autumn,life

Halloween Bookclub: 5 Thriller and Mystery Reads

halloween-book-club_sahl-and-white

I can’t handle scary movies. Never have I ever felt so old, but I really do blame turning 30. They’re way too real and legit freak me out. However, in book form, I can still totally get my thriller on. I love mystery and suspense – those ones you have to read from start to finish and find yourself awake at 3:30 in the morning because you honestly couldn’t stop turning the pages.

This time of year is perfect for grabbing a few books, a glass of wine, and acknowledging the fact it gets dark at 6:30 PM as a sign to stop and relax a little earlier. Here’s what on my reading list this fall, just in time for Halloween.

the most dangerous thing | laura lippman: Within the first few pages, you’re hooked. It’s a story about a childhood group of friends that dissolves over secrets from their past. The secret doesn’t go away and they’re forced to face their demons and reconvene years later. The book is written in a way that skips between the present and moments in the past. It’s addicting in the best way.

the trap | melanie raabe: An interesting twist on an unsolved murder. The main character, an author, yet can’t set foot outside her home after she found her sister murdered. Her goal? To lure the killer back to the house with her writing.

the long and faraway gone | lou berney: A crime novel that follows people involved in two separate crimes from long ago and far away, but their paths cross in an interesting way. Great character development and story lines.

what strange creatures | emily arsenault: The classic girl gets got, the boyfriend is a suspect, but his sister knows he’s not a killer. She’s on the case and digs through everyone’s past to find some interesting surprises. Great character dynamics and cliff hangers.

true crime addict | james renner: This is one for all you true crime fans. Written by an investigative journalist who’s been intrigued with true crime his entire life, it explores both why we find true crime fascinating as well as his personal story with the fascination.

Each of these is a terrific page turner without the gore or horror. They pair well with a nice glass of Malbec and a bag of Halloween candy. It’s one of my favorite October traditions. What’s on your reading list?

autumn,party planning

Easy Autumn Dinner Party Decor

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Early autumn is my favorite time to throw a dinner party: schedules aren’t so crazy and the weather begs to gather around some candles over some good comfort food. It’s still summer enough to be casual, but the anticipation of cooler weather and a change in season sets the mood for added effort. It’s a time for vacation recaps and the new beginnings that tend to come in with the fall.

Grab some red wine, set the mood with as many candles as you can get your hands on, throw on some Ray LaMontagne, and invite a few friends over to catch up on the busy-ness of life.
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all the eats,summer

Wisconsin State Fair Cream Puffs

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So last week we went to the Minnesota State Fair and chowed down. We spent nearly the whole day sampling, eating, and sipping fair eats. I swear I could have been rolled out of there if someone would have offered that service. Once I came out of my food coma, I realized I never ate a cream puff. In fact, I never even saw a stand for cream puffs (upon further research + noted for next year – there is in fact ONE stand).

This seems crazy.

When I lived in Wisconsin, my employer always gave out state fair tickets as a fun perk so I went nearly every year and cream puffs were the thing. Like they served upwards of 450,000 each year. Like the world’s largest cream puff was made at the Wisconsin State Fair in 2011. Like I think they even tried to make it the state’s official dessert. Like they had cream puff stands right outside of the fairgrounds so you didn’t even actually have to go in to get them; you could drive up, grab your six pack of cream puffs and head on out. Like they were delicious.

It seems weird that a mere state border eliminates this delicate, perfect dessert with whipped cream encased by a chewy, airy pastry and topped with powdered sugar. It’s just the right amount of sweet, not to0 heavy, and fresh. I had to make my own. Or, do you know, where in Minnesota can I get a gosh darn cream puff??

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party planning,the kiddos

Happy Birthday Sahl + White | DIY Smash Cake Using a Box Cake Mix

DIY Smash Cake_Sahl and White

In honor of Sahl + White’s first birthday, we’re celebrating the best way we know how, with a DIY smash cake! I don’t care who you are, every first birthday needs a smash cake. Watching a one-year-old go to town on cake and frosting is literally one of the joys in life. Now that I think about it, maybe the world would be a better place if smash cakes were a standard for every birthday.

We didn’t exactly experience the smash part of the smash cake while celebrating Sahl + White’s first birthday (although now I’m thinking we really should), but I did make this cake for both Willy’s first and second birthdays. The first time around, I used store bought cake and frosting and focused on decoration. For his second birthday, the thought of letting a two-year-old have at it with a cake was less cute and actually really fricken terrifying, so it became more of a mini cake for Willy and his birthday friends. I still used a box cake mix, but did make a homemade banana cream cheese frosting to fancy it up a bit (although, let’s be real… we’re talking two-year-olds….).

Baking and making wise, I promise, if you know how to mix and pour, you can make this cake. Your decorations can be simple too – a few sprinkles is all you need. Here’s how I did it.

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minnesota,summer

2016 Minnesota State Fair Highlights

MN State Fair Roundup2_Sahl and White

There is no question; the Great Minnesota Get Together is both great and a whole lotta get together. To be honest, I’ve only been to the Minnesota State Fair a few times, but we’re headed back this weekend and I am puuumped. I’ve researched a thing or two to make sure we hit the good stuff, but tried really hard not to make many plans beyond that, as the randomness is one of the reasons I love the fair. Where else can you see an animal give birth and then go grab a corn dog? But also Sweet Martha’s cookies, entertainment, and a whole lotta swag. It’s a different experience every time you go. Here are a few highlights and must tries for 2016 as well as a few tried and true tips.

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s+w weekends,Uncategorized

S+W Weekends | The Summer Olympics Edition

Sahl-and-White-Weekends_Olympics1Summer-Olympics-1972

(image courtesy of LIFE)

We spent a good chunk of time tuned-in, watching some Rio 2016 action so this week’s Weekenders is dedicated to the summer games.

It’s hard not to get wrapped up in the Olympics.

So much unbelievable talent all in one place. It’s the purest showcase of athletics. There is no next week to do better. It’s like one of those intense Nike commercials, Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”, and the Superbowl all rolled into one.

when to watch: Of course Google would have an awesome tool that sorts the schedule into an easy, at-a-glance chart of everything you need to know and when it’s happening.

who to watch: Margret Rumat Rumat Hassan, competing in the 400-meter dash; she is the first and only Olympian to represent the country of South Sudan (they separated from Sudan in 2011). The Refugee athletes, especially Yusra Mardini who saved 20 fellow refugees after she swam a boat to shore after the engine broke down in the Mediterranean last year (liiikeee someone hook the girl up with a life gold medal please). The USA gymnastics team; I’ll always be team Magnificent Seven from the 1996 Olympics as it’s the first Olympics I actually remember watching, but this year’s line-up looks fantastic. Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte (minus the new hair) because, well….. Vashti Cunningham; not only is she Randall Cunningham’s daughter, she’s also the youngest Track and Field team member in 36 years. Oh, and any and every beach volleyball match.

highlights: The Rio games may be known for the Zika virus, poor athlete conditions, and the Russian shenanigans, but also all of this (it’s not all doom and gloom).

reading: Off Balance: A Memoir. Remember Dominique Moceanu? She was the youngest member of the aforementioned Magnificent Seven USA gymnast team and won a gold medal in 1996. Turns out she kind of lives a soap opera life. She made headlines when she filed for emancipation from her parents at the age of 17. A handful of years after that, she discovered she has an unknown sister who was given away at birth. Her Memoir is worth the read.

making: all of these.

loving: these Olympic couples who are all competing in Rio. And these Olympic couples in general (esp. Kristi Yamaguchi).

wanting: vintage Olympic gear like this and this. I thrifted a 1980’s coffee mug a few months ago and have been obsessed with vintage branding ever since.

What are your favorite Olympic highlights?

oh. also. this.

s+w weekends

S+W Weekends

Sahl and White WeekendsUntitled design (1)

Weekend, weekend, who wants a weekend?? <HIGH hand raise emoji>. The sun is shinning, it’s Friday, and I’m counting down the hours until 5:00 PM. It’s supposed to be a beaut in my neck of the woods and for once we don’t have anything going on. While jam-packed weekends are great, the idea of having a free weekend is equally as enticing: sleeping in, lazy coffee, and then a day full of possibilities. The extent of my weekend scribbles are these:

making: one of these out of an old pair of blue jeans. only bigger and more rectangle. and maybe with a lot of key chain baubles.
planning: The Fourth of July! I can’t believe it’s already next weekend. I’m thinking this wall hanging, this sangria, and these balloons are all things I need in my celebration plans.
wearing: this off the shoulder look. It’s actually super flattering and versatile. Stick to whites or indigo to make outfits easy and classic.
eating (hopefully) something like this twist on strawberry shortcake. There truly is nothing like a ripe MN strawberry.
keeping up with my workout routine as part of my cleanse project. Stay tuned for a full series into how it’s working and what I’m doing. HINT: the Nike Training Club App is a truly essential tool for any level of fitness fanatic.
buying this matte lipstick. I’m a 10-second-make-up routine kind of girl. Mascara, sunscreen, some bronzer and then out the door. This little beauty came in my ipsy bag a few months ago and made it’s way into a permanent spot in my regime, handbag, and heart. I love it and it makes me feel oh so pretty.
drinking: coldpress coffee. all.day.long.
watching: an apparently oldie that I’m just getting into – Life – on Netflix.
listening: it’s been a Ray LaMontagne kind of week.
[local] happenings: rochesterfest parade | strawberry picking | yoga in the park | farmers marketmovies in central park | country breakfast on the farm | 1860’s baseball

Happy weekend!