Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Chef's Week Experience.

Check out my review of blackbird and read more about me and my friends' random food adventures at http://iheartcomida.blogspot.com/!

Monday, March 29, 2010

back to reality!

i got back from a quick vaca in daytona beach this friday. it went much too fast! i was visiting a good friend of mine who has been hanging out with her mama for the past month in a pretty condo just off the beach. this vacation was absolutely perfect timing because i had just finished finals and was totally brain dead and needed some time to unwind. plus, i really missed my bud!!!

i left very early on tuesday morning to arrive in the middle of the afternoon. it was gorgeous out and we immediately laid out by the pool. we just laid out and caught up and it was sooooo relaxing. my friend and her mom are the most amazing hostesses!!! they spoiled me rotten with yummie snacks and a great dinner. later that night her dad arrived and then the next morning her good friend from college came. the girls went for a walk on the beach and came across some interesting wild life. we discovered a dead jellyfish and little crabby thing. we also saw someone carrying off a dead sting ray. crazy! in the distance we swore we could see a dolphin or shark going to town on some prey. we also saw lots of beautiful birds that i don't think i've ever seen before. we walked all the way to the pier and saw all the fisherman. we also saw a raccoon which we were told to avoid! eek! then i think we spent some time by the pool while it was still sunny and then went on a long trek for some delic seafood and ended up at a hilarious lounge with a live band with her pops. i have not eaten that much food in a long time! we started with a ton of bread then escargot (my first time!) then we got soups/salads and then we split 3 entrees. we had the seafood platter that had tilapia, scallops, shrimp and crap cakes with mashed potatoes, sea bass in a ratatouille and bacon wrapped shrimp stuffed with crab. insane! then we got up and danced to the hilarious band to end the night. the next day my hostess led us in some yoga on the beach which was very fun! then we laid by the pool despite the clouds. later that night we went to aunt catfish's for even more seafood. this place was aweeeesssssommmme! we started off with a trip to the salad bar and hot bar-mmmm cheesy grits! again, we split 3 entrees! we got a platter with shark bites, frog legs and alligator bites, fried oysters and catfish 3 ways. everything came with a potato, a cinnamon roll and a hush puppy. SERIOUSLY RIDICULOUS. that night we played some funny games and watched ncaa games. it was the perfect way to end this perfect little vacation. i'm so grateful for their hospitality and just for the time to get away and do nothing.

i left feeling recharged and refocused. exactly what i needed because i'm about to be really busy! every weekend is booked through now and july. awesome.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


i'm on vaca in daytona beach, florida till friday afternoon! i'm here with one of my bffs from home (idratherlaughwiththesinners.blogspot.com). i arrived yesterday to sunshine and warm weather which was really really nice compared to chicago. i know chicago is having sunshine back home but it's about 15 degrees warmer here and i have an ocean view. yay! yesterday i spent the day laying on a beach chair by the pool catching up with darc and her mama. i put 70 block on repeatedly to avoid a burn and i succeeded so i can catch some more rays tonight. darcy's friend from college is almost here and were all going to go out to dinner for some seafood later tonight. can't wait!

i'm just a happy camper vegging out with my friend, her fun family and the sound of the ocean in the background!

happy tuesday everyone :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

spring fever/spring nostalgia.

chicago has had quite the warm weather lately and it's giving me all sorts of wonderful feelings. i know it's all about to change this weekend with low temps and snow but the high 60s and sunny weather in the city gives me feelings and sparks memories i cant control. i start remembering the feeling of the start of spring quarter in college-which put just 10 weeks between me and summer vacation. it reminds me of drinking in beer gardens on a weeknight and taking my favorite flowy skirts out of storage. it reminds me of the flowering trees at my parents house and on the quad at school.

thanks to the return of bright skies, im dreaming about taking lunch break trips to the zoo, hopping on a architecture boat cruise and eating my lunch outside. i keep thinking about walking everywhere and enjoying it rather than being bundled up and hustling to get in doors. in this weather, i even start thinking about things ive never even really done but always want to. like ride a bike, walk along the lake front, take one of those dance classes in the park. i start dreaming about all the fun i'm going to have this summer at street and neighborhood festivals, eating yummie foods, drinking outdoors. im dying to have somewhat of a tan and wear sleeveless shirts and flip flops. i can't wait to roll down the windows in cabs and let my hair blow in the wind. sleeping with the window open. leaving a coat at home. yay. i can't wait for it to be warm in chicago and stay warm.

i get nostalgic at the turn of every season but each time it feels like it's more intense. today, walking around downtown with a big smile on my face and rays of sunlight beaming between buildings - it hit me like a ton of bricks - i'm freaking ready for spring.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

luck of the irish.

this saturday i woke up with a severe sinus infection on one of my favorite holiday weekends! i was so bummed. i could hardly move my head, focus my eyes or breath out of my nose. but i was still a trooper and put on my irish tshirt from 4th grade, my green rain coat, some green eye shadow and hit the streets. i started my day with my favorite creative pal at a paper source workshop. we learned how to make booklets. the first one was very cute and springy with a ribbon binding and eyelets punched in to add some flair. then we made one with a very cool martha stuart hole puncher that made the paper look like lace. we also got to make ones with stampers and another with recycled paper. i loved it! i could seriously take one of those classes each week. i love the creative outlet and learning something new. now i just have to figure out what to do with all these little booklets!

after the class and a little shopping i headed over to kelly's pub. i used to frequent kelly's when i was underage with all my rugby girls which is exactly who i was going to join. their back tent was like a frat party gone wrong but i had fun nonetheless. saw some green teletubbies, had a hand in breaking up a small altercation and had fun with my favorite drinking buddies. after kelly's i went to barleycorn to see a few other friends. it's helpful that one of them is now engaged to one of the managers so we can cut the line and the other is dating another staffer so we can use the bathroom in the kitchen to avoid the lines. oh and get free drinks. i'm so spoiled. i hung out there for awhile and then headed to wrigleyville for food with my man and then the plan was to meet another friend at a nearby german bar of all places. the bf and i went to luckys for ginormous sandwiches and then attempted to go to the german bar but there was a big ole line and it was raining and my head was going to explode from the sinus pressure so i caved and just went home to lay on my couch. by 8 p.m.! the bf and i watched coraline which is a WAY creepy movie in case you haven't seen it. i crashed early and woke up feeling much better for a productive sunday.

i still have the sinus infection but not the pounding headache - knock on wood - so i will be celebrating st. pat's tonight with some of my favorite girls at mystic celt. i unfortunately have 2 final papers due tomorrow so we'll see how exciting the evening gets...

happy st. pat's to all of you!

Friday, March 12, 2010

most embarrassing girl in the world.

embarrassing things happen to me ALL the time. i'm accident prone, i'm a messy eater, i'm clumsy and just embarrassing in general. i've fallen more times than i can count, bruises pop up often and i spill frequently. the bf tells me this is all because i'm not careful. this is true. i often run into things because i'm not being careful. i often break things due to not being careful. it's a problem. despite the injuries and utter ridiculousness these moments have caused, my embarrassment really cracks me up.

some of my fav embarrassing moments include:

* cutting my elbow without realizing it and bleeding all over my friends couch. you really just can't feel that skin!

* breaking out in hives & my eye swelling shut on my first day of work. really, that happened.

* splitting my pants straight up my behind while dancing at a bar. hilarious.

* knocking out my front tooth with a flagpole in colorguard. yes, i was in colorguard.

* flinging nachos at my favorite professor at a recent event because i accidentally swatted my plate and it catapulted at him. i talk with my hands too much.

* dropping a plate of mac & cheese down the front of me and all over the floor at depaul's cafeteria. sigh.

* having a flamboyant man mock me while running in my neighborhood. i haven't run outdoors since.

* flinging my fork off my plate at a formal luncheon and catapulting it in the air. again, while using my hands too much while talking.

* slipping on a patch of ice, falling onto it, breaking the ice and then getting covered in dirty water on my way into church and an old grandma aged woman had to help me up. that's what i get for going to church!

any of my friends out there have any to add to my list??? anyone else equally as embarrassing??? doubt it!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

shelving books is apparently the cure to all my anxiety issues.

last night i volunteered with my friend at a disney magnet school's library. i had done this once before but i have had trouble squeezing it into my schedule since. i remember leaving the project feeling very clear-headed and happy - just after an hour or so of reshelving books. same thing last night. i felt productive, relaxed and recharged. i've always enjoyed cleaning up other people's messes and solving their problems instead of my own. it helps me focus on someone and something else rather than on my to do list i have to tackle. i worked on the Easy Children's Book section which simply involved reshelving piles and piles of books in alphabetical order and organizing as i went along. they were a mess which only made me enjoy it even more! for a straight hour i barely spoke to anyone and just focused on these books. i didn't think about my paper that was waiting for me to work on when i got home. i didn't think about my big work day that i have today. nada. i just thought about the alphabet and how cute some of the book covers were. so basically it was a mutually beneficial experience - helping this school and helping me not go insane. good stuff!

afterwards i walked home which was a nice extra workout, cooked a healthy dinner, watched millionaire matchmaker and worked on my paper. i feel way more relaxed today than i have in a long time. i'm totally ready to tackle my long day at work. hope everyone else has a nice wednesday!

Monday, March 8, 2010

weekend recap: music, loved ones & the oscars!

i had a great weekend that was very different from most - low key! after work on friday, i hit the gym for cardio kickboxing and despite the very unenthusiastic instructor it was a good work out and i plan to go again this friday. then the bf and i went to an african music ensemble at depaul. the university hosts tons of free music events and this one caught my eye. this one was really fun and i love freebie events! afterwards we drove down to the burbs for the night and i crashed early. it was divine. i slept for 10 hours. it was much needed!

on saturday morning, my mom and i went to our hair salon for haircuts together and then we went out to lunch at portillos. YUM. it's been awhile since i've eaten there and it really hit the spot. later on the bf picked me up and we drove down to u of i with his parents to see his lil bro's senior recital. he is also a percussionist and truly amazing. i was so happy to be able to see him perform! afterwards we went to a delicious dinner with his girlfriend and their aunt & cousin. we had a mini feast of fries, wings and pizza. YUM! then we hit the road and i got to bed early again!

sunday morning i ran some errands, cleaned up and then we met two of my favorite couples for lunch at wildes. meg & ry brought their little munchkin bella. she is the truly the only little lovebug making me even consider having kids of my own. she's perfect! we had a great lunch and then went back to stef & jeff's to hang out a bit. it's so fun to see bella walk and she's So animated now with funny expressions and some talking. i love it! after meg, ry & bella hit the road i stuck around to work on some wedding stuff with stef. she taught me how to knit so i could attempt to help her awesome shower favors - a little dish towel. i couldnt get it at first but she's a really good teacher so i finally pulled it together. we watched a bit of the oscar preshow and then i was off to meet another bff to watch the show at zellas. the place was totally dead so we got a prime seat on a sofa next to the fire. we got to catch up and then we had a lot of opinions about the fashion. some of my faves were: rachel mcadams, maggie gyllenhal, sandra bullock and yes, even sarah jessica parker. my least favorites were the chick from up in the air or inglorious bastards. today i added a bunch of the oscar noms to my netflix list because i only saw a few this year.

i went to bed last night feeling incredibly lucky that i got to spend my weekend with so many people that i love. i got to do some cool stuff with the bf, spend some time with my rents and the bf's family and some quality time with friends on sunday. i couldn't ask for a better mix of people to spend my weekend with. i hope everyone else had a good one too!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

promotion & other happy thoughts.

a few weeks ago my boss told me i was being promoted! i knew i was up for a title change but i thought it was only if we were able to get a new position under me to manage so the news came as quite a surprise! so now i am an associate director promoted from assistant director after working here for about 2.5 years. we are waiting to find out if the position below me will get approved. fingers crossed because it would make my life so much easier and i'm eager to get management experience. i'm really excited for this new role and all of the opportunities it might bring and i'm anxious to see what's next!

in other news - i booked some reservations for chef's week and i'm SO excited. restaurant week was so so but i'm really excited about my choices for chef's week. i lucked out with a reservation at blackbird, the publican and a lunch reservation at perennial. i love food. more on me and my friend's love for food - check out iheartcomida.blogspot.com.

despite my major exhaustion due to lack of sleep lately i'm still having a good week! yesterday was especially good. i hit the gym and took another class with the satan lady. she kicked my ass yet again and i'm way sore today. i know it's a good thing though. this class was more yoga influenced and even had some dance elements. kicked my ass. after class i met a few friends and the bf for a free movie night at lincoln hall featuring wet hot american summer - the most hilarious movie i swear. it was good laughter therapy and great to do something fun with friends in the middle of the week.

and i have exciting things in store for the weekend. tomorrow me and the bf are going to a depaul african ensemble performance. i'm really excited - especially just to spend some time with my babe. saturday we're driving down to u of i with his fam to see his lil bro's senior recital. more cool music! i can't wait! on sunday i get to spend time with some of my fav high school gals and their men for lunch and later on i'm going to watch the oscars with my bestest. unfortunately at some point i have to squeeze in some homework and paper writing since the quarter is quickly coming to a close...at least the rest will all be fun! hope everyone is having a good week too!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

vaca day and FOOD!

on friday i took a vaca day purely for mental health. i think i need those at least once a school quarter in order to avoid going completely crazy. i slept late and then just texted and emailed from bed for a nice long time. i finally got up and went to one of my favorite places...WHOLE FOODS! i love how it's laid out, the free cheese samples everywhere and how helpful everyone is. i bought lots of beautiful food for the week and ingredients to make beef stew in the crock pot. i also got their delic mac & cheese from their hot bar for lunch. TO DIE! when i got home i started chopping all the onions, potatoes, garlic and carrots. who knew that would be so insanely time consuming! then i had to brown up the beef add in the beef stock and get it cooking. i added in some thyme and hot sauce and let it sit for 5 hours. then later on i added in more stock and green beans and let it sit for about 15 minutes. then it was ready to enjoy! it turned out great and i'm really proud of myself! while i waited for it to cook all day i got some school work done and watched my netflix movie - the visitor which was very good. later on a friend and i went to the bf's small show at their studio. it was really fun and they sounded great. after that we went to merkles to see one of her friend's bands. it's been quite a long time since i've been out in wrigleyville. i felt like the oldiest and most sober person in the room. it was a bit rough. fun nonetheless! the rest of the weekend is a blur and i'm super tired and in need of another vaca day which isn't gonna happen for awhile unfortunately.

if you want more on my foodie wannabe ways check out this new blog i'm a co-author on - http://iheartcomida.blogspot.com/.