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HELLO! Do not adjust your screen… It’s been four months awhile but [eek] I’m back. I. Am. Back! Nothing in particular prompted the hiatus, it just kind of happened. I have big plans for future posts but, for now, I’d like to just share my breakfast with you:

[low-fat plain Greek yogurt with strawberry jam, cinnamon, honey and almonds]*

[interesting unintended effect of my iphone camera tripping out]

*: the letterpress calendar in the background is from Orange Beautiful. You can buy the same one here.

 

 

 

 

 

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Along with cooking and baking, listening to music is up there as one of my favorite things to do. A few weeks ago Vince sent me a song from this band he discovered on Pandora, “you’ve gotta listen to them,” he said. “They’re amazing.”

 He was right.

Here’s a little background on the group with my favorite song playing throughout:

Farewell Milwaukee is a band with midwestern roots and a soulful, folksy flair. When I first listened to the song, Way Out, I was reminded of a cross between The Head and the Heart and Mumford & Sons. After a little bit of googling I was thrilled to discover that Farewell Milwaukee was coming to Chi town the very next week – what luck! When Vince and I set out for their concert that night [along with his sister and bro-in-law] we had no idea what all was in store for us.

That night Farewell Milwaukee rocked it out. We were jamming and had a blast. As their set ended and another group took the stage we noticed the band members coming towards the back of the room where we were sitting. There they were bobbing their heads to the next band amongst us. It was so cool! Vince, ever the outgoing one, took a leap of faith and ventured over to attempt a quick hello to Ben Lubeck, the lead singer.

[hi ben!]

As luck would have it that quick hello turned into an hour long conversation. Both Vince and I were floored. Ben was truly the kindest, most humble guy and he made our night that much more amazing. He even agreed to answer a few questions for navy + cream. Score! Read on to learn more about this talented band and what’s on the horizon for these guys.

 

[ben {left} + vince, new best friends forever]

[1] So there you were, recording your first album in someone’s house. We’d love to hear more about this – whose house was it and do you still record from there?

We recorded our record “when it sinks in” in Nashville in the fall of 2010. We met producer Brad Bivens* in Minneapolis a few years back and he moved to Nashville 6 months before we recorded the record. Turned out he moved into a beautiful space for recording. Amazing wood floors and plenty of rooms. So he invited us to come down and record. We took him up on the offer, and we recorded the album in 7 days. Here’s a video of our recording set up:

 

*note from n+c: Brad Bivens is also the producer for kings of leon, cold war kids & norah jones.

[2] Was this your first time visiting Chicago? What was your favorite part?

I grew up in Milwaukee so I’ve been to Chicago many times. The band has played there 3 or 4 times also. Chicago’s a great town…but like many cities there isn’t a ton of time to sight see. I remember when we played the Beat Kitchen we had some time to kill before the show so we waited for 3 hours to get a table at Kuma’s Corner. The food was fantastic…but 3 hours is way too long for a group of 5 dudes to sit around and wait…someones bound to get into some trouble…and we of course did.*

*note from n+c: unfortunately for us, ben chose not to elaborate here.

[3] If you were stuck on a deserted island and could only bring three things what would you bring?

A portable DVD player, the first season of Judge Judy and a monocle.

[4] Besides music, what else are you passionate about?

My wife, our family, Levi’s, fantasy football and Chef Gordon Ramsey.

[5] If you could tour with any band, who would it be and why?

Musically I could name a ton… but I think most bands party too hard for me. I love Neil Young, Petty, I’d love to see how Wilco does things behind the scenes. Mainly, any band I could learn from… There’s so much I need to learn. I could sit an absorb old Dylan footage all day. I’ll never be able to figure that dude out… him and the Beatles… but I love to try.

[6] As lead singer for Farewell Milwaukee, what’s been your favorite memory of the band thus far?

Sitting and listening to playback of our song “Way Out” for the first time was a great. I remember sitting in our producers “control room” in Aaron’s house. It was a spare bedroom with a bed, a table and a soundboard. I think the producer was sitting on a paint bucket… or was that me? I don’t know. But hearing that song for the first time… with all the instrumentation… coming together the way it did. I was blown away, and it was the first moment I actually stopped and thought… Man, we might have a shot at this thing. It makes you want to work even harder. Equally as great was playing at First Avenue in Minneapolis in November. I’ve seen my legends play on that stage, and it was an honor to play there. Those are only a few of many great moments…and I hope to have many more.

7] What’s next in store for Farewell Milwaukee? Can we look forward to more tours or albums coming up?

The plan is to go after this thing. We’re trying to find ways to do this full time. It’s not easy, but we want it bad. We are all married, and our wives are the most important thing to us. Family is very important. So we are trying to approach it with wisdom, and care. But a full time career is no doubt the goal. We hope to be back to Chicago soon! Just a matter of time before we record another record too. Stay tuned.

 

Isn’t he the tops? Anyone who hearts Judge Judy is a friend o’mine. Thank you Ben and the rest of Farewell Milwaukee for sharing your passion and talents with us. We can’t wait to see what’s up next for you guys!

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Obsessed with this new dove gray chevron canvas I just bought.

Chevron is currently having a moment. It’s zigzagging it’s little self everywhere from clothing & accessories to stationary & furniture! Lucky for me because I love the simplicity and crispness of this classic geometric pattern.

After googling “how to paint a chevron pattern” I came across this post that gave me some tips to get started. I ended up using my own measurements and method though.

Here is what you’ll need. I picked up all of this at Michael’s:

  • 1 11×14″ canvas
  • 1 bottle of black acrylic paint
  • 1 bottle of white acrylic paint
  • 1 disposable cup to mix paint in [not pictured]
  • 1 sponge brush [mine was included in a brush kit that was approx. $5]
  • 1 pencil with a white eraser
  • tape measure [in retrospect a ruler would have been easier but i don't have one]
  • artist’s tape
  • scissors [not pictured]

1. Mark dots at 1-inch increments along the horizontal edge of your canvas. Do the same on the remaining three sides.

2. Take your ruler [i just used the tape, as you can see] and draw horizontal lines corresponding with each dot. Do the same vertically, creating a grid.

 

3. Pencil in dots where each line intersects like so. This will serve as a guide for where to place the tape for the pattern.

4. Cut a bunch of pieces of tape into 4″ strips so you have them at the ready. Then start chevroning!

Whew! Now we’re done with the hardest part. I started using the grid then ended up eyeballing it. It’s supposed to be a fun project so don’t get too stressed if it’s not perfect!

I folded my tape over the edges so it would form a nice pattern on the sides as well.

Can’t get enough of this pattern.

5. Run a credit card over each edge to be sure the edges are firmly on the canvas then paint* away. Don’t forget to paint the sides too. Let dry completely [or if you're impatient like me, speed it up by using a hairdryer on the lowest setting] and paint a second layer. Let dry overnight before stripping off the tape.

*For my dove gray color I mixed a LOT of white paint with a LITTLE black paint. As a rule of thumb when painting, a little dark goes a long way. It’s much harder to lighten up a dark color then vice versa so go liberal with the white and be more sparing with the dark.

{VOILA!}

 

… c’est magnifique. i hope this got your creative juices flowing. give it a shot!

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If you’re like me and wait until the very last minute to begin your Christmas shopping [next year i'm starting promptly after Halloween. i swear.], do not panic! All will be well, yes, all will be well because this year it’s Crosell & Co. [900 N. Michigan Ave., Level 5, Chicago] to the rescue.

Located right off the Mag Mile, Crosell & Co. specializes in eclectic, original, art-designed items. A variety of one-of-a-kind gifts, tableware, home furnishings, jewelry and decorative accessories line the shelves of this whimsical shop. Each treasure has been meticulously handpicked from artists and designers in New York, Paris and London and, of course, our very own Chitown.

One of my favorite items is the Fisherman Salt [pictured below] by Le Pere Pelletier [$26]. I love the rustic packaging and the salt itself is premium selected sea salt with a blend of herbs, peppers and sugars. It’s the perfect gift for the person who has it all.

Good luck with your last minute shopping everyone!

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Breaking news from the desk of navy + cream: I’m very excited to report that I was recently featured on the lifestyle blog, Thread.The.Needle! Blog owner Maria interviewed me with a series of interesting and thought provoking questions and posted the whole lot on her site. Maria and I have a lot in common – we both lived in Chicago & Ohio, love being an auntie, went to an all-girl’s high school [and lived to tell the tale] and so on and so forth.

It was a lot of fun getting to meet Maria, she’s an absolute sweetheart, and I’m so honored to be featured on Thread.The.Needle. Thank you Maria! xoxo!

 

 

 

 

 

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[the makings of a caprese salad]

[making peppermint bark with my cousin]

[bowlin' the night away at lebowski fest]

[my niece, madeline's, work of art]

[snapped a pic post-lunch at nighttown]

[a couple "light meat" & "dark meat" turkeys from oakmont bakery]

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Move over Topshop. Step aside Asos. There’s a new heir to ascend the British eTailer throne.

We’d like to introduce you to Very.com, your new one-stop-shop for affordable on-trend fashions for men and women. With speedy shipping + returns [both are free for orders over $98], over 400 brands and celeb partnerships à la Whitney Port [love her] you’ll find something for everyone on your shopping list this year [& maybe a little something for you too]!

To celebrate their stateside launch, Very.com has graciously offered navy + cream readers an exclusive opportunity to receive 20% off everything on the site. It’s true! Simply click on the image below [you'll be redirected], enter your email address and voilà! You’ll score 20% off brands like French Connection, Miss Sixty, DKNY and more.

Just a few things I’m currently coveting from Very.com…

{nude patent oxfords – $48}

{leopard clutch – $65}

{rust one-shoulder fringe dress – $60}

{printed blouse – $48}

Happy shopping everyone!

 

*disclosure: i received compensation for posting this advertorial, however the words & opinions expressed are my own. now what are you waiting for – start shoppin’!

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I love the animal print trend but am not quite brave enough to rock the look with clothing. The perfect baby step? Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail polish strips in leopard print!

This was my first run at applying these fancy nail polish strips. Overall it was pretty easy and definitely less time consuming than a regular at home mani. No dry time is a huge plus for me because I always manage to chip or scratch my mani’s no matter how hard I try.

The kit was $9.99 at Walgreens and comes with 16 decals. I only used five decals because I have short nails and there was enough material per decal to use on two nails. Essentially you’re paying ten bucks for three manicures, not bad right?

It comes with a handy dual nail file/buffer and a mini cuticle stick.

The directions are very straightforward – just peel off the backs, stick them on and file off loose ends. If leopards aren’t your thang they have other funky looks too – neon solids, glitter, even a lacy print. If you’re looking to try something different it’s a fun alternative to your everyday polish. I give Sally Hansen Salon Effects in Kitty, Kitty [ha] two paws up!

The box says it lasts up to 10 days. So far so good!

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[the artists' work: a st. laurence high school logo, a nightmare before christmas jack-o-lantern, a chicago bears logo [hehe] and an owl on a branch]

The best kinds of weekends are the ones where you don’t have plans but things sort of unfold as you go. This weekend we did just that, fall style. We carved pumpkins, watched football [or if you were me, napped], drank spiced cider [simmer apple cider with cinnamon sticks, whipped cream vodka & captain morgan - delish] & watched a scary movie. The weather was crisp and picture perfect. I’m craving more fall weekends just like this one.

While we’re on the subject of fall, the other week I baked up these miniature chocolate pumpkin spice cakes with a cider maple glaze for our flag football team. They were super easy to make and a tasty way to celebrate our first win!

[even though they look semi fancy they're simply doctored up cake mix plus doctored up vanilla frosting]

[more cute cakes with my crock pot simmering away in the background]

Mini Pumpkin Spice Cakes with Cider Maple Glaze

for cakes:

  • 1 package of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bread and Muffin Mix
  • eggs, oil & water per box directions
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • dash of pure vanilla extract

for glaze:

  • 1/2 cup of your favorite vanilla frosting
  • 1 dash of apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 dash cinnamon

{optional but yet also sort of a necessity this time of year: bag of candy corn}

Preheat your oven to 350F. Combine pumpkin bread mix with eggs, oil, water, vanilla and chocolate chips. Pour into your favorite [greased] cupcake tin [I used a mini bundt cake pan]. Bake per package directions. While cakes are baking, whisk frosting, cider, maple syrup, and cinnamon together. Let cakes cool completely, then drizzle glaze over top with a fork. Decorate with candy corns and serve.

 

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[boo!]

Found this gem on a very cool blog a year ago and wanted to remember to share it with you for this year’s Halloween. The crafty blogger created it in Photoshop and encourages you to print it out and frame it for this year’s Halloween party [you can download the full 8x10 version on her site]. I love when bloggers are generous in this way.

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