Foodie Friends

How does that saying go? If you didn’t post it, you didn’t eat it?

There’s that too. I am making my way through Friends on Netflix and the episodes are just as good the 20th time around. This one is a definite fave:

Back in the day, thanks to enabling sisters, i was as poor of a chef as Rachel. Like, couldn’t even make scrambled eggs. It was that bad. It wasn’t until senior year of college that I actually started to try more advanced recipes, and my taste buds have been thanking me ever since. The hardest part of cooking is just making sure every element cooks evenly at finishes at the same amount of time. Once you’ve mastered that, there are no excuses.

Anyways, my phone’s photo album is feeling full from all of the delicious homemade food it has captured the past couple months. Click through for the recipes where applicable!

Tex Mex Casserole


So I believe the actual name of this was Crowd Pleasing Tex Mex Casserole (credit goes to the Oh She Glows cookbook), but in Minnesota we would call that right there a textbook “hot dish.” I served this when I had weekly girls dinner at my apartment about a month ago and it sure did please. Any recipe that calls for crushed up tortilla chips on top is fine by me! This wasn’t a difficult recipe but there was a lot of preparation and chopping involved so it took a little longer than promised.


Valentines Day Brunch <3


French toast made by him and smoothie made by her on valentines day morning, followed by hours of mindless Netflix and TV. I believe the smoothie had vanilla greek yogurt, kale, blueberries, banana, OJ, ice. And of course, it was made with love :)

Breakfast 4 Dinner


I never make pancakes for myself so I loooved this dinner at Meghan’s the other night. Complete with mimosas, obviously. And gluten-free! Obviously.

White Chicken Chili

How Sweet Eats chili _ thedailyharmony

Food moment courtesy of the super hilarious How Sweet Eats blog. This winter I have tried to make a soup or chili every Sunday so I don’t have to worry about lunches during the week. Did you know a cup of soup is insanely expensive these days? Around $4 for a small-ish cup. No thank you to that, yes please to the above and  to all the extra change I can now dedicate to a tropical vacation where there is no need for soup.



Muffins are so fun and cute, aren’t they? I made these in the beginning of January and they were gone within a week. I believe it was this recipe. Make sure to add your own chocolate chips and make them even more fun. Almond flour is expensive but I stock up at Trader Joe’s when I’m there.


My first (or maybe second?) time making enchiladas from scratch was a great success. This was time consuming, so I do understand why people buy enchilada sauce from the can. The homemade version is just so much better, though! We used this recipe here, and the only substitution was a red pepper instead of an onion. I’d say our version turned out just like the food blogger version!


So there you have it, people. A few notable meals from 2015. My phone feels so much better now! My next post may be fitness-focused to balance out all of the above cheese.

Making Me Happy This Week v9

How are we well into mid-January already? Shouldn’t I have won the lottery by now? Since I won’t count on that anytime soon (I should start buying lotto tickets first), I should just be happy to have survived another winter Monday. After that devastating Packers lost yesterday, I think the entire state could use a reminder that there are things to be happy about. In the meantime, here’s my current list:


The other weekend I had a big, big night: I stayed awake until 2 a.m. After leaving my work holiday party (shout-out to the Iron Horse Hotel and its room with the American flag leather couch) a nod to nearby Caroline’s and a “we should try that place some time” turned into: “uhhh… guys, why don’t we just go now?”ironhorsehotelcouch_thedailyharmony

Never would I ever have gone into this divey-looking corner joint on my own – I’d never even heard of it. Turns out, Caroline’s is a dark speakeasy-type place with low ceilings, live jazz and people who know it’s a well-kept secret. Loved the live jazz (you go, guy with the trombone), the people watching (is this a gay bar?) and my Old Fashioned (always). Final verdict: worth the $5 cover.Carolines_trio_thedailyharmony


My best girlfriends from high school and I don’t text often, unfortunately, but when I get a message out of the blue I know it must be important. This was most definitely the case on Friday when I got a message from Sophie, no explanation needed.


Don’t you understand!? This is Sophie (left) outside her office in San Francisco with MY BLOG CRUSH – Julia Engel a.k.a. Gal Meets Glam (right). Seriously, I want her life and her wardrobe. I told Sophie about GMG more than a year ago when she moved to SF, and told her to ALWAYS BE ON THE LOOKOUT. Well, it finally happened. Besides not being at work on a Friday at 3 p.m., this is probably the best thing that could happen at work on a Friday at 3 p.m. right after losing your parking pass. Oh and then Julia waved at us and just loved us like I knew she would. NBD. @GalMeetsGlamTweet_thedailyharmony



You know it’s going to be a good Saturday when your only plans are to make enchiladas and watch Bridesmaids. Did you know that it’s nearly impossible to find an enchilada recipe without onions? I do. But, simple fix, replace the onion with a bell pepper and it’s all alright. This one is a good one!  The homemade sauce is enchiladasbeforeafter_thedailyharmonyEnchiladas_thedailyharmony



I don’t know what’s happened to me but I really, really hate shopping for clothes lately. Aunt D. gifted me Stitch Fix bucks for Christmas and I got my box last week. I really liked 3/5 items (all of the pieces that didn’t make me look preggers) but I ended up only keeping the long-sleeve blouse in the lower right. My next fix comes next week so FINGERS CROSSED that I can put off going the mall for a bit longer. Life really is all about having little things to look forward to, and being selectively lazy.


To all of the paralyzed Packer fans out there, there’s always next year, and I hope by next Monday you can find even a few things making you happy.

Paris Tribute

Each day since returning from Paris a week and a half ago, I’ve thought to myself – “I should really write that recap blog post before I forget all the wonderful, delicious details of the trip.”  Yesterday morning I awoke to the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo, and I can’t help feeling more affected than those around me as I see on the news the monuments and streets we walked by so recently. Here’s my own tribute to the city of lights, freedom of speech and the 12 innocent lives taken. 

Paris by numbers

Twelve - The number of croissants shared between family members over eight days. Okay, maybe it was more. If not 12 croissants, we definitely consumed 12 sticks of butter each and every bite was worth it. My favorite of all was the almond croissant pictured here on the left. The chocolate one wasn’t terrible either. Yep, we are tourists who stop on the side of a busy street to take pictures of baked goods. Sometimes we were polite enough to find a side street.


Eleven - The number of times Big T referred to Rick Steves’ 2012 Paris travel book on any given day (except he would actually call him Steve Ricks). We are certain a man crush formed, and was solidified, on this trip. To his credit, Mr. Steve Rick’s travel tips never let us down!


Ten - Minutes to walk from our apartment in Le Marais to the Notre Dame. We are not Catholic, but figured why not try to get a seat at one of the Christmas Eve services. We did, and were handed the wrong program! Fortunately the Notre Dame has flat screen televisions throughout.


Nine - Attempts at a family photo with Lani’s new selfie stick before capturing the perfect shot. I love this picture 1) because it looks like all we’re having for Christmas dinner is wine and a big plate of meat, and 2) because it perfectly captures evenings in our amazing rented apartment. After exhausting days of walking and exploring we always enjoyed a low-key meal together at “home” before crashing.


Eight - Vendor stops at the market to build the perfect meal.

919 929 930 931elinmom_thedailyharmonyfish_thedailyharmony

Seven - Amazing lunches eaten around the city – really, no complaints! Since we had use of a kitchen, we decided to eat lunches while out and about and dinner in rather than eating two huge meals each day. To me, these photos show there isn’t really such a thing as “French” cuisine. The choices are so diverse, and we had everything from Middle Eastern and African to Asian. Also, bread… always bread.

896 934 990 1016 1038 1091 1105

Six - Hours spent touring Versailles (and we didn’t even see it all). We had to choose between a day at Versailles and a day at the Louvre, and I’m glad we made the trip outside the city. Didn’t expect to see farm animals there, but what Marie Antoinette wants, King Louie provides. Let the pictures – and crowds – do the talking. It’s a popular place, for good reason, and I can’t imagine how packed it is in the spring and summer.


Five – Stockings hung by the chimney with care (well, four stockings and one black sock). This was the first Christmas we have spent away from home since I don’t even know when. We did our best to recreate traditions.


Four - Varieties of hot wine consumed while wandering around the city. I know it’s is a popular drink over the holidays in Europe, but part of me wants to pretend Parisians have the luxury to enjoy red wine from street vendors at all times of the year.


Three - Thanks to my new Jawbone, <#nerdalert> I diligently kept track of our steps and figured we walked three times as many steps per day than I usually get in at home. The fewest we got in a day – the day we arrived – about 13,000. The most: around 20,000 on Versailles day (about 10 miles). Keep in mind the recommended amount per day is 10,000 and I have trouble getting to 5,000 on most winter weekdays. If there was a crepe stand down the street from my office, maybe I would be more motivated, but not when it is currently -30 windchill.


Two - Of course no trip to Paris is complete without TWO up-close visits to the Eiffel Tower – one drive-by and another at night. The lines for entry to the top are long, so standing at the bottom (with hot wine, of course) was fine with us. I’d always pictured it to be more fragile, but up close you see it is not going anywhere.


One - Family of five reunited after many, many months apart. It’s amazing how quickly we got used to each other again, but it’s also no surprise. As always, travel makes me grateful I have the means to see the world, take in history and appreciate other cultures. When I win the lottery, I’m booking a trip to everywhere. Besides Rick Steves, who’s coming with me?


Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

A Lesson in Gratitude

You know that feeling when you spot your suitcase at baggage claim? Is it relief, thanks, gratitude? A combination?

Big T volunteered to say grace before Thanksgiving dinner this year. The gist of it: let’s be thankful that the struggles we face are privileged, first world problems. There’s always someone who has it worse, and for that we should be grateful.

Fast forward to Saturday evening. The 48-hour food baby was finally subsiding, and I was feeling full from a weekend with family and close friends as I stepped off the plane in Milwaukee at 5:15. I was ready to be home and thankful for the barely 1-hour flight that brought me back instead of the nearly 6-hour drive. As I waited for my suitcase at baggage claim, scrolling through my phone, an elderly woman approached me asking if she could make a call. Her flip phone had just died and she needed to let her ride know she was ready to be picked up. Of course she could.

We chatted briefly afterwards while bags finally started rolling around the carousel (brand new carousel I should mention; thanks, General Mitchell). I spotted my silver roller come down the ramp from afar as we chatted (relief! thanks! gratitude!), and began to wrap up our polite conversation about the Packers versus Vikings, Badgers versus Gophers. After a couple minutes, my bag had yet to come around to meet my spot. I knew I saw it… I thought I saw it.

We said goodbye and I walked around the dumb, new carousel as it came to the dreaded halt. No bag in sight – fresh passengers began to approach. A silver roller that looked somewhat similar to mine, but not identical in the least, was left among the sparse other stragglers. The next flight began to unload. Great. 

While I explained the situation to baggage services, frustration growing as time ticked on, they agreed with my suspicion that the passenger whose silver roller was left (it doesn’t even look like mine!) was likely headed home – 35 miles away – with mine instead. Messages were left. No answer. Seriously annoyed at the carelessness of some idiot that did not recognize his or her luggage, (you don’t even deserve to fly!) I requested the bag be delivered to my door step as soon as possible because I was not going to pick it up later. Mind you, I had no plans for the rest of the evening or Sunday.

As I headed home, my Uber driver didn’t help the situation:

“No luggage, Miss?”


Needless to say, he caught on to my vibe real quick and didn’t attempt to make any more small talk for the 20-minute ride.

At home, like clockwork, the airline called to confirm the passenger had finally returned the voicemails, and yes – he had mistakenly picked up my bag.

“This is no excuse,” she said, “But it is an elderly couple so it might take them awhile to get back here. Hopefully it is before the last delivery driver leaves for the night.”

So let’s get this straight. I do a good deed in letting an old lady use my phone, meanwhile I take my eyes off the prize to chat about football and TWO old people takes my bag hostage with them to rural Wisconsin? WHY ME! Poor me! Life sucks!

When I finally got the call that the delivery driver was on his way at 9:15, I had finally calmed down. When I finally had my bag in hand, I awoke from the laughable dream that had cost me an extra 45 minutes at the airport, a couple phone calls and nothing more. Nothing. More.

Unzipping my suitcase to unpack my nice clothes (mostly unworn, since I have the luxury to over pack), designer purse, expensive makeup, etc., a note was laid on top, along with a $20 bill.

“I am sorry that my carelessness caused you worry and delay and inconvenience. Maybe you can enjoy a bottle of wine or some other treat on me.” 

Interesting. Who’s the jerk now? Had I made this mistake, would I have owned up to it in such a way? I thought back to Big T’s blessing. Right after Thanksgiving, how could I have overreacted to such a measly issue instead of shaking it off? Thank you, Mr. Park, for gifting me some gratitude that will stick with me, long after the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone.


When I Grow Up

Twas the night before Halloween – with snow in the forecast – and no costume yet for Saturday’s party. What I do have is a pretty great trip (with cringes) down memory lane of costumes past. As much as I winced looking back in my personal photo stream, it’s proof that Facebook is still good for something. Ah, memories.


“I’m a cat. Duh.” (2007)


I wonder if the more innocent Sharpie marker costume would have gone over well. (2011)


Playas Gon’ Play. <—What a great throwback song. I really should have been a 3LW singer that year. There are other photos from this weekend in Madison I would looo-ooove to set on fire. (2008)


We really knew what was up in high school. Comfort? Check. Warmth? Check. Complete body coverage? Check. Sadly the stuffed bear was lost later that night. RIP, stuffed bear. (2007?)


Halloween in Madrid, where they go all out with the fake blood, ghosts, vampires and dead people costumes. Us foreigners clearly threw these together 5 seconds before hittin’ el club. (2010)


Let’s see, this is sophomore year of college and another Halloween spent in Madison. I learned my lesson from the previous year about warmth and comfort, but didn’t get the memo about not wearing a lame costume. Wait.. did any of us? (2009)


Apparently two costumes were necessary for senior year of college. I must say this was my favorite costume from a creativity standpoint, least favorite because people took advantage of my leash and tied me to things when I wasn’t looking. (2011)


I’m a princess and these are my loyal minions. Nothing more to say about it. (2012)


To wrap up this walk down memory lane, an appearance from Sandy and Carmen San Diego. I wonder if we found what we were looking for? (2013)

No matter how much I cringe, it’s refreshing to look back on bad outfits, the freshman-15 and poor decisions knowing I’m (hopefully) a little wiser today. When these photos were taken, whether in 2007 or 2013, I had no idea what was to come the following year or how its unknown events would shape me. Today, each of these photos spur a domino effect of memories. While it’s hard to believe that was me in some of these photos, it’s easy to laugh after the fact. Through the excessive makeup, one too many jello shots, and the losing touch with people I care deeply about, every day – not just Halloween – is a chance to decide what we want to be and go for it with no regrets. Hopefully while wearing a dress that covers our behinds.

Making Me Happy This Week v8

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these posts. So long I had to look back in the archives to find out what version I’m on. Despite being a bit under the weather (along with nearly everyone in my office) there are many things to be happy about this week. And it’s only Tuesday.

Boot Shopping


The thought of winter coming is not making me too happy, but the reason that I am boot shopping (Paris over Christmas!) has put a positive spin on the upcoming season. While nothing will have such sentimental value as the Austrian-made boots that saved mine and Morgan’s feet in Vienna and Prague in 2010, they just aren’t cutting it anymore in the warmth department. I will keep them for fashion purposes until my toes poke through the top.


If I know one thing about winter + travel it’s that happy feet = happy camper. Now to decide between these, these or these.

Frozen Grapes


Because I’m easy to please and because they’re  so good. And, because I finally ate all of the seeded ones that I mistakenly bought a few weeks ago. Huge mistake.

Family Time 


My parents came to visit last weekend and we spent a great couple days drinking and eating, climbing to the top of a church, and eating and drinking some more. Some notable food moments (mostly orgaaaaah-nic!) for you Milwaukeeans:

Goat cheese curds and Empanadas / / at La Merenda

Almond chocolate croissant / / at La Reve 

Lumpia and Pepper crusted tilapia / / at Tess

Korean BBQ Bowl / / at Simple Cafe




(for some reason this photo is just perfect)

Umm.. how have I just learned about this show? It has everything. Rich, attractive, spoiled, conniving, mysterious, likable, and unlikable characters. Thank you, Netflix (also thank you for killin’ it lately with the new HGTV adds) for adding a show my boyfriend and I can agree upon.

New Workout Motivation

I see a personal trainer once a month, and since Jen had a baby I have been set up with a new one. Billy kicked my ass last week and I am looking forward to adding some more bodyweight workouts into my routine, especially when I’m too lazy to get to the gym. Hey, a workout is a workout even if its done in front of the TV.


Here’s to another happy week.

I’m So Basic

I have a little secret. By and large, every blog post I write starts with me looking through my iPhone’s camera roll in hopes of being inspired to write about my super exciting life. Tonight as I was scrolling through the past couple weeks of selfies, Lake Michigan, and food that “looks gross tasted good,” I came across this:


Where did this terrifying photo of a cat come from in a room that I don’t recognize? I hate cats so much I would never take a photo of one, unless it is a Snapchat and I can draw on devil ears. It was taken sometime between last Monday and Tuesday judging by the photos before and after it.

I have another secret. Immediately after seeing this I Googled “cat photo on camera roll” and other variations to see if it’s a thing. Sorta like how the Nicolas Cage app is a thing (which, I learned the hard way it is). Random photos of cats on iPhones is not a thing, as far as I can tell.

Anyways, I digress. I don’t know if I should be concerned about this mystery photo or evil cats continuing to haunt my smartphone, but if anything it is proof that my blog inspiration trick works (see above paragraphs and video). Let’s get to what I was going to write about on this gloomy, rainy Monday: FALL FOOD.

For the past month or so, two of my best gal pals (that did not ditch me for Taiwan) and I have rotated hosting weekly dinners at our apartments. It’s not only a legit reason to drink wine, but a great way to try out a new recipe and get out of a grocery shopping rut. Last week I hosted and jumped at the opportunity to make a most Basic White Girl fall-themed meal. Another secret: I hadn’t heard the phrase “basic white girl” until two weeks ago, and now it’s haunting my dreams.

Here’s how my dinner party went down.

Main course: Spaghetti squash {via fellow Midwest blogger Iowa girl Eats} with homemade turkey meatballs I made the night before {sorta based on this recipe but not really} and marinara sauce I bought from the store. Make sure you have a machete to cut the squash in half, and that you’re wearing yoga pants in preparation for the food baby that will ensue.


Dessert: Pumpkin Chia seed pudding. What the what? Based on a few different recipes floating around the blogosphere. Since most of the recipes I found were for 1 – 2 people, I multiplied for four people (very approximately) and hoped for the best. It’s hard to mess up! Mix up the following and let it sit in the fridge for a long time, or overnight:

  • One can pumpkin puree
  • ~2 cups of milk – I used almond/coconut
  • A few tablespoons maple syrup
  • A few shakes of pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon or nutmeg
  • ~1/3 cup chia seeds


I was feeling extra basic so I toasted up some spaghetti squash seeds and sauteed an apple in coconut oil, maple syrup and more cinnamon to throw on top. Verdict? A+ and it even fits the 30-day sugar detox criterion. I have come a long way since childhood when I didn’t know how to make scrambled eggs.

Add a pumpkin spice candle, matching dishes (thanks, mom) and a reasonably-priced bottle of red and you’ve got yourself a pretty nice weekday night. I bought this one recently thanks to this handy-dandy blog post. Bookmark it.


My last secret for tonight: it’s better than a pumpkin spice latte.