Giving Thanks

Giving thanks on instagram

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 & Variety

Beet & Goat Cheese Jewels

Beet & Goat Cheese Jewels

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!

Veggie BBQ Bowl

Veggie BBQ Bowl

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.

Brussels Sprout & Avocado Rolls

Brussels Sprout & Avocado Rolls

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.

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

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!

Healthy Hippie Bowl

Healthy Hippie Bowl

 

30 Reasons to Love 30

30 Awesome Things About 30

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!

Happy aging!

A DIY Wedding

Katie & Philip's DIY Wedding 2013

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!

The Plan:

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. 

diy wedding

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.

Katie & Philip's Wedding 2013

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Bicycle Lovin’

bicyclesI’m smitten! Is it a new pet, pair of jeans, flavor of ice cream? Why no! It’s my new vintage bicycle!

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! Continue reading

A Touch of Spring

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?

pierogi picnic a touch of spring (3)

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!

pierogi picnic a touch of spring (6)

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.

pierogi picnic a touch of spring (5)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.

pierogi picnic a touch of spring (4)

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. Continue reading

Re-Decorating

Bedroom Makeover
The weather is officially dreary in Chi-town and the post-holiday slump is coming. The decorations have come down and the new budget is in full-effect, which means one thing: It’s time to re-decorate!

Now, when I use the term I’m not talking about going out, buying lots of new accessories and paint, and cluttering my home with more ‘stuff.’ To me, re-decorate (see the clever use of the hyphen?!) means to take what you already have in your home and re-arrange it for a new look. Continue reading