Royal Perfection

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I literally gasped when she got into the car.

Love that she wore McQueen.  Super loved all the hats and fascinators.  Super, super love that she proved once and for all that she is the epitome of class and beauty.

And maybe even beyond that stunning fashion moment and the sheer and utter perfection that was the Royal Wedding is that the bride and groom seem to really like each other and are embarking on what could be a fantastic marriage.

I suppose that is something to really gasp over.

(Because I’m sure they read my blog)

Congrats to the happy couple!

Chicago Museum Free Days

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Chicago has some of the best museums in the world but to go to all of them will cost a pretty sizable chunk of change.  Luckily, you can score totally free admission if you take advantage of one of the “Free Days” listed below.  Weekend days, obviously, go early because everyone loves free but I’ve found that hitting up weekdays is fairly sans lines.


Adler Planetarium

May 12 & June 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Art Institute of Chicago

Free Thursday Evenings- free admission from 5-8pm through May 26th.  In June, free hours will move to the first and second Wednesday of every month with free admission all day long.

Chicago Children’s Museum

Free for Everyone: every Thursday 5-8pm; Free for ages 15 and under: First Sunday of Every Month

Lincoln Park Zoo

Free all the time!  Open everyday from 10am-5pm, you can check out some zebras, tigers, and monkeys (oh my!), all for zero dinero.  Nice!

Field Museum

Free Basic Admission: May 9th, June 7th & 13th, July 11th, August 8th, 29th & 31st

Technology: A Blessing and a Curse

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The last time Ryan was out of town for work, Chicago was hit by a blizzard.  Tonight, he is in Huntsville, Alabama and, yep- tornadoes and a multi-city wide blackout.  Natural disasters must know when he’s on the move, huh?

In all seriousness, the storms that have ripped through the South today have been devastating and that’s only from what can be seen right now- tomorrow, the severity of the situation will be much more readily apparent.  When Ryan called to tell me that his flight landed but the power had gone out at his hotel and a fresh batch of storms were rumored to be on their way, the first thing I did was get on Twitter,, Google.  The great thing was I was able to find out what was going on, where the storm lines were, what city officials were saying and get that information to Ryan- with no electricity and the Verizon towers being down, they had limited to no access to any information (I will never complain about his second Blackberry again-thank you AT&T).

The bad part about having access to the internet?  That I was able to find out what was going on.

I saw videos of the tornadoes, real time reports from people in Huntsville who were without food, power or knowledge if their family members were okay and confirmation that an entire nuclear plant was hit by a tornado and power would not be returning to Northern Alabama for several days.  All very scary things.

They say knowledge is power but what do you do when power cannot be derived from that knowledge?  I told Ryan what I could so he felt informed and could make safe decisions but I couldn’t click my ruby red slippers to go down and scoop him out of a tornadoes path.  Which kind of made me wish I didn’t know the extent of the situation.

In the meantime, I’m definitely sending mad prayers down Alabama way- to the people who have lost homes, family members, power, a sense of security…and for Ryan to make it back to the Windy City safely.

Muffins are Naked Cupcakes

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“Zerts are what I call desserts. Tray-trays are entrees. I call sandwiches sammies, sandoozles, or Adam Sandlers. Air conditioners are cool-blasterz, with a z. I don’t know where that came from. I call cakes big ol’ cookies. I call noodles long-ass rice. Fried chicken is fri-fri chicky-chick. Chicken parm is chicky chicky parm parm. Chicken cacciatore? Chicky catch. I call eggs pre-birds or future birds. Root beer is super water. Tortillas are bean blankies. And I call forks…. Food rakes”

Tom Haverford

There is an entire website dedicated to this guy’s food slang.  I don’t know who he is but I do know that I have been referring to forks as “food rakes” ever since I read this.

I wonder what the chances are of me ordering a “Cheesy Flip Flip” and actually getting a grilled cheese…

(via red letter daze)

Plan B

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To say the weather is starting to get to me is the understatement of the century.  I’m as sick as the next girl of wearing my Hunter boots every single day but when I went into the bedroom last night to show Ryan 7 different exotic (read: expensive) travel destinations that I ranked in order of “We should book a flight” to “We must get on a plane within the next 5 minutes”, I knew I needed a Plan B.

Plan B?  Heading to see my Grandmother in Florida in two weeks.  I just booked my flight.  I’m hoping that a few days with my darling Gi and then a few days on the beach at my parents condo will cure whatever cabin fever/stir craziness I have going on.

If not, I will be changing the name of this blog from “Just a Chi Town Girl” to “Reasons Why This Weather Sucks”.

Here’s hoping…

Easter Sunday 2011

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After a beautiful mass at Holy Name Cathedral (snagged one of the last seats-yes!), my handsome man and I took in a lovely brunch at the Ralph Lauren Restaurant.  I love the classic feel to RL- the deep navy colored walls, mahogany paneling, portraits and books everywhere.  Since we were all gussied up for church, it felt like the perfect spot to toast the holiday.

Over a bellini, Gold Coast Omelette (a potato pancake topped with an herbed omelette topped with smoked salmon, aka perfection), bloody mary and lobster club sandwich respectively, Ryan and I told Easter stories from when we were kids and mused over how proud my grandmother would have been that I was in a Catholic Church today (I’m “Catholic Light”-aka, Episcopalian).  It was a wonderful morning and I’m so grateful for days like today.

In related news// my new heels had an excellent inaugural voyage.

Buona Pasqua

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I spent my favorite Easter in this piazza- Piazza Liberta, in Macerata, Italy.  I was studying abroad and my roommate and I woke up early to attend mass.  After a beautiful service, all in Italian, we headed to a bakery in the middle of these massive stairs that connected the two major piazzas in town.  Luigi and Maria were the owners of the bakery and had become our friends.  Their bakery was not just the home of unreal bread, pastries and candies but also a home– it was where everyone gathered, at the beginning of the day, middle of the day, end of the day, holidays…you get my point.  I’ll never forget my plate of nutella-filled cornetto, biscotti, fruit, little cakes, served with a glass of wine (it was a holiday after all!).  We crammed in that tiny bakery with what seemed like half of the town, laughing, talking, cheek kissing.

Post brunch, we headed for Piazza Liberta.  Surrounded by medieval walls, pigeons and a duomo that had seen centuries of lives pass it by, I remember thinking “This is Easter.  This is rebirth and humility and faith.”  A fog had settled over the city but I was so clear.  And grateful.  For that city, for that moment, for that holiday that has given me spiritual life.

There have been 6 Cadbury egg-filled Easters since that day I spent in Macerata, all wonderful in their own right.  But every time I settle into a pew to listen to Easter mass, I can’t help but be brought right back to my Macerata mass.  Sometimes, it may take a language you don’t know to understand every word.

Buona Pasqua, my friends!

Crab Cake Express

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The best thing about dating a boy from Maryland?  Crab cakes.

Okay, there’s lots of other things that make Ryan rock but you’ll have to excuse me- I just finished the most glorious, huge, meaty, to-die-for 12 ounce crab cake and I can’t think of those other reasons right now.  All I can think about is how I lived 25 years before having a real crab cake.  Our first Christmas together, Ryan had crab cakes from G&M, his favorite, sent to Michigan for my family’s Christmas dinner.  We were blown away and declared it a tradition right on the spot.

So imagine my delight when we received a big, dry-iced G&M box labeled “Crab Cake Express” from Ryan’s parents yesterday- an Easter gift!  So generous, so thoughtful, so very, very, very delicious.

You can take the boy out of Maryland but you can’t take Maryland out of the boy…and when it comes to crab cakes, thank God.

(Menu: G&M crab cake, sweet potato w/ brown sugar and green bean sauteed with EVOO, onion and tomato.  And a 312– gotta throw some Chicago in there too, of course!)

Royal Jelly

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I have heard that Queen bees and worker bees are born the same. Queen bees, however, live exclusively on royal jelly- a bee secretion rich in proteins, sugars, amino acids, etc. As a result, the Queen bee lives 70 times longer than the average worker bee.  AND she gets to be Queen.

Royal jelly, look into it.

(via OscarPRgirl)

All about choices…