Tuesday Tunes

It's a windy, grey, muggy day here in Rochester, MI.  It's a day for two bowls of cereal instead of just one, for lingering for at least an hour over a cup of coffee, for feeling calm and pensive, for listening to some jams that will fit the mood just right.

SLR has you covered.  Here is a grey Tuesday playlist to fill you with the perfect sense of this sort of day.

Grey Tuesday Mix

The Circle Married the Line, Feist

Sorrow, The National

Mykonos, Fleet Foxes

Polish Girl, Neon Indian

I Stand Corrected, Vampire Weekend

Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want, She & Him

You've Got the Love, Florence and the Machine (XX Remix)

I'll Try Anything Once, The Strokes

This is Why We Fight, Death Cab for Cutie

Fake Empire, The National

You can also find the entire playlist here (thanks Grooveshark!).

Enjoy, friends.


Top 5 Essentials You Couldn't Cook Without

When whipping together dinner over the weekend, we got to thinking... what are the 5 top things we just couldn't cook (read: live) without?  We asked around, and found some really interesting things.

- Olive Oil
- Salt
- Pepper 
- Garlic (whole, not minced) 
- Cheese

- Butter 
- Garlic
- Eggs
- Cream
- Pepper

Super foodie friend:
- Pork fat
- Butter
- Salt
- Heavy cream
- Pork belly/bacon 

- Tomatoes
- Salt
- Olive oil
- Onions 
- Water

Super nutritionist: 
- Bananas 
- Oats
- Walnuts
- Olive Oil
- Spinach

Isn't it interesting?  I love the range, and thinking about all the dishes one could come up with with just a handful of dependable ingredients.  Olive oil is really important across the board (so make sure you have plenty on hand), while some of these (hello, anchovies and pork parts) seem very specialized and niche-y. 

What are your cooking essentials? 


Friday Musings 5.25.12.

During the most recent trip to Chicago, I checked out Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio, along with some other houses in the area designed by the famous architect.  Here are some of my favorite photos from the visit...

If you are interested, you can learn more about visiting Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio here.  

S and L are off to PA for a long (work-filled) weekend.  How will you be spending this weekend? Wishing you a happy one!


Quick question for you...

Would you please do us a huge favor and take the poll below? We'd love to know more about what our readers want to see.

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The Italian Bakery

P learned about the most amazing Italian bakery in Chicago.  D'Amato's Bakery near the west side of the city is an amazing find for gorgeous Italian breads, pastries, coffees, and pizza.  We have only tried a few of the pastries- all of which I can attest to being the perfect afternoon accompaniment to tea, or a great hostess gift for a dinner party.  I recently tried their espresso... holy moly.  I haven't had a pressed espresso that good in a while! Brewed from a beautiful classical copper espresso machine, it was bitter up front but clearly pronounced the natural sweetness found in espresso.

The real star of D'Amato's is the pizza.  It is beyond worth a trip to the west side of town to get a warm slice of focaccia pizza.  I love the pizza with olives and artichoke hearts the best- the toppings help to bring extra attention to the lovely tomato sauce and flavorful cheese.  And oh, the crust.  It is the most perfect focaccia.  Crisp on the bottom, but doughy and soft throughout.  Seriously, you have to try this stuff.  Here are some of my favorite recent photos of the joint.

You can find more information about this gem here.  Run! Go quick! I promise it's worth the trip :)


Father's Day Gift Ideas

June 17 is coming up quick!!! Gifts for dads (well, our dad at least) are always the hardest. They seem to already have everything, or nothing is just right, or you can't outdo the stellar idea you came up with last year.  And dads are super important to recognize (ours is a superhero).  Here's some low-to-no-cost ideas for the special Dad in your life.

Recreate a childhood favorite treat: Our dad loves to tell us about his college study habit of allowing himself to eat a fudgesicle after reading 100 pages.  So wouldn't it be fun to bring back that memory with a homemade version?  Watch Dad try to resist a homemade version of a childhood favorite, like fudgesicles, ice cream sandwiches, oreos, or twinkies

Manual labor: Does Dad love his car?  Bike?  Boat?  Shoes?  Whatever it is, take some of the load off his plate by shining, waxing, polishing, and pampering Dad's most prized possessions.  And of course, let him relax (maybe even with a homemade treat) while you're hard at work. 

Freshen up his basics: How often to men wear socks and undershirts?  (A lot.)  Now, how often do they freshen up their selection?  My exposure to men's shopping habits generally is that they don't often.  Do Dad a favor by getting him fresh ones.  Hit up Target or David Beckham's line of underwear for H&M.  This sock line is cute too. 

A date with mom/his partner: Treat your dad to a date night out by doing all the planning in advance.  You can make this as simple (think picnic that you make ahead of time and send them out to a park with an iPod playlist and some portable speakers) or as elaborate as you want.  Cup of Jo recommends a trapeze class, which sounds like boatloads of fun!

A big, huge map: For the worldly dad, get a fun map where he can show off his travels.  My friend has this huge one in her house (it takes up an entire wall), and she says it's the centerpiece for an endless amount of conversations and dinner table trivia.  Our dad has a fun scratch-off map to keep track of where he's been.

Do you give your dad presents for Father's Day?  If so, what are you planning for your dad?



So, we were supposed to be boarding a cruise ship today in Rome, heading on our way to Greece as we started our Mediterranean adventure.  Life got in the way this time... looks like Rome has to wait a few extra weeks before we can arrive in style.  

Sometimes plans don't always work out.  We're doing our best to learn how to roll with the punches on this one.  Looking forward to some extra family time and our rescheduled trip in a few short weeks.  


Friday Musings 5.18.12.

Some pictures from a recent visit to Chicago to bring happiness and inspiration to your Friday.  S and L are finishing up final preparations for the big Euro trip... what are your plans for the weekend?


Detox Avocado Salad

As we are preparing to leave for a Mediterranean cruise (!), the whole SLR family is trying to eat healthy, refreshing, energizing, and cleansing meals as much as possible.  Yesterday, we whipped up this lovely little salad to eat outside with some relaxing reading for a feel good lunch.

It's very reminiscent of a deconstructed guacamole- you'll find a lot of the same ingredients in this lovely salad.  We loved it because it tasted fresh and summery, was super satisfying, and took our lunch up a notch on the health scale.  

This salad delivers lots of vitamin C from the red pepper, lycopene (a carotenoid) from the tomatoes, tons of great fiber from the produce, and plenty of healthy monounsaturated fats from the avocado.  It keeps well (and the avocados don't turn brown because of the citrus juice- bonus!), so it is a great option to take to work for lunch, or with you on a picnic.

Detox Avocado Salad
Adapted from Whole Living
Serves 2

2 Avocados
1 Tomato (we used vine-ripened here, but use any variety you have on hand!)
1 Red pepper
2 Green onions
1 Small clove of garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
Juice of 1 large lime
Dash of red wine vinegar
Drizzle of olive oil
Black pepper

1. Cut avocados, tomato, and pepper into large chunks.  Feel free to cut them however you would best like to consume them in the salad.  Chop the green onion into small rounds.
2. Mix all chopped ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.  Add minced garlic, chopped parsley, juice of lime, red wine vinegar (we used just a dash- probably about 1 teaspoon), and olive oil (we used about 1 teaspoon).
3. Mix together gently.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Taste the salad, adjust vinegar, salt, and pepper as needed.



Project Apartment: Found it!

BIG Project Apartment news!  I found the apartment!

My new street in the Warehouse District, and my building.  It's an old factory built in 1926 that is currently being converted into apartments, which means my place will be new-yet-vintage

Appliances are coming :)  - the kitchen is new and modern-ish

Check out this elevator shaft!  I think the bones of the building, where you can really see it's age and history, are the coolest parts.

Dining/living room under construction - the interior brick wall made me SWOON.  It's in the bedroom too.

My future bedroom :)

So what do you think?  I cannot wait to get in and get my hands on it.  Now we can really get to the fun part - decorating!!!


Show me your Wu

 Dress: Jason Wu for Target. Belt: Urban Outfitters. Flats: Target

A simple sundress for a simple day of errands. 

See?  Really large bread = errands. (Bread that I proceeded to take a huge bite out of immediately after this picture was taken...)

Yeah, like that. 


Color Bomb

A little art to color your Thursday: from Alberto Seveso's A Due Colori.  Ink and water photographs.