A Few of My Favorites - 08.01.14

080114 1. It Was Always You: I will admit upfront that no album will ever be able to top Songs About Jane, but I have been a consistent fan of Maroon 5 ever since. Their upcoming album, V, is being released on September 2. The newest single, It Was Always You, seems to be a slight departure from their normal sound but I am excited to hear what the rest of the album sounds like. This song has been on repeat in my car for the last week.

2. Mercer 5-Panel Cap: I own quite a few MBS caps, but this has been my go-to in recent weeks. The more and more I wear 5-panels, I have absolutely become a fan. If you don't own one, go over to Sean's website and order one, they're great!

3. Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon: When I first tasted this bourbon I could not stand it. It was way too harsh. However, a few days ago I tried it with ice cubes instead of whiskey stones and it completely changed the experience for me. The ice slightly watered down the bourbon and made it smooth and full of flavor. Definitely glad that I gave it a second chance.

4. Nutella Crepes: This weekend a few childhood friends and I are going to a crepe place in Evanston to catch up. It reminded me of the time I spent in Paris and the many Nutella crepes that I ate while walking the City of Lights. Can I go back?

5. Chicago Lakefront Trail: I am embarrassed to admit that this past week was the first time I ran outside since moving into Chicago. What happened? I used to run outside 6 days a week! Living in Lincoln Park, I am lucky enough to be close to the Chicago Lakefront Trail and enjoy amazing views while I get my workout in. If you are a runner and live in Chicago - I pray you take advantage of this amazing trail!

Strawberry Lemonade

How am I just now realizing that I never wished you all a Happy 4th of July? Fail on my part... Anyhow, I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend with your family and friends. Mine was spent in my parent's backyard with a little bit of bags, an iced cold beer in hand, and burgers and beer brats cooking on the stove. A little music playing, my nieces running around the yard, not worrying about avoiding the throngs of people in the city - it was the perfect way to spend Independence Day! lemons

Sunday afternoon my mom and I decided to pull out the Vitamix and try making homemade strawberry lemonade. Please bear with my while I shamelessly plug Vitamix. After living in NYC for a year, I had developed an unhealthy love for juices and smoothies. Green juices. Berry smoothies. Coconut water. Almond milk. Anything and everything. I knew that I wanted to put my money into something worthwhile and decided to purchase a Vitamix. Unfortunately I am not longer in possession of this amazing blender - let's call it payment to my parents for allowing their adult son to live at home. This thing can do anything - smoothies, make flours, soups! I can do no wrong.

I just discovered Vitamix's newest blender, the S30. How can I get my hands on this guy to try out in my kitchen?


When making the recipe I juiced 1 cup of lemon juice and it only came from about four lemons. I did a little adjusting and decided to use about a 1 1/2 cups of lemon juice. Depending on what your taste is, feel free to use as much or as little as you please. I grew up eating lemons. My sister and I would give our little brother lemons to eat as a baby and watch him make faces. It got to the point that none of us made faces when we ate lemons.

We didn't make this batch with vodka, but it'd be a great drink to make for a BBQ or summer party!

strawberry lemonade


 What about you? Do you have any go-to drink recipes for the summer (alcoholic or nonalcoholic)?

Strawberry Lemonade Recipe from My Baking Addiction


1 cup sugar 1 cup of water 1 pint fresh strawberries 1 cup fresh lemon juice (I ended up using 1.5 cups) 4-6 cups cold water (this will vary depending on your taste, I only used 4 cups) 1 cup vodka (optional)


  1. Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar with 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Place over medium heat and heat until the sugar in completely dissolved; swirl the pan occasionally. Let cool.
  2. Once the simple syrup has cooled, puree strawberries in a blender with ½ cup water.
  3. In a large pitcher, combine strawberry puree, simple syrup and lemon juice. If using the vodka, add it to the pitcher and stir to combine.
  4. Add 4-6 cups of cold water. The amount of water you use will depend on your taste, so add as little or as much as you want to achieve your perfect sweet/tart balance.
  5. Serve over ice. If desired, garnish with fresh strawberries and lemon slices.

A Few of My Favorites...October 2013!

well, well, well...looks like tommy completely forgot about this little portion of SMAK! whoops.

October 2013

1. Nike Shield Flash Jacket i fell across this billion dollar jacket when i was at the expo for the chicago marathon. there i was, innocently looking for a marathon jacket when out of the corner of my eye, i saw a glimmer. i looked across the space and there it was. the most beautiful jacket that i had ever laid my eyes upon. silver. black. volt. the holy trinity of nike colors. the craziest thing about this jacket? it is the most reflective piece of clothing out on the market. take a look at what it looks let when direct light hits it...Nike Shield Flash Jacket

2. Lagunitas IPA i've not always been a beer fan. i used to hate it, to be quite honest. then again, that was when i went to the university of illinois and all we drank was keystone. i had every right to hate beer. as i got older, i started liking beer more and more. first was guinness, which i learned to love while living abroad. one of my favorite breweries right now is lagunitas based out of petaluma, ca - there ipa is ridiculous.

3. MBS MFG CO this is a line of hats made by one of my friends that i worked with while i lived in new york city. sean's work is awesome. go check out his work! and buy a hat or two while you're at it. his winter collection is coming out soon!

4. Black Bear my friend introduced me to singer/songwriter andrew belle a few years back and i've been hooked ever since. his music is unbelievable. his most recent album is perhaps his best - taking inspiration from m83, radiohead, washed out and beach house.

5. The Walking Dead how did i just discover this tv show? precursor: i despise anything and everything that deals with horror. i don't do them. no scary movies. no scary books. nothing. no thank you. i'll watch how i met your mother. enter walking dead. how can i love a television show about zombies this much? i literally sit in front of a television watching zombies bite into living humans, blood gushing everywhere. why? because it is flipping amazing! i caught up on all 3 seasons within 2 weeks.

Blueberry Smash

Here she is, the final recipe from 2012's 4th of July.

I discovered St-Germain while I was living in New York City. While working on competitive research for a presentation that my company was giving to Cointreau, I searched out a number of competitors and fell upon St-Germain. The liqueur comes from France, where elderflowers are picked for a few short weeks every year. Due to the limited resources, only so many bottles of St-Germain are produced each year, making it exceedingly special and rare.

Quick little warning...this drink is potent. The only liquids in the recipe are pure alcohol. Any other liquids come from melted ice, juices from the fruit, etc. That being said, this drink has the potential to sneak up on you without much notice.

That friendly notice aside...this drink is delicious. The combination of flavors compliment each other so well. I initially thought that the alcohol would overpower all of the other flavors, but that was not that case at all. In fact, they worked perfectly together. The recipe calls for mint leaves, but in my absent-mindedness, I forgot to pick mint from out backyard and bring them to the lake house. I was worried that I would be able to tell that something was missing... Nope! I think the Blueberry Smash would be great with mint, but it is not an ingredient that is an absolute must. Feel free to try it both ways! That's the great thing about cooking - if it doesn't seem right, you can tweak the ingredients, add things, etc. Make it your own!

It is strange to think that today is July 19th. That means that it is almost August, that I will be turning 25-years old in 15 days, that schools will be starting up again in about a month's time, that my TV shows will be beginning again. I hate to say it, but summer is approaching the home stretch. So take advantage of all it has to offer - the summer heat, the humidity, the summer thunderstorms, the days at the beach or pool.

Make Summer 2012 the best it can be - end it with a bang!

Blueberry Smash

2 lemons, sliced into rounds 2 limes, sliced into rounds 1 cup fresh blueberries 1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh mint leaves plus sprigs for garnish 1 1/2 cups vodka 3/4 cup St-Germain (elderflower liqueur)

  • Using a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon, coarsely mash lemon and lime slices, blueberries, and mint leaves in a large pitcher. Stir in vodka, St-Germain, and 2 cups of ice cubes.
  • Divide drink among coupe or highball glasses; top with more ice cubes. Garnish each drink with a mint sprig.