Link Love

12 09 2014


Last Saturday we went to the Lincoln Park Zoo for a birthday party and there was SO much going on, what a cool place! It’s supposed to be nice tomorrow- go for the sea otter training at 10:30am!

This Billie Jean cover by The Civil Wars is killer and it was basically on repeat in my office this rainy Friday afternoon.

I don’t know if I trust this list of the 5 Hottest Bars in Chicago; we went to Gaslight last weekend and wanted to leave after half a beer it was so douchey. But I’ve been wanting to go to Celeste for awhile now so we’ll give it another go.

The After Dark events at the Art Institute are so neat. Cocktails and art pair quite nicely.

You are an answered prayer. Did you know that? Love this post from Jacki Carr.

The Maryland vs Michigan State game is on our fall agenda and we’re hosting a for-real, legit tailgate in College Park with friends. This list of tips and tricks is going to come in handy. #21 & #22, happening.

11 09 2014


Spotted in a window on Wrightwood. With so much to express about this significant day, I think this little sign and it’s four little words says it quite nicely.

Always and always.


10 09 2014


I have a dear friend whose family is among the best people I have ever met and they have a thing for pennies. Whenever they find one, they know it’s a sign from their beloved late Grandfather and let me tell you, they have found tons of pennies.

Last Saturday, we threw pennies into the fountain in Lincoln Park as a nod to their Papa and to make a wish on my friend’s son’s birthday. It was a great morning with great people on one of the most beautiful Saturdays I can remember.

And it just so happens that I found an entire floor full of pennies later that day. I think I have a thing for pennies now too- signs that people love you are really lovely.

It’s Not Okay

8 09 2014

You know how it is- you see something on the news, it’s disturbing, you get kind of mad and then you go on with your day. Yeah. That’s not happening for me today.

This morning, I saw the video of Baltimore Ravens football star Ray Rice delivering the punch that rendered his then-fiance/now-wife unconscious before he dragged her out of an elevator by her hair. I think we all knew something to that extent happened because the video of the aftermath was all over the internet this summer but to actually see the hit made me sick to my stomach. It made me sick, made me sad…and then it made me angry. Really, really angry.

The Ravens are my husband’s team; he grew up in Baltimore. They were on our TV yesterday as they played a really crappy season opener and even though I wanted to be supportive of a team he likes, I had a hard time knowing that even though Ray Rice was serving his two game suspension for the aforementioned abuse and was not in the game, I was watching/supporting an organization that goes against everything I know to be right and decent. They saw abuse at the hands of one of their employees, slapped him on the wrist and continued to make money selling jerseys with his name on the back.

It makes me sick Ray Rice’s wife was in that crowd knowing that her safety was hinging on any number of factors that didn’t have to do with her, that she was possibly going to get hurt that night. But you know what else? There were also any number of women in that crowd who are in fear, are at risk, and are in situations where they are physically unsafe at the hands of someone who says they love them. Women who look at Ray Rice and recognize him in their own homes.

This not about Ray Rice.

This is about that watching a stupid football game, that watching the NFL condone domestic violence and blame its victims is a reflection of what happens every day in our communities. This is not a pro-football issue- this is a human issue. There is nothing about love or relationships or the institution of marriage that makes violence okay. Period. But somehow, we have become a society that is capable of uttering things “Well, she married him.” or “Haha, did he tell her twice?” or “She’s the one who stayed, she deserved it.” Or as the Baltimore Ravens tweeted this summer, his wife “deeply regrets the role she played the night of the incident.”

To be clear: there is NOTHING that makes domestic violence even come close to the realm of acceptable. NOTHING.

There is no choice you made, nothing you did, nothing that could make anyone hurting you okay. I know that is hard to believe when what is reflected in the media, sports and even your own community is a climate where we put responsibility on victims and communicate that domestic violence doesn’t matter by how we punish it. However, I know with 100% certainty that I am right when I say it is not your fault, you do not deserve it and there are people who want to help you. The National Domestic Abuse Hotline is available to talk confidentially with anyone experiencing domestic violence or is questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship. I linked to the website but if you are concerned that your internet usage is being monitored, here is the number: 1-800-799-7233.

I know I keep it light on my blog, writing about how awesome I think Chicago is, fun happenings around town or how to make darn bloody mary’s from scratch and that’s what’s right for this little corner of the internet most of the time. But today, I want it to be a place where you hear loud and clear that there is nowhere that domestic violence is acceptable. Not on my blog, not in society, not in the NFL and certainly, not in your life. Stay safe and live well because that is what you deserve.

Slow Sunday Funday

7 09 2014


After 2 weeks of not having a conversation with my husband lasting more than 15 minutes because of his, um, robust hours at work due to a project (robust sounds better than insane because hard work is not to be trivialized), we spent yesterday doing all of the things.

9am birthday party for our favorite 3 year old? Check. Pizza, bourbon sangria and college football at Homeslice? Check. Golf lesson, running, shopping, more college football, more food, more drinks, Jeni’s Ice Cream? Check, check, check. It was like we tried to cram in everything we haven’t done together in the last 2 weeks into one day.

It felt amazing.

But if yesterday’s theme was “go!”, today’s theme is “slow”. Quite literally, in fact. There’s Asian BBQ slow cooking in the crock pot. I am still in pajamas. A third cup of coffee on the porch may be necessary. I think a long walk instead of a long run will be happening. The mile high stack of catalogues and magazines I have are going to be read. Yesterday, we were up to the serious business of fun and today, the serious business of a slow Sunday sounds delicious.

And like just the kind of Sunday Funday that we need.

Heirloom Tomato Bloody Mary

5 09 2014

carafe y

Like I said yesterday, I could not resist the stunners that were these yellow heirloom tomatoes at The Green City Market and thus, they became a Bloody Mary too. What can I say? When Williams-Sonoma asks what unique spin you can put on a Bloody Mary, you go for it. And going for it is always a good move, in life and in cocktails. The proof is in the glass in this case.

yellow tomatoes

yellow juicer

yellow juice

First thing’s first: juice these bad boys. I felt like the yellow tomatoes were special in their own right so I kept the recipe pretty traditional on this Bloody Mary with one exception: Old Bay. I have always loved Old Bay but my husband grew up in Chesapeake Bay country and is deeply devoted to this combination of spices. We put containers of Old Bay in our wedding gift bags and I keep small packets of it in a majority of my purses because God forbid we’re out for brunch and a restaurant doesn’t have it for his Bloody Mary.


As a result, I absolutely had to include it in this recipe and I am so glad I did- it adds so much more flavor than celery salt does. To get mixing, I added 2 tablespoons lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce to taste, a Tablespoon of salt, pepper and at least that of Old Bay. I finished it off with Sriracha because I like a little heat at the end of each sip. As always, add, taste and repeat until the flavor is where you want it!


I kept the garnish simple with a single piece of bacon but it was sort of special bacon. I tossed the bacon (turkey, in this case) in a ziploc with dijon mustard, brown sugar and a little bit of maple syrup. Once evenly coated, I put them in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. The brown sugar mixture caramelized and I had a stick of sweet bacon to pop in the drink instead it being curled up the way it ends up when you cook it in a pan. I also think a skewer with shrimp, maybe wrapped in bacon or prosciutto, would be great with this Bloody Mary and the seafood would play off the Old Bay well. Ooohh, maybe top the Bloody Mary with fresh crab.

Almost as great as the fact that Bloody Mary’s can be made from entirely fresh ingredients? That the weekend is upon us and it’s time for brunch. I’ll have a Bloody Mary, please…

Fresh Homemade Bloody Mary’s

4 09 2014

2 carafes

Cooking and eating clean, whole foods has always been a passion of mine but ever since my trip to a Michigan Farmer’s Market last month (and after making pickles!), I feel a little…obsessed with it. Like, I made pickles! I made bread! It was magic! What else do I usually buy that I could make from scratch???

Answer: Bloody Mary’s.

I love brunch. Tomatoes are in season. I own a juicer. I also love Williams-Sonoma and they’re currently in an initiative to see what fresh spins can be made to this classic cocktail. Surely I could take Bloody Mary’s to the next level for the Labor Day party we were attending. Right?

Actually…right. And beyond being delicious, they were fresh, literally summer in a glass. From market to kitchen to party, let me tell you how it all went down.

Read the rest of this entry »


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