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!