarettes. Since I worked at Joanie's, I seriously built up a tolerance for smoke. I also went to a lot of shows in high school at Mississippi Nights (RIP!) which was teeny tiny and perfect. Low ceilings, and so many smokers. The air-conditioning broke down at one concert I went to in July of 2005. In St. Louis. It was awful and wonderful. Sweaty rock n rollers!

+ Old Books. Yum. I went to a used book fair a few years ago, found a book I had been looking for, opened it, and promptly inhaled. I got some weird stares for that one. I don't know if this love of old books stems from reading my parents' books when I was younger, or from the fact that many of the textbooks and novels I had read in grade school were from years and years ago, but it's just phenomenal. My fifth grade teacher, Sr. Kathleen, said once, "oh, I just love the smell of old books!" and I knew I wasn't weird anymore.

+ My perfumes. I read in a bridal magazine to pick a new perfume to wear on your wedding day, and then whenever you wear it in the future, you'll always be reminded of that special day. So I did exactly that. I bought Dolce & Gabbana's Light Blue perfume because I smelled it in a magazine and really liked it. I wore it on our wedding day (although it was so hot and I was so sweaty and my dress was so big it doesn't really remind me of that day) and every day on our honeymoon. It's more of a summer scent, so I haven't worn it lately, but anytime I take the cap off and inhale, it makes me happy.

I usually wear Chance by Chanel in the winter. I've been wearing that since high school. It's such a familiar smell. I wore it to my senior prom, to graduation, on my first date with Pete...lots of memories.

+ Pete. He doesn't wear any cologne or anything but it's just the smell of his deodorant and...other smells, I guess. It just feels so much like home now.

+ Office Supply Warehouses. Weird, right? But when I was younger and my dad still worked at Anheuser-Busch, I would go with him on a walk down to the office on Sundays and he would let me pick two or three pens out of the supply closet to take home with me. I don't know what it is - paper? Post-Its? All of that ink? Envelopes? I think a lot of it is tape. Either way, going to OfficeMax makes me happy.

+ My mom. She showers at night (must be where I get it from) and would come downstairs to tuck Emme and I in after she showered, and she always smelled like Pert Shampoo and Angel Body Wash (from Victoria's Secret. I was always so embarrassed to go into the store with her when I was little).

+ Taco trucks. Fried food, in general.

+ Fresh orange juice. I don't really like oranges or orange juice, but freshly squeezed OJ is so fragrant and lovely.

06 February 2011

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Favorite Health and Beauty Products

**EDIT: I started writing this post on 2/6 (Sunday) hoping to schedule it to post on Tuesday morning (2/8). I am now revisiting it on 2/9 and am embarrassed because I could only think of eight products. Oh well!

As a person who rarely wears make-up (seriously - the last time I wore it was at my wedding which was...sevenish months ago) this Ten on Tuesday made me think. So here are my picks.

1. Lip Balm/Chapstick. I was very loyal to Smackers chapstick in grade school. Now I usually use Burt's Bees or Chapstick. I also recently bought some Dr. Bronner's lip balm, which is pretty good.

2. Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap All-One! - Amazing. I prefer the lavender but peppermint is also great.

3. Twinlab Na PCA with Aloe Vera - also amazing. I needed a moisturizer and this one had very very high reviews on vitacost (which I also highly recommend) and I went for it. Love to use it under shaving cream. Makes everything so soft!

4. Perfume. This is my one accessory. I love Chanel Chance in the winter and Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue in the warmer months.

5. Lavender Salt Scrub from K. Hall Designs - so yummy. So soft. One problem - the little exfoliating beads are annoying to scrub out of our shower after I use it. But it's totally worth it!

6. Gummy Vitamins - normal multivitamins scare me because they are so big. And hard to swallow. And they taste funny if they get stuck in the back of your throat (which they normally do, for me). So I started taking ADULT gummy multivitamins and they're great. They taste good and I don't worry about not getting them down (okay, okay, insert THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID joke here).

7. Skintimate Shaving Cream - been using the same stuff since I first started shaving. The pink bottle, for sensitive skin. It smells like baby powder. Love it.

8. Jergen's lotion. Any kind is a miracle.

Weight Watchers Update

So I officially started Weight Watchers over a month ago, and I've lost eight pounds so far! It's kind of unbelievable, when I think about it. It definitely took some getting used to, but I've enjoyed learning more about eating healthy foods.

The hardest (and, let's be honest, the most painful) part of the process has been learning how many points items have. For example - I LOVE s'more flavored Pop-Tarts. They are the perfect breakfast (at least this is what I thought). Also, I love s'mores. So, delicious.

One package of S'more Pop-Tarts (meaning two tarts) is 10 points. A Crunchwrap Supreme from Taco Bell is 15 points. At the beginning, I got 30 points a day - now I'm down to 29, since I've lost weight. It's crazy to watch the points add up, but I've learned a few ways to keep them down. Almost all fruits and veggies on the new system are 0 points, which is great. So I've been eating lots of apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, carrots, celery, broccoli, etc. Which is something that YES, I totally should have been doing before, but...I just wasn't.

Pete and I ate healthy probably half of the time. If we were tired after work, we had the attitude of, "ah, screw it, let's just run by Sonic or Taco Bell and get dinner there." But now we're planning meals (including what we're taking to lunch at school every day) every week and I have to say, it's been great.

It's not that hard AND it ends up saving us a lot of time at Trader Joe's or Schnucks, AND it saves us money because I know exactly what to get, AND it's healthy. And seriously, it takes maybe 10 extra minutes a week.

So that's what I have to say about that.

Oh, but then there's the whole exercise thing. I haven't even attempted to do that in the last month. I know, it's awful, but...it's been cold! We've had snow on the ground for the last two weeks, practically. And it's been bitterly cold most of the time. I do realize that there are ways to exercise inside, and I'll be honest - I am LAZY. I love being outside and walking or biking or hiking but inside, during the winter, I'm fine with eating my veggies and watching old episodes of Community.

24 January 2011


I don't know if I've shared with the bloggy world, but I am SO excited because I'm going to Hilton Head Island this summer!!

Pete's never been, so I am hyped to take long walks on the beach, read six books, go swimming, walk into town, and spend times playing games on the deck. Just thinking about our week there with my family and some very, very dear family friends makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

So this is the big thing to keep me hopeful during these loooooong daaaaaaark winter days and nights.

[dreamy picture from cheryl maeder]

20 January 2011

Early/Late Sunday Roundup

I feel so embarrassed that I didn't get around to posting a Sunday Roundup last week! Pete and I started watching LOST, which has been addicting. Absolutely addicting. I am obsessed. I think Hurley, Locke, and Charlie are my favorite characters. But I am also falling in love with Sawyer, and Claire is awesome.

Anyway - we started watching it this past Sunday, and just finished the first season this morning. Aaaand we just started the second season about 10 minutes ago, because we have a SNOW DAY!

Have you watched LOST? What did you think about it? Any favorite characters?

Anyway - here are some great links from the past week and a half.

Currently chilling in the refrigerator - can't wait to taste them!

Pantone cookies. Perfect for the color fiend in your life.

An article about home chefs that got me thinking about new ventures.

How to define your personal style.

When to throw your make-up away. I need to do a LOT of throwing away, apparently...

I would like a whole fleet of these pitchers (seen on sfgirlbybay)

A good egg.

These dainty necklaces are gorgeous.

I wish that I had found this project before our honeymoon started...

I would also like a flock of these seagulls.

A bowl of 1907 French Onion Soup. Perfect for a chilly winter's evening.

Preferable over a dryer.

This is a brilliant idea.

So excited to learn that there's a Baked in Charleston, SC!

Illuminated bloggers.

This shall be very useful when I restart my garden this spring.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

[image from greige design]

12 January 2011

Worst Snow Day Ever

I would take the time to write about it, BUT my husband already did.

Did I mention he has a new blog? He has a new blog. It's called Sonic Screwed (if you know Doctor Who, you will like that reference. If you don't know Doctor Who, well...it probably means nothing to you) and it's brilliant.

Yesterday we had a snow day, and it sucked. Here's why.

[image from bella lago]

09 January 2011

Sunday Roundup

How was everyone's week?

This weekend, Pete and I did a whole lot of nothing. We saw The Fighter on Saturday with Steve and Mary, ran to Local Harvest for some last minute groceries, and stayed in and watched the new Futurama. It was a good weekend.

Here are some great posts from around the web this week!

Just the push I need for creative projects.

Gorgeous credenza.

I will someday learn how to use my sewing machine, and then make this.

I want to have an UP themed birthday party for my 23rd birthday...

How many Weight Watchers points do you think a slice of this deliciousness is?

Pretty yellow coat.

Great cheap date ideas.

This wreath is darling.

Loving these pant shorts.

How to host a craft party.

I'm pretty much obsessed with Ashley Meaders.

Wes Anderson round up!

I'm jealous of all the lovely, wonderful bloggers who are going to Alt. Life goal = go in 2012.

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

[image = here]

06 January 2011


This is probably the last one.

Also - who knew - but Picnik is awesome. So much easier to deal with than Photoshop, at least for what I did this evening.

The Mast Brothers

Have you heard of the Mast Brothers? There are my kind of men - beards, glasses, AND they make chocolate? Yes please.

The Mast Brothers from The Scout on Vimeo.

When we hit up New York, I'll probably stuff my suitcase with Mast Brothers Chocolate. They have a tasting room AND hot chocolate. Maybe I'll just stay there forever.

All images below are from The Selby.

05 January 2011

Great Advice!

Chuck Klosterman is hilarious, and when I saw this on Design Crush, I knew I had to share...

Oh Chuck. If only it was that easy...

04 January 2011

Another Resolution

I know, this blog is all about what I did in 2010 and what I'm planning to do in 2011. Sorry! Maybe I'm almost done, maybe not.

Regardless, I thought of another resolution today. Well, actually, I thought of it a few days ago but remembered to write about it NOW.

Use all of the gifts that we received from showers and the wedding.

People are SO GENEROUS. And while Pete and I cook every night, we still haven't used everything we received .

Here's what we have to use. Sooner than later!

Giant Wooden Salad Bowl
Cocktail Shaker
Meat Tenderizer (we've used it, but not for tenderizing meat...)
Crock Pot (we used it to try to make fondue. It was sad.)
Deep Fryer
Honey Dipper
Fruit Basket (I've used it. Since we got back from our honeymoon it's held mementos. But I want to use it for FRUIT.)
Gravy Boat
Footed Cake Platter
Bar Tools Set
Fondue Set
Dutch Oven
Garlic Peel/Press thing (it's a tube. it's weird.)
Citrus Squeezer
Nine-Person Tent!

And my Target registry got deleted so I can't actually look at it, which is what I did for Macy's and Crate & Barrel.

I'm excited! Seeing all of those things together in a list makes me want to plan meals for, like, the next seven weeks.

Does anyone have any recipe ideas for the cooking things listed above? I've been meaning to make a nice hearty stew these days, since it's so cold, in our Dutch oven. I'd love to hear suggestions!

[image: the day after our honeymoon, we tore into our presents and this was the aftermath.]

03 January 2011

Books I Read in 2010

One of my resolutions for 2010 was to read 20 books for fun. I only read 18. It was really, really hard to not cram in the last two books on the last two or three days of the year.

So, here are my 18 books:

1. The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey
2. Baking Cakes in Kigali (click the link to read my review!)
3. Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant
4. Made from Scratch
5. The Omnivore's Dilemma
6. The Importance of Music to Girls
7. The Hand That First Held Mine
8. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
9. Unfinished Business
10. Lunch in Paris
11. Life of Pi
12. The Carrie Diaries
13. Committed
14. Commencement
15. The Summer We Read Gatsby
16. Barrel Fever
17. Slaughterhouse Five
18. Lady Chatterley's Lover

I liked elements of all of the above books. But just to be silly, I'm going to write my thoughts in tweet-form (yeah, I'm copying off of my husband's technique).

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey: Great series for the younger crowd. I enjoyed it but felt a bit juvenile while reading. Suspense! Twists!

Baking Cakes in Kigali: Eye-opening novella about a lady baker in Africa. Heartbreaking but so important. People should read this and be informed.

Alone in the Kitchen With an Eggplant: Made me feel good about the weird things I eat when I'm alone. Fascinating to learn what others eat on their own, too. Very entertaining.

Made from Scratch: This book has made me determine that I need a big backyard when Pete and I buy a house, for a huge garden and chickens.

The Omnivore's Dilemma: I learned a lot from this book. I highly recommend it and think you should read it if you care about what you put in your mouth.

The Importance of Music to Girls: Originally I was drawn to this book because of it's title. I feel like it could have been better, although I did enjoy certain parts.

The Hand That First Held Mine: This book blew me away. It was confusing until it all made sense. And I honestly didn't see it coming.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: What a crazy concept for a book - a girl who can taste people's emotions through the food that they create. An interesting way to think.

Unfinished Business: Story of a man who loses his job in his 40s and spends the next year doing wonderful, nice things. I want to do what he did now, in my 20s!

Lunch in Paris: Like all things having to do with Paris, this book made me want to move there ASAP. Maybe someday. BONUS: all kinds of yummy recipes!

Life of Pi: Blew my mind. The story kept my attention, more than any young boy in a boat with a scary tiger ever has.

The Carrie Diaries: This is the high school story of Carrie Bradshaw, of Sex and the City fame. The last line is perfect. The rest of the book was not.

Committed: All about the history of marriage and marriage in other countries. It was a perfect book to read in the summer before MY marriage.

Commencement: Made me want to go to all-girls college, too. Riveting story that follows four ladies from freshman year - young adulthood.

The Summer We Read Gatsby: Witty, mysterious, hilarious. Two (half?) sisters meet up in the Hamptons to divide up their great aunt's estate. Entertaining.

Barrel Fever: Not my favorite David Sedaris book, but the last short story is priceless. Most of it was a bit oddball for me, though.

Slaughterhouse Five: Only the second Kurt Vonnegut book I've read. Absolutely fantastic. Sad it took me 22 years to read it.

Lady Chatterley's Lover: Weird. So, so weird. So hard to get into and to keep reading. But I couldn't give up. I'm glad it's over.

Phew! Anyone have any suggestions for books to read in 2011?

01 January 2011

Sunday Roundup, and Happy 2011!

Guys, I can't believe it's 2011.

2010 was a great year - I finished school, got married, went on an amazing honeymoon, and landed my first full-time job. I made lots of new friends, spent time with my family and wrote hundreds of thank you notes.

And now, 2011 begins. We had a small get together here at our apartment last night, then went over to Steve and Mary's for brunch. We left there around 1:45, I think - and the rest of the day has been a blur. I've been thinking about 2011 a lot - this is the first time, in my whole life, that there is no knowing what I'll be doing. The world is my oyster! School isn't holding me back anymore. Now: to find out what I want to do with my life. Then we'll get going :)

So. Here are some great finds from the last two weeks.

Hot cereals: the IT breakfast for 2011.

Wow. I feel small.

Night riding.

Blizzards from years past.

Top 10 travel experiences.

Sounds delicious.


I never use straws but I wish I did.

Pretty silver.

I actually like cabbage, so...this sounds good.

Erin makes me think that a sauna at home is possible. Bookmarked for the future!

Dream kitchen.

Lovelies, I hope 2011 is the best year ever for you and yours.

[image via papertissue]