December 25, 2010

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out

Just like in "A Christmas Story," the Goldstein family ended up at an Asian restaurant instead of having a nice home cooked Christmas meal. Shine, the sushi restaurant, in Lincoln Park, was where the black Sienna Toyota Minivan ended up. We were actually on our way to The Bagel Deli instead, but instead decided that instead of Jews we'd go Asian. Good call. Our meal was absolutely delicious. Just wanted to blog a bit about the menu, as most of the items have changed (for the best) since I've been there last (this summer). Even the plates are new, of course I'd notice something like that because they are specifically a set of Crate and Barrel plates I've had my eye on for a while.

Besides the new plates, which I'm sure no one cares about but I, this venue now features BROWN RICE. Woo! Once again, not sure who would appreciate this, but I have an aversion to white rice recently. I guess I just realized how much healthier brown whole wheat rice is to substitute for white rice, even when eating something as light as sushi. When you consume carbohydrates in the quantities that I do, I think those little switches are important.

We started off the meal with vegetable pot stickers (mom), duck wraps (dad), edamame (brother and I) and then miso soup. Everything was tasty and well presented of course. My father ordered the salmon teriyaki (which came with fresh vegetables and rice), my mother ordered tofu broccoli stir fry. Both were seriously excellent. I had my favorite roll there (shhh, it's not on the menu) called the "Green Maki Roll" which is two types of fish and wrapped in lettuce, and a California roll (I wasn't in the mood for anything fancy). My dinner was followed by a good collection of dark chocolate and cranberry bars at home per usual.

The food was excellent, as was the service.

Whatever you are doing new, Shine, keep it up! Merry Christmas!

Sine and Rise Website

December 24, 2010

Goldstein (Jewish) Christmas Dinner.

I just got a strange feeling when looking at the photo of the chalkboard with our menu on it. I can't believe this is my last Christmas as a Goldstein. Yes, I'm changing my name, and yes I'm actually excited to become part of a family with holiday family traditions that are a little more consistent. OF COURSE I love my family, that is hardly what I'm saying. What I find particularly important, though, is tradition. Not that "we'll talk about going to see the family in Pittsburgh 3 days before Christmas Eve and complain when all flights are over $350" isn't a tradition or anything, but I think Christmas is a holiday that should have certain things that remain the same even after you are a child. Especially after you are a child, so when you have a family of your own, those same routines are passed along.

When I was a kid, we had the best holiday seasons ever. We celebrated all 8 nights of Hanukkah with all prayers and the lighting of candles; that to be followed by a trip to our grandparents small yet warm and familiar home in McKees Rocks, PA. I loved my grandparents Christmas. They hosted each year until they recently started getting older. Perhaps that is where I get some of my hosting "roots." I actually hope to think that I am a lot like my grandmother Jumba (mom's mom) because she loved to cook and also loved to wear skirts and necklaces for each outfit. We seem alike to me!

My point is, that no matter how strange your family is (or in my case, that you celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas), there are certain time honored traditions that should exist year after year. I'm excited to start my own family one day. My kids will know all these traditions. I'm a competitive perfectionist, I'll probably quiz them on flash cards. Well, I'm not that bad, but I wouldn't put it past me, haha.

Cindy, Gary, Jon, Michelle


Halibut with a Caper Shallot Red Wine Sauce with Butternut Risotto Style Quinoa
Grapefruit Salad
Cranberry Oatmeal Bars
Sarcastic inside family jokes

3 Types of Tea with the unwrapped gift my mom provided for me--a "Perfect Tea" Tea Maker

3 shallots, sliced into rings

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon capers, chopped

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 6-ounce pieces halibut (I had the man at the store skin it for me)

Fish: Season the fish with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook until opaque, about 4 minutes per side. Divide among plates then drizzle with the sauce.

Sauce: In a saucepan, over medium-low heat, simmer the shallots in ½ cup of the oil until they are light golden brown. It should take about 10 minutes or if you like them more crispy, then 11 or 12 minutes.Transfer the shallots to a bowl and stir in the capers, vinegar, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. I added more olive oil to this mix as well. Then I drizzled it over the fish on the plate. My brother liked it, and that made me REALLY happy.

As for the Quinoa, I just pretty much made up the recipe as I went. I used about 1 cup of quinoa (which goes pretty far), and about 3 cups of chicken broth (low sodium). While I cooked the quinoa, I put about 1/2 the can of butternut squash puree in the pan with a pinch of sugar, salt, pepper and shallots that were in the pan browning a few minutes prior. I let that mixture warm up, added about 1/4 cup of almond milk, stirred for a few more minutes, and then added all this to the quinoa. I stirred in more almond milk while the quinoa was over the stove, and added in more seasonings like salt pepper and sugar.


1/2 pound wide kosher for Passover egg noodles (I used Organic Brown Rice Pasta Gluten Free Noodles from Whole Foods. The brand was "Tinkyada Organic Brown Rice Pasta").
1/2 stick butter, melted (I used the "Light Butter" from Trader Joe's)
1 pound cottage cheese (I used fat free cottage cheese)
2 cups sour cream (I used low fat organic sour cream)
1/2 cup sugar
6 eggs (I used 4 eggs then 5 tablespoons of egg whites)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins (I used organic raisins from Whole Foods because they were pretty ripe and tasty!)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Boil the noodles in salted water for about 4 minutes. Strain noodles from water. In a large mixing bowl, combine noodles with remaining ingredients and pour into a greased baking dish. I used an old school square pan about 8 by 8. It just depends on how thick you'd like your kugel to be. The original recipe said to use a 9 by 13 pan, but I wanted ours to be a little thicker. I refuse to make a "that's what she said" joke. So I won't. Bake for about 40 minutes. That's how long it took for the top to get a tad crispy and brown. My dad loved this so much that he took a bag home and had 3 servings of it at the table. I died. I was so happy.

4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup Whole Wheat flour)
1 cup quick-cooking oats (I used more than this, I sprinkled some on top over the entire thing before I baked it for more texture)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I used light Splenda Brown Sugar that was lower in calories)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter, melted (I used the Light Butter from Trader Joe's)
3 tablespoons orange juice
Cooking spray

1 1/2 cups dried cranberries (about 6 ounces)
1 small container of Greek Yogurt, Plain Flavor
1 small cup of unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used Whole Foods Zero Calorie Natural Sugar to make it lower in sugar)
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour (a handful of flour, I used Whole Wheat flour)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg white, lightly beaten (about 3 tablespoons of Egg Beaters or anything that comes in a carton if that's what you use)

Preheat oven to 325°.

Crust: Spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through cinnamon) in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. FYI, if you have a wedding ring or engagement ring on, take it off, and knead this with your hands instead. Mixing it will only cause all the batter to stick onto whatever tool you are using (especially a whisk like I started with). Drizzle butter and juice over flour mixture, stirring until moistened (mixture will be crumbly). It should be crumbly, if it's not, feel free to use more flour at any point in time. I added about an extra handful or so, to make sure the batter wasn't' overly wet. I thought the flour would hold it together better, which it certainly did.

Reserve about 3/4 cup oat mixture. Press remaining oat mixture into the bottom of an 11 x 7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Use whatever size pan you'd like, really. I ended up using a 9 by 13 pan and making more of the crust and the filling as I went, so these came out nice and thick.

Filling: Combine cranberries, sour cream, granulated sugar, and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well. Spread cranberry mixture over prepared crust; sprinkle reserved oat mixture evenly over filling. I, then, sprinkled extra oats and brown sugar over the top. You really can't go wrong with those two ingredients!

Bake at 325° for 40 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

Cooking Light had permutations on this recipe as well. They are below. I think I'm going to try them both!

1. Cherry-Oatmeal Bars: Substitute dried cherries for the dried cranberries and lemon rind for the orange rind in filling.

2. Maple-Date-Oatmeal Bars: Substitute chopped pitted dates for the dried cranberries. Omit granulated sugar from filling, and add 2 tablespoons maple syrup and 2 tablespoons brown sugar.

This was really simple. I made it up as I went along.

6 mini frisee bunches from Whole Foods
3/4 grapefruit, sliced and cut into chunks with seeds removed
1/2 teaspoon fennel (dark green parts only)
a few slices of prosciutto, sliced

2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
2 tablespoons mustard
1 tablespoon grapefruit juice that is left over from slicing the grapefruit
1 tablespoon orange juice
salt and pepper

Combine everything together and toss it up and serve. Nothing much to it!
1 tablespoon olive oil

December 23, 2010

Mish the Mathlete.

No. That's a lie. I am not a Mathlete, but only wish my hair could look like Lindsay Lohan's hair did in Mean Girls when she was in the Mathletes club in the movie. I don't know if I can accurately add and subtract in my head (without the use of my fingers). Good news ladies and gentleman! I am officially starting to study for the GMAT. I just purchased a GMAT Math book off Translation: If I am not too chicken to actually re-learn math, then I may dabble in a bit of studying while I'm laying out on my roof this summer wearing my new J Crew silk tunic like a dork and then deal with the GMAT after the wedding. I must sound like the most non committal person ever as far as business school is concerned. I really want to go to business school, but it's something that I obviously need to be ready to do 100% (or more like 115% percent when you add in my valuable workout and weekend time), but I'm not sure how I'll fit this in with a full time job. A lot of people I know did this scheduling with work life balance (kind of) and it worked for them. If there is one thing I can do, it's schedule and plan. Either way, I figure knowing more math can't hurt, especially since I'm going to start managing more budgets at work.

Plus, I like to think I fit the "back to school" person, since I (as I discussed with my Maid of Honor, Jolyn, today) wore a yellow backpack to work today like a total geek. I have also included a nice little snapshot of my backpack today for evidence. Yep, it's the same backpack that I carried around at New Trier high school. You better believe it. I don't mean to sound like my mother, but I guess it certainly is harder to be a woman since we are always thinking about when we are going to have children (well most of us, anyways). I haven't really crossed that bridge yet, and I guess the timeline I live by will need to be contingent upon this fact. Can life just not be stressful for 30 seconds? A girl can dream. Wish me luck! If you know math, CALL ME. I need your help.


December 22, 2010

Lofty Ideals.

Today is a magical day of 40% off at Ann Taylor Loft. I still can't really believe that I enjoy this store so much, but it has it's moments. The lady at the register today (yes, I walked over there with a co-worker of mine on the way to grab our lunch at Protein Bar & managed to grab multiple items, try them on, and purchase them in about 13 minutes while she purchased a gift card) told me that I had "found all of the prettiest things in the store." Well my credit card didn't feel very "pretty" after that purchase! I actually did end up getting a really good deal on a bunch of items. Much better than the J Crew sale that I was browsing through all week tempted to press "checkout" at any moment. Glad I restrained until something better came along. Purchases below (Come on, who doesn't photograph clothing with a terrible Blackberry camera in their work cubes in between making spreadsheets? Don't judge me!). Is it bad that I'll be the only one in Breckenridge wearing a sparkly tank on New Year's Eve while everyone around me is sporting a Patagonia? Yea, I didn't think so either. Sorry for partying, I like sparkles. Happy New Year Colorado Ski Town. And yes, I know what you're thinking. Another pencil skirt. I just can't get enough of shimmering pencil skirts. Woo!

December 20, 2010

How Do You Know

I went with Molly to see the new Reese Witherspoon movie called "How Do You Know." I guess the more reasonable question to ask would be "how do you know when you are a Jewish soccer mom when you bring movie into the theater?" Excellent. Well I made us popcorn and labeled it because I am a dork. Even though Fandango told us the movie was at 7:10 but really it started at 7:40, we enjoyed ourselves watching a chick flick on a Sunday night. I had a great time delaying reality that the next day was Monday. I also brought some dark chocolate covered cranberries from Trader Joe's, of course. I think that this should be a food group--popcorn and chocolate. Doesn't get any better than this.

Apples and Beets are Quite a Treat.

I don't know what it is, but I really seem to like beats. A LOT. They have always been a fan of mine, but I guess that I'm constantly reminded of how easy they are to make using pre-cooked and sealed beets from either Whole Foods (you'll find these usually near the fresh spices like Dill and Cilantro) or Trader Joe's (you'll find these containers right by the Edamame and pre-packed and sliced Butternut Squash). Doug likes when I make things with beets. That makes me happy because they are actually high in vitamin C and also have fiber & some protein in them, too.

Make the dressing first in a bowl. Cut everything else up & toss together. Cut the beets however you can without killing yourself like I do. I can't cut. Luckily, I received a gift card to the Chopping Block for a cutting course. I need it badly since I'm such a spazz. Try out the recipe, though, you'll love it. I also added in raisins and chopped pistachios at the end as well to see what it tasted like. Delish! I'm making this again for sure.

Beet Salad for Two:
2 packages beets from Trader Joe's
1 small handful goat cheese
2 small Macintosh apples
1 pinch dill

1/4 teaspoon pomegranate juice
1/2 teaspoon grain mustard
pinch salt
pinch pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette
a few dashes of olive oil

December 18, 2010

Shot Ski Time

For Katie (my lovely bridesmaid and future sister in law), we threw an 80's ski party inspired by the fantastic movie titled "Aspen Extreme." Just take my word for it, everyone should watch it. I was pretty concerned with pulling together the bridesmaid "take out" containers that evening, not to mention that the weather was really terrible that night (it was gusting winds and sleet raining as I ran final errands prior to the party) so, unlike most parties I throw, I just wanted to keep the food pretty simple and non fussy. I made one of my signature Quinoa dishes and then simply had a cheese platter (in addition to some random snacks that Doug purchased--to his credit, he did run all errands early in the morning in addition to purchasing the Sweet Many B's cupcakes I ordered).

Everyone came over between 7 and 8. It was a swell time. The shot ski was a hit and we finally got to consume some of the Amarula Liqueur (similar to Bailey's that we brought back from South Africa). Most importantly, I was extremely comfortable all night in my one piece snow suit. I may have Doug do a special step by step tutorial at some point about how to make a shot ski. I think that might be fun to learn. It's basically figuring out the best way to attach shot glasses to a ski. Super Glue from Joann Fabrics works like a charm. I kind of just wanted to make sure that I had this photo below somewhere, so that in 15 years my kids will understand that we DID do cool things like bring shot ski's into bars (the interior of Small Bar on Division is below). Good luck with your own shot ski. It's a guaranteed good time in 80's ski wear. I highly recommend it.

A new thing I learned after this experience: Craft stores sell fake snow. I bought 3 bags of it because it was 40% off! It added much needed ski lodge flair (and also since it was raining outside, it certainly lifted spirits).

They Said Yes!!!

Now that my bridesmaids have all officially said "yes" to my popping the "big question," I can openly celebrate & chat about my wedding party. (My blurting it out on the blog was postponed until after lunch this afternoon with Kim, to make 5 total ladies). I'm so excited about this, I can't even sleep. I'm not sure if it's a normal reaction, but all I want to do is plan things for these amazing women that I'm so proud to be friends with. I literally am browsing the Internet right now to get something on calendars (food or meal related) so that I can further reward and celebrate this event. I will keep you posted on what I end up putting on calendars along that vein. The take-out boxes are from the Container Store, and the lettering is from Joann Fabrics that I purchased (along with the fake snow for our 80s ski party for Katie's birthday that night). Inside each box was some white stuffing along with an Essie nail polish color, a note, and a Vosges chocolate bar. I felt as thought it was something that was simple and straightforward, yet special at the same time. I was originally going to ask the ladies to join my wedding party at a brunch, then I got nervous about making sure everyone could come and decided to do something a little more crafty and portable. Thank you ladies for being a part of this day! You have all seriously been the most supportive people I know to date. Woo! Hoo! This is going to be fun!
October 22, 2011, here we come!

Cruisin for a Boozin

Ahoy Mate!

I was given the privilege of boarding a holiday booze cruise which took off from Navy Pier. Along with me were three fantastic and smart women that I am honored to work with. We boarded the Odyssey at roughly 12:45pm and it took off "into sea" (Lake Michigan) at around 1:15pm. By that time, I'm pretty sure that I may have already been slightly intoxicated, no big deal. I don't know what it is with white wine during the day, it seriously messes with my head. Especially white wine. I also discovered that I think that I am a candidate for motion sickness. It runs in the family I'm pretty sure, so it only seems logical that it wasn't the pinot talking, but instead, that I tend to get a little woosey when we were, for example, in the "bridge" (what I thought was the cockpit because I know absolutely nothing about boats), I grabbed my co-worker's arm and literally thought that I was going to puke. That certainly didn't stop my asking if there were any extra captain's hats around (which of course there were and I repeatedly mentioned that it was the best day of my life and did a little bit of drunk dancing wearing one of those heavy things). The food was pretty tasty, and I LOVED the marshmallows, as can be seen in one of the photos below (who said dessert couldn't necessarily consist of mac and cheese with some puffy white sugar on the side, eh?). Another photo is a nice (partially blurry) one of my doing the electric slide. Man I love that dance. It was like a permanent bat mitzvah on that boat! Happy holidays!


December 16, 2010


Time for me to pay tribute to the trashiest yet BEST shop in the Ogilvie Transportation Center. It's called Shooz. I was just imitating that hilarious cleaning product (I think Lyscol) commercial when sponges are talking to each other and one goes to the other "Look! He's even cleaning 'shoewes' I don't even know what those are!" Funniest commercial ever. I'm sure like 1 out of the whole crew of people that actually read my blog (like 6 people I think) will actually know what I'm talking about. Pretty standard for me as well that I'm in my own world. Back to Shooz. One of my co-workers (a trendy yet very busy mom of 4 beautiful girls actually purchases most of her clothing and accessories, shoes included of course, at this little shop that resides in between Claire's and Borders in the train station). Super classy. Don't judge me! They have great jewelery.

I got out of a budget meeting this morning and needed some air because I felt dizzy. Well, sorry for partying, but this is where I ended the register signing my credit card bill for this $30 purchase. It looks J Crew, doesn't it? Well, I wore it out of the store, and felt completely happy and uplifted. Cheers to random finds that make your day. I know mine got better after this purchase and some dark chocolate from the Trader Joe's run I made last night after a few drinks and dinner at Mercadito (standard).

And, yes, I photographed my chest in my cube at work to get this photo. Totally fine.


December 15, 2010

Elementary School Brown Bag Lunch

I think the best part about elementary school was having your own area to store your personal items. I feel like everything is special with your own little cubby (is that how you spell that word? I honestly have no idea). Maybe I should explore putting that back into our apartment somewhere somehow. Could be pretty charming. For some reason, I find myself adding in more and more elements from classrooms into my home (from the chalkboards and entire chalk painted wall I'd like to do). I think I just like when things look cozy and personalized, basically exactly what my 3rd grade classroom consisted of with Mrs. Freed at McKenzie Elementary school. Look at these adorable little shelving units for your "to go" orders at Specialty's on Monroe. Each one is labeled. PRECIOUS!! I freaked out and whipped out my BBerry to get a (blurry, sorry) shot of this action. Sorry I'm a nerd if these things excite me. And by the way, try Specialty's. They rock and you can order online. Best for the South Loop people! Yeah! I get the vegan salad and the whole grain oatmeal cinnamon cookie. Delicious.

December 14, 2010

Engagement Skirt.

Yes, this required it's own post. I just purchased a skirt possibly for an engagement party. I'm really excited. Big shock, it's from J Crew. Woo! So winter, I DIE. I love it. Please excuse the quality of the photo, it's from my Blackberry. It's called the Golden bubbles pencil skirt from the J Crew 30% off sale (with free shipping). Music to a Jew's ears.


Renegade Winter Fair

The day after the holiday party, I walked from the Dailey Method to the Renegade store in the snow. Wrong. The Renegade Winter Craft Fair 2010 was at the Pulaski Field house, a few minutes away in Wicker Park. I also found out that there was a trolley (free trolley!) that ran about every 15 minutes or so, over a couple of streets to the field house. Of course, since a friend was waiting for me, the trolley took it's sweet ass time getting me over there, but that's beyond the point. I love these craft fairs. They beat the heck out of any fairs that Lincoln Park has to offer. I was blown away (in my hungover state after the holiday party) of the variety and amount of booths that were displaying their goods. There were literally hundreds of folks that came to share their innovative crafts. Plus, I got my first taste of Mana sliders, and also was inspired by a gorgeous lamp that I'm going to re-make myself with corresponding fabrics from the Needle Shop. Stay posted for the lamp, and make sure your catch the trolley next year!

Check out the website!

December 12, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes & Chocolate Milk

I got up, finished cleaning what I had tackled while drunk the night before (sporting a snowsuit and doing body rolls to Michael Jackson music), and made whole grain pumpkin pancakes. Last night, Doug and I hosted MalcaPlooza at our home. It was for Katie's 26th birthday (which is officially on Wednesday of this week). Recipe is below. I love chocolate milk when I'm hungover, too. I've just finished my 3rd glass. I use almond milk and Lite Hershey's Syrup. It's fricking amazeballs.

1 cup Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Grain Pancake Mix
1 Cup Vanilla Almond Milk
3 Tablespoons Egg Whites (Egg Beaters work)
4 Tablespoons Organic Pancake Puree (Trader Joe's has some good stuff)
1/4 Teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Splenda Brown Sugar

Pour it out in your initials like your mom used to do. That's what I did this morning. Then I ate the pancakes while I watched Father of the Bride, texted my friend Kim, and cried at the father/daughter relationship in regards to the wedding since I'm going through a similar situation now (and my dad is just like George Banks, but Jewish).

Mana a Mana

I don't know what is inspiring me to do so, but I've been eating less and less meat and more vegeterian cuisine. No, I'm not becoming a vegan eater who won't wear leather jackets, and no I'm not on any crazy diets, but I am finding that I not only feel better when I eat less meat, but it also allows me to focus on consuming more vegetables. Over the past year, I can confidentially declare that I've made a good deal of progress learning how to cook and prepare vegetarian dishes that are extremely savory and healthy too. That having been said, I'm finding all these new places from my favorite tour guide of Wicker Park, Molly, (you may remember her name from my MVP at the September housewarming party) that offer delectable vegetarian cuisine. MANA is the best vegetarian cuisine I've had in a long time.

How do I rave enough about this place? I am obsessed and I've only tried 3 items on their menu: their Mushroom Sliders, Beat Slaw, and Curry Cauliflower Sweet Potato dish (on brown rice with peas & a tomato sauce). On Division, on the 70 bus route, 2 doors down from an old school bakery is a modern looking store front (which sports a grey door awning vestibule in the winter) named Mana. The people are friendly, the menu is not too large, but offers an array of uniquely composed and Asian inspired flavors, and the interior is chic and incorporates dark wood with clean design touches (like carved wooden benches at a front bar). I've not yet had the chance to eat in the restaurant, (only eaten their sliders at the winter Renegade Craft Fair--which I'll certainly blog about--and at home last night when Doug and I decided to get carry out since it was cold, rainy, and Doug has a runny nose and sore throat). Their menu incorporates hot dishes and cold dishes into a perfected collection of flavors and textures to satisfy whatever you may be in the mood for. Small or Large portions are available too.

I highly urge everyone to make their way over to this spot. It's infrequent that extremely healthy eating meets flavor and flair. They were even featured in Chicago Social Interiors for their innovative stripped wood booths up against the wall opposite the bar.

Links to Check Out:
Website Here.
Press Here.

December 10, 2010

Merry Chrismukkah.

I'm exhausted from my work week. Worst blogger ever. To keep it short and sweet, here is our tree! Doug and I purchased it at Home Depot. Believe it or not, it was an excellent overall experience! Very inexpensive, and they even helped us tie it to our car. First tree in the new apartment! We have decided that next year we are going to aim for a tree about 2 to 3 feet taller than this one!


December 7, 2010

We are a Family!

I'd love to incorporate photographs of my family into two walls of photos during the cocktail hour of my wedding. You are probably thinking that I'm going off into the deep end because I have distinct visions of what my wedding cocktail hour is going to look like, but tough.

I think that it's really important and interesting to highlight heritage, especially during your wedding. I have had this link bookmarked for a while, so I plan to go ahead and incorporate this into my "move-able" walls within the Terzo Piano Space of the Modern Wing. Did I mention that the contract holding the space for October 22, 2011 is officially i
n (as of this morning) and the space is ours! Woo! (I refuse to say "hootie hoo" like Carla from Top Chef but I almost did). That having been said, I think it's causing me to embark on this visualization overload to figure out how to bring the space to life now that I know it's ours for the special day.

I love the photos above. I obviously don't want it to be crazy busy (luckily, my family isn't that big) but I think that I have a collection of white Pottery Barn
Frames that I think might be able to suffice for this purpose as well. The below photograph I found on and realized that my frames I already own are similar. Might be a nice way to use something I already have and pull together some black and white photographs of my grandparents, and Doug's grandparents, too. Plus, if I need to order extra frames, I guess I know I would certainly use them again. I am planning to do a photo wall of about 20 frames in my entry hallway. This could be pretty cool! I'll keep you posted on how this project turns out. You know how long it takes to compile photos, so I want to start collecting them as soon as I can!

December 4, 2010


This past Friday was a really good Friday. Schedule for Friday, December 3rd is below in addition to photos. This was certainly one to remember.

3:00pm-5:00pm: UNITED CENTER

5:30pm-7:00pm: PRE GAME PARTY @ my APT
7:30pm-3:00am: HOLIDAY work PARTY (actually 2:45 I was technically at Sarpino's Pizza & had fallen asleep on my purse. Classy).

United Center:
I am still freaking out right now from being able to stand on the United Center ice rink. We had a work related event there for our exchanges customers, and since I'm moving to a new team at work, and the team was well aware of my slight lifelong obsession with the Blackhawks, so I was lucky enough to be able to join!

Sitting on the bench was a one in a lifetime experience. I was actually nervously excited when we were walking through the hallway which lead us to the door to I was reminded, though, that the United Center is nothing without its fans. Seeing the venue empty was reall
y strange, actually. No loud Blackhawks fans shouting or boozing. The fans really are everything to Chicago. I'd say we've got to be the most supportive fans of all Chicago sports in general (win or loose, our fans always cheer and booze). No wonder Denis Savard was so awesome to the people around him....the fans are a huge aid in keeping the Chicago NHL alive and blossoming. I even got to see Denis do one of his infamous "spin" moves (now adopted by Patrick Kane) in the scrimmage!

Holiday Party:

We went to an obscenely huge party at the Museum of Science and Industry. I was too drunk when I got there so of course I didn't take any photos of the museum, sorry for partying. I rushed home from the United Center, expensed a cab (I hope that was alright, I didn't really ask before doing so, oops), came home and threw on my dress while cleaning the hou
se. A few of my favorite co-workers cam over for a pre-party. We drank so much and danced like maniacs before leaving for the party, we b-lined straight to the food (okay, fine, and the bar as well) right when we got there (after of course, going down 4 flights of stairs, checking our coats in, and then going all the way up an escalator into the party).

It was
a really cool layout, but I don't think that it really worked for the group this year. I swear there were 1,000 people in attendance. Not ideal for getting trashed with co-workers! We ended up in this area of the museum completely boozed up that resembled a DJ table of sorts, but it was an interactive platform of lights that corresponded with beats. It's hard to describe. I think there were currents from the computerized screen below it that triggered certain pulses of light and a corresponding rhythm. Needless to say, it was awesome after all our drinking. We were like little kids. Gotta love museums for parties.

I wore a Kate Spade necklace with my black J Crew dress. Excellent and easy outfit. The necklace was my favorite! Perfect for a winter festive jewelry piece.

December 3, 2010

Got Floral?

I have recently been drawn to floral patterned items lately and am constantly reminded of one of my favorite co-workers, Kate, who can pull off anything floral better than anyone known to man. I think I would look semi ridiculous in delicate floral clothing because of my ahhem, "upper body physique" shall we say, so stick to accessories that are floral instead. I came across some gorgeous items lately that I just had to share. I think many of the below items would actually be really great gifts as well for the holiday season.

Gorgeous flowers. Great for a gift or for my wedding, hah. I'm having all white baby! Martha Stewart taught me this, of course. I'm very interested in flat, non fussy centerpieces. They are great gifts for hostesses especially if they are a neutral tone so they match everything. I only have white flowers in my house. A strange obsession of mine. Don't judge!
Click here

Someone else could totally rock this dress. Not me. But I LOVE it.
J Crew factory (Weekends only).
Click here

Boscobel Travel Bag, Grove
(available on the discount site "One Kings Lane" at the moment for only $89.00) Click here

Floral Jumble Scarf Anthropologie Click here

Verdant Acres Dinnerware, Anthropologie. Click here

Invitations, Martha Stewart (I like floral themed invitations for any event, not necessarily a wedding. I think they can be beautiful holiday and or birthday cards, too). Click here

I Feel the Need for Greens.

Just like in Top Gun when they "felt the need for speed," I needed some healthy vegetables to be added to my diet after a carbohydrate and wine heavy chunk of days. Doug and I made a delicious meal on Monday after Thanksgiving weekend. It literally took 15 minutes from start to finish. Exactly what you are looking for after a long weekend of eating and traveling (in Doug's case). I picked him up from the airport on Sunday night blasting Amy Grant Christmas (specifically Emanuel of course, my favorite) and was in a good mood about the holiday season upon us. I wanted to keep that happy streak going with some tasty food, so got the groceries covered ahead of time and planned out a few days prior. I wanted to have something healthy and light ready to go after work. It was exactly what I needed and I'll certainly make this recipe again! I loved the chickpeas with the fish. It was hearty yet light.
  • 4 4-ounce pieces halibut
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 8 cups mixed greens
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

Season the fish with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Over medium heat on a skillet with some olive oil or cooking spray, let both sides cook. I recommend Whole Foods Halibut. Cook the fish, covered, until opaque throughout, 6 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, mustard, cilantro, ½ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. I also added in grain mustard too (about 1/2 a tablespoon) because I like the consistency of that. Toss the dressing with the mixed greens, chickpeas, avocado, and onion. Divide among plates, top with the fish, and pour yourself a glass of wine.



December 1, 2010


We are thinking of hiring Hatch Show Print to create our wedding invitations. I'm personally excited that Doug mentioned this as an idea, since we are both willing to spend the extra time & effort (considering Hatch Show Prints is not only located in Tennessee but only accepts phone calls or faxes, it will certainly be additional effort than originally planned for invitation creation) for something a little bit more "us."

We certainly have a good deal of personality between the two of us. Doug is extremely dry and witty, and well, I'm just an extreme extrovert. I'm a type A Jew, and Doug is type B. We think, eat, and live differently, and therefore keep each others lives exciting & function well as a unit (most of the times! kidding kidding). That having been said, we need something unique, and fitting to our relationship and to our personalities. I think the invitation is a big deal & really does set the tone for the wedding. I got excited when I was reading their website (yes, they have a functioning website despite their low technology ways) and read that Hatch believes "

I plan to only use black and white tones in the wedding for the decor. I think funky letterpress in a artsy/vintage style could be a great look for us. Plus, we have artwork from this vendor in our home! So we know that we absolutely love it and it matches our home environment as well.

Next step is just learning how to fax again. Isn't that hilarious that they are super old school? It's charming, yes, but not super charming to a Blackberry obsessed person like myself. I need immediate responses or else I freak out a little. When I called their offices, a lady with a southern draw answered the phone and told me to fax over a piece of paper with information on who we are as a couple so she could add flair to our invitations and send over some fax as well. I have put some samples of their press poster for everyone to have a look at, to see their style. It's very retro and I absolutely love it.

"If you follow music, art, and culture of the American South, sooner or later you're bound to run into the letters, images, and unmistakable "look" of Hatch Show Print. We're one of the oldest working letterpress print shops in America...."

Have a look at their site
I'll keep everyone posted on how they turn out!

Happy Faxing,


November 30, 2010

A Bit of A Chocoholic

Above photo pretty much sums up my life. I am constantly eating. I pretend that dark chocolate is healthy (which it is, technically, healthier than gummies or milk chocolate, but still candy after all which I sometimes overlook) so I usually always have some within arms reach. Example above showing Marc Jacobs tote complete with Raisinetes, that I sported to Michael Anthony Salon after work. I kept reaching my hand into my purse and pulling out chocolate. The lady doing my hair started cracking up. Sorry for partying. What can I say, this took place right after the bike ride of death referenced in the earlier blog post below and I was really hungry.

Here are my top Dark Chocolate "snacks" as I call them. I don't think they are meant to be snacks, but I eat them like they are going out of style. It's totally fine. I highly recommend the items below. They are the best.

1. Raisinetes
2. Hershey's Dark Chocolate Bites
3. York Peppermint Pattie Bites
4. Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Cranberry Bites
5. Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Edamame
6. Vosges Barcelona Bar (no, this one isn't dark chocolate)
7. Dark Chocolate Frango Mints