I mean, how could I not? After 78 degrees + sunshine on Saturday and a really great weekend, waking up to this it-might-snow nonsense after a 3:30 a.m. scare (the guest bathroom shower rod came crashing down and the metal hangers hitting the tub sounded like someone broke a window) is really not cool. Even the Sun Times’ homepage describes as “a bummer.”
It’s hard to complain after the weekend, which started with an in-house date night and squash risotto and ended with a pizza order to cap a very lazy Sunday. In between there was yoga, TRX, bike rides, walks, Tastee Freez, open windows, brunch with the girls, and some shopping.
I have a group of girls who are just the best. Some of us are going through some of the best times right now, others are going through the worst, and others are just experiencing some changes. I’m really grateful that we can celebrate the good together and be a crutch for the bad.
I’ll leave you with my go-to brunch entree - this can be made the night before and is super easy to put together. Don’t be fooled by the Cooking Light recipe - using sourdough bread, Dijon and extra sharp cheddar gives this lightened up dish a ton of flavor.*
* It should also go without saying that the 2/3 c. cheese for a 9x13 pan is a total joke. I used about a cup and a half.
I’m really glad that the city is spending its time filling tiny holes on side streets while leaving MASSIVE FOOT DEEP CRATERS on major arteries. I’ve mastered Mario Kart on the streets around our house, but when 290 was the usual shitshow I opted for surface streets. Not familiar with the potholes in that area, I rammed right into one (and not in the best of neighborhoods, either).
M came to my rescue and put a spare on, and I immediately drove to Discount Tire.
So in 2004, when my dad gave me his ‘98 Audi, it needed new tires. He agreed to foot the bill for the tires, but made me purchase the warranty from Discount Tire. At the time, I was in grad school, poor and thought spending $100 on a tire warranty was about the stupidest thing I’d ever heard of. He wouldn’t budge, and so I plunked down $100 of my hard-earned bartending money down for the stupid warranty.
10 years and about 37 flats, nails, bubbles and other tire issues later, I have never paid more than $20 for a replacement. Whatever I have paid has been simply to re-up the warranty on the new tire.
It might be the best $100 I’ve ever spent.
If you’ve got a Discount Tire nearby, go there! Buy the warranty! Hit every pothole and run over every nail in sight without worry or care!
This has been a post about a tire warranty. Clearly, there is a desperate need for some new material around these parts.
[this is obviously NOT a sponsored post. pretty sure discount tire is not looking to a blog about shoes, food and real housewives with a paltry following for promotion.]
“I actually attack the concept of happiness. I don’t mind people being happy - but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness”. Ask yourself “is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.”—
If you come between me and my free samples, I will cut you.
I don’t get that jazzed about the free samples, mostly because its usually weird shit like chocolate covered goji berries or some random spinach dip on crackers that look like they are made from birdseed, but the rest of this is pretty much spot-on, especially if you add my internal debate about whether or not I need to get a hot dog. (I am gross.)
I cannot say enough good things about this Splendid cashmere blend open cardigan. It’s super soft, drapey and comfy, but fitted and tailored enough that it doesn’t look sloppy. The light weight is perfect for spring into cool summer nights into fall. I liked it so much that I bought the gray and white version, which is currently on sale at Bloomingdale’s here. Get another 6% back using Ebates!
3:45 a.m. wake up call, 6:30 flight to RDU, meeting at the freaking airport, 6:30 flight back to ORD. Fully planning on taking advantage of the free bar and snacks at the Admiral’s Club post-meeting.
I actually forgot that it was my birthday until I landed to a bevy of text messages from my parents and friends. Guaranteed signs of getting old: forgetting its your birthday. At least I know how old I am without having to think really hard about it. Once that happens, it’s all downhill man.
Inspired by Amy, a picture of us at Hye Bar (RIP) back in the days when I was blonde, unmarried, possessed the ability to start drinking at 10 a.m., and crowded bars didn’t make me want to murder people.
I have literally worked every single day since late January. Finally, this week, things started to calm down. So I took yesterday afternoon off.
[which I spent most of working but at least I was home early.]
A new silk blouse and happy hour at Lone Wolf for my girl D’s going away party before her big move to NYC. A trek to our old Lakeview stomping grounds and dinner at our favorite sushi spot. A double scoop of salty caramel and banana french toast from Jeni’s. A canceled 8:30 Bar Method class in favor of coffee and Chicagoland from the comfort of my bed (maybe I’ll try again at noon). A toasted English muffin with butter and jam c/o my husband
It’s almost 10:30 and I’m still in bed, queueing up Scandal and another cup of blond roast.
And it is glorious, much needed and well-deserved.
Happy lazy Saturday friends!
[I can’t wait to brave the St. Patrick’s day idiocy later when I need to go pick up a shower gift for tomorrow. Sigh. Does Crate and Barrel deliver?]
[I know it’s been said nine million times but needed to put that out there.]
While this stupid winter seems to have dragged on for all eternity, February actually flew by. Between being inundated with work after my boss fell ill, dealing with some of my own stuff, M’s work travels and general craziness, February was a blur.
M is in Costa Rica for work (I was originally supposed to tag along for a few days to thaw out, but my workload wouldn’t allow for it) and returns tonight. I am excited to have my personal space heater, buddy and snow shoveler back. Shoveling snow sucks.
I am so desperate for sun and warmth that I briefly considered going tanning (gross) before coming to my senses. A new low, folks.
One of my best girls, D, leaves for her big move to NYC next weekend. A last night with the Supper Club girls is necessary.
In a couple of weeks, we are going to start on some big projects around the house and make some pretty big changes. I’m simultaneously overwhelmed and excited. Also, does money grow on trees somewhere?
I have to work (again) this weekend, but on Sunday I am thinking of working from home and making this "Sunday Sauce" for when M’s parents come for dinner. Fingers crossed.
M and I have never been big Valentine’s Day people (in our early years, we were too broke and it more or less became our tradition to not do anything by default).
Despite working for the better part of the weekend, this has been a favorite and memorable Valentine’s Day weekend. A few convenience store roses. Sweatpants + beers + true crime shows on Friday night, a tasty dinner for two at Nightwood last night, and a lasagna made by two this evening with a side of really good conversation.
Nothing really super crazy, but after the last few months, it was perfect.
Just got tickets for me and three of my girls to see this guy at Soldier Field in August!
Over the past couple of years, things have changed quite a bit. Girls have had babies, moved to the burbs, and become actual legitimate adults. It’s not often that we all get together - especially for a baby-free evening of cocktails, girl time, music and fun (most of our recent outings are in the light of day and involve passing babies around), so I am extra excited about this outing. And the fact that it will (at least I hope) finally be warm by then!
I’ve been quiet. But it’s mostly because I’ve been crazy busy. And stressed to the max.
It’s been a week since my boss/friend/mentor had a medical emergency. Totally terrifying because he’s young, has young kids, is in decent shape and is the brain trust of our group. More personally, he’s been one of the most influential people in my life and career.
I knew he’d be mortified if I visited him in the hospital, so I did the only other thing I knew would help his recovery. I worked my ass off. I have to say, it’s not a ton of fun being in his shoes. I’m exhausted. As much respect as I had for him before, now I get it, and I get what else I can do to take some things off his plate even after he comes back to work (whenever that may be).
I’ve also been dealing with some personal stress completely aside from last week’s fire drill. [Fortunately, my dad is fine.] But the last four months have been incredibly physically, mentally and emotionally draining, and it would be nice to get a bit of a break from all that.
So, if you’ve got some good juju to spare, throw some our way, k?
“DMX also told TMZ that he wants to fight on behalf of “every black person who has been done wrong in the system…I am going to beat the living fuck out of him. I am breaking every rule in boxing to make sure I fuck him up right.” He also threatened to piss on Zimmerman’s face.”—
The DMX/George Zimmerman match up is a karmic gift.
KB and I met nearly seven years ago while planning our weddings. A few exchanged messages about vendors, and we were easy pals among the crazies that inhabit wedding boards. Fast forward to today, and she is now a great friend. The best listener, the kindest, truest heart, the most impeccable timing with a totally inappropriate joke in the darkest of times, and the greenest of thumbs.
KB, you are an amazing, strong, beautiful person who I am so happy to have as a friend. Here’s to you on your birthday, a big cheers (with a KB/Ryan home brew collaboration of course, DUH) and to many more!
Our favoritest crispy black bean tacos with broccoli slaw. Always amazing. I add extra Cholula to the black bean mixture and a little Greek yogurt to the slaw to help hold it together.
Greek mahi-mahi with roasted asparagus. The mahi was ok. You definitely do NOT need anywhere close to the amount of mayo called for. I used just a bit to hold the feta cheese together and keep the crumbles from falling off the fish. I also skipped the lemon juice in the topping, because I was afraid it would make it too runny and it would slide right off.
A delicious pork chop adobado recipe that Amy gave to me years ago, roasted sweet potatoes and beets. Orrrrrrrrrr I worked until 10 p.m. and burned through my entire desk of snacks.
A much-needed date night at The Dawson. Ugh. NOT GOOD. One of the more disappointing meals in awhile, the food took forever and a day to come out, and everything was really pretty pedestrian. I had such high hopes!
Whew! I’m back. I haven’t done one of these posts in forever, mostly because the last few months have been stressful - and on top of that, we had another couple living with us for 2.5 months. While we loved having them and are always happy to help our good friends out, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little relieved to get back to our regularly scheduled programming.
[I do, after all, love me some schedules, programming and lists.]
We’ve been under the weather (from a physical perspective) and completely over the weather (from a mental perspective) for a couple of weeks now. With yesterday’s snowstorm and the plunge in temps, we were in need of something warm, low and slow. I bought a large package of beef stew meat last weekend at Costco, so beef it was.
I didn’t have everything I needed to make either recipe, and there wasn’t a chance I was venturing out into the snow to hit the store. So I combined.
I browned beef stew meat (in bacon grease, no apologies), then set aside while I sauteed finely chopped celery, carrot and onion with about a tablespoon of tomato paste in the drippings. Deglazed with some red wine (whatever was open) and threw the beef back in with half a bag of frozen pearl onions, some thickly sliced carrots, some quartered red potatoes, a few tablespoons of chopped sundried tomatoes, a couple shots of Worcestershire. Covered the whole thing with a container of beef broth and some fresh (well, moderately dried from a couple weeks in the fridge) thyme and rosemary. Simmered for three hours, and bam. Dinner.
(PS, my favorite way to eat any sort of wintery slow cooked deliciousness is with a big chunk of well-buttered crusty bread.)
I’ve had a very stressful last few weeks, culminating this week in a really stressful week, which was capped off with disappointment this morning when I learned something I’d been hoping for at year end wasn’t going to happen.
Commence wallowing and pity party for one.
Not five minutes into said pity party, I got a text from G.
"hey, i’m going to red square for a much-needed massage and some relaxation in the spa rooms. interested?"
A flurry of texts and a few phone calls later, we were booked for hour massages at 2:45.
I picked her up at noon and we headed to Red Square, a traditional Russian bath house. What an experience! With a bar and restaurant on the main level and saunas, steamers, and hot tubs below, this place is legit Eastern European - almost more of a social club than a spa. Lots of older Russian dudes hanging out in spa robes, drinking beers and watching sports.
[fortunately, there is a females-only area for steaming and sweating]
After changing into our robes, we kicked it at the bar with a couple of Moscow Mules. Then downstairs for some time in the hot tub. Then back up for another round of cocktails and some really killer chicken soup. Then back down to steam ourselves and chill in the relaxation room with some trash TV and gossip before a glorious hour-long massage.
When we finally left more than four hours later, I felt relaxed and rejuvenated.
What could have been an entire day spent in my sweats feeling sorry for myself turned into a really great day (and interesting first!) with one of my best friends.