Weekend Notes

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Friends, food, food, friends. That was the cadence of my weekend and you will be hearing no complaints over here. Because bacon wrapped chorizo stuffed dates at Avec.

CH Distillery

And a nightcap at CH Distillery.

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And a chocolate cream pie that changed my opinion about chocolate cream pie at Bavette’s. Usually, it’s just my husband and I so after the glory that is Bavette’s seafood tower, steak, chicken, and corn (why is that corn so good, someone tell me), we can’t even look at dessert but that’s the benefit of having friends in town who are dessert people- insistence on dessert.

Related: dessert people are the best people.

Also related: can everyone we love and adore spending time with please move to Chicago? Thanks.

Not pictured: fried pickles for lunch at the Butcher’s Tap, drinks and apps at Gilt and the egg sandwich I needed from the Eastman Egg Company truck that was basically parked outside of my front door on Sunday. Like I said- friends, food, food, friends.

Which brings us to tonight:

veggie soup

Vegetable soup as far as the eye can see. #balance

Aside from the really wonderful meals, this weekend left me so full of everything I love about life- time spent with our people. Old stories, new stories, laughing, listening, future, past. That connection feeds me and can’t imagine a life without a table between us sharing all of that…and dessert.

On Speaking Up.

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Lyndsey was the “best friend I never met” until we shared a random cup of coffee in a random diner because of a random flight cancellation that landed her, quite literally, in Chicago and cemented her as the real deal, real talk, speed dial necessary presence in my life. We both recently went through big changes professionally and as we are approaching the end of that intense season, she said to me “We really did shove each other into the fire, didn’t we?”.

Yes, yes we did. And thank God for people who won’t let you tolerate things in your life that have the potential to harm your soul, to dim your light, to change your voice. I am so grateful for my tribe, for my people who shoved me into the fire the last few months and the years and years before that.

Below is an excerpt from a blog post Lyndsey wrote yesterday after speaking up in a training for her new job. We all know that moment- biting our tongues, knowing that what we are hearing is searing a hole on our insides and weighing whether or not it’s “worth it” to speak up.

I am not quiet for all of the women who are.

Women close to me, who’s secrets scare them into thinking no one could ever love them. Who’s true desire would mean, life could fall apart, not believing that falling apart is the one way to truly build again.

I am not quiet for all the women who have given me their full hearts, and the journal entries, both literally, and in confessions when I hold their hand, things they’ve never told anyone…cause what if someone knew.

And my question back is.

What if someone knew.

I say it right back to them. Do you see the difference? Say it to yourself again, like this.


What if someone knew?


My life, has become worth living, because people now know. And they love me in spite of, because of, and without condition.

I am not quiet, for her, and her, and the generations before me that were. Who did stay quiet, not because they did not have a truth to tell, but because the world is no place for the truth. So lets leave it alone, shall we. Lets say that we are fine. Lets never ever share over candles, and standing in kitchens, and driving with the windows down…what we truly desire.

Speak up. Please.


You can read the entire post here. And then speak up. Tonight, tomorrow, forever. Because it is worth it. Always and always.

Thank you, Lyndsey for your words and your truth and your difficulty staying quiet about the things you believe in the most.


Bribing and Butter Cake

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Mastro's Butter Cake

2 of our best friends were in Chicago this weekend. They are the kind of friends where time spent together just begs for more time together; like I told them when we were saying goodbye, the worst thing about hanging out with them is that it doesn’t happen every day. Friends that are family are so special and we don’t take it for granted.

As with everyone we are wild about, any visit to Chicago turns into a campaign to get aforementioned awesome person to move here. For these two, that meant a great lunch while watching the NCAA tournament, a few afternoon craft brews and arcade games, eating off of each other’s plates of pasta for dinner and, to really pull at my friend’s dessert loving heart-strings, the butter cake at Mastro’s. Because if you are going to pack up your two babies and move across the country for anything, it would absolutely be for butter cake and fresh whipped cream, right?

While I do wish everyone we love would move to Chicago, it is kind of cool…we get to watch our favorite people live their lives in places they love and between Boston, DC, LA, Nashville, etc., we don’t have a shortage of cool places to visit and other desserts to dig in to.

But really…I did my best with that butter cake.


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I love that “Friendsgivings” are a thing. All year I am grateful to have friends who I love like family and taking a day to prepare a meal together is becoming one of my favorite traditions.

Something else I love? Going all out with cooking. Everyone in this group loves to cook so something like a Friendsgiving means added effort which takes their food from a The Food Network level to, I don’t know, a Thomas Keller/French Laundry level. These people are not messing around and my taste buds are so happy for that.

Ryan was on mashed potato and bourbon punch duty while I took on dessert. In case any of you have desserts on deck for this week, I did some prep-work for you and highly recommend doing an Apple Slab Pie and Pumpkin Bread Pudding with caramel sauce. This apple pie feeds a full group and is a lot denser than round pie. I added almond extract to the glaze because I love the sweet nutty flavor with the apples. Oh and totally make the pie crust. I did it for the first time last year and again this year, it makes such a difference and is so easy.

It’s my theory that people don’t actually love pumpkin pie but are tied to the idea of pumpkin being fall tradition so skipping the pie and doing Pumpkin Bread Pudding was my move…and it was a hit. I am not crazy about raisins so I did cranberries and holy cow, I can’t believe how easy it is to make caramel.

Our Friendsgiving meal was incredible but I think my favorite part was after leftover containers had been made, the table cleared and everyone curled up in the living room. Bottles of wine passed around, jazz playing, storytelling, a few people dozing off, blankets being shared. Like that quote from Walt Whitman, “We were together. I forget the rest.” Togetherness is Thanksgiving and I am so grateful for that.

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I am also grateful, and slightly surprised, that these sweet potatoes arrived on the table without the use of a fire extinguisher.  Last year, there were flames coming from the oven when the marshmallows caught fire thus earning this dish the name of “torched sweet potatoes” on the menu this year. While it was funny to watch everyone scramble to extinguish said fire, no one exactly complained that things were a bit calmer around the oven this time.

sweet potatoes


So Full I Could Burst

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This post could alternatively be called “The Time I Cried Upon Being Seated at HUSK”.

I have been wanting to go to Charleston for a few years, specifically to go to HUSK and The Macintosh, and for one reason or another, haven’t made the trip. Well, this weekend I went away with some girlfriends and in the spirit of “bacherlorette’ness”, they planned everything…and a trip to BOTH restaurants were on the agenda.

Which is why I cried after the HUSK waiter handed me a menu that said “Congratulations!” on it this morning. I was so happy to be at that table with women I love and who were so lovely in their wanting to celebrate me and my upcoming wedding this weekend. The entire weekend was so sweet and thoughtful; a friend who couldn’t make it sent her celebrating in the form of my favorite bottle of champagne and there was a welcome basket with my favorite magazines, nail polish, candles and beach essentials waiting for me in my room upon arrival.

I have never felt so celebrated in my entire life.

Back to the food. Manhattans on tap, ricotta dumplings, sheepshead fish on a bed of the best vegetables ever cooked and banana pudding in a mason jar at The Macintosh. Biscuits with lemon ricotta cheese and lingonberry compote and shrimp and grits at HUSK. My best friend halfheartedly offered me a bite of her heirloom tomato omelette and later said she was happy I said no because it was the best omelette of her life.

Charleston is next level with their amazing food. Good lord. Next. Level.

I am heading back to Chicago with the fullest heart and belly I have ever had. I am so, so grateful for this absolutely delicious season.


Peace. Love. Wine. Whiskey.

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With every dinner, holiday and party hosted in our new(ish) condo, the more it feels like home. We had a Holiday Open House last night and I don’t know if it was our fully decked halls, the roaring fire in the fireplace, the bourbon cider punch Ryan made or that so many of our nearest and dearest showed up to celebrate the season but this place we have lived in for 3 months finally feels like home. The neighborhood that took so long for me to adjust to finally feels like somewhere I love being. I went to get takeout from a nearby bar today (see aforementioned bourbon cider punch- mama needed tots in a big way today) and it was so crisp and clear and silent out. It felt so great and the sight of the garland and bows wrapping each light pole was enough to make me a little teary. This move was what was right for our little family and I am so happy that it honestly feels like that now.

Related: happiness is also this cookie. An Oreo wrapped in a chocolate chip cookie hug. I mean, stop, right? Our friend Erin made them and brought a beautiful tin of them as a hostess gift…in other news, Erin is welcome in our home anytime.



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Weekend highlights pictured include the biggest piece of lasagna in the world c/o Rose Angelis, receiving the first gift from our wedding registry, dinner at the Halloween’ified Hubbard Inn and turning our time at Bub City into a game night with a large side of singing country music at the top of our lungs (and of course, the fried pickles). Not pictured (what can’t be pictured, really) is how darn good it was to have some of our best friends in town for the weekend. It was a blast showing them some things we love about our city and nothing beats having face time with people you love. So whether it was catching up sitting in our living room while devouring pastries from Beatrix, belly laughing over tots and football at our favorite neighborhood bar or walking down the street talking exclusively in hash tags, it was one of my very favorite weekends. I wish they lived closer but I am so grateful for the in-person celebrating we got to do, even if the time went way too fast.

Sunday Celebration

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If there’s a better way to spend a Sunday morning than celebrating your favorite two year old with coffee, donuts, balloons and people you love to be around, I just can’t believe it. What a great celebration of our little buddy Jackson who is the absolute sweetest (and speediest!) boy around.

And let’s be honest- awesome kids get made and raised by awesome parents and our dear friends Brad and Kate are top notch. Role models in marriage, role models in parenting…we are beyond blessed to have these two in our lives!