Monday, June 25, 2012

Library Time!

Happy last week of June 2012 everyone!

Can you believe how fast time has gone by???

Anywho - I have been a busy bee reading lately.  I have finished three books in the past couple weeks.  I still am raving about Gretchen Rubin's "The Happiness Project" - I really think all women should read it - men too, just think of it the opposite way around!  I even got my mom to get the book so she can read it!

First was the last English published novel by Tatiana De Rosnay. I had yet to read her book called "A Secret Kept."  I have enjoyed the other two novels very much by this author before.  This one didn't hit the spot as much.  The "secret" was not what I thought it was going to be and after I found out the "secret," I was waiting for more - like a better secret!  Oh well - at least I finished it!

The second book I read was the start of a series called "The Big Stone Gap Series" by Adriana Trigiani.  The first book called, "Big Stone Gap," is about a woman in her mid-30s trying to live her life with no family but all friends.  I just - it's just - it's just hard to describe this story.  You just have to read it!  It has humor, romance, mystery - all the good themes combined into one!  I LOVED IT!  I cannot wait to read the next one in the series!

Thirdly, I just finished reading Mindy Kaling's memoir, or book of essays, called "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and other concerns)."  Let me start off by saying, I liked this book soo much, I actually added her blog to one of the sites I follow now - she hasn't posted in awhile but hopefully she will in the near future!
Source: Mindy Kaling's Blog
You all probably know her from "The Office" as Kelly.  I normally wouldn't have read this - but my sister Kate LOVES "The Office" and I heard of this and thought it would be funny to read.  Oh - I was so right!  She said one of my favorite lines in this one episode when she was dating Darryl, and Jim and Darryl were playing ping-pong in the basement of the building and Kelly said to Pam, "Hey Hey you you I don't like your boyfriend.  Why why why why cuz he sucks at ping-pong (say it to the tune of Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend)."  It was so funny - you have to see it!  Anywho!  I have fallen in love with Mindy Kaling - I wish I was one of her friends.  She is not only an actress on the show but she is also a writer and producer - can you believe it?!  Anywho, I highly suggest you ladies out there who love to laugh-out-loud to books should go read this.

Ok anyone else have some great books they've been reading?  Let me know!
xoxo Sarah

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Strawberry Fest 2012!

Ok - so this is the weekend I look forward to the most throughout the summer - Cedarburg's Strawberry Festival:

I posted about Cedarburg in this post HERE.  My mom, sister, and I LOVE STRAWBERRY FEST.  We love to go every year as well.  It's always the third or fourth weekend in June.  There are artists and vendors galore selling everything from purses, paintings, pottery, jewelry, knitting, American Girl Dresses, clothes, tye-dye.  They literally have everything!
Kate taking a picture with the cow holding strawberries (the epitome of a WI strawberry festival), wearing silly glasses, and just look at all those people!
NOW - Let's talk about that food!  Whatever you want strawberry it's there plus other amazing goodies as well!  They have everything from strawberry bbq pork, strawberry brats, strawberry belgian waffles, strawberry crepes to strawberry wine, strawberry beer, and strawberry milk!!  Take a look below at the delicious goodies we sampled!
Strawberry blush wine, strawberry shortcake, "strawberry" carmel apple, kettle korn, strawberry milk, and of course chocolate covered strawberries!
This weekend is so much fun and I love it!  I am glad I am able to share it with you!  My mom, sister, and I really have a blast this weekend - I miss it already!

Have a great start to the week!!!

Happy Strawberries!
xoxo Sarah

Friday, June 22, 2012

Pizza Pot Pie

So Zachary and I love love love - pizza.

Yes we are pizza fanatics!  Zachary makes his own pizza dough, pizza sauce, and plain out pizza.

So from the farmers market, we got these beautiful crimini mushrooms!  We decided to make our own personal pizza pot pies!  I can't give away our secrets to it yet, but hopefully in the future!  Take a look below:
Yeah for Pizza!
xoxo Sarah

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Campillo Raspberry Mancakes!

This past Sunday I decided to make a little awesome breakfast from the fresh raspberries we got at the farmers market. 

I have made these "mancakes" before from a recipe my cousin-in-law Cathleen sent me - the recipe I believe is from Zach's grandma, Nana.  

Here is the recipe below:
Combine Dry Ingredients:
1 cup siffted all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tb sugar

Combine Wet Ingredients:
1 egg (beaten)
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons melted butter

Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients mix until combined, batter will be lumpy. Heat up your griddle and enjoy!!

To make them raspberrilicious - I added a pint of raspberries that we got from the farmers market!  

Take a look below:

Don't they look awesome!  I know they aren't perfect circle pancakes - but these babies are the best - raspberries or not!

Yeah for man-cakes!
xoxo Sarah

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tea of the Week!

So over the past couple weeks, if you have been watching the news at all, it has been Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubliee has been being celebrated!  Have you checked out the outfits that the Duchess of Cambridge was wearing!  Oh I wish I owned her wardrobe!

Anywho - if you have read my blog or know me at all - I have a love of English history, culture, and all that jazz!  Zach and I went out this past weekend and stopped at World Market.  I found a new coffee mug I just had to get!  I normally don't splurge and get these things - but I saw it and I had to own it!  Zach said too that I should get it!  So take a look below:

It's a Diamond Jubilee collectible mug!  I had to get it!  I love England!  So I want to know , do you have a favorite mug to drink out of for tea?  I do!  Minus the two mugs from England I have - I have an Anthropolgie mug my Mother-in-law got me the first Christmas I was dating Zachary - I love it.  It's big and great for tea!  My mom has a Christmas mug she uses for her tea - throughout the entire year!

What tea mug do you use?
xoxo Sarah

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

So Zachary and I went to the Farmers Market in Naperville this past weekend!  We found some great finds - so the next few posts are going to be about the food we found at the market.

First off, as I stated in a previous post, I wanted to find some rhubarb.  Unfortunately, I did not find any rhubarb at the market - due to the lack of rain, it has been hard to grow this season.  They said they would have it next week though!  But - I did get some great strawberries!  They were great!  So I searched on Saturday and FINALLY found some rhubarb at a new Polish grocery store Zachary and I found which was great!  We will definitely be going back there!

So for Father's Day, I wanted to make a fun desert for my father-in-law.  My in-laws came over for a pool day and for some fun!

I found this great recipe for a Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp from

Click HERE for the recipe!  I used honey and found it to be just delicious!!!!!!!!  Zachary even wanted seconds and he isn't a big dessert person!

Take a look below at how yummy it is!
The process of making it - from mixing the filing and the topping, then before the oven and after it was baked!
The final project - with a mint accent from our garden!
Yeah for a fun and delicious rhubarb recipe!
xoxo Sarah

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Baked Cinnamon French Toast

The other weekend, I wanted to try out a new breakfast on Zachary.  I saw it on one of my favorite food blogs - Smitten Kitchen.  I thought it looked so good!  I cut down the recipe by half.

This Baked Cinnamon French Toast was a great addition to our breakfast recipe list.

Click HERE for the recipe and enjoy!!

Quick tip:  If you cut the recipe in half, you can cut the liquid portion even lower than half!  Just slightly lower than half!

Yeah for trying something new for breakfast!
xoxo Sarah

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Ok - so who doesn't love the combo of chocolate and peanut butter???  Oh you know I love it!  I bet you do too - even if you don't want to admit it!

A few weeks ago I decided to make some awesome cupcakes from one of my fav blogs: Brown Eyed Baker.  I was going to visit my choir director and priest, Fr. Scott at our church St. John Cantius in Chicago.  So, I decided to bring the priests and brothers that live in the rectory a tasty treat.

Click HERE for the recipe.  It is one of the favorite recipes on the Brown Eyed Baker's Blog.

Happy Cupcakes!
xoxo Sarah

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Daddy's Girl...

Happy Father's Day all!

I hope you were all able to spend time with your dads, or grandpas, or godfathers!  I wasn't able to see mine but I talked with him on the phone.  My family went up to visit my grandparents in Appleton.

I have always been a daddy's girl - trying to impress my father as much as I can.  It's probably because I'm the oldest!  I also am my dad's twin - even though I am a girl!

One of my favorite Father's Day activities has always been watching the US Open during that weekend.  I remember going to my Grandpa Kaminski's house when we were younger as a family and everyone would be watching it.

So Dad - this is for you - I love you very much and miss you very much!
xoxo Sarah
Father - Daughter dance at my wedding - "My Girl" by the Temptaions

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Taste of Summer...

One of the things I love the most about Summer are FARMER MARKETS!  Yes I love them - even though I haven't been to many of them.  My friend Megan who lives in MN outside of Minneapolis also likes to go to them - see her post HERE and HERE on her blog "Happy in Heels"

In the city of a Chicago there are quite a few - the two most well known ones are the Green City Market in Lincoln Park on Saturdays during the summer, and the Farmers Market in Daly Plaza on Thursdays during the day!  If you haven't been to either of these I suggest you try them out - the Green City Market is one of the most well-known in the country!  Zachary and I saw a Top Chef demonstration there - if you watch Top Chef, I got to ask Antonia a question - from the Chicago season!

This weekend, Zachary and I are celebrating Father's Day of course - but to kick it off tomorrow, we are going to Naperville's Farmers Market at the 5th Ave Naperville Metra Station on Saturday morning!  I am so so excited because I really really want them to have rhubarb - it has been so hard to find here!

Here is a little look at the Thursday Farmers Market in Chicago!  It's huge so I couldn't take a ton of pictures, but they have your usual greens, fruits, plants, flowers - plus they have honey - and beeswax candles as well as CHEESE and different breads!

Chicago Farmers Market in Daley Plaza
Hope you guys are having a good start to the summer and have a wonderful weekend as well!

Happy Start to Summer!
xoxo Sarah

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Happiness Project

Ok - so my last library post here, I talked about the book "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin.

SOURCE: The Happiness Project Blog
I was at first skeptical about this book because I didn't want to be reading about a self-help book.  But IT MOST DEFINITELY IS NOT!!  I know I am happy and I was like why should I read a book about happiness?  This book is SO MUCH MORE than that.  It's a life-changer.  Gretchen Rubin, the author, creates a system to measure happiness through a project she creates for 1 year.  Each month she focuses in on one aspect of her life to try to become happier.  First she focuses in on Energy - because that is the start of this all.  The more energy she has to begin with, the more she can focus in on the other aspects of her life.

I truly have found this book to be a must-read for anyone out there.  It has made me happier and think more about how to be happy in my life - even though I know I am happy - I know I can be happier.  I can utilize my time more to spend on the things that matter most and make me happy rather than those that suck up worry, anxiety, and energy. 

Everyone can have a different Happiness Project.  It doesn't have to be followed exactly to hers.  It can be catered to the individual.  So as I develop my own happiness project, here are a couple things I am adding to it. 

1) Energy - Decluttering my apartment, organizing and going through all my wedding items, going to bed earlier so I can wake up earlier to utilize more of my day, make sure I get 8 hours of sleep each night, drink a glass of water before every meal and before I go to bed. 

2) Relationships/Love - Spend time walking more with Zachary after meals and during the weekend, writing more letters to my friends (we rely too much on electronics these days), make an effort to send my sister something funny each week since I miss her so much and I know she will laugh at what I send her.  

3) Fun - Learn a new language over the summer (Zachary and I are learning French!), sing more and look into local musicals at the colleges and high schools around us, attend more High School sporting activities especially football games - we live right near a local high school

4) Spirituality/Religion - go to church more - PERIOD.

5) Mind - Look into local tutoring opportunities for Math where I live, read more, read a book I normally wouldn't about history or politics, read a biography about a famous St. Thomas Moore (I find him very interesting and would like to learn more about his life), read the physical newspaper more.

6) Body - Work out more, utilize our pool to do laps in, go on more walks during lunch downtown during work, walk more after dinner, do daily yoga work outs, coupon clipping.

Although these are just some of the things I think that will make me happier, I have to remember to "Be Sarah" at the same time.  That is one of the major things that Gretchen focused on was remember to be yourself during this time.  

What will you do for your happiness project?  Are you currently working on a happiness project?  Let me know what you think!

By the way, Zachary even said he thought I was happier just by reading the book!  Sorry for the lengthy post but it deserved it!

Be Happy!
xoxo Sarah

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Picasso or Monet?

So I wanted to show you guys a little bit more about the paint class I went to the other weekend for my friend Morgan's bachelorette party.

The place we went to called "Arts n Spirits" in a neighborhood of Chicago known as Wicker Park!  It was great great fun!  It is a BYOB painting class!  They also do class reservations for bridal showers, baby showers, and birthday parties!  On Sundays they have painting classes for kids too that you could throw a birthday party for there!

When we went, we were taught how to paint a Venetian sunset or in other words Monet's "Sunset in Venice."

Here is what Monet's painting really looks like:

Here is what mine and the rest of the girls paintings looked like:
The larger painting is mine!
So what do you think?  Am I a Monet or more of a Picasso?  What are your thoughts??

Happy painting!
xoxo Sarah

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Musical Me...

For those of you who know me, I love singing.  I love music.  I love everything about it!  After a year hiatus, I am getting back into choir with my all-girls-chorus I sing with in Chicago called "Cantante Domino."  I am very excited for this :)

Even though in that choir,I sing Latin masses, i.e. Faure, Rheinberger, Mozart, etc., my biggest love of music, besides Big Band Swing/Jazz, is definitely MUSICALS!

Ok yes I am a Gleek as well!  But I have been in musicals since I was little - performing "Godpsell" twice  once in grade school and then again in college - I love singing musicals.  I have a great admiration and "wishing I was her" feeling for both Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth - if you haven't been able to hear their voices - please go out and do that immediately - local library and YouTube are both free!!!

The other weekend, Zachary and I saw a movie and there were just musical previews galore.  They showed the new "Rock of Ages" movie coming out as well as the new "Les Miserables."  The latter one, I cannot wait to see as it has one of the best songs ever written in it "I Dreamed a Dream."  Have you ever heard it?  It's one of my favs.

What is your favorite musical?  Mine has to be a tie between the classic "West Side Story" and the new "Wicked."  If you haven't seen either - please do!  They are phenomenal!  I love "Les Miserables" as well but it is a little sad - but in a good and powerful way!

What is your favorite musical song?  Mine is a tie between "Defying Gravity" from the musical "Wicked," and "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Misersables", and thirdly "America" from "West Side Story."

I'm in a musical mood - so I want to know what drives your love for Musicals!  Let me know!

xoxo Sarah

PS:  This is my 100th Blog post!  Woo hoo!  Yeah for me!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tea of the Week!

So I'm not advertising any teas this week - but I want to know what you like to add to your tea?

Do you like to add honey, maybe a little milk, or even some sugar or fruit???

The Argo Tea I like to go to has a "Tea Sangria" which has all these different fruits marinating in their tea.  It's delicious!

Let me know!

Happy Fri-Tea-Day,
xoxo Sarah

Bachelorette Fun!

So this past weekend I had my good friend Morgan's bachelorette party!  Take a look below at all the fun things we did including mani/pedis, eating great food, going to a paint class!, and going to a fun dinner with drinks to follow!  I will show some more pics of the paint class on a later post, but here are some great pics of a fun weekend with a great group of ladies!

Getting our nails done!!! And Morgan with her mom and future MIL!
All the great apps we had at the maid of honor's condo, Kate!  Look at all those yummy eats:  Fresh veggies and fruit,  diamond ring sugar cookies, cheese and cured meats, a little guac, some antipasto skewers, and the signature cocktail - the Morgantini!
At our BYOB paint class painting Venetian sunsets!!! 
The sorority sisters at dinner and at drinks!

What a fun time ladies!
Congrats Morgs!
xoxo Sarah

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Spinach and Artichoke Dip with Feta Cheese

One of my favorite food blogs I follow is called "A Cozy Kitchen."  I see all these wonderful recipes on there that I want to try!

I went to my friend Morgan's bachelorette party this past weekend - and I will post more pics of that shortly! - but I was in charge of bringing an appetizer.  I wanted to try something different and I thought I would try this wonderful Spinach and Artichoke dip with Feta Cheese.

Here is the recipe ( You can click HERE to see it on the website as well!)

8 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup feta cheese
Pita chips (for serving)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients, leaving out 1/4 cup of the feta cheese. Pour the mixture into a baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the dip is hot and bubbly and beginning to brown on top.
Serve hot with pita chips.
Happy Thursday!
xoxo Sarah

Pasta Cabanara alla Campillo

The other Friday night when I was having my "Table for 1," I made myself a pasta cabanara recipe that my mother-in-law gave me to try on Zachary!

Well I decided to do a trial run by myself!  I burnt the bacon a little but it still tasted good!  I have learn to work on my timing with cooking!  Does anyone else feel that way??

Well here is the recipe:
5 Eggs
4 oz. Heavy Cream
Salt & Pepper
1 TBSP EVOO, 2 TBSP Butter
7 oz. Pancetta bacon, diced (or regular non-smoked bacon if you have that instead!)
1 1/4 Cups Parmesan and Romano cheeses, half of each

Beat the eggs & cream together w/ a pinch of salt.  Heat the oil & butter in a large pan.  Add the bacon & cook until fat is transparent.  Cook Pasta.  Drain, add to bacon pan, stir well.  Remove pan from heat & stir in eggs, cream, & small amount of cheese.  Work quickly so as NOT to cook the eggs.  Make sure each strand of pasta is coated with the yellow cream.  Now add the remaining cheese & freshly ground pepper!  Enjoy!

It's not best picture I have - but it proves the point!
** A little hint for the pasta - I used whole grain and it was delicious!

xoxo Sarah

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

DIY Table Top Topiaries

Hey Guys!

Remember on my other post I said I was having a DIY weekend the other weekend?  Well this was my big project I was working on and I finally finished it this past Sunday!

I wanted to spruce up our apartment a little and make two little DIY topiaries for our two side tables in our living room.

Our living room Spring and Summer theme is green and white, accented with black.  So I thought these would be the perfect addition!
All you need is the following:
1) Wooden dowel - a little bit thicker - enough that it cannot be cut with a scissors
2) Vines from the flower section at your local craft store
3) A hot glue gun and a lot of glue sticks!
4) A small amount of brown paint and a little sponge
5) Any vase/pot you would like
6) A little Styrofoam for the base in the vase/pot
7) Some green moss to cover the Styrofoam in the vase/pot
8) A decorative twig ball to wrap the vine around

Once you have all these things, first thing is first, hot glue gun the vine around the decorative twig ball.  After that is done, saw the dowel to be the size you want - remember to give room to hot glue gun the dowel to the top of the ball (in the inside of it) and enough of the dowel to stick into the foam.  Paint the part of the dowel you will be using and let dry completely.  In the mean time, take the Styrofoam you have and place it in the inside of the vase and hot glue gun the moss in the vase to cover up the piece of Styrofoam.  Once the dowel is dry, put it into the top of the topiary and hot glue gun it inside of the top of the topiary.  Then stick the dowel into the Styrofoam.  Tada - it is complete!

Take a look below at my finished product:

I really think these are going to make a great addition to our living room!  I found this idea on some DIY blogs I was researching.  I have listed some of them on the right hand side of my blog!  Take a look!

Happy hot gluing!
xoxo Sarah

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bruschetta Chicken - A Summer Fav!

I love tomatoes and basil.  I them separate and I love them together.  When I was younger, I promise you I didn't like either - but as I grew so did my taste buds!

I found this amazing recipe on The Pioneer Woman Cooks Blog and when I saw the picture of it - I thought OMG I have got to make this.  Take a look HERE at the recipe!

What is your favorite Tomato dish?  What is your favorite basil dish?  What is your favorite combo of the two???  I want to know what you like!  Let me know!

This recipe is so fast and easy!  Just a great way to spice up and beautify some grilled chicken!

Happy grilling!
xoxo Sarah

Puppy Chow!

Ok it doesn't get much better than Chocolate and Peanut Butter right - WRONG!  Add some vanilla and powdered sugar and BAM!  You have what I like to call the best little snack on Earth!

I swear this recipe of goodness is something from Heaven!

When you were younger what was your favorite snack - Koloa Yummies??? Remember those!

Anywho - Here is the recipe below:
9 Cups of Rice Chex
1 Cup Semi Sweet Chcoloate Chips
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
1/4 Cup Butter
1 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar

1. Measure Cereal into Large Bowl and set aside. 
2.  In 1-qt microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter uncovered on high for 1 minute; stir.  Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth.  Stir in vanilla.  Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated.  Pour into 2-gallon resealable food storage plastic bag.
3. Add powdered sugar.  Seal bag, shake until well coated.  Spread on waxed paper to cool.  Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Here are a couple hints I think to make this even better!
1) Use a lot more powdered sugar than the recipe calls for - I use about half a bag usually!
2) Make sure the chocolate is all the way melted and mix it right away so it doesn't start getting hard!

Hope you enjoy this snack of awesomeness!
xoxo Sarah

Monday, June 4, 2012

Library Time!

Ok so I finished another book!  Yeah for me!

And this book is going to get it's own post dedicated to itself later this week.

As a recommendation from my good friend Katie, I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

No - this is not a self-help book.

Yes - this book will make you have a better perspective on your life.

Yes - I think you should read this book at least once in your life if you have not already!

That is all I am going to say about it now because I want to share a lot more about what I thought in it's own post.

Now on to the next book - A Secret Kept by Tatiana De Rosnay.  This is the third book she has published in English.  This author also wrote two other book's I love: Sarah's Key and "The House I Loved."  I am excited to start reading this next book because I loved the other two!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  Mine was jam packed and I will be sharing more later this week!

Keep Reading!
xoxo Sarah

Friday, June 1, 2012

Here Comes Another Bride!

Combined in all my Memorial Day weekend activities, our friend Melissa had her bridal shower!  The theme was owls and it was downtown at an awesome wine bar and restaurant called "Volo Restaurant Wine Bar."  There was a delicious brunch buffet served as well with all different goodies including french toast, mimosas, fruit, yogurt, and granola martini glasses, and lots of bacon! Take a look below at the beautiful bride and her fun day!
Melissa, the Bride, and all her gifts!  Plus the beautiful centerpieces and the outdoor patio the shower was held on!
Congrats Melissa and Jeff!  Love you guys!
xoxo Sarah