Thursday, December 31, 2009

On to the next!

I am a huge fan of NYE. NYE means a new start, new hopes, new chances, new dreams and a little bit of bubbly. My hopefullness usually comes to a crashing halt the morning of Jan 1 when my hangover kicks in, but for one night it is a glorious feeling.

I wish I had a blog devoted to NYE only. I'd say from 16 on my NYE celebrations have been something for the books, minus the 2008 To Catch A Predator marathon Mike and I got sucked into before finally heading out to our fav bar around midnight lol.

Hmm, I think 95 was the year I spent at my friend Carly's house dancing around the living room to Rancid all night then a morning mountain at Ross'. Nevermind that we spent the next day sanding her parents coffee table before they got home.

Then there was 2000 spent at JR's, the best dance bar ever in the Quad Cities that is no longer.

2001 was Spin in Chicago where my ex gay boyfriend was drugged, I think. Julie and I threw him in bed then went out for breakfast. That was a fun one, in fact, I just used one of the commemoritve champagne glasses this past weekend.

Julie and I through one in 2002 at our place. I remember pretty lights, being in the neighbors apartment and that's about it.

There were a few at Neo. A year where I hit up parties at both Erin's and Julies places and last year at the Lodge.

This year Mike and I are having a little pre-party at our place before heading out to Late Bar. I am so excited to go here since it just opened this past Saturday and my favorite Chicago DJ is the owner. With our great group of friends going I am SURE there will be fun pics to post once my hangover subsides. Late Bar will be rockin the 80's tunes all night, and I found the perfect dress for the occasion yesterday.

NYE is always so random and this year I look forward to the new with a sparkle in my eye. LOL

Feliz Navidad Dos

After Mike's family head back to the East Coast, Mike and I headed to Iowa for another Christmas. My Mom had her annual day after party two days after Christmas this year so we were able to see the entire family, minus Brad and clan.

We arrived Sunday for another gorge fest of cookies and pizza. There was lots of family, food, presents and fun times. We also ate at Thunder Bay Grill. This used to be one of my favorite restaurants in the QC for years, but it went downhill for a while. I'm happy to say they revamped a bit and now have a full tapas menu. I tried a mahi mahi taco, caprese martini and old bay style shrimp cocktail. It was all very tasty!

I snapped a couple of great pictures, but unfortunately missed out on the men in the family. I swear, they do exist on the Wilbricht side!

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christmas of New Traditions

This Christmas has been full of new, exciting traditions. For one, this is my first Christmas in ten years in Chicago. I absolutely love Chicago during the holidays. It is just so relaxing and laid back since most of the city is off of work and in good spirits. This year Mike's parents came from Rhode Island to spend the holidays with us. Aside from a flight delay and then delayed luggage we have been having a lot of fun.

I made Christmas Eve dinner, lots of wine, cheese, pasta and a yummy pecan pie. I then attended my first Catholic mass. Christmas morning Mike made us all a great breakfast and I made the mimosas. YUM! After breakfast we opened gifts from Santa and Mike's parents. Mike and I and Dixie, Finn and Kira all enjoyed our gifts. I love surprises and well, was actually surprised this year!!

During the afternoon we visited the Garfield Conservatory to stretch our legs, then had a cozy dinner at Fireside Grill. I have to give a shout out the the awesome peppermint mousse with crushed chocolate Mike and I shared for dessert!

Tomorrow we are going to have a low key breakfast at home then head out to the Museum of Science and Industry and then a sushi dinner. Mike parents leave Sunday and the time has just gone too fast. I really enjoy their company and wish we got to see them more.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

We all miss the sun

Unlike her brother Dixie has a new habit that is pretty darn cute. She must be missing the sun because she sure loves it when I put the computer lamp on the floor so she can "sun" herself.

A message from Bobbi Brown

Last week we received an early Christmas gift from Mike's Dad and Heidi. This past August when we visited them in Maine we had so much fun playing their Wii, so they sent us one of our own! I love the special note from Bobbi, Mike's lil sis. Now I don't have to feel guilty when I skip the gym because it's ZERO out!

Remember the nine lives?

Well now our big buddy has a death wish.

Our big monster has picked up a new habit. Let me tell you, I am about to stop drinking coffee because they are such a pain to clean up.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

a list to beat all lists

i am such a sucker for lists. top ten, year in review, embarrassing moments ect. and this is the time of year that the media likes to go crazy with them. you can bet my dvr is set for what i consider to be the kick off, Barbara Walters Most Fascinating People of 2009.

tonight while perusing perez i came upon a funny video and although i think they missed a few things, this was obviously made pre-Tiger drama, i got a laugh out of it. it kind of reminds me of the E Hollywood wrap up every friday night on the Daily 10, which is always a treat when i catch it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

and before the tree

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend!! I spent time with family and ate plenty of delicious treats and figured I'd share my favorites.

The hubs and I, along with our dogs headed off to Iowa Wednesday evening. We waited until 7 to beat, or wait out, the traffic. We managed to get there in just under 3 and 1/2 hours. Not bad!! We spent Wednesday night at my parents and then headed further into Iowa Thursday morning for a traditional Thanksgiving feast at my Grandparents. I was able to finally eat Tofurkey, it was so good, along with mashed potatos, corn, salad and good ol' green bean casserole. Mike was the opposite of me and my tofurkey. I believe he had ham, turkey and pork! What a carnivore!

There were several pies for desert. Apple rhubarb, pumpkin, caramel apple, and my gma's infamous chocolate pie. I also brought an oatmeal pecan pie from The pie was delicious and healthier than a regular pie. I am already planning on making another one this week!

The other eating highlight of my weekend was getting my parents to go to Le Mekong. I blogged about Le Mekong a while back. Everything was as good as ever on Friday. We got a little crazy after dinner and headed to Jumers Casino and then to the Lodge for my fav lounge singer.

Which leads me to the pizza I ate Saturday evening while I laid on my couch and veg-ed. We ordered from Chicago Pizza, before Mike and I moved in together Chi Pie was my neighbor for years. I ordered half light on the cheese, this is a little trick I have to save some calories. It was delicious.

Despite all my eating, when I stepped on the scale this morning, I lost two pounds. I managed to squeeze in two workouts over the long weekend but honestly, my body confuses the hell out of me. For the past week and a half I'd been eating low carb and been miserable without the scale budging! I'm not complaining but it makes me wonder why I bother!!

a first at 31

Yes, it's true. This is my first full size Christmas tree! I don't know what got into me, well yes I do. I stumbled upon a line of holiday accessories that were all purple and silver. The line was also named "Twilight" and that's all it took to get me into the holiday spirit! I even thought about watching the first Twilight while decorating but restrained myself. All in all I am very happy with my Twilight Tree.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Basements Taste Good

I have a new requirement in my wine, red in particular, it must taste like a musty basement. I'm sure there is a proper term for this, so please, share if you know! It's actually very ironic that I now associate this taste with good wine because I have a vivid memory from when I was 22 years old. I had just started to drink wine, I had graduated from keg parties in college and my palate was becoming slightly more refined, basically I was drinking Chardonnay and Zinfandel. I opened a bottle of wine that my Dad had received as a gift, it was red, I spit it out after taking a sip and remember saying "This is bad, it tastes like a musty basement, it's spoiled!" What I didn't say out loud just to myself was, "I bet this is what good wine is supposed to taste like, and I bet I'll get it when I'm older."

Well, I FINALLY get it! Last week my friend Erin and I went to a wine bar by my place called Volo. I tried a Malbec from Argentina, since that region is known for their Malbecs. It was good, but then, I tried a French Malbec and it was AMAZING. Erin and I both said, it tastes like a basement. When I looked up the wine the next day, one of the reviews said it was reminiscent of grandma's basement! My palate was right on!

This week I picked up two different Malbecs. One was French and good but the other was from Argentina and jackpot, basement again! I've learned that Malbecs from 2005/06 are so, so tasty. Must have been a good year for the grapes!! Below is a review for one of my new, favorite, basement wines!

Cueva De Las Manos | Malbec | Argentina | 2006

Deep red/purple color, expressive notes of ripe cherries, plums, violets and chocolate. Full bodied with chewy black fruit and spicy oak. Good balance and finish.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

You're Never Too Old

To learn to use public transportation!! After 10 years of living in Chicago I broke major ground today. I took the train to work, and then to the gym after work and then home from the gym!! I have only been on the train a handful of times since living here for many reason, #1 it scares me, #2 it gives me anxiety, #3 it confuses me. Today, however, I was enlightened.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I loved my remote control

Tonight while at the gym, listening to my Ipod and zoning out to CNN on the tv screen, a headline flashed before me on the bottom of the screen that caught my attention. It read " Ken Ober host of MTV's Remote Control dies at 52." Instantly my childhood idols from MTV flashed before my eyes. Tabitha Soren, Kurt Loder, Dave Kendall, Steve Isaac, Riki Rachtman, Downtown Julie Brown, Colin Quinn, Kennedy, Duff, Martha Quinn, Adam Curry, Ed Lover, Pauly Shore and my all time fav Matt Pinfield. I could keep going too. Thinking about his death, I was reminded of how much I loved MTV and how much I loved the show Remote Control. MTV was so different in the 80's and 90's than it is now. I understand all things evolve over time, but it truely was music based back in the day, edgy, inspiring. I miss it!

Hearing of Ken's death made me sad. Sad for him and sad for the good ol' days of MTV. I went digging on you tube for some old clips, my homage to Ken Ober, had to get the theme song in! RIP.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pug Party!

This evening the pugs, Stella and Lola, came over for a play date with Dixie. The pugs are pretty mellow and Dixie has recently become an aggressive, territorial spaz which made for a chaotic play date. We spent time in the backyard, took a long walk to Starbucks, and then came home and had dinner with Julie and Trish. Dixie is absolutely pooped now and I've learned she really needs help with her issues. Next week I am signing her up for half days at doggie daycare. I hope this helps her get back to being a non-socially ackward dog!

Last Night In Noho

Phew... It's over. I completed my training in Northampton on Friday and have been catching up on life all weekend. I've slept a lot, spent time with the hubs, caught up with friends, did laundry and grocery shopped for lots of vegetables and fruits. My last night in Noho was one that I will remember for a while. After much, much stress it was nice to let loose and have a nice dinner with coworkers and play some trivia and karaoke at the World War II Club aka le deuce. I paid the next day, completing my training text with a hangover and then having to fly, but, it was worth it for sure!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A trip to corn country

Last weekend I took a break from Noho and visited my fam in Iowa. My nephew Eli and brother were in town from Arizona, I hadn't seen my brother in over a year! It was a much needed visit. I managed to capture a couple of photos!

Adios Noho

This past month has been the most stressful time of my life. Being away from home, learning a new job, being in a new town, being sick for weeks, living in a hotel and the list goes on and on. I have three days left of training before I head back to Chicago which I am absolutely thrilled about. One thing, or person rather, that has helped me make it through the last month is my new, dear friend Margaret.

Margaret and I arrived for training on the same day, her from NYC and me from Chicago. Not knowing what to expect, we made it through the first day and had our first of many dinners later that evening. After many long chats, glasses of wine and new restaurants Margaret and I are not only co-workers but friends.

I am excited to head home but sad to leave Margaret behind, she still has one more month to go. Lucky for us we have technology on our side. We may not be sitting across from each other any more but we'll always have g-chat! I hope you get to leave early girl!

Monday, November 2, 2009

I am alive!

I've been neglecting a lot of things in my life lately. My home, my pets, my hubs and my blog! I am still in Northampton Mass training for my new job, two and a half weeks in and two weeks to go. It has been pretty stressful being away from home this long and still trying to well, manage things at home. Luckily I have a great hubs who is taking it like a champ and spends most of his time making sure I am ok. I've had some crazy experiences while out here, my tire flew off my rental while driving on the expressway, I seriously could have died. I came here with a cold and picked up another one a few days ago, a cancelled flight and sprinting through the airport all on top of learning a new job. OY!

The plus side is I've made a couple new friends out here and have enjoyed spending time with them. I was also able to experience a New England fall. The colors have been so beautiful. Once I get back to my "normal life" I'll pick back up on the blogging again.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Blue Dog

A blue living room deserves a Blue Dog. What's a Blue Dog? Well, I have been in love with a Blue Dog for years. Blue Dog is the subject matter for George Rodrigue, an artist from New Orleans. Last time Mike and I were there we went to the gallery to buy a print. Little did we know that prints, PRINTS, and the smallest ones, that we saw, start at 2k. YIKES. We did not walk out with our print that day.

There are so many reasons that I love this artist. First I love that he is a Louisiana native. Most of you know, Nola has always had my heart. I would live their in second if I could find employment there. I love how he integrates Nola into many of his paintings, the moss, the plantations homes, mardi gras ect. I love the Blue Dog's eyes. It's that empty gaze that my dogs give me quite often, although when you know the dog you know it's not empty. Last, I love the colors.

Because I know that this Blue Dog would looks so, so amazing in my living room I've figured out a way to get what I want, I think... There are a few books that I've found online that are collections of prints. I am looking at the dimensions of the books and one is 10 x 12. I figure that I can buy this book, pick 2 or 3 of my favorites, have them matted and frame them myself. I just hope that the prints are full size. Wish me luck on my project!

p.s when you see the real deal, painting not print, in my living room some day, you'll know that i have "made it"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

10 days down

I have been in Northampton MASS for 10 days now training for the new job! I am so excited to go home tomorrow and see my sweetie and babies. I miss them all so much! Hopefully I can squeeze in a blog or two as well!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

You take the good, you take the bad

I am sick in bed for the 2nd day in a row but wanted to share some good news! I was hired on full-time yesterday! This has really been a great experience for me as I love what I am doing. I will be heading out East this week for an additional 30 days of training and then will be based in Chicago!!

Congrats/Sympathy flowers from my hubs taken from my cell phone camera in bed :(

A project from last weekend.

I've been waiting for a sunny day to get some good pictures from our painting, remodeling project last weekend. After a week without sun I better just post some of the pics I took while we were working.

You might remember the crazy walls in our living rooms. They were some tuscan style textured look that was done in 1991 when the owner lived here. I am happy to say that after 18 years, Mike and I have broken the cycle of wretched ugliness. Have a look:




The walls are a really pretty blue, it's hard to tell in the photos. I'll try and post some more when when we get a sunny day and some good light!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Back from the big apple

I returned home from NYC on Thursday and have been catching up on sleep ever since. The trip was great but between work and squeezing in fun time I ran myself down a bit. Aside from work I managed to take in a broadway show, hang out in times square, and explore Soho and go to the MET. Lucky for me my coworker I met out there was really fun which made it all the better!

It's been about 4 years since I've been to NY, so this gave me a much needed fix. O, and for the first time I had a rental and drove a bit. I'm not going to lie, it was a little stressful but I had a GPS and never got lost so all was good. I took a few pictures of my hotel at the Affinia Gardens which was the largest room I've ever stayed in in NY and a few fun pictures too.

My crib for the week:

And the fun pics!

My fav room at the MET

Rooftop at the MET

View from the rooftop

Times Square

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I wanna ROCK!

With YOU Constantine! What a dream boat! If you would have told me 3 months ago when I was unemployed, laying on the couch, and watching Constantine perform a set from Rock of Ages on The View, that I'd be seeing the show while in NY for my new job...I would have have said "You must be high!" Last night I was able to squeeze in a Broadway show during some downtime while in NYC for work, and let me tell you! This show did not let me down! My love for 80's hair bands started in my early years and this show managed to incorporate several of the "oldies but goodies" Not to mention the eye candy, o Constantine!

I highly recomend this show if you are in New York and have an appreciation for this genre, and even if you don't, it's still a great show!