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Fall is, hands down, my favorite time of year. The changing foliage, chillier temps, and pumpkin-laced – well, everything – makes it a time to indulge in all the little wonders of life. Autumn also offers the promise of Thanksgiving, the best holiday of them all! Gathering with loved ones to share and reflect on all the good things the year has offered makes it my favorite celebration.
To get my “attitude of gratitude” warmed up for the season I’ve decided to post a daily thanks to my Instagram each day of November. Whether it’s for specific people, things or circumstances, I’m thinking about all the blessings in my life, big and small, and sharing them with others through the site.
Consider joining me in this season of giving thanks – and start sharing something you’re grateful for every day on your own instagram account! Be sure to tag your posts #givingthanks so that we can all share in your thanksgiving reflections!
Vegetarianism is no longer the obscure lifestyle choice it used to be 10, 15 or even 20 years ago. With campaigns such as Meatless Monday and protein alternatives abounding in grocery stores, the choice to abstain from meat is one that’s much more mainstream than in years gone by.
Which is probably why I’m always caught off guard when confronted with the “oh – you’re vegetarian” face. “Don’t you get bored with only eating vegetables?” Is a commonly asked question. As is, “How do you get all the protein you need?”
Well I’m here to say, once and for all, that there’s no lack of variety or nutrition in a vegetarian diet!
David and I have been meat-free since we exchanged wedding vows in 2006. We made it a gradual shift, first choosing to only purchase ethically raised meats. Then we shifted to no meat at home – but eating it at restaurants. After three months of this gradual decline in consumption, we completely eliminated all meat from our diets. “We don’t eat anything that has a face” is the way I once explained it to my dad. And do we suffer, even a bit, since making that decision over 8 years ago? Not one bit! We couldn’t be happier, healthier, and more satisfied with the food choices we make each and every day.
Whether you have an octo, lacto, raw or vegan preference, are doing it for reasons of ethics, sustainability or faith, choosing to eat compassionately is not only good for you, it’s also good for the planet and all the creatures in it.
So for those of you who still grapple with going vegetarian, thinking it will subject you to a life of bland palettes or nutritional deficits, cast those fears aside! There’s way more variety and health benefits out there than you can ever imagine! Give it a try for a day, a week, and then a month, and you’ll see that there’s nothing forlorn about living this compassionate lifestyle.
And should you need inspiration or a place to start, check out this Pinterest board which includes some of my all-time favorite veg-head recipes.
Is there a blog or website that you love from which you like to collect vegetarian recipes? If so – share the link in the comments!
Maybe it’s not exactly a “Living Green” topic outright – but embracing your age can be quite the life-changing experience! Rather than lamenting about entering a new decade, I have the opportunity to embrace a new chapter of my life with zest and zeal!
Having turned the corner to 30 just this week, I’ve been considering all the shifts that are ahead of me. “What will 30 feel like?” “What changes will this decade bring?” “How will I grow as a person, wife, sister, and friend?” These are all incredibly important questions that force me to pause and think upon the life I’ve been leading, and how I can continue to improve upon it. And not in superficial ways, but in the things that matter most: friends, family, personal accountability, and faith.
The excitement and intrigue of entering this new chapter inspired me to create the graphic above – simply titled – 30 Awesome Things About 30. Call me cheesy or sappy – but I think it’s important to reflect on these kinds of milestones and to approach them with grace and thanksgiving – which is what I hope I’ve done!
So for any of you who are nearing a milestone, or have recently entered a new chapter of your life, I hope this post inspires you to look beyond a number and indulge in the beauties of enjoying a full life!
When it was announced that my baby brother was getting hitched – I could barely contain my excitement! Not only was I a mega-fan of the bride to-be, I also knew that this wedding would be different. Between the creativity imparted on Phil by our family, and the uber-crafty cunning of Katie, I had no doubt that this would be a DIY wedding to remember!
First things first, the bride made her own handy-dandy wedding planner in which she would list all the elements that would need to come together for this rustic, meets shabby chic, affair. Delegating out tasks across the familial pool, we each had an important part to play. The Krupinski side of the family was in charge of flowers, bridal party accessories, favors, and a portion of the food and centerpieces.
By inviting family and friends to take the lead in the preparations for their special day, Katie and Philip ensured that their wedding would hold sentiment for them, and all the guests who attended.
Wedding Favors: With a little elbow grease and some heavy duty diamond tip blades, my father made over eighty drinking glasses for the guests using old soda bottles. Talk about being green! Each one was then scripted with the event date and initials of the bride and groom making them an elegant and functional wedding favor.
Centerpiece Stands: My brother and dad also gathered used wooden candlesticks and wood from a recently fallen tree trunk, and assembled the most ingenious centerpiece bases (which I plan to steal for use in my own home – shhhhh). White washing each candlestick and gluing the top to a cross-cut of the tree trunk, these homemade cake stands were used for elevating the light and whimsical baby’s breath table bouquets.
Homemade Pierogi: As the pierogi-making queen of our clan, my mom was assigned the creation of mushroom-stuffed Polish dumplings for the event. The premise was to add a bit of my brother’s ethnic heritage to the food spread, since everything else on the menu was wholeheartedly American. Over the course of one week, my mother handmade, then froze, over three hundred pierogi. The woman’s a machine!
Bouquets & More: Our instructions for the bridal party florals were fairly open ended. We were told to aim for the wedding color palette, which was mint, mustard and cream, and beyond that, were entrusted to our own creative musings. Hopping down to the south-side of Chicago to a “renown” wholesale florist, my mom and I left with nary a stem. The selection was poor and the prices were a bit too steep. So, instead, we swung by the Lakeview Trader Joe’s and Jewel and found everything we were looking for: yellow micro mums, a variety of roses, mint carnations, peach privet berries, cream hydrangeas, white snapdragons, and the bride’s favorite, baby’s breath. Katie’s floral wishlist also included calla lilies – which we could not find in any of the stores. My mom’s brainy solution? To head to Home Depot, by a few calla lily plants, cut off the blooms and plant the rest in her garden. Brilliant! The final touch to each bouquet, boutonniere, and corsage was the sprinkling of wild greens that we had picked from an abandoned lot the day before – adding a much needed burst of texture and whimsy to each piece.
Pierogi Picnic Petticoats: Last, but certainly not least, the wedding wouldn’t be complete without a pinch of Pierogi Picnic! So the bride requested that I create eight custom-made petticoat slips for the bridesmaids. Not only would this give us more freedom of movement at the reception, it would add a bit of flair to our ensemble. So gathering up bits and pieces of vintage lace from some of my favorite local resale shops, the bride and I sat down to design and make each underskirt. And the result was perfection!
The Venue: The wedding itself took place in a farm turned event space in the nearby suburb of Willowbrook. A perfect blend of charm and honky-tonk, the venue allowed for the ceremony and reception to take place at a single location – eliminating the need for guests to burn additional fuel to travel to two separate sites.
One of my favorite elements from this phenomenal DIY wedding (besides all the goats, horses and geese that joined in the festivities) was the double-door entryway that the couple created. Since the vows would be exchanged in an open field, they felt it was important to ground the space while making it feel more ceremonial. Using two massive vintage doors, they rigged them up in a way that would gracefully lead the wedding party down the aisle.
Making this wedding their very own, and including those closest to them, made it quite the affair to remember.
All of these beautiful wedding photos were taken by the talented Zipporah. Check out her website here.
Penny Lane, as she’s been dubbed, is my ticket to riding throughout the city this summer. With her curvacious frame, light weight and lemon meringue hue – she’ll be my constant companion to the season’s fairs, fests and lake-side lolly gagging.
Now that I have a new “steed” I’m apt to fancy it up with some accessories to make the ride that much sweeter. Here’s a smattering of some of my favorite handmade and earth friendly finds for jazzing up a bike for the summer! Read the rest of this entry »
I love love love playing up each season in my home using knick knacks and materials that are already strewn about our place.
So when curating the look of my home for Easter and spring, I thought it would be fun to put a creative twist on the traditional symbols of the season.
Can you spot the themes?
For this fun and vivid display I collected all the bird-like objects that I had dispersed throughout our apartment and brought them together on a runner of bright green moss. Compiling items with a similar shape, theme, color, texture or size is a great way to make an “instant collection” with pieces you already own. Not a dime spent here!
I’ve been obsessed with brass vintage figurines this past year. Having found a set of bunny statues a couple years back – I have found myself moving them around the apartment at the shift of each season. But with it being spring – they are front and center on my side tables.
Feathers feathers feathers! They’re so easy to find and there are endless ways of using them! Whether collected in vases or strewn across the fireplace mantle with twine and washi tape – these natural (and trendy!) wonders add an airy texture to any space.
These pillows! I just couldn’t stop myself when they appeared in an email newsletter from fab.com. These unique animal plushies are created when artist Kristin Loffer Theiss draws out the image using thread. She then scans and prints the design onto the fabric and stuffs each with filling and love! The result is a collection of unbearably adorable pillows! Here I’ve collected several of the more spring-like animals together to sit upon my re-upholstered vintage chair. Read the rest of this entry »