Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dear Santa...

It's almost December, people! The older I get, the more I love Christmas and the less I care about the gift-giving part.  I'm most excited to spend a few days with my family.   (I'm sure my mom will still be asking me for ideas though!) Just for are some things I'd be excited to find under the tree.

 People swear by these Lululemon leggings. 
 I really need some couch throw pillows. Yes, I keep changing them. I think I have commitment issues.  

I have a greige colored couch (Or stone, as Pottery Barn calls it). Suggestions? (I'm talking to you Jessie the decor guru!)

I'm actually not sure about the lens. I really want a versatile lens for my Canon Rebel. I'm still using the standard one it came with. Suggestions?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Weekend Update: Thanksgiving Edition

I hope you had a great thanksgiving filled with delicious food, great family & friends, and plenty of blessings.

TG and I will both be heading South for Christmas so we stayed in Chicago for Thanksgiving this year. Wednesday night, we decided to walk down to a restaurant just a hop-skip-and a jump from our building, South Coast Sushi. This restaurant is surely one of our favorite sushi spots. So very yummy.

We ate Thanksgiving dinner with TG's dad and step-mom. Holy deliciousness. I must admit, I sure love holidays and the food that comes with! I feel lucky to actually like spending time with TG's family. I know some people aren't crazy about their significant other/husband/boyfriend's parents.

Friday TG and I ventured over to Christkindlmarket which is a German-Christmas festival. It was super crowded so we didn't stay too long. However, I snapped pictures of one of the big Christmas trees and some of the German goodies. Potato pancakes, beers, strudel, bratwurst, and coo-coo clocks galore. I had a hot-spiced wine to drink and TG had some sort of German beer. We shared a couple of pretzels that were pretty tasty too. All in all, a fun holiday activity to do in Chicago. Bonus points for being free admission!

The market really got me into the Christmas spirit..even if it isn't December yet.

I'm trying to compile a list of fun Christmas activities to do in Chicago. Chicago people: What are some of your favorites?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Graham (The Bull)

I finished up my half day of work Wednesday and practically ran to the L station for my mini commute home. I was all set for an afternoon of leisurely shopping and fun about town until I got a bad news phone call. My brother's sweet 8 month old puppy, Graham, was sick and was going to have to be put down. My heart sank and tears streamed down my face as I talked to my mom on the phone. Unfortunately, he had a congenital kidney defect and was in complete kidney failure. I think the worst part was that it was completely unexpected.

I know not everyone is a dog person but in my family...well...we're big dog people. I mean, our dogs get Christmas presents from Santa. It was a really hard weekend for my family and my heart has been so heavy for my brother. Sweet Graham had a short, but very rich life. My mom and I laughed about just how much of a good time he had in 8 short months. (To the tune of: eating\chewing up an entire bag of granny smith apples, busting through doors, and stealing/treating himself to an entire rotisserie chicken off of the counter, etc.) We nicknamed him "the Bull" because he was always thrashing through doors and had an all around wreckless nature.

He was so very loved and he will be so very missed. We're certain he is having lots of fun in doggy heaven.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving & a little bit of gratitude

A list of things I am thankful for this year:
1) HIS plan (& timing)
2) My sweet family. I swear I love these people more and more all the time.
3) TG and the balance he brings to my life. (And his cooking.)
4) Old friends who I talk to on a regular basis
5) New Chicago friends that have welcomed me into their circle
6) Sweet doggy snuggles each morning
7) Having people to count on.
8) Forgiveness
9) My DVR.
10) A cozy bed
11) Our apartment
12) Coffee (and flavored creamers)
13) Blog buddies. (Thanks for reading : )
14) Grandparents I'm close with.
15) Chicago.

images via, via

Happy Thanksgiving. May you be surrounded by those you love and really yummy food.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Weekend Update

Thank goodness for weekends! I find that weekend plans are what get me through the work week.

Friday was one of those days. I overslept and was late for work. Once I was en route to work, my cab driver told me his credit card machine was down (this is a game cabbies like to play because they prefer cash. This game annoys me to no end. This game often ends with me being snappy with said cabbie). I finally got to work and then fell walking up the stairs. I treated myself to a Starbuck's holiday coffee that afternoon and proceeded to spill it all over my coat and gloves. To top it all off, my new purse BROKE as I was walking from the L stop to Tess' house.

I digress.

SO. Friday night TG and I scooted over to Tess' place for drinks before our sushi date...double date that is! I was so excited that our guys got along so well. After dinner, we kept the party going and headed to a bar to have a few more drinks. My college-self came out and I found myself saying one more drink...and then another. But seriously, we had the best time.

Of course I didn't bring my DSLR out so my picture was crappy quality. I need a new purse big enough to carry my regular purse items as well as my big camera. If you have any suggestions for less than $200 pleeeeasee help a sister out. I may just end up splurging for a good bag.

Saturday was spent being lazy...which just so happens to be one of my favorite activities. Sometimes it's so nice to just do nothing. I drank coffee, caught up on blog reading, spent too much time on Pinterest, cuddled with pups, and cooked a good dinner.

Sunday TG and I headed over to the Randolph Street Market. Let it be known that the RSM is only worth attending (in my opinion) during the summer months. The summer market dates offer much more furniture, antiques, and all around awesomeness.

Afterwards we ate a late lunch at The Southern in Bucktown (review to come!). The Southern was delicious and pretty much a little slice of heaven. They have a really great outdoor space so we will definitely be spending some time there once it gets warm again.

Sunday seems to be my catch all day of the weekend. I find myself having to run errands, do school work and tie up loose ends on most of my Sundays. (I really want to find a church to join in Chicago as well as a small group). The day was pretty much spent by the time we got home. I basically did some work and went to bed. All in all a solid weekend though : )

What did you do this weekend?
And how did you tote your big ass camera?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I haven't done a WILW in a while so I figured it was due.

I'm loving that sweet TG came home from traveling (work) a day early to surprise me. I walked into the condo to find a dozen white roses, my favorite wine, and a great meal. Between my traveling and his we hadn't seen each other in like 2.5 weeks. Crazy! I really was surprised. He also reminded me that as of yesterday we have been together 4 years. I remembered over the weekend and then forgot. Oopsy daisy.

I'm loving that Thanksgiving is next week. I love this time of year.

I'm loving my Old Navy skinny jeans that came in the mail. I have heard people talk about how great Old Navy jeans are so I decided to order a few pairs. Very pleased with the fit (I ordered the petite since I'm a half pint at only 5"1).

I'm loving that Revenge comes back on tonight. I seriously can't get enough of this show.

I'm loving looking forward to this weekend! We have a double date dinner on Friday night, a quick trip to the lake on Saturday, and then I'm hitting up the Randolph Street Market on Sunday.

What are you loving on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Minneapolis and a Weekend Update

So my first residency is finally over. I spent entirely too much time being stressed/anxious over it. Much to my surprise, I actually had so much fun. I didn't take a single picture. However, I did manage to meet one of Kris Humphries' groomsmen (his best friend since 7th grade). Weirdness! Minneapolis is a pretty cool least from what I saw...which wasn't much. I spent most of my time in conference rooms but did manage to venture out a few times for dinner and such. The Target headquarters is in Minneapolis. I'm assuming they got the motherload shipment of Missoni since every person I passed on the street was wearing something from the Missoni for Target line.

After Minneapolis, I headed straight to North Carolina. I was so glad to see my family even if it was for a short time.

Friday night, I headed down to Topsail beach with Amy and Joslyn. Catching up with friends is seriously the best. Saturday night was my sweet friend Katie's engagement party at the beach. I was a little overwhelmed with all of the love and happiness between friends. Katie asked me to be a bridesmaid (with the cutest card from Etsy!) which brought even more emotions out. So many of my close friends were in one place and my heart was just really...full.

My pictures are sort of weird because I had to use my little camera instead of my DSLR.

Oh, and I snagged a belated birthday present from some of my besties.

Love them : )

I finally got back to Chicago Sunday night. Driving into the city from the airport is one of my favorite views...especially at night.

I was so glad to be reunited with my fur babes. Unfortunately, TG wasn't home from travel yet.

I can't believe it's almost Thanksgiving. Absolutely crazy. I feel like 2011 has been the shortest year of my life. I'll be blogging my holiday bucket list later this week.

Happy Tuesday Friends!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Checking in

Hello from Minneapolis! (More appropriately, Hi Mom! It's going peachy!)

Colloquium week is going really well. I feel like such a nerd but I'm actually having a lot of fun. It's so great to be able to talk about Marriage and Family Therapy with classmates that I have previously only talked to via course room chats. My room mate is so sweet and it feels like we have known each other much longer than we actually have.

My only complaint is that I was unable to watch Real Housewives of Atlanta. I was a little upset when I realized we didn't get Bravo in my hotel room. Boo.

Back to normal postings next week.

P.S. Have you guys seen the SNL Kardashian spoof? Love!
Speaking of Kardashians, my friend Joslyn described the situation best in my comment box. "Kris wasn't drinking the Kardashian Kool-aid." and "Kim wasn't psyched."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

-Tomorrow morning I leave for Minneapolis. I've never been before so I'm a little excited to see a new city. I'll be there for a week for part of my grad school program. I have a roommate that I've never met so hopefully all goes well on that front.

-After an incredibly mild October, it is starting to get cold in Chicago. This morning made me reconsider my coat purchase. I got a patagonia down filled short coat. I'm probably going to go back and get a long one with a hood as well. The one I got will be great for the in between weather. You know when it's cold but not blizzarding. Not sure that's a word. Hmm.

-I can't not mention Kim Kardashian. Of course, Kris Jenner was all over the morning news shows trying to cover for Kim. She is so terrified that they are going to lose "fans"...or more accurately a paycheck. And everytime Kim says that "it wasn't the fairy tale I hoped for" I feel a little wave of nausea. I've always liked Kourtney and Khloe much more than Kim.

-I digress.

-Next weekend I'm heading south for one of my best friend's engagement party. I'm excited to see my family and some of my favorite girlfriends. Gift ideas?

-I'm really looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. While I am a little sad I won't be with my family, I'm also glad to just stay put for a few days and relax.

-That's all for today.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Perennial Virant

Last weekend, TG and I ate at Perennial Virant with some family. This cozy Lincoln Park spot did not disappoint. I especially loved the decor...complete with some amazing mason jar chandeliers. This could be a really great place to have a small party or even a rehearsal dinner. Just an all around good feel.

Chef Paul Virant employs the farm to table concept and creates his menus using seasonal (and mostly local) ingredients. The Chef is also known for his incorporation of pickling into his dishes. The menu is categorized by small, medium, and large plates. Sharing is encouraged.

Our picks:
-Bar Snacks ("deviled farm egg, three sisters spicy corn nuts, & a soft pretzel with smoked cheddar sauce"). This was a fun and more gourmet twist on some traditional bar fare. The deviled egg was my favorite.

-Housemade Charcuterie ("shaved turnips, mustard greens, grilled bread, klug farm blueberry mostarda"). TG enjoyed this more than I did. It wasn't bad or anything, just not my favorite.

-Crispy Barramundi ("with sweet potato puree, brussel sprouts, bacon & cranberry vinaigrette"). I loved this dish. The fish was light and really showcased the seasonal flavors. I would definitely order this again.

-Crispy Prairie fruits farm Gnudi ("marina di chioggia squash puree, brown butter, gremolata"). Let's be honest.. I didn't know what Gnudi was but quickly became a fan. It's like Gnocchi's delicious sister. This was my other favorite dish.

-Cdk angus beef ribeye ("with fried fingerling potatoes, pickled garlic, kale, burgundy snails"). TG had this and I had a little bite. It was really great but the potatoes were a little disappointing...our waiter made them sound better than they were.

The dessert we ordered was the special...frozen yogurt with grapes. (Finally got my frozen yogurt fix!) The Chef also sent out some complimentary sugar cookies that were likely the best I've ever had. Not your average sugar cookie.

We both agreed that we would definitely be returning in the future. Perennial also does a weekend brunch, which I'm sure is every bit as delicious as it's menu sounds.

Perennial Virant
1800 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL

images via 1, 2,
*menu item descriptions in italics taken from website

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Full Circle

While out walking around a few weeks ago, I headed down Ontario and spotted the familiar James Hotel sign. I couldn't help but smile and have one of those moments where I realize life has sort of come full circle.

The first time I ever came to Chicago (for TG's dad's wedding), we stayed at The James. This is one amazing hotel. The decor is chic, modern, and all around fun. The downstairs bar serves up tasty and unique cocktails. (Seriously, delicious.) It's a great hotel for first-time visitors because it's just steps away from all of the Michigan Avenue tourist stuff and provides easy access to the surrounding hot spots/neighborhoods.

That visit to Chicago kind of sealed the deal for me. TG and I both fell in love with Chicago and talked about how much we would like to someday live here. It was all I talked about before we finished college. And it was really all I could talk about while we lived in Tampa. (No offense, Tampa). And here we are. Kind of sappy, I know. I just love this city and I feel so lucky to live here. So I'm thankful. That's all.