Third Ward Caffe...

 Today, I stopped by the Third Ward Caffe on St. Paul across from the Milwaukee Public Market. I've always wanted to have lunch here {since it's always in my line of sight when I'm over at the public market}, so I was pretty excited to see what it was all about...

Walking in, I was a bit confused... it was part bakery, part market, part restaurant, which is fairly normal in Milwaukee. However, when you first walk in, it looks like you're in a bakery, so I honestly thought that maybe that's all it was. Look to the left and it's a small market {when i say small, i mean a closet-sized room filled with oils and vinegars and the sort...}, look to the right {and down a small hallway} and it's a very elegant dining room, which in no way matched the decor of the remainder of the caffe. The dining room was adorable, very classy, but also very empty... so we decided to dine outdoors.

Immediately following our seating, we were presented with kalamata olives, gourmet virgin olive oil and fresh, warm crusty rolls. I don't know what was so special about this olive oil but even on it's own, it was delicious! It's safe to say my roll was gone in about two and a half seconds...

I started my meal off with a bowl of fresh mushroom soup sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese. It was very good and very thick... it definitely tasted homemade, like each individual mushroom was chopped specifically for my bowl of soup.

As delicious as the soup was, I only made it through about a third of my bowl. It was very rich and definitely should have been served as a smaller portion {especially since I ordered it as an addition to my meal}.

For my main course, I played it safe and ordered a caprese salad, since i have an absolute love affair with basil. It was sprinkled with shredded fresh basil, olive oil and italian seasoning. The mozzarella was extremely fresh and the tomatoes were organically grown at a door county farm. It was a gorgeous display, but lacked a little something in flavor... maybe a bit of balsamic perhaps?

The caesar salad with salmon was delicious. The salmon was crusted with what tasted like tarragon, rosemary and thyme and grilled to perfection. There was so much flavor in the salmon that it paired perfectly with the light and not too rich flavor of the caesar dressing. It's always a hit or miss with caesar dressing for me because too much of any caesar dressing ingredient, and you've completely ruined the salad. This dressing was very light on the garlic which made way for a more intense anchovy flavor, but not too intense that it overwhelmed the entire dish.

Overall, my dining experience at the Third Ward Caffe was pleasant. It was a gorgeous day in Milwaukee so I was happy to be dining outside {people watching is my favorite}. The food was gorgeous, the service was friendly, but the restaurant layout really confused me! 

Now I just need to find out what made that olive oil so amazing...

amazing flavors from the calabasas candy co...

I'm always in search of non-traditional flavors and flavor combinations when it comes to cupcakes, candy and well, really any type of food. So many people just play it safe when it comes to what they eat that it takes all the fun out of the experience... and that's what restaurants, bars and bakeries are all about, right? If you wanted to have a plain jane burger, you could just make one on your own grill in the comfort of your own home, right? But you don't, you wan't that phenomenally juicy gourmet burger with all your favorite toppings and those amazing seasoned fries that are cooked just right, just how you like them. It's because that burger, at that particular place, was an experience for you; it was something you had never had before, and that's why you love it.

So open up your mind and try new things! Stay away from safety and take a flavor risk every once in a while... those little risks are what makes every day great, fresh and exciting!

here are some absolutely mouthwatering flavor/texture combinations from the calabasas candy co. {seriously, mouthwatering...}

{strawberry caramels via calabasas candy co.}

{apple cider caramels via calabasas candy co.}

{bananas foster caramels via calabasas candy co.}

{blueberry marshmallows via calabasas candy co.}

{pumpkin spice marshmallows via calabasas candy co.}

spectacular tree homes...

Like most kids, I spent pretty much my entire childhood outdoors. Most of the pictures I have from my youth are of me playing in a tree... and most of the scars I have from my youth are from me falling out of those trees... 

As a reflection of my affinity for the trees I spent so much time in during my younger years {I seem to have lost my climbing skills over the years, who knew...}, here is a collection of my future home prospects...

{via hang nga}
{via saunders farm}
{via the folly fancier}

{via the folly fancier}
{via the painted rabbit}
{via dornob}

lace satchel...

I absolutely need this bag from momo trees...
{via momo trees}

banana cupcakes with maple brown butter frosting...

When I stepped out for lunch today in a skirt, I almost froze! {gross over-exaggeration of course, since it is around 75 degrees in Milwaukee right now}It got me pretty excited for sweater and boot weather though... and of course apples, maple and the smell of cinnamon and pumpkin filling my apartment {I must admit, I am a candle hoarder... but if we associate memory with smell, why not have a scented candle for every occasion?!}

To get you as excited for fall as I am, here is a recipe for banana cupcakes with maple brown butter frosting from nomnomnstuff...
{via nomnomnstuff}

Banana Cupcakes with Maple Brown Butter Frosting

  • 1 cup mashed bananas 
  • 1 T lemon juice 
  • 1 1/2 cup flour 
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 3/4 stick butter 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1 jumbo egg 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk 

 For frosting

  • 1 stick butter 
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar 
  • 1/4 cup milk 
  • 3 T maple syrup 


In a small bowl, combine bananas and lemon juice. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately while mixing. Beat in bananas and mix until well blended. Bake at 275 for one hour or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. After removing from oven, place in freezer for a half hour.

For frosting 
In a saucepan, melt butter at medium temperature until golden brown. In a bowl, add butter to sugar, then add milk and syrup. Beat until smooth. Top with bananas and a sprinkle of cinnamon.


craft store finds...

I really lucked out on my craft store finds this past weekend. For under $30, I was able to craft my new inspiration board {view post here}, and for under $5, i found five of these tiny colored glass bottles that now reside in the window sill of my bedroom... 

What are your luckiest craft store finds?

grilled cheese croutons...

I found this photo on pinterest today and I am now determined to make these adorable grilled cheese croutons tonight {not for soup, just to enjoy solo!}

Here is a recipe for American Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Croutons from Cat Cora...

American Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil 
  • 1 large onion, chopped 
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped 
  • 1 small fresh jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained 
  • 1 quart store-bought low-sodium stock 
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream, plus 2 tablespoons, for garnish 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish 

Grilled cheese croutons
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 
  • 4 slices white bread or potato bread 
  • 4 ounces sharp white cheddar, cut into slices 

Preparation Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; add the onion, garlic, jalapeño, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the tomatoes are soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Whisk in the sour cream and the lime juice and turn off the heat. Blend the soup until smooth with an immersion blender or a regular blender (if using a regular blender, wait for the soup to cool a bit, then hold the blender lid on with a kitchen towel while you puree). Return the soup to the heat on low; don’t let the soup boil, or it will curdle. For the croutons Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Butter 2 of the bread slices on one side and place 1 slice in the pan, buttered side down. Add enough slices of cheese to cover the bread evenly, then top with the second slice of bread, buttered side up. Brown until golden, 2 to 3 minutes, then flip over to brown the other side. Remove the sandwich from the pan and let it cool. Repeat with the remaining 2 bread slices and the cheese. Cut the cheese sandwiches into quarters and cut each quarter into quarters again to make cubes 1- to 2-inches wide. Pile all the croutons onto a serving platter. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and garnish each bowl with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Set the platter of croutons where everyone can reach.


ready for fall...

In a perfect world, every day looks like this...

{via mattrulez}

pretty paper goods...

One of my goals this year was to mail more letters on my own handmade stationary. So far, I've yet to accomplish that. So in an effort to inspire myself to get moving on this goal before the year is over, here are some adorable paper goods that absolutely 'push the envelope' {in my head it was funny, once I typed it out, I started to question my own humor}...

{via adnagam}
{via sweet life paper}
{via in haus press}
{via deep sea press}
{via pink bathtub}
{via fiona designs}
{via hi friend design}

in my imaginary life...

in my imaginary life... this exists right outside my bedroom window. 

in real life, it exists in Ukraine. 
{via oleg gordienko}


non-destructive graffiti street art...

simply beautiful school folders...

I stumbled across these adorably simple school folders from when it rains and i am just in love with how simple they are! I'm not sure why i never thought to invest in a few pattern stamps and do this to my own school folders... if my folders in school would have been this fun, i obviously would have been top of my class! But instead, I got stuck with plain old five star folders and notebooks... and, well, let's just say I'm not a brain surgeon {I used to tell my mom that cute school supplies made you a better student... I knew I was onto something!}.

margherita pizza...

Last night, I had an amazing margherita pizza from the Horny Goat Hideaway in Milwaukee. It was crisp, with lots of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and tons of thinly cut basil... delicious. {you can view the Horny Goat's menu here...}

I've once attempted to re-create the pizzas they offer at the horny goat {they're all delicious and made with such thin, crispy crust} but never seem to get the crust portion of the pizza right...

here's a recipe from make a difference to one for margherita pizza
{via make a difference to one}

Margherita Pizza 

  • Pizza crust 
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • Fresh minced garlic 
  • Red, ripe tomatoes, sliced thin 
  • Mozzarella cheese, fresh or bagged 
  • Goat cheese 
  • Fresh basil, chiffonade 
  • Fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 


Brush crust lightly with olive oil and sprinkle garlic on top. Place mozzarella cheese on next, and top with sliced tomatoes. Place a several dollops of goat cheese over tomatoes. Bake at 375° until golden brown on edges, about 10-15 minutes. Top with fresh basil and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Eat every last bite.


atelier de campagne...

atelier de campagne... antique imports and unique object d'art...

{via atelier de campagne}
{via atelier de campagne}
{via atelier de campagne}
{via atelier de campagne}

pumpkin spice latte...

It's monday morning and I cannot tell a lie... the day has been nothing short of a struggle thus far. So in honor of my love for autumn and my need for caffeine at this struggling moment in time, here is an amazing recipe for a pumpkin spiced latte from the Rocky Mountain Lodge and Cabins...

{via rocky mountain lodge}

pumpkin spiced latte...

  • 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree (or 1 tsp. Torani Pumpkin Spice Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar (or 1 Tbsp packed brown sugar) 
  • 1 cup milk (or half and half for a richer latte) 
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional if you're using syrup) 
  • 1-2 shots brewed espresso (or 1/2 cup STRONG brewed coffee) 
  • Whipped Cream (optional) 
  • nutmeg 
  • cinnamon sticks (for garnish) 


1. Brew your espresso. 
2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, blend together the pumpkin, vanilla, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and milk with a stick blender, or whisk vigorously by hand. Warm over medium heat, beating constantly, until hot and frothy. Do not bring to a boil. 
3. Pour the espresso into a mug and pour the pumpkin spiced milk over it. 
4. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with nutmeg, if desired. Garnish with cinnamon sticks.


a perfect kind of weekend...

I absolutely love the Madison Farmer's Market on the square. Such a perfect kind of weekend...

to see more of my trip and previous trips to the madison farmer's market on the square, check out my flickr photostream...

my DIY Inspiration board...

 I've always wanted an inspiration board for my bedroom. Something that when I wake up, not only holds all the items that I am inspired by, but is also beautiful enough to inspire me all on it's own. 

I've been in search of the perfect vintage frame for months. I've looked at flea markets, antique shops, craft stores... for the size that I wanted, I wasn't finding anything under $300 {I wanted this project to be as inexpensive as possible}. I ended up finding this old, unused vintage frame in my parents garage... I'm not sure why I didn't think to start my search there months ago...


The frame is a heavy 32" x 40", which is an odd size when it comes to this type of project. In an ideal world, I would have just purchased a 3/8" thick cork panel, nailed it to the frame and been done with it... however, cork panels only come {at least everywhere that I searched} in  24" x 36", which was too small for my frame. Small cork panels could have been another option, coming in at 12" x 12", but I still would have had to seam the panels together {and no one likes an unsightly seam}. My best option was to purchase a 24" x 48" roll of 5/32" thin cork and seam it together the best i could.

Armed with spray adhesive, a scissors, a roll of cork, an absolutely massive thick white poster board, a razor and a hammer and nails, i glued a piece of cork down the middle of the poster board. Once I had the middle section of cork centered, i took the remaining cork and seamed it to each side of the poster board. For extra adhesive security, spray both the poster board and the back side of the cork, let dry a few seconds {until tacky} before bonding the surfaces.

While the cork bonded to the poster board, i started on re-positioning the hanging wire on the frame. Initially, the frame was meant to be hung horizontally, but I wanted my inspiration board to be hung vertically. I cut the wire, unscrewed the fastener from one side of the frame and then screwed it into the other side of the frame. Make sure to secure the wire to the newly positioned fastener by wrapping the wire around the fastener twice, and then wrapping the remaining wire around itself until there is no wire slack left.

Once your wire and fasteners are positioned to your liking, place the cork/poster board upside down against the back of the frame. Since my board was larger than my frame, i took a razor {or box cutter} and scored the edges of the board about three times each. Make sure not to bend the board as cork this thin easily tears. I ended up scoring through the board a few times until it cut completely through.

Once your cork/poster board has been cut to size, spray the back of the frame with your spray adhesive and secure the cork. For extra security, I fastened the board to the frame with eight small nails.

I had a collection of advertisements, graphic designs and furniture that i was so excited to display on my new inspiration board... somehow I didn't realize my collection was so small! Time to go and search out more inspiration for my new board...