Thursday, February 25, 2010

satanic fitness instructor & hearty italian food.

on tuesday i decided to take a stab at one of the group fitness classes at the gym called muscle work which is an hour long class focusing on all different areas of muscles. about 40 girls piled into this tiny room. most of which appeared to be in much better shape than me. i still was confident i could keep up. little did i know the instructor clearly worships satan and was there to kill me with lunges and squats. she was also a liar. she would say last set but oh no...she'd make us do a few more. the whole class involved nonstop lunges, tricep curls, pushups, bosu ball jumps and ab work. kill me. literally throughout the class - i was cursing the instructor for being so cruel and unrealistic. i now realize this was ridiculous. i feel a bit sore but realize it was a great work out and i should go back. i don't really want to see her or the bosu ball ever again but i know i should.

i celebrated my workout with a 3-course dinner at prosecco for restaurant week. i went with one of my bestest friends that i never get to see. we unfortunately had to wait an hour to be seated despite our reservation. CRAZY! luckily my friend is totally go with the flow and kept me calm. otherwise i would have been a terrible customer making lots of demands to make up for the inconvenience. when we finally got our food it was divine. i started with mini crab cakes with aioli sauce. yum. then i got risotto with beef tenderloin. it was SO rich. the cream sauce was heavenly but oh so rich. i couldn't finish. oh and i forgot to mention my friend insisted on ordering a bottle of prosecco. which is a lovely thing to enjoy on a random tuesday but definitely made me feel full faster. then i ended the meal with flourless chocolate cake. i had one bite and had to stop. literally too rich! overall it was an awesome meal with an awesome friend. but my stomach starts to feel full just thinking about it!

my last restaurant week dinner is on sunday at gemini bistro with the bf. i can't wait!

Monday, February 22, 2010

food-filled weekend.

all i really did this weekend was eat. or think or talk about eating - seriously.

friday night i had an event for work at a bar called lincoln station and chowed down on salsa con queso, mini cheeseburgers and yummie thin crust pizza. bar food just really hits the spot sometimes.

saturday me and the bf met an old coworker and her husband and a current coworker for brunch at sola. the interior is very pretty and the menu divine. unfortunately our waitress was uber peppy and not what i needed in the a.m. luckily the food trumped the annoying server. i got ham & cheese french toast with plum preserves and a mustard sauce. we also all split homemade donuts with chocolate and raspberry sauce. so freaking good. everyone's dishes looked to die and i hope to go back again.

later that night i actually had time to cook a real meal for once and made organic chicken breast with italian seasoning with spinach pasta. pretty standard but i was happy to make something healthy-ish. then even later that night i ended a night out of bud light cans and coors light (CLASSY) with bacis pizza. if you've never been, they have enormous slices of pizza. like the length of my forearm - elbow to finger tip. and they come with a drink all for just $5. we sat there for like 45 minutes having deep conversations over our huge slices. saturday was such a college throw back night - loved it.

sunday i had to staff a work event but it was great because there was a brunch buffet! i seriously chowed down. potatoes with bacon, scrambled eggs, blueberry pancakes and mini bagels. and i had 2 helpings. it was the school catering so it wasn't to die for but it was still enjoyable.

then sunday night i had my first (of three) restaurant week dinners at tizi melloul ( it's a mediterranean place in river north. it has gorgeous decor and a great menu. we went for the meat eaters family style menu which consisted of: a hummus/baba ganoush plate with herb flatbread, roasted potatoes, fire roasted mussels (new to me!), a delicious salad with apples, goat cheese and lentils, salmon skewers with a tangy bbq sauce and rice pilaf, lamb tagine with saffron cous cous, vegetable tagine with herb chickpeas and lemon basil chickpeas and then chocolate fondu with homemade marshmellows and fruit. Yes, I actually ate all of that. i had some trouble with the mussels...not a huge fan but i wanted to be daring and try it anyway. the salmon skewers and the salad were my favorites!

i have 2 more restaurant dinners coming up. tomorrow is at prosecco and sunday is gemini bistro. cannot wait!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

new years resolution status

so now that it's been about a month and a half since i set my new year's resolution for 2010 i thought i'd review how i'm doing thus far. i had numerous resolutions but the big ones were to try new things and restaurants in chicago and to work on paying off my debt. i know they seem to cancel each other out but so far so good!

i have tried 8 new restaurants so far! i've gone to May St. Cafe, Izaru, Duchamp, Fireplace Inn, Meze, DMK Burger Bar, Lucky's Sandwiches and Piccolo Sogno. they were all so delicious i can't even pick a favorite. i have also set a reservation for gemini bistro for restaurant week next sunday. can't wait!

i've been trying to check out new places and try new things lately too! this weekend was definitely out of my element at lumen and spy bar and it was fun to check out the new bar district. on tuesday i went to a new venue opening at sunda loft. anything with free alcohol and appetizers is good in my book! this weekend i'm trying to organize a girl's night at a new bar - probably the new small bar in lincoln park and then hopefully hitting up the kid sister show at spin. there are still plenty of new things i'd like to try around the city but i still almost have a full year left!

for the debt - i'm also doing quite well. i did some math and if i keep making the same size payments i am now on my student loans - i should be done with it 2 years early! that was happy to discover. i mean it's still 8 years of my life devoted to this crazy loan but 8 is better than 10! then i have some credit card debt from books/traveling still and it should be at a zero balance in about 6 months if i stay steady with my payment amounts. i have a decent amount in savings - more than i've had in awhile thanks to all my travels :)

so i'm feeling quite good and accomplished about keeping my new years goals! how about everyone else? keeping up with your resolutions?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

lucky valentine and weekend recap.

i had a lovely weekend and got to celebrate valentine's day with many people i love. vday started early for me with a delivery of ginormous red roses at work on friday afternoon. they're so pretty! then on friday night i got to spend time with an old coworker and some current coworkers for some bowling. i was horrible but it's still so fun! then i met up with my good friends for a lady gaga themed lingerie fashion show at lumen. i can't say that lumen is really my cup of tea but we definitely made it fun. saturday i went to the bur bs for the bf's sister's baby shower. she is truly the cutest little pregnant girl. i absolutely love his family so it was great spending the afternoon with them. i got to visit with his lovely grandma who always has the nicest things to say. i also got to spend some time with his hilarious aunts who always put a smile on my face. then i got dinner with my rents and then later returned to the bf's house for more quality time with his fam. i got a sweet card and valentine's day treats from the bf's mom that made me really happy! then on sunday i went to see valentine's day with my parents. perfect sunday afternoon movie. not the best movie but it was light and fluffy and brainless. perfect!

then it was time for vday time with my love. he surprised me with a trip to select comforts to pick out my custom pillow that i've been wanting! you tell the salesperson how you sleep and what level of softness and support you prefer and then you try a bunch out. i got "down alternative" because the down was just way too fluffy and the foam was way too hard. i absolutely love it. it's heavenly. we shopped around a bit more and i tried on a trillion things at h&m and nothing fit right so we tried a few other stores in search of my shopping list items. i ended up getting some black pinstripe pants from the limited. i totally forget that store exists but they were on sale and they fit well! we headed home and i hit the grocery store so i could make a new crock pot recipe. i decided to attempt pulled pork. i put it in before we left for a late vday dinner. we went to piccolo sogno on halsted and grand. we were seated in a small room off the main dining area and it was nice and quiet. i got a delicious glass of wine and grilled salmon with brown mustard sauce, fingerling potatoes and broccolini. AMAZING! the bf got lobster risotto in a tomato-y sauce. equally amazing. then we split a pastry dessert. it was a perfect meal. over dinner he gave me a cute valentine and a travel journal to take on my france trip this summer. i completely forgot i asked for one! it has a very cool design on the front and it's the perfect size. after dinner we headed home and pulled some pork. so romantic! it turned out well though - very tender and tasty. thank goodness. if it didn't turn out i was swearing off the crock pot for life.

dinner at piccolo sogno.

i was quite spoiled on vday and it was great to spend the weekend with those i love. i feel very, very lucky these days!

Friday, February 12, 2010

progress & shopping list.

on wednesday night, i attacked my closet. i should have taken a picture of the mountain of clothes on the floor. i started with the stuff i had hanging. i got rid of a couple of sweaters and long sleeve tops. then i moved over to these square crate/bins i have miscellaneous tanks and tops in. i found tons of shirts that were too small, totally out of style or damaged. i got rid of a lot from that area. then i moved to miscellaneous stuff on my shelves. a lot in that area to kick to the curb. i had a khaki bermuda shorts that i needed for a job 5 years ago. i think it's ok to say goodbye to those. i also found a white skirt and white capris that of course had stains on them because i can't own white. i also tossed a few old tshirts that i don't need anymore. then i went through the basket where i keep miscellanous undergarments. i had like 15 nylons/tights and about 10 of them were ripped. shocking. i also had about 18 white tank tops. i tossed half and kept the others for now. that basket is so much easier to look through now! i ended up getting rid of three shopping bags of clothes. 2 are for donation and the other is to toss. it was hard but it also feels good. i'm excited to make room for new stuff. it was also fun to rediscover some things. i came across a lot of stuff that i forgot about entirely.

now that i've cleared some things out it's time to shop! here are some of the things that i'm looking for:

* brown suit - i saw a very cute one at h&m for a very affordable price that i plan to purchase asap!
* new straight leg jeans - mine are stretched out and i accidentally ripped off the tag on the back
* a couple of colorful sweaters & tops - all of my shirts and sweaters are neutral colors and it's just depressing
* casual boots - i need warmish boots to wear to work and out and about that aren't exactly snow boots but will keep my feet warm and dry
* fun/going out boots - my poor little brown boots have been fixed for the last time. once the zipper breaks they're getting tossed.
* brown flats - i don't have any flats to wear at work when i wear brown
* straight leg dress pants - i can't stand my flowy dress pants anymore!!!

i don't really know where i thinking i'm getting the money to pay for all these new purchases but i'm going to try to tackle some of the list next weekend. my ultimate goal is to achieve a more polished look. i'm not sure that i'll ever be the "polished" type but i can try!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

wardrobe meltdown.

lately i've been hating every article of clothing that i own. i put something on and later realize there is a small stain or hole. or i see a picture of myself and realize you can see my bra in that particular top. getting dressed in the morning or to go out has never been more difficult. i literally hate everything in my closet. everything seems old, worn or out of style.

the meltdown began when i retore my winter jacket. i can't have it repaired right now because i don't have another warm coat to wear while it's getting fixed. so i'm walking around with a torn seam. then i realized how out of style all of my work pants look and how crappy all my sweaters are. they all have nubs or holes and need to be pitched. this weekend i got to go shopping with my girlies and i tried on a bunch of things and some things worked out but mostly, not so much. i want straight leg dress pants for a more polished look. i tried some on at h&m and could not get them on over my knees because they were so tapered and tight. not really what i'm looking for. i wanted jeggings to spice up my going out clothes. also did not fit properly. luckily, i did make out with a couple new sweaters and a new shirt. later that day i pulled up my favorite jeans and accidentally tore off the label on the back. this furthered my clothing induced depression.

yesterday i stopped in at zara and they were having a sale but nothing fit right and i felt ridiculous. on the way out i stepped in a big puddle and discovered my "waterproof" boots are no longer that. i'm falling apart!

i went home and tore some things off my hangers to throw out. i'm going to do more of that tonight. i want to start from scratch. but i feel like i'm in a weird stage where i don't know what type of clothes i want to buy and i'm not quite willing to spend much to get the look i want. i want to look more polished in general but i don't even know how to achieve that.

i know this isn't a typical lucky girl post but i'm close to submitting a video to what not to wear and need to vent. i hope it's just the winter blues or that i find some good new items fast!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

me time.

i am a very social person and i really love spending time with friends, family and my coworkers. however, every so often i really crave silence and some alone time. i usually have something to do everyday after work like volunteering, class, a work event or something with a friend or the bf. but every once and awhile i catch a break in my schedule and have nothing and just go to the gym and head home. yesterday was one of those days! i worked out and enjoyed watching grey's anatomy on the tv attached to my eliptical and then went to the grocery store. on my way there i realized the bf had practice and i would just be heading home to quiet time. after a few weeks of madness i was glad to have the down time. of course it was anything but downtime. i put away laundry, cleaned up, baked banana bread, did a ton of dishes, did homework and made dinner. despite all the housework and activity, it was quiet and i didn't talk to anyone but my foster cat, bj. it was nice. i also had enough time to sit and watch tv and lay on my heated bed buddy before bed. glorious.

i woke up feeling pretty refreshed and ready to tackle the day. unfortunately the day ended up tackling me and every little thing went wrong. such is life. and just after one day of being away from the bf, i'm ready to not have the me time and have we time. lame, i know but true!

Monday, February 1, 2010

jam-packed weekend

this weekend was seriously a whirlwind and i really wish i had another day to recouperate! on friday we continued the bf's bday celebration with taco night and a trip to the green mill for afro-cuban jazz featuring chuchito valdez. the tacos were a slight fail. i bought natural ground beef and it didn't turn out how i would have liked it but the bf was pleased and enjoyed them and that's all that matters! afterwards we went to the green mill and it was pretty crowded. luckily we ran into a friend of rob's who was leaving and gave us their seats. the music was really amazing. i've never heard or seen anything like it before.

on saturday afternoon i went to the south loop for dance class with my good friend. i was SO excited to get back to class. it's seriously been so long since i was last there and it just makes me so happy to go. the dance was a bit more advanced than usual and i'm totally rusty but it was still a great work out and really fun to do it with a friend. later on i went out to dinner with 3 of my fav girls to Meze for tapas. they have half-priced wine on saturdays!!! who does that??? after dinner we went to five star for a friend of a friend's party. it is definitely a unique place with burlesque dancers and mohawked bartenders. it was a very interesting way to end the night!

the next morning i had to get up early to help the bf move into his new apartment. his family came up and we worked out clearing the rest of his stuff out his third floor apartment and moved it into (luckily) his new first floor apartment. i'm so excited for him, the place is perfect for him and it looks great! i had to duck out early to work an event briefly and then i went to a depaul women's bball game with my parents. the girls kicked butt! i was a very proud blue demon.

this week is luckily fairly calm. i will be able to hit the gym pretty much every day and have a weekday date with my man tomorrow. i'm looking forward to it. we're FINALLY trying DMK Burger Bar. Jessica over at,, inspired me to get to it!

p.s. here's a pic of billy jean, my current foster kitty. she's a playful attention hog and i think this pic sums it up nicely.

"stop every now and then. just stop and enjoy. take a deep breath. relax and take in the abundance of life."