August 11, 2010

When the Lights go Down in Chi City.

I don't really know the meaning of that Journey Song "Lights" but I do know that when the sun sets in Chicago, there is one place that I want to be--on the rooftop of our new apartment (preferably with 2+ bottles of wine, a few besties, 3+ types of cheese, and fruits, chocolates, licorice, and good music--all of which we had after I changed from the "workout mix play list" on the iPod dock to Arcade Fire and Coldplay).

Last night, two of my closest ladies came for a visit to help me christen my roof deck. We changed into comfy clothes (which was a wise choice considering the amount of food we put down over the course of a few hours & the humidity that make me feel sticky), used my new furniture and place mats, and sat and enjoyed being alive while overlooking the Chicago skyline. I'm not sure what could be better than this (I guess maybe not having to be at work today for a start, but we got pretty close to the perfect night).
Table in Photo: Click here to go to Crate and Barrel
Stripe Outdoor Pillows in Photo: Click here to go to Pottery Barn

I guess this may be an accurate time to give Trader Joe's a call out for being the best grocery store in the world. It's not really a question as to why all items in t
he fabulous housewarming gift basket the two ladies purchased for me (who know me extremely well) came from that charming grocery store. Yesterday, in order to prepare for their arrival, I re-routed my CTA bus schedule to take the 66 Chicago Bus from the Ontario Street Trader Joe's holding a bag full of all the contents you are viewing below in the photo of the tray of food (it was certainly worth the 20 minute bus ride next to a baby that screamed murder the entire time I was on the bus). I could hardly believe how easy it was to get extremely "good full" (as opposed to that "full" state where you feel pretty much like you want to nap for 5 weeks) on something that is easy to prepare and looks fantastic, bright, and organized. I often call these "smorgasbords" to my boyfriend Doug, who sees these types of plates all the time around the apartment (since I love to snack, I'm a huge "grazer"). Yesterday, I merely picked up a combination of my favorite items from Trader Joe's (dried fruits, fresh fruits, dark chocolates, and sesame sticks) and arranged them on a platter. Sometimes I've cut up protein bars even, and put them on there. It was a hit (a co-worker of mine can attest to this). It's a fast casual happy hour plate, in my opinion. We enjoyed it on the roof until there was a mosquito on my head and we had enough of the summer night and came indoors. The night ended when I was doing the sprinkler in sweat pants. I'd say the night was a hit, thanks to my favorites who came to join me!

P.S. My favorite wine from Trader Joe's, one of their higher end items, ($3.99 per bottle) is called La Granja. Click here for the link on the TJ's blog for more information. It's my favorite Tempranillo.

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