The Week That Was: September 26, 2014

Garden at Lincoln Park Zoo

I’ve got a fresh haircut and Parenthood is back. Life is good. The weekend will include a pumpkin fest/block party and hanging at home. We’ve got pictures to hang and organizing to do.

Whatever you have on your weekend agenda, enjoy!

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KP sent me a Christmas gift idea for him this week.

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I don’t want to make these Oktoberfest yummies so much as just eat them.

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I’m not sure where they found all these photos of my life.

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I wonder if he would’ve returned the bag of Garrett’s popcorn that I left on a flight…

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More great resources for flights, hotels, travel gear and more.

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Finally, debunking the “rinse before dishwasher” myth!

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Have a lovely weekend.

The Week That Was: September 19, 2014

Wine GumsThe next best thing to going to London? Treats from London. I will take the fifth if asked how many bags of Wine Gums remain. KP gave them to me when he got home yesterday. And I. Cannot. Control. Myself.

While KP was in London for “work” (staying at my favorite hotel, eating at my favorite restaurants, etc.), Nora and I hosted Grammie for a few days. But sadly, we didn’t get the opportunity to get out and about too much as our basement was being rebuilt. Again. The good news? It will be finished today. Can I get an Amen?!

That said, the weekend will mostly be spent putting the basement back together and finding someone to come over and do the opposite of a rain dance to ensure we never ever ever ever have to deal with that mess again.

Hope you enjoy whatever is on tap for your weekend.

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I don’t believe there is such a thing as overpouring wine.

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Two words: ungrateful haters.

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I’m always interested in travel websites. Here are ten that I’ve never heard of until now.

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KP is hell bent on Nora learning how to code. If she creates something this cool, I’m all for it.

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None of the boys I dated back in my NYC days were remotely as dreamy as Danny Castellano.

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Tips to make travel more affordable. Tip #6 took me back to my childhood, and the “Mrs. Claus in a rocking chair” piggybank we had on our kitchen counter year-round to save our pennies for summer vacation.

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It’s 2014. We speak a whole new language these days. Even still, I don’t know what some of these mean today. The kids and their “kik.” WHAT?

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Happy weekend!

The Week That Was: September 12, 2014

Perspective. I’ve been hearing — and using — a lot of this word lately.

I found out a week or so ago that a dear friend has stage one breast cancer. She said it really put things into perspective for her. When she turned 40 in December, she kept thinking, I’m so old! When she got the diagnosis, she kept thinking, I’m too young!

Over dinner with girlfriends recently, one lamented that she just wished someone had given her some real perspective on this place we are in our lives — newish moms with 1+ year olds — before she got here. She pictured in her head for so long what she wanted, which is what she has now, but she’s not quite sure how to do it and how to get a handle on things. How to balance.

On Tuesday, I found myself really annoyed when the men who were supposed to start rebuilding our basement (again) never showed up. I called the project manager. I called his boss. I called the office line. And then I found out that on Monday, the project manager committed suicide and they were all doing the best they could to put things back together. Perspective, again. My half-unfinished basement certainly pales in comparison.

Perspective: a reminder that things could always be worse.

On that note, I’ll turn off the melancholy and share some things I found around the web this week.

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“Oh my god could you chew any louder?” Overheard in our house daily. Apparently KP and I aren’t the only couple who bickers about silly things.

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Truffle oil is a trend that’s seen its better days? No way. But is anyone else noticing the crazy shishito peppers trend these days? I feel like they’re on every menu I open.

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Finally some praise for O’Hare. And let’s face it, Tortas Frontera is the best airport restaurant ever!

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Though I made this addicting slow cooker corn and jalapeño dip for our Labor Day BBQ, I think it’s got football season written all over it.

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I’m really trying to simplify and declutter. Good tips.

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I am loving these sad dads at the One Direction concert. And this is clearly why my sister and brother-in-law dropped their fangirl and fanboy off at the show, then left.

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I wasn’t so sure about Mindy in season one, but I’m hooked. I know where I’ll be on Tuesday night.

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Happy weekend.

The St. Regis New York

The St. Regis New York

KP and I celebrated four years of wedded bliss last month by splurging. We stayed at the fancy schmancy St. Regis hotel in New York City. And we had diner at Nobu. (A little secret: we didn’t really splurge that much.  KP cashed in his Starwood points for the hotel, and we used a $100 Open Table dining check towards our dinner, which, I suppose was a little over the top because we still paid a decent chunk out of our pockets.)

No exaggeration — KP cashed in points from four years of work travel for one night at the St. Regis (that’s 30K points, if you must know). But in four years time we’ve never had a need to use them otherwise, so why not splurge for the special occasion?

I knew we were in for some serious pampering when, upon check-in, we were told that our butler would be up shortly to introduce herself. Very well, then. Butler-singular isn’t really accurate; there’s basically a “team” of butlers, for lack of better way of putting it, who are at your beck and call. The butlers can seemingly do or get anything for you, but we were only there for one night, so our demands were minimal. We had them bring us tea a few times and iron our clothes for our anniversary dinner. Honestly, I would’ve ironed my own clothes but there wasn’t even an iron or ironing board in our room. Only commoners iron, apparently.

The St. Regis New YorkOur room was pretty swanky so it was disappointing that we only got to enjoy it one night. But I’ll take what I can get. This will sound cliché, but the bed really was dreamy. So luscious and comfortable. And there was a nice little sitting area to enjoy our tea — and champagne. We had celebrating to do.

Bubbles

It’s a good thing we don’t travel as often as we used to, because I could definitely get used to a hotel of this caliber. Our bank account most definitely could not. Worth the splurge to say “been there, done that,” but our next stay as a couple (or family) will likely be at one of Starwood’s less swanky properties.

The Week That Was: September 5, 2014

Cocktails at The Office
Fancy cocktails at The Office

I got a jumpstart on my weekend last night. Mommies night out. We dined at Nico Osteria and drank afterwards at The Office, the speakeasy in the basement of The Aviary. I like to think of nights like that as good therapy. They cost about as much (more?) as I suspect a therapy session would cost, and we talk talk talk.

Miraculously, I’m feeling quite spry this morning (attributing that to the 5 a.m. dose of Motrin and gallons of water) which is good since the idea of having a hangover is lost on Nora. She shows no mercy.

We’ve got a light and easy weekend coming up. No set plans although Oyster Fest is tomorrow so we might have to walk over. Other than that, we’ll probably dream about the day when our basement gets rebuilt. Again. Enjoy whatever is on your agenda!

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Another Hollywood legend is gone. I wonder if Joan Rivers’ funeral wishes will be honored.

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I loved this post from Mytanfeet about learnings while living abroad. Agree, agree, agree.

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Peach cobbler is my fave. I made this one for our Labor Day BBQ with fresh peaches from the farmers market. It was a hit, but luckily there was a little left which made for an ideal breakfast.

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Who knew… our tastebuds are partly to blame for sucky airplane food.

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Several of my favorites made the list of the World’s Most Beautiful City Parks.

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Admittedly, I don’t find most of these travel terms that annoying — except #4.

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Have a lovely weekend.

Book Review: Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler

Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler

“Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to be topless for emergency dental work when abroad.” – Chelsea Handler

It took me two whole evenings to read Chelsea Handler’s Uganda Be Kidding Me. It wasn’t even on my to-read list but the book was staring at me when I was at the library the other day, picking up much more respectable works of literature. I like Chelsea Handler and I liked her other books that I’ve read (My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands and Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea), so I added Uganda Be Kidding Me to my stack. Side note: it’s amazing how much time I have for reading when my basement and TV that is in said basement are temporarily out of commission.

Uganda Be Kidding Me is a collection of stories about Chelsea’s travels to destinations like Africa, the Bahamas and the Swiss Alps. And it’s chock-full of wit, sarcasm and vulgarity, all of which I happen to enjoy. Apparently the wine guzzler who borrowed this book from the Chicago Public Library before me also enjoyed it… so much so that several pages were stained with what I can only hope was wine.

wine stains?Obviously this book is a quick read. I found it to be like reading a girlfriend’s unfiltered anecdotes about her travels — bathroom stories, sexcapades and all. It’s light, it’s funny and yes, it’s vulgar.

Sprinkled throughout the book are various photos of Chelsea and company throughout their travels (apparently she always travels with a posse because she’s not responsible enough to travel solo). Perhaps my favorite snapshot from the book is the one from Botswana, where a lion has literally parked itself in front of the entrance to the camp’s gym, brilliantly captioned, “… The best excuse ever to blow off working out.” Yep.

Sorry folks, gym's closed.
Sorry folks, gym’s closed.

If you’re looking for one more quick read before the end of summer, pick up a copy. And if you borrow from a public library, please keep your wine at arm’s length.

Here’s what Goodreads has to say about Uganda Be Kidding Me.