appreciation

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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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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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WHO Nike and AKIN

WHAT WE RUN CHI., a party to kick off the launch of the Chicago LunarGlide+3 & a preview of Nike’s fall collection before the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

WHEN Saturday, October 1 [the day after TOMORROW!], 3-5 p.m.

WHERE AKIN, 2350 N. Clark, Chicago, 60614 [map here]

WHY Well, for starters:

+ Nike specially commissioned local Chicago artist Tara D. to design these one-of-a-kind LunarGlide+3′s.

+ Nike reps will be on hand to give tips on running in the rain, the dark, and in these chilly fall and winter months.

+ There will be complimentary food, drinks and snazzy giveaways [after all, it's Nike we're talking about].

+ You can get a sneak peek at Nike’s new Marathon Collection and fall running line.

Plus …I can hardly contain my excitement because the lovely folks at Nike are kindly gifting me a pair of these limited edition sneaks, yippie! I may not have a million dollars but I will have the coolest kicks in town! ‘Tis the little things in life my friends.

I plan to lace up my new LunarGlide+3′s for trips to the coffee shop, gallivanting around town, and maybe even once in awhile for an actual run. I’m thinking these are just the motivation I need to hit the lakefront trail when the temperature takes a plunge.  I can’t keep these lovelies all to myself!

I love the way Tara D. captured the spirit of the city, from incorporating the flag of Chicago’s color scheme to subtle details like adding CHI to the tongue.

[be still my heart.]

Even though I’m most definitely NOT running the marathon, I will gladly show my support [from the sidelines] by sporting my new sneaks. So Saturday, bring your friends … 2350 N. Clark … 3-5 pm … come run, come all!

 

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Jetsetting to Vegas this a.m. to celebrate the last hurrah of Gina, one of my favorite ladies. Here we are in college, five (FIVE!) years ago, practically babies:

Although the miles separate us now she’s the sort of friend you can call on anytime and she would drop everything to be there for you. I can always count on her and I’m very lucky to have her in my life. She’s met a wonderful man, her true match, and I couldn’t be happier for her. Well, off I go to palm trees & 100 degrees – eek! Have a great weekend everyone!

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[our precious brigham, 2 months old]

This post is dedicated to Brigham, our little cheese loving, car chasing, pool swimming, tail wagging girl. She brought so much happiness and joy to our lives. If you were having a so-so day, all it took was one of Brigham’s “hugs” to make you feel instantly better. Her version of a hug: she’d wiggle her brown butt in between your legs and just stand there, with you sort of straddling her while she stood there, tail wagging back and forth maniacally. It’s something she’d been doing since she was a puppy, we have no idea how she started doing this but it always made us laugh. That was a common theme with our Briggie.

There will never be another Brigham, she was the best dog there ever was. I know she has a very special spot in Heaven, surrounded by wheels of cheese and big pieces of cake. We love you Briggie!

 The Last Battle

If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done,
For this — the last battle — can’t be won.
You will be sad I understand,
But don’t let grief then stay your hand,
For on this day, more than the rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn’t want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please, let me go.
Take me to where to my needs they’ll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don’t grieve that it must be you
Who has to decide this thing to do;
We’ve been so close — we two — these years,
Don’t let your heart hold any tears.

– Unknown*

*from an email from my aunt teri

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… i thee swoon.

As previously mentioned [here, here, + here], my mom is the best. She is also a reader of this here blog and came across my post from april 12 ['tuesday trinkets']. What does this amazing woman do? She surprises me with the main object of my affection, the Eliza ring.

{nail polish: essie playa del platinum}

Don’t you just love it? It’s even cuter in person. We got our initials D [my mom] on the left & E [me] on the right with S in the middle [for our last name]. It’s a very cool feeling to have a future family heirloom that will be passed down through generations.

I also want to add the roses in the photo above [& below] are from the boy. We just celebrated our 4th anniversary! He’s the bee’s knees.

Here we are on a vacation we took to the Dominican Republic:

He’s quite strapping isn’t he? Handsome on the inside and out. I’m a lucky lady.

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[#1 dad]

I often wonder… for as much as our parents love us and for all they do for us, how can we possibly thank them for giving us… everything?

I wish I knew.

Until I think of something really really good all I can say is… Dad, thank you for being my biggest fan, my rock, my constant. Thank you for filling my childhood with the best of memories. Thank you for driving me to school each morning [and passing your love of the beatles onto me... lovely rita, meter maid..], for taking me down to the kitchen to fix me a midnight snack when I couldn’t sleep [orange slices sprinkled with sugar], for telling me a bedtime story each night [he created them on the fly every single night], for being strong, imaginative, kind and unfailingly dependable.

I love you more than you know. Happy Father’s Day.

And now some pictures from our weekend on the homestead…

Happy Father’s Day dad! :)

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Last week I had the pleasure of meeting one of my ‘bloggie heroes’, as I like to call him, Tim of Lottie + Doof. Tim’s site, along with The Fashion Face [owned by my uber-talented friend Erika] and Cupcakes and Cashmere were the three blogs that inspired me to start up my own. I remember upon discovering Lottie + Doof, I was so excited to jot down several of Tim’s recipes. To date I’ve made his caramel cake and pumpkin whoopie pies [yum!]. Still on my to-dos? Blood orange bars, garlic dressing, and gooey butter cake. In short, getting to meet Tim was extremely special and gratifying for me.

I have to say after meeting Tim he is exactly as I imagined; humble, gracious, and sharp as a tack with a wry sense of humor that keeps you on your toes. He’s the type to cook a four-course meal …for 40+ peoplefrom scratch… with original recipes all while donning a grin and a casual “oh, this old thing?” cool-as-a-cucumber charisma. The opposite of stuffy and pretentious [although he has every right to be]; I’d like to think Tim’s personality is the equivalent to a bowl of chicken noodle soup [must everything relate to food? uhh, yea.] ~ inviting, warm, and genuine.

Side note, kudos to Tim for his feature in ReadyMade [among other appearances in Saveur, Apartment Therapy, design*sponge, and Time Out Chicago for starters], but unlike the rest of his fanfare, this time Tim and his fiancé Bryan are getting props not for food but for their beautiful home. Congrats!

So where were we. Ah yes, like a mad science experiment that formerly existed only in my dreams, last Wednesday Tim teamed up with Sandra Holl [the prodigal mind and petite powerhouse behind Floriole], to create a scrumptious [I never use that word but it's apropos here] four-course meal with the theme of … drum roll please… springtime! Since spring decided to skip us this year it’s only fair we get to experience it on a plate.

[ wildflowers picked on a trip home]

The dynamic duo of Tim and Sandra artfully wrangled up the light, airy, fresh, earthy components of spring to create a decadent meal that left me clamoring for more. It certainly helped that I was seated [in my humble opinion] at the best table in the house, where I met several more gems: Karin, Karin’s mom [I wish.. alas, she was there only in spirit], Jaclyn, and Melissa – the unrivaled reigning queen of handcrafted syrup and the owner of Jo Snow Syrups [as swooned over here]!

Before I go into the menu, take another swig of your coffee and allow me to digress for I must sing Melissa’s praises. Melissa left behind the comforts of a full-time job to start this fun [and highly successful] venture. The day of Tim’s dinner I was tweeting with Melissa describing my excitement to meet her. To my delight, not only was I seated at her table but she also thoughtfully brought me a bottle of syrup to take home as a gift. Seriously, how sweet is she? Such a generous act of kindness and one I won’t forget. In fact, I’m putting together a post on the many different ways I’m using my prized bottle of cardamom rose water syrup… stay tuned on that.

Back to the menu:

[the snacks] a perfectly salty trio of popcorn, peanuts, and olives to compliment jo snow’s rhubarb & basil syrup beer cocktail.

[lemon ricotta ravioli with spicy asparagus] this pillow of heaven had a tangy, creamy filling with a welcome crunchy kick from the asparagus.

[sorrel soup with poached eggs] eggs + soup, why have i never tried this combo before? also my first experience with sorrel, it had a pleasantly sharp bite that contrasted nicely with the velvety texture of the egg.

[dessert] i think this was my number one but i don’t like to play favorites. let’s just say tim + sandra’s homemade cheesecake = religious experience.

So there you have it. Although I had my camera in tow, I was enjoying the company at my table too much to take photos. I did manage one of dessert:

 

[like buttah]

The team at Floriole, including Sandra and Rachel Post [Floriole's head bread baker], will be holding another dinner this summer – a pizza party to top all pizza parties! Tim let me know he’ll be on our end this time enjoying the ‘za.  We’re all looking forward to it, thanks again everyone for a stellar night. It was a real treat.

 

 

 

 

 

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Meet Foodha.

[image credit menuism blog]

This chubby guy is the official face of Menuism, a site started by two college buddies that’s dedicated to the food loving community. Aside from being the home for Foodha, Menuism is a place where foodies can trade restaurant tips and the inside scoop on favorite spots across the country.

The team at Menuism filled me in on a fantastic Facebook deal they’re running – for every new Facebook fan Menuism earns until April 24, they will donate $1 to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. This is a great [and easy] way to help people right here in Chicago. Last year alone the Food Depository distributed 135,000 meals a day. Amazing!

[image credit menuism blog]

Take a second to pop over to Facebook and ‘like’ Menuism today.

 

 

 

 

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I give people a lot of credit when they take a gamble, stick themselves in what could be an uncomfortable situation, and thrive. After all, that’s how great things happen. You take a risk and as my dad says, “you make your own luck”. Still, it’s no easy task [or so I think] to get up in front of a crowd of people and perform, but maybe that’s why they’re up and I’m down here.

This weekend I saw Vince’s brother John and their family friend Brian perform in their brand new band, “Two Micks and a Mike” [yep, try not to crack a smile]. Every year the Irish-American Alliance [a Chicago-based organization started by Vince and John's dad] holds a St. Patrick’s Day party at the South Side standby Cork & Kerry. It was at this very party that “Two Micks and a Mike” made their big time debut.

[photo credit: chicago bar project]

I so appreciate when someone is passionate about something -be it food, ping-pong, fashion, scrabble, whatever it is- and given that both John and Brian grew up in Irish homes, music is in their blood. They know the stories behind each song they sing and they’re eager to share them [especially after a few pints of smithwick's].

The music, the night [which lasted until the wee hours of the morning... those micks sure know how to party], and the entire scene made me even more excited for St. Patrick’s Day.  You can bet I’ve got my green [yes, green] hot cocoa and Baileys ready. Only nine more days to go!

PS: You can get into the St. Paddy’s spirit and check out Two Micks and a Mike for yourself. Their next gig is on St. Patrick’s Day at Marlin’s, roughly 15 minutes south of the city [7236 39th Street, Lyons, IL 60534]. Marlin’s is a great local watering hole with all sorts of beer on tap. A word to the wise – stay away [far, far away] from the Pinot Grigio. Indeed, it sounded good to me at the time and I instantly became that girl. Stick to the basics here, trust me.

 

 

 

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