how to: lip colors for fall.

even though i’m not in school anymore, fall is still a transition time for me. i feel the seasonal changes the most this time of year, and it makes me want to learn new things or nest like crazy. it’s the one time of the year when i want to spend a little more time getting ready, sprucing up the look, you know? probably something stemming from all that back to school shopping we did back in the day.

that’s one of the reasons i had meg fix up my little space here. did she not do a phenomenal job?? she took the vision right out of my head and put it into this blog. i am so happy with how it looks. it’s so much more me and so much more fun to look at than the old one, right?

the last couple of years i’ve been really into lip color in the fall. it helps remind me to put lip balm on when the moisture gets sucked out of me by the terrible tundra weather, and it’s a great way to look nice without trying very hard. i still need to find a good pink-plum color, i just haven’t had any luck with that shade yet, but i have a few other favorites that i pull out for the fall. (apologies for the light in the photos, it’s a hard knock life when your husband is out of town and can’t take photos for you!)

1. sheer nude. this color is perfect with just a bright eyeliner in emerald or blue, and simple mascara. it’s great if you are incredibly scared to put on an actual lip color, you can just start yourself out slow!

(i’m wearing revlon lip butter in creme brulee)

2. orange. okay stay with me here. i swear it’s more wearable than it sounds. minimal eye makeup is key here, as is minimal color on the face, but make sure to swipe on some bronzer so you don’t look washed out. it works with all eye colors and really makes them pop in my opinion. (p.s. this color is also bangin’ in the summer. i wear it year round.)

(i’m wearing revlon super lustrous lipstick in siren. the perfect orange.)

3. oxblood. this is simply a classic. fall = dark purple = perfection. this one, i’ll admit, is scary to try at first. try it on a girls night out (or in), and just tell yourself you’re playing dress up. that’s how i tricked myself into wearing it at first! it’s all in your attitude.

(i’m wearing revlon super lustrous lipstick in black cherry.)

these are going to be my go-tos all season, although i will still be on the quest for that perfect plum color (any recommendations are welcome!).

anyone else get that itch to change it up this time of year?

[also, don’t forget to check out my sponsor deal going on right now for the rest of october. chelsea from little lessons in a big city just took the plunge for november, you should join her and the rest of the cool kids over there!]


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something other than the weather.

i had a nice post composed in my head about how nice it was to finally be able to sleep with the windows open. because that’s really a sweet spot time here in minnesota. between snow and murderous humidity, there is a small sliver of the year where we can open all the windows and breathe in crisp air. and it is glorious.

but since it snowed today and it’s may and yadda yadda how many times can i talk about the freaking weather on this blog(?), here’s what we’ve been up to this week so far.


i got my hairs did:

went from grown-out highlights circa the last time i dyed it (two weeks before my wedding) to dark reddish/auburn ombre. you’ll be able to see it better in future photos, but you get the gist here, right? gosh do i like getting my hair done. it makes me feel all special and pampered. also, do you like my bathroom selfie? thanks. the lighting is much better in there.


my friend brought me a mini baby orchid:

i have the most lovely friend who is also my neighbor and her fiance happens to be pretty knowledgable in the orchid area. and because they are so thoughtful i am now the proud owner of a baby orchid as well as my big orchid and plastic orchid. how i’ve managed to keep the real one alive so long is a mystery to me too, but i have high hopes for the new one.


i did a mountain of laundry:

holy cow did we have a lot of laundry (and yes that’s a bra). Mister Man did some, and i did the rest, and it is never-ending! i don’t know how two people can have so much laundry. or maybe it just seems like a lot because i have to walk about a half-mile from our apartment to the laundry room….i can make a good case for not working out on laundry day, let me tell you.


i had popcorn for dinner:

i ate an entire bowl. normally there are leftovers. what the hell? i can’t even blame it on the wine because i only had one glass, so i think i’ll blame it on the pms. i’m thinking about making wednesday night popcorn every week, even when the husband is in town. it’s a tradition i can get behind.



i also failed to turn in my translation homework on time (still haven’t), my husband went on a business trip, and i binge-watched “arrested development” on netflix in preparation for the new season coming up in may. it’s been a fabulous week so far. and surprisingly fast, especially considering that on tuesday i was convinced it was wednesday until about 2:30 in the afternoon. so thank goodness for that!

(ed: i feel like the tone of this post is shaky at best…i was going for happy and carefree, but really feel like it sunk to barely hanging on to my sanity by a thread. it really went downhill didn’t it? i’m trying! it snowed today, i don’t have a lot left in me!)


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cold water and raw onions.

we used to beg my grandma to turn up the heat on the swimming pool at their house. we would beg and beg and beg, and she would say, “well, i did turn it up! it’s at 70 degrees already!”. that was what she considered to be warm water. the woman could swim in subzero temperatures and not bat an eyelash. so on our annual family vacation, when a few brave people started to swim in the ocean at sunset, she decided to make it a mandatory tradition that the entire family (all 35 of us) be in the water by the time the sun dipped below the horizon. rain or shine, waves or still waters, hot or cold, we all were expected to be down on the beach to participate in sunset swim.

she also had taste buds of steel. the woman could pile her hamburger high with raw onions and just nom it down, no problem. she never met a meal she didn’t like, and yet somehow was the tiniest human being. even when esophageal cancer made it hard for her to eat solids, grandma would put her foot down and demand a taste of whatever was being served for dinner, side effects be damned. i will always be thankful to her for passing down her appreciation of food to her entire family. that gift made for a lot of awesome family dinners.

the saying on her sweatshirt in the above photo says, “there is reason to believe that some people can marry an irish person and still go on to lead a normal and productive life.” too true, too true. i learned lots of awesome sayings like that from her. i also learned that flirting with your husband after over 60 years of marriage is a requirement, and you best believe that frequently smooching on your spouse is as well. that’s one legacy that i will be sure to carry on.


today, she would have loved to sit in her spot in the kitchen, looking out on the lake and enjoying the snow falling. even though it’s late april, it wouldn’t have occurred to her to be upset about the weather. she would have enjoyed her coffee and her brilliant smile would have lit up the room, just like always. we’re going to miss that smile.


from my post on prayer, which i wrote two months ago around the time i lost one of my grandfathers:

“when we get to the part that says, “thy will be done”, let’s stop there and repeat, repeat, repeat. then pray that soon, “i want” and “do what is best” will be one and the same.”

for my grandma. 

the winter that would not end.

in light of the horrible events that took place yesterday in boston, i wanted to wait a day to post my completely unnecessary complaints about the weather. one day later, is it any less bad that i complain about this? probably not, but sometimes (and this is just my opinion), the fluff of our everyday lives is the only thing that keeps us from staying down in that pit of despair we fall into after we see and cannot comprehend the actions of evil people. take from it what you will. and don’t stop your prayers. 

here are some good links for you if you need a pick-me-up about it all:


oh minnesota winter. i try so hard to love you. i defend you when people talk trash. i actively participate in outdoor events in january. i write entire blog posts about how to have fun in the tundra. and you aren’t usually so bad, you hardly ever outstay your welcome. but lately you’ve been clingy and you really can’t take a hint. i need you to just go away for a while. we all do.

you see, it’s april now. and even though us minnesotans are made of pretty hardy stuff, even we can’t stomach the thought of snow in the second half of april. there are sports to be played, boats to be ridden, walks to be taken, and none of that can happen if you don’t get the hell out. well, scratch that, it actually can all happen, but it’s infinitely less fun when you’re around. my face stays permanently like this:

for example. Mister Man and i love baseball. minnesota twins baseball to be exact. and those minnesota twins have an outdoor stadium now. and we had tickets for last saturday’s game that we were not going to let go to waste. so we put on our parkas and hats and scarves and froze our little tushies off on those seats. (the twinkies lost, so you know, insult to injury and stuff).

the next morning we woke up to go to church and were greeted with more snow that had a nice icy feel to it. this prompted us to have a nice long conversation on our walk to the cathedral about moving to des moines, iowa, and we came up with the following reasons why we think it would be a good idea:

  • it’s warmer.
  • there is no snow there right now.
  • cooney’s bar with their hot sauce popcorn is there.
  • steph and alex are there (which is the top good thing).
  • lower cost of living.
  • i could totally find a job at one of the many insurance companies there.
  • it’s warmer and not snowing there.

that is what this endless winter is doing to us. we are having SERIOUS conversations about the PROS of moving to IOWA. we can’t do this anymore. the only thing i will say for this weather is that it gives you an excuse to stop at the bodega after church and purchase ingredients to create amazingly delicious nacho concoctions. we call ours “snowy-day-in-april survival nachos”. they were so good that trisha may have made a healthier version herself….not my fault!

snowy day in april survival nachos

  • tortilla chips
  • cheese (obviously)
  • banana peppers
  • chili from a can
  • green olives
  • salsa

make one layer of these babies with all the ingredients except the salsa. then add another layer. put in the microwave until the cheese is melted. top with salsa. nom them down with your main squeeze while saying, “i love you, we’re such fatties”.

it’s probably going to snow again tomorrow, so we’ll be looking for houses in the greater des moines area and crying into our parkas. what are your plans for this week? go outside for us please.


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pheasant wild rice soup.

i made this last night. and man oh man was it a good way to spend a monday night. (the idea for this was a product of our great meal-planning on sunday.) i was supposed to cook it with Mister Man, but we had this teeny-tiny little snowstorm come through, and he and his work compadres decided it was better to head up to their conference early instead of risking a dangerous drive today. darn those reasonable thinkers. (and don’t listen to my husband, i’m not mad about it boss-man! i enjoyed watching the bachelor “women tell all” quite a bit!)

oh well, more soup for me! i highly suggest making this soon. you probably have most of the ingredients on hand already and it will make you feel old-fashioned like an ingalls daughter. and if you don’t happen to be married to someone who shoots at wild fowl for a hobby every fall, you can easily substitute chicken for the pheasant, or leave it out altogether.

this is what it really looks like when i cook. i am the messiest in the kitchen. i try to keep it clean, but usually it looks like i took all my ingredients and threw them up in the air and onto the counter.

wild rice soup

wild rice

the photo above is what i sent to Mister Man to just REALLY rub in the fact that he wasn’t here eating soup with me.

wild rice soup with pheasant (adapted from the byerly’s wild rice soup recipe)

prep: 10 minutes total time: 1 hour 10-12 servings

  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. minced onion
  • 3/4 C. flour
  • 4 1/2 C. chicken broth
  • 4 C. cooked wild rice
  • 3/4 C. finely grated carrots
  • 2/3 C. diced cubed ham (find this in the butcher area)
  • 6 Tbsp. slivered  almonds
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 to 2 C. half and half
  • 2 Tbsp. dry white wine (optional, but highly encouraged)
  • 4-8 baked pheasant breasts, depending on their size (about 2 cups when shredded)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 8×10 baking pan with aluminum foil and lay pheasant breasts in the pan. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 35-40 minutes until no longer pink in the middle, taking the aluminum foil off the top for the last 5-10 minutes of baking. While pheasant is baking, in large saucepan, melt butter; saute onion until tender. Whisk in flour, then gradually add broth. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil; boil and stir 1 minute.  Stir in rice, carrots, ham, almonds and salt; simmer about 5 minutes.  Blend in half and half and wine; when pheasant is done, shred with hands, discarding tough pieces. Add to soup and heat to serving temperature.

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