Staying Stylish in Suburbia

Foodie Friday-Watermelon Mojito Cocktail or Mocktail

Friday, May 31, 2013


Quite Quenching

Crushed ice and long skirts have become my best friends. I'm telling you, warm weather and pregnancy don't mix. You're all hot and frazzled and you can't even cool down with a refreshing beer or your favorite cocktail of choice. It can get downright maddening. You go out to restaurants and everyone is sitting outside sipping their frilly concoctions. And you know it's all in your mind but it actually seems like they're flaunting it as you order yet another sad sip of water.

Feeling left out in the refreshment department I recently decided to take matters into my own hands. I needed something to quench my thirst and fast!  With that in mind I went about creating the most refreshingly foo-foo mocktail I could think of. I call it a watermelon mojito and she has now replaced both crushed ice and long skirts as my new BFF. Oh and did I mention that she swings both ways? Make it a virgin or add a little rum to the mix if your not with child.

Here's how it's done...



Recipe


  • 4 Tablespoons of watermelon pulp scooped straight from the rind
  • Several sprigs of fresh mint
  • 2 slices of lemon or lime
  • 2 tbsp of Agave syrup
  • Lemon or lime sparking water

Directions


  • At the bottom of a tall glass muddle together the watermelon, mint and agave syrup
  • Squeeze lemon slices into glass
  • Add ice (crushed is best)
  • Add shot of rum (optional)
  • Fill rest of glass with citrus sparkling water
  • Garnish with lemon or lime and mint 
  • Stir and Enjoy!


So simple, delicious and quenching! Let me know what you think or if you have any other suggestions for me in the cocktail/mocktail department. Have a great weekend everyone!

Alone Sweet Alone

Thursday, May 30, 2013





How motherhood taught me to savor solitude

There was a time when I thought being alone went hand in hand with being lonely. It signified certain boredom for me and played on all my insecurities. I'm a fairly social person and couldn't imagine going to a movie by myself (how sad) or shopping without a friend.

One of my first experiences with dining alone came when I went to live in Spain after college. I arrived a few days before my teaching program started and didn't know a single soul in the city. I was a foreigner in a foreign land wondering the streets of Barcelona in wonderment and delight. But when it came time to order lunch for one at a cafe I felt suddenly silly in my solitude again. My lack of companionship made me feel naked as if I needed to cover up by busing myself with a map or a book or by chain smoking cigarettes. Everyone around me seemed to be enjoying themselves, caught up in conversation with lovers, friends or family. I was determined not to be noticed or God forbid pitied by any of them. I ate as quickly, paid for the bill and went on my solitary way, suddenly struck by a deep need for interaction.

Oh the folly of youth. What I wouldn't give today to be whisked away to that very same cafe. To have the luxury of an entire afternoon and evening stretching into the night time with nothing to do and no one to tend to but myself and my own thoughts. If only I had the time now to slip into the cool darkness of a matinee alone or to wander through a bookstore without chasing after a small person peeling paperbacks off the shelves.

Because if there is one thing that motherhood has taught me it is to appreciate my alone time. Those precious few hours when my daughter goes down for a nap or while I'm out running the occasional child-free errand. I relish each moment to myself like a good stiff drink, taking my time with each and every sip. It relaxes me to feel that no one, not even my beloved husband is around. Only the quiet of the house as I write or the background buzz of strangers going about their daily business.

A friend of mine just got back from taking her very first vacation alone. She isn't a mother yet so to have already gleamed the importance of treating oneself to such an indulgence with or without companionship strikes me as both wise and impressive. But why not, right? If we can't enjoy our own company then what's the point. The pictures from her travels were lovely. I could just imagine her walking around, sunbathing, swimming and meeting new people all on her own time with nobody to answer to but herself. Divine!


It's all in our perspective of course. I learned to love being alone only after it became such a scarcity for me. When my children become teenagers and want nothing to do with me I know I'll miss their all consuming dependence with a passion. For now though I'm lucky to have a partner who encourages me to slip out to the hammock after dinner to swing amongst trees in the quietude of a summer evening, or to "run-away" now and again for a Saturday afternoon pedicure. It keeps me sane and as the saying goes, "if mama ain't happy ain't nobody happy."


Being alone is an acquired taste for some, myself included. I've learned to love and respect it over time. What makes it that much sweeter is knowing that whenever I find that sacred moment of solitude, I'll soon be returning to the sweetness my bustling life. And truly I wouldn't have it any other way. The rarity is what makes it gold.

What about you? Do you treasure your alone time or wish you had less of it? What's your favorite activity to do by yourself?

P.S. How great is the photograph above of the girl swinging with a view of La Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona?! Yes please!




Summer Reads

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Summer is right around the corner. Time for some good vacation reading! Nothing too heavy or intense but still well written and worth your while. And even if a vacation isn't in your future, what better way to escape the monotony of the grindstone than with a good juicy novel, right!?

Sometimes I'll be on the lookout for my next book and nothing will strike my fancy for a long stretch of time. Then all of a sudden a batch of newcomers will hit the shelves and I'll find myself salivating, not knowing which one to tear into first. That's how I feel about this group of page turners. I'm excited about them all for different reasons. How about you? What's on your summer reading list?

Summer Reads

1. 

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp For Girls-It is 1930, the midst of the Great Depression. After her mysterious role in a family tragedy, passionate, strong-willed Thea Atwell, age fifteen, has been cast out of her Florida home, exiled to an equestrienne boarding school for Southern debutantes. High in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty, and girls’ friendships, the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is a far remove from the free-roaming, dreamlike childhood Thea shared with her twin brother on their family’s citrus farm—a world now partially shattered. As Thea grapples with her responsibility for the events of the past year that led her here, she finds herself enmeshed in a new order, one that will change her sense of what is possible for herself, her family, her country.

Weaving provocatively between home and school, the narrative powerfully unfurls the true story behind Thea’s expulsion from her family, but it isn’t long before the mystery of her past is rivaled by the question of how it will shape her future. Part scandalous love story, part heartbreaking family drama, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is an immersive, transporting page-turner—a vivid, propulsive novel about sex, love, family, money, class, home, and horses, all set against the ominous threat of the Depression—and the major debut of an important new writer.


2. 

The Other Typist- Rose Baker seals men’s fates. With a few strokes of the keys that sit before her, she can send a person away for life in prison. A typist in a New York City Police Department precinct, Rose is like a high priestess. Confessions are her job. It is 1923, and while she may hear every detail about shootings, knifings, and murders, as soon as she leaves the interrogation room she is once again the weaker sex, best suited for filing and making coffee.
This is a new era for women, and New York is a confusing place for Rose. Gone are the Victorian standards of what is acceptable. All around her women bob their hair, they smoke, they go to speakeasies. Yet prudish Rose is stuck in the fading light of yesteryear, searching for the nurturing companionship that eluded her childhood. When glamorous Odalie, a new girl, joins the typing pool, despite her best intentions Rose falls under Odalie’s spell. As the two women navigate between the sparkling underworld of speakeasies by night and their work at the station by day, Rose is drawn fully into Odalie’s high-stakes world. And soon her fascination with Odalie turns into an obsession from which she may never recover.



3. 

Bobcat-Rebecca Lee, one of our most gifted and original short story writers, guides readers into a range of landscapes, both foreign and domestic, crafting stories as rich as novels. A student plagiarizes a paper and holds fast to her alibi until she finds herself complicit in the resurrection of one professor's shadowy past. A dinner party becomes the occasion for the dissolution of more than one marriage. A woman is hired to find a wife for the one true soulmate she's ever found. In all, Rebecca Lee traverses the terrain of infidelity, obligation, sacrifice, jealousy, and yet finally, optimism. Showing people at their most vulnerable, Lee creates characters so wonderfully flawed, so driven by their desire, so compelled to make sense of their human condition, that it's impossible not to feel for them when their fragile belief in romantic love, domestic bliss, or academic seclusion fails to provide them with the sort of force field they'd expected.

4. 

Questions of Travel-Laura Fraser grows up in Sydney, motherless, with a cold, professional father and an artistic bent. Ravi Mendis lives on the other side of the world--exploring the seductive new world of the internet, his father dead, his mother struggling to get by. Their stories alternate throughout Michelle de Kretser's ravishing new novel, culminating in unlikely fates for them both, destinies influenced by travel--voluntary in her case, enforced in his.

With money from an inheritance, Laura sets off to see the world, returning to Sydney to work for a publisher of a travel guides. There she meets Ravi, now a Sri Lankan political exile who wants only to see a bit of Australia and make a living. Where do these two disparate characters, and an enthralling array of others, truly belong? With her trademark subtlety, wit, and dazzling prose, Michelle de Kretser shows us that, in the 21st century, they belong wherever they want to and can be--home or away.


5. 

Freud's Mistress-It is fin-de-si├Ęcle Vienna and Minna Bernays, an overeducated lady’s companion with a sharp, wry wit, is abruptly fired, yet again, from her position. She finds herself out on the street and out of options. In 1895, the city may be aswirl with avant-garde artists and revolutionary ideas, yet a woman’s only hope for security is still marriage. But Minna is unwilling to settle. Out of desperation, she turns to her sister, Martha, for help. 
  
Martha has her own problems—six young children and an absent, disinterested husband who happens to be Sigmund Freud. At this time, Freud is a struggling professor, all but shunned by his peers and under attack for his theories, most of which center around sexual impulses. And while Martha is shocked and repulsed by her husband’s “pornographic” work, Minna is fascinated. 
  
Minna is everything Martha is not—intellectually curious, engaging, and passionate. She and Freud embark on what is at first simply an intellectual courtship, yet something deeper is brewing beneath the surface, something Minna cannot escape.
  
In this sweeping tale of love, loyalty, and betrayal—between a husband and a wife, between sisters—fact and fiction seamlessly blend together, creating a compelling portrait of an unforgettable woman and her struggle to reconcile her love for her sister with her obsessive desire for her sister’s husband, the mythic father of psychoanalysis. 

Why Won't Ryan Gosling Eat His Cereal???

Tuesday, May 28, 2013



Have you seen this video? I'm not sure who's behind the idea of it but it makes me giggle.
And if you need another laugh check out this clip of a father reenacting a conversation he had with his two year old daughter. I can so relate. Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Memorial Day

Monday, May 27, 2013


This memorial day weekend was spent doing work projects around the house. We built shelves, painted, and weeded out in the garden. In between we found time to swing in the hammock and make honey suckle crowns. It felt good to be getting things done. I am forever grateful for such small pleasures and for the privilege of living in a country that allows these simple freedoms. Thank you to all the men and women who have and continue to sacrifice so much to make this lovely life possible.



Here are a few Memorial Day inspired lovelies... 

Do
Eat
Drink
Wear

What did your long weekend look like? Have a great day and stay safe!




Source: etsy.com via Juniper on Pinterest

Announcing the Winner of Our Amazing Art Giveaway



Thank you all so much for participating in our first ever blog giveaway!  We appreciate all the positivity and are so excited to announce the winner. The following participant will receive the artwork of their choosing by Studio Lenore. Drum roll please....LIZA GLICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Please contact the artist, Sara Brigham, through her Etsy shop to arrange the details of your prize and delivery. 

And to everyone else...stay tuned! There will be more lovely giveaways coming up soon. xoxo


Source: jessiekfarris.com via Juniper on Pinterest

Foodie Friday- Farmers Market Salad

Friday, May 24, 2013

Since I'm new to the area I was thrilled when my new neighbor called me up out of the blue last week to invite me to tag along to the local farmers market. First of all, let me just say I LOVE farmers markets. Pretty much everything about them makes me happy. The fresh grub and the friendly faces of farmers presenting the fruit of their labor. What's not to love?

So for this Foodie Friday my suggestion is this- find your local farmers market and explore!

I think it's wise to go with a recipe in mind. Make it simple. Otherwise it can get overwhelming with all the choices. I decided to make a big spring salad with all the amazing veggies I found. That along with a loaf of freshly baked bread and strawberries for desert was the perfect combo.










This was a scaled down (week day) version of what apparently goes down at the farmers market on Saturday mornings. Still it was lively and fun with lots of yummy things to sample and drool over. The pavilion where it is held is right next to the train station. They had it set up so that kids could play in some of the empty cars. Esmae was elated, especially when a real train came rolling through.

Back Home with the Loot






Back at home it was time to get to chopping...






The only thing I added were chickpeas for protein. And while the babe was fast asleep I took my delicacies outside to the green, green grass, laid out a blanket and had myself a pretty little picnic for one. SO GOOD!

5 Mia Culpa Cards! Say you're sorry with style.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

If you, like Chris Isaak's baby, have ever done a bad, bad thing and made someone else feel like cryin', then you might want to consider sending your apology through one of these adorable cards. At the very least you'll get a little giggle through the hate filled tears as they tear open the envelope. I'm not saying it will earn you forgiveness but it's worth the effort to try to make them smile again, right!?






























1-Hungry card by Print Smitten 4.50
2-I Suck card by SouthCityPress 3.50
3-Sorry Poot card by MyZoetrope 5.00
4-I Stink card by Hello Lucky 4.50
5-Tear drop card by A Division of Goodness 5.00

Ageless Fashion

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

                                        


Our society tends to encourage style in young women, disregarding it more and more as we begin to age. I wonder why that is? Could it be that the emphasis on fashion has more to do with our obsession with attracting the opposite sex than it does with satisfying our own creative urges as women? After we become mothers we are all but given a free pass to wear sweatpants for the rest of our days. Why not, right? Haven't we done our duty in landing a man and creating offspring. And once you become a grandmother, forget about it. Your so called "age appropriate" clothing becomes limited to unflattering flub.

Only there's a huge flaw in this whole concept. I don't know about you, but I don't usually dress for men. If anything the women I know (myself included) dress to make themselves happy and to inspire and impress each other.

I've spent days of motherhood in my P.J's until noon and worn sweatpants to the park. But when I do make the effort to put a more inspired outfit together (even if it's just to go to the grocery store) and to care for myself in that very basic way, it's amazing what a different it makes. I feel better when I look better. It's as simple as that. And the way I feel is what I project to the rest of the world.

These ageless fashionistas inspire me to no end. They are clearly not dressing for anyone but themselves. It is who they are and what makes them happy. One of the most stylish people I know is my Step- Grandmother Marjorie, a tall southern belle with a slow honey-like draw, a flare for fabulous shoes, big jewelry and no shame in her game. A woman who was once quoted as saying. "I love gaudy. Gaudy is gorgeous!"

Let's hear it for breaking the rules and for self expression at any age! Who is the most fashionable older woman you know?












Source: popsop.com via Juniper on Pinterest




7 Closet Creations

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A friend of mine just moved into a new house. It's only herself, her husband, and their adorable dog living there which means she has plenty of room to play around with. While giving me the grand tour she opened the door to their guest room's walk in closet and with a twinkle in her eye told me about her plans to turn it into her very own reading sanctuary. Her husband rolled his eyes teasingly but she was unswayed. What was once a place to hang up old winter coats and store extra blankets would soon become the perfect little retreat for her to curl up with a good book. Brilliant!

I loved the idea myself and it got me to thinking about other ways one might transform the clutter of an ordinary closet into something more extraordinary. With that in mind I set out to find a few more closet creations for you to consider. Let me know what you think or if you have any other ideas...

Kids Reading Nook



Built in Lounge










BAR




OFFICE



Nursery



















Craft Nook







LIBRARY




Source: google.com via Juniper on Pinterest 
Source: architectureinspiration.tumblr.com via Juniper on Pinterest 
Source: customplaces.com via Juniper on Pinterest 
Source: Uploaded by user via Juniper on Pinterest
Source: blogs.babycenter.com via Juniper on Pinterest
Source: flickr.com via Juniper on Pinterest 
Source: Uploaded by user via Connie on Pinterest

Studio Lenore Amazing Art Giveaway!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Superb in the Burbs and Studio Lenore are teaming up to bring you an amazing art giveaway! With an eye for color and a talent for design Studio Lenore is one of my favorite new Etsy shops. The studio features decorative and functional artwork that is both sophisticated and sweet. Whether you are looking to use it in your living room or in a nursery, there is definitely something here for everyone. Check out a few examples below...


Paintings by Studio Lenore





Giveaway Guidelines

Follow these three simple steps to win an original art piece of your choosing:

  1. Like Superb in the Burbs Facebook page
  2. Look over the artwork at Studio Lenore, and like the Facebook link at top right corner of shop
  3. Leave a comment on Superb in the Burbs blog page describing your favorite art piece from Studio Lenore. Make sure to include your name in the post.  
At the end of 5 days (on 5/24/13) the contest will come to a close. One participant will be selected at random to receive the artwork of their choosing. We will announce the winner the following Monday on 5/27/13.

Best of luck!!!

Restrictions

This contest is restricted to those living in the United States and Canada


Promoted By:

All Things Bloggy
Blog Giveaway
Contest for Moms


Foodie Friday-Pasta with Pancetta & Dandelion Greens

I'm always on the lookout for fresh seasonal fare. So you can imagine my delight when I ran across these wild edibles in the produce isle of our grocery store. Dandelion greens are here today and gone tomorrow. You have to catch them in the springtime when they're still tender enough to savor without tasting too bitter. They're also packed full of goodness. High in calcium, rich in iron and loaded with antioxidants. Not to mention quite tasty! If you live out in the country you can harvest them yourself and if not check your local market. But don't wait long or they'll be gone.

Recipe

I decided to make a pasta dish using the greens...






Ingredients

Pasta
6 tablespoons olive oil
6-8 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
2 cups diced pancetta
2 cups mushrooms (whatever kind you like)
Big bundle of dandelion greens
Grated Parmesan cheese to taste
1/2 lemon squeezed for juice (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil pasta to your liking
Saute garlic, pancetta, mushrooms and dandelion greens in olive oil 
Drain pasta and combine sauteed ingredients
Add lemon juice (optional), Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste
Toss and enjoy!

Five Flowerless Wedding Bouquet Ideas

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Warm weather brings the beginning of wedding season. It also means an abundance of flowers ready for the picking! But if you're looking for a way to stand out from the crowd or if you're thinking about a winter or fall wedding, why not consider going a different direction with one of these incredible flowerless bouquets. It's a new trend and definitely worth considering.

I think my favorites are the wooden and the vegetable bouquets. What about you?

1-Minimalist Wooden Bouquet





2-Wild Grass Bouquet





3-Over Sized Felt Rose Bouquet





4- Mixed Vegetable Bouquet





5- Pine Cone Bouquet







1-Source: etsy.com via Juniper on Pinterest
3-Source: etsy.com via Juniper on Pinterest
4-Source: google.com via Juniper on Pinterest
5-Source: weddbook.com via Juniper on Pinterest

For the love of anxiety-How I came to respect my angst

Wednesday, May 15, 2013



A different perspective...

It's back. That invisible palm pressing down on my breast cage, keeping me from filling my lungs completely with air. My body always seems to betray my anxiety before my mind fully comprehends what's happening. After dealing with it for so long I've learned to read the signs though. It started in college. Or more accurately it got so bad the summer before my junior year that I was finally forced to face it head on. Meaning that I went to the doctor wondering if I had some sort of brain tumor. No. Seriously. I got a CAT Scan and everything. After which I was told there was nothing wrong and given the diagnosis of anxiety. It was a relief. Finally a name for the way I was feeling and a drug, Zoloft, to make it go away. Well kind of...Zoloft did help me manage it for years and I am a huge fan. It got me back to my old lighthearted self. My anxiety didn't totally disappear but it did lighten the load so to speak. Then I decided to get pregnant with our first baby and wanted to try and clear out my system. (A little side note here- Never attempt to ween yourself unsupervised off of a medicine like Zoloft.  When done right it can be easy-peasy but you definitely need a medical professional to guide you through the process.) After it was out of my system I felt fine. That was partly due to the fact that I was older and wiser, happier and more secure in myself and in my spot in the world. It was also probably partly owed to the fact that the medicine I had been  taking for so long had retrained my brain to produce serotonin again. Either way it felt good to be drug free and able to manage my anxiety. 

I say manage because it never fully went away. Sally Winston, the co-director of the Anxiety & Stress Disorders Institute says that "The presence of unpredictability, uncertainty and uncontrollability all provoke anxiety pretty automatically." And who isn't faced with those sorts of things on a fairly regular basis, right!? Of course there are all kinds of anxiety and every one's experience and the degree to which it effects their life is different. I can only speak for myself and my own experience. My first major panic attack after clearing out my system, came when I was told that I was a high risk pregnancy (again with our first born) and would have to go into the hospital for close to three months. Panic for myself and my unborn child flooded my system. It was a raging, roaring river and there was nothing I could do but be swept away by the fear. Some might argue that, that sounds like a reasonable circumstance to loose your cool. And I would agree. Only that I felt that same sense of sheer terror during my first acupuncture treatment when the acupuncturist stepped out of the room for a moment and I realized I couldn't get up because I had little pins stuck all over my back. It's that lack of control that gets me every time. And the response is the same whether the circumstance is big or little. Plus, once my brain learned the trick of panic it became easy for it to return to that same sorry state no matter how small the situation. 



After a while I began to recognize the signs. I even learned ways to change my response to both the fear and the stress that usually causes it. In other words I became somewhat accomplished at talking myself off a ledge. I even began using those feelings to my advantage at times. Because here's the thing about anxiety. I'm not saying you have to love it but it really is a mixed bag. Not all good but not inherently bad either. It's the way we react to it that makes all the difference. Almost all of my most creative friends deal with anxiety in some way or another. Time Magazine did a piece called the "Two faces of Anxiety," where they explored this dynamic between creativity and angst. "Philosophers and Poets, from their perch on the cutting edge of reason, have always seen the advantage of anxiety. It is the "dizziness of reason," argued Soren Kierkegaard; "the handmaiden of creativity," said T.S. Eliot; "the beginning of conscience," observed novelist Angela Carter." And it's true.  If you can learn how to channel that energy and use it to your creative advantage, it can become an extremely powerful tool. An aid rather than a handicap. I think back to when I was in a theatre. Every single performance right before I had to go on my mind would go completely blank and I wouldn't remember a single line. I cannot describe to you how frightening that was. But sure enough as soon as I stepped out onto the stage it would all return to me. And those moments were when I felt most tuned into the creative source. I had harnessed my fear. Just like I had to do before writing this very post. Just like I am learning to do when I feel that familiar pressing on my chest. When I'm overwhelmed by all the projects we have to get done in the new house before the new baby comes. I take a breath and calm the chatter by writing or making music or art. And hopefully something beautiful comes out of what was so overwhelming and frightening only moments before.  

What about you? Anyone else out there dealing with anxiety? What have you found helpful? 

P.S. All the artwork featured in this piece have to do with anxiety in one form or another. You can check out the artists by following the links below. 


ARTWORK SOURCES:
Source: weheartit.com via Juniper on Pinterest
Source: society6.com via Juniper on Pinterest
Source: tdylanart.tumblr.com via Juniper on Pinterest