about me, hobbies, life

So, what do you do for fun?

I love making soap and scrubs. I love cooking. I love reading Amish and paranormal fiction. I love having out with my dogs.

Great, now that I sound like a total weirdo, let me explain why I’m telling you these things.

Hobbies. These are my hobbies. Much like old fashioned courting, hobbies have gone to the wayside. Instead of cooking classes and ceramics, it’s binge watching TV and going to dinner/drinks. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with those things but how fulfilling are they? How challenging? What skill is involved or even research? Don’t get me wrong hobbies don’t mean homework. They do require research, time, and patience.

Is working out a hobby? It definitely can be, especially when you’re trying new activities, skill sets, exercises, etc. Hobbies don’t have to the most exciting thing, they just have to interest you.

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I love soap making because it’s something that is slightly time consuming but has pretty fast results. It combines my love of creating with my love of being healthy/chemical free. I get to create different scents and it’s a labor of love. Making soap opened the doors for to make other items like lip balm (think Burt’s Bees), body scrubs, bath salts, and deodorant. I keep failing at bath bombs but it doesn’t stop me from trying to perfect it. I also get to research how to package the items, how to make them even better and get ti share with my friends.

As for my Amish and paranormal love stories, I will often come home and read, the TV never turning on. I love seeing different perspectives and read love stories. They take me out of the day to day life and offer me a glimpse into other worlds, views, and lives. The more I read, the more I expand my vocabulary and my life. I also like biographies, murder mysteries, and true crime like Ann Rule’s books.

One of the many, many reasons I love Joey is that he has his own hobbies as well. He loves collecting vintage video games, cars, and football and all things tech. For his video games, he loves to look up prices, where to buy them, what’s out there, and more. It means we get to scour thrift stores and flea markets together. We stop at video game stores and pawn shops, looking for hidden gems.

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His love of cars is great because he is always researching and learning about new and old cars. When I bought my LR2 he was a huge reason, because without him the maintenance would be high but he can do most of the work. While my warranty covers a ton, he’s able to do my brakes and oil changes which adds up to a lot (oil changes are $115). It’s also fun watching him fixing and mod his own cars. He’s the same with tech like phones, computer, and more that I will sound like an idiot trying to explain. The same pretty much goes for football, which I’ve tried to like but just can’t get into. He watches and keeps up with most sports and we like going to Bulls games together.

With both of us having hobbies, it gives us a lot to talk about with each other. It’s fun to share our passions and thoughts with each other. He gets to be a soap tester and I save $800 on brakes. It’s a win win. It’s also really beneficial because it means we have things to occupy our time that we love and we can spend time apart happily. Sometimes we just lay next to each other, reading and researching and get to just enjoy being near.

So why do so many people lack hobbies? I’m guessing instant gratification, lack of time, lack of money, and laziness. But I challenge you to figure out what your hobbies are. Maybe you volunteer or crochet or cook. Maybe you don’t have one but have always wanted to play guitar or write short stories. Hell, this blog is a hobby of mine!

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photography is another fun hobby of mine

Tell me what you’re passionate about or if you think I am totally wrong!

cooking, DIY, food, home improvement, life

Falling into the season

I don’t know about you but I can never remember what I do Friday nights. I’m pretty sure it involved some wine and puppy snuggles and a book though. Usually I remember by what I ate for dinner but this one’s a blank so must have been REAL exciting.

Saturday Joey and I went to Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse, a great spot in Evanston which is a non profit that helps the community. They sell reclaimed items, often from home/building remodeling jobs and so you can find tons of vintage and unique items for sale at a great price. They use the money for on job training, education and to help the community. We found an amazing half-door made from fence posts, that worked out perfect for our kitchen/dining room doorway. I’m planning on redoing our dining room into a rustic design so this was the perfect start. One side was finished and the other was blank so with some extra wood from Home Depot and a few nails, we added a ledge and matched the finished side. I’d say it came out pretty darn good. It came spring-loaded so it was a breeze to attach and is heavy enough the dogs and cats can’t push it. Total project cost: $32

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Fall is my favorite season and I couldn’t wait for this weekend and some crisp weather so I could do some seasonal cooking and baking. I was really craving some chili and cornbread for a comfy fall dinner so we loaded up the crock pot Saturday morning. I have a great chili recipe I will post this week and it does not disappoint! I also made the cornbread with some garlic herb butter, I highly recommend doing this to add some great flavor.

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love these chili pots

Sunday Joey worked at night and I felt like baking so I ended up making a cream cheese filled pumpkin  bundt cake from Real House Moms and it turned out great!! While usually I would just slather delicious cream cheese frosting all over it, I did actually do a glaze because the bundt cake looked so good and I didn’t want to sugar overload anyone.

I love how all my pictures came out and can’t be happier with my Canon Rebel T6 camera Joey gave me for my birthday. I love taking food photos and trying to plate my dishes better. I am going to grab a 50mm camera on the recommendation of my besties Alex and Caroline to have a better depth of focus.

What did you all do this weekend?

 

fall, life

It’s more like Sin-namon

I have a confession and it’s sinful.

Okay…well it’s cinnamon and that’s close to sinful right? Right. Just nod your head with me here and we’ll continue.

I love pumpkin but it’s become so overused. As much as I love Trader Joe’s, their copious amounts of pumpkin flavored items are actually a turn off.As I waled through TJ’s aisles recently, looking for wine and cheese and other delectable goodies, I thought to myself “Isn’t it time for something new? Something that screams flannel tops and shearling lined boots and cuddling under a blanket watching the Santa Clause?” Yes folks, it IS time and I am making a stand. While I am not abandoning pumpkin flavored things, I am expanding into a whole new world. Much like Jasmine had to learn to fly on the magic carpet with Aladdin, we must venture into the world of cinnamon.

A tablespoon of cinnamon only has 19 calories yet somehow brings a wealth of joy to our taste buds. As I have the biggest sweet tooth ever and I am always looking for a healthier alternative to chocolate, cinnamon has seduced me. JoeyWaffles started me on this torrid love affair by having me try a Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Latté. Trust me when I say, order one with soy AND whip cream for my favorite combination of sweet with a warm burst of spicy and sweet flavor. I like the soy because it adds a vanilla flavor but it tastes (almost as) delicious without.

Since discovering the sinful and indulgent taste of cinnamon, I have started adding it to my life daily. Whether it’s a snack, dinner, or dessert, there isn’t a meal that cinnamon isn’t welcome. Here are some ways I’ve used it lately:

  • Cinnamon hot chocolate
  • Apple cinnamon chicken
  • Apple cinnamon goat cheese from Trader Joe’s.
  • Banana bread with chocolate chips and a heaping ton of cinnamon
  • Vanilla ice cream sprinkled with cinnamon. Try it alone or with Cooper’s Hawk chocolate cake, a dessert that is completely decadent, sinful, and worth the gym session.
  • Banana sprinkled with cinnamon for a snack (you can add honey as well)
  • A few drops of Young Living Cinnamon Bark oil in the diffuser for a great smelling house (curious about oils or want to sign up? click here for more info)

I actually made an amazing twice baked sweet potato the other night and cinnamon played a big part. I baked the sweet potato in foil at 450 degrees for about an hour and fifteen minutes. Then I took them out, cooled them off for a few minutes and scooped out the insides. Put them in a bowl and added the last of the Trader Joe’s apple cinnamon goat cheese, apple butter, and a tablespoon of cinnamon. Mixed it all up and put back in the potatoes. Baked for another 15 minutes and voila, perfection!

Add in my fake fireplace, a glass on Three Thieves wine from Caroline and it was a perfectly cozy night.

Do you love or hate cinnamon? What are your favorite ways to use it?
hot mess-cipes, joey waffles, life, love, weekend

When did we become parents?

So I know fourteen people that are currently pregnant. Yup, fourteen. Eight are from my high school graduating class. This doesn’t include one of my best friends Sarah who just had a beautiful baby girl Haley. With all this talk of baby talk, Joey and I have been even more firm with our no baby lifestyle. The best laid plans right?

Joey Waffles and I will feel like parents for the next month but I am definitely NOT pregnant, just wanted to give you all a  little panic 😉

Here’s the story. JoeyWaffles has an older (by one year) brother who is as different as him from night and day. He is an aspiring musician who works in IT (when he’s working) and has never really held a steady job. He got himself into some financial trouble and in order to help him avoid another huge mistake, we offered to let him stay for the month. Trust me it will only be the end of the month and then he’s out. He is looking for places and going on job interviews.

JoeyWaffles and I have to make sure he has a curfew since we didn’t give him a key to the house. We have to make sure he’s applying to jobs and that he’s being reasonable about them i.e. not ignoring a job because it’s in a close suburbs, not downtown or he thinks less than $20 is too low. We live in small two bedroom and the spare bedroom is filled with video games, so he is sleeping on the sofa in our dining room. Yeah, we have a love seat in the dining room that Winston the cat sleeps on. We also only have one bathroom.

So no privacy, no alone time. Having to make sure he makes it home on time. No sleeping in on Saturdays. It’s like raising a child. We have to make sure his homework i.e. apt/job hunting is done. This just drives home the fact we don’t want kids and think we must have jinxed ourselves being so happy we’re childless while everyone is living it up in babyville.

I know that if you want a be a parent, everything your baby does is a miracle and amazing and it’s the best experiences. Rick and Sara are going through it right now and it’s awesome to watch. They are falling in love with their baby and it’s amazing. Just not for me. Ever.

I don’t want my weekends interrupted or to have to sneak sex around a baby sleeping or out or who knows where babies go. I want to be able to drop everything and do whatever I want. I want lazy Sundays and extra income and peace and quiet. This doesn’t by any means think I think it’s the better lifestyle, I just think it’s better for me. After living alone, even cohabiting with JoeyWaffles, I still love my alone alone time, even from him. So having a third person living with us is like having a child and extremely not fun. I want to be able to watch my trashy tv in my underwear or walk around naked or dance and sing while I cook without an audience.

Having no alone time all last week with JoeyWaffles meant Sunday I wanted to just hang out and have fun. So we drove to Elgin and had Sushi Station, went thrifting, had smoothies, I got supper pissed at the guy in the Old Navy dressing room for not wanting me to try on jeans when it was 1 minute passed 6 o’clock (might have thrown the jeans down…) and then we did some meal prep. Sometimes I get bored with the same thing so we tried something new this week. I’ll be posting my Presto! Paleo Pesto Chicken Stuffed with Garlic Spinach and Bacon in a new section called Hot Mess-cipes. Look for it later today!

So since I have to see everyone’s numerous baby photos which are sickeningly cute, here’s my version of a overly cute photo.

You’re welcome.

banana bread, benefit, benefit makeup, cosmetics, criminal minds, food, happy, joey, joey waffles, life, life lessons, love, monday, monday must have's, must have's, recipes, taylor swift, thrifty

Monday Must Haves!

Monday Must Have’s is something that a lot of people participate in and I decided that NoShoPo will be no different. So enjoy the first of (hopefully) many North Shore Poor Monday Must Have’s. It will be a mix of things you can buy, watch, experience, things I just like, etc.

The Worlds Best Banana Bread Recipe I had some overripe bananas and decided it was time to make some delicious banana bread. I added dark chocolate chips,  a teaspoon of cinnamon, and some brown sugar on top and it was AMAZING. JoeyWaffles has something to eat with his morning coffee and I found the only banana bread recipe I’ll ever need. Easy to make and the house smelled glorious. See my instagram for a scrumptious picture.

Benefit Cosmetics Advent Calendar I already emailed this to JoeyWaffles as a pre-holiday gift. He get’s stumped on gift giving, even though he gets me things all year, so usually we make lists for each other. This way we communicate what we want and it’s still a surprise because we give a bigger list then we are going to get. This is top of my list because I love all things Benefit and these would be get things to travel with and keep in my purse.

Criminal Minds Marathons Because sometimes they can’t all be about Law & Order: SVU, as much as you want them to be. Not just because you miss all the Elliot episodes no matter how good Danny Pinto can be but because Criminal Minds is amazing and thanks to ION you have just figured it out. I am pretty much obsessed with this show about the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit) and love the character relationships. Starting at season one, while watching season 10 and it isn’t even weird. If you aren’t watching this, you should be.

This weekend I made the above mentioned banana bread and some inside out carrot cake muffins (the frosting was on the inside) so my beautiful Kitchen Aid mixer got lots of love. We resurrected the Keurig for some Saturday morning coffee and breakfast at home. I cuddled with Bella and Dante, went shopping with a good friend, hung out with my Grandma at the nursing home and enjoyed a great Jeep ride Sunday. Went thrifting and grabbed 3 sweater and some books for under $18. Found two fun dresses at Forever XXI…this one is really cute and was on sale for $12.
Living well doesn’t have to mean living large. It’s the simple pleasure that bring the most happiness to my heart. A warm cup of coffee while curled up with JoeyWaffles and a warm blanket. Driving on a gorgeous fall day with the Jeep top down and a great song on the radio. 
Love the life you live. Live the life you love.
bob marley


Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go buy and listen to Taylor Swift new album “1989“.
In the meantime, what are your Must have’s this week?

crafts, DIY, fall, goals, happy, joey waffles, life, noshopo, thrifty, weekend

Falling Into the Season

I love fall. I loves pumpkin spiced lattes, boots, the crisp weather, saying the word ‘crisp’, well…you get the picture. Thanks to the interwebs freaking me out about PSL giving me cancer(yeah google that shit, kinda scary) I have been drinking cinnamon dolce lattes with soy and whip (I like no dairy usually but whipped cream cannot be ignored). Fall in Chicago is pretty breathtaking and I am hoping we can actually commit to a season because we had no spring and a weird not summer summer.

Friday night I made a mixture of the Pioneer Woman’s chili with some help from Jamie Deen. So delicious. I added coco powder, cinnamon, a Sam Adams Oktoberfest beer, and a jalapeno. Made some Bob’s Red Mill gluten free cornbread muffin mix and an Angry Orchard cider and life was real good. 
Saturday was a huge score at the garage sales. Joey Waffles and I had to have hit up at least 15, some duds, some pretty amazing. Also went to my first estate sale, not so great but won’t stop my from trying again in the future. We supported C.A.R.E in Evanston by going to their rummage sale first and I got a new litter box, car seat booster thing for Dante and a picture frame. By the end of the day, I had 2 more frames, a mini muffin top pan, a sewing machine, and a vintage tray with flowers on it. Oh, and a corkboard.
Thanks to pinterest, I found inspiration for my office and used thisthis, and especially this to help me DIY my new frames. With some metallic spray paint from Home Depot and some fabric from JoAnn fabrics, I now have a beautiful corkboard, a frame to use over a dry erase calendar and another I am not sure exactly what to do but it’ll look pretty. Grabbed some extra fabric to make curtains to hide Joey’s random junk on the bookshelves and a matching seat cushion for my chair. Pictures soon of the rest but here’s the corkboard:

I spent Saturday night at the rehab clinic/home my Grandma is currently staying at and had a great time with her. We talk and laugh and play scratch off lotto and watched the new Lifetime Movie Deliverance Creek which was a departure for Nicholas Sparks but I absolutely loved it. I hope they make it into a mini series because I love a show with a strong female lead and a great plot.

Sunday JoeyWaffles and I went to Kauffmans for bagels, Starbucks, and then Home Depot. We are so yuppies in our 30’s but whatever whatever I do what I want. We bought mistake paint at $9/gallon for our bathroom and the new laundry room, which will apparently be a bright lilac. Then CarlitaRosita and I went on a lady date to JoAnn fabrics, Sears Outlet, and the grocery store. Who knew Sears even had an outlet and what great sales they had? Not me! I snagged a cute ress (olive green with light pink hearts) and a fall skirt along with a pair of gloves with the thumbholes cut out for $7.92. Who says you can’t be a baller on a budget? NoShoPo for life #noshame.

We also cooked steak, steak fajitas, chorizo burgers, chicken kabobs, salmon, chicken thighs, chicken leg quarters, and then I baked these yummy carrot cake muffins (sans the cream cheese). I love that we can cook for the week, be healthy, spend time with each other, and save money. It’s all abut balance and I am loving what we’ve got.

This week’s goals are:

  • Completing the laundry room by Saturday for the washer/dryer delivery. 
  • We have to put the new vessel sink and vanity in the bathroom and lay down the new tile. 
  • Sewing my curtains/making the sea cushion/finishing touches on my office
  • Sign up and study for the GRE
  • Work out 4 times
Happy Monday! 
food, life, road rage

Thursday is the new Monday?

Honestly today feels like a Monday. I left the coffee maker key for work in my hoodie pocket last night and I don’t know about you, but people not getting their morning coffee can be a cranky experience. Luckily I have very understanding co-workers (for the most part) and so they are willing to wait until my very understanding bf brings me the key. So, on the bright side, the key isn’t lost and people are very nice and I have a good view from my desk and it’s almost Friday!

Last nights awesome dinner of Trader Joe’s pork tenderloin and some lemon garlic asparagus with balsamic vinaigrette with Joey when he came home early was pretty spectacular and there was yoga at work and then wii fit later, so that made the week a lot better but still. I cannot wait for new books and trashy tv and working out and Sunday breakfast.

On another note, I pretty much have my own rules of the road in regards to driving. Things like, please don’t do gross things when our cars are stopped next to each other and I look over and see your finger, if there are two lanes please stop making them into one, and probably my top offense: not using turn signals. Today though, merging was what really grinding my gears today. Here we go…