Wednesday, December 22, 2010


yesterday was wonderful because of all the delicious food i consumed! my mom and i met my cousin and aunt at macy's to have lunch at the walnut room. i've never done it and my mom used to go when she was little with her mom so we decided to start our own tradition. my mom and i got there around 11 a.m. and waited in line to get the pager. about 20 minutes just to get the pager and then we were told there was a 2 hour wait. so we did some shopping and then met up with my aunt and cousin. we finally got seated and had a great view of the tree. our waitress was really funny and kept us laughing the whole time. my mom and i both ordered the asiago crusted chicken breast with sour cream and chive mashed potatoes and veggies. it was so yummie! i had very low expectations for the food but i really loved it. my mom and i cleaned our plates and then we split a frango cheesecake. also delicious!!! we were so stuffed afterwards! later on we went to see my cousin's new condo which is just a few blocks away from me. it's beautiful and i'm so happy for her! then i had some downtime at home before my dinner date with rob. he came home and we exchanged christmas gifts before dinner. i gave him a sturdy portfolio to keep all of his show posters and a promise to scrapbook his israel trip for him. he gave me a gorgeous necklace from dogeared. i love it. and the other part of my gift was dinner at a snazzy restaurant. i gave him 5 choices and then he picked. he selected table 52 and i'm so glad he did! it was very intimate inside and total comfort food all the way. they brought out deviled eggs (i dont eat those so rob had 2!) and a goat cheese biscuit = stupidly amazing. then we ordered a side of mac & cheese to split and i got breaded catfish with a hush puppy, collard greens and cheese grits. unbelievable. the mac and cheese was truly unbelievable. it was perfect in every way. crispy on top and creamy on the inside and so flavorful! rob got a huge pork chop that was so juicy and flavorful and it came over a yummie bean stew. they brought out little sweet potato cakes with cream cheese frosting at the end. so many freebies! we were so pleased with our meal! i'm so glad we went there and i think food is the greatest gift he could ever give me. i loved it!!!!

my new year's resolution to eat at as many new restaurants as i could is coming to a close and the total is currently at 63. i will probably squeeze in a couple more before ringing in 2011 but table 52 is definitely at the top!

Friday, December 17, 2010

christmas season countdown!

i've REALLY been enjoying the holiday season this year - so unlike me! and there are a lot of really fun things on the agenda. so here is my official holiday season countdown:

1 day till high school bff fun for stef's birthday and decorating the tree with my folks
2 days until fam christmas celebration at my aunt & uncle's
3 days until i give my seniors their christmas gifts!
4 days till my mom and i do the walnut room AND rob takes me out for my surprise christmas dinner
5 days till my last day of work for 11 days!
6 first day of vacation!
7 days until christmas eve
8 days until christmas day at my aunt's
9 days until i get to see amy, luke and tom and celebrate the jensen's christmas!
10 days until rob's dad's side gets together for christmas
11 days until i take a day for myself in the city
12 days until i do the same thing :)
13 days until we get to spend more time with the luke meister in the burbs
14 days until new year's eve!
15 days until i get to hang out with my bestest that will be in from germany
16 days until high school bffs do our junk food dinner party at meg & rys!!!

A FABULOUS 16 days if you ask me!!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

perfect weekend

even though we had HORRIBLE weather and i caught a cold - this weekend was still lovely! on friday i worked out, grabbed chicago bagel authority for dinner and then went to the Christmas at DePaul production at St. Vincent de Paul church with my friend and her roomie. they have a 200 person choir and a 50 person orchestra and the church is lit up beautifully. it's a great way to get in the holiday spirit. afterwards we went to see rob play with the sleeptalkers. it was really fun and i'm glad my friend lydia got to see him play because it's been awhile! on saturday it rained all day and my friend jamie was in town. we were supposed to do holiday things downtown but the weather ruined that. so we sat at her friends under a cozy blanket and caught up over some wine and beer. it was delightful! then we met a friend for a drink and then i met rob and my parents for the punch brothers show at lincoln hall. they're a bluegrass band we saw open for steve martin at ravinia this summer. i'm pretty obsessed with them! my dad is a big bluegrass fan and it was so fun to take them to a show. i loved it! on sunday i did coffee at lovely in wicker park with jamie and tara before jamie had to head back to michigan. we had a nice time catching up! then i went home to get everything ready for my christmas dinner party. the weather kept getting worse and worse but most of my party guests still made it over! we had quite the spread! it was so nice to see everyone and spend some time with my favorite friends during this busy season. i'm so grateful they were all willing to make the trek over. this week includes several more holiday activities - rob's holiday party at work, a holiday tour downtown and some more family christmas activities. i'm not usually super festive during christmas but im really getting into it this year!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

multi-step days

we all know i love to be busy. i'm more productive when i'm busy. i feel more satisfied and accomplished. i like working my schedule out like a little game. but, there are downfalls of being busy - exhaustion, crankiness and no me time. sometimes i pack my schedule so tight i don't leave any time for me or to laze about. since the insane laziness i had over thanksgiving, i've really picked up the pace with plans lately. everyday has multiple steps that i have to get through. granted, they're all things i want to do and i'm excited about but when there is so much of it to do, it can get wearing.

i'll show you my week in steps.

monday: step 1 - work. step 2 - gym. step 3 - volunteer at bingo.
tuesday: step 1 - work. step 2 - chiropractor. step 3 - christmas shop for 3 hours.
wednesday: step 1 - work. step 2 - work at the doggie boutique. step 3 - home for dinner. step 4 - go to wicker park for rob's show.
thursday: step 1 - work. step 2 - gym. step 3 - lydia's students art show on the south side. step 4 - beers and wings with friends on the northside.
friday: step 1 - work. step 2 - gym. step 3 - christmas show at depaul. step 4 - drinks with friends. step 5 - rob's show on the northside.
saturday: step 1 - grocery shop. step 2 - clean my apartment. step 3 - meet up with an out of town bud. step 4 - meet my parents for a bluegrass show.
sunday: step 1 - meet out of town friend. step 2 - cook and clean all day. step 3 - dinner with friends.

so it's been a lot of steps this week. all things i've really wanted to do but i'm exhausted. during the day i literally think -ok just a couple more steps to get through my day. the steps are all so fun and enjoyable but i think i need atleast one step to be RELAX or i'll die! i have 10 days off at christmas to look forward to!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

pet peeves.

i have a long list of pet peeves and annoyances. when i experience them, my heart starts to race, i get anxious and annoyed beyond control and it often ruins my mood. i know that many of them don't bother most people so it's ridiculous for me to expect people to know that they drive me up the wall. but sometimes i wish the rest of the world was on board with me. for example...

nail biting - stresses me to the max. when people bite their nails in front of me it makes me think they're nervous about something which then makes me nervous. i literally bat rob's hands out of his mouth when he does it.

hef chewing on his cage - my gerbil has a tendency to chew on the metal bars of his cage in one corner in particular. the noise REALLY gets under my skin. he's not smart enough to learn to stop. i've tried to train him, it doesn't work.

repetitive noises of all kinds - this could be humming, coughing, tongue clicking, foot tapping, water dripping - any of it makes me want to smack someone. alarm clocks are my biggest enemy.

chatterboxes during rush hour - when i ride the bus at 8 a.m. or after work - i'd really like to zone out quietly without having to hear your child squeal or your convo with your bff on your cell.

people that walk in the middle of the side walk at the pace of a snail and you can't pass them because they're taking up the whole damn sidewalk - enough said.

unaware bus passengers - i really don't like when someone has tries to pull the stop cord on the bus and it's already been pulled. and keeps pulling it waiting for the ding. i know this one is VERY silly but every time it happens i just think what a dummie the other person is.

i wish i wasn't such an irritable person, but i am. what are your pet peeves??

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

winter activities!

even if it's not technically winter yet according to the calendar, it's definitely winter in chicago. it snowed on friday and then got very, very, very cold. each year i forget what it feels like. how awful the wind can get, how the dampness in my hair freezes in the morning and how my fingers hurt from extreme coldness. i don't understand how i forget this each year. it's in the teens today. i don't even remember what single digits feels like. not looking forward to that! despite the wretchedness of the cold weather, there are lots of wonderful things to do in chicago in wintertime.

i started to get in the holiday spirit this weekend. on friday rob and i went to the lincoln square german christmas market. they had a big heated tent with adorable christmas carolers, gift booths and german fare. their winter fest isn't nearly as fun as their summer and fall festivals but i still loved it. afterwards we went to a nearby german bar and i loved that even more. saturday night i met some friends out for a santa pub crawl and got to admire all the drunkie's bear soaked santa beards and creative costumes. it was definitely interesting! sunday rob and i went to his mom's for hanukkah. mrs. j cooked up a huge hanukkah feast for the 3 of us to enjoy. we had challah, matzo ball soup, chicken, potato pancakes and veggies. then we had some hanukkah sugar cookies, christmas cookies and ice cream. we were stuffed! then we went home and decorated my apartment with some of the christmas decor mrs. j passed on and the new lights i bought.

this weekend there will be more fun winter time activities - a trip to the zoo to see the lights display, the depaul christmas production and a christmas dinner with some friends. on thursday my work is hosting a lights tour throughout the city and we'll get to go to macy's to see the windows and the german market in daly plaza. i'm so excited!

hope your winter is full of fun activities too!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

new found love for coupons!

i never really paid attention to coupons or special offers before but lately i've been getting some really good ones and i've been totally taking advantage of them! i used to forget to redeem them and saving money wasn't a huge priority for me. now that money is tight with christmas shopping and tuition fees, i'm definitely using them all the time!

first there is my beloved jewel coupons that end up saving me a fair amount of money on my weekly shopping trips. and ofcourse my favorite - groupon. i have been using those so much lately, the deals are too good to be true! i can't wait to use the body shop and nordstrom ones! they have really come in handy for christmas shopping.

i have gotten some really great online offers too. walgreens always has some good special going on and i've already used their special coupon codes twice for holiday shopping. right now it's 33% off photo books, prints and other gifts until saturday. you should check it out! is also completely out of control as far as extreme deals. i stocked up on great gift cards for me and friends. my fellow blogger friend ( recommended for special coupon codes for holiday shopping. they have so many coupon codes for every store imaginable!

i've also been getting tons of mailed coupons this year that have amazing offers. so far i've used coupons/special offers at victoria's secret, michael's, origins and bath and body works. i got so many quality christmas presents, plus some small stuff for me and i saved so much money.

i also try to remember all the places i get discounts because i work at and went to depaul. be sure to visit your alma mater websites to see what benefits you receive as a grad of the university.

all of these deals feel like i'm getting free money and i love getting creative with it! it's like a little game. if you're looking to save some money but still get nice gifts for the holidays, i would recommend getting on the mailing and email lists for the companies i bolded. the deals keep coming! here's hoping our mailboxes have some more great deals soon!

what's been your favorite holiday deal so far?