Thursday, May 31, 2012

heartland cafe

I absolutely love eating outside. Food just tastes better. Maybe this stems from my family eating outside fairly often in the summer when I was younger. Maybe the long midwestern winters make me want to spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors once the weather shifts. I'm not going to Freud myself too deeply on this, it is what it is. Restaurant patios, picnics by the lake, eating Taco Bell on a park bench (yes I have done this sober, in the daylight), I love it all. I don't even mind if a few bugs pass through, unless they are spiders. Spiders are the devil and ruin everything! But I didn't spot a single spider while at the Heartland Cafe, and fear usually heightens my senses whenever they're near.

This cafe has more to offer than just being spider-free. I had passed by this winter and noticed the sensational patio, but made a note to return once I could actually take advantage of said patio. Dane reminded me of this recently and suggested that we go there for brunch. The reviews on Yelp are fairly split, but since I had such wonderful memories of driving past that patio and since Yelp reviews are I was still excited to go.

Heartland Cafe is in the Roger's Park neighborhood, which is a very cute area with a cool small-town vibe that I don't visit very often due to the fact it is so far north in the city. But it has some great murals, artwork, shops, and cafes.

The entrance of the cafe is a little general store, with some cute items. Of course, Dane was drawn to the record bin--Linda Ronstadt looks great in those socks & roller skates! On the culinary side, the breakfast potatoes were to die for, and my spinach & cream cheese omlette was pr-e-tty darn tasty, too.

Wisconsin Union posters!

Sometimes it's nice to take a little trip to a new neighborhood--sometimes I forget how many different areas there are in Chicago! Maybe I should make a goal to visit some new ones before I move...if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

Monday, May 28, 2012

beach baby, beach baby

tote: Border's; cap: touristy souvenir from Freo Market, AUS; shirt: Dane's castaway; swimsuit: Victoria's Secret
I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday weekend! Mine has been nothing short of wonderful--a weekend full of pizza dates, brunch adventures, grilling on our little porch, and transplanting my growing tomato sprouts. But what is a 3 day Memorial Day weekend without a little trip to the beach? Here's a glimpse of a few things I'll be toting over to Lake Michigan today--the coverup is actually one of Dane's old shirts that I spotted in a bag he was donating to the thrift shop! I sneaked it out for myself since it's light & airy & perfectly slouchy. This year I'm adamant about avoiding sun damage (notice the hat, glasses, coverup, sunblock)--a sure sign of my developing wisdom :)

 You may notice the lack of iPod...I don't think I've listened to my iPod in about a year! I used to listen to it on my runs, but during my long training last summer I developed an appreciation for getting through a tough workout without music. I used to be a competitive swimmer, & so always trained without music blaring or pumping me up. So even when I go to the beach, I prefer to listen to the sounds of the water and the people than shutting myself off with an iPod. Maybe I'm the only one who feels this may I suggest the perfect song to add to your beach playlist?

I have been singing this to myself all weekend--it's sure to be one of my favorites for the summer!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, friends!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

seared salmon & warm kale salad with honey dijon dressing

With Dane gone this past weekend, I was making meals for one--which usually consists of pasta, soup, sandwiches, or leftovers. However, we did have one lonely piece of salmon and a little kale in the in a moment of (somewhat) healthy clarity I whipped up this little number.

Seared Salmon & Warm Kale Salad
salmon filet (mine was 4oz)
1 1/2 cup chopped kale
1/8 cup shredded cheese
sprinkle of bacon bits
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt & black pepper

Honey Dijon Dressing
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp honey
a little less than 1/4 cup olive oil
pinch of salt, black pepper, & garlic powder

for the salad:
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the kale and cook until soft (8-10mins). Transfer kale onto plate and sprinkle with lemon juice, salt, & pepper (to taste). Using the same pan over medium heat, cook salmon 3-5 minutes on each side. Top kale with cheese, bacon bits, & salmon (or any other toppings you'd like).

for the dressing:
Mix mustard & honey in a liquid measuring cup. Add olive oil to the mixture until it reaches 1/4 cup. Add pinches of salt, pepper, & garlic powder and beat with a fork until well combined. Drizzle over salmon & salad.

This is a great light meal (but filling, thanks to the salmon & hearty kale) to have for a dinner if you've eaten a big lunch. And I definitely did NOT use my finger to lick up the rest of the dressing from the plate, so why would you even ask?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Inspired by: Moonrise Kingdom

It's no secret that I'm a huge Wes Anderson fan (college friends may remember my Margot Tenenbaum Halloween costume) and am beyond excited for Moonrise Kingdom to open. It seems to be right in Anderson's sweet spot--colorful & playful costumes, whimsical & lovely sets, witty & sentimental plotlines, and of course, a dream cast including Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Jason Schwartzman, and Tilda Swinton (!!!). By the way--have you seen Bill Murray's tour of Moonrise Kingdom? Because you need to see it.
Wes Anderson's composition is right up my alley. I know he isn't everybody's cup of tea, but I tend to choose this more stylized & theatrical kind of filmmaking over a purer realism. Movies are supposed to be magical, right? Good for him that he enjoys being silly--so many artists take themselves & their work much too seriously, if you ask me. And by virtue of visiting this blog, you have.

Also I might spend the next few months dressing like I'm at summer camp in the 60's. Or dressing like a bird, I haven't decided yet.
Sigh... I'd love to take our record player on a picnic but a) it has to be plugged in, and b) I'd be worried about getting dirt/sand/grime in it. These problems never arise in the movies.
What's your favorite Wes Anderson movie? Mine might be The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou... I mean, Willem Defoe, so...yeah. And those cute sea animals :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

DIY: hand-stamped placemats

When I saw Emma's table runner DIY tutorial at A Beautiful Mess, I knew I had to try their stamping technique on some items of my own. I have a set of placemats handed down to me from my Grandma that I rarely use, because a) they had an apple/country motif that doesn't really fit with my decor, and b) my table is rarely set, let alone decked out with some fancy placemats. By sprucing them up a bit, I hope to use them more often now that they fit my funky "dining" room (which is used for crafts & record-listening 90% of the time). I based my design on the cool ceramic workings at dalhaus--alas, their pieces cost slightly more than this DIY.

You will need: old placemats, cardboard cut in the shape of your stamp, glue, a wine cork, fabric paint, a paintbrush, a pencil, & a straightedge

Lay out your placemat. Since my design was symmetrical, I used my straightedge to draw a line down the center. Glue the cork to the back of the cardboard to create a handle for your stamp. Dip your stamp in some paint until it is lightly covered, and stamp out your design, "refilling" it when necessary. I wanted a light & faded look, but you can use the paintbrush to fill in your design. Let dry according to the paint bottle instructions, then, if your placemats are washable, wash on the delicate cycle or by hand.
If I did this project again, I would create multiple stamps for myself--by the last two placemats, the shape wasn't as sharp as it was in the beginning, due to the paint softening the edges of the stamp.

I really love my new placemats! Now I just need more dining room chairs to go with the two that my old roommate and I saved from a curbside dumpster. Frugality is the lesson here. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

a new look

Notice anything different? That's right, I'm already changing up the look of lionheart. This won't be a common occurrence, but I'll probably be tinkering with things here and there for the next few days, trying to get the perfect look for my site.

Besides, all the cool kids are HTML editing on a Friday night. Also, I finally was invited to Pinterest today (have you guys heard of this? ha!) by the lovely Megan, so you KNOW I'm popular now. If you'd like to follow me, I put a handy dandy button over on the side bar ---->

I think this design is much cleaner & less "I found this default template on Blogger" looking. It also conveys the tone & focus of my blog better. What do you think?

minor obsessions : summer is coming

With gorgeous weather & the NATO summit in town, it seems like a holiday weekend! The sun is shining and it isn't too humid. People are enjoying themselves on patios and in the park. Also, this whole city smells like a grill, in a good way. I don't know how that's possible--is it National Grilling Day? A City-wide BBQ? Are city officials pumping the national scent of the American summer into the air just for this occasion? It may forever be a mystery.

This sunhat from ModCloth is perfect--not too big & floppy (I want to be able to see!), but with a large enough brim to keep sun damage at bay.
I am eating this vegan ice cream as I write this post (only sans chocolate chips...I didn't have any handy). It is so, so, SO, so good. And the velvety texture is to die for! Next time I'm including the chocolate though :)
Dressing like a hippie is much easier in the summer, because you can't be mistaken for a bag lady. This maxi dress is incredibly light & gorgeous (also, was that girl on ANTM??).
In preparation for the Avengers, we watched Thor a few weeks ago, and I was drooling over the spacescapes. Now I really want this cosmic print skirt (and Charlotte from So In Carmel makes it look so cool!).

The wooden sunglasses they make over at Tumbleweeds will always be on my wishlist until I am responsible enough not to break or lose every pair of sunglasses I own.

I hope you can get out and enjoy this lovely weather! I am thinking of having a happy hour for one (Dane is out of town for the weekend) and mixing myself a little cocktail to sip on the back porch...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

sweet pea & panchetta macaroni

 On a fancy schmancy date night a while ago, Dane took me to this cute Italian restaurant down the street that we pass on our way to the grocery store. They have two ceramic penguins sitting at the table in the window, so you know it's upscale, or why would they be wearing tuxedos? At our dinner, I ordered pasta (angel hair? spaghetti? something long and skinny) with panchetta and sweet peas, and whoa, it was delicious. The salty, chewy panchetta and the bright sweet peas perfectly offset each other, and the reheated leftovers tasted even better. So of course, I had to recreate it at home one of these days, with on sale ($0.88!) macaroni and with a little cheesy twist. I am from Wisconsin, after all.

Sweet Pea & Panchetta Macaroni
serves 4-6

1lb elbow macaroni
4 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup milk
1 cup panchetta, cooked & chopped
1 cup sweet peas, cooked
3/4 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola
parmesan cheese to garnish

Cook macaroni according to directions on the box. While macaroni is draining, heat the butter and milk over low heat in the same pot you used to cook the pasta. Once butter has melted, slowly incorporate macaroni into the liquid, stirring in about a cup at a time. Once macaroni is coated, turn off the heat. Fold the panchetta and the peas into the mixture. Add the cheeses and mix lightly. Once the shredded* cheese is mostly melted, portion, sparsely or liberally sprinkle with parmesan, and serve.
*in my pasta, the crumbled gorgonzola stayed pretty solid.

This pasta can easily be made vegetarian by substituting another veggie--try spinach to capture a similar saltiness. Invite some penguins over for your fancy dinner!


Let's talk about our feelings. It's been a hard week around here. The kind of week that not only knocks the wind out of you, but smacks those you love, too, as if to say, "if you're calling yourself an adult, let's see you handle THIS."

"But wait, I can't handle that! I still sleep with a stuffed animal," I panic.

Part of growing is dealing with painful times, though. Sickness and death. Finances and careers. Keeping friends or making new ones. And helping those you love through the storm can be just as challenging, especially when we know that we don't have it figured out for ourselves.

This past winter, I took a few acting classes at Black Box Acting Studio that taught the Meisner technique. I'm not going to launch into a lengthy description of the technique or classes, but an important lesson I learned that rolled over into my everyday life was the utmost importance of acknowledging how I (honestly) feel and then moving forward. Social graces may prevent me from following through with my feelings (I feel frustrated at work, so I will punch my boss! but at times like this I find the lesson crucial.

We can say to ourselves and those we love--YES, I/you feel sad. Angry. Embarrassed. Lost. Rejected. Confused. Let's allow ourselves to feel that way! It's ok to feel that feeling! The tricky part is then moving forward. "Forward" may not be the absolute correct word--maybe I should say, "moving to the next" instead. Whatever the terminology is, it's important to not to pressure ourselves into feeling a certain way. Sadness can be followed by giddiness, rejection by rage, and anger by excitement. Trust me--there is no order here. There's no way you should feel, only the way you do feel. It's so difficult to allow ourselves that freedom, but if it were easy, they'd call it football (see? I can put a very funny joke into a serious blog post). 

How do we allow ourselves to do this? And how do we help others to do this? Uh...I have no clue! But for me, I know that it involves coffee & pie dates, new projects, catching up with friends, putting on some favorite music, maybe some retail therapy at a comic book store. Most important, listening.  These actions are like band-aids--they won't stop the wounds from hurting or the scars from forming, but maybe the design on the back will make you smile.

Monday, May 14, 2012

superdawg drive-in

The forecast for this week has my spirits high--it looks like above 65 degree temperatures are here to stay for a few months, and I've been craving a road trip. Since the big road adventure (our move to Los Angeles) will be happening at the end of the summer, until then I'll have to settle for something closer that still feels like a getaway. Superdawg, I'm looking at you.

This place is a Chicago institution. The location on Milwaukee Ave (pics below--the one above is at the location in the 'burbs) has been there since 1948! It's so cute--you drive in, pick a parking spot, and service comes right to your window. And boy, are their hot dogs good (and their fries...and shakes...and probably everything else. I better try it all to make sure.).

Unfortunately these photos are not recent--the one above is from a year or so ago & the one below are from Dane's birthday trip last fall. But unless the weather goes back to cold & windy, I won't rest until I kick off my summer with a Superdawg.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

thanks, Mom

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers, and especially mine-- a woman who puts others first, who supports my dreams, who taught me to be the strong & independent woman I am today.

I love you Mom, and thank you, from the bottom of my heart.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

rainy day drink: caramel irish coffee

The perfect simple drink when you're holed up inside during a stormy day. I added 1.5oz of spiced whisky & 1 Tbsp of caramel topping to a hot cup of coffee. Mix together well.

Sip slowly & enjoy with your favorite movie on the TV & your favorite person on the couch.

Friday, May 11, 2012

DIY: heavy medals

Did anyone else participate in Solo & Ensemble Festival as a kid? You prepared a solo or ensemble piece (they were very creative with the name) and performed it at the festival for a judge. The judge then determined how well you performed and gave you a feedback sheet and a score. In addition to developing performance skills. I think it was supposed to give you an outside opinion in case you just thought your band director was a jerk when she told you to practice more. If you scored high enough, you were awarded with a little medal.

Band is where it's at.

In the adult world there aren't quite so many opportunities to earn medals like this. So I decided to make some to reward myself

Reward yourself too!

You will need: scissors, metal brackets/any random hardware, pin backs, ribbon, paintbrush, metallic paint, puffy paint, a hot glue gun, a fabric marker (optional)

1: cover your workspace. Use the puffy paint to decorate your "medals". I did a dotted texture on the L brackets and a compass design on the back of an old pin. Get creative!

  2: use the fabric marker to draw a design on your ribbon. I was using some old holiday ribbon, so I wanted to change its look, but if you already have some cute ribbon you can skip this step. Note: if you use a sharpie or permanent marker, it may bleed! This marker was specifically for fabric.

3: fold your ribbon over itself so it forms a point on one end and secure with hot glue. (The snowflake pattern is the back side of the ribbon)

4: use hot glue to secure the pin backs about 1/2" down on the back side of your ribbons. Fold the top 1/4" over and secure with glue for a clean edge. Be careful that you don't glue the pins closed! :S

5: once your puffy paint is completely dry, paint over the hardware, covering it completely. This took me three coats--it's better to paint more lighter coats than one heavy coat to prevent the paint from pooling and muddying your design!
6: use hot glue to attach the medals to the bottom 1" of the ribbon point. If you want your medals to dangle more, you can also use jump hooks.

The texture turned out better than the compass-- I think simpler designs will stand out more.

Wear these on your coat or vest, or pin them to your bag!

Congratulations on your accomplishment!

happy friday!

It's a gorgeous morning in Chicago!

I've been working hard on my first DIY post for my blog! It will be up this afternoon for your crafting pleasure.

Last night, Dane & I went with some friends to see The Avengers--it. was. awesome. I really recommend it to anyone! The fight sequences are just downright cool, and Joss Whedon's little writing/directing quirks scattered throughout make this flick so much better than most any other superhero/action movie! Have you seen it yet? What did you think?

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

a sprout!

I love mother earth! I used to help my mom in the garden all the time! I can grow my own food and become self-sustaining! These seeds are only $1.20!

Some of the thoughts that ran through my head a few months ago when I decided that I was going to try growing tomatoes this summer. I bought seeds and soil, saved cartons for planters, and read a few online articles about growing tomatoes in your apartment.

10 days ago I planted the seeds in an egg carton. And waited. And watered them. And waited. And watered them. Aaaannnnddd waited (ok, so it was only 10 days, but the package told me 6-8!). I faithfully moved them from sunny window to sunny window, and today...

...there's a sprout!

Sometimes celebrating a little accomplishment can really boost your day.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Inspired by: Mary Blair

I'm not sure if it's possible to go through childhood without seeing any of Mary Blair's work--she's the Disney artist behind concept drawings for Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and Song of the South; she created the character designs for the "It's a Small World" ride at Disneyland--but I didn't really know anything about her until a few days ago, when I stumbled across her page while on Wikipedia. After reading, I immediately Google Imaged her work and spent more time than I'll admit perusing.  I spend a lot of time Google Imaging.

I love how her artwork looks like mid-century shapes and Eastern European folk art had a gorgeous baby together. Sometimes the artwork I enjoy can lean a little too heavily towards the whimsical side, but her paintings are not so childish as they are childlike. Which means I can still keep my adult street cred.