Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Spirit

Someone posted this on facebook and I thought I'd share it here as well. I think its such a true sentiment.

"We must not seek the child Jesus in the pretty figures of our Christmas cribs. We must seek him among the undernourished children who have gone to bed tonight without eating, among the poor newsboys who will sleep covered with newspapers in doorways." - Archbishop Oscar Romero

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

oh happy day

Hello lovelies,

Neill and I are safely in West Virgina. We arrived late last night after a long long long drive. Today we are going to make a trip to Crafts2000 to gather supplies for a project I've dreamt up. Once I've got all my ducks in a row I'll share it with you. Other than that, I don't have much to report. Now that almost everyone has gotten their Save The Date's I show our wedding website to y'all. Check it out! We designed and wrote (i.e. coded) it from scratch!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

ooo boy

oh life.

did me and gracie do it up right last night. We started out with dinner at Green Tea and then moved on to drinks at Raven's. It was so fun to go out with my girl and just have a good time! We met quite an interesting, extremely drunk man at the bar who was freaking hilarious. and he had his dog with him! a very friendly pit bull named duke. gracie also gave me the best freaking chanukah present! it had the perfect shade of blue, birds, and blue/yellow combo. seriously wonderful. After that, we went back to her lovely new apartment and kept our party of two going until 6 in the morning.

well not that late, but you get what I mean.

And now I'm wasting time on a lazy Sunday morning before I start packing to leave for WV tomorrow.

oh life feels a-o-k.


In my book, this place deserves more than the three stars it currently has.

I went her last night after dinner at Green Tea (which I'll say makes me REALLY interesting according to Phil M, the reviewer under me) and my first impression of the bar was that it was unlike most other LP bars. I usually avoid going out to bars in Lincoln Park, but there were no Chads or Trixies to be seen here! My friend and I ordered our drinks, got a table, and enjoyed the low key grungy vibe. At some point some crazy drunk guy wandered in and asked if he could bring his dog into the bar. The bartender said "I don't give a shit" and then it was true love. I heart places that have no rules. (Although, later some lady bartender who seemed to take her job much more seriously had a shit fit about it and made them leave.) From the reviews, it seems like this place might get hella crowded after 2 when other bars in the area close down and I'm glad I wasn't around for that, because the main selling point of Raven's IMO is the lack of collared shirts and stilettos taking up space on a Saturday night.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mint Julep

I've got three words for you - accessories accessories accessories.

I didn't even pay any attention to the clothes because I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have fit me anyways, but the selection of necklaces and earrings and headbands (!!!!) was impressive. Like really impressive. And affordable. I got a beautiful, delicate necklace for about 25 bucks and a bejeweled vintage styled headband for about the same. Obviously, none of these items are "needs", but if you've got a twenty or two burning through your pocket you will have no problem spending it here!

NYC Bagel Deli

I can't believe I haven't reviewed NYC Bagel Deli yet! I've been coming here for years and I've always enjoyed my food. As others have mentioned, its a small but cheerful place. I wouldn't plan on eating there, unless you are ready to shoot daggers at people to hurry them out of their table. But, i would plan on ordering a humongous lox sandwich. I usually eat half for lunch and the other half for breakfast or lunch the next day. As others have mentioned, it isn't the cheapest place on the planet but the benefit definitely outweighs the cost IMO. Plus, having a chance to ring the big bell on the way out is worth a dollar alone :)

Ethiopian Diamond

I've always heard that Ethiopian Diamond was the best place to go for Ethiopian food in Chicago, but I always dismissed it. Well here I am publicly admitting that I was remiss. A professor took our (small) class out to lunch here the other day and I was blown away by the food. We  asked the waiter to put the platters together for us and he did a wonderful job. I wish I could tell you the name of the out of this world lamb dish we had because I think it is the best thing I've tasted in a long time.

This place is the bomb. Comfortable atmosphere. Friendly service. Huge portions. Big taste. Small price.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Asrai Garden

've had a secret love affair with asrai garden for the last few years. Just like Jessica D I would gladly live in this store. Or, even better, I would like the whole store to be transported to my apartment (for free). Because the store is just that wonderful. the design and the aesthetic of the store is exactly how I'd like my home to look, but unfortunately I'm utterly incapable of pulling it off on my own. blast my uncool genes.

anyways, when it came to wedding planning i really really really really wanted to go with asrai. i sort of knew it was the place for me because i love how the store looked and if they could just bring a little teensy bit of that to my wedding i would be blissed. so i was basically already sold, but then i met elizabeth. and i feel even harder. because she is even cooler than you would ever imagine and called someone a slutbag during our first meeting. Swoon! I'm in love!

I can't wait to see my bouquet!

Andersonville Galleria

This place is basically filled with shlock. it isn't that every single piece in this galleria is crap, but all the things that are sorta crappy or really over-priced or things that no one really needs or wants overpowers the items that are beautiful or useful or whatever. Simply put, it is stuff overload.

All that being said, this is the perfect place to go to when you are really in the mood to buy something or you are in a pinch for a gift. There is so much stuff to choose from, you will always be able to find something you "need". On my last trip, I walked in not looking for anything in particular and left with a bracelet, a Chicago t-shirt, and a pregger's lady pampering kit (a gift). Woohoo!

The White Attic

The bright blue dresser in the window of the bucktown location has always caught my eye, so I was excited to run into another location in Andersonville when I was out window shopping.

le sigh

that blue. its just perfect. tragically perfect. looking around White Attic made me want to repaint and redesign my entire apartment to center around that wonderful blue. And then, of course, I would buy all of their wonderful revamped pieces because, as others have pointed out, they are MUCH LESS expensive that crate and barrel.

So here is my official caution: don't go in here if you are prone to furniture envy. Because I was giving evil glares to my unfortunately ordinary dresser for days after visiting White Attic.

one down

One semester down and only 11 left.

Roscoe Blooms

We met with Siddanta of Roscoe Blooms about doing flowers for our wedding after he was recommended by our venue. It was a great meeting and one thing thing that I really appreciated was how much time Siddanta was willing to spend  with us. You can tell that he really cares about his work and is willing to put in the time to get to know your taste.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Maggiano's LIttle Italy

One of my classmates organized a group of us to go to Maggiano's for their family style meals last night. I'll admit I was skeptical. When I think Maggiano's, I think of the awkward bat mitzvah parties I attended when I was in 7th grade. What can I say? It was the spot to be. Anyways, since I like to think that I've made it past my 7th grade years I wasn't really sure about going here for dinner. After i got over myself, I was pleasantly surprised!

We got the classic family size meal (about 30 a person), which means we got to pick two appetizers, two salads, two pastas, two entrees, and two desserts for the table. The food is supposed to be never ending, but we didnt get to test that out because all of us were so stuffed we barely finished what was on the table. I'd have to agree with Nik B that there is nothing extraordinary about the food. It's all good and deliciously rich, but it isn't special. (side note: Not to beat down on classic american italian dishes, but I'm not really sure lasagna or baked ziti can ever really be special unless its coming out of your grandma's oven.)  My favorites of the evening were the chopped salad, fried calamari and the gnocchi.

Even though the food wasn't super special, it was nice to get to try so many different dishes and  to be able to eat family style with a group of people. Plus the service was good and the atmosphere was perfect for a celebratory group.

With some beer and two bottles of wine, at the end of the night the bill came to about 50 bucks per person. Not cheap. Not outrageous. It felt just right.

Monday, December 14, 2009


While my rave review of brunch at Mexique still stands, I was seriously underwhelmed by their dinner service. Honestly, problems started days before we even had our meal - with our reservations. We called on a Tuesday for Saturday reservations and they said the ONLY time they could seat our party of 5 was at 5:00 o'clock. Um. Okay. My mom really wanted her sister to try the place so she took it. The problem? The restaurant was still half empty when we left.

Anyways, we were all very excited to try the food after our great experience and brunch and after reading all of the wonderful reviews on yelp. And don't get me wrong, the food was okay. But, it was just okay.

In general, I found the appetizers to be much more exciting than the entrees. We tried the trio of sopes, the french onion soup, the ceviche, and the chicken tinga. The ceviche and the onion soup were both good, but the chicken came out a bit cold. The trio of sopes was presented beautifully and was delicious. While the appetizers had lots of flavor, I found the entrees to be bland. I had the asada and my steak was flavorless and cold, the pork roast was overpowered by the sweet potato mash, and the tilapia was also bland. I will say, however, my fiance's chicken dish was very flavorful and I would recommend it.

We also had dessert. We tried the creme brulee (good), the apple tart, (yum), and the guac cream. My aunt really loved the guacamole cream, but it tasted too much like straight avocado for my sugar loving taste buds.

Anyways, if you're still with me - mazel. The moral of the story: eat here for brunch. eat somewhere else for dinner.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Married (Happily) With Issues

Devin sent this article to me over the weekend. How that girl has time to read the NYT, I'll never know.

I think my favorite line from the whole article is right on the very first page -

"I’ve never really believed that you just marry one day at the altar or before a justice of the peace. I believe that you become married — truly married — slowly, over time, through all the road-rage incidents and precolonoscopy enemas, all the small and large moments that you never expected to happen and certainly didn’t plan to endure. But then you do: you endure."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

bad week

oh man I couldn't be happier that the week is over. as my classmates heard me endlessly bitching about, i stuffed about 2,000 envelopes for the new research project my lab is starting. it sucked. big time. partly because i'm a complainer and partly because it really did just suck. by yesterday afternoon, i was feeling so overwhelmed and unmotivated that dreadful, pessimistic voice kept popping into my head to ask me all sorts of annoying questions.

why am i doing this?

what is the point of all this?

is all of this shit really worth it?

And then it started to feel like maybe it wasn't worth it. and maybe there really is no point. and maybe there are no good reasons for me to devote countless hours to this program.

and let me tell you, those are not good thoughts to be having during finals.

anyways, i went home and spent a few hours being in a funk. and then i made some jambalaya (paula dean's recipe). and that felt good. because i haven't cooked in forever and it felt nice to make something for neill and myself. and then i woke up this morning feeling rejuvenated and refreshed and recommitted. and that also feels nice. and now i'm going to study for statistics and psychopathology and that also is going to feel good in that annoying way.

things are much better today. thank god. because i didn't want to spend all day moping around the apartment.