Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Inside Havana

Just picked up this GREAT photography book at Magnolia Style in Hyde Park.  I fingered through the pages the other day and decided not to get it, but that dang book has been on my mind ever since.  So first thing this morning I popped in and bought it.

It's called Inside Havana by Andrew Moore.  The images are just beautiful and I am hoping to maybe find out where some of the pictures were taken and pop by to check those spaces out!

Book Cover

A Parlor in Matanzas

Dilapidated Ballet School

These are just a couple of the stunning images from this gorgeous book.

Jeff and Lee at Magnolia were so gracious showing me some of their other photography books about Cuba.  If you haven't been by the shop, swing by and check it out.  They have gorgeous art work, home decor and the light fixtures are to die for!

Check out Magnolia Style website HERE.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Things We Carry

In High School I read a book entitled "The Things They Carried" and it is a great book.  It is a story of soldiers at war and the book uses the things they have to carry as a metaphor for many things they go through in battle and in their pasts.  I have begun packing for Cuba and it is quite an interesting suitcase that I will carry.  

Here it is.  This enormous and ominous bag of things.  Necessary and unnecessary.  

Maybe a third of this bag contains my personal items.  The rest are items to bring to family members and to share with the people at the church.  In this bag I have packed: towels, sheets, work clothes, sneakers, antibiotics, toys for children, candy, boxes of macaroni and cheese, lots of soap, baseball stuff, a huge first aid kit, paint rollers, paint brushes, hangers, sandpaper, tooth brushes, a blood pressure monitor, books and since there is more space I am sure we will be cramming much more.

Sounds totally random right?  Well it is, in fact, totally random.  My items I planned quite carefully to make sure I bring only what I need and that it is the lightest weight stuff possible.  The medicine, first aid and blood pressure monitor have specific people in mind and purposes.  But everything else is kind of the story here.

Macaroni and cheese?  Well the people are starving in Cuba and when you hear their stories, a majority revolve around food.  The macaroni and cheese is high in calories and fat and for them it is an extra special treat.  Quality soap is hard to come by so we bring lots of it.  And I am sure you can imagine toys and books are sparce.  They have so little of so many things... THINGS THAT I TAKE FOR GRANTED EVERY SINGLE DAY... That anything that we have that we can take that is durable and in good shape is like giving a new and treasured gift for the recipient in Cuba.

I am getting to the point where I think about this experience and what its going to be like and I become extremely emotional.  It's hard for me to contain my excitement, fear, sadness, and overall emotion for what it will be like to see this country I have heard stories of my whole life.  This seemingly mythical island that has rooted itself so deeply in my family.  My arrival will be a symbolic homecoming for my family and to finally meet all those who I know only through pictures will be a very precious moment.

Exactly one week from this minute, we will be packing the cars with the things we will be carrying and embarking on this great adventure.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Meet Ung Drill

Meet Ung Drill.  Many of you may already know Ung Drill but for those of you who don't here it is!  This is one of the most commonly use decorative pieces from Ikea that I have ever seen.  Everywhere I look it seems to be incorporated in every design scheme.  And at $29, who wouldn't?  It comes in basic black but take a look at the other ideas people have had for this gorgeous staple.  

If you click on the picture it should send you to the site I found it on:)  Enjoy!
UNG DRILL Frame, oval, black Width: 23 ¼ " Height: 33 ½ " Picture, width: 15 ¾ " Picture, height: 19 ¾ "  Width: 59 cm Height: 85 cm Picture, width: 40 cm Picture, height: 50 cm

Monday, June 6, 2011

Amazing Chocolate Cookies

I keep seeing this recipe all over blog land and Pinterest and decided to give it a whirl. Creative I am. Culinary Genius I am not!  But I have heard that baking is a science and you have to be precise so I thought as long as I follow the directions how hard can it be?  I posted about it to my facebook and a bunch of people have asked for the recipe, so here it is!

Here is the batter all done just like the recipe said and ready for the fridge:)

and this is the final product!  Perfection.

They are just as good as they are bragged to be and I can't wait to make all kinds off cookies using this batter as a base.  I think my favorite part was licking the spoon after creaming the butter and sugar together!  Soooo Delicious!

The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds chocolate chips
Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.
Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy – about 5 minutes. Add eggs. Stir in vanilla. Reduce to low speed and add dry ingredients slowly, mixing until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Refrigerate dough for 24-36 hours.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350.
Drop spoonfuls of dough onto baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

I pulled the recipe from the blog i am baker


I am going on a Journey

On July 1st, I am embarking on a great adventure! I will be going to Cuba to do mission work in Havana with a team through my Church, Hyde Park United Methodist and UMVIM (United Methodist Volunteers in Mission).

This will be a deeply rooted journey for me as I have spent my whole life hearing stories of the lives my grandparents once had in Cuba, before the Revolution.  Growing up we always sent our hand-me-downs and photos to our relatives who still live there.  I still sift through the hundreds of photos at my Abuela's house, that have captured the beautiful and glamorous life my family had while they were there.

My Abuela Isabel Muller, age 20 at the President's wife's ball
This is one of my favorites!

 My Abuelo's Wedding

 My Abuela and Abuelo Isabel and Elio 

On their Honeymoon

Isabel at 18 when she was at the teachers academy

That's my dad in the front, shooting his gun at the camera.

These are just a few photos...

I will be meeting lots of family for the first time and I know it will be very emotional for me.

Aside from my family there, I hope to experience a profound spiritual connection working with the Methodist church to help restore a part of the Seminary in Havana and experience how God is moving through the people there.  Most of all, I am really excited that I will be sharing this entire experience with my mother who is leading the trip.  She is an amazing person and I am so proud of her.

She is American by birth, but now just as Cuban as the rest of our relatives!

Our team will be blogging about or time there through the church blog.  And this past Sunday we had the pleasure of having the Cuban Bishop give the Sermon at our church.

If you would like to read the Hyde Park UMC Blog, go HERE
And if you would like to hear the Bishop's Sermon go HERE
(9:30 service June 5th)

I will be giving more updates about this trip as we get closer and when I return I hope to have tons of pictures and excerpts from my journal to share with you!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Nail Polish Strips

Last night I tried Sally Hansen Nail Polish Strips and it was awesome! 
Salon Effects

 I didn't do a perfect job, doing my right hand with my left was a little tricky but overall I am completely satisfied!  I think it just takes a little practice but overall it was really easy.  Basically they are stickers and the kit comes with about 15 or so stickers in a variety of sizes so you can choose the sizes that work best for your nail size.  You place the stiker ofver your nail, file the excess of of the tip with the file that it comes with and use the wood stick to trip around the cuticles if you need to.  It's supposed to last 10 days and you can take it off with regular nail polish remover.  At $10 bucks that's a deal!

I chose the color Blitz Glitz and it is funky but oh so fabulous!

Taking pics of glitter is difficult, but I think y'all can get the Idea!

There are about 20 or so colors to choose from and you can get them at your local drugstore:)