27 December 2013

Christmas Is Over

This pretty much sums up my last week.  Between taking the GRE, driving across the state of Michigan, learning that *gasp* I might actually like dark beer, and returning to a quiet and crisp Chicago, I feel like I've done and seen a lot. But also, oddly enough, my batteries are completely recharged, I'm ready for 2014 and all the good it will bring with it.

Here's a little peek into some of the things Andrew and I did on our Christmas vacation. Not pictured are all of the wonderful family and friends we saw and hosts we stayed with. You all are so warm and gracious for hosting us! If you are reading this, please come and stay with either of us on your next visit to the Windy City!!

On Sunday, Andrew and I visited East Lansing to so he could show me where he went to school, all of the places he "rioted", which buildings he slept in, and where he bought his records. A particular plus to the visit was that a massive ice storm had swept through that part of Michigan the night before, so the entire campus was covered in a sheen of glistening gorgeous ice. It was magical. Here's a photo of me being an ice queen.

While on campus, we also stopped by the beautiful new Eli and EdythE Broad Art Museum. My mouth watered at the newness of it. The sharp angles made for a precarious and confusing layout that left room for surprise and amazement as we walked through the space. Also, props for including a gallery for New Media and a gallery devoted to film. This is a big win! And even cooler/nerdier, is the store room that you can actually see into, making it possible to view art in the environment that it is stored  in while not on display. I basically loved this museum, and am super excited for the opportunities it offers East Lansing and MSU. High fives to everyone involved. 

As mentioned above, Andrew and I went to six breweries over the course of the weekend. We visited Three Floyds in Munster, IN where I had a Dusseldorf style beer called "Dorsia" that was delicious - it was sweet, a pretty amber color, and only available for a short period of time, so I tried not to get too attached. 

We went to Jolly Pumpkin and Arbor Brewing Company in Ann Arbor, MI - neither of which really left an imprint on me at all (sry, not sry). I remember liking what I had at Arbor but not much beyond that. 

Dark Horse Brewing Co. in Marshall, MI (pictured above) was the real winner for us. He had a blueberry stout and I had 4 Elves which was dark but god damn delicious! We both finished our drinks in the warmth of the heavily mug-clad room, and I was hoping we could stay for one more! I also learned what a mug club is, and I want to find a mug club in Chicago. Mug clubs are like book clubs, only they involve beer, and have nothing to do with book clubs.

Here's a photo of us trying to take a photo at Dark Horse. Clearly I'm lovin' it.

We then drove to Arcadia Ales in Battlecreek, MI which had a not so cool vibe. We stayed for a pint, didn't love it, and then drove to our final destination, Bells Brewery in Kalamazoo, MI. Bells ruled! We shared a pint, by this point, I was not paying attention (obvs, beer, duh) - but they recently expanded and added a performance space to their complex where they were screening Christmas movies! We order pork tacos and spinach dip, guzzled beer, ate popcorn, and watched the tail end of A Christmas Story before heading home. It was dreamy.

Christmas eve was delightful. We stayed with Andrew's family in Muskegon, MI and had heartwarming lasagna, followed by apple crisp and hot toddies. We exchanged gifts, and I finally saw It's A Wonderful Life. That movie IS good. I'm shocked it took me this long to see it! Basically, Christmas eve was lovely, warm, and wonderful! With good company gathered around a fire, what else could I have asked for?

Christmas was super lowkey and mainly involved driving from Michigan back to Chicago. We headed straight into Chinatown for some light shopping and dinner at Ming Hin. Andrew and I picked up plenty of weird kitsch, and I enjoyed the heck out of my garlic eggplant - though I was disappointed in the overall meal. I'm just gonna go out on a limb and say that Ming Hin is way better for dim sum than dinner, lesson learned. Following Chinese food, in true Jewish Christmas fashion, we headed to the Landmark Century to see a screening of "Her". No comment, just go see it. :)

And here we are, back in Chicago. I'm at work for the rest of this week - but everyone is out on holiday still, so the office-life is pretty pleasant and quiet. Chicago is also quiet, the trains aren't crowded, there's practically no one out and about in the morning... I sort of like it! 

How was your holiday? Did you get what you wanted for Christmas? What are some of your traditions? Andrew and I have yet to exchange gifts, but I already feel like I got exactly what I wanted! Good company, and a drinking buddy who lets me read Sarah Silverman's memoir to him out loud.

20 December 2013

This Weekend

Christmasssssss Presentsssss via source
- Taking the dreaded GRE (been putting this off since 2009). Also for your reading pleasure, the rules I have to follow for tomorrow's test. Some highlights: 1) I can't bring a phone into the building, 2) I cannot wear a digital watch, 3) I might be fingerprinted, thumbprinted, videotaped, or photographed, 4) I cannot bring a firearm with me, 5) my hat, scarf, coat are all subject to inspection. And you wonder why I have been putting this off...
- Leaving for Michigan right after my test! Stopping for snacks and beer along the way!
- Grand Rapids for drinks and dinner!
- Seeing the MSU campus and hopefully seeing the beautiful new Broad Art Museum
- Meeting a cute baby!
- Brewery tours on Monday!
- Christmas presents and Christmas treats with Andrew and his family
- Jewish xmas dinner in Chinatown on the 25th!
- Working on my application for my dream school :)

Can't wait to don my Christmas apparel!

18 December 2013

Oh, Baby I Love Your Way

Last week, Andrew and I went to two different in-store performances at Logan Hardware and Bric A Brac - some of our favorite record stores in Chicago. Our life last week began to resemble pages of High Fidelity, not the sad ones, but the cool ones. The pages about hanging out in record stores, pouring over bins of records, listening to bands I've never heard of, having records signed, feeling cool and involved in something greater than myself. It was really really fun, and not to mention, free!

Dikes of Holland Wailing via Spin Magazine
Monday night we saw Dikes of Holland and The Wet play at Bric A Brac. Strange to be at a tiny, loud, DIY style show on a Monday after work - but the girl Liz from Dikes of Holland was adorable, could wail her heart out, and they were from Austin. Basically, everything I hear and see from Austin makes me think I would love Austin. Texas, I think I am visiting you this year.

Ricky B via the Reader
Saturday afternoon was a pretty magical experience. We saw Ricky B perform at Logan Hardware - and he was backed by a Chicago brass band. It was so so so cool. I'm talking interesting, love-filled NOLA rap backed by the sounds of a local brass band. The whole thing was so strange and wonderful that I couldn't help but smile the entire performance. He had us throwing our hands in the air, chanting "one love", and oh my goodness, the energy was unreal.  After the performance, Andrew and I met Ricky B (nicest dude), and he signed a record for us! Buzzing from good music and good vibes, we found ourselves playing pinball and Donkey Kong in the video game museum in the back of Logan Hardware. Such a good afternoon!

Ricky B and the brass band photo cred Andrew
I highly suggest picking his record up, it's fabulous. Take a listen to Shake It Fo Yo Hood, and try not to bounce a little.

17 December 2013

I'm Your Density

George McFly, my destiny spirit animal via NeoGaf
Without going into too much detail, for fear of counting my chickens before they hatch, I made a BIG life decision two weeks ago and am slowly cracking away at it with a hard deadline of February 1st, 2014. It involves following my dreams, leading with my heart, and embracing my undying love of art and museums. It's my destiny, I know it. So if my writing on here is a little quiet or vague, it's because I am working on some big changes and I am strangely superstitious about gabbing about my future without having everything in place... more soon, I promise.

13 December 2013

This Weekend

Big gif via Bustle

- Office holiday party tonight
- Sleeping in and brunch making
- Finishing the last bit of holiday shopping (strict budget!)
- Three holiday parties on Saturday
- Making spinach dip
- Reading another memoir
- Moving my bed away from my window

This is the first year that I am not celebrating the holidays with my Art Institute fundraising team - and boy am I feeling it! We had one of the most epic holiday grab bag stealing gift exchanges ever, on top of having a generally rowdy time together. Tonight's affair with my new team will probably be way less rowdy, but I am bringing Andrew as my date, and I think we will go out for a night on the town afterwards! Do I smell Rainbo Club and Picante? Tomorrow will involve a crazy amount of holiday parties, I actually suggested we make an itinerary for the evening, because I am Type A. What are you doing for the holidays? I can't believe December is already halfway through!

12 December 2013

Oh Chicago, Why Are You So Charming??

How amazing is this project / video? A magical piano is set up in Chicago's Union Station and it interacts with passersby and those wishing to have spontaneous duets. This video warms my heart and tickles me to know that I live in such a special and strange city full of whimsy and magic.

Visit Me at Side Dish Mag

I did a guest post over on Side Dish Mag yesterday, full of my tips and tricks to surviving the god awful beautifully crisp Midwestern winter. How do you fill your winter time? Do you stay inside and hibernate? Do you ski or snowboard? Is there something you plan on accomplishing this winter? I'm planning on reading, watching Seinfeld, baking, and keeping my complaining to a minimum :)

11 December 2013

My Holiday Wishlist

I've already received the one major thing I asked for this season - a pair of spankin' new Ugg boots (this is not a joke friends). But it's always fun to put together a wishlist for goodies here and there that I am pining for. Without further ado, my wishlist, with links for your buying-me-presents-convenience. Spoiler alert: I'm basically asking for socks, books, a hat, and a Carrie Bradshaw name necklace. Twenty-five feels pretty damn practical if you ask me.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Rockcastle Hat by Carhartt in Coastline Heather
PDH Nordic Light Socks by Smartwool
Personal Blender by Hamilton Beach
Return Address Stamp by Ampersandity
Teenage Dream on Vinyl by Katy Perry
Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah
Carrie Bradshaw Style Name Necklace in Gold
Juicer Attachment for Kitchenaid Mixer

06 December 2013

This Weekend

via Elite Daily
- Trying to make this beautiful banana bread recipe from For Me For You
- Holiday girls only (boys yuck!) slumber party / potluck / girl sesh
- Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Sale
- Maybe peeping this Tasting Table Event at Block 37
- Losing myself in Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns)
- Running outside in my snazzy new outdoor running gear
- Hanging more art / artifacts on my walls
- Getting my hair snipped at Penny Lane
- Breakfast brunch for my grandmother

04 December 2013

Baby's First 5K

Baby's first 5K

I did it! I successfully participated in my first 5K! And it wasn't as bad or dreadful as I thought it would be. I know, you are probably thinking, what's the big idea? What could be so awful about Sandy doing a 5K?? But the truth of it is, I am not an athlete (shoutout to Mindy Kaling for also not being an athlete!). In fact, up until the last month or so, I pretty much loathed the idea of running/jogging. But I've been working out three to four days a week, walking my little tail around the city, and it is paying off. I know I am not the fastest runner, but the fact that I signed up, "trained", followed through, participated, and FINISHED is a huge milestone for me. Doing a 5K has been on my bucket list, and by golly I accomplished it!

The Ditka Dash was the perfect event for a newb to the racing game. It was very (I mean incredibly) well-organized. Picking up the packets, getting my shirt, and attending race day was absolutely seamless, thanks to the hardworking coordinators and volunteers.

The day of the race was absolutely gorgeous, mid-40's and sunny, the most wonderful weather to be running along the lakefront. Mari, Mo, Charlie and I met up for the race, and Mo & Charlie did the race with great speed and alacrity. Mari and I took our time, jogging half and speed walking the other half. My goal was to complete it in under 45 minutes, and I did it in 41! We were rewarded with beers and fruit snacks. But beyond completing my goal and drinking beers in a faux mustache, I enjoyed the wonderful Chicago pride that pulsated among the runners. Everyone was SO into the Ditka theme, I felt like a bit of an impostor! Chicago is such a wonderful city, and to be running with a crowd of people who just plain love Da Coach, toward the gorgeous sunny skyline took my breath away. I highly suggest doing a 5K in Chicago, and this one was super duper fun.

I'm up for doing another one (in under 41 minutes), if anyone has any suggestions or wants to be my running buddy!

02 December 2013

Urban Belly's New Digs, Or "How I Attained a Recipe from Bill Kim"

Urban Belly
Chinese Eggplant, Phat Rice, Chang Beer
Boom, and like that, Thanksgiving was over. Done. Finito. Bye bye. No more. I am still in recovery from how much good food I noshed between Wednesday and Sunday. Let's take an inventory shall we?

Wednesday: Dinner at Urban Belly, second dinner at Smoque BBQ.
Thursday: Thanksgiving - PQM Turkey, Sweet Mandy B's Chocolate Cream Pie, a million sides made to perfection.
Friday: Leftovers followed by La Colombe Coffee with an Alliance Bakery Croissant. Drinks and dinner at Dillman's. Another drink at Lone Wolf.
Saturday: BLTs and Bloodies at Chop Shop. Ice cream at Margie's Candies.
Sunday: Homemade brunch, latkes and brisket at Dad's.

Yes, I ate amazing food from start to finish over the course of the last few days. Regrets: none. Also, I managed to participate in a 5K on Saturday and don't feel worse for the wear. Note: I said participate rather than "ran". Truth: I ran half, and sped walked the other half. Either way, I did it, I felt great, and they gave me a beer and fruit snacks at the end!

Now on to the point of this post. I visited the new location of Urban Belly attached to BellyQ - and thank goodness for the new location. Way more seating, a newish menu (lots of dumpling choices!), and guess what? Delivery. This place is going to be offering DELIVERY in the very near future. You heard it first, here, from me. The vibe was pretty much the same as the old locale, but rather than ordering from a walk-up counter, there is table service here. We had no problem getting a table, but again, we were there the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving. I'd like to give the place another whirl on a busy Saturday afternoon or Friday after work to peep the vibe, see how crowded it is. But this place is walkable from the Loop, and a stone's throw from so many good bars and restaurants, not to mention galleries, that I see myself eating my way through the menu in the next month or so.

As for the food, it was the tits, as per usual. But there was one wrinkle... my beloved wrinkle beans were removed from the menu. I was heartbroken to say the least. But Bill Kim was there, and naturally, I inquired... to which he responded by teaching me how to make the wrinkle beans at home. I penned the recipe down on the back of my receipt, all I need is a wok. And a secret ingredient. He shared with me, that the secret to delicious wrinkle beans is the balanced proportion of Chinese black beans to sundried tomatoes. When I asked where to get black beans, he rattled off some locations in Chinatown, then ran back to his kitchen to give me some of the tomato/black bean mixture to take home. Yes, I was given an ingredient from Chef Bill Kim's kitchen.


Wrinkle beans recipe
My beans!
Stop the presses, I have died and gone to heaven. As soon as I make my beans, I will let you know how they turn out! But OMG, Bill Kim, you've wowed me again. Everyone, please support his restaurants, his food, and his person. He's good people, I promise.

27 November 2013

Top Six Picks: November 2013


Fitbit Flex

I have had my Fitbit Flex for a little under a month, and I have been singin' its praises since the day I slapped it to my wrist. As part of my "be the best possible you" campaign, getting off of my butt and staying active is a major component (do I smell a 5K on Saturday?). This hot pink slice of fabulousness is keeping me motivated, keeping me in check, and even sends me texts to let me know when I am almost near my goal. The first full week of wearing it, I walk/jog/danced over 50 miles! Isn't that something? Every step counts, every step is quantified, and reaching my daily goal is a small celebration in itself. I highly highly highly recommend this little gadget!


Nutritional Yeast
Flaky yeasty photo via Fat Free Vegan
Yes, I am the freak fangirl who is literally sprinkling nutritional yeast on everything I eat. It is super good for you and contains, well, nutrition. When I eat this, I am eating: B-vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc, and protein - not to mention it is gluten free AND low in fat. Oh, and it tastes good. I am serious. It has umami flavor, tastes good on toast with Earth Balance butter, is amazing on popcorn, and two weeks ago, I made a vegan mushroom risotto, subbing in NY where cheese should have been. Basically, this stuff is the stuff of gods. You can buy it in bulk, and if you are anything like Rose, you can bedazzle your yeast vessel.


Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave

One time, I showed Steve McQueen where the W.C. was at the museum, and that was my closest most important brush with celebrity. Seriously, he is the only celebrity I namedrop casually, but with good reason. He is a groundbreaking beautiful filmmaker, pushing the envelope with every major release, in addition to the work he does outside of the film house. 12 Years A Slave was heartwrenchingly beautiful. I walked out of the movie aching. Honestly, there are few words to describe the experience of actually watching this, so I say with one word: go. Just do yourself a favor and see it. It's playing at Landmark Century Cinema, so what are you waiting for?


Everything Matters!  by Ron Currie, Jr.

Cover Art via The Book Cover Archive
When I asked Twitter for book recommendations back in AUGUST, Tess (whom I super trust with lit recommendations) told me to read Everything Matters!. I started it, I put it down. I started it, I put it down again. Confession: I had this checked out from the library for three months. THREE MONTHS. But once I was in it, I was in  it to win it. This book has a great pace, and parts of it take place in Chicago (Hay-o!). It's a portrait of the very definition of family, but also, it's kind of a secret science fiction novel about the world ending. The book questions how one should move through life knowing that the world will be ending soon - do things matter? Should one care? Should one have a purpose? Should one try? In case you haven't guessed by the title, EVERYTHING MATTERS. Looking for a good winter read? Read this. It's just plain lovely.


Arrowroot from the Martha Stewart Collection

Arrowroot Paint via My Ramblingz
When I moved into my new place, I was determined to paint my room. I thought I was going to paint it a dusty rose or a pale pink. But then  it dawned on me. I just wanted to paint my room the color of Carrie Bradshaw's Manhattan apartment. This is the color I picked, and it's PERFECT. I love it. Come sit in my room. (Shout out to Andrew for helping me paint! You're the best, dawg.)


Candy Cane Joe-Joe's
Candy Cane Joe-Joe's via Blooming Branch
Can't talk, eating Candy Cane Joe-Joe's.

26 November 2013

Thanksgiving 2013 Menu Planning

my plate

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and I am not even sweating it. Want to know my secret? Googledocs. My family and I have been using a shared Googledoc to pass along recipes, firm up the menu, finalize the guest list, and assign tasks to one another - making the planning process absolutely seamless. Most of the recipes are easy to access and print, we know who is bringing what, and we know that the flavors will go together. Also, for being a meaty/fatty holiday, our menu is actually fairly lean, which I am very proud of. All that is left to do is write a final shopping list, brine that turkey, and cook!

What are y'all making for Thanksgiving? is there something you do the same every year? I'm stoked that everything on the menu is pretty much a first for our table! Can't wait to hear how everyone's special Turkey Day goes!!

bon appetite,

25 November 2013

Visit Me At Rabbit Hole Magazine!

I'm extremely excited to share a post with you that I wrote for Rabbit Hole Magazine, about the combination of Thanksgiving and Chanukah happening this year. Spoiler alert: I have shared some of my favorite Jeiwsh recipes & traditions, and it's very .gif heavy.

Hope you love it as much as I do! Shout out to Kelsey for making this possible! Such a fun and fabulous opportunity!

22 November 2013

This Weekend

Sorry for the radio silence over here, been working my tail off in preparation of a whole lot of good things, including but not limited to: Housewarming party, apartment painting, art hanging, GRE prepping, practice jogging, Thanksgiving menu planning... to name a few.

That said, YAY the weekend is finally here and there is so much good stuff happening!

- Tonight is the official unveiling of Nick and I's beautiful apartment. It's kind of a big deal! We have plenty of snacks to prep after work, but it's a labor of love y'all
- Tomorrow... I am potentially going to my first MSU football game with Andrew and some friends (pending post-party cleanup) GO GREEN!
- Tomorrow night The Freshman is screening at the Music Box Theater with a LIVE ORGAN PERFORMANCE. Chill as F, yo. Can't wait.
- Sunday, Mo and I are doing a "stink and drink" as she has donned it. We are going to jog to a bar to grab drinks and snacks, and watch *some* of the Bear's game.
- Working on a super secret blog post...

So that's that. This weekend will involve plenty of decompressing, studying, eating, and gearing up for THANKSGIVING! Oh, and I forgot to mention, I will be eating all of the Xmas Joe Joe's from now until forever.


15 November 2013

This Weekend

- Going to see the Beaver Trilogy tonight at the Block Museum
- Taking Andrew to my favorite wings joint for the first time!
- Home Depot (painting my bedroom the color of Carrie Bradshaw's apartment)
- Painting the apartment with Nick
- Going to see the sneak preview of Vannin': A Documentary
- GRE prep
- Making a pot of soup
- Laundry
- Indian food birthday party!
- Starting a batch of Lavender Honeycomb Tequila

Just a photo of us kids eatin' wings

14 November 2013

The Beaver Trilogy

And as if the Vannin': A Documentary sneak peek screening weren't enough excitement for my teeny little body to contain... the Block Museum and Block Cinema are hosting a one-night-only screening of Trent Harris' The Beaver Trilogy as part of their Revivals and Rediscoveries series this Friday night. This is a HUGE deal, because my cinefiles, this movie almost never screens. For all of you film buffs, trekking out to Evanston to see it will be a ceremonious and joyous activity.

I first heard about the Beaver Trilogy on This American Life years and years ago, on the episode titled Reruns. The movie, quite like the TAL format, is filmed in three parts with three accompanying formats. Documentary, low-budget film short (starring a young Sean Penn), and high budget film short (starring a young Crispin Glover). The story is pretty simple and direct, in which the director, Trent Harris, becomes interested in filming a young man deemed "The Beaver Kid" while practicing shooting with a new camera in the parking lot of a Salt Lake City television station. As the story unfolds, Harris refilms the movie, as a sort of cathartic process to unveil some truth of the experience, or maybe to try to rework the "ending" of the movie to be more inline with how he thought things should have ended in the "documentary" format.

Upon completion of the film(s), the document never really screened, and actually was buried in a closet for decades until it was released a Sundance where it was very well-received. This is first time I have stumbled upon the opportunity to view the films in their singular format, on the big screen, and I am stoked to cross it off of my incredibly nerdy bucket list!

13 November 2013

Vannin': A Documentary (THIS SATURDAY NIGHT!!)

Howdy, and happy hump day! I'm super excited to share with you an excellent event to add to your weekend to-do list. This weekend marks the Chicago premiere of a new documentary, Vannin'. Vannin': A Documentary, a recent production from Little Cabin Films, Inc.,  has been a labor of love of a friend-of-a- friend. Based on this wonderful trailer, I can say without bias that it looks like a thought provoking film that captures a moment in time and culture for one of America's little-known subcultures. Van culture is something that has fascinated the folks behind this documentary, and in the span of the film, they take a peek behind the scenes of this somewhat marginalized coterie of van fanatics (vanatics?). Can we just take a moment to drool over the design, thought, and ingenuity that went into tricking out these vehicles? Fish tanks... with live fish, in fully operating vans? Incredible!

With that in mind, I'm super stoked to see this film Saturday night, and I urge you to join me!!! Also swing over to this fabulous interview with the filmmakers behind Vannin', Nick Nummerdor and Andrew Morgan, conducted by my pal Jess.

Where: Patio Theater //6008 Irving Park Rd, Chicago, Illinois 60634
When: Saturday, November 16 // Doors - 6:30 pm // Screening - 7:00 pm
How much: $5 (Cash only!)
More info: Vannin' Facebook event

08 November 2013

This Weekend

OMG - This ad campaign for the new show at the Art Institute actually made me LOL as I passed it walking home from the train last night. Lord knows, I needed a laugh after... dry heaving at the gym from a workout that was too hard for me! No worries, chunks weren't blown - but I know what kind of work I have cut out for me. Feeling like Rocky, or something.

I am feeling really ambitious, but also incredibly realistic about this weekend. Not going to overdue anything. Pacing is everything, relaxation is necessary.

- Going to the Art and Appetite cocktail reception tonight with Ben. I feel very lucky to be his +1 because so many influential Chicago chefs will be working it! (ahem Bill Kim, Graham Elliot, Paul Kahan, Carrie Nahabedian... to name a few)
- Volunteering at the Chicago Humanities Fest talk at... the Art Institute of Chicago (yes, this is my life)
- Attending the Rick Bayless Chicago Humanities fest talk on Sunday
- Family dinner Sunday night
- ...maybe shopping for paint for my bedroom
- Hopefully weatherproofing my windows!
- Jogging outside, actually doing it this weekend

06 November 2013

Tea for Two

Welp, the weather in Chicago is straight up sh!tty. I'm talking cold rain, umbrellas turned inside out in the wind, no idea what kind of shoes I should be wearing, feeling cold and damp while outside, then overheated as soon as I walk inside. Blarg, just decide if you want to be snow, and then be snow, precipitation. With that in mind, all I want to do is stay snuggled under my Hudson Bay blanket, listening to Blossom Dearie's Tea for Two, while sipping jasmine or peppermint tea, eagerly anticipating the seasonal release of Trader Joe's peppermint joe joes. Instead, I will continue to shiver my tail off... but outside of my engagements for the weekend, I'm pretty sure this is my forecast. Snuggled up, with a book, and a big mug of tea.

05 November 2013

Finally, the Ira Glass .gif I have been searching for.

Ira Glass .gif via source
Presented to you, without comment.

01 November 2013

This Weekend

GPOY of me launching myself into the weekend.
- Halloween party on... sacre bleu... November first! Debating if I will go as a preggo Rosemary or as a smashed watermelon. Decisions decisions.
- Learning how to use my FitBit Flex (I am a little too excited about this purchase)
- Volunteering at the Chicago Humanities Festival event at the MCA
- Putting my laundry away
- Seeing my darling sister!
- Hopefully finishing "Everything Matters"
- Seeing Bad Grandpa
- Studying for the GRE (it's on).
- Running outside !
- Possibly shopping for running gear with my Dad

For Your Health

A little update on how my newly forming workout practice is going. I've gone to the gym three days a week for the last four weeks (check my Four Square for evidence, yo). I've worked out with my trainer once a week as part of my regiment - and we've focused on shoulders, chest, tricep, bicep, my legs, and core. I hate all core workouts involving that big inflatable ball. I've discovered that a few pieces of the equipment are simply TOO big for my little body. I'm also pretty awesome at planks, and in the last two days, I've been able to run for 1/2 a mile, without stopping or getting winded. This is a major milestone for me. I hated running, especially in gym class. I've long tried to make myself like running, and wound up injuring myself in 2009 - only to discover that I have flat feet, and need better orthopedic support.

As far as eating goes... this parts been a little bit trickier. I'm trying not to overdo it with drinks and snacks, but dear god, Halloween was a doozy. Also, I go to the movies a lot, and resisting popcorn when the air smells so delightfully popcorny is immensely hard! Beyond that, I've still been diligent about bringing my lunch, making my own breakfast, and trying to eat in more. Beans are my new best friend, for reals.

My FitBit Flex should arrive in the mail tonight, I am super stoked to start counting my steps, but already I am noticing differences in my energy level, my overall strength, my appetite, and my determination to set goals, work toward them, and achieve them.

It also dawned on me that I will be running OUTSIDE in Chicago winter weather for the Ditka Dash on November 30th - so I need to begin practicing running outside. Tomorrow I'm going to give it a shot, but a little treat-yo-self trip is probably in order for some winter outdoor running gear (amirite?).

Any recommendations for workouts, recipes, or workout gear is welcome - as well as words of encouragement. But seriously, I am feeling so good these days!

29 October 2013

Our Costume!


Here's the finished product of our Gallagher and a smashed watermelon costume. Folks kept asking me at the party how I made my costume, so I thought I'd share with you my "process" over here. Disclaimer, I can't sew - at least not with a sewing machine, so this was all pretty much made with a hot glue gun, scissors, and a shapeless dress from Forever21.

For my costume, I started with a green dress. I painted both the back and front with two kinds of fabric paint to create the striped pattern. Each side had to dry separately, so I had to budget time for this. The innards of the watermelon were four shades of tulle and pink painted papier mache pieces - all of which I glued on with a hot glue gun. The head piece was made of the same materials, glued onto a headband a la the Rookie Crown method. The seeds were made out of black sequins. All in all, it came out pretty awesome. Highly conceptual, yet cute, right?

For his costume, he went to American Apparel and bought a striped shirt and rainbow suspenders (goal: figure out how to work rainbow suspenders into a day-to-day look). The wig was from the party store, the hat, not even sure, and the mustache was all his (I colored it in with my eyeliner). The crown jewel of the costume was the sledgehammer - I made it out of a donut box from Longman & Eagle and a wrapping paper tube, which I papier mached and painted with acrylic paint. It was truly a labor of love!!

25 October 2013

This Weekend

You guyssssz it's the weekend, well almost... And it's a good weekend indeed! There is so much good stuff on my roster, I don't even know where to begin. Obligatory list, commence.

- Running home to paint a papier mache sledgehammer
- Adding tulle and sequins to my watermelon dress
- Seeing Desaparecidos at the Metro tonight
- Getting my haircut at Penny Lane... feeling like maybe I will go Rosemary's Baby
- Making treats for a Halloween party (mummy dogs, Halloween crispy cereal treats, my "famous" spinach dip, pumpkin hummus
- Attending said Halloween Party
- Recovering from said Halloween Party
- Still unpacking...
- Turkey dinner at my Dad's

And now, for some obligatory photos from Halloween's past...

That time I dressed as a Tamagochi
That time I dressed as Bjork in the swan dress and drew on my own Bjork tattoo in Sharpee
Cutest sisters ever.
J-Lo, Dorothy, ???,  Blink-182 Nurse
Bride and Rapunzel? Who knows. It was the 90s,
Tamagotchi and Andy Warhol. Duh.

23 October 2013

On Balance

Y'all, let me start with a confession: I love Eat, Pray, Love. The movie. I read the book last year, so I know the "source material" yet I wasn't the biggest fan of the literary original - but dear god, do I love watching this movie. I remember the first time I saw it, I was tickled at how much I liked it, fully anticipating that my Chungking Express loving, film-snob thesis writing self would find the movie deplorable, but no. I loved it, I love it, and I will probably always love it. The film is so easy to digest, full of light, color, and Italian carbs (not to mention plenty o' hotties).

But I digress. My confession to loving this movie is tangential really. A huge part of the book and movie is the quest for Elizabeth Gilbert to seek and find balance for herself. She spends her "journey" searching for "her word" and along the way, eats her weight in pizza and pasta, bones a hottie in Bali, and earns the nickname "Groceries" from the dad from Six Feet Under, yes I just gave you a really solid synopsis. But beyond the plot line, the search for balance is at the core of the journey - and I'll be damned if I didn't finish the movie yesterday night being like "You go girl!" and "I want a piece of that balance pie!"

Yesterday was the first day in a long-ass-time that I think I found that sort of balance. I went to work, I worked out (lunch crunch TM), I went to the grocery store, I made myself delicious chicken piccata, I spent a solid hour and a half working with my hands on Halloween costume things, and I managed to get some reading done before manufacturing Zzzs. I woke up this morning feeling satisfied by my super-human productivity, stoked about the leftover chicken piccata I will be eating for lunch, pumped that I am working toward training for my 5K, excited by how fabulous my costume looks, feeling on top of the world.

I guess my big light bulb above the head moment was that balance is attainable, and to take a chapter from Emma's book... I think I need to be working with my hands more. Whether that's painting, chopping, sculpting, cooking, drawing, what have you, I need to find the time to let my hands do what they will do.

18 October 2013

This Weekend

It's finally Friday, here's what's on the roster:

- Birthday party at Five Star Bar with my lovely Art Institute friends
- Jo-Ann Fabrics trip to get Halloween costume supplies
- Joffrey Ballet performance (spoiler alert: live snakes)
- Jogging around Palmer Square
- Sunday crafting project: Halloween edition
- "Gravity" with Nick and Andrew
- Making a pot of this
- Sprinkling nutritional yeast on everything that enters my mouth
- Finally truly finishing my MFK Fisher book
- Starting The Queer Art of Failure

16 October 2013

On Going Out and Not Going Overboard

As my previous post mentioned, I'm focusing on getting buff and working toward attainable health goals. I'm going to be covering a lot of broad bases over the course of the next year, but one of them is learning to control myself when going out to eat.

Let me preface everything I am about to say with this:
Chicago is amazing. Chicago restaurants are amazing. We have some of the best restaurants and chefs in the world.

Food trucks line the block next to my office on the daily. I live walking distance from two NY by the slice pizza places that I love. I just discovered the art of the late night post-drinking burrito. There are German beer halls opening up left and right in the city, some nearby my new apartment. Eataly is opening up a ten minute walk from my office building... dare I go on?

But in light of my decision to get "swoll", i.e. fit, healthy, and toned - I need to work on a bit of portion control, and build up the will power to not grab a bagel from Reno every time I forget to make coffee and breakfast. I want to spend the next year allowing myself to eat what I want, at the restaurants I want, but with control. Not always ordering an appetizer, or the dish made with heavy cream and pancetta. Skipping dessert, or maybe not ordering another round.

This past weekend was my first opportunity to experiment with fine-dining and pseudo-dieting, in the form of the ultimate challenge. Brunch at Publican. Publican is beautiful, everything on the menu rules, and they serve some of the best meats and cheeses in the city. But eating light/right at a restaurant like this is truly a challenge in itself. After reading and re-reading the menu multiple times, I found it nearly impossible to find a light, healthy, vegetarian option... and don't get me started on how badly I would have loved to drink a Bloody Mary. Determined to find something that was "better" for me than sausage and pork belly, I opted for the scramble, a cup of Joe, and plenty of Chicago's finest tap water. Yes, I did breakdown and try a bite of my dining companion's porky deliciousness, but I also made sure to order consciously.

Which brings me to this: I can dine out and have fun, while still eating right. It's up to me. I am in control of this, wherever I go.

This weekend at brunch was a big epiphany for me, and you know what, it was still delicious.


15 October 2013

As of Late (Cultural Maven / Socialite in the Making)

Hey y'all just popping in the humblebrag that the reason for my intermittent blogging is that I have quite literally been running around the city from event to event in the last week with barely a moment to powder my nose or catch my breath. In the last few weeks I've gone to the Lyric Opera opening night, First Fridays at the Museum of Contemporary Art (to mingle with Girl Group Chicago and the beautiful Rose), a VIP meet-n-greet with Scott Aukerman at the Comedy Bang! Bang! live show, the Art Institute of Chicago 40th Anniversary of the Auxiliary Board After Party - and this Saturday night Andrew is taking me to the Joffrey Ballet.

Wait, did I say humblebrag? Sorry, I meant to say cultural explosion! It's hard not to feel like the luckiest duck for the amazing opportunities I've been handed, especially living in this wonderful city. This blog is a wonderful way to track my wanderings as well as reflect on how gosh darn amazing my life is right now. Here are some snaps from my climb up the event ladder...

But before we get too ahead of ourselves here, I'd like to share with you some other big news... drum roll please... that between hopping from event to event, I have decided to spend the next year focusing on my health and wellness! You must be scratching your head wondering how on earth is she doing this staying up late guzzling champagne? And that my friends is where I tell you that I have signed up to work out with a personal trainer for the next year. Once a week, learning new exercises and stretches, pushing myself to my limit and surpassing it. I signed up for a 5K yesterday, I've been cooking more, going to the gym on my lunch breaks and after work, and am really trying my darndest to be the happiest and healthiest version of myself I can be. This blog may or may not act as a way to reflect on my workouts and how I'm feeling as I go through this transformation. Oh, and to everyone whom I've already told, thank you for your support and encouragement! I got this.

You have a good day, now.

11 October 2013

This Weekend

Welp, we made it to the weekend (woohoo!), and this is how I feel now that the weekend is here.

My "major" plans include the following:

- Jogging / Walking at least two miles
- Unpacking (goal, finish ALL of my boxes)
- Kitchen organization!!!
- Laundry
- Brunch with Dad and Andrew at Publican
- Picking up my feminism book at my neighborhood library
- Double date after party at the Art Institute
- Make a giant pot of Cuban black beans
- Teaching myself to use my rice cooker

And now for my random thoughts on this week:

  • This story is just lovely. In light of the government shutdown, it's nice to know some people love our country enough to see through the BS and take care of our monuments. Raise the roof to this dude!
  • Andrew and I made a non-vegan version of this (light on the parm cheese), and it was one of the most delicious, cheap, and filling things I have eaten in ages.
  • What are your thoughts on the guy who planned his wife's surprise/dream wedding all from her Pinterest? 
  • Who wants to see Gravity as badly as I do?
  • Everyone should stop what they're doing and watch the new documentary Blackfish - it was stunning and thought provoking.