winter

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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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[nutella pillows]

You may have noticed navy + cream was out of commission the past week, and I’m pointing my finger at you, Snowmageddon 2011. Below, one of many eerie photos circulating the web that captured the mayhem.

[Lake Shore Drive, a highway that runs through Chicago, as it appeared the morning of February 2nd.]

Although the blizzard threw everyone out of whack, I secretly loved it. We spent the two blustery days holed up at Vince’s sister and husbands house lazing around in our pajamas playing board games, eating junk food and watching movies. The third morning Vince and I felt the twangs of cabin fever and we finally surfaced from their home, only to discover that Vince’s poor car was buried under a miniature Mount Everest. Two hours, a piece of cardboard, a borrowed shovel, and two good samaritans later, we managed to free his car from the snowdrift. That was about the time I started to simultaneously loath the snow and praise the Lord for my heated garage spot.

Blizzard business aside, this past week I discovered a new favorite holiday: World Nutella Day. Music to my ears. On February 5th, chocolate lovers like myself celebrate all of the goodness that is this delicious, sweet, and creamy Italian spread. I came across this yummy-sounding yet simple recipe on Picky Palate and thought it would be the perfect way to ring in Nutella Day.

Nutella Pillows

  • 1 package puff pastry, 2 pastry sheets thawed [you can find it in your freezer aisle]
  • 1 cup Nutella [available at most grocery stores, at Jewel it's located by the peanut butter and jelly]
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 egg + 1 tbsp water for egg wash
  • sprinkling of sugar
  • sprinkling of powdered sugar [optional]

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Cut each square of pastry into 4 equal size pieces.  Spread a couple tablespoons of Nutella spread onto the center of each pastry leaving 1/2 inch border around edges.  Top each with about 12-15 mini marshmallows and fold over to form a little triangle.  Crimp edges firmly with the tines of a fork.  Brush with egg white wash then sprinkle with granulated sugar.  Bake for 22-25 minutes or until pastry just turns golden.  Remove and let cool for 5 minutes, sprinkle with powdered sugar then dig in! Yields 8 pillows.

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It was the Monday coming off of a Bears playoff loss [frown] but a Steelers playoff win [semi smile]. Allow me to explain. Let it be known that under no circumstances am I a Steelers fan [I'm a proud Browns fan and always will be], but seeing as how my parents and extended family hail from Steel City, I’m happy for them. There, I said it.

Tonight, dinner needed to be easy. This high-fiber, protein packed salad was so quick & simple I’m not sure I can call it a recipe. I must advise you to take heed if you’re averse to the strong flavor of raw garlic. I happen to love it but many people don’t. Raw garlic has been proven to boost your immune system, lower cholesterol, and lower blood pressure, among other health benefits. Though regarded as an herbal whiz kid, it will clear you sinuses as well as anyone within a five-mile radius. Your breath will be a lethal weapon, consider yourself warned.

Garlic + Bean Winter Salad

  • 1/2 cup cannellini beans
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame beans
  • 1/2 cup chick peas
  • sprinkling of parmesan cheese

For vinaigrette:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves
  • 1 palmful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of kosher salt
  1. Combine the edamame beans, cannellini beans, chick peas, and parmesan.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together ingredients for vinaigrette. Pour over bean mixture until all ingredients are evenly coated. Enjoy!

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Now that the fun parts of winter {family-filled Christmas + lively New Year’s parties} have passed us by at whirlwind speeds, we’re left with a resounding….

“Well now what?”

Let’s face it, when the temperature takes a nosedive it’s all-too-easy for your spirits to plummet right down with it. Although the winter can be downright demoralizing, I’ll admit that it can be kind of nice too. There’s just something to be said for a cozy winter night by a crackling fire, mug of hot cocoa in hand {extra marshmallows please}, with the falling snow and good conversation to keep you company.

We winterize our cars with snow tires and antifreeze, so why not winterize us? Here are a five ways to help you fend off the winter funk and keep you smiling ’til spring.

1. Walking around with a chapped mug is a buzz kill any time of year. Keep your lips moisturized with a balm that is light and has a heavenly scent, like this C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve [$5.50].  My aunt got me some just in time to replace the one I’d had for three years {as seen here}.

2. Dash through the snow in style this winter with some fancy footwear, like these haute Burberry Winter Boots [$295]

3. This one may seem like a no-brainer but exercise truly makes a difference in elevating your mood and revitalizing your spirits. In case you’re snowed in, keep a jump rope [$9.99] handy so you never have an excuse to miss a heart-pumping cardio session.

4. Adopt a low-maintenance skin care regimen that will keep your skin radiant all winter long. I really like Bio-Oil [$16], it’s a hot-seller overseas and just recently became available in the US. The Australian based product contains PurCellin Oil which improves the appearance of scars, stretch marks, uneven skin tone, aging and dehydrated skin. While we know there’s no such thing as a miracle in a bottle, this stuff is pretty close.

5. Manicures only last a week at the most, besides, why trudge out in this weather when you don’t have to? Cuticle oil, a nail buffer, and a shiny clear topcoat will make your DIY mani look {nearly} professional. I layered Urban Outfitters navy polish with glitter* to lighten things up, plus every time I glance down at my sparkly digits I can’t help but feel happy. Tip: if going for a dark polish, keep nails short and square to keep them neat & chic instead of goth-gone-bad.

*unfortunately neither of these polishes are available online. i purchased them as part of a 10-piece mini polish gift set for $20 from the urban outfitters at clark + diversey [chicago].


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I really like the notion that even on the darkest of days there is an exuberant spirit within us all: we just have to remember to turn on the light.

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[this fur coat is really coming in handy]

[maybe if i stop waking mom and dad up in the middle of the night, santa will bring me cheese this year]

[welp, for now i'll just stick to the fluffy white stuff]

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As much as I love living in the heart of a bustling metropolis like Chicago, the winter certainly takes it’s toll. Like most of my urban compadres, I walk or take public trans pretty much everywhere – to the gym, the grocery store, bars, restaurants, you name it. This lifestyle, although frugal and incidentally eco-friendly, is an absolute pain in the kaboose come wintertime.

A born-and-bred Midwesterner, I’ve long since learned to embrace the subzero temperatures and face the frost head on. Here are some of my favorite picks for the winter goddess in all of us.

1. Anthropologie Cassonade Coat [$198]

2. Fred Flare Puffy Convertible Jacket [$86]

3. Patagonia Mabel Hat [$39]

4. Coach Rabbit Mittens [$298]

5. Betsey Johnson Snow Angel Earrings [$31]

6. Topshop Knitted Zigzag Sequin Jumper in Cream [$110]

7. Burberry Earmuffs [$175]

8. AG Stevie Cords [$158]

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[an elegant pewter cake stand I picked up at the White Elephant with cinnamon-scented pine cones]

I absolutely love living in Chicago this time of year. Storefronts are festively garnished with red and green, garland and ribbon wrap daintily around street poles, and welcoming wreathes hang from doorways. And let’s not forget the snow – the first snowfall is always the most beautiful. The powder delicately dusts the city and makes it look as picturesque and pretty as a postcard.

This Christmas, I enjoyed the challenge of decorating my apartment in a playful yet classic style that didn’t overwhelm my small space [read: more Pottery Barn, less Clark Griswold].

[fun candycane inspired candles and miniature red glass ornaments greet guests in the entryway]

[it's just not christmas without a tree! my small spruce brightens up the kitchen in a big way]

[even the oven gets into the christmas spirit]

[pine cones arranged on a vintage platter make for a pretty centerpiece. as for the candles, i dressed them up with some ribbon and tape. ta-da!]

[ornaments and lights nestled together all snug in their beds]

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[red pepper flakes and curry powder are the stars of this show]

There’s nothing better than a quiet night in after a long, exhausting, cold winter day. Yesterday was one of those days where I was too tired to fix dinner so I resorted to a no-muss no-fuss meal, and last night my din du jour happened to be popcorn. Yes, I ate popcorn for dinner … sorry Mom, I know that’s disappointing. However, I doctored up my popcorn [per usual] with some unexpected ingredients that kicked this typically ho-hum snack into a full-flavored force to be reckoned with.

In the words of Rachel Zoe, I die for curry. I even have a sweet little spice pot from Anthropologie that’s sole purpose is to house curry. I’ve been using curry as the secret spice in my popcorn for awhile now and this is one secret I don’t mind sharing.

[wearing Forever 21 nail polish in silver as seen here. how festive am i?]

Throw some curry powder and red pepper flakes [about one teaspoon each, as you see fit] onto your next batch of microwave popcorn [oh the shame] and I’m telling you, you’ll never look back. It’s spicy, it’s flavorful, it’s easy – what’s not to love?

[do you like my miniature tree in the background? more to come on that jazz]


[curry popcorn + national lampoon's christmas vacation, done and done.]

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This season *glamorous glitter + shimmering sequins* have been popping up everywhere! From the runway of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show to nail polish to cocktail dresses, glitz is here for the holidays. It’s a festive, fun, and whimsical way to add flair to your wardrobe this season, and I for one am a big big fan.

1. Forever 21 Silver nail polish [$2.50 - a steal!]

2. Charlotte Russe Matte Sequin Mini [$32.50]

3. J.Crew Gem-laden Clutch [$98]

4. Literature Noir Sequin Romper [$286]

5. Akira 1/2 Sleeve Sequin Dress [$109.90]

6. Sperry Topsider Bahama Holiday [$75.50]

7. Topshop Gunmetal Sequin Shorts [$90]

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