Monday, June 30, 2014

{roasted parmesan brussel sprouts}

I have a quick, delicious recipe for you today. It only takes 3 ingredients! So simple.

1. brussel sprouts
2. parmesan
3. Garlic Expressions vinaigrette

#3 is key for this recipe, so don't skip it! Garlic Expressions is technically a salad dressing, but I (& my parents) really just use it as a marinade. Shrimp, grilled chicken,'s the best.

Set the oven to 400°F.

^^what you need

 ^^after rinsing, just cut of the ends & split the sprouts in half

^^pour some of the dressing into the bag, add the brussels, & shake

^^spread out on a tin-lined pan

^^cook for 20-25 minutes, flipping them half-way through so both sides get some heat action

^^grate some fresh parm immediately & enjoy!

I don't have any other photos of the finished product because that bowl was empty almost immediately.

This is such an easy side dish or appetizer. I made it twice last week as an after-work snack. Healthy & delish. Try it!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

{chicago, part II}

Saturday was filled with work & shopping. No photos.

Sunday was filled with food, food, & more food.

Greta & I woke up early, met up with her sister, & raced downtown. At my request we stopped at Dunkin Donuts, because I miss that place like crazy. {SF needs to get on board.} I ordered my usual drink & then we made our way to Do-Rite Donuts. I restrained myself from ordering a dozen & just got a measly two. Chocolate glazed & cinnamon sugar.

I wish I could fully explain how amazing they were? Maybe this picture will help.

Or this one.

I was pretty darn happy. So happy that you can't even tell how annoyed I was over the fact that Dunkin Donuts got my coffee order totally wrong.

So worth the trip though.

After dessert breakfast we headed back to Greta's apartment & worked out, mainly because I'd been eating so indulgently all weekend. But it was sort of pointless, because then we met up with another friend for pizza at Stella Barra.  I couldn't go to Chicago & not eat pizza. Even if it wasn't deep dish.

The back patio was gorge. Best kept secret in Chicago.

^^margherita & the special: arugula pesto with shaved artichoke good!

^^greta & I

Right before I headed to the airport we made one last stop: Lickity Split. They make the best concretes & chocolates in the city.

I pretty much rolled myself on the plane, but all was okay. It was the best weekend. I feel like I packed a lot in & am so glad I stayed the extra day. Hopefully I'll be back soon with Dylan!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

{chicago, part I}

A Chicago recap...


Like I mentioned last week, I worked for a few hours after I arrived. But since the rest of the weekend was going to be filled with rain, I signed off & made my way towards the action. I almost went to Navy Pier---because it's a favorite of mine---but the John Hancock building was calling my name. In all of the times I've visited this city, I've never been to the top! That had to change.

There was no line, so I raced right up & was greeted by this view:

$18.00 well spent. There isn't a time limit on how long you can stay up there, so I ordered some gelato & just chilled for about an hour. I couldn't get over the view.

Once I came back down I ventured over to my sister's old neck of the woods & window-shopped for a bit. Love this area of town.

I couldn't decide on what to do for dinner...but then I ran into Rosebud's! We had dinner there last year after Dylan's graduation & it was one of the best nights of my life.  For many reasons. But the food is pretty divine. So while I watched the crowd gather outside of Giordano's across the street, I enjoyed the world's best chicken parmesan & gf spaghetti from the most perfect outside table.

The fog began to drift back out & the temps started to drop, but I wasn't ready to call it a night yet. I mean, this city is just amazing.

So I people-watched.

It was one of the best nights in a while. There's something so fun about traveling by yourself & exploring a city solo. I came back to SF determined to do this here.

That's enough photos for one post. Donuts to come in the next. Get excited.

Friday, June 20, 2014

{happy friday}

I don't have links for you today, but I do have random thoughts.

...I can't tell you how much I loved Dylan's post yesterday. LOVED it. You all did too apparently, because the blog traffic spiked like crazy. So either I'm boring you 99% of the time or Dyl is this week's #favoritetwin.

...or she should start her own blog called Dauntless Dyl?

...I've read about 10 books in the past 6 weeks. It's replaced the time I would normally spend watching TV or Netflix & it's been life changing. Especially when it comes to sleep. Try it!

...22 Jump Street was really funny. To be fair, Jonah Hill could read a cereal box & I'd think it was the most hilarious thing in the world, but still...the movie's worth seeing.

...okay, one link. Mary J. makes this song so much better. She continues to prove why I'm okay with having a weird unexplainable obsession with her.

...finally...I'm in Chicago for the weekend! A fun work gig got me here, but I'm spending an extra day just for me. Can't wait to see some friends & eat some donuts. Donuts have been on my mind since National Donut Day a few weeks ago because, um, I DIDN'T EAT A DONUT. So I'm hitting up one of my gf favorite spots. It's honestly the only place on my must-do list.

For now, I'm working & enjoying the view from my room.  I'll be back next week with more photos from this fine city.

happy weekend!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

guest post: noble soul {a tattoo story}

written by: dylan mullen

a few minutes after
almost three years ago, i came up with an idea for a tattoo.  i was in Rome, sitting in my school’s library, & it just came into my mind.  

noble soul

my mom (& her family’s) last name is Noble & it is incredibly fitting.  they are good people. kind, selfless, funny, unpretentious, creative, imperfect, trustworthy, good people.  they are noble & completely exemplify the name they bear.

5 quick minutes and it was done!
i was holding my breath the entire time

if you know me well, you know what role my mom plays in my life.  she is my saving grace; my hero. the person i turn to first when i need help or comfort; the person i turn to for fashion advice, cooking recipes & inspiring quotes.  but more than that, i’ve learned through her example how to be a good person in this world.  she does everything for others & expects little in return; she is a quiet soul that communicates most through her daily actions for other people.  she is the bravest, most beautiful person i know & above all else & like her family, she is noble.  my mom goes by her middle name, patricia, & when i looked up the meaning of her name recently, i was stunned- it means noble. i just couldn’t believe how perfect (& freaky) that was.

simply, i strive to be a noble person.  i want to be like my mom & our Noble family: loving, honest, trustworthy, & true.

i might be a Mullen, but my soul is Noble.

sooo happy with it

so this is for them.  to my Noble fam- you are the best. i love you so much & consider it a privilege to be a part of this family.  there is nothing else i would rather have permanently inked to my body than our family’s name.


to be completely transparent, although i did this for them, i think my parents & grandparents (maybe even Liv) wish i hadn’t.  they knew i wanted to get a tattoo, but i think they would have preferred me not to, & are a little surprised i actually went through with it after talking about it for three yearsi rarely rebel or do something out of line- i guess that’s the “goodie-two-shoes in me”- which to be honest, i’m not all that ashamed of.  but in the last few years, something has stirred in me to be more adventurous & brave.  i don’t want to be afraid to do something unexpected in this one life we’re given.

in almost every aspect of my life, i care A LOT about what people think of me.  i never want to hurt anyone’s feelings & i would never want someone to think less of me for a decision i made.  it’s something i struggle with & need to get better at, as i can’t always strive to make everyone happy- especially when it comes to my own happiness.  99% of the time if my parents or siblings ask me not to do something or think i’m about to make the wrong choice, i listen to them.  this was one of the first permanent choices i made that pretty much goes against what they think.  it’s an uncomfortable feeling which makes me sad, but in the end, this is a tribute to them.  i love my tattoo & i have no regrets, & i think they like it too, but are still coming around to the idea.  i believe tattoos are a very personal choice since it’s your (personal) body, & i think they can be really beautiful if you do them right.    

taken by my mom while she exclaimed, "wow! i actually really, really love it." makes me so happy.

so for those of you that want a tattoo: think about it & take your time!  it’s so much classier (& cool) to have it mean something significant. i weighed the pros & cons for three years before doing this - but stick to your own timeline, not mine.  find a clean, respected parlor & check it out first.  i went to a custom shop called Eight of Swords in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) & i LOVED them.  they made me feel comfortable & put me at ease which was super important to me since this was my first time.  on top of that, they were incredibly talented & were able to trace my exact handwriting on my body. so neat!  i also suggest bringing one or two people to keep you calm.  i brought my step-sister & good friend shanon to give advice on size, placement, and moral support. thanks girls!

oh & one more thing…

it didn’t hurt.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

{that moon}

I couldn't stop taking pictures. Did anyone else watch it rise last night? My roommate & I were stunned at the pace. It was crazy.

A full moon on Friday the 13th hasn't happened since 2000...& the next time it will happen is 2049! So glad I got out my camera for this.

So...these are my first fairly good moon photos:

Settings, for those interested: ISO 100 - 135mm - f/5.6 - 1/200

So wild.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

{lively interiors: poufs from one king's lane}

When One King's Lane asked me to participate in their Pouf-a-Palooza, I immediately thought YES. And then when they asked me to pick my favorite pouf of the six below, choose seven other pieces from their collection, & design a mood board around it? Double yes. Any chance to dream up & style room & I'm
t h e r e.

I was so torn between which pouf to choose! Should I go bold with #1 & design a really cool office? Or---since I'm in summer mode---design a cozy, beachy living room with #6? I actually started & stopped three different rooms with three different poufs before my final idea came to me. I just couldn't make up my mind.

And then it came to me: design a room for my little sister.

Let me tell you about Sophie for a hot minute. The girl is the best. THE BEST. After years of hoping & wishing & praying for a little sister, I got the ultimate one. She's spunky, girly, hilarious, talented, & awesome all bundled up in a package. This entire week she's been on my mind, not only because I miss her like crazy, but because she's turning the big 1-0 tomorrow. I've been feeling rather nostalgic about her upcoming birthday because oh my gosh she is growing up way too fast. I mean, she was born yesterday.

Sophie is knee-deep in those pre-teen {or is is tween?} years that we all like to forget, so her style is rather, um, interesting. One day she'll do the shorts over the leggings thing & the next she'll wear a cute skirt & sweater. There's a lot of neon & stacked rubber bracelets & crazy nail polish. But ya gotta love the girl through it all. Her room is the same story. Bright pink + zebra print + cookie-cutter white bedroom furniture.

So. I decided to design for Sophie. With this pouf:

When she's 13 or 14, past the tweeny years, this is the room I imagine for her. She's an incredibly talented dancer, so I thought this would be the most perfect, elegant space for a beautiful ballerina to grow in to.

Can't you see Sophie curling up with her mini iPad book on that chair & sticking her feet up on that lovely pouf? So comfy. {& that dresser slays me; it's a work of art.}

Check out all of the poufs One King's Lane has in their collection. Every style, pattern, color, & size you want, they have. Poufs are one of my favorite pieces to have in a home because they're so adaptable. Depending on the style, they can be seats, or ottomans or even side tables. I dare you not to find a pouf for your home from their selection.

Go find yours!

ps. budget? what budget? ha. since this was a make-believe challenge, I went balls to the walls & designed a pretty expensive room. it was way more fun that way.

**This post was sponsored by One King's Lane, an affiliate of Lively Liv. I wasn't paid to write this. All opinions & ideas are my own.