Up North

Home Fries spent the last week in heavenly northern Michigan with 28 of my closest family members, staying at The Homestead Resort near Sleeping Bear Dunes. Since it was rainy most of the week, we spent quite a bit of time out and about, taking in the sights and shops.

In Glen Arbor, I loved Cherry Republic's scones (cherry, of course) and Cherry Soda. Their t-shirts are also super cute and a cut above the typical tourist fare. You can also finds all sorts of M-22 goodies (so named after the Michigan road that runs all through the Leelanau Peninsula).

If you happen to journey up north, also check out the town of Leland and it's historic "Fishtown." The original wharf area has been preserved and is now home to charming boutiques and yummy places to eat. On your way out of town, check out the 45 North winery (run by a fellow DePauw grad). They do a great wine tasting....yummy and not-too-serious.


Sell Out

So if you spend any time at all traveling the Internet Superhighway, you know that Microsoft is continuing its quest toward World Domination with its latest search engine, Bing.

I'll be the first to say I'm a Google girl, tried and true.


When it comes to travel, Bing Travel may just be my new best friend. Their travel search engine will tell you whether to buy or wait on those tickets to Vegas, thus saving your pennies for the slots.

(Dear Google: Never fear, I promise I'll only be cheating on your for travel. I'll still continue to bless you with my presence on all other searches---like finding out when Glee premiers or how to cook soba noodles. xoxo Home Fries)


Absense Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

My apologies, dear reader, for the lack of posting. Home Fries has been burning it at all ends and has felt too swamped to post. A travesty, I know.

But no more!

The folks at Farm Fresh Delivery have me snapping out of my blogger ennui. The service, available in the Midwestern hamlets of Indianapolis and Cincinnati, allows subscribers to bring the farmers market home through its delivery service of fresh fruits, vegetables and other dining delights. Home Fries particularly loves the vintage feel of having milk (yes, real honest-to-God milk straight from the farm) delivered on my front porch.

It nearly inspires me to tie one on (an apron that is) and call myself June Cleaver. Nearly.


Triple Word Score

Trying to release your inner marketing maven? See how your brand stacks up with wordle.net's wonderful word cloud tool. And, it'd doesn't look half bad, either.


On Holiday

Home Fries is a big fan of all things travel. Europe, Asia, down the road and back again--it's all good to me.

So I've been saving my pennies for my next Big Adventure. This time, I've got my eye on England or maybe Wales (or maybe both).

In order to get the Full Experience, Home Fries plans on staying in one of these charming, quaint and other cutsey-words cottages owned by the National Trust. I mean, hello, you can stay in a manor house that even Mr. Darcy would approve of. AND?! They are in the realm of affordable so even the average joe (or Home Fries) can afford to spend some time on holiday.

Now, to perfect my scone recipe....and figure out how to stomach clotted cream.


Pomp and Circumstance

Bakerella has put us all to shame with her creativity...again.

Check out her smart little graduation cap pops...perfect for all those graduation parties coming up. So easy that even I can make them, these little pops would be great for a party or gift.


Move Over, Captain Planet

Feeling ashamed about your lack of greeniness? No worries, Sustain Stores is coming to the rescue.

Whether you are finally ready to start composting, or would like to outfit the kiddos with something organic, you'll find all you need to become a anti-plastic bag, pro-all-things-earthy, birkenstock-wearing, modern-day hippie.

Feeling less inclined to live a life more suited to Ed Bagley, Jr? Don't worry, there are things for those us who still leave a carbon footprint. You don't even have to install solar panels to enjoy things like BPA free Water Bottles (cancer, bad) or organic beauty products (pretty, good).

Makes ya feel all good inside, doesn't it?


Won't You Be My Neighbor?

It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?...

Home Fries has just discovered Ork Posters---a company that makes nifty city neighborhood maps like this one of Chicago. While they haven't yet mapped out all the hamlets in my Hoosier 'hood, I'm considering buying on anyway....of a city I don't live in, but love, Washington DC.

I just love the graphic design on these. I've always been a sucker for clean, "wordy" design, so these are right up my alley.

And? They are oh-so-green-and-trendy, printing with soy-based inks and 100% recycled paper.

Go get one today---hot off the presses.


-(STOP)- the Presses

Need to send a memorable note or card? -(STOP)- Check out the Telegram Stop to send an old school message to friends or family commemorating birthdays, holidays or any other reason you've got to say hi. -(STOP)- Unless you were born during McKinley's presidency, odds are you haven't sent or received a telegram--a travesty that must be corrected. -(STOP)-

Best of all? -(STOP)- You can send one of these nifty little suckers for less than $5. -(STOP)- Now that's something to write home about. -(STOP)-


Going to the Dogs

As many of you may know, Home Fries is a bone fide Dog Lover. My little guy, Max, has taken up a major spot in my heart (not to mention my home--who knew dogs needed so much stuff?).

This Sunday, we walked with thousands of Max's favorite doggie friends at Mutt Strut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to benefit the Indianapolis Humane Society.

All these dogs and their owners made their way around the 2 1/2 mile oval, from the yard of bricks, through turns 1-4 and by the famous pagoda. It's a sight to be seen.

It's not too late to donate! Visit the IHS website for information on doing good for the animals.


Finding Your Inner Modern Artist

Sometimes, you just need a break.

Enter jacksonpollock.org, a delightfully simple and creative outlet for your gray matter. Click, drag your mouse and Poof! you've got a picture that any modern artist can be proud of. Whether you need a 15 second breather to recover from that moron on the conference call or a twenty-minute moment of zen, you are sure to perk up after creating your masterpiece.

If you need some inspiration, check out Pollock's work (the real stuff) at MoMA.


We Now Interupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

...to talk about breasts. Breast cancer, to be more specific.

This Saturday, Indianapolis will be host to the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Thousands of moms, dads, sisters, brothers, grandkids, and babies will walk, run and stroll towards finding a cure for breast cancer.

Whether you're a Hoosier or from parts not Midwestern, check out Race for the Cure in your area and get going. You can either walk, donate or simply support a runner/walker. Together, we can make a huge difference for thousands of families.

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Indianapolis
Saturday, April 18th

Register Online Now!


Music to My Ears

You must have been living under a rock not to hear about the Internet radio sensation Pandora.

For those uninformed, it is the result of the Music Genome project that catalogs music. All kinds of music. Good music. Bad music. Twangy music. Rock music. Pandora takes said catalog and can create, with your input, your perfect radio station. Addicted to Abba? There's a station that will have you saying Mama Mia! Hungry for country? Get your fix on some Pasty Cline, Johny Cash or even Taylor Swift (gasp).

I'm pretty sure that Pandora has saved the sanity of many a worker trapped in a cubicle or at a desk for hours upon hours every day. Personally, when I hear Time After Time come up, I do an internal happy dance that is bound to take the workday blues away.

But for those of us without iPhones, Pandora has remained elusive for listening on the go. Our long national nightmare is over! Pandora is finally ready for Blackberry. After giving it a try for the last week, I must say, it's even better than I thought it would be. No streaming issues and is perfect for walks with Max the dog or traveling.

Strap on your spiky heels and get your groove on!


INSERT YOUR NAME, Come on Doooowwwwnnnn!

Well, going to the grocery store isn't quite as exciting as winning the Showcase Showdown on Price is Right.

But, it can be made slightly less painful (or even kinda fun), thanks to the shopping gurus over at The Grocery Game. For a few bucks a month, they take all of the work out of coupon shopping. With their List, they'll show you what to stock up on now, and what to wait on. They monitor retail trends and even let you know which newspaper to buy for certain deals.

All in all, it can save you some major cash at the grocery. If you choose to shop while wearing a bright yellow price tag name tag, far be it for me to judge. Come on down!


Color Me Happy

Blanket? Check.
Sandwiches? Check.
Amazingly easy photo editing software to make you seem like the best photographer in the world? Check.

Move over Annie Leibovitz. Amateur photogs everywhere can elevate their works of art to new heights using the online program, Picnik. You can take an ordinary picture like this:

And turn it into something Warhol-y like this:

or something space agey like this:

Or something sweet like this:

The possibilities are endless. And, Picnik can link to Facebook, Flickr and more to upload and save pictures for easy access.

Best thing? No ants to get into your picnic basket.


Spring Chickies

Home Fries will be the first admit, I'm not the tidiest baker. So I do really well on things that don't require precision or loads of patience. But, Bakerella won me over with these cute little spring chicken cake pops. What's a cake pop, you ask? It's a cake that's been baked, cooled, rolled up into a little ball with icing and then covered up with candy melts.

So last night, there I was making little chickies until about 10 p.m. I have to say, mine don't look nearly as neat and tidy as Bakerella's, but they do, in fact, resemble chickens. (well, mostly--there is one that looks like a blob. I prefer to think he is simply big boned.).

I'm hosting an Easter egg decorating party tonight (photos to come), so these chickies will make the perfect little favor for guests to take home....or eat right then.

Be sure to check out the Bakerella archives; she's got all sorts of good ideas, no matter the season.


It Ain't All Bad

It seems that plastic is getting a bad rap these days, what with the globe warming and all.

But Plasticland (yes, it's really called that) is doing a lot to turn that frown upside down. Take a look at their clever and aesthetically pleasing designs for the home (and more).

I particularly like the shoe door stop, black resin cameo vase, bird salt n pepper shakers and nesting doll candles.

Visit Plasticland for home goodies like these as well as clothing (I do believe there are some fibers involved; you won't look like Kathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes), purses and stuff for the office.

When you're done with said knick-knack, don't forget to Reduce, Reuse and Recyle. Global warming, after all, is an inconvenient truth.


Meals for Baby Mamas and Daddies

Like any good Midwesterner, I've been part of more pot-lucks, church suppers and pitch-ins than I can count. During times of change (i.e. baby's birth, surgery, etc) and as part of our Hoosier membership terms, we also make meals to drop off to families. This has generally required more time and effort in the arranging of meals than the actual cooking.

Finally, someone had the bright idea to make all of our lives simpler. Reader, MealBaby. MealBaby, Reader. You can create an account, send out an email and move on with your life.


Baby Shower Love

I love a good baby shower. Being an auntie, and not a mom, for me it means all of the fun of tiny clothes and no child to take home at the end of the night. This past weekend, Home Fries college roommate and bff Abbey was in town so we could shower her and her baby girl.

The shower was quite the hit, complete with a diaper cake....

and the diaper napkins....

and the So Sweet Candy Bar for guests to choose some sweets to take home...


Made for TV

I admit it. I'm a sucker for infomercials and have even ordered a product (for only $19.99!) a time or two.

For those of you that also cannot live without a jerky-maker or floor steamer, Carol Wright Gifts is the place for you.

Of course, there are the classics, like the Snuggie.
But there are also things that you could actually use, like this nifty cake pan (for SuperBowl 2010, perhaps?)


Label Me Happy

Recently inspired on a trip to IKEA, I picked up some new shelving and spice jars--and created some extra space in my kitchen cabinets. By taking out those bulky spice jars and canisters of flour, sugar, etc, I've got a whole set of cabinets to fill. My handy little label maker (I've never met a label maker I didn't like) helped me organize the spices, and everything is looking nice and tidy (if I do say so myself).

See below for the fruits of my labor:


Preppy Perfection

Home Fries is a sucker for all things preppy. Check out these stationery designs from fellow Hoosier Jane Boatman Geller. They are perfect for the everyday thank you, or you could have them printed up as an invitation, We've Moved card or anything else that strikes your fancy.
I think they'd be perfect for a preppy wedding Save the Date. Put them with some seersucker and houndstooth, and you'll be set for the Hamptons.


Shameless Promotion (or, a lazy post from a visually impaired Home Fries)

Home Fries has been Home Recovering this week after some eye surgery. Needless to say, this has made posting (or reading or eating or walking) slightly difficult.

So, enjoy a quick link to the Farm Chicks in the meantime. For a Midwesterner like me, they're as cozy and tasty as a sugar cream pie.

(and be sure to check out their new book).


It's a Party

It seems like there is always a reason to party in the spring. Valentine's Day, St. Patty's, Mardi Gras, Easter--the list goes on and on.

Home Fries is currently eyeing the goods for sale at Plum Party for an possible Easter Egg dying get-together.

Check out these cute plates:
And these eggs would be so cute stacked together in an old hurricane vase.


Colorful Cake

Kudos to Omnomicon for bring us her Rainbow Cake how-to. Home Fries plans on using it next week at her throw-back 80s party and calling it a Rainbow Brite cake.

It's easier than you would think--and sure to grab kudos of your very own.

As a shout-out to Home Fries friend Becca, do as your momma taught you and use a Betty Crocker white cake mix. It's the best.