Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Payton's Post

To not take Payton on a walk when it is nice out is a crime. She is so small that she gets cold when it’s 50 degrees and overheated when she is outside for more than 30 minutes, even when it is a perfect 75. There is a small window of opportunity for an enjoyable walk. There are several parks fairly close by; this one contains tennis courts and a small track that is perfect for such occasions. Located only a couple of blocks away it is not asking too much of P’s small legs to walk there. Until next time..P

Mustard-ing the Strength

{Our vast mustard collection}
Yesterday, I took a break from studying and decided to clean the fridge. There were a few items that were probably not so good anymore, like my fried rice from last week and the six bags of carb-conscious tortillas, that I am glad I found even though my initial goal was to stop staring at chemistry. While cleaning out the fridge, I came across a substantial (read: embarrassing) mustard collection. Now, I love mustard and probably use it to enhance far too many meals, but I must admit I wasn’t aware of how many we truly had. See for yourself…

{Two types of Inglehoffer mustard-both delicious}
(A German mustard in the shape of a stein}
{A delicious, Dijon mustard with basil- wonderful on hand-packed burgers}

{The same mustard with two different marketing labels...}

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Black Abyss

{photo courtesy of}
Since the beginning of high school I have not used a backpack, ever. I know backpacks are much more practical and better for your spine, but I have continuously opted for a large, black tote. In college it got so outrageously large that my purse was dubbed, “The Black Abyss.” People would recognize me, not by my hair or clothing, but my GIANT bag stuffed to the gills with books, clothes, papers, etc. It was noticeable from a few blocks away, in part because I was hunched to one side lugging a black orb. I have since retired that bag and replaced it with a smaller black abyss, though this one has the same effect. Carrying a large bag around the city is not so practical and I am trying to wean myself away from it by occasionally using a cross-body or a clutch. Although, once I am back in dental school I’m sure the original will resurface, much to my family’s chagrin. If you ever see a woman walking down the street with a giant black bag filled with who-knows-what, it’s probably me. 

Camping In

{Wash and rinse vegetables-I normally use potatoes, carrots, and onions}
When I was nine, my parents agreed to let me go to overnight camp for two weeks. I was hooked instantaneously and eventually worked as a counselor for a couple years. Even though I am no longer working there, the traditions have stuck with me, so much so that we made Hobo meals for dinner a few nights ago. It brought back floods of campout memories; fetching firewood, peeling potatoes on a tree stump, and throwing oddly shaped foil onto the fire were among a few of the flashbacks. Though we have no fire/fireplace, the oven worked just fine and they were as good as I remember. Hobo meals were one of my favorite things about camp. Anyone else have a favorite camp tradition?
{Cut up vegetables-or peel with vegetable peeler to make them thinner}
{Butter a piece of foil, add vegetables, pieces of broken bread, and pieces of a broken hamburger}
{We added smoke-flavored sea salt in lieu of a campfire-similar here}
{Wrap in tin foil; bake @375 for 30 minutes; add salt, pepper, mustard to taste}

Monday, July 29, 2013

Brown Butter Sage Popcorn

After a microwave fire at my workplace, that I may or may not have started, buying kernels and popping my own popcorn became necessary. Last week we decided to have a movie, popcorn, and board game evening after a long, stressful work day. Using this recipe, we made a triple batch of popcorn that was intended to be snack food for the weekend (it was all gone 2 hours later). Brown-butter sage popcorn is now my go-to popcorn recipe and I have heard no complaints. It is a sophisticated upgrade to plain buttered popcorn, yet so simple. Do any of you have homemade popcorn recipes?  

Movie at the Park

{Millenium Park Amphitheatre}
I’ve been a Disney fan since I was old enough to form memories. When I heard there was going to be a showing of The Jungle Book at Millennium Park, I made sure that I would be there. We had never been to a movie in the park before and didn’t know what to expect, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Jungle Book aside, it was so much fun. There were hundreds of people and everyone, with the exception of a screaming baby not too far away, made the experience enjoyable. This time we picked up Noodles and sat on a towel, but when we go for Singin’ in the Rain I’ll make sure to pack a picnic and bring a normal blanket like we do at Ravinia. Maybe I will see some of you there! 
{We got there a lot earlier than we anticipated}
{So we grabbed a drink}
{...and looked at some modern art around the park}
{They handed out coloring supplies before the show to promote the musical at the Goodman}
{Pasta Fresca and Japanese Pan noodles-yum}
{My coloring skills}
{And it starts!}

Friday, July 26, 2013

Unsolicited Advice

Lake Geneva was incredible but it has been refreshing to be back in the city this week. I’m sure this weekend will contain plenty of fun, but I’m also looking forward to curling up on the couch with a glass of wine and watching a movie in pajamas. Here is this week’s piece of ridiculous, unsolicited advice: when taking a jumping picture on the beach...don't screw up. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Live A Little

One of the many opportunities we had this past weekend was to rent a BMW 650 convertible for a couple of hours. We have loved that car for a long time now and when the opportunity arose, we had to take it. It is a beautiful car, that, if it is ever possible, we will surely own. But, until then, much dreaming will occur. Several websites we peruse, like GILT, also offer similar deals; if you are looking for a splurge activity, take an afternoon and have fun speeding around in a nice car!

{Note: the Bang and Olufsen speakers}


{Highlands golf course at the Grand Geneva}
My dad taught me to golf when I was a little girl. He needed to practice for business outings and would take me to his lessons and to local courses on the weekends as company. It has become a bit of a father/daughter tradition for golf with each other when we are on vacation and Lake Geneva was no exception. While we have gotten much better over the years, there are still several embarrassing shots and quite a few lost golf balls. Here are a few glimpses of our golf outing
{My first drive of the day got all the way to the 150 yd marker!}

{Gopher head cover for my preferred driver-channeling Caddyshack}

{Hole #7: The Wee Nip}

{Wildlife encounter with a few wild turkeys on the fairway}

{Sporting my yellow golf outfit and glove}

{A much needed snack on hole #13}

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

RAK-it Week

Today, I am taking a cue from a website I frequent and passing on their message: It is Random Acts of Kindness week, or RAK-it week, at the Chive. A cite typically devoted to making us laugh has taken on worthy causes and, using their powerful online community, succeeded; it is so important and I truly admire their efforts. Whether it is paying for a stranger’s coffee, volunteering at a soup kitchen, smiling at someone who needs it, or making a donation to ASPCA, a random act of kindness goes a long way and makes a strong statement about who you are as a person. KCCO!

Payton's Post

{Payton's bed right next to the window-perfect for watching the golfers}
Payton also joined us in Lake Geneva and was initiated into the Grand Geneva Pet Club. The pet club included custom bedding, food bowls, room service, treats upon check-in and check-out, and a special pet goody bag with necessary materials. She had so much fun taking morning walks and watching golfers miss their putts (our room looked out over the 18th green). I was apprehensive about taking her on vacation, but she was so well behaved. I’m sure she will be coming on several vacations and long weekends we have planned in the near future. Until next time...P.

{doggy bags, half-eaten check-in treat, customized tag, and pet food menu}

Lake Geneva

{The view from our room}
Lake Geneva has been one of my family’s summer destinations for about six years. We all take a long weekend (here) and enjoy time with each other while golfing, going to the spa, relaxing by the pool, and enjoying wonderful food. We made several trips to town and enjoyed nostalgic favorites while also trying the new. It was sad to leave, but we returned to the city refreshed and relaxed. Here are a few of my favorite moments from the trip!
{Hanging out by the pool}
{View from my parents' room}
{Delicious filet with bearnaise sauce at the chophouse}
{Arguably the best fast food I've ever had--try the root beer!!}
{A necessary brat and beer before continuing on the golf course}
{Lemon ice water in the spa relaxation room}
{Schnitzel at Sprecher's- a new restaurant downtown}

{Much needed visit to the salon}
{Red on the toes and beige on the fingernails}
{Martini shaker with warm lemon water for soaking-so cute}
{Pretty toes ready for the pool}