Monday, December 18, 2006


I've been waiting to hear back from this local university about a position. I had made the top 5 and thought I had a pretty good chance to get the position. I hadn't heard anything--and I know that in Recruiting--silence is deafening. Anyway, since I am also an alum of the school, I receive monthly newsletters from the College. I check my email today and lo and behold, another newsletter. I start reading it and see there is a story about the position I interviewed for. No surprise that there was an interview with the person who would be running ths center, aka the person who got the job over me. I'm pretty bummed. I mean, luckily I have my current job still and I have other employment options. HOwever I'm disappointed that I didn't even get a call saying thanks, but no thanks. Or a letter. I mean--SOMETHING.

The person who got the position is very qualified and actually already works for the university. So c'est la vie I suppose.

I'm gonna pout a little more then just let it go...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

An almost two years in review

I lived in Chicago for almost 2 years. Here are some pics I took while I lived there...

My office building is in this pic. Guess which one!

I loved living in Wrigleyville!

Oh, eL, how I loved and hated you.

I'm working on getting many more uploaded here!

Back in 'Hood

I'm back in Florida and it has just been wonderful. I'm keeping pretty busy with work as my employer has requested that I work remotely a little longer in order to transition my responsibilities. This works out great for me since I'm still making money! I've been interviewing for jobs and am anxiously awaiting the feedback on one of them. The place I interviewed with (a local University) is notoriously slow when it comes to making decisions, but I hope I will hear back soon!

Being near my boyfriend and my family has been wonderful!! I'm also reconnecting with old friends, which is always a blast. The weather has been awesome--it didn't take long to defrost!

I miss my friends in Chicago but honestly I can say I'm not missing Chicago itself very much ;-)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Leaving on a jet plane

So at 7ish tomorrow morning, I'll be on a one-way flight back to Florida. My last few weeks in
Chicago have been a whirlwind. Lots of going away dinners, a kick butt going away party, a 2nd places finish for my last night of pub quiz, one last night for quarter beers. While I will miss the fun times that I have had in Chicago, I'm really looking forward to being home. It's been too long away from my family, my boyfriend and the sun.

Since this blog is primarily my experience being a southern chick in Chicago, I'm at a lost of what to write about now that I'm moving home. But I'm sure I'll think of something!

Talk soon my friends :)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Soul Singing Santa

I was at the Thompson Center today, at the post office. On my way back to work, I decided to pick up some tasty Pumpkin Soup at Au Bon Pain. While waiting to cross the street, I saw the Soul Singing Santa. It's a guy dressed as Santa who sings soul music, like Al Green and Lou Rawls. He has a little sound system with his backup music. Now I love this music! It always puts me in a great mood. And Soul Singing Santa actually has a great voice too! So I gave him a buck. I normally don't tip street performers (except the Puppet Bike), but I had to make an exception for this guy!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

When I mention a train in my postings, I'm usually referring to the CTA. However I do enjoy riding the Metra which is the commuter rail to the suburbs and beyond. I went out to Oswego yesterday to see my former boss' home and have dinner at one of my favorite chain restaurants, Outback. Since I was born and bred in the suburbs of America, Outback is a very comforting place for me to be.

Anyway, back to the Metra. I boarded at Union Station, which is a few blocks away from Sears Tower. It takes a little over an hour to make the trip. The Metra is enjoyable for me because it is usually quiet, always cleaner than the eL could ever be, and the seats are cushy. I ike seeing all the "villages" that we pass along the way. It's just very relaxing.

Post dinner, I got to partake in ice cream from a local institution, Oberwies Dairy. The ice cream there is really amazing. While we can get the milk in the grocery stores, we don't have the ice cream shop in the city.

So after my enjoyable and relaxing day, I board the Metra with a full belly to head back to the city.

I'm going home to Florida for Thanksgiving. I missed last year and while I had fun with friends, there is nothing like being home.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Strange things about me

This is for my blogging friend Andie...


Ive been tagged!
The first player of this "game" starts with the topic "seven weird habits/things about me" and people who get tagged need to write a blog about their seven weird habits/things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next six people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says, "You are tagged"

1. I am slightly obsessed with stupid MTV programming like "Parental Control" , "Date My Mom", and "My Super Sweet Sixteen". I once made my boyfriend watch 4 episodes straight of "Parental Control" and "Date My Mom"

2. I get sick everytime I drink red wine. I always end up puking. I'm a wimp.

3. I can always fall asleep when on a plane. Typically I'll fall asleep right as the plane is taking off. Maybe this is more due to the fact that I like flying in the early morning (less chances for delays).

4. I love sweet potatoes, but not in the way that people are used to eating them (with brown sugar and marshamallows). I like to eat them baked in olive oil, garlic powder, black pepper and rosemary.

5. I'm rockin a big TV crush on John Krasinski from the Office. Could he be any cuter??

6. I used to walk dogs and pet sit to make money while I was in college (aside from waiting tables). My dog clientele ranged from Irish setters to standard poodles!

7. I harbor a not so secret love for the 70's pop duo Th
e Carpenters. Blame my parents. But how could you not love Karen's voice??

Hmm, who to tag? Oh! My friend who writes Musings from the Windy City!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Lift your pinkys!

One of my best friends, PreppyGirl, has said that every woman should experience formal afternoon tea at least once in their life. In an earlier post, I listed "Tea at the Drake Hotel" as one of my Chicago "Things to Do". I was able to check off this item as PreppyGirl and I, along with four of our girlfriends had a 3pm seating for tea at the Drake. We all dressed for the occasion, with the majority of us in skirts and sweaters. While waiting to be sat, we enjoyed the fabulous people watching opportunity. We marveled at our beautiful and elegant table setting, which included this contraption:

Since the majority of us had never had loose leaf tea before, it was a first to use a tea strainer!

Afternoon Tea at the Drake Hotel is held in the Palm Court Room. For $26.50, you receive your choice of tea and four types of tea sandwiches including:
  • Roast Beef
  • Cucumber and Tomato
  • Egg Salad
  • Asparagus and Ham (looks like a sushi roll!)
In addition, you receive fruit bread, scones, devonshire cream, and preserves. After all of that, you get a wonderful selection of petit fours.

We all tried different flavors of tea. I selected the Ginger Peach tea, which was wonderfully fragrant. I wish I had a candle that smelled like that! I tasted some of the other teas ordered by my friends, including Wild Blackberries. The sandwiches were really tasty, with favorites being the Roast Beef and Asparagus/Ham. Our waiter even brought us an extra plate of sandwiches after we devoured the first batch. The petit fours were excellent as well.

It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon. We spent two hours giggling about the tea experience and just having really good and funny conversation. I was really happy to be able to share this experience with these great girls!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Countdown to Sunshine

The apartment is on its way to being subletted (in the tenant application phase), I've scheduled movers, and I'm transitioning my work duties to someone else on my team. The countdown is on!

I suppose I could get sentimental about the city of Chicago during this post, but I've decided to concentrate on the lighter side of things.

Today's focus : The Drinking Glove

Say What?

The drinking glove is a necessity in Chicago when the temperature dips below 50. This is half the year. With the barrage of pub crawls that occur in the fall months, it is a necessity to have a drinking glove to wear on your hand to hold your beverage of choice. Also, think of all the tailgating that is done up in the Midwest. You need the drinking glove or your hand will be so numb that you won't be able to hold a beer. Best use of a drinking glove was during the Southside Irish Parade. You would see people not wearing jackets or scraves, but lo and behold, the drinking glove will be ever present. It's the one item you don't lose no matter how drunk you get.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Da Bears are Da Best?

So the Chicago Bears have had a perfect season. They have had more than their share of shutouts. However I really don't think that the Bears' perfect record is that impressive. Okay, hold on to that tomato for just a second. I like the Bears. I really do. I've been watching Rex Grossman since his days at UF. They are a good team. But Super Bowl bound great? Hmm..not so sure.

Why would I make such a statement against the beloved Chicago Bears? This is the primary reason. They are in a weak division. Let's look back at who they have played so far:

  • Seattle Seahawks - after Shaun Alexander was out (Final Score 37-6; Seahawks current record: 4-3)

None of these teams are especially steller. In all honestly, the Bears are in the weakest division on the NFL (the NFC North). The Bears have been playing pretty sucky team so of course they have been winning. The Cardinals game was the DIRTIEST win ever. Grossman and those interceptions. Don't even get me started. They should NOT have won that game. The Bears play the Miami Dolphins (1-6) this Sunday and again, I'm sure they will kill them. But this easy schedule is the worst thing that could happen to the Bears. They have a tough couple of games coming to them after the Dolphins game, which include the NY Giants (oh Eli--I heart him) and the New England Patriots. I will happily change my outlook about Da Bears if they can win against these two strong teams. The undefeated record would actually be meaningful to me if it has been maintained come December.

Let's imagine that the Bears do make it to the playoffs. I would be very interested to see how they stack up against the following teams: Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and Baltimore Ravens.

A Bears/Colts playoff game? Bring it on!

eL Etiquette

While riding the Red Line into work today, I witnessed several eL etiquette atrocities. I saw several girls using their big Kate Spade/Coach/Louis Vuitton bags as weapons. The big bag is an essential in Chicago, as many of us don't have a car to use to schlep our stuff around. However, the big bag should never, and I repeat NEVER be used as a weapon. Many girls on the eL today used their bags to push against people as they manuevered their way into the car. Also many girls used their bags to establish their personal space zone. When you are packed like sardines in a car, there IS NO personal space. We are all just trying to make it into work without being too late. Could you just put your bag down or at least not use it to hurt someone?

I also saw a pregnant girl (at least 6 months) who had to stand because no one would give up their seat for her. I too was standing so I had no seat to give her. Everyone was concentrating a little too hard on listening to their iPods, reading their RedEye, or staring blankly into space. I even saw seated people look straight at her and not even flinch to give up their seat. I swear this happens on a weekly basis.

When we pulled into the Grand spot, there was a girl who shoved people out of her way to get out of the car. Mind you, these people were already in the process of moving for her and she just couldn't wait. Again, we know--you are late to work because the eL was delayed at Fullerton for like 10 minutes. But come on, the shoving isn't necessary.

So please..there is no need to shove or use fashionable accessories as weapons on the eL. And for goodness sakes, if you see a pregnant woman or an elderly person stading on the eL, give them your seat!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

An Acclimated Chicagoan

As a southern transplant to Chicago, I always wondered when it would feel like I really lived here. Where I felt like it was a home (obviously can't be like my actual HOME in Florida, but you know what I mean). Here are some ways that I realized I had settled in here:

(1) I knew multiple ways to get from Point A to Point B on the CTA without consulting This is especially helpful if there is an accident on LSD or major delays on the train.

(2) I had developed an educated opinion about where to get the best deep dish in the city (Lou Malnati's of course).

(3) I could easily identify a Trixie or Chad by sight and name at least three bars where they can be found.

(4) I could shout my order quickly at Potbelly's.

(5) I got slightly irritated at suburbanites trying to figure out the turnstile at the eL station.

(6) I knew the difference between fans at the Cell vs. the Friendly Confines (i.e. US Cellular vs. Wrigley Field).

(7) I wasn't surprised to read about the Mob in the Trib.

(8) I memorized the Empire Carpet commercial *sings 588-2300 EMPIIIIIRE*

(9) I relate all my downtown directions to State and Madison.

(10) I could distinguish between 312, 773, 847, 708, and 630.

I wonder how long I'll retain this info when I move back to the FLA?

Any Chicagoans reading my blog? Add to the list!

Thursday, October 19, 2006


I'm a tad worried about finding someone to sublet my place. So if any of my readers are interested in a 1br sublet in Wrigleyville from December to June, please leave a comment or email me. Thanks!

**Clarification: For my non Chicagoans blogging friends, Wrigleyville is a neighborhood within the bigger neighborhood of Lakeview in Chicago, north of Downtown. I live within a block or 2 or Wrigley Field. There are also around 20+bars and restaurant within a couple of blocks of my place.

Here is a Wiki entry on my 'hood:

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Random Chicago-y Things...

It's been a particularly trying week so I'm sorry I haven't blogged anything cool lately! I don't have enough for a posting on one particular item, but I have some bits and pieces so here goes...

(1) Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins at the Vic Theatre - Chicago has some fantastic musical venues. Intimate, historical and just plain cool. One of these cool theatres is the Vic. When they don't have concerts, they do a Brew and View where you can drink beer and watch second-run (out of the mainstream theaters) movies. However on this occasion, I had the opportunity to see one of my new favorite performers, Jenny Lewis (lead singer of Rilo Kiley). Jenny was actually a child actress. She was in one of my childhood faves, Troop Beverly Hills. Now, she is a singer, who likes to dabble in a fun mix of indie rock and country.

(2) Brunch is my favorite time of the week - Sunday brunches have been my favorite times of my week for several years. Back in Florida, this is the time that I would see my close friends, catch up on the week, and eat tasty brunch food without worrying that I was going to be late to work. I've tried to continue this tradition while in Chicago. Luckily, I have found some friends who also enjoy this leisurely Sunday activity. There are several tasty and quirky places in the city to enjoy brunch. Two notable places are M. Henry and Tweet.

Both places are located in the Northside neighborhoods (M. Henry on the border of Edgewater and Andersonville; Tweet in Uptown). Both serve fresh, organic and inventive brunch menus. As well, both places typically have a long, yet well worth it wait. I love the quirky, artistic atmosphere as well. I also like that both places are so not typical Wrigleyville/Lincoln Park Chicago. There are no tvs blaring in the background. The crowd is eclectic. Plus the food. Can't stop thinking about the food!!

(3) Crawling for dessert? - While waiting to be sat at M. Henry, I saw a sign for a Dessert Crawl in Andersonville next Saturday from 7p-10p. For $20 per person, you can visit over 15 restaurants in the 'hood and try different desserts. There are some amazing pastry places in Andersonville so I can't pass this up. I also like the idea that this is a food crawl instead of a pub crawl. Sure a few more calories, but I know I won't be a drunken mess after this event.

So in some non Chicago news, I'm definitely moving home in December! So this blog as I currently have it won't continue since I won't be a Southern Gal in the Windy City. Any ideas on what I should blog about??

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Can someone please call my management company and tell them to turn the heat on? I'm dying here!

I was spoiled in my last apartment. The majority of my neighbors were nice little elderly folks so they tended to heat the building early in the season.

Now I know why heat is included in my rent. Because they aren't going to turn it on!!!

For tomorrow, first snow! I will take time to appreciate it this time around as my days here are numbered :)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

What a lovely day to...

frolick in the country?

Yes, you read it right. This city gal spent her Saturday enjoying some of the best parts outside of Chicago. The day started with apple picking at the All Season Orchard . All Season is located in Woodstock, IL, roughly 55 miles northwest of the city. At this orchard, you purchase a bag that can hold half a bushel (around 25 lbs!) of apples and it's 100% "U-pick-'em". For those who don't want to pick their own apples, you can buy apples in the general store at the front of the orchard. You can also purchase goodies such as unprocessed honey, lots of apple-based bottled sauces, and most importantly--apple cider donuts! It was such a great, sunny day and completely enjoyable to be outside, playing among the 7,000 apple trees (!!!).

After apple picking, we ended up (thanks in part to a call to my boyfriend for directions) at another Chicago suburban legend, Hackney's. Hackney's is a family owned and operated restaurant chain that has been in buisiness since the 1930s. We dined at the Glenview location on E. Lake, which is one of six area locations. They are known for their burgers and onion loafs. Burgers were excellent, incredibly flavorful and juicy. The onion loaf was a bit overdone for my taste, but it was still pretty good.

While winding back down Sheridan Rd. towards the city, we stopped at the amazing Baha'i Temple in Wilmette. This architecturally impressive temple is the only one of its kind in the US. There are nine Baha'i temples around the world, in countries such as Panama and Australia. The temple is open to all and is surround by tranquil gardens. Situated in the ritzy suburb Wilmette, it definitely stands out among the traditional Victorian and early American style homes. The most impressive part of the temple was the inside. Looking into the intricate details of the ceiling almost made me weak in the knees.

So Chicago visitors and natives alike, take the time to explore the areas outside the city. Chicagoland isn't just about skyscrapers and deep dish pizza!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Chicago Wish List

I have had a lot of great experiences while living in Chicago, but I still have a list of things I would like to do here, including:

1. See a movie at The Music Box
2. Eat brunch at the Four Seasons or have tea at the Drake
3. Watch a drag show at The Baton
4. Go to the Museum of Science and Industry
5. Listen to jazz at the Green Mill
6. Walk on lakefront path from Oak Street Beach all the way to Foster Ave. Beach (running out of time since it is getting cold soon!)

I used to have apple picking on my list, but thanks to a good friend of mine, I'm going to do this tomorrow!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Advice for a newbie to the "City of Big Shoulders"

Before I start, has anyone else heard Chicago referred to as the "City of Big Shoulders"? I heard that for the first time last week. I haven't tried researching where this name came from though.

My sis just moved to New England for school. As well, a friend of mine just moved here from Austin, TX. Both my friend and sis are lifetime southerners. I've been advising them on what they should buy to prepare for winter and thought i may make an interesting blog post. Or not. Oh well, too late..because I've already started!

(1) Thick, water resistant, Down Coat with a hood for the 30 degrees and lower days. If you want a higher end coat ($250+), North Face is pretty popular. This style in particular is regularly seen on the city street. However, if you are a little more economical --around $100 (me! me!), Lands End has some great coats. This is similar to the one I got last year.

(2) A lighter coat for those 40-50 degrees days. There is a little more flexibility in this area, since you could go with a leather coat, a lighter down coat, corduroy, etc. For in person shopping, I like Nordstroms Rack and TJ Maxx for bargains; Fields (errr--now Macy's) for mid range...For high end, any of the other department stores would work.

(3) Cute but functional rain boots. I"m actually on a search for a pair of these right now. I figure that I can use them when I move home too. I know. They sound incredibly dorky, but you know how I hate wet pant legs. I found this pair as well as this one at Target's website.

(4) Lined boots to wear while trying not to fall on the sidewalk. Now if you buy the right pair of boots, you shouldn't have this problem. I got a shearling lined pair of ankle boots from LL Bean last winter and they were awesome. Now how can I write about winter boots without mentioning the infamous Uggs. I'm sure they are very comfortable. In the right wintery environment, I bet they do a great job keeping your toes nice and warm. However, when girls started wearing them in all types of weather...even with shorts? YUCK.

(5) Wool Hats, Scarves (of various colors, thickness etc), and gloves (cheap ones, if you are like me and lose them all the time!)

(6) And for God's sake, cover your ears! Traditional ear muffs are kinda dorky. Luckily, there are more options these days. I used to have a pair of 180s but my hair is so thick that they wouldn't stay on. I used the headband thingy that people wear when they ski to keep my ears from getting frosty.

(7) Lots of long sleeves cotton shirts. Layers baby layers. That thick sweater will feel like a light cotton tank top when it is 15 degrees outside. Gotta layer --the wind cuts right through you!

Luckily, I'm enjoying 60 degree weather right now. I did pull my winter clothes suitcase out, but in defiance, I have left the bag unopened on my living room floor.

My cousin, Oysy, and a "Fat Pig" = My Friday night

My cousin and I had a "date" on Friday. We started out at Oysy for tasty, inventive sushi. Oysy is one of my fave sushi joints, second only to Tsunami on Dearborn. They have a terrific selection of speciality makis. One of the highlights of our meal was the Rainbow Dragon, which consisted of salmon, tuna, super white tuna, eel, ebi, shrimp tempura, masago, cucumber, chili tobiko, wasabi tobiko, black tobiko, avocado, and mayo. Whew! It came "snaking" out to our table, complete with a little dragon face.

After dinner, we headed up LSD to Uptown for the next part of our evening: Fat Pig. Say What? Fat Pig is a play, a Neil LaBute play, which makes its Midwest debut at the Profiles Theatre. I have been excited to see Fat Pig since I read about the off Broadway debut last year. Neil LaBute's work is so honest and emotional without turning into a made for tv movie. I saw the movie version of The Shape of Things, which starred the original cast from the play. Instantly I was drawn to Neil LaBute's ability to capture the truths of relationships. He just gets it.

The following is a sumary of Fat Pig, from the Profiles Theatre website...

"FAT PIG is Neil LaBute's award-winning and bitingly funny romance about love in the modern age of body image and peer pressure. Tom is a young career guy who hits it off with Helen, a bright, sexy woman who happens to be plus-sized - and then some. As he reluctantly finds himself falling in love with Helen, Tom's colleagues are brutally cruel in their assessment of his new mate. LaBute probes our carb-counting, extreme makeover nation by asking tough questions. How much has our relentless pursuit of beauty turned us into an uglier species?"

Fat Pig did not disappoint at all. It was funny and sad and honest, without being trite. The cast at Profiles was incredibly compelling, as if these parts were written specifically for them. Also the venue itself is amazingly intimate (50 seats!). It was the perfect environment to see this play. I would highly recommend taking in this play if you get a chance. The theatre is located on Broadway north of Irving Park.

Now I must get back to watching the Gator game. Go Gators!

P.S. Did anyone here the tornado sirens downtown on Friday night? My cousin and I were on our way to dinner when we heard it. I had no clue what it was at first. My cousin had to clue me in. Pretty freaking scary!!

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of a Chicago Fall

I just returned from a wonderful long weekend in Florida. My return was met with the the light crispness of an inevitable fall. Aside from my body not liking the 25 degree drop in weather, I'm a fan of the change in seasons. Some would argue that Chicago only has two seasons: Winter and Construction. However, I am a girl from Sunny Florida, where Septembers are marked by a drop in temp from 95 to 89 degrees. Anything below 70's feels like fall to me.

So here it is...the good, the bad and the ugly of fall...

Good: Football (College and NFL); knee high boots; Fall TV
Bad: Putting away the flip flops; Shorter days; End of the Daley Plaza Farmers Market
Ugly: Wet jean bottoms caused by puddles; Sinus misery; Umbrellas that can't stand up to the wind

It is my last Chicago fall. This Southern girl is headed home hopefully by the end of the year!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

New layout

Hi everyone,

I got a little bored of the dark design (I've had it since last December), so I'm trying this one out. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. After all, you are the one that has to read it! Thanks!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Chicago Cheap Eats

Chicago's Citysearch page published a list of top cheap eats in Chicago. Here is the story:

One of my favorites (Potbelly's) made the list. You'd be hard pressed not to stumble across a Potbelly's during a trip to the Windy City. Like many other cities and their local foods, it helps to know how to order a Potbelly's sandwich. Potbelly's is insanely efficient. You could be 10 people back from the actual order counter and have your order taken. Skinny..Regular or Wheat...and don't tell the first person what you want on your sandwich...that's the second person's job to dress your sandwich. You catch my drift. My personal favorites include Turkey or Chicken Salad on Wheat, Skinny (1/3 less bread).

Another cheap eat in Chicago is found at numerous neighborhood bars. The famous $1 burger. Monday's are a popular day to offer this special. From Kincade's in Lincoln Park (you can upgrade to a Deluxe Burger with fries for $2) to The Dark Horse in Wrigleyville to Celtic Crown in the outskirts of Lincoln Square...the $1 burger is a popular cheap eat.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Local Music Scene: Jenny Gillespie

Chicago is a hotbed for local talent. On any given evening, you can hear local artists in every neighborhood of the city. No matter if you like jazz, blues, emo, rock, country, hip-hop or some amalgam of the aforementioned, you can find a venue and an artist to entertain you. I've heard a lot of good local musicians, but I'd like to highlight one of my faves: Jenny Gillespie.

Jenny is a singer/songwriter whom I met through her sister. She sings the loveliest songs of the rich, folky variety. If you are a fan of Aimee Mann and Joni Mitchell, you'll enjoy her songs. She likes to sing about the places she's been and the dreams she has. I recently had the opportunity to see her perform live at Uncommon Ground. The combination of her talented vocals, sensitive words, and intimate setting made for a wonderful way to spend a rainy Thursday evening.

You can find Jenny's music on iTunes. She has an EP called "Love and Ammunition" as well as an self-titled acoustic effort. My favorite song of hers is Mountain Laurel. Aside from listening to the snippets on iTunes, you can check out her MySpace page here.

Check it out! Hope you enjoy...

Sunday, September 10, 2006


While having dinner with a friend of mine, we lamented about the things we missed from our respective hometowns. A fellow EastCoaster herself, my friend (who I will call Preppygirl) misses preppy guys and Tastykakes. Here is a list of things I miss about living in the South (aside from my family, boyfriend, and friends)...

(1) Vidalia onions and Georgia peaches in the summer
(2) Light sweaters in the winter
(3) Sunrises at the beach...and the smell of the saltwater in the air
(4) Sweet tea and bbq; Fresh Seafood
(5) The relaxed, laid-back pace of life
(6) Peterbrooke Chocolates
(7) Manatee watching from friends' boats
(8) Driving on A1A with my windows rolled down
(9) SEC and ACC football (specifically the Florida Gators!)
(10) Publix

Don't worry! I have lots of things I'll miss about Chicago when I move home. I will post that at a later time...

Off to watch football! Yay for NFL Sundays!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

OT: Oh no he didn't

John Norris (from MTV) with blond hair. No. Make it go away.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Tale of Two Zoos

I recently had the opportunity to visit two of the most well-known zoos in the country. Both Brookfield and Lincoln Park (LP) Zoo are located in the Chicagoland area. People have their favorite, but I thought it only fair to review them based on the following categories: Location, Cost, Variety of Animals, and Staff.

(1) Brookfield - Located in Brookfield, IL, 14 miles west of downtown Chicago. Most accessible by car but there is a Metra stop a block or so away.
(2) LP - Located in Lincoln Park (the neighborhood and the actual park). Easily accessible by walking or by the 151 or 156 bus. Cabs readily available as well. Parking for those who want to drive in the city.

Winner: LP
For a city gal such as myself, LP wins hands down. I can stop by LP Zoo at my leisure, while going to Brookfield requires arranging a car ride or consulting the Metra schedule/getting to Union Station.

(1) LP - Free! Enough said. There is a cost to ride the paddleboats ($12/half hour) and Carousel ($2.00/ride)
(2) Brookfield - $10.00 - adults. $6.00 - children. They too have a Carousel, which you can ride for $2.50. They also have a good selection of special shows for additional cost. When I went last, I paid $16.00 for zoo admission plus 3 special events (with the Motor Tram including one of those events).

Winner: LP
Really. It is hard to beat free, but Brookfield is very reasonable.

Variety of Animals
(1) Brookfield - Brookfield sits on over 216 acres and boy does it use those acres well.This zoo has over 2500 types of animals. As I mentioned earlier, they also have a good variety of special exhibits, such as the Butterfly House, Dolphin Show and more. I was especially impressed by the penguins and the entire Tropic World exhibit. Tropic World is home of all the monkeys. It is massive and impressive. I love the pachyderms too!
(2) LP - This zoo is considerably smaller in side, coming in at 35 acres. They definitely do not have the variety of animals that Brookfield offers. And there weren't any pachyderms! Unless I missed them, but how can you miss an elephant? I did think that you could get up close and personal with the monkeys a lot easier that at Brookfield. While you would need a full day to cover Brookfield, LP can be visited if you only have a few hours to spare.
Winner: Brookfield
You just can't beat the vastness of Brookfield!

(1) LP - There were several opportunties where zookeepers could interact with the guests. While visiting the monkeys, my sister and I were talking to one of the zookeepers who gave us the story about the different personalities the monkeys had. Also while visiting the gorillas, we were treated to a lecture by one of the zookeepers.
(2) Brookfield - I was able to see trainers working with dolphins during the actual show. Even more entertaining, I got to see a seal training session/feeding. That was hilarious! The seals were really hamming it up. The staff was terrific in educating and showcasing their animals.

Winner: TIE!
It is so hard to pick because both zoos have wonderful staffs.

After looking at the ratings, LP Zoo won 2 of 4 categories, while Brookfield won 1 of 4. However, if I lived in the suburbs or at least had a car, Brookfield may have won that category. In the end, both zoos are wonderful in their own right. If you ever have the opportunity to go to either, do it. Be a kid for a day. It is good for your soul.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Au Revoir Carson Pirie Scott

Aside from Marshall Fields, the Carson's is a landmark on State St. Carson's announced that they are closing their famous location on the corner of State and Madison. Many longtime Chicagoans are saddened by this closing, but I wonder if people had just shopped at this location more, the store would not have met its fate. This location has reported declining sales, especially with so many people flocking to Michigan Ave. (Home of Nordstroms, Saks, Lord and Taylor and the soon to be Macy's). Luckily for Carson's fans, the other Chicagoland locations are remaining open.

Even though I'm sad that they are closing this location, I'm excited to see the restoration of the building take place! Any ideas on what retail establishment should go in Carson's place?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Update: ComEd Bill

I finally got my ComEd bill for the past three months. The total was........

$109 and cents!

I was really scared it was going to be over $200 bucks. It ends up totalling an average of $36.33 per month.


My Big Fat Greek Meal

I've ridden the Halsted bus through Greektown numerous times, but I never had the opportunity to eat there. Luckily my cousins and my cousin's boyfriend from Dallas were in town and they wanted to try some Greek eats. I've heard great things about Pegasus and luckily they were open to my suggestion. I couldn't decide on an entree so I opted 2 small appetizers so I could taste both. I ordered Tiropitakia, which are baked filo dough stuffed with feta cheese and Dolmathakia Yialatzi, which are stuffed grape leaves with rice and herbs, with yogurt sauce on the side. Both dishes were quite tasty and I didn't feel too full afterwards.

Greektown was a cute area to dine in and I saw plenty of other establishments worth checking out. There is a Taste of Greece festival this weekend that should provide a fun introduction to the neighborhood if you have never been.

Gangsters + Meat + Baseball = Perfect Boyfriend Visit

My wonderful boyfriend has been visiting me for the past several days. I took time off from work too so it was like a real vacation! Except I didn't have to leave the city and I got to sleep in my own bed :)

Some Blog-related highlights...

(1) Untouchables Tour - There is a tour that takes you to all the major landmarks of Chicago Mob history. Ths bus tour lasted about an hour and 45 minutes. We hit up Holy Name Church on State St... then the Southside (Al Capone country)...then the Westside (Pilsen and Little Italy)...and finished up at the site of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre on Clark St. in Lincoln Park. I highly recommend this tour if you are interested in the history of organized crime in Chicago. The people who run the tour are fun and just the right amount of cheesy.

(2) Sal & Carvao - This is my favorite Brazillian churrascaria in Chicago. Fogo is more popular but it is always way too crowded. At Sal & Carvao, the wait staff takes excellent care of you. It is never too busy and provides a cal dining environment. If you have never dined ar a churrascaria, here is a crash course. There is no menu. You pay a flat price that includes an amazing salad bar and an insane assortment of meats. At Sal & Carvao, they serve 14 types of meat--from flank steak to filet mignon to parmesean crusted pork. All the meats are served on swords by men dressed as Brazillian Gauchos. A tasty tasty treat for sure!

(3) Cubs game - One of my friends at the Tribune hooked us up with some pretty sweet seats to the game. We were 8 rows from the field. We got to see the pklayers warming up. Plus we saw just how skinny Juan Pierre is LOL. No wonder he can move so fast and steal those bases! The cubs got beat badly but the St. Louis Cardinals, but with the Old Style beer flowing--who really cared? Wrigley Field is an experience that all baseball fans should have the opportunity to have.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


**Please note: This is only a partly related Chicago posting!**

On Monday, I went to the White Sox/Angels game at US Cellular Field. This was a make up game from the rained out one in May. Even though the Sox lost, I had a good time with friends. Plus I finally got to try corn OFF the cob. They scrape the corn off and you can pick your seasonings. I got salt, butter and red pepper.

On Tuesday, one of my friends asks me if I would want to go to Milwaukee (Miller Park) for the Brewers/Cubs game. I'm no Cubs fan, but the opportunity to add another MLB park to my list was too good to pass up! So we made the trek up to Milwaukee, enjoyed our club level seats and listened to trash talking Cubs fans.

Here is the list of MLB parks visited with their home team in parenthese. These are in order attended, so you Sox fans, don't flip on me that Wrigley is listed before The Cell lol

Turner Field (Atlanta Braves)
Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs)
US Cellular Field - aka The Cell (Chicago White Sox)
Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers)

Of course I would want to see games in all the parks, but here is my wish list for future park visits:

Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles)
Shea Stadium (New York Mets)
Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox)
AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants)

Enough about baseball, I have some fun stories from when my sister visited. Specifically ones that discuss peeing apes and monkeys with prominant anatomy, but I will have to write it up when I'm not feeling so lazy!

R.I.P. Marshall Fields

On September 9th, Marshall Fields will be no longer. It will be reborn as Macy's. Now I don't have anything against Macy's. I love the Thanksgiving Day parade. However, it is hard to imagine that there will no longer be Fields in Chicago.

When I first moved to the city, the Fields on State Street was like a beacon of light in the big bad city. There is a magical feeling when you walk into Fields. It was comforting. I didn't need to buy anything to feel how special this place was. Even before moving here, I was exposed to Fields. When I was in elementary school, my aunt and uncle always bought me a Field's Christmas Bear.

Now the green and cream colors will be replaced with the Macy's red. The building will always be known as the Marshall Fields building, but the place as we once knew it will be gone.

No matter what, I'll still be a Fields Girl!

Monday, July 31, 2006

Chicago in TV and Film

Yesterday, I was laying on my couch, recovering from a late night in Wrigleyville with my cousin, and got caught up in an ABC Family marathon of movies. One of my favorites came on, "While You Were Sleeping". It is fun to watch that movie these days because I can pick out a lot of the filming locations, as it was shot in Chicago. It got me thinking about all the shows and movies that are shot in Chicago. Here is a list of some favorites and comments on their filming locations...

(1) E.R. - The eL stop they always feature is Quincy, in the heart of the Loop. There is no hospital nearby however. The exterior shots are shot at UIC's hospital, which is about 15 minutes southwest of downtown. Also there was a scene last season where an ambulance are driving down Wacker Drive and went right past my work building.
(2) While You Were Sleeping - Sandra Bullock's character, Lucy, works as a toll taker for the CTA. This is back in the day where you had to give your token to someone to enter. These days, you put money on a card and there is an automated machine that you run your card through. Her eL stop that she works at is Randolph/Wabash. I didn't realize this until yesterday while watching. "Lucy" also lives in a courtyard building that is pretty typical of Chicago, so it was hard to place. The coma guy (Peter Gallagher's character) lives in a high rise. By the look of his view, it looks like he lives in the Gold Coast as he faces south towards the Hancock Building.
(3) Batman Begins - Chicago stood in for Gotham in the latest installment of the Black Knight's adventures. There are several scenes where the camera pans over Wacker Drive. There is also an awesome car chase scene on Lower Wacker Drive. If you don't already know, there is a whole underground road system that is closer to river level. There is also a scene where Batman is perches on a building and that building is close to my work as well.
(4) High Fidelity - You have got to put High Fidelity on this list as John Cusack is a hometown boy. The record store he owned is in Wicker Park, on Milwaukee Ave. I happened to walk by it one day and had a flashback to the movie. Also there is a scene where John Cusack (can't remember his character's name) is on a college campus with Catherine Zeta-Jones. That campus is actually the campus of Lane Technical High School. I use to walk by it on my way to the bowling alley (I used to be part of a league - don't laugh!). It is a massive and beautiful high school.

Of course, you can reference any John Hughes movie to see suburban Chicago life. I personally loved Weird Science!

Happy Monday :)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Fake Beach

As a Florida girl, the beach was a pretty normal part of my existance. The smell of the ocean, the feeling of sand between your toes, and the taste of saltiness from the Atlantic--this was my reality when I chose to cross "the ditch" (otherwise knows as the Intracoastal Waterway).

Now that I live in Chicago (at least for the time being), I accepted that skyscrapers replace lifeguard stations. However, Chicagoians believe they can have both city and sand with their own beaches outlining the east side of the city. Beaches? I asked myself, how could this be. Beach=Ocean. There is no ocean nearby. Well lo and behold, North Avenue and Oak Street Beaches. I like to call it the Fake Beach. I feel like someone shipped the sand here and put it on the banks of Lake Michigan. I'm sure I'm totally wrong, but honestly, this is not natural.

But I've decided to dismiss my moronic thinking and actually try going to this beach. Yes, I'm ragging on a beach I haven't even been to. It is supposed to be in the 90's all weekend, which is quite scorching for Chicago and as good a weekend as any to try this beach out!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

ComEd is kinda dumb

When I moved from LSD (Lake Shore Dr., not the drug!!) to Wrigleyville, I had to switch the utilities over to the new digs. In this day and age, you can do all of this online. So I went to the ComEd site back in the middle of May and completed the necessary information. I even got an email confirming that they received everything. Electric was working just fine.

Now we are at the end of July and I had not received an electric bill from ComEd yet. When I checked my mail yesterday, I got a letter from ComEd saying "We know someone is using electricity at your apartment, but we do not have any information on the tenant." I'm thinking, well, guess my info never was received. So I call ComEd and they in fact do have me in the system and know that I live where I live. They just never linked my USAGE of electricity to my actual account. Yeah, they are kinda dumb. So I'm not going to get my 1st bill until the middle of AUGUST and it will be backdated to May. Yikes, I'm kinda scared to see how much it is!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Exploring Chicago Neighborhoods: Andersonville

I've decided that it would be fun to do a write-up of the different neighborhoods on Chicago. Chicago is a city of diverse neighborhoods. Each one of them has their own flavor and deserves to be recognized. For my first neighborhood write-up, I'm going to feature Andersonville.

Andersonville is located around the 5000 block of N. Clark. The best eL stops to take to the neighborhood include Berwyn and Bryn Mawr Red Line stops. My friend and I went there this weekend primarily to see my hairdresser's friend host a Drag Show at @mosphere. However, I had heard about this bar called Hopleaf that was known for having a terrific selection of Belgian beers. It was also featured on a local tv show called "Check, Please" where local Chicagoians review their favorite restaurants. So we had a plan--dinner at Hopleaf and Drag show at @mosphere.

We jumped on the 22 Clark Bus and took it to Clark and Foster. I immediately noticed the charming strip that the normally uninteresting Clark St. had become. The streets were lined with lightposts. The businesses were a mix of local cafes, bars, bakeries, stores, art galleries, and the Swedish-American Museum. I saw roughly 8 restaurants that I added to my "Must Dine" list. We had the opportunity to browse through a local art gallery. The art was tasteful and interesting. It definitely would provoke discussion but not for being completely vulgar.The stores ranged from boutique type establishments to local groceries where you could stock up on your Swedish delicacies. It did not feel like I was in Chicago, but rather in a charming small town.

Hopleaf was easy to find, with the lively crowd leading us to the modest storefront. Hopleaf offers a large variety of not just Belgian beers, but other beers, wines and a full service var (no Red Bull though!). Their menu, while small offered some tasty choices. Among the dishes tried were the Goat Cheese Macaroni and the Rainbow Trout with a Summer Veggie Pancake, Peas, and Corn. Both dishes were extremely tasty, although we had to ask for a new Pancake as the first one that came out was burnt. The staff remedied the situation quickly and did so with a smile. I highly recommend the trek up to Andersonville, even if all you do is go to Hopleaf.

@mosphere was a lot of fun. It was definitely a lot more welcoming than the other gay bars I've visited in Boystown. I always felt like people went to Andersonville did so when they outgrew Boystown. The Drag show was small but fun :)

I cannot wait to revisit Andersonville and explore more of the local neighborhood flavor. For my next review, I will go east of Andersonville to Uptown!

If there is something specific you would like for me to review, please let me know by leaving a comment!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Thank you Craig!

One of the first "friends" I made when moving to Chicago was Craigslist. This fantastic website has helped me with so much. Whether the results were short or long term, Craig was always there for me. Here is a rundown of how Craig has worked to enhance my life:

(1) My then-roommate and I found out wonderful apartment on Lake Shore Drive.
(2) I found many activity groups including 2 bookclubs and 1 trivia team. From those groups, I have made wonderful friends, even though the groups themselves may not be in existance anymore.
(3) Tickets galore- I saw Death Cab, Wicked and a Cubs game--all courtesy of the awesome tickets section.
(4) I went on a handful of CL dates. Albeit, they were more comical than anything else, it did allow me to brush up on my dating skills. Plus, they provided me with some great bar stories :)
(5) Selling off my junk - I was able to get rid of electronics I didn't use and make some cash.
(6) Pure entertainment! I still read the M4W, Rants and Raves, and Missed Connections to get my giggles in. Plus, my friends have me check out the M4W ads to let them know who I've gone out with.

So, Craigslist, cheers to you!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Trixie and Chad

When I moved to Chicago, I had to learn some new slang vocabulary. You know, the Loop, the eL, etc. The two most entertaining words I learned were "Trixie" and "Chad". After studying this websites, you too will be able to pick out a Trixie or Chad in a crowd. I believe studying creatures in their natural habitat is always the most fun, so get thee to Tilli's on Halsted. Happy Hunting!

Hot Fun at the World's Largest Block Party

I spent Friday and Saturday night at what is un-officially known as the World's Largest Single's Party. Otherwise known as the Old St. Pat's Annual Block Party, this event has been the scene where over 70 now-married couples have met. Since I am involved with the World's Best Boyfriend (hee hee), I didn't have a need to meet anyone. So why did I go? Well...the answer is CAKE. No...not the tasty dessert, but the band. The awesome, catchy tune creating band. They performed on Friday and they were everything I expected! In order to see CAKE for a reduced price, I volunteered on Saturday night. Honestly, volunteering allowed me to do some of the best people watching this city has to offer! I hope that people who were searching for that connection found it, whether it was for the long haul or for the night;-)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Ode to the Puppet Bike

The Puppet Bike is my favorite street performer in Chicago. While I typically see the Puppet Bike on Michigan Ave, around Erie..I have heard he/she wanders around the city. Please...if you see the Puppet Bike, take a few moments and watch. Last spring, even when I was unemployed and with a horrid boyfriend, the Puppet Bike always made me giggle and smile.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Sunshine + Crossword Puzzle = Perfect Lunch

I've been going to the park on my lunch breaks for the past few weeks when time permits. I bring my crossword puzzle and my lunch and bask in the sunshine. If I'm in luck, the orchestra is having an open rehersal and I'll have free music to set the scene for me. Simple but ever so lovely...

Friday, June 23, 2006

Pink is the new eL

The Pink Line debuts this Sunday. While riding into work on the Red Line this morning, I noticed that the maps have been updated to include the new line. This new line will service the 54/Cermak route currently serviced by the Blue Line. However, unlike the Blue line, the Pink Line will make stop on the elevated part of the Loop. I'm going to have to find a reason to ride the Pink Line. Other than the Yellow Line and the Blue Line (54th/Cermak), I've ridden them all. Here is my review of the Lines I've been on:

Red Line: As far south as 35th/Sox and north to Howard. Favorite stops: Chinatown, 35th/Sox, Addison, and Lake. Now you are probably asking how I could possibly list the Sox and the Cubs stops both as faves. However, the Addison stop is my home stop and I like the escalator. Yes, I'm lazy. Sketchiest stop: Roosevelt (only at night).
Purple Line: South to Howard and north to Davis. Favorite stop: Davis (it's the stop closest to the Dixie Kitchen!) I don't have a sketchy stop for the Purple line.
Brown Line: Southeast to the Loop and northwest to Western. Favorite stops: Paulina and Western. Sketchiest? There isn't one, but I'm not a fan of the Washington/Wells stop only due to bad memories of stupid exes.
Blue Line (O'Hare): Southeast to Washington and North to O'Hare. Favorite stop: Damen. Sketchiest: I hate to say it, but Irving Park. Plus, i've almost been hit by a car everytime I'm trying to cross the street to get to the station.
Blue Line (Forest Park): I've only ridden this once so I feel bad rendering a favorite/sketchiest.
Green Line (Harlem/Lake): West to Harlem/Lake to the Loop at Clark/Lake. Favorite stop is Harlem/Lake, which is in Oak Park. Oak Park was a safe haven for me when I first moved to Chicago. Plus my cousin used to be a barista at the Starbucks next to the Lake Theater. Can we all say together "Free Frappachinos"?
Green Line (East 63rd/Cottage Grove): I took this all the way to the last stop and back into the Loop. I was interviewing at the University of Chicago for an HR job. I hadn't even moved to the city yet. I was visiting for a week while I interviewed. I was sketched out the entire ride. Partly because the train goes through a less that desirable neighborhood. Mostly because there had been a story about a fire on the Green line the previous day. When I got on the train, I smelled smoke almost the entire time. Thank goodness it was nothing. i tried to take the Metra back into the city after the interview, but no such luck. I ended up wandering around Hyde Park and ended up getting on the #3 (King Drive) bus. THAT story, I'll save for another posting. It is a whole separate story.
Orange Line (Midway): This is actually the first eL train I rode. When I would visit Chicago prior to moving here, I would take this from the airport. Favorite stop: Midway--only because now it typically means I'm going home to Florida! Sketchiest: Well honestly, many of the stops were a little sketchy, but I'm used to it.

White Sox continue the insanity

I was at the White Sox game on Tuesday. Yeah. THAT one. Eleven runs in the 3rd inning. Final score of 20-6, which is deceiving since the Cards scored 4 of those runs in the 9th after Ozzie brought in the rookie. Even though I was sadden that Pods was benched, it was a fantastic game. Baseball in June...can't get any better!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A new addiction...

I tend to go through phases where I fixate on certain things for a 2 weeks period, get sick of it, and move on. A lot of time it has to do with food--like I'll eat the same kind of soup 3-4 times a week for a 2 week period. Or I'll want to read a certain website every day and one day, I'll just stop.

My newest addiction is fantasy baseball. I had no idea what I would think about it when my friend Paul invited me to be part of his league. Some friends (namely the girls) either (1) couldn't get why I would want to do this or (2) said I would tire of it quickly. I have been playing for about a month and a half now and I love it. I *finally* learned about all those darn stats. Also this is something my boyfriend could teach me about. I've actually made some smart picks --like picking up Pitcher Mike Mussina of the Yankees and Jeff Francouer and Marcus Giles of the Braves. I have made some stupid moves--namely dropping Hottie Scotty Pods. Now he is on fire! I never did understand the draw of fantasy sports, but I have to admit it is pretty entertaining :)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sunshine here I come

I'm so excited to leave for Florida next Saturday! Before I get to go home, I'm moving to my new digs in Wrigleyville. So I've been spending a lot of my free time packing and cleaning and trying not to spend $$$. I've been pretty successful, especially at the last thing. I did go to lunch with Tania on Saturday. Cousin bonding time is always good. We went to Wishbone on Washington in the West Loop. I was actually able to order real sweet tea and biscuits. Holy smokes--i love a Southern brunch.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

1,000 places to see before you die...

I went to one of these places tonight, thanks to my friend Chris!! She is too much fun...

Evanston in the rain...

I spent part of my day in Evanston (Home of Northwestern University) with one of my girlfriends today. Aside from the drizzle of rain, it was quite a lovely and relaxing way to spend a Saturday. Even the drive to Evanston is nice...winding about on Lake Shore Drive onto Sheridan...through Rogers Park into Evanston. The main reason we went was to eat at the Dixie Kitchen. When I miss home, I tend to indulge in the culinary treats of the South. I had Seafood Cakes with Cheese Grits and Greens. YUM! Then we wandered around to the different shops...namely Bookman's Alley. Bookman's Alley is a lovely used bookstore and a highly recommend it to any "libraphile" (if there is such a word). We ended up at Ethel's Chocolate Lounge, sipping hot chocolate and catching up on anything and everything. Yes...quite a lovely day :)

Friday, April 28, 2006

White Sox! White Sox!

I went to my first White Sox game last Saturday. I'm completely infatuated with Scott Podsednik(Pods). Aside from my schoolgirl crush, the game was terrific. U.S. Cellular Field (the "Cell", Comisky, etc) is a great place to watch a game. As well, to be able to watch a World Championship team do what they do best...amazing!

Also....gotta love a big polish sausage and beer!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Tulips and Sunshine

It is finally spring in Chicago. Tulips are lining Michigan Ave. The city population appears to have doubled with people emerging from hibernation. Outdoor seating is readily available at many restaurants. The Wendella Boat Tours are starting up again. Most importantly, it's Baseball season!!!

This is truly the best time of the year to be a Chicagoan!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Happy One Year Anniversary!

It is my one year anniversary of moving to Chicago. Wahoo!

A year in review...

- Met lots of great new friends
- Went to many pub crawls
- Rode almost every line of the eL (except the Yellow line) and too many bus lines to name
- Found my escape place (Evanston)
- Survived a Chicago winter (it was mild this year though)
- Went to lots of Cubs games
- Ate an Italian Beef sandwich and a Chicago style hotdog
- Survived the heat of the Taste of Chicago and the gluttany of the Southside Irish parade
- Memorized the city street layout
- Gave someone directions on the street
- Volunteered at the Chicago Children's Museum (ongoing)
- Found a favorite bar(s)

All in all, a pretty good year. but fate would have it that my time here could be limited. What am I --a nomad??

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I heart Salad Spinners and GeekDating 101

I must rave about my favorite Chicago lunch spot, Salad Spinners at the AON Center on Randolph. Aside from their tasty Sunsplash salad (extra chicken!), I have realized that they are very customer oriented as well. I ordered my salad online for pick up. When I got to the store, I had a little bit of a wait until they could ring me up. The cashier was on the phone taking a lunch order. I didn't mine as I was listening to my favorite podcast Geek Dating 101. When they finally got to me (only waited 2 minutes), I wanted to add soup and a drink to my meal. They gave them to me for free! When they told me my total, it was just for the salad. I asked about the soup and drink and they said not to worry about it! They rock. Also, props to their delicious Butternut Squash soup! Sweet and just can't go wrong!

Friday, March 17, 2006

A Chicago first

A very cute guy offered me his seat on the eL last night. I never see this happen! And who says Midwestern boys aren't as polite as Southern boys!!?

Also on the weather front, it was the "weathermen who cried wolf" yesterday. Supposedly we were going to receive 4-6 inches of snow. While the white stuff did come down, it was too warm to stick.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Everybody is Irish this time of the year...

I was invited to my first ever Southside Irish parade yesterday. Now, on a side note, let me tell you that I've never seen so many parades until I moved to Chicago. Maybe it was just too damn hot in Florida to have parades, but seriously...this town is crazy about them. Back to the Southside Irish parade, I had heard it was pretty wild but I guess my expectations were way off the mark. My friends picked me up in the morning so we could have breakfast on the Southside before the parade. After breakfast, we park near 110th and Kedzie and walked about a mile to the parade route. We made it to 106th and Western and started to witness the debauchery that is the Southside irish parade. Obviously, people were out in all their green garb. If it wasn't green, it probably had some Irish alcoholic beverage name on it. Big hats that looked like pints of Guiness were my personal favorite. The scariest outfit I saw was worn by these girls: tighty whities with pieces of a green wig attached to their undies. ICK.

What was even ickier was the massive amount of girls "popping a squat" in the alley to relieve themselves of the copious amounts of alcohol consumed. I was a Girl Scout--I have totally peed in the woods before. But in someone's alley witha ton of people around? Yuck. Plus hearing your friend pee right behind you as you block them from view--yeah, no thanks.

Cops were out in full force and even though you aren't supposed to consume beer in cans or bottles in public, people were doing it anyways. Only on Bourbon street can you really get away with this. The cops on 106 and Western were confiscating cases upon cases of beer and tossing them into this big garbage truck. So sad to see good (or bad!) beer go to waste.

After the parade, we trekked it back to the car to drop off our stuff. Mind you, at least one girl in our group had to stop to relieve herself en route. We then head out to this bar/club called Bourbon Street, which I felt about 8 years too old for. By this point, I had been out and about for 8 hours and was dying to go home. But I stuck it out and danced for most of the time. We warded off icky stupid men and generally had a good time. However I was wearing cranky pants BIG TIME by the end and contemplated taking a $50 cab ride back home.

Overall, pretty fun but I'm too old for this crap. I did it once and came home comfortable with the fact that this was my 1st and very last Southside Irish Parade.

Oh--and no I did not engage in public urination! I'm a lady for God's sake LOL

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Possible CTA strike

My friend Kim lives in NYC. She was there when the MTA went on strike. She said it would take upwards of 2 hours to get to work in the morning. She lives up by 91st near Harlem and she works in Midtown, around 51st st. She said she would take a cab in the AM and walk home in the PM.

I thought to myself, "Thank goodness that hasn't happened in Chicago"...

Well I spoke too soon evidentally.

The CTA bus drivers' union is meeting with the City gov. on Friday to determine if they can work out some deal. If not, the bus drivers are striking. Of course we still have the eL but it doesn't go everywhere you need it to. I take the bus to work everyday. I live about 4.5 miles from work. Luckily the eL is an option for me, but how about for those people who don't live near the eL?

Damn I miss my car :(

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Cold weather fun

One of my favorite cold weather activities is to read. So far in 2006, I've read the following books. Amazingly enough, all of them have been terrific so I wholeheartedly recommend them!

(1) Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
(2) Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
(3) My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult
(4) Picture Perfect - Jodi Picoult
(5) The Lovely Bones - Alice Lebold (? on the last name--i left this book at my parents' house in FLA)

I'm currently reading "Love Monkey" by Kyle Smith. It is very entertaining! I like that it is about dating and was written by a man's point of view

I'm compiling a list of what I read in 2005 and will post that soon.

Stay warm!!

Saturday, February 25, 2006


I lost the bracelet my boyfriend gave me for Christmas. I always, and I mean, always wear it. Unless I'm going through security at the airport, but then I always put it back on. Anyway, I was at dinner tonight and saw that it WASN'T THERE! I remember looking at it before I left the house. I asked the hostess if she found it; I tore apart Carol's car looking for it; I even asked my doorman if he found it. I looked all over my own apartment aswell. No luck. So I called the BF and told him. He wasn't mad, just sad. I am probably beating up myself more than he would ever do.

The bracelet was the first thing he ever gave me so it is very special to me. I haven't completely given up hope that I will find it.

Other than my bracelet drama, Carol andI did have a nice dinner at Starfish on Randolph near Halsted. Sushi was very tasty . Atmosphere was very chill. We went to The Tasting Room afterwards and got champagne and chocolate fondue. YUM! Almost made me forget about losing the bracelet. Almost.

Monday, February 20, 2006

List-o-Mania: Ways to be fabulous for cheap in Chicago

When I moved to Chicago, I didn't have a job. I had enough saved that I could spend my time finding the right job for me, so I wasn't in a rush per se. However, in order to make my savings stretch but still enjoy the city, I had to commit myself to the idea of cheap fabulousness. I know--I could just not go out. However, that would defeat the purpose of moving to a new city. I needed to get to know the city and definitely needed to make some new friends.

Now here I am....almost a year later! I'm working at a job that is pretty awesome and I'm not worried about the occasional elaborate night out. However, I thought it might be nice to share some of my tips with other gals moving to Chicago.

Tip 1: Parties at the W Lake Shore and City Center hotels: The W hosts these terrific events once or twice a month. I have been to book parties, fashion shows, make up product launchings.....ALL FOR FREE! All I had to do is RSVP and I got to go to some really fun events, complete with free food and alcoholic party drinks! At one party, I left with a goodybag full of stuff. Yeah they may have the book for sale or the clothes--but resist the urge to purchase if you are on a budget! For more info on cool events at the W, visit

Tip 2: Free museum days: My personal favorite was the Art Institute on Tuesday nights. Let your mind expand without stretching your pocket book.

Tip 3: The $5 a day visitor passes on the CTA. I suppose this isn't really a way to be fabulous, but it definitely helped me on the days where I had scheduled 4 interviews in a day. Normally, if you pay for each ride you take on the CTA, it is $1.75 a pop. However, if you know you have to be all over town, the pass is your best bet. I used to buy mine at the Thompson Center at Clark and Lake. I think you can also buy them at the Chicago Red Line stop or at one of the airports.

Tip 4: Free haircuts in Lincoln Park: Many of the trend salons in the city will offer free haircuts and colors to the brave and stylish. Check out Craig's List, under the Free section. I got my hair cut and colored at the Art and Science Salon. The students that cut my hair were in an Advanced program and did a great job. Yes, you should still tip but it definitely saves you some bucks. For those of you getting your hair colored, you may have to pay for the hair color products used--so please be aware!

Tip 5: Free concerts and book readings: The Borders on Michigan as well as on State and Randolph often hold readings and concerts for free. Last summer, I saw Stephen Page of BNL perform for free. If I wanted him to sign something, I had to buy a CD, but there was nothing preventing us from listening to him.

Tip 6: Get thee on the Guest List: Many clubs allow you to put yourself on the guest list via email. This allows you to get in without cover. Sure, you may have to buy drinks, but you aren't required to most of the time. I went to Soundbar with my friends and only had to fork out money for a drink, which was entirely my choice in the first place. Another time, we went to Wet and drank for free from 9p-10p.

Tip 7: Magazine parties: My friends and I went to an In Style party at the Victor Hotel. All we had to do was RSVP. No cover. Seriously. We dined on free apps and drank oodles of free wine and martinis. Best of all, we all got a goody bag filled with products from the next month's InStyle magazine. How do you find out about these parties? One great site is ...

I hope my tips provide some help or at least some entertainment! Remember you can be fabulous without breaking the bank!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I love lists

I like to waste my time by making as many lists as possible. One list I haven't made in a while is a list of my favorite places to eat in Chicago. Prety much--I just like talking about food :)

Top 5 places to chow down in Chi town
(5) Star of Siam on Illinois and State - Excellent food at supposedly the oldest Thai restaurant in the city. Incredibly reasonable prices...tasty Rama chicken (chicken and broccoli in peanut curry)
(4) Wildfire (somewhere in River North--I always forget)- They have this trio of filets where you can pick your topping. Good lord, I would almost forgo sex if I could eat here everyday --just kidding. Also try their creamed spinach!
(3) Dine (in the Crowne Pointe Hotel on Madison) - Comfort food taken up a level. Amazing meatloaf and TRUFFLED mashed potatoes. "Coffee and Donuts" for dessert. This is a new favorite...go before everyone discovers what a find it is!
(2) Tsunami on Dearborn near Division - My roomie and I can't get enough of their sushi. Definitely not a casual sushi bar, but worth the price. Rumor has it, Jeremy Piven is a fan :)
(1) Tufano's Vernon Tap Place (somewhere near UIC's campus) - Old school Italian at its best. I imagine this is what most of Little Italy was like before Bar Louie and the condos came in. The calamari is to die for; the vodka sauce over tortellini is divine.

Yum! I did have an amazing meal last night while visiting my man back in Florida. Bonefish Grill--I know--part of the Outback chain, but don't knock it till you try it!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Being sick stinks

So in all my flying to New York and New Jersey, I managed to catch a nasty bug. En route from Newark to Chicago, I managed to use the Flight Attendenants call button for the very first time ever as a horrible feeling overcame me. The sweet ladies of United took care of my sorry ass and to that, I'm very grateful!

Yay United--Sorry you had to file for bankruptcy, but I heart you anyways.