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Showing posts from 2015

Christmas Week

Twas the day before Christmas Eve
The Chicago neighborhoods were silent
except for the clatter of thunder 
and rain pitter pattering
outside the window

twas a strange christmas season for all

no complaints coming from here

Holiday Weekend

Another December weekend.  Another weekend full of festivities.  5 notes from the weekend.

1 - Anyone guilty of purchasing a gift for someone and adding something in for yourself?  Especially with the current discounts!  Yes, I am!
Somebody got some brand new wheels!
After some somewhat in depth bike shopping, we fell in love with Oscar Wastyn.  The laid back sales, in depth knowledge and perks.  

2 - Let the shopping ensue.  I finished most of my shopping before Christmas since we exchanged most of my immediate family gifts Thanksgiving Weekend.  (Excluding my dad, mom, and sister who I got to procrastinate on like everyone else.)  Mike though...not so much.  We hit up Kohls in the morning and kept searching/fighting the crowds for the final touch on his sister's gift.  Once I reached my shopping limit and I was so hungry...we stopped.

3 - Hello Zoolights!  It's just for fun.

4 - Molly's Cupcakes and hot chocolate since for some reason we decided to do Zoolights on one of the v…

Christmas Cookie Baking

Do you have any cookies you associate with Christmas or you just happen to cook around this time every year?

I mentioned we had a cookie baking party a couple weeks ago.  We made two cookies and they were a couple of our favorites:

Chocolate Chip, M&M Cookies - Make your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and add M&Ms.  Easy.  Bonus if you use M&M colors for the season.  Right now:  red and green.  We did not do that.

You know Peanut Butter Blossoms?  Replace the Hershey's kiss with a Resees Peanut Butter cup and bake in those little muffin tins.  (We always use them for these cookies and spinach balls.)

Insert Mike's cookie work competition.  Also insert Mike's competitive spirit.  We picked these Hot Cocoa Cookies (discovered on buzzfeed).  They were somewhat easy and pretty so we went for it.  Keys to any cookie competition:  it needs to taste good, but more importantly be pretty!
He got second.  Which I was very happy with.

Any cookie recipe suggestions?

Baseball Off Season

Yes it is the off season.  And things are still happening!  April 4th come faster!!!!

The biggest/latest news from the Cardinals:

Lackey (pitcher) went to the Cubs.  No surprise there.  Well maybe the Cubs was the most surprising part.  Him moving surprise.  He had an outstanding 2015, but I feel like I even read an article in the middle of the season with a tone that he was preparing for 2016 with a new ball club.  The Cardinals made him an offer.  It wasn't enough money.  The Cubs:  they have money.  And we move on.  (Read more)Lynn (pitcher) is out next season.  He had Tommy John surgery as soon as this season ended and it has quite a recovery time.  Can we expect a Wainwright-like return in 2016?  Probably not.  Considering this and the above bullet.  Bring on the pitchers (although they say we still have a lot)!  (Read more)  I do hope to see Marco Gonzales make a reappearance in 2016 after an injury filled 2015Jay is leaving!  I speak for all of Cardinal nation when I …


Every year I try to add one or two purchased/homemade ornaments to my tree a year.  I love putting all the ornaments on the tree and having a story for each one.  And I do.  This year as Mike helped me decorate my tree I made him listen to each story.  

This year I hadn't picked an ornament and I have no burning desires/ideas to make one.  As we browsed Renegade, I initially saw one, wanted to think about it, and by the time I was ready to go and went back for the ornament it was sold out.  East Grove Stamp Co. made one batch of the ornaments for this year.  I originally had my eye on this one.  Lesson:  buy it when you originally see it.  I like to think about purchases though.

After thinking about the ornament for awhile I still thought it would be fun to get one (albeit a different one) because now it definitely has a story.  I chose this one: Merry & Bright.  And I'm getting it personalized because for $1.50 why not?  And I got 15% off since I picked up their business ca…

December Happenings

We all talk about how busy the summer is.  How we need to squeeze everything in.  And we run around like crazy for three months and almost need the break that fall brings.  (Right, Chicagoans?)  I would almost venture to say December is the busiest month of the year.


Last weekend was crazy fun and super busy!

No better way to start than at Bridgeport Coffee before checking out Renegade.  

Pause:  Scratch that.  We started the day at Walgreens.  I decided I wanted lipstick like the girl wears in Spectre in the dining scene.  And I decided to go where I go for all my make-up needs:  Walgreens.  I searched and searched while referencing a photo on my phone.  I found one I thought was satisfactory.  

Back to Renegade.  So swamped.  We got there right when it started and I am glad we did because as we were leaving it seemed to be even busier!  We did take a photo booth photo which is hilarious.  I love it, but I think we failed a little.  Karen & Molly aren't ready in the fi…

Christmas Shopping

So many great Christmas gifts are items that you would love, but you're not willing to make the splurge on yourself.  The gift that makes the splurge for you and upgrades your normal purchases are just great.  Amiright?

For example, I would love:

Chocolate, Coffee Bread!  Yes.  Even with Intelligentsia Coffee.  Bring on the shakes.Do you think they'll be any version of this at Renegade this weekend?  I'll look!Fancy Shampoo.  Maybe it sounds boring, but I buy the $4 stuff from Target/Walgreens.  This is quite an indulgence.I love face mists!  They are expensive.  I recently purchased one to treat myself and promised it was a one time purchase.  And then there's this...which also looks lovely!I have definitely been eyeing a perfume for awhile, but I can't commit with the price tag.  What a perfect gift!  I'm talking MCM and d'orsey.  I know...I know.A mixtape.  (mix cd whatever)  Seriously.  I love those!A moleskin.  Who doesn't love journaling?  I wouldn&…


Who else has noticed newsletters are popping up everywhere?

I first signed up for Lenny and after recommending it to several girlfriends, I decided to share it here.  Lenny covers such a broad range of topics concerning women.  Things I'd never thought of before.  Endometriosis...I had no idea.  Anyway, I really enjoy it.

In one of those times I went on recommending Lenny, one of the girls recommended Daily Skimm.  Which, honestly, once we left our hangout I completely forgot about.  Until the next morning, delaying getting out of bed for my 6:30 am gym class, I checked my email and found she forwarded it to me.  This is clearly a news newsletter designed for 20 somethings.  It reads easy.  It's good to keep a general eye on the news (which I generally don't).  So I've only been at this one for a couple days.  But so far so good.

So there you go.  My two recommendations for the many, many newsletters popping up right now.  What's your favorite?


When you spend Thanksgiving weekend with two kids who constantly keep you guessing (one minute you're an aunt, the next you're a dragon) and some awesome family time.  What's not to love?

Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

It was wonderful.

From bike riding to 5k ing to carriage riding we definitely hit a variety of events.

We took a carriage ride through Tilles Park in St. Louis Thanksgiving Eve to see their Christmas lights, which are always amazing.  This year was no exception.

We baked sugar cookies and decorated them.

Charlie with his sugar cookie coated in green icing:  I'm going to bury this M&M.
This meant putting the M&M on top of the existing icing and putting on an additional coat of icing.  Because why not.  It's the holidays.

Did you know they sell shaped sugar cookies at the grocery store now?  They tasted pretty delicious.  Just sayin'.

We had "Charlie's Special Show":  Frosty the Snowman.  (And Frosty Returns.  As per usual the original …

Happy Birthday, Dado!

Today's my dad's birthday!  Happy birthday, Dado!

To the guy who always seems to have a way to calm me down when I'm upset.  He always seems to be on the receiving end of calls when I have reached my end and he talks me through it.  He saves me newspaper articles.  I can say I am a definite fan of the newspaper and it's probably because of him.  He talks me through my Cardinals questions and could probably talk about baseball for days if he's with someone who can keep him going.  He seems to find something to talk to everyone about.  Oh you're from _____.  Have you heard of ______?  Things I never even knew about him.
Happy birthday, Dado.  You're the best!

Don't bother us...we're learning. ;)

Exclamation Points

"Throw in some exclamation points."

Rewind several years to my a date with a fellow.  I was working at the planetarium and on our first date he said in a much nicer way than I now remember, that I come off as mean/rude/not excited in text message form.

Upon dissection of this statement with my friend and co-worker, Rubina, she gave me the best advice: Throw in some exclamation points.  

I still remind myself of this now.  All the time.  I guess I just don't think of text messages with exclamation points.  There have been many times where I'm just about to hit send and I go back and change a period or two to an exclamation point.  It seems to be received better.

Even with that awareness, my now friend and co-worker, Justine, still questions my enthusiasm in text messages.

So just know, if you get a text from me and think I'm not excited.  I might be!  I'm trying my best over here!

Do Not Mail List

Everyone's heard of the do not call list.  Right?  If not, put your number on it now.

Have you heard of the do not mail list?  I had not.  

I must have purchased from someone who sold my name as part of a list.  Which happens, and I get it, but I was getting SO MANY catalogs, which I did not need.  I started thinking about what a waste of paper (and money) it was and decided I would slowly start removing my name from their mailing lists.

I sent a note to Shutterfly to remove me and they so helpfully sent along information on the do not mail list.  Thank you, Shutterfly!

I put in my information so I will hopefully stop receiving all the catalogs that go directly to recycle.

You can customize what you want and what you don't if you're worried about that.

Let's save some paper!

Checking In


How are you lately?

I'm feeling so overwhelmed lately.  For me it seems to start with very busy days at work and I get home exhausted.  The time change and night sky when I leave the office at 5:00 isn't helping my battle here.

I have my sights set on Thanksgiving and everything has become a countdown until I leave for Missouri.

Here's to a good weekend!


Early bird gets the worm

Have you ever arrived at a party at the start time (or even a half hour late) and you're in the special early crowd.  Some people may hate this.  I kind-of love it.

Here are some reasons why:

You actually get to visit with the hosts/hostesses.  (The people you are actually there to see anyway.)If you don't know the hosts/hostesses, have some time to get to know them.  This will prevent a common occurrence.  As the night goes on and the host/hostess welcome more attendees, they won't continually say, "I don't know how that is, they're with ____."  They'll say, "Oh that's, ____, I met him/her tonight.  He/She is really nice.  He/She is here with ____."  See how much nicer that is.First sofa/chair/corner/wall space choice.Room in the fridge for what you brought along.Are the snacks always gone by the time you get there?  Not if you're on time.  No awkwardly reaching over people you don't know so you can have a chip with a little salsa…

Brewery Tours

I always seem to forget(/make myself forget) how much I dislike this time change.  Don't get me wrong, I love seeing the sun earlier in the morning.  It sure is rough to watch it set from my desk at work though.

When I worked at the planetarium, we worked under ground.  This meant in the winter there would be days sometimes when I didn't see the sun.  At work before it rises and leaving after it set.  Very sad.

So while I deal with my sadness I thought of an activity you can enjoy in the dark (or sunlight).  Brewery tours!  I've made my way on quite a few in the midwest so let's check them out.  Feel free to share your brewery tour experiences in the comments.

Goose Island - This was probably my first one, I was a junior or senior in college.  They had pitchers of the beer they were sampling and they went around and around until they were empty.  It was $10 for a pint glass and the samples.  This was 5-6 years ago, not sure what the deal is now.
(This one has completely ch…

Small Town Livin'

As you know, I now live in Chicago, but I haven't always.  I grew up in small-town Missouri.

Sunday night, Karen & I walked into a concert to our table and the headliner immediately came up to us.  Essentially what he said in a very nice way was, "I recognize you, but I have no idea why."

He is a year younger than me and graduated from the other high school in our small-town.  With it being how it is we knew/heard of each other.  Karen heard he was performing in Chicago and wanted to go support.  We had no idea what music he played (Folky Rock) or anything about the last 10 years of his life (move to Europe and play music).

We watched the line-up unfold with The Reverend John DeLore kicking off the show.  As Karen and I looked up (our table was a couple feet from the performers so we were definitely front row), we immediately noticed he was wearing an Oberle Sausage hat.  That is a family recipe place in our small town.  Karen & I looked at each other and she said, …

Weekend in Michigan (Sunday)

Sunday we grabbed some breakfast at our hotel and set on our way to Kalamazoo.  Overall, we ran into a lot of places that were closed/reduced hours since it was Sunday, but there are SO MANY micro breweries it didn't really matter at the end of the day.

Our strategy for visiting so many different breweries was most of them had 5 oz. taster glasses without a minimum.  This was perfect for us.  At a couple places we just ordered a few of the samples, shared them and moved on.  All the breweries were SO different.  It was kind-of crazy their all so close to each other.

I got the pumpkin beer anywhere they had one (which was most of them) and they were all so good!  My favorite had to be at Gonzo's where I wished I had my growler.  (Most of the breweries didn't have beer canned or bottled that you could purchase, they sold and did growler fills.)

We started out with brunch at Food Dance.  Two breakfasts in one day!  I was very happy.  Mike wasn't so much.  It had a fun vibe a…

Weekend in Michigan (Saturday)

Last weekend Mike & I decided to take a little trip to Michigan for some exploration.  We took your typical route up 94 and had a lovely fall weekend.

Our first stop along the way was Greenbush Brewery.  This place was crazy.  We put in our name for 2 and the wait was an hour and a half.  Luckily, while we were deciding whether to check out their place across the road or head somewhere else, two spots opened up at the bar.  We had lunch and a drink.  Not going to lie, their food was pretty solid for a brewery.

Next stop was the infamous Round Barn Estate (aka winery and brewery).  I say infamous because it seems to be the first place anyone who's gone to wineries in Michigan mentions.  They had quite a set-up.  It was beautiful.  And this is a very personal preference, but it was just too much for me.  There were too many people.  Too many steps to the process.  Just in case you go... step 1 buy your tastings (6 tastings and a souvenir glass for $10), step 2 try and find a place…

On...the Cardinals season 2015

If you follow baseball at all, or probably even just by living in the Midwest, you heard the Cardinals, the team with 100 wins in the regular season, the team with the best record in baseball, was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.  

As the final game came to a close, I still had hope because you just never know with those Cardinals.  Matty got a single.  They let him steal second.  Piscotty was up.  A homer would tie the game.  A game the Cubs weren't messing around with...8 pitchers in one game.  And the game ended.  I was sad because I enjoy baseball so much and it's always sad for a season to come to an end...any season.

We overcame a lot of obstacles in 2015.  Someone from our starting line-up seemed to always be on the DL.  Not even including Wainwright, our ace, who was supposed to be out until next April.  He played in the playoffs.  The reaction in the Cardinals bar we were in when we saw him step out of the bullpen was amazing.  I can only imagine what it w…

CH Distillery

A few weeks ago we went to CH Distillery for an event one of my friends worked on at DePaul.  

We had a little tour, took a traditional vodka shot, and had some cocktails.  Can I just say, I'm typically not a big fan of vodka, but this was actually so good!  I have to recommend it.

In case you're wondering, a traditional vodka shot consists of smelling rye bread, taking the shot, and eating a pickle.  Think about licking salt and having some lime juice with a tequila shot.  Same idea.

Trying some new drinks (which I didn't think I'd like) while noshing on some interesting foods and chatting with one of my friends.  Win.

Friday Inspiration

Who else had a rough week?  (Aside from me?)

Well this will put things in perspective.  One of my college acquaintances who I've sort-of lost touch with posted this article about her sister.  Take a few moments to read it.  It's worth it.

I feel like this summer in general has been a rough one.  Definitely one where I feel like an adult.  Over dinner and drinks on my sister date this week as Karen told me (yet another) depressing circumstance from the last few months, I said, "I hate growing up.  Everything's so sad and real."

So here we are:

Hang in there.  Enjoy the weekend.  And live your life to the fullest.

4 Year Old Birthday

Last weekend we were able to take a trip to Savannah, Georgia to celebrate my nephew, Charlie's, 4th birthday.  Which first of all, can we talk about how crazy it is that he's already four?  Can we also talk about how adorably excited he was?

Saturday morning as we got ready to leave for his kid party at a bounce house, he danced around the kitchen singing happy birthday to himself.  I took a complete break from my phone this weekend so no video exists, but I will sure remember it!

The weekend was so much fun and too fast.

Today is his birthday and I'm sending him lots of fun!  

And I leave you with this..."Let's make bad faces!" said Charlie.