Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Payton's Post

Having a dog is like having a child…plain and simple. Like newborn babies, puppies sleep almost 18 hours a day. Payton likes to sleep all day and then wake up as soon as we want to go to sleep, or when she can smell food. She will sleep anywhere and in any position. I captured this one a few weeks ago. Everyone was napping except for me and it was just too precious. Until next time…unless I’m sleeping…P. 

The Art of Decorating

{Photo courtesy of}
I have been a dancer all my life. Even though I no longer take classes on a weekly basis, I resonate with the art, am proficient when I do get a chance to perform, and I will always love movement. On a different note, I love seeing our beautiful Chicago Symphony Orchestra; I’m hopeless when it comes to playing an instrument or reading music, but I love lending my ears. Now, more than ever, I have a deeper appreciation for all genres of art. Filling my bare walls with what I deem art has made me more aware and more appreciative. Being from Chicago, I have always been exposed to the museums and the galleries our wonderful city offers, but now I am starting to broaden my horizons and find it difficult to even categorize art. It is just art. Our walls currently have drawings, photographs, sports mementoes, and a tattered periodic table of elements, all of which I consider art. Despite how many different items are hanging on our walls, there is abundant space for our collection to grow…possibly with a silhouette of a dancer or a historical copy of the Chicago Tribune (which we have but it has yet to be framed and hung). It’s an exciting, new appreciation and I can’t wait to see where it goes. I’d love to know, what do you consider art and what do you love about it?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

One Throw Away from Fall Weather

Most of the time (read: 97% of the time), I am a homebody. I love the quiet; I crave the comfort and I have been this way since I was a little girl. It is because of my hermit ways that I created this blog; it’s been mildly successful at pulling me off my couch. However, I still love curling up and watching a show, reading a book, or just looking out at the lake. With fall approaching quickly, I am in need of a new blanket for the couch (the old blanket fell apart in the washing machine and has never looked the same). There is something so comforting about sitting on the couch, or a chair, and wrapping yourself in a giant blanket…and when you drag the bottom half on the floor on the way to the kitchen and back for another glass of wine. After much research I found this Ralph Lauren blanket. It is soft, neutral, and large enough that I could disappear under it. It will be my weekend project to secure one of my own...I'm thinking the camel color. September and October…I’m ready!!

Rosemary Butter Cookies

 As of late, I have been baking more than I usually do, probably due to large amounts of stress. It’s great because we always have something sweet in the house, but it’s bad because I am one of two people who live here and I eat about ½ of all the sweets. My latest baking endeavor was tackling these Rosemary Butter Cookies, recipe found here. It was a simple recipe and the results were way better than I anticipated; for a few hours, our apartment smelled like a high-end spa with freshly baked cookies. I may have to bake them again just to make our apartment smell like a relaxation room. Oh, and they taste fabulous, too! Here's how it went:
{Mix the butter and granulated sugar together...}
{until it looks like this}
{Add egg, vanilla, and then flour- one cup at a time}
{Push rosemary leaves off of the stalk}
{Finely chop rosemary}
{Add rosemary to cookie dough...then taste test...twice}
{Divide dough and form logs with parchment paper}
{Put in paper towel rolls to hold shape- I thought it was silly...but it really made a difference}
{Set in freezer for about an hour}
{Unroll and place on parchment paper to brush with egg white and sugar. Note: it gets a little messy}
{The sugar starts to dissolve a's ok}
{Cut into 1/4 in pieces and discard the oddly-shaped ends}
{Place about an inch apart...they do not expand in oven}

Monday, August 26, 2013

German Pancakes

The first time my boyfriend made breakfast for me, aside from bringing me a Starbucks coffee or a Panera bagel, I could tell he wanted to impress me, and he did. He made me his infamous German Pancakes and they were truly fantastic. I had only ever had Swedish pancakes and the giant fluffy American pancakes-the buttermilk, fluffy types. While nothing can replace buttermilk pancakes from Walker Bros., these German pancakes are certainly delicious. After making them for me several times, I finally got him to teach me how and they are surprisingly easy! It’s light, but very filling. Perfect for a family brunch or breakfast in bed. This recipe makes two German Pancakes J

{Whisk together 4 eggs, 1 cup flour, and 1 cup milk}

{Until smooth-the batter should be slightly thin; add 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp granulated sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, a pinch of nutmeg }
{Payton helps heat the oven to 425}
{Melt a good amount of butter in the bottom of each frying pan- each person gets their own frying pan}
{Once butter is completely melted, add half of the batter to each pan}
{Place frying pans on the top rack of the oven for about 15 minutes}
{Or until the edges have risen and browned}
{Best way to eat? Sprinkle some powdered sugar and squeeze some lemon juice}

The Little Things

{Sunday morning coffee in my favorite mug}
This past weekend was full of both relaxation and chaos. Amongst the cleaning, laundry, studying, and relaxing quietly, the weekend felt over too quickly, even though we watched the fabulous VMAs. In my family, we call it getting the “Sunday Blues;” that looming Monday feeling when you start to think about everything that must be done early the next morning. To prolong productivity this a.m., here are a few things from this past weekend that reminded me to take a step back and appreciate the little things: 
{Payton sleeping with her head on my leg}
{A game of kings that brought back some college memories}
{Peaceful view of Olive Park from our dining room}
{Enjoying an El Guapo from Salsa 17}
{My Beaver's delicious}

Friday, August 23, 2013

Unsolicited Advice

Today’s post is short and sweet. If you have been working hard…play hard; I am going to start with a Beaver’s Donut this afternoon (found near here). Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

10 Must-Visit Bars: Gold Coast/Streeterville

In four short weeks, I will be finished with all dental school applications and the waiting game will begin. In an effort to be more social and take advantage of the city (and celebrate), I am putting together a series of posts highlighting the 10 must-visit bars for this fall and winter. I will pick my favorite cocktail at each location and post a celebratory picture on instagram…but not all on the same day J. The first edition highlights my neighborhood, but stay tuned for Lincoln Park, Bucktown/Wicker Park, and River North!



1.      Zebra Lounge
2.      Pump Room
3.      Streeter’s

4.      Drumbar
5.      The J Parker
6.      TR Napa Valley
7.      La Grande Vie

8.      NoMI Lounge
9.      Quay
10.  Cru
Honorable Mentions: Bistrot Zinc (for mimosas seen here), ENO (for wine of course!)

Asparagus and Arugula Salad

Last time I went to California Pizza Kitchen I had the Asparagus and Arugula Salad. We went for lunch and I didn’t want my traditional order of sesame dumplings and a small pizza. Long story short I made a good choice and tried my best to re-create the salad at home. Here is my take on it:

-        1 bushel of fresh asparagus
-        1 package of fresh arugula
-        1 cup of sundried tomatoes
-        ¼ cup pine nuts
-        Shaved parmesan cheese (optional)
-        ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
-        2 tbsp lemon juice
-        Pinch of pepper
-        Pinch of sea salt
Immediately start boiling a pot of water for the asparagus and salt the water. While waiting for the water to boil, thoroughly wash the asparagus and arugula, placing each into separate bowls.

Cut the bottom two inches off of the asparagus and discard. Continue to cut freshly washed asparagus into two inch sections; set aside. Rinse off sundried tomatoes, pat dry, and cut into small pieces and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the dressing.

Once water is boiling, blanch the asparagus until it is bright green (about 2-5 minutes depending on size) and immediately transfer into a bowl of ice water to arrest cooking. While asparagus cools, mix arugula, pine nuts, and sun-dried tomatoes into serving bowl. Add the chilled asparagus. Coat with dressing and garnish with parmesan curls. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ready to serve!