the beauty thrifter is in + a giveaway alert!

brushing out This week over on Beauty Bets, I had the privilege of working with Sally Beauty Supply to do a quick how-to featuring Ion products and tools. In it I share a new super-fast way to get “I just had my hair in braids all day waves” as well as some awesomely affordable Ion product picks. If that’s not enticement enough, there’s also a pretty rad BEACH VACATION giveaway going on in conjunction to the post. If I wasn’t disqualified from entering, believe me I’d be ALL OVER IT. My girl Bets has all the details…please do go check it out, enter and WIN.

xoxo,

Meghan

Photo by: Sara Montour.

an ode to grandma’s dressing room

mary & haroldToday over on the Etsy blog, I shared a few pretty ideas for building a vintage-y vanity area, inspired by my beautiful Grandma Mary (pictured above) and the nook where she used to get ready. With inspiration coming equally from Naples, Florida, circa 1977, and femininity’s golden age of the 1940s and 1950s, the curated collections of dress, decor and details were SO fun to put together. If you have a minute, please do check it out!

xoxo,

Meghan

guest post: summery quinoa salad recipe

Hey dearies, happy Monday!

To kick off the week, I’m turning the blog over to the lovely Jen Cortez, co-owner of The Hive Salon and blogger behind Midwest Vaygun. I asked Jen to share one of her favorite healthy dishes with us this week and the menu she came up with sounds downright divine, especially considering my recent barbecue bender in Kansas City. I’ve really been scaling back on the amount of meat I eat since my trip, and this protein-packed quinoa salad would be the perfect for toting to work for lunch. I hope you enjoy!!

xo, Meghan

Summer is closing in on us fast, and with the soaring temps comes one of my most favorite things—outdoor eating! The only problem is that picnics and barbecues are often filled with repetitious staples. I believe you can only have so much potato salad, right? I love Asian cuisine, but far too often my love of far-eastern goodness takes a back seat in the summer (except for those nights where take-out is the only retreat from a hot stove, or hotter backyard) for more seasonal fare. I decided to put an end to the monotony of usual summer stamples by “summer-izing” some of my favorite Asian flavors. These are perfect for bringing to any outdoor get together!

Cold Quinoa “Fried Rice” Salad with Tofu

Quinoa doesn’t harden when cold like most rice varieties, making it great for chilled salads. although mangoes and avocados aren’t traditional in fried rice, their textures and flavors compliment the spicy and salty flavors of the quinoa and add extra heft to the dish.

What You Need

1 1/2 c. quinoa, rinsed well
2 1/2 c. water
1 20-ounce block Wildwood Tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large mango
2 avocados
1 bundle scallions
2-3 t. Sriracha hot sauce
3 T. gluten-free soy sauce
1 1/2 t. palm sugar, or regular sugar
2 t. fresh ginger, grated
1 T. coconut oil
1/2 c. loosely packed Thai basil and cillantro
bean sprouts, peanuts, and limes for garnish

Begin by bringing the water to boil in a tall pot. Add a few pinches of salt and the quinoa. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until all of the water has been absorbed, this should take roughly 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork. Spread the quinoa out on a cookie sheet and pop into the fridge to chill,  or the freezer if needed ASAP.

Next, take the tofu and place in on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and pop it into your toaster oven *if you don’t have a toaster oven you can use the regular oven but you’ll really heat your house up. otherwise, you can pan fry the tofu if you don’t mind the extra oil. Crank your toaster oven onto it’s highest setting and bake the bejeezus out of it, or until golden brown and lightly crispy. Place the tofu with the quinoa to cool it down.

Halve and pit the avocados and the mango and cube before tossing into a large, portable bowl that has a lid. Thinly slice the basil, cilantro, and scallions and add them to the bowl as well.

Now you can go ahead and whisk together the soy, ginger, sriracha, sugar and coconut oil (melt first if needed).

Toss the chilled quinoa and tofu with the rest of your prepped ingredients, and fold in the dressing. Taste and adjust to your preference. Sprinkle with with crushed peanuts, bean sprouts, and lime wedges. Serve with spicy grilled pak choy.

Spicy Korean Grilled Pak Choy

Feel free to swap out the pak choy for larger bok choy  or another bitter green, like broccolini.

What You Need

1 lb. pak choy/baby bok choy
4 T. gluten free soy sauce
2 t. tamarind paste
1 T. sesame oil
3 T. rice wine vinegar
2+ T. garlic chili sauce

Rinse the pak choy and cut in half length wise. Whisk together remaining marinade components, taste for heat, and pour over the pak choy. Marinate up to a full day. Grill vegetables until tender, basting occasionally with leftover marinade. It was raining when I last made this so I used my cast iron grill pan, but I think it tastes best when it’s made outdoors.

Get more of delicious vegan recipes like this over on the Midwest Vaygun!

guest post: thrifting with kids–tips & tricks from moms

This past Memorial Day, Mary and I went on a thrifting binge, and at it seemed like at every (crowded) store we stopped at, we encountered children of all ages in various stages of meltdown-dom: Some were crying, others were screaming, a few were in full-out tantrum mode.

After my headache subsided, I started thinking…how on earth can you keep your sanity as a thrifting-loving mama?

So, I called on some experts: Mom pals of mine who love to thrift, rummage and flea. As a non-mom, I loved hearing what works for them, and have definitely filed away some ideas for (way far away) future use. For the lovely mamas out there reading, I hope you find their tips helpful!

Thrifty Mama #1: Andrea

In addition to being a treasured friend, my girl Andrea is as close to a domestic Wonder Woman as you can get. Besides being an amazing cook, her beautiful home is full of sweet vintage finds; spoils from her many jaunts to the flea market with her man, Jason, and their five-year-old Hank. Here are some of her tips…

Start ‘em young: We bring (and when he was younger, brought) Hank everywhere; thrifting, antiquing and in the summer, to flea markets almost every weekend. “Don’t touch!” was something he learned at a very, very young age!

Bribery works: Find something your kids enjoy getting and use that as a reward. We can get Hank to do almost anything for a toy car, and flea markets and thrift stores are loaded with them. If he behaves, he knows he can pick out a few and that works like a charm for us. Thrift stores also have a lot of kid’s books, so he looks through those while he’s in the cart, giving us time to look around. Now that he’s older, and starting collections of his own, it’s really fun watch his vintage collection grow, and seeing what oddities he picks out.

Keep ‘em comfy: We like to go to flea markets pretty early in the morning on the weekends and sometimes Hank doesn’t want to go just because he’s tired. We found if we bring along his wagon, so he doesn’t have to walk, he’s much more apt to want to come along…willingly!

Know your child: When they’re young it’s easier to lug them around everywhere in their carrier, but as they get older, you have to work around their nap schedule and moodiness. You can sometimes coax them into going, but there are days they just want to be at home. The more fun you make it and the more often you go, the more they’ll enjoy it.

Mom #2: Kara, Golden Age Design

My mom took us garage sale-ing every Thursday growing up—I remember peering out the hot backseat of the car, looking for…who knows what! From a young age, she instilled in me the wisdom that things don’t have to be new to be special. Now I have my own munchkin and he not only has one parent who has a passion for vintage, but two! (Poor guy.) The most important thing I’ve learned is if my little man isn’t happy, no one is happy, so I’ve come up with some ways to make the thrifting experience enjoyable for all.

Snacks! A hungry kid usually isn’t a gas to be around, so I make sure I have plenty of yummy goodies stashed in my purse. Some favorites? GoGo Squeeze Applesauce (best invention EVER), Annie’s Bunny Fruit Snacks, Cliff Fruit Twists, organic baby carrots and a good ole standby, raisins. If we need to each lunch on the road, Subway is a good place to stop. Whole wheat bread, veggies, milk and apples make a thrifting mom rest a little easier.

Entertainment! The iPhone has been life-changing. There are so many great educational apps sure to impress your little one. I have a 2.5 yo and here are his favorite games: Tozzle, LunchBox, BabyFirst. Another way I keep him content is bee-lining for the toy section at the thrift store. I let him pick out a toy he gets to play with while we’re there and he’s usually thrilled. (I always keep Wet Wipes in my purse to give his selection a little bath before he gets his paws on it.) Also, before I go out for the day, I make sure the car is plum full of toys and books. We listen to the Current and do lots of car dancing. Keeping the car ride light and fun, especially if you’re garage sale-ing and making lots of in and out stops, is key.

Essential Gear! (1) Sunglasses. For some reason L thinks it’s really cool to wear his while mom and dad are wearing theirs. (2) Layers. The day can easily turn from 65° to 85° without much warning. Keeping kids cool + comfortable is always a plus. (3) Our BOB jogging stroller has been a life saver when we’ve hit the flea markets. It’s easy to maneuver, L is comfy in it and you can hang bags on it. Win, win, win.

Mom #3: Mary Beth, Top Drawer Vintage

One of my favorite activities, pre and post-parenthood, has been thrifting! I could go on and on with reasons why I love thrifting, but I’d rather give you some tips I’ve learned about shopping with my 15-month-old son, David.

My #1 Rule: Don’t set your kids up to fail! Work around your child’s schedule and take them out when they have a full tummy and are well rested. If nap time is at 1:30, thrifting anytime after 12:30 seems like a rotten way to spend a wind down.

Include your kids in your thrifting experience: Point out all the different items, colors, price tags! Let them understand why it makes you happy and why it is exciting. Help your kids learn from their time out of the house and interact with them so they can not only just be your shopping buddy, but a fun experience you can have together.

Timing is everything: I prefer shopping in the morning because that’s when I have the largest chunk of time, but that can vary day-to-day. (Going in the morning also allows me to take advantage of the slow times at the thrifts.) By the time David gets up from his afternoon nap around 4 p.m., we have a smaller window before it is dinner time. After David’s afternoon nap is a perfect time for a walk—possibly to a garage sale? (When we garage sale I often go on Thursday mornings to avoid the rush of the weekend.)

Are you a thrifty mama? If so, what are some of your secrets to success?

xo,
Meghan

guest post: spring vegetable soup

Hey dearies, happy Monday!

I’m so lucky to have a handful of fabulous guest bloggers popping in throughout the week while I’m getting ready for Mighty Swell. To kick things off, here’s Libby, from one of my favorite daily reads, pinkshirtsandcarwrecks. Her veggie soup recipe is just the thing to get us all back to healthy, seasonal eating after a weekend full of Cadbury eggs and jelly beans. Don’t tell me I’m the only one with a sugar hangover! 

xo, Meghan

Hello everybody! I’m Libby from pinkshirtsandcarwrecks and am honored to help Meghan out while she gears up for Mighty Swell! I thought since spring is teasing us I’d help coax it along by making a fresh spring vegetable soup. Creamy Celery Soup is delicious and delicious, not to mention healthy! My version is adapted from this recipe from Martha Stewart. Here’s how to make it.
1. Wash and chop these vegetables: 1 bag/bunch of celery, a few small red potatoes (peeled), one large red onion, three cloves of garlic and one bunch of white asparagus (chop off bottoms – these are too stringy, even when blended in the soup!).
2. Melt a knob of butter in a large pot/4-quart saucepan over medium heat and add vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and cook until soft. These veggies smell so wonderful cooking! I added asparagus in because it’s in season right now, but you don’t have to if you don’t want. You can add more potato, too, if you like.
3. Add six cups chicken or vegetable stock (or water, but stock makes it more flavorful) to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat back down to medium and simmer (uncovered) until veggies are very tender—fork test them in 20 minutes.
4. Now the fun part! Puree the soup until smooth using your immersion blender (I love this handy kitchen tool! It makes this into a one pot meal. You can pick a cheap immersion blender up at Target—or even Walgreens!—for under $20). Add juice from half a lemon, re-season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. You can also use a regular blender, but you’ll have to work in batches and do more dishes. Read Martha’s recipe for tips on this step if you’re using a stand alone blender.
6. If you still have a few celery leaves they look pretty for garnish. I highly recommend serving this soup with some toasted slices of fresh baked baguette (I broiled them on a cookie sheet in the oven). I like them plain with butter, but you could rub them with a little garlic and olive oil before toasting—they make the best accompaniment to this spring vegetable soup. The whole thing takes less than an hour and it’s a such a treat for lunch or a light dinner or first course. As Julia Child would say, bon appétit!
In addition to her awesome blog, Libby also runs not one, but two Etsy shops, one for her vintage finds and another featuring her handmade creations. Check ‘em out!

sunday soundtrack: ladies to watch in 2011 c/o girl germs radio

source

Hello, girl (and boy) germs!

I’m back with a new mix for you; this one is a combination of up-and-coming female artists and female-fronted bands (as well as some pretty well-known artists) that will no doubt do amazing things in 2011.

If you’re a hip-hop fan and you don’t know about Psalm One, stop what you’re doing and go to her Bandcamp page. She’s a multifaceted (chemist by day, rapper by night) and prolific lady who self-released three free EPs in 2010. She also holds her own as the sole female artist on the local Rhymesayers label, and will put out a new album this year. We featured her recently as a “Lady You Should Know About” on the Girl Germs blog.

We’re also looking forward to long-awaited releases from Minnesota native Anni Rossi, Eternal Summers, La Sera (a Vivian Girls side project) and Midnight Masses in 2011, and can’t wait for artists with new material to tour.

You’ve probably noticed that ‘90s fashion is back, and a similar phenomenon is happening in music. Laetitia Sadier, the frontwoman of Stereolab has a new solo album, and her band just released one, too. Finally, we almost peed ourselves a couple months ago when we heard Wild Flag existed. Members of Sleater-Kinney and Mary Timony of Helium? Yes, please. No word on an album yet, but in the meantime enjoy this live version of them covering a Standells favorite.

Happy 2011, and don’t forget to stop by the Red Stag Supperclub tomorrow night for TV Party with Girl Germs: Golden Girls. We’ll be showing classic episodes, playing some music for y’all and enjoying some sweet happy hour specials. Hope to see you there!

P.S. Like this soundtrack? Check out last month’s mix by Girl Germs here.

 

guest post: making whoopie (pies) with lisa

Whoa, Friday! It’s nice to see you!

If you’re at all like me, by the time the end of the week rolls around, the prospect of spending some leisurely hours in the kitchen sounds divine. Trying a new recipe or two, slow roasting some meat, simmering a big batch of chili—the weekend’s a great time to just mess around, no rushing necessary. If I wasn’t so busy with this, I’d love to spend a chill afternoon, baking up a batch of these. I hope you all have wonderful Fridays!

xo,

Meghan

Making Whoopie (Pies), With Making Electricity’s Lisa

Hello wonderful readers! This is Lisa from Making Electricity and I am so happy to be blogging for Meghan while she is working her tush off to get ready for Mighty Swell—I’ll be bright and early that Saturday morning and I hope to meet some of you local ladies there!

I know that fall has come and gone, but I am still in the thick of my love affair with pumpkin-centric foods. With holiday party season upon us, I thought I would share a recipe for some delicious treats that are super easy to make—perfect for your own party or to bring as a hostess gift—as an extra perk, your home will be warm, cozy and smell like pumpkin cake when you are done make these.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Source: Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

♥ For the Whoopie Pies ♥

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

♥ For the Maple-Cream Cheese Filling ♥
3 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

♥ How to Make ♥

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the granulated sugar, the dark brown sugar, and the oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.

4. Use a small cookie scoop or a large spoon to drop a rounded, heaping tablespoon of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.

5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, making sure that the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. The cookies should be firm when touched. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on a cooling rack.

6. To make the filling, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth with no visible lumps, about 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, then add the maple syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth.

7. To assemble the pies: Turn half of the cooled cookies upside down. Pipe or spoon the filling (about a tablespoon) onto that half. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spread to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the whoopie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm before serving.

And, since this is High Plains Thrifter, after all, I thought I’d also share this gorgeous vintage Pyrex casserole dish (with carrier) that I scored at my favorite Salvation Army for 99 cents!

Yummy desserts and beautiful kitchenware—life doesn’t get much better in my opinion. Have a fabulous holiday season, readers!

Best best,

Lisa