Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The search is over...

Hello, beautiful! Spring can come now!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Weekend Recap

What a full and busy weekend! And so totally just what I needed.

Friday I got off work a little early, and went home to paint. I taped the rest of the trim in the living room and kitchen and got a first coat of paint on that trim. Mike got home around 6 and we grilled some steaks I purchased from Paulina Meat Market.I'd never been there, but the steaks were AWESOME and they had a cute little gourmet grocery. They had a lot of premade foods that looked yummy - fresh pastas, brisket, mac & cheese, chicken pot pies, etc. Plus they had a bunch of fun gourmet foods and sauces. I'll definitely have to go back and get more steaks and try something new each time. This time I got a bottle steak seasoning herbs and spices - it had salt, pepper, garlic, chives, and some other stuff in it. I used this on my steak and it was so good - once I completed my little steak trick of rubbing some butter on it and then letting it rest for a minute or two, the steak was by far one of the better ones I have had, period, let alone at my own home! A lot of restaurants do the butter trick, it makes any steak about twice as good!

After dinner we had some drinks out on the patio with our neighbor Joel. This is becoming a habit and one of our favorite things to do - Joel is animated, fun, and smart, and hanging out on the patio you see all the comings and goings of the condo building. It's lots of fun.

After drinks we took Milly for a walk and stopped by Mike's friend Carl's place. He lives right on Sheffield and it was balmy (high 70's) and very windy, and the guys were having fun sundress-watching.

Saturday was SUPER busy but just what I needed - a whole lot of fun social time. I got up and ran a 5K with my friend Stacy (although RUN wouldn't really maybe be the word I would use to describe it... Stacy is FAST so I think a better description would be "huffed and puffed, then made Stacy walk for a very long time."). The run was for colon cancer and was called "Get your rear in gear." The organizers had great fun making everyone chant out words that alot of people don't like such as "COLON!" and "RECTUM!" before the run. Stacy and I would have been laughing had it not been POURING rain at that time. Luckily the rain tapered off and we got the run in without getting totally soaked.

I hit up brunch on Saturday with Jessica at Southport Grocery. They call themselves a grocery and cafe - but it honestly tilted a bit more toward cafe. There were like four shelves of gourmet fixin's between the tables and the checkout. The stuff they had was cool, but it was definitely more restaurant than combo! The food did not disappoint. I had an egg-white omelette with ham, leeks, and mushrooms and swapped out their red potato mash for a salad of field greens. I was glad I swapped out for the salad, because I was very full from the omelette. It was by far the most filling egg white omelette I have ever had. I did have a small snack around 5:30, but I wasn't even that hungry around that time, I was just more worried I wouldn't make it until 8:15 dinner reservations without being starving! We also split a chocolate cupcake for dessert. It was great - super light and fluffy and the buttercream was sweet enough to get my sweet tooth fix in but not too rich.

We shopped a bit after brunch, and I found a sweet new green handbag at Nevermind on Belmont. So the handbag search ends, and I am in love with my new spring bag! I headed down to Emily's in west loop and helped her dip some cupcake pops (not pops, didn't have sticks, but same idea), then headed to drinks with my gals. Mike picked me up from there to hit up Terragusto. This place was good, but I don't know if we would go back. They had a pretty small menu and alot of the stuff was either super fancy or "chef's choice." There wasn't a whole lot that Mike felt comfortable ordering as he is a super picky eater. As an aside, I know that "chef's choice" items give the chef all kinds of creative freedom, and that's great, but I think it's a slight disservice to the diner. Not everyone (most people!) don't like EVERYTHING and it should be the chef's goal to please the customer - not to just create create create. If the person doesn't like something the chef chooses it's all kind of moot - they're not going to be likely to recommend the place or dine there again for fear of getting the same thing again. So anyways, it was good and we very much liked the food we had (Mike had the 4 cheese ravioli and I had the gnocchi with brussel sprout leaves and shrimp) but our top Italian food choice still has to be La Gondola. Sorry Terragusto, La Gondola still rocks our socks more!

After dinner we met my brother and his girlfriend and her mom up for a beer and then went home and hit the hay. The beagle was in top form behavior all wekeend with Mike around (v. cute and cuddly), and this I very much appreciated... she was a TOTAL punk last week.

Sunday I put a second coat on the trim in the living room, second coat on the stairwell and upstairs hallway (yeah, that took me three hours), took the tape off the trim downstairs, moved the furniture back in, vacuumed a bit, and made chocolate chip cookies. Another steak dinner (this time with sweet potato fries, YUM) and the last few episodes of Generation Kill topped off a great weekend.

Super busy, but just the right mix of accomplishing, social time, and Mike time. Well, I could always have more Mike time, but I stayed out of his hair so that he could study. He has a test on Friday, so excited to have it out of the way. Let's hope he passes!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Happy weekend!

This is what Mike and I call "Darwinism at its finest"... the guys across the street decided to sit on the edge of their building for some smokes in a break from their bags game. So smart of them!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dog Ball!

That's what we call it when Milly rolls up in a ball and goes to sleep. This one was particularly awesome - she didn't move all evening long :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Diets suck

So that Weight Watcher's commercial that says "Diets don't work" is total BS b.c you know what Weight Watcher's is? EATING LESS. That, my friend, is a freaking diet. Just as a random aside.

Anyways, I've been on a diet for the past week and a half. And I've done pretty good at it.... so far. I guess you could say I've kind-of been on one for the past month but before last week the plan was 1)dieting when Mike wasn't here and 2) eating everything in sight when he was. Oh, and just in case you are wondering, that doesn't so much work very well.

Now I'm on the all-diet-all-the-time-train. I figure I need to get a little more svelte before the summer. I am sick of not fitting in all the clothes I own, and would just like to start this summer of a little less tubby.

The main issue is that I really need to start working out again. I haven't been very good about it in a while - working out makes me want to eat more, and that's what I was trying to avoid. So maybe now that I'm a bit more into the diet I can start up again. Plus the weather is nice so it's time for the beagle and myself to hit the trail. This should be interesting; I took Milly running once a couple weeks ago and I felt a little bit like I was running/dragging an uncoordinated wild hog. I had to hopscotch over her twice; once was right beside some guy whose dog wasn't behaving like a crazed maniac and I exclaimed "Trying to teach this dog to run is like trying to herd cats!!!" Oy, man. I came home all disheveled, and the beagle was dying. For such a spirited dog she sure was a wimp when it came to running. At the end of it I was practically walking and dragging her along.

I feel like it will be good for us both though, I get exercise and I run some beagle-energy out of the dog. I swear, if I could bottle and sell beagle energy, I would make a hojillion dollars.

So here's the plan:
  • 100 pushups program (3x a week)
  • Run (2x a week)
  • Jillian 30 day shred dvd (2x a week)
  • PAINT & do home improvment in all my spare time!!
  • Limit calories... oy.

This should be interesting!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Poop on the porch

On Saturday, I had a super weird dog day. I'll just sum most of it up with: Milly had the flu and also almost fell out our third story window.

Milly is OK, thankfully. But something else upsetting happened.

Someone put poop on our welcome mat.

As a little backstory, about three weeks ago we found some dog doody on our front welcome mat. It was strewn across the mat in such a way that we figured someone's dog just got away from them and thought our mat looked like a great place to go. I mean, hey, it is pretty cool. Grey indoor-outdoor weave with a damask pattern. Who wouldn't want their bathroom to be that cool?

Except on Saturday, I went to take Milly outside and there was poop on our welcome mat again. Hmmm, I thought. I looked around in shock. Who would do this? I grabbed a bag out of our doggy-poo bag dispenser on Milly's leash and quickly picked it up. As I did so, I couldn't help but notice that the poo's were not placed there haphazardly. No, there were three little poo's all lined up nicely in a row. It was very obvious that someone had put them there.

My first thought is that someone obviously thinks we don't clean up after our dog and is going all vigilante-justice on us. This is absolutely NOT the case. Milly is never off-leash and/or out of sight, and never does her business in the main areas of the condo complex (and very rarely IN our condo anymore, woot! Also, knock on wood!!). Also, we ALWAYS pick up her poo once she goes, which is usually in a patch of grass at the end of our alley.

Another more disturbing option is that someone just doesn't like us and put poo on our porch to be vindictive. I really don't like this option, as I think we try REALLY HARD to be good and friendly neighbors.

Either way, I am kind of angry. I mean, if someone thinks that we're not picking up after Milly, shouldn't they come and talk to us instead of being an immature 12 year old and putting POOP on our WELCOME MAT?! Do we just look like people who wouldn't clean up after our dog? And why should I be a diligent dog owner if I'm just going to get rewarded with poo put on my porch?!

Mike wants to install a security camera to catch the poo-dropper. I have notified the condo association and think they'll send out a letter.

What kind of person would put poo on someone's welcome mat?! And what do you think we should do?

Friday, April 17, 2009

A quick public service announcement...

Ladies of Chicago: TIGHTS ARE NOT PANTS.

Also, that is a shirt you are wearing, not a dress.

That is all.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter pics

Mike and I get in a pic. Two words: Need tan. Vacation cannot come soon enough!!
The kiddos wait for the egg-hunt go-ahead.
And they're off!
Aydan "helps" Odin. And by help I mean takes eggs out from under him. hahaha... like Odin would really get much of that candy anyways with two older brothers!
OK, I have two eggs. All I can hold. Are we done here yet?
Mike helps Odin hunt for eggs by holding onto the basket that is almost as big as Odin!
I wonder if this one tastes good?
Ooops! thought the drive-by egg grab would work... notsomuch.
I finally get a tiny smile out of Dade a little later in the day.

I love the Easter egg hunt with all the nephews. It is so much fun to see all these little boys run all over the place for eggs, and it's even more fun now that Dade and Aydan are a little older and don't stand in one place throwing one egg against the sidewalk (a real hardboiled egg... ahem, I'm looking at you, Odin) for the duration of the event. Plus the weather was gorgeous. I was sad I missed my niece, Gracie, in her Easter finery, but it's become a bit of the tradition to load the nephews up on sugar and then deal with the consequences.

As a random aside, Dade and Aydan made the paper bunny ears that Aydan is wearing above while I was napping on Saturday, and they sported them almost the whole weekend. It was so cute!

And SO SAD I totally forgot to take pictures of the newest little nephew. Little Loki was born just about a month and a half ago. Doh!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter weekend fun

This weekend was so fun! Friday I came home early and attempted to take a nap, but a certain beagle wouldn't sit still enough or stop whining enough to let me do so. Oh well. That night we had a dinner date with our neighbors. We hit up Pequod's Pizza and saw the movie "I love you, Man." We hit Pequod's super early since it tends to get really jam-packed... then had time for a few beers before the movie at a bar next door to the pizza place. We moseyed over to the movie theatre a few minutes before our showing and it was sold out! So we bought tickets for the next showing (a little over an hour from then) and headed back to the bar. Good times! The movie was funny, not Anchorman- or 40-year-old-Virgin-funny, but funny all the same.

Saturday we rolled out of bed, finished packing, grabbed the beagle and got on the road. Traffic was awesome and we made it to Mike's parents' by 1. Mike's mom sent his sister into town to grab us some Mr Happy Burger, which was divine. They by far make the best pork tenderloin ever.

The weather was in the 60s, and the nephews were keeping the beagle busy by running around the yard and throwing tennis balls and sticks for her to "fetch". I use quotes around fetch b.c she will run to the ball or stick and then either get it and run away with it, or just kind of toss it around and not bring it back. Mike and I were laughing that everyone wins in the situation where the beagle tires out the nephews and vice versa. Milly had a BALL and loved running super fast through their big yard. Aydan came up to me and said "Aunt Apwil! Miwwy is FAST!!!" (as an aside, Mike's nephews don't say "Uncle Michael" but instead say "Michael Michael"... it's super cute!) Yes, yes she is, little one.

After Mike's sister packed up all the boys (4 boys - ages 5, 4, 1, and 1.5 mos) we headed to town for our Walmart trip. Walmarts aren't allowed in this here big city, so we had to stock up on cheap paper towels (we go through them so much fast with Milly the MessMaker) and the like. We picked up Bruno's pizza (Oh. So. Good) and a Sonic Cherry Lime-ade for me (I have a mad mad love for them. Try one if you're near a Sonic!) on the way back out to his parents' house. Once out there, we all ate as much pizza as we could handle and then walked around the back yard kicking bushes and piles of brush hoping for a bunny to come running out for Milly to chase. A couple ran around right past her; she is not that good at paying attention. But she did chase one, so that's a start! Later we watched Slumdog Millionaire. I REALLY liked it, but at one point Mike turned to me and said "this movie isn't very exciting, pal." I was like "HEY NOW. I like it!"

Sunday we woke up super early to hit services at a local church that Mike went to as a kid. Then we headed into town for the first of two holiday dinners. Mike's Grandma H cooks the big lunch and she makes some fantastic noodles. It was all I could do to not load my plate just of those! The second dinner was at his Grandpa and Grandma K's and the food there was awesome too. I had second helpings of cheesy potatoes... so good! We took Milly along to that dinner, and she had a grand time playing with all the cousins and figured out how to jump their baby gate (glad I bought the extra tall one for our condo now!). Milly was so tuckered out from all the festivities that she was super chill even last night and flat-out exhausted on Sunday night on the drive home!

I'll post some pics from the nephews' Easter Egg hunt tomorrow, those are at home on my camera. Oops! It was a gorgeous day, so hopefully the pictures look great. They sure looked cute on my preview screen :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Friday!!!

I am obviously over-excited about Easter weekend and Mike being home and the fact that we get to leave at 2 today. I've been super giddy all day long.

This morning when I got back inside from taking Milly out to potty, she jumped up on our bed and was cuddling with Mike. She gets right up next to him and leans her head waaaaay back, trying to lick his face. He cracks me up b.c he lets her cuddle but holds her down a bit so she can't lick on him. So for some random reason I started singing (to the tune of Tiny Dancer by Elton John)... "Hold me closer, tiny beagle! Please don't lick your foot, you'll huuuurt it!" etc. Mike told me those weren't the words, and I said "I know, but I don't HAVE a tiny dancer. What I have is a tiny beagle!" It was so easy to make up words to that song, maybe I should make a whole song with verses and everything about my tiny beagle!?

We had a meeting with our external auditor this morning and had a fun talk about automated auditing tools and new technologies/fun tech toys. Yeah maybe that is only fun for dorks like me? This auditor guy cracks me up b.c he always wears his airplane cufflinks when he comes to our office as a nod to my workplace. They're actually really nice airplane cufflinks too, they're super cute!

I had a very good sushi lunch with some friends I used to work with. So yummy! Plus one of the guys and myself gave the other guy a metric ton of grief about his internet stalking habits. I did a lot of laughing on that one. But whatevs, you know everyone internet stalks at least a wee bit!

So that's the day so far. Pretty good in my opinion!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Things I have accomplished this week

  • Finished the cushions for the top and bottom of Milly's crate so that she can sit on it without grungy towels being everywhere. Without something on the top her little paws can slip through the wires of the crate
  • Finished painting the wall behind the TV and above the front windows
  • Posted our old green rug on Craigslist and met up with the girl who wanted it to give it to her
  • Had dinner last night with a good friend, Jaci
  • Took Milly to the vet because her paw has an infected scratch or something on it. Whatever it is, it makes her paw big and red and swollen! The vet recommended putting a cone on her head so she doesn't chew on the paw... I felt like a genius for saving the old cone from when she got fixed! I had thrown away the old piece of cloth that they used to tie it on though, and the only fabric I had laying around was that green and white damask stuff in the above picture that I used for the cushions. So I cut a piece of that to tie it around her neck.... at least she's a fashionable cone-head dog. Milly was NONE too happy to be left this morning with a cone on her head. Oh man, she was whiny. Poor Milly :(
  • Backed up laptop and didn't have room to backup the whole thing. I have 40G of PICTURES on that thing. Holy cow. The nikon is killing my poor pink laptop!
  • Watched The Hills season premiere. It's going to be a GREAT season!
  • Other assorted random boring household chores like laundry and dishes that I won't bore you with.

And Mike is coming home early this week - tonight instead of tomorrow!!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


So I've been a bit quiet lately, and it's because I'm digesting a big piece of news for the Knowles household. Mike started a 4-6 week project in Detroit last week, and on the 2nd day the senior manager asked him if he would consider a 1 year commitment to the client.

Mike is an actuary and specializes in pensions and this client has some pretty complicated pension stuff going on - not only will he learn a TON that will be on his tests in the next year (he has one actuary test in May, and two in the fall... not sure if he will take both in the fall), but he'll have no commute and an empty hotel room to come home to to encourage him to study. We decided together that it was a great opportunity (especially in this economy!) to learn and to really work on finishing his tests.

So it's been tough. I was really upset last week, as I told some girlfriends "I married Mike because I want to spend my life with him, not Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday each week with him." But I'm feeling much better now; I'm in the 2nd week of not having him around and it's not looking nearly as bad. I come home and do all the same chores I used to... hang out with the dog and take her for walks. I have made plans with friends during the week a little more and am looking to scale back and/or bring him with me for more weekend commitments and events.

I'm sure it will stink sometimes, but that's life. As my mom used to say "Life isn't fair".... and we are so very blessed in so many ways that I can hardly act as if him being gone a few days a week is going to ruin me or us. Because it won't.... a year will go by faster than we realize and at the end the condo will be lookin' pretty nice due to my new obsession with home improvement (which I imagine I won't burn out on nearly as fast as if Mike was around during the week!) and our relationship will be stronger than ever as we make a concerted effort to spend time with each other.

I have a friend that has done long-distance with her boyfriend multiple times, and she has made comments to me that when they're long-distance and get together they do fun events & spend quality time together, whereas sometimes when they're living together they can take each other for granted and, with such busy schedules, feel like they're just constantly passing each other. Like her, I know it would be nice to have him around and that it's tough, but am looking forward to those fun events and Team Knowles time!

Another positive: It's WAY easier to stick a diet when Mike's not around. Ridiculously easier! He MUST be a bad influence :) And without Mike around, I'll really feel like I'm getting my money's worth out of our fancy security system!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Milly's craigslist debut

I just posted this on Craigslist!
Free Crate and Barrel rug. Green with brown & tan dots, 4 ft by 6 ft. One slightly beagle-chewed corner. Beagle not included.
She doesn't look very remorseful.

Get better, Italy!!!

Hmmm, awesome

We're leaving for Italy in a little over a month.

Did I ever tell all ya'll about the earthquake that hit Hawaii right before we went there? Yeah, we must be GREAT earthquake luck.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Handbag nonsense.... alternatively titled: I am crazy.

Let's start this off with saying I need another handbag like I need a hole in the head. To wit:

All my bags, in that hangy thing in between the shoes and washer/dryer. I can barely fit them all in there!

Ever since I found that handbag I posted on here (the green or pink? question) I have been obsessed with finding a new, kicky, and bright handbag for spring and summer. At first I thought my spring color was a bright green, then decided on perhaps going with a plum/bright purple. I have been scouring (AND I MEAN SCOURING! There is no stone left unturned on these here interwebs) all clothes-related websites for a fun bag. My big caveat being that I didn't want to pay more than $150 for this bag, because I am cheap and because for the bag to be more than that, it should also check my e-mail and perhaps floss my teeth for me. I am bad at remembering to floss.

At some point a couple weeks ago I decided that I was not going to find the Perfect Bag online.... no, indeed. More likely, the bag would be at Nordstrom Rack. So on one of those days with near-70-degree weather, I set out on my lunch hour to find it. I walked into the Rack and immediately started going through one of their ridiculous-large bins of bags... as I did so, another woman and I rooted through the bags and I saw a flash of plum-colored-leather and she reached in to grab it. Out came The Bag. The perfect Bag. And I saw the price tag. At $70, it was also the perfect price!

This is where the story devolves. The woman inspected the bag and put it over her arm with another 4-5 bags. I figured... she might not get it? I should keep an eye on her maybe for when she puts it down?

And that is how I ended up following the woman around the store for 45 minutes. Until she checked out.

The trip wasn't a total bust. I did end up finding this guy, an Elliot Luca bag. It's mostly like this one, but is a bit smaller and skinner (doesn't flare out at the bottom). And is also lavendar. It was a steal at $40.

I came home and looked up the designer of the bag I saw the woman pick up at Nordstrom Rack. Eek! Most of his bags went for like $500 or so! Way over the price range, and more than I would any bag right now. I did end up finding a very
very similar bag online for a very good price (WAY less than the one shown at that link). The only hitch was that the bag was grey and not a fun color. When I got it I tried it out and it fit all the stuff that a purse should PLUS was able to fit my Nikon Camera. That and the zipper (gotta deter pickpockets with the zipper, yo) sold me on it. It's the perfect Everywhere Bag. Now I just need to brighten it up with a fun scarf or something. Or I could always just buy another cute, kicky, bright spring bag?

Stop me now.