Monday, August 10, 2015

Freddy & Francine House Concert

Sunday our friends Barb and Carl hosted their second house concert with the band Freddy and Francine (Bianca Caruso and Lee Ferris).  My, oh my, talk about two voices that can fill up a living room!




It was a toe-tapping, folky, soulful couple of hours and we loved every minute of it.


 


 


 


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

DIY Fabric Strip Banners (NO SEWING REQUIRED)

 

Growing up, my mother was the Queen of Craftiness.  Hot glue guns and sewing machines did her bidding.  She could do things with ribbon that defied gravity and understanding. She was (and is) a creative genius, and I like to think that maybe just a little of that creativity rubbed off on me.   
 
But here's the thing, I am NOT my mother. I can't sew (okay, so maybe I can sew a straight-ish line if someone else sets up the machine for me, but that's about the extent of it). I couldn't cut in a straight line to save my life and when things don't work the way I want them to, my first inclination is to give up and forget about it. That's what Etsy is for, right?  

 
 
A couple years ago, I enlisted my hilarious and crafty friend Becky to help me to create one of those triangle flag banners for my sister Abbey's baby shower.  And with the help of Becky's extreme patience, math whiz mind, and super sewing abilities (not to mention a sewing machine and the BEST tools ever invented, I'll tell you more about these later), we created a super cute banner.  After the shower, we decided to create more to sell on Etsy... they were really pretty cheap and fun to make and were, more or less, easy to put together (as long as you had a lot of patience and endurance).  
 
 
 
Sadly, Becky and I now live over an hour apart, which makes getting together for arts and crafts a wee bit more difficult.  About six months ago, my friend Mary Jane asked me if I could make some banners for her wedding later this month.  "Oh, sure!" I told her, "Of course I can, no problem!"  

And then I realized that without Becky, not only did I not have a sewing machine or any of the fancy tools needed to create the banner, but I also had no Becky which made me think that I might need to do these banners a bit differently.  

 


Friday, June 5, 2015

Blackberry Bramble Bars



Now that I am officially on summer break from my day job, I have a lot of time on my hands.  Today, I must have seemed particularly unoccupied, because Taylor asked me (about 17 times) if I would make him some breakfast bars.   I am honestly not a huge baking fan (I enjoy cooking much more, harder to mess up in my opinion), but fruit breakfast bars are something I've made before that actually turned out pretty good. And I mean, they are easy peasy, so that helps too. 


 


Today's recipe is inspired by these blueberry bars over on the Averie Cooks blog, however, mine feature blackberries as the main ingredient as well as a few other adaptations.  


 


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Girls Weekend in Chicago

 
My sister Ashley had a brilliant idea this year for Christmas to get my mom tickets for all of us girls (I am the youngest of four girls) to go to a cooking class together. Great idea right?  
 
And then one night while Ashley and I were at my house hanging out and drinking wine, we started talking about when we were going to take the cooking class and we threw around the idea of doing the class in the city and making a day of it.  But then it was like, hey, since some of us will be coming in from a few hours away... we should make a WEEKEND out of it. Yessss... a girls weekend!  I mean, when's the last time we did that?  

Well, let's just say, one group text later and the deal was sealed! 

 
These days, the Wiles girls (which is what I will always call me and my sisters, though, technically, I am the only 'Wiles' left) are a bit spread out geographically, and then, combine that with crazy job schedules and everybody's families growing (so fun!) life sort of starts to gets a bit crazy you know? Over the past few years, it's pretty rare for us girls to be in one place at the same time, even on holidays.  But for all of us to be together with no men or children (err... no offense men and children, you guys are great), is UNHEARD of.
  
 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Tequila Old Fashioned

You know what happens when you make a bar cart?  

You want to make drinks.  So make drinks we did.


 


Enter the Tequila Old Fashioned, which we were inspired to make after trying the Oaxacan Old Fashioned we had awhile back at Green Street Meats.  I just could get the drink out of my mind.  Taylor adapted this recipe to create his version of the drink.


 

Taylor poured 2 ounces of agave nectar in with 5 or so dashes of bitters.  He then muddled them in the rocks glass.  Isn't he a cute muddler?

 

 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dan Bern House Concert on St. Patrick's Day

Last week we had the honor of joining our friends Barb and Carl at their home for a concert.  How cool is that?  (They're really cool... like, way cooler than us for sure.)  They hosted Dan Bern, a folk singer-songwriter who more than serenaded us, but entertained us with his quick wit and beautiful songs, some of which the entire room couldn't help but sing along with.  I mean he was good.  REALLY good.  Like, NPR called him the "voice of a new generation of folk," good.  

 


 

The cute couple captured holding hands in the photo above were our lovely hosts, Carl and Barb.  Their home was the perfect setting for the evening.  It was set up beautifully with a room for the concert and another for socializing over local draft beers and snacks.  It was such a fun evening to photograph and to be a part of.  There is something so special and intimate to me about enjoying live music at home with your friends and we are so thankful to our hosts for inviting us to be a part of the special evening.  

 

 

 

 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Boys Will be Boys

A few weeks ago while Taylor and I were dog-sitting up in Evanston, I was itching to get out and make use of the moody winter light.  I decided to tag along with Tay and our friend Miles while they knocked the ball around a bit.