December 13, 2012

Blooms: Holiday Arrangement with Amaryllis & Orchids

The lobby of my office had such a gorgeous holiday flower arrangement, I had to share. I love the mix in this vase -- red amaryllis, pine branches, green leaves, tall red berries and a strand of white orchids. The orchid is a nice surprise in here, I wouldn't normally think of this tropical looking flower for a holiday arrangement, but somehow it works perfectly. So pretty and perfect for right before Christmas!

Grand Rapids Eats & Drinks: Reserve

I've decided to expand my Chicago Eats series to my hometown, Grand Rapids. My sister and I have a favorite place for wine and cheese that I wanted to share with you, Reserve. It's located downtown, right across the street from The Amway. Reserve opened two years ago in September, it started out as my sister's favorite place, but I love to visit when I'm in town too! They specialize in wine and carry something like 270 different kind of wines, including many selections from Michigan. Their food is always seasonal and often locally sourced.

The whole vibe in Reserve is very cool, it's definitely not a stuffy wine bar. I love the interior design, everything from the light fixtures to the chairs has a modern look. And I can't not mention the huge piece of art behind the bar, it was the winner from the very first year of Art Prize. It's so cool that the piece of art got to stay in Grand Rapids and be on display for anyone to see.

"Open Water" now hanging in Reserve, Image Via

Chandelier close-up, Via
My favorite is getting a cheese plate to go with the wine, you can choose from a variety of ever changing cheeses and pick three or 5 to make a plate. The best part? The cheeses come with fresh Michigan honey and a chutney. The honey is To. Die. For. Oh my, the cheese, the bread and a little drizzle of the honey? Perfection. I think the honey deserves it's own post in the future, it is honestly the best tasting honey I have ever had. The honey is called Hasselman's Pure Michigan Honey. The cheeses come from the Midwest as well and no matter what kinds we get, they are always delicious.

The menu always features a few different tastings, one I had recently was all blended red wine. It's a great way to try a few new wines and learn a little about them too.

Oh look, it's a special edition wine from my favorite, L. Mawby, appropriately named "GR". Love the Michigan wines that Reserve carries.

There's one more thing to love about Reserve, they have an awesome outdoor roof deck. We don't have nearly as many roof decks in GR as Chicago, so I'm very happy Reserve has one. You can't beat sitting up there on a warm Summer night. Or even a Fall night like we did in October. They do have heaters so we can extend the outdoor season in Michigan a bit!

Reserve is a great spot for any occasion; happy hour, date night, dinner, wine tasting, girls night out or all of the above. And kudos to Reserve, they were mentioned in USA Today on Monday for their wine flights!

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Reserve GR
201 Monroe Ave. NW 
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

November 28, 2012

Words for Wednesday

I have been such a bad blogger lately! I want to blog, but just haven't been finding the time. So much going on lately, it seems like the last month has been a blur. It's all good things, but still a bit stressful. I'll fill you in soon! In the meantime, hoping things will slow down soon and I can get back to more regular blogging, I miss posting and reading my favorite blogs...

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Love this saying. What a good motto to try and live by. Happy Wednesday readers!


October 17, 2012

Steal of the Week: 25 percent off Tervis Tumblers

Had to share this deal from one of my favorite products -- All Tervis Tumblers are 25% off today! Now's a perfect time to order your college team tumbler or monogrammed cup. These make great holiday gifts! And of course all Tervis Tumblers are Made in the USA!

October 12, 2012

Leaving on a jet plane . . .

Happy Friday! I'm leaving for Arizona this afternoon to see this cutie and soak up some dessert sun with big sister. Couldn't be more excited!

Ice Cream stop this Summer with World's Cutest Brother

AZ, March 2012

Hope everyone has a good weekend and week next week. See you back here in a bit.

October 11, 2012

Chicago Eats: Terzo Piano @ The Art Institute of Chicago

So many good restaurants in Chicago, it can be hard to choose where to eat. Awhile back I was able to check another one off my list, the famed Terzo Piano, located in the Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago. My sister and I stopped by for lunch one afternoon. They are the only restaurant in the Art Institute that does not require you to pay admission to the museum to enter. Their main highlight is lunch, they are open every day of the week for lunch and Thursdays only for dinner (reservations recommended).

For any Chicago Foodies, the head chef here is Tony Mantuano, of Spiaggia fame. The focus of the food is fresh, organic, local and sustainable. The menu is ever changing, so no matter how many times you go there is always something new waiting for you. Even the bread around here is special, homemade foccacia.

We started with the antipasto which was delicious and presented beautifully.

For our meals my sister chose a pasta and I had a sausage sandwich with a side salad. Both were great and perfectly sized portions, not too big. The entrees and salads range in price from $16 - $25.

The setting inside the restaurant is bright, white and modern. My pictures don't do it justice, but it's a very cool interior with walls of windows overlooking the city.

If you're looking for an artfully prepared lunch in a modern setting, you should definitely try Terzo Piano.
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Terzo Piano
Located in the Modern Wing of the Chicago Art Institute
159 East Monroe
Chicago, 60603

For other restaurant recommendations in Chicago, see my reviews here: Chicago Eats

October 8, 2012

The Weekender

The weekend went way too fast as usual! I didn't have any big plans but got a lot done around the house and did feel pretty rested to start the work week. It sure felt like Fall this weekend, it's nice, but I'm not looking forward to the pending Winter. Here's a few pictures of my weekend, what did you guys do?

The chill is in the air, but it was sunny and gorgeous most of the weekend!

I fried an egg for the first time ever! I don't know what has taken me so long. Made a delicious sandwich with turkey bacon, cheddar and sourdough.

It's always a good weekend when Target is involved. Spotted this cute blouse at Target and couldn't get over what a good deal it was. $22.99 and to me it looks more like a Banana or Ann Taylor style shirt. I don't feel like orange works with my skin tone, but I was scoping this out for my Mom or sister who can pull that color off. You can see the shirt on Target's website here.

Do you guys like Kiwis? I love them and end up eating them more on the weekend than during the week when I can take the time to peel them. Did you know that ounce for ounce, kiwifruit contains more vitamin C than an orange?! It’s also a good source for two of the most important fat-soluble antioxidants: vitamin E and vitamin A.

I did our Fall planters this weekend too! I'll have to post about them this week.

Here's hoping for a quick and painless work week!

October 4, 2012

Michigan Bubbly: L. Mawby Sparkling Wines

Around this time last year my sister, Mom and I took a trip to the Traverse City area for some wine tasting. I've been to Traverse City and beautiful Northern Michigan many times, but visiting old favorites is fun and you always discover something new up there too. I posted about our stop at gorgeous Sleeping Bear Dunes, we also hit Cherry Republic and lots of vineyards! My favorite vineyard is L. Mawby. I credit them with my love for sparkling wines. When we first stopped there several years ago I really fell in love with their wines.

They only make sparkling wines — and they are good at it! They have two labels, L. Mawby, made using the methode champenoise, it is slightly higher priced, but still very affordable.  I don't know all the details of what methode champenoise involves but it is the oldest and most traditional way to make sparkling wine and was supposedly developed by Dom (Pierre) Perignon, sound familiar?!

M. Lawrence which is made using the cuve close method, are given less aging and as a result less expensive. The great thing about the wine is that you can purchase it in different locations and drink at many restaurants throughout Michigan and even in Chicago! I was so excited to find a few M. Lawrence varieties at the Whole Foods here.

They have a great tasting room. After getting a few pours for free, you can decide what others you'd like to try and pick cheese or a pate and crackers for a small charge between $5 and $9, depending on what wines you select for tasting.

I had to stock up on lots of bubbly to bring back to Chicago!

They recently changed their labels, I'll have to stock up again soon and check out the new designs. My original favorite is from the M. Lawrence line and is call "Sex". Cute for a date night, no?! There is another one called "US" that would be equally cute for date night. I also love the special varieties named Grand Rapids and Detroit. And for a special occasion, the J'adore was fabulous.

If you are planning a trip to Wine Country in Michigan, make sure to add this to your list! Fall is such a great time to visit, the air is crisp and all the colors on the trees are starting to change, making for a gorgeous drive up.

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L. Mawby - Fine Leelanau Peninsula Sparkling Wines
4519 Elm Valley Road
Suttons Bay, MI 49682
Tasting Room Hours through end of October:
Mon-Sat, Noon- 6 PM
Sun, Noon-5 PM

October 3, 2012

Words for Wednesday

True words. It is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi tomorrow, so I thought this was especially relevant. This is actually just one line taken from a really beautiful prayer by St. Francis. He is the patron saint of animals and the environment and one of two patrons of Italy.

Hope everyone is having a good Wednesday!

image created by a little ditty.

September 27, 2012

Chicago Eats: Cantina Laredo

You know I love anything related to Mexican food -- and Cantina Laredo in downtown Chicago is no exception. I watched them build the space for this restaurant, it was quite the project, the sidewalk was shut down for months, but I think the end result is great. There are large windows that slide open in the Summer months for almost al fresco dining and the second floor actually has some nice city views at night.


 The food is delicious and the margaritas are strong. What more could one want from a Mexican restaurant? The pitchers of margaritas are a must, they aren't listed on the menu but are available for around $30.


One thing I liked about their entrees was that they were served with fresh veggies, instead of the standard beans. It really helped to lighten up the meal a bit.

And they have an awesome special during the week, "Happier Half". The entire upstairs lounge food menu is half-priced from 4-7 p.m. This includes their tableside guacamole, ceviche and empanadas. Yum.

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Cantina Laredo
508 North State Street

(Near State and Grand)
Chicago, IL 60654



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