November 30, 2010

Chicago Eats: Rocks

I have to let you in on a little neighborhood secret, Rocks. My favorite neighborhood spot for meeting up with friends and grabbing a drink and some food. I anxiously watched this place go up and was super excited to have a cute spot right by my house. I've since moved south a bit, but I still head to Rocks because it's definitely worth the walk! I think business is doing well because they've recently expanded and taken over some space next door. If you're in the Lakeview area, you definitely need to stop by. If for nothing else than the skewer that comes in the bloody mary's.

I was here last month with my usual Rocks buddy on an unseasonably warm day. Doesn't that bloody look delicious?

My friend ordered beer that came in a cute can.

 And on another trip, we enjoyed $5 glasses of wine. Rocks has great specials every day and Tuesdays are $5 wine and cheap salads! I like pretty much all of their food, one thing they do really well is their chili. Delicious!

My lovely friend, LB!

Not the best shot, but they have a great patio for the warmer months!
Rocks Lakeview (also a Lincoln Park location)
3463 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 

November 24, 2010

Words for Wednesday

Headed home to Michigan this afternoon for a nice long weekend with the family. I am excited to relax and not think about work! I have to say, I'm not a big fan of Thanksgiving food (don't like stuffing or mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie or cranberries!) but I'm excited because we are doing traditional Thanksgiving fare along with some different things. I'll have to report back after with some recipes.

I got this print from Craftily Ever After. She created it and framed it for Thanksgiving. Wonderful idea!

November 22, 2010

Because everyone needs a good laugh on Monday . . .

In case you aren't one of the 1,941, 645 people that have viewed Marcel online, I thought I'd share this video with you. I was introduced to this video by Peppermint Bliss and it has been life changing. I saw it right before I went on vacation in October and Marcel and Charlie pretty much became the theme for the week. My sister and little bro both found it as funny as me. I literally can't stop laughing when I watch these and now every time I talk with my sister on the phone we throw in lines from Marcel. Enjoy!

And this follow up is equally hilarious, if not more so! Please, someone make a sequel to these!

November 19, 2010

Steal of the Week: Groupon & Nordstrom Rack

**Update: Apparently, I picked a popular time to talk about Groupon. Oprah mentioned it on her show this morning and as a result the site as been down all day due to the high volumes of traffic. Ugh. I am certain they will extend the offer time on this deal though.**

I know, I should really settle down and stop posting about Nordstrom. But, there's an awesome Groupon that came my way this morning and I just have to share! First, if you're not using Groupon yet, you've gotta start! Sure, it's encouraged some impulsive "good deal" buys, but it is definitely worth it. Every morning a "deal" is sent to your inbox and you usually have 24 hours to purchase it. You sign up for your city and the deals are tailored to things in your area. I've gotten Groupons for half off restaurants, super cheap facials and even a package for car washes.You also get a $10 credit for referring friends, so if you do sign up use this link.

Today's deal was a welcome surprise in my inbox, half off at Nordstrom Rack! With the new location that just opened up in downtown Chicago I was pretty pumped about this! For $25 you get a $50 Groupon to use at Nordstrom Rack. And here's the best part, it is valid at ANY Nordstrom Rack location in the states! Perfect for gift buying or maybe purchasing a holiday party outfit.

One more reason to love Nordstrom . . .

I like the fact that Nordstrom celebrates one holiday at a time. I do kind of hate how the holiday season gets so commercialized and trees go up at stores right after Halloween is done. One thing at a time! Thank you, Nordstrom.  

November 18, 2010

Chicago Sidewalk Planters: Fall 2010 edition

I've been on the hunt for sidewalk planters that are all done up for Fall! I came up with quite a few pretty plantings. I always like to monitor the themes that seem to appear each season. For Fall, I've seen a lot of the classics (mums) but also really cool greenery like cabbage and Kale. Without further adieu, here are the Fall planters!

Some of my favorites, I really like the greenery and the birch sticks. And they added pansies, which you generally see in the very early Spring since they are so hardy, but Fall is perfect for them as well!

Cabbage close ups from Michigan Ave.
I love the coloring!

The yellow mums deserve their own section...

How did she get in this one? :) You can really tell how massive this cement planter is with a little perspective.

Lastly, you may remember these guys from Spring. The massive planters are along Erie and are always done up for the seasons. I think the scraecrow was a tad cheesy, but everything else about this display is great! 

I hope you enjoyed the tour of sidewalk planters in the city! You can view the other season's collections here:

I'm linking up to Outdoor Wednesday!

November 10, 2010

It's that time of year. . .fall planting

We are definitely well into the Fall season (like it or not). And you know what that means around here - all new Fall planting! People in the city aren't joking around about their fall planters either...

That's a whole lotta Mums!

I'm sure this guy enjoyed me snapping a picture of him!
As you may know, I like to mark the seasons changing by checking out the new plantings throughout the city. And we go all out around here! I've been finding lots of great Fall displays. I'll be posting them all soon. In the meantime if you just can't get into Fall, you can always reminisce about the lovely Spring planters here.

Words for Wednesday

Not sure I'll quite be able to celebrate the mundane Wednesday I'm having, but sipping a glass of bubbly after work isn't a bad idea...

November 7, 2010

Mamma Agata, the Amalfi coast cooking school

Once upon a fairytale, Sister and I headed to Ravello, on the Amalfi Coast in Italy, for a cooking class with Mamma Agata! Needless to say it was an ah-mazing day. And made an already memorable trip, that much more unforgettable. Mamma has recently published a cookbook, so I thought this would be a good time to share a little about our day in Ravello. Who am I kidding? You know I will take any excuse possible to talk about Italy, my one true love.

At first glance...

Time to get cooking! Mamma and her daughter, Chiara lead you through a series of dishes. They do most of the heavy lifting, with you watching and learning (And eating).

Al and Chiara (Mamma's daughter)

Mamma!! If that's not an Italian Mom, then I don't know what is!
Mamma Agata's is situated on a clifftop, overlooking the gorgeous coastline. The family cooks with nearly all home grown produce. They have a farm built right into the side of the cliff. During the course of the day you head down to the farm area and check out all the fresh produce.

At the end of the day you sit down for a huge feast with all the food cooked during the day. And of course wine made from the grapes grown right on site and homemade limoncello are served!

If you find yourself on the Amalfi Coast, definitely book a day with Mamma Agata! I may be seeing Mamma in the U.S. soon, so I'll report back. And hopefully her cookbook will be sold in the states soon!

Piazza S. Cosma 9 - Ravello (SA)
Amalfi Coast - ITALY

Phone +39.(0)89.857019

November 3, 2010

Words for Wednesday

I used paper from Kate's Paperie as the background. And now I can see why I liked it so much, it blends right in with my blog background, oops.

November 2, 2010

Concord grapes, my favorite super fruit

Behold the Concord Grape.

Concord Grapes are currently in season in the Midwest and are one of my favorite fruits! The smell alone does it for me. They have the best scent in the world. Very, sweet and grape-y :) And besides being delicious, it happens to be an antioxidant powerhouse. Check out this info from the LiveStrong website. Concord grapes contain the same antioxidants found in red wine, polyphenols. My grandpa used to grow these in his backyard, so eating them always brings back good memories. If you happen to see these in your grocery store, check them out!

Of course, another reason I love concord grapes is many come from Michigan! I've noticed Whole Foods likes to sell the grapes as a specialty item and charge quite a bit, but Jewel has them by all the other grapes and they sell for only $2.99. You can also visit the Michigan grower's website here.

November 1, 2010

Saguaro Lake, Arizona

A week and a half ago I was in the middle of a great vacation in Arizona! Hard to believe, considering I'm now back to the daily grind and woke up to 40 degrees outside this morning! My sister and I usually go out a few times a year to see our Dad and little brother who are out there for the Winter (and school year). We had a great trip and mostly wonderful weather. For all the times we have been out, we've never gone to Saguaro Lake, which is only a 15-20 minute drive from the Scottsdale area. If you're ever out there, it's definitely worth the trip.

Saguaro Lake is located in the Tonto National Forest, which covers almost 3 million acres! It is the fifth largest forest in the U.S. We had a great day for our boat tour and were in awe of the sights. It was beautiful! The mountains, the water, the cacti... I'll let the pictures speak for themselves!

So odd seeing cactus and water!

Everybody had a good time on the boat! From 9-year old brother all the way up to 90-year old Grandpa!

Pops, taking in the scenes.

Big sis and world's cutest little brother

Grandpa, almost 90. Ethan, 9

Back to the gorgeous scenery...

Four Peaks Mountains in the background, the tops covered by clouds.
Heading home after a day on the water. I love the desert scenery. So different than my concrete jungle in Chicago :)


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