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!