Weekend Recap

Adam and I pretended like it was Spring this weekend. Even though it was in the 30s, we were out and about in the city refusing to wear heavy coats or hats and gloves. We were cold, but give me a break!

On Saturday we had my fam over for lunch. My parents were in town visiting my nephew so we had everyone over. I made crockpot turkey/jalepeno chili (yum!) and we ate lots of chips and guac. We also spent a good amount of time staring at baby August.

After lunch, Adam and I headed into the city to start apartment shopping, yay! Our apartment lease is up in July, so we’re getting a head start on the rental market. We looked at a few places this weekend and learned a few things:

1.) Our last apartment in the city was the bomb-dot-com location-wise, price-wise, and size-wise and now we’re sad (link to pics of our old place)

2.) We’ve GOT to live in the city near tall buildings, Starbucks, and Lake Michigan (we looked at some places in the neighborhoods, and we just miss the hustle of the city!)

3.) Paying to park our car in the city is going to suck.

After apartment shopping, Adam and I went on a progressive dinner with some of his co-workers. We hit Reza’s for apps, Troquet for dinner, and Nacional 27 for dessert (followed by some karaoke at Blue Frog!). A perfect reminder of the delicious food that awaits us in the city when we move back!

On Sunday we did a little more apartment shopping and then went indoor rock climbing with our friends at Brooklyn Boulders. While it was super fun, it was also very difficult for me and my Katy Perry-length fake nails – not very easy to grab onto the rocks. After rock climbing, we went to Little Goat (Top Chef restaurant) and stuffed our faces with a bunch of delicious comfort food (nachos, biscuits and gravy, mac and cheese, and tempura mashed potatoes were a few items we ordered!).

Here are some rock climbing pics of me and Adam!

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Weekend Recap

This weekend we tried to get outside as much as possible because it was gorgeous! Saturday we woke up bright and early for our St. Patty’s day festivities. Chicago was alive and excited to celebrate the day in the sunny weather! Here are some pics from Patty’s day.

I wore a mint-green tank from Target, boyfriend jeans, and a nude jacket and booties.

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Here’s the whole gang! So much fun to hang out with good friends.

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Then on Sunday, Adam and I ventured out of the city to Starved Rock State Park to hike(ish) and just get some fresh air. While the scenery wasn’t exactly beautiful (no greenery), it was still nice to do something different this weekend.

Here’s Adam modeling with the river dam at the state park (remember, not exactly beautiful).

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After our outdoor adventure, we really tried to embrace the spring weather and we went out to dinner and sat on the patio! It was a little chilly, but thankfully we sat next to a fire and had blankets. Sangria and tacos? Yes, please!

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Oh, and how could I forget spending time with our little nephew August! Ugh, he’s so cute it hurts!!

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St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

As all Chicagoans know, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t on March 17, it’s on whatever Saturday is before. You hear the stories, but until you’re here, you don’t realize that it’s Chicago Mardi Gras. Literally thousands of revelers fill the streets, the bars and restaurants are overflowing, and one year we even saw a gang of skateboarders shut down State Street!

We have a great group of friends who we go out with every year and this year we’re headed to Bull and Bear for “Tap O’ the Mourn” – basically a breakfast buffet with green beer instead of OJ. You have to start early because the river gets dyed green at 9:15am! Here are some pics of the past years of revelry!

2012 – Ugh, best day ever. It was 80 degrees in March and I got a sunburn! Our friends from college visited and after seeing the river dyed, we spent the afternoon on Navy Pier drinking margaritas at Margaritaville on the patio! It was legendary! (This was the year we saw the skateboarders and were concerned.)

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2013 – We spent a memorable morning with friends at The Grid and the afternoon eating burgers and peanut butter shakes at Epic Burger. It was not the gorg weather of the year before, but still a great day! (Photo stolen from Gracie Cargill’s instagram.)

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2014 – Another chilly Patty’s day, but a great day with friends at Haymarket Brewery. This is a hideous picture of me, but the only one I have from that day (well, once again stolen from Gracie Cargill’s instagram). Adam and I like to mess with each other when we take pics, so he decided to hit me with a pickle mid-pic. I admit, it was a good one. And of course we ended the morning with burgers and peanut butter shakes (a tradition!).

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2015 – I’m hoping for 2012-like weather (forecast says 54 degrees – I’ll take it!) and more burgers and peanut butter shakes!

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A Night at the Opera

On Monday night, Adam and I went to see “The Passenger” at the Lyric Opera in Chicago. Going to the opera is one thing that we haven’t done since living in Chicago. Like almost everything we do in Chicago, or while on vacation, we got a deal on tickets from Travelzoo (people ask me how we can afford to travel so much and the answer is Travelzoo!).

Here I am in our messy bedroom taking a pic of what I wore to the opera. One of the difficult parts of being a late-twentysomething is wanting to shop at Forever 21, but feeling too old. Luckily Love 21  (Forever 21’s less-skantastic line) exists and makes life a little easier. This whole outfit is from Forever 21 (jacket, dress, jewelry) and I feel it successfully looks like a 28-year-old should be wearing it.

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Don’t let my smile confuse you, Adam and I were sick all weekend and I’m still recovering. In fact, my nose was so stuffed-up over the weekend that I wore a nasal strip for 2 days straight (you know, like what snorers wear?) and it bruised my nose! It was much more bruised the day before, but a little ice calmed it down. (My under-eyes look kinda bruised, but that’s just my constant struggle with smudged mascara.)

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Anyway, Adam and I went out for sushi and then hit the Lyric Opera. The last time we went to the opera was in Vienna last year, so we thought we’d fit in, but we soon realized this wasn’t our crowd and we weren’t fancy enough for the Chicago literati draped in diamonds and fur. Especially when I lost one my fake nails.

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The opera itself was amazing and the singers/orchestra were out of this world. The story was about a post-WW2 German politician and his former SS guard-wife who are traveling via boat to Brazil when his wife sees a woman that looks like someone she guarded in Auschwitz. The story goes back and forth between the SS guard on the boat and flashbacks of Auschwitz. It was heart-wrenching and disturbing, but also artistic and inspiring.

The line that stuck with me most was “It hurts so much to be human.” While there’s no way to remotely relate to the pain people felt at concentration camps, it’s a line that reminds us that everyone experiences pain in life. It’s a great reminder that we all hurt and just want to be loved and we need to work to stop injustice and prejudice when we see it happening, even on a small scale.

 

I Miss Joan

Awards season was rough this year. There was no Joan. I miss her.

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While I know she had a “love-her” or “hate-her” personality, here are some lessons that Joan taught me.

You control your destiny.

Joan worked her butt off to have the career she always imagined. This woman did stand-up comedy the night before she went into a coma! She didn’t let anyone tell her no. She knew what she wanted, and she went for it. If you’re not living the life you want, you only have yourself to blame.

Never slow down.

I think what I admire most about Joan is how she kept reinventing herself, even until the age of 81! How many 81-year-old can we look for longevity in their career?! Who says you need to stop trying at a certain time in life? She knew that she’d never be happy if she slowed down, so she kept her foot on the gas!

Be yourself.

Joan had the craziest-looking face in Hollywood, yet she was proud of who she was and didn’t let anyone tell her otherwise. I think so many problems in our world could be solved if everyone stayed true to themselves and accepted everyone else for being themselves.

As a final respect to Joan, I dressed as her for Halloween last year (Adam was an 80s rocker, non-Joan-related). I was sure to tell all the trick-or-treaters about the late, great, Ms Rivers. Miss you, Joanie!

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Dairy Probs

I’m not clinically lactose-intolerant, but my stomach and dairy are not BFFs.

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There are some dairy items that I’m willing to do the non-dairy version of (cheese is not one of them!). I never drink milk, but if I need milk in a recipe, I use almond or coconut milk (never sweetened, yuck!). Here are some of my other fave non-dairy swaps.

Butter – Earth Balance “Buttery” Spread

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Coffee Creamer – Trader Joe’s Coconut Creamer

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While I don’t call myself dairy-free (you know, to make room for the occasional cheese binge?), I do like to try an occasional dairy-free recipe. Like this one for Paleo Cheesecake and Blackberry Compote from Paleo Cupboard!

The filling is made of cashews (soaked for four hours), blended with lemon juice, honey, coconut oil, and vanilla.

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The crust is made of almonds, dates, salt, and honey.

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The compote is made of blackberries, honey, and vanilla.

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And then voila! The finished product! A non-dairy treat that won’t rumble my tum tum!

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Kylie Jenner Fail and Win

Remember when Kylie Jenner looked like this? Oh, the memories. Bruce was most definitely a man at this time. Kim had those big Armenian-princess brows. Rob was an active member of society. Kris was on face #1.

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Now she looks like this.

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Let’s face it, she’s gorgeous and I wouldn’t hate looking like her. Years and years ago,  Adam said that Kylie would be prettier than Kendall and I thought he was on meds. Lo and behold, Adam’s prophesy has come to pass.

Since I’m as obsessed with the 17-year-old as everyone else, I decided to try a few of her beauty tricks. First, her lips (my fail). Second, her nails (my win).

Lips. Let’s just say Adam laughed for about 10 minutes straight when he saw my “clown mouth.” There are tons of tutorials all over the internet if you’re interested in achieving her puffed-up pout (just google “Kylie Jenner’s lips”). It basically involves covering your lips (especially the outer edge) in concealer and powder, next overdrawing your lip-line with lip liner, and finally coloring your lips in. As you can see from my pics below, it’s not a look for everyone (my natural lips are first and my clown mouth is second).

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In other news, why are my nostrils so misshapen?!

Nails. Ok, so I’ve been a solid fan of the short-nails, no-chip-mani for a few years. But there’s something that I love about the fake, almond-shaped nails that all the Kardashians rock. Since we recently coughed up a lung to pay our taxes, I thought it would be the perfect time to go back to my old fave – fake nails from the drug store (Kiss Gel Fantasy only $8.49!). Love them! Such good quality and so fun!

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(I wanted my pics to pay homage to the nail salon of my youth that had wall art of hands holding weird objects with super fancy nails.)

So, the lips didn’t quite work out. Maybe I need higher-quality lip liner (mine was $3.99 at Walgreens), or maybe I need to be 10 years younger, but it was not a good look. The nails may be a little over the top, but don’t we all deserve that every so often!