Friday musings 4.27.12

Happy Friday from Ann Arbor, Michigan!

S & L are enjoying the weekend together, and couldn't be happier.  We are here to celebrate L's big accomplishment- she's graduating from the University of Michigan! The brilliant chica is going to be recognized today for her honors status in both communications and women's studies! Congrats to L on being so amazing.

To start of the weekend happy, here are some fun links from around the interweb.

Witty cards and other paper products.  Love the illustrations!

Pretty pretty prints.

Fun free iPhone wallpaper- so lighthearted and lovely.

Adoring artistic breakfast ideas.  I wish every morning was a relaxed as these setups feel.

So many dress crushes.  Check out this pinterest board full of current clothing desires!

Have the happiest of weekends :)


Homemade Ricotta

One of my favorite go-to ingredients for spring and summer cooking is ricotta.  It is light and airy, yet creamy and luxurious.  The only way ricotta could be any better- if it is made from scratch.

I promise it is easier than you might imagine! This recipe was first discovered by L (who I am forever indebted to for this one), and is inspired by Deb from Smitten Kitchen, who has earned my everlasting admiration.  I promise your life will be exponentially better once you give this a try- seriously.  It's that good.

It's slightly unconventional, which I am okay with if it means I can make my own ricotta whenever the mood calls for it.  This recipe results in a creamier, spreadable cheese, as opposed to the familiar curd-like texture of ricotta.  I think it is best smeared on crostini, topped with whatever seasonal vegetables or herbs happen to be around.

Homemade Ricotta
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 cups whole milk
2 cup heavy cream*
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 tbsp lemon juice

Combine milk, cream, and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat.  Heat mixture to 190°F.  Remove from heat source, add lemon juice all at once.  Stir twice, very slowly and carefully.  Let sit 5-10 minutes untouched.

Line a colander with several layers of cheesecloth (I use a large square, folded into quarters at a minimum), and place over a large bowl.  It is important to use a large bowl, as much liquid will strain from the cheese.  Pour milk mixture into colander, and let curds strain.  Let strain for as long as necessary to achieve the desired texture.  At 1 hour, the mixture will be smooth and tender, but spreadable.  As it continues to strain the curds will become firmer.  Keep in mind the curds will firm up more when cooled.  I tend to let the curds strain 2-3 hours.

Eat immediately! Or, keep refrigerated in an airtight container if you possess enough self-restraint.

*You can play with the milk-to-cream ratio, if you want a lighter (read: less caloric) cheese.  It's very reliable to use 1 cup of cream and 3 cups of milk or even 1/2 cup of cream with 3 1/2 cups of milk.

I recently used homemade ricotta spread thinly on lightly toasted fresh bread, topped with local sorrel leaves, drizzled with wildflower honey, with a sprinkle of sea salt and a grind of black pepper.  I can't even describe how good it was- give it a try!


On vintage

Do you thrift or vintage shop?  I spent a lot of time this weekend at some of my favorite vintage stores in Ann Arbor (only 1 week left here...).  I found some amazing pieces, including this 1930s gown that I was way to close to taking home with me.

Vintage shopping can be tricky though - often times the proportions are wrong, and sizes are so different now than they were in past decades.  I saw the dress below in a store window a few days ago and couldn't get it out of my mind.  So when I went to try it on, it turned out to be at least 3 sizes too big.  But I couldn't pass it up - so I got it as a "project" dress.  I have to get it restructured, but I think it will be worth it.

I'm considering it my graduation present to myself.  (Yes, that is my graduation gown hanging behind the floral dress.)


Weekend Movie Review

Happy Monday all! Ugh... it's kind of been a slow start to the week over here.  After a super fun and relaxing weekend, it is always a huge challenge to get back into a productive flow.  One of the highlights of the weekend was cuddling up under blankets watching a movie on Sunday afternoon.

(500) Days of Summer was the movie of choice! Have you seen it? I saw it in the theaters when it first came out, and was happy to revisit the story this weekend.  It features my celebrity girl-crush, Zooey Deschenel.  I find her to be so cute and completely admire her style and awesome bangs.

The movie is definitely fun and interesting, with some great production concepts.  I am also a huge fan of the soundtrack.  It is one of my go-to playlists for working on a calm afternoon with a cup of tea.  Check it out here!

p.s. Here are some great fashion ideas, inspired by Summer's style in the movie!


Friday Musings 4.20.12: Art Show

My printmaking art show was yesterday.  This was my most creative semester, and I loved being able to spend time in a studio and play with ideas, turning them into artwork.  My stuff is without a doubt the least artistic of the class, but what's the point of life if you don't throw yourself out there and try new things? At least that's how I'm justifying it :)


Late Night Baking

Last night I stayed up doing some last minute baking for a class related event.  I decided to make Thomas Keller's shortbread cookies, that I will doll up with some icing (blue polka dots!).  They turned out great- not too sweet, but oh so satisfying.  A step-by-step recipe will be posted soon!


The floral pants happened.

 Pants: H&M  Shoes: Zara  Top: H&M  Blazer: Target 

I sure do love these floral pants.  It's spring!  What better way to celebrate than with overt florals?  I paired them with my birthday shoes from Ryan and a simple white tee. 


Coachella Envy

This past weekend marked the start of Coachella 2012.  The huge music festival in Southern California that happens each spring features music from all sorts of genres: rap, hip hop, indie, techno, pop, electro, R&B.... the list goes on.  To top it all off, everyone camps out around the  festival site, making it the biggest sleepover you could imagine in the middle of the California desert. 

While I wish I was there enjoying the two weekend long insanity, I'm afraid I am still stuck in Pennsylvania going to class, doing work, and all that the grad school party entails.  However, I'm happy to report that there are plenty of opportunities to live vicariously through the festival goers! Check out some of my current favorite clips and stories from Coachella 2012...

 Tupac was brought back as a hologram?

Fitz and the Tantrums performed the ever-catchy "Moneygrabber"

Andrew Bird's romantic strings

The talented front woman for St. Vincent jammed out to "Cruel"

Bon Iver (or is it Bonny Bear?) played a dreamy version of "Minnesota, WI"

Plus plenty more musical wonders that you can watch by live stream.  Enjoy the temporary mental vacation to Southern California!

Have you ever been to Coachella? Which artists are you dying to see live these days?


SLR Loves: Queen Bee

I definitely have a favorite skin care line.  Our mom's friend in Denver introduced us to Queen Bee, a natural & organic line of skin care products.  I love my skin when I use any of my Queen Bee stash.  My favorites:

There is nothing like the Glycolic Toner.  It is the gentlest exfoliator I have found, and it clears your skin so well that it feels like you start totally fresh.  I don't use it everyday (mainly to conserve it because I love it so much), but I feel extra pretty when I do.  Definitely a must-have. 

The Exfoliating Facial Cleanser is also wonderful.  It has the consistency of honey, and it leaves your skin squeaky-clean without feeling dry. 

What's your skin care ritual?  


Friday Musings 4.13.12

Happy weekend!  What are you up to this weekend?  If you're not sure, here's some fun ideas for you (they would also make great dates!).

Go to a local theater production or concert
It's exciting when a big concert comes to town, but what about all the local-based performance art shows like community theatre productions or a concert at a nearby restaurant?  Have any poetry readings around? High school musical productions can be the best too.  Get out there and support the arts in your community!

Make something unexpected completely from scratch 
When was the last time you made ricotta cheese from scratch?  How about marinara sauce?  Bread?  Why not try this weekend!

Do some DIY artwork
From chevron canvases to melted crayon art to abstract paintings, there are so many great art ideas out there.  And what's more inspiring than to look up on your wall to see something you made yourself?  


Project Apartment: Closet Inspiration

So as it turns out, since both S and L are moving at the end of this summer... we now have TWO project apartments going on.  What??? Craziness. This blog is going to get so hard-core "look what I found antiquing" (-L) and "oh MY these anthro bowls are just too darn precious!!" (-S).  So... sorry in advance.

But alas, as I consider my (L's) project apartment to be the original, I figured I would share my #1 vice. Closets.  

My nose has been runny for a week, the weather is so indecisive it's annoying, and people are getting antsy; you know what that means?  SPRING! And Spring Cleaning! Ready for some hardcore spring cleaning inspiration??
Have I told you about how I will sit with the Container Store's catalogue for hours in my happy place? I will. 

I'm also a sucker for creative storage- i.e. this shoe cabinet

This one (albeit a coat rack, forgive me) is getting me all inspired-like - AND it's a DIY!  It's like Christmas.

Get ready to clean out your closet and make it look pretty like these ones.  We'll be purging and de-cluttering and rearranging and getting our creative storage juices flowing super soon.  Let the spring cleaning begin!  



How about some midweek fun? There has been so much fashion and design inspiration on Pinterest lately.  Here are some of my current obsessions.  








Are you on Pinterest? What are some of your favorite finds?