Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Joy to the World

There are some perks to working at a catholic institution. Christmas is a time to celebrate and you don't have to be afraid to say "Merry Christmas"! Although, I do find myself saying "Happy Holidays" more so than "Merry Christmas".

Another perk... the university displays gorgeous Christmas trees around campus. This tree is displayed inside the Student Center (the building I work in): 

{ a partridge in a pear tree themed tree... notice the bird at the top and pear ornaments }

Every time I walk by this tree I can't help but smile! On another happy note, I only have 2 more days of work and then I don't come back until January 3! The university is officially closed from December 23 - January 2. I get 7 days off of work without having to use any vacation time. Yay, education!

Monday, December 20, 2010

S Gets Married!

My bff S got married on Saturday! I was so honored to be a bridesmaid in her wedding and love her and her hubby as a couple. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the wedding: 

{ PSS bridesmaids with the lovely bride } 

{ gorgeous bouquet } 

{ check out the smile on her face... that is love, my friends }

{ love her } 

{ Kar looking very model-esq }

{ may have snuck out to the trolley for a celebratory cocktail }

{ glow stick fun! } 

{ have fun in Costa Rica! } 

{ litp } 

{ bridesmaid love } 

{ very proud to say that I helped start the circle of love dance } 

I loved the menu for the evening: cream of chicken soup (so season appropriate), salad, chicken oscar (with crab/hollandaise), steamed veggies (asparagus, cauliflower, carrots) and seasoned red potatoes. Everyone got a piece of cake with a scoop of ice cream. Different and yet so delicious! I was really happy to see soup because it was ultra chilly.

After a fabulous night of dinner and dancing, we all piled into a shuttle bus back to the hotel where the bride and groom pre-ordered pizzas for the "wedding after-party". Absolute perfection!!

Dinner Party

Growing up, I always wanted to host fancy dinner parties for my family and friends. Living in a cozy (read: small) one bedroom condo doesn't really afford me the space to host such occasions. However, we are friends with a couple who love to host get-togethers. Our friend Liz owns a gorgeous 2 bedroom condo in Lakeview and is quite the hostess. 

Last week she and her BF Matt hosted a small group of close friends for a holiday dinner. Liz is the kind of person to pay attention to the little details. As a person who thrives on details, I appreciated all the little things that  made the occasion special. 

{ gold chargers with olive napkins and gem napkin rings }

{ the main course: surf and turf with home made twice baked potatoes } 

I can't wait until I can host more than 1 other couple without feeling totally cramped! Until then, I'm enjoying my cozy city home with the hubby. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Song and Word

Last week Scott and I went to a fun holiday event called Christmas at DePaul.  It was the perfect event to get us in the holiday spirit! Over 200 people comprised an orchestra and chorus that retold the birth of jesus through song and word. 

Words cannot really do it justice. It was simply fabulous. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the night: 

{ quick view of the chorus }

Happy holidays!! 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Delight

Watching the Food Network on Saturday mornings is one of my favorite things to do (especially when it's chilly outside). Last Saturday I caught an episode of 5 Ingredient Fix  that highlighted recipes for a "Posh Potluck". I watched the host make chocolate truffles and I was determined to try the recipe. 5 ingredients? Sounds simple (and it was). 

Official Recipe

  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 14 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut, toasted and finely ground
Put the white chocolate in a large bowl.
Add the heavy cream to a heavy-bottomed saucepan and warm it over very low heat. Put the white chocolate into a bowl and pour in the hot cream. Whisk until all of the chocolate has melted. Add the butter and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Refrigerate the ganache for about 1 to 2 hours, just enough to be able to form it into balls.
Use a tablespoon or small scoop to measure even amounts of ganache into small balls. Put the balls on a parchment or silicone mat lined sheet tray. Refrigerate for 1 hour to firm up before the next step.
Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler (or a microwave). Dip each ball in the melted chocolate (2 forks make it easier to fish out dipped chocolate balls). Put the coconut into a medium bowl and add the ganache balls. Toss to cover them in the coconut, then put them on a wire rack over a parchment lined tray to dry. Allow the truffles to set for about 10 minutes before devouring.

** I forgot to take a picture of the first 2 steps (boiling the cream and melting the white chocolate...oops!) 

{ 1 inch white chocolate balls } 

{ use a spoon to coat the white chocolate balls with melted dark chocolate } 

{ allow the coated truffles to dry on a rack } 

{ melt white chocolate for an extra decor element } 

{ use a fork to drizzle white chocolate on the truffles } 

{ enjoy! } 

This was my first time making truffles at home and I thought they turned out great! They were quite delicious and I already have a few ideas for my next batch. I may add a little flavor extract or use coconut/hazelnut flakes. 

I plan to make a larger batch and give them away to family, friends and co-workers for a holiday surprise! 

Saturday, December 4, 2010


I have lived in the city for going on 4 years now and I have always lusted for Hunter Boots. This morning I decided that I am at an age where I can make splurges once in a while. I hopped on the bus and headed north to Hanig's Slipper Box at Clark and Diversey. 

The decision of what color boot to buy was a total no-brainer. I bought an aubergine pair of Hunter Boots with charcoal socks. I allow myself one "investment piece" each winter. Last year I bought a North Face jacket, which was totally worth the money. I have NEVER been cold in my jacket. Okay, back to the boots....

Here I am sporting the new boots in the fresh Chicago snow. Looking at this picture, I realize that I need to buy a new scarf. The red sticks out like a sore thumb. 

{ love } 

The great thing about Hunter Boots is that they are year-round boots. They are perfect rain boots and you can walk right through the slushy snow in the winter. Stylish and sensible. 

{ snowy cityscape }

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dear Ellen

Yesterday, one of my co-workers suggested that we take a staff outing down the the Bean in Millennium Park. Ellen Degeneres had tweeted that she was starting her 12 Days of Giveaways right here in Chicago! I jumped at the chance to win a prize, so we headed over to the Salvation Army to buy a Christmas sweater (per Ellen's request).

According to Ellen's tweets, the contest was to start at 5pm. After waiting an hour in 30ish degree weather, the small crowd was told that we would be going live with Ellen in LA at 6pm. I debated about whether to stay or leave, but I decided to stick it out. 

Between 5pm and 6pm, Jeannie picked out 10 people who were dressed the craziest in Christmas gear. These were the selected few who had the opportunity to win $10,000 cash! There was a couple with the cutest baby standing behind us and they were picked to participate. 

The selected few were given a phone and mistletoe and were told to take a picture kissing a random person. They then had to send it to Ellen and she would pick her favorite. 

Watch this video to see who won: 12 Days of Giveaways

The couple and baby that stood behind me WON THE $10,000!!! Surprise, surprsie. You cannot compete with a baby. As much fun as I had, I have a bone to pick with Ellen. Here it goes...

Dear Ellen, 

Thank you for deciding to kick-off your 12 Days of Giveaways in my beloved city. Chicago is quite fabulous. However, Chicago is also quite cold... especially in late November. With the wind chill, it's about 15 degrees outside. 

I took off work a bit early, ran to the nearest Salvation Army, bought a Christmas sweater (that I did not get a chance to wash) and hustled down to the Bean because you tweeted "Only 30 more minutes, Chicago! Get to the Bean". Of course, I found out that you really meant 90 more minutes. That's okay. I'll let it slide. 

I'm very happy for the Walters family, because their kid is so freaking cute. I'm not so upset that I didn't get picked to vie for the $10,000, because let's face it...I just don't have that kind of luck. However, you said something that struck a nerve with me. You told your audience (sitting indoors where it's surely warm) that you wanted to reward them for being such loyal fans. Not only did you invite them back to another filming, but you gave them some pretty awesome prizes. 

Here's the bone...
I, along with 200 other loyal fans stood outside in the crsip 14 degree weather to have the chance to see you (and maybe win a prize). It sincerely bothered me that you rewarded your LA fans and not your Chicago fans (who by the way earned runny noses and frozen toes) to just watch you on the big screen. 

Okay, we didn't get the Microsoft phone. We didn't get a trip to another giveaway show. To be honest, I would have simply enjoyed a nice hot coco to warm me up. But, nope. No hot coco. I ask you this... The next time you have fans freezing for hours outdoors, can you at least provide a warm-up beverage? Maybe instant hot hand warmers? 

Again, congrats to the Walters. May they enjoy every penny Uncle Sam doesn't take from them. I hope they start a college fund for sweet Mariah. 

Kind regards,

p.s. For your information, someone in the crowd did get a hot coco on their own accord and spilled it all over my phone... which is now broke from water damage. Awesome. Merry Christmas. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Just Call Me Angelica

My friend S is getting married in 3 weeks and yesterday was her bachelorette party. S is my sorority sister and we lived together in the fabulous 1-2-8 during college. 

During the day, a bunch of us girls went to Glazed Expressions on Armitage to do something a bit crafty. You pick a piece of pottery and then paint it to your liking. If you have a few hours to spare, it's a great place to relax with a friend. We had friends drive/fly in from South Dakota, Florida and Texas for the party, so it was so nice to catch up in a relaxing environment before the festivities later in the night. 
The store was kind enough to let us bring in our own snacks and cocktails. We all toasted to our friend S with a yummy Godiva chocolate martini. Yum! 

The ladies wanted to dance, so that's exactly what we did. I can't remember the last time I danced so much! A few weeks ago, hubby came home and was obsessed with this song that referenced a dance called "Dougie". It's all he talked about. He forced me to learn the dance and I'm glad I did because the song came on last night and I was the only one in my group of girlfriends who knew the dance. Here's a fun video that teaches you the dance: Glee Teaches You the Dougie.

{ S and T } 

One rule my girlfriends and I always obey: never give out your real name if you're not interested. We all wore name tags last night (S loves name tags) and made up names for the evening. Last night I was Angelica. My friend K has used the same alias for a few years... Ma Lady. Love her. 

{ you can call me Angelica } 

Another solid night with the ladies in the books. Only 3 more weeks until we're all together again. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hey, Mother Nature...WTF?

If you talk to any Chicagoan, they usually say the same thing. "Love the summers HATE the winters". Allow me to explain.
Today's High: 67
Tomorrow's High: 39
That's a 28 degree difference in a matter in 24 hours. That's Chicago. 

Right NowNext 36 Hours
T-StormTonightTomorrowTomorrow Night
Strong StormsSunnyMostly Clear
T-StormStrong StormsSunnyMostly Clear
Feels Like: 62°LowHighLow
Past 24-hr:
Precip: 0.99 in (est.)
Snow: 0 in
Chance of Precip:
Chance of Precip:
Chance of Precip:
From SSW at 10mph gusting to 17mph
W at 18 mph
WNW at 14 mph
NNE at 11 mph

I can't write a blog post about the weather without addressing the "severe weather" warning Chicago has right now. I just started my new job last week and one of the fabulous perks about it is that I now walk to work (most days). Of course, walking to work has its pitfalls, too. 

Exhibit A

(love the smeared eyeliner) 
It went a little something like this:
I walked about 1/4 mile from work to the Armitage/Sheffield bus stop (after checking bus tracker, of course). As I approached Armitage, I noticed the bus started to drive away. I dashed across the street and literally chased the bus. I was NOT going to wait another 20 minutes for the bus. Luckily I only had to run about 1 block until the bus driver stopped for me. It didn't matter, though. I was already drenched. Much thanks to my umbrella that broke because of a nice bitch-slap from the gusty wind. Awesome. After the bus dropped me off, I still had to walk 2 blocks north in order to get home. Oh, how I just love the rain. 

Happy Monday, folks. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Lincoln Park Gem

My girlfriends and I love going to BYOB places. BYOBs are kind of hit or miss, but the restaurant we went to last night was great. The seven of us ladies were able to get a table at Zig Zag Kitchen in Lincoln Park. 

Zig Zag was great for a couple of reasons. 
  1. It's BYOB with NO corkage fee. = ) 
  2. The menu is different from most places I usually go. Kind of up-scale, but not really. I enjoyed chicken picatta and linguine for $12.95. 
  3. They give you warm cookies at the end of your meal. Free dessert? Simply awesome. 
I highly recommend the hummus and pita bread dish as an appetizer. It was quite delicious and I'm happy my friend Kara pre-ordered it. 

Last night was a wine kind of night. The seven of us polished off 3 bottles and one Target wine cube. We try to keep it classy, I mean sassy.  There was a large group sitting behind us and I kid you not, a girl brought in a Miller Lite refrigerator keg and set it right on their table. I like their style! 

Vino Deal

A few weeks ago, Scott bought an amazing Groupon. The deal was spend $25, get $75 worth of wine! He and I love to drink red wine during the winter, so we took this as an opportunity to stock up on vino. I'm usually the one who makes the wine selections for our household, but Scott took the reigns this time and picked out 6 bottles to buy with the Groupon. 

A few nights ago, we cracked open the first bottle. I have to say the smell that came from the bottle was not pleasant, but it sure did taste good! I suspect the wine will last us through mid-December. We like to have a glass of wine with dinner a few nights a week. Though I'm not really looking forward to winter, I can't wait to have Christmas music playing in the background, watching the snow fall all while enjoying a nice glass of red wine. Life is good. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Commit to the Belt

I have been pining for a trench coat for quite some time. I finally found one that I loved and that was in my price range. I bought a burnt orange Hawke & Company trench coat from Nordstrom Rack on State Street last month and continue to get compliments on it. I absolutely love it. 

However, I have a major pet peeve with trench coats. Women who buy them should be well aware of what they are getting themselves into when they buy a trench coat. A trench coat is all about the belt. It cinches your waist and can be quite slimming. So, why do so many women simply make a knot with their belt? I cringe every time I see a woman walk down the swanky streets of Chicago with her trench coat belt knotted up. It's a serious fashion crime. 

Ladies, this is the proper way to wear a trench coat. Commit to the belt. Loop it and tuck away the extra belt strap. I guarantee you will not only look, but feel polished and put together. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The $5.00 Sandwich

I take public transit to work everyday. In the morning, I catch a bus outside my condo and take it about 1 mile south and transfer to a train. It's not as bad as it sounds, but it does make for a lot of interesting stories.

For example, earlier this year I was on the train when I witnessed a 20 something year old woman do one of the most disgusting things.

Rule #1 of CTA Etiquette: If you're going to eat on the train, make it a non-messy snack.

I watched a grown woman drop a sandwich FACE DOWN on the floor on the Red Line, pick it back up and eat it. I looked at her with the most troubling look on my face and told her "That was disgusting. Do you know how dirty the floor of the train is?"

What was her reply, you ask? Oh, it was classic. "Um, that was a $5.00 sandwich. I'm not wasting it."

Seriously? I only had one response for her... "That is NOT okay". Of course, you have to imagine me saying it in the most sassy way possible because I wanted to make it clear that she just committed a very serious offense and I will forever be grossed out by her actions.

I think what I found the most troubling was that she looked like someone I would be friends with. Yet she still picked up the sandwich and ate it. Remember, the sandwich was directly on the floor with no paper or wrapping to protect it from germs. That's just not right.