Sunday, June 27, 2010

hot child in the city!

i had a great weekend in my great city of chicago! on friday i met up with one of my friends from college and we went to the beer garden at lotties in bucktown and then danced the night away at the hot hot hot danny's. it was fun to check out a new area! saturday i had an event at arlington racetrack. rob came with me and we had a last minute extra ticket so rob's mom came to join us. i was so glad she could make it! it was an absolutely beautiful day and the park is so pretty. there were a ton of crappy things happening with the event but it was still a lot of fun. we got to enjoy a yummie lunch buffet and bet on some of the races. i won on each of the 3 races we bet on and rob and mrs. j had some luck too. the most i won was $13.50 on one race. i was pretty proud of myself! one of the guests at our table turned out to be a psychic! she gave all of us a reading. she knew that i was going to michigan (i'm going on saturday) and that i'd be so tired and sleep the whole way (always!). she knew that i was pursuing my masters. she warned me that when i get pregnant i am to lift nothing or eat any salt. and she is worried about rob's carbuerator (his car doesn't have one) and she said i'm saver (ha!). so she's off on some things and on for others. it was really fun and she was darling! later that night rob and i went out with my freshly married friends stef and jeff. we tried out the counter; which is a build your own burger place. i've been wanting to try it for awhile. i was a bit overwhelmed by the choices but ended up with a delicious burger! i got a 1/3 patty with feta cheese, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, red onions and lettuce on a honey oat bun. YUM! we also split some cheese fries and i tried fried dill pickle chips. i won't be rushing back there anytime soon but i'd definitely go back and try something different. after dinner we went to the landmark theatre to see the girl with the dragon tattoo. i figured i should see what the big hype was all about. can't say that i was a huge fan. it was very graphic and very disturbing. i didn't like what was the core theme of the movie at all. i felt queasy numerous times during the flick and had to think happy thoughts in order not to get sick. the rest of the gang liked the suspense and whatnot but not i. still glad i checked it out! today we met up with stef and jeff again today for the pride parade! it was stef, jeff and rob's first time. it was ridiculously hot and i totally didn't wear sunscreen so i got scorched. bound to happen. the floats weren't nearly as fun and wild as last year but there were still some fun ones. when we officially overheated we came to my place to cool off and stef and jeff were officially trapped! i'm in the center of the parade route and the parade just lasted forever so they couldn't leave! i felt terrible but it was fun to have people over and to catch up with them. i am just so glad they're back from their honeymoon. i was going through stef withdrawl! and later rob and i watched the blindside. again, i figured i should see what the hype was all about and again, can't say that i'm a fan. i thought it was much too hokey and the boy was a terrible actor. sandra was great - award winning? maybe. it was a nice story but i was just wasn't wowed by it. i'd rather watch a documentary about the boy's life than this movie. it did inspire me to foster or adopt even more though.

overall it has been a great weekend. i love that no weekend is ever like the last and that i always get to try new places and new things in the city. this week is sure to be a good one - my bday is friday and i can't wait to celebrate with my best friends, rob and my family. hope everyone had a great weekend too!

Monday, June 21, 2010

june highlights.

summer is flying by but it's been oh so sweet so far! some of my favorite parts thus far:
* starting out the month in san francisco hanging with my bud caitlin, meeting my darling "nephew" and spending time with rob's sis.
* going to the alumni rugby game to catch some rays and dream of what it would have been like to be a true rugby gal.
* mayfest. lots of german beer and later dancing on booths and free alcohol. great night.
* stef & jeff's beautiful and super fun wedding at the morton arboretum followed by meg's lovely wedding shower!
* steve martin at ravinia with rob. i love that place and i am obsessed with stevo.
* nessa's visit = girl time and good food.
* tara's birthday. including free 4th row cubs game tickets and a surprise for the bday girl at fuego and a shopping and sunning day in downtown naperville.
* bbqing with my fam in the burbs for father's day and listening to my dad tell ridiculous stories. i see where i get my story telling techniques.

some summer things to look forward to:
* date night with my man this thursday. i've been so busy we haven't been able to do dinner in ages so we're doing fondu at gejas!
* work event at arlington race track. enormo buffet and gambling. makes me happy!
* MY 26th BIRTHDAY! including a crazy night out with my girlfriends and a day trip to michigan with my man. can't wait!
* sheffield garden walk with some old college buds.
* tie dye & fondu party with ry. this is just an idea floating around but we gotta do it!
* girlie slumber party at meg's.
* HUNKY DORY!!!!! relaxing vacation with rob's family in wisconsin.
* FRANCE!!!!!!

there's a lot to look forward to! i've been so busy lately, sometimes i forget to stop and smell the roses and appreciate how much fun i have!

Friday, June 18, 2010

25 new restaurants and counting.

so one of my new year's resolutions this year was to try new restaurants instead of going to my old standbys. so far i've tried 25 new places! i've still managed to squeeze in some favorites like el mariachi and hooters along the way though. this list is only including places ive dined at in chicago. take out doesn't count either! places i eat at while traveling also aren't included.

here's what i've tried since january 1:
1. May St. Cafe
2. Izaru
3. Duchamp
4. Fireplace Inn
5. Meze
6. DMK Burger Bar
7. Lucky's Sandwich Shop
8. Piccolo Sogno
9. Sola
10. Tizi Melloul
11. Prosecco
12. Gemini Bistro
13. Blackbird
14. Nesh
15. Five Guys
16. Shiso
17. El Nuevo
18. Primebar
19. Big Star
20. Park Grill
21. Harmony Grill
22. Kith & Kin
23. Fallafel
24. Kim & Scott's Cafe Twist
25. Fuego

looking back at this list, i can remember some really great meals and some so so ones. i can't even pick a favorite because they are all so different. i've discovered some new wonderfully delicious lunch spots near work. like nesh- the delicious mediterranean place up the street, five guys - the best junk food in town and kim & scott's the new pretzel joint a few blocks away. i've tried some 'eh' mexican places like el nuevo, fuego and big star. nothing comes close to my el mariachi. i've had lovely italian at prosecco and piccolo sogno. some southern comfort food at fireplace inn, harmony grill and kith & kin. i think out of the whole list my top 5 meals have been at tizi melloul, primebar, kim & scotts, piccolo sogno and harmony grill. fireplace inn and may st. cafe come close. next up on the list for places to try is devon seafood because i have a groupon for it. any suggestions for must trys??

Monday, June 14, 2010

best friend's wedding and bff time!

this weekend one of my very best buds got hitched! i've known her now for 12 years and now we're all grown up! i was one of the two maids of honors and i could not be more honored to be part of it. the wedding was on friday at the morton arboretum. it is a stunning venue! the ceremony was in the hedge garden - rain free with plenty of hot, hot sun! it was a beautiful and touching ceremony followed by a really great reception. my favorite part was their first dance. they started out with so this is love from cinderella and then broke into mr. roboto and then into all sorts of other songs like walk like an egyptian, can't touch this, vanilla ice and more and they did all the different dance moves for each. it was truly priceless and it set the tone for the whole reception! everyone ate it up! i was just so proud of my bud for being calm, cool and collected the whole day while looking like an absolute queen at the same time. she was the world's most perfect bride! i had a blast with my bffs from high school and my man came and helped me out a lot and took lots of pictures. see below!

the day after the wedding, another bud had her bridal shower. we got to eat some more great food, talk wedding and play with her darling baby girl that i'm obsessed with. i'm so excited for all my ladies in love! it's been really interesting to see how different and how similar each wedding has been and how unique their relationships with their hubbies are. i love it! i'm so grateful to be part of each of their special days.

after the shower i went to steve martin's bluegrass show at ravinia with the boyfriend. i'm a HUGE steve martin fan. like OBSESSED! i'm a pretty big bluegrass fan too so when i saw this it was like a match made in heaven. i also love ravinia. i think it is a very cool experience to picnic outside and hang out on these huge grounds with so many other people. we got pretty decent spots close to the pavillion and i snagged a few good pics. i just love him!

on sunday i went back to the burbs to my friend's house to hang out with all the girls because my best bud is in from germany (the cute asian in navy blue below). we had fun girl talk and chowed down. after that we drove up to the city to hang out with another friend. it feels great to have everyone together. we're all doing dinner tonight at kith and kin and i can't wait!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

saturday is a rugby day.

on saturday i went to the alumni rugby game at montrose harbor. and it made me sad. i played rugby for like a milisecond in college at depaul. i thought it looked so cool and i knew it was a very social sport so i decided to try it out. turns out i'm a terrible athlete. i got shin splints within like 2 weeks and couldnt never run very far. i only kicked major ass in one game - took a girl down and she had to be carried off the field. my one glory story. i was always there for the parties though! i fell in love the girls and the culture of the sport but i just stunk. going to the game made me realize how much i still love the culture and the crazy weird rules of the game and made me wish that i would have actually been part of the team rather than just the parties. i sat there longing to get dirty and to beat some ass. how ridiculous is that! i literally got depressed. but later that day i realized that i fully engulfed myself into the activities board culture and it was just like a little team. we all relied on each other for so much, spent tons of time together working and playing and becoming thick as thieves. as much as i wish i could have been part of the rugby club and kicked major ass - i'll always be more of a party planner than an athlete. i'll settle for being a total rugby groupie :)

later that night i met my friends tara and ryann at mayfest for german fun. ryann and got some beers and tara got some riesling. things quickly got out of hand when ryann told the bartender she'd chug her stein of beer for a free one. it worked! she did that twice. she's a champ. then tara asked for an IOU on another glass of wine. what an understanding man! we got a tad silly and harassed police officers and a giant germany aficionado. we had a very good time. after the festival we went to sopo lounge and danced our little hearts out. its been ages since i busted a move and it was a blast! the manager encouraged us to dance on the booths and get rowdy. when does that happen! he brought us a round of shots in honor of our dance moves. they played my favorite song for me so i could break it down. honestly, it was the most fun i've had in ages! i love those girls to pieces.

life is so busy right now with graduation at depaul and stef and jeff's wedding this weekend. big blog post will come afterwards!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

bff and baby time in san francisco!

i just returned from a lovely trip to san francisco late last night. i went out to celebrate my good friend caitlin's birthday - very belated - and meet the new "nephew" Luke. it was a wonderful trip! caitlin actually came to chicago on saturday for the first hawks game and so we flew back together. when we landed we went to chinatown for dinner and got delicious food!!! afterwards we went to a place called candy bar. it is heavenly. they have sweets, alcohol, fancy sodas and games. i got a pb&j thing that had peanut buttery goodness inside a pastry with fresh berrys and jam and carmelized peanuts. DIVINE. i had a mexican coke too - the best! we played some connect four and then went home and crashed. the next day we drove to san jose to the winchester mansion - it's a totally wacky mansion that the winchester widow built - she thought she was being haunted by ghosts so she made it confusing for them by having windows in the floor, stairs leading no where and doors that led to a big drop outside. it was super fun to do with caitlin and totally our style of a touristy activity. after that she took me to a bar in the marina for food and the hawks game. we had a good time rooting for our home team and chowing down and they won! phew! after that i insisted she show me famous houses so we went and found the painted ladies (opening shot of full house), jerry garcia's house, the full house house, and my personal favorite - the house from mrs. doubtfire!!! then we got ben and jerry's and saw sex and the city two. it was a wonderfully full day and i loved every second! trekking around san francisco with barely any idea where we're going in foggy mist trying to find silly houses reminded me of the comedy road trips we used to take. in college we would decide to take 4 hour trips randomly to see our favorite comedians and always, always get lost! but oh so fun!

the second part of my trip involved meeting my unoffical little nephew, luke. rob's sister amy was so kind to pack up luke and the car and come get me from caitlins and to take me back to her place in foster city. foster city is just south of the city and much less foggy and very sunny. i got to spend some quality time, ask a lot of questions about how amy is feeling, what luke's like, what parenthood is all about and anything else that crossed my mind. ame made delicious sandwiches for us and i got to try to convince luke to not hate me - he cried a lot that day when i held him. later, amy kindly drove me to caitlin's work and then caitlin and i went to the ferry building for our yoga hike. i found out about hiking yoga on it starts at the ferry building and then you go on a few very, very uphill hikes on pretty san fran streets. you do yoga at the top of each hill. the walks upward were very challenging but satisfying. the yoga was also pretty challenging but lovely. the views you could see from so high up were incredible and the paths we took felt very special and unique. i can't wait to do it again sometime! afterwards caitlin took me to her favorite seafood joint in the castro and holy hell, it was good! we split crab cakes appetizer and then i got almond crusted halibut with mashed potatoes and veggies. TO DIE! then we went home and she introduced me to the vampire diaries. i could see how it's addicting and it's not as horrendous as twilight. the next day amy came by again to pick me up for the day. this time we went for a little walk to starbucks. every time i visit i am blown away at how gorgeous it is in foster city. they live next to the canal system and along the way there are lots of pretty houses and flowers. i just think how lucky luke is to grow up in such a beautiful area. he's going to be a total little fish - wind surfing like dad i bet. we had a nice lunch and then walked back and did little photo shoots along the way. luke didn't dislike me as much this day and let me hold him for extended periods of time without crying. success! it was so fun to spend so much time with luke and amy. amy is such a natural. she is an amazing mama and when i saw tom for just a few moments but he is equally fantastic with luke. i'm so happy to be able to see them during this time when they're figuring it all out with such ease, love and patience. it's just so happy. luke is the sweetest little guy. he already has such personality! he's very strong and good at moving his head around and his arms like to fling around a lot. his little chin quivers when he cries and his lips make the most perfect circle when he yawns. i love him. can't wait for their visit in july!

it was such a great, stress-free trip. similiar to florida. just lots of quality time and good food. i can't wait to go back some time in the fall.

will post pictures soon!