Thursday, August 27, 2009


So I've been seeing a lot of movies lately, Bob. Check it out

On Netflicks
  • Bride Wars - Fluffy, not so entertaining. I watched it while doing some other chores such as the dishes and tidying up the living room. It was OK, but not good and just barely entertaining. If i would have put money on one of the girls "finding her way" I would have have thought it would be the Anne Hathaway character.
  • Revolutionary Road - Odd. Great cinematography and everyone loves Leo and Kate Winslet. I just didn't get how they were so very unhappy in the suburbs... I mean, if you are happy and you love your spouse, can't you be happy about anywhere? I am a big believer that fixes are inside yourself and not by doing any one thing. Thought it was interesting that she was pregnant and smoking like a chimney and downing martini after martini. Guess times have majorly changed!
  • Curious Case of Benjamin Button (still working on this one!) - We'll see how this goes, so far it's pretty interesting!
At the Theater
  • The Proposal - Super entertaining and funny, although I didn't really believe the two main characters fell in love. I don't know, there was something weird there, maybe not enough chemistry. But I got to stare at Ryan Reynolds for two hours; in my book that is an automatic WIN.
  • The Hangover - "I KEEP FORGETTING ABOUT THE TIGER!!!" Hilarious. Seriously, I would see this one again, my friend Amy told me it was just as funny the second time around.
  • Harry Potter and Half Blood Prince - I think to really like the Harry Potter films you have to just LET GO that they need to be exactly like the books. I didn't reread the book before watching the movie so that I would do this - not having read the book for 4 or more years, I thought the film was outstanding. But some friends I know were pretty honked about what was cut out or changed. Oh well, I thought it conveyed the important moments and emotions... you can expect a film to cover everything to a tee in a 700 page book that is super-detailed.
  • The Time Traveler's Wife - So sad, so well done, so ahhhh Eric Bana. Such a great love story. My only beef was that they didn't include the last scene from the book. JERKS! I loved loved loved this book, and I think they did it justice. In the book, I felt like the way it went was inevitable, wheras in the movie I was all "DUCK! DO SOMETHING! AGHHHH!!!" Oh well.
  • The Ugly Truth - Cute and entertaining. But I don't really get why they keep casting Heigl in "Control Freak Career Woman". Whatever, it was fun and funny.
The sad thing is that I haven't even seen all the movies that I want to! Still want to see Public Enemies and Inglorious Basterds.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Katie's shower

This weekend we threw Katie's wedding shower at my parents' house in Evansville. Such a long car ride to Evansville, I think it ended up being 6.5 hours on the way there and 7.5 on the way back (Chicago traffic on the Ryan has been absolutely horrendous lately). Regardless, once we got home, we hauled all the stuff into the house (had 2 cases of wine, 1 case and a Jereboam of champagne for my Dad!) and got to work on making pom-poms for the decorations. I had put them together in Chicago and we just had to poof them out and hang them. I had 10 total, we had three in the entry, three in the dining room, 3 in the kitchen and one in the living room. They made for a fun, whimsical look. I really liked them!
Here is a shot of the dining room, all pom-pom'ed out.
I had everything perfectly timed, if I do say so myself. The shower started at ten, and I had everything queued up and ready to be done at 10:15 so we could make a little smalltalk and then eat. Then people started showing up at 9:40. EEK! Luckily my cousin Sabrina was my sous chef, and she helped out so much. I got a little frantic, running around doing stuff for a minute, but it all came together and the food was delish!

I served omelette bundles, which you could top with either hollandaise, salsa verde, or basil pesto. My fave was the salsa verde. We also had brocolli salad, fruit salad, and mimosas with pomegranete, orange, or pineapple juice. Everyone very much enjoyed the food so I was excited! As everyone ate I sat down to scarf some food and take some pictures of my favorite little booboohead.

Got to open wide to meal on these blueberries!

Someone may need a nap?

Laughing with Mommy

Finally got one with her looking at the camera


With Mom after brunch
Once we got done eating, we played a few games: How well do you know Katie, and a purse scavenger hunt. Those went pretty quickly and we moved to gifts. Everyone was very generous and Katie got some really nice things!

After the shower I treated myself to another glass or two of champagne, relaxing and being SO GLAD two major events (bachelorette and shower) I was responsible for were over. Yay! Then Mom, Sabrina, and I hit the town, shopping for paint and fun stuff at Macy's. A quick stop at Los Bravos for a late lunch, and we headed back home to get Katie and head out to the wedding DJ's house for a quick consult.

Later that night Katie headed to her friend's house for a BBQ and we watched Gracie. We had so much fun with her!

Uncle Mike thought she would look good on the fireplace

Grandpa introduces the granddog to the grandkid. Milly didn't do anything when Gracie tried to touch her eye, she just closed it! Such a patient beagle when it comes to kids!

Early on Saturday, whenever Gracie saw Milly she squealed in a mixture of glee and terror that leaned toward terror. Later in the day, it was alot more glee.

On Sunday morning, Katie, Mike and I headed to church (well, first Mike and I left and then Katie got there a little later, saying "Thanks for leaving me, guys!" I had had no idea she was coming with US to church!!) Mom said it was pretty funny when we all left, because Milly was crying and whining and Gracie started bawling. Ah, grand-dogs/-kids....

After church I got a few more shots in of Gracie, in a dress that Jay and Kim bought her!

And then we came home! Took us forever, but we're finally here!

Oh and here is the pic of the fondant-covered cupcakes. Their monogram spelled "ACK".... lol, so funny. I seriously piped all of them, then stepped back and said "Oh, sh*t." Luckily it was just funny and Katie didn't care!

Friday, August 21, 2009


So our friend, Brett, was telling us how at work they have casual days, but you have to have a sticker to dress casual b.c then you are showing that you donated to some cause in order to be able to wear casual wear. One day one of his coworkers was freaking out b.c he was wearing a button-up, jeans, and dress shoes, and didn't have a sticker. Brett said "Oh, I have a roll of those in my desk because I never wear them. You can have one of mine" The guy said, "But you dress casually all the time." Brett, in shorts and a tshirt and tennis shoes replied, "No, this is dressed-up Brett. Casual Brett doesn't wear PANTS."

Brett is really really funny and has a thing about hair. He detests hair that is not attached to someone's head. Because of this, he avoids haircuts and lets his hair get pretty shaggy. When I first saw him at my own rehearsal dinner all clean-cut, I was like "OH MY GOSH, this was important enough to get a haircut!!!" I was so touched it was ridiculous.

He and his team finished a huge project last week and to celebrate the end being nigh, he got his hair cut into a bozo-the-clown-inspired cut. Shaved on top, shaggy on the sides. It looked hilarious. After the project was over they just shaved him bald altogether. That's Brett, always taking one for the team.

One last Brett story, and then onto some backup testing for me. Like I said, he hates detached hair. He and his girlfriend were in traffic one day and the girl in the car in front of them was cleaning out her brush and threw a big ball of hair out the window. His girlfriend said it went in slow motion, the hairball blowing toward them, and then landing on their windshield, Brett freaking OUT. Poor Brett. That would totally only happen to someone with a hair phobia/hatred. I mean, I'm fine with hair and that has totally never happened to me. Poor Brett.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


And not the kind where you shampoo in the morning.

This weekend is my sister's wedding shower in Evansville, at my parents' house. I sent my mom to the grocery to get some foodstuffs, and she's handling grabbing some flowers. But I am bringing the 6 lbs of broccoli salad and 50-ish cupcakes (I made 48... a couple or three may not have even made it out of the condo... my bad.)

So I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Here's what I've done:
  • Scoured ye ol internets for my sister's specific color of wedding green in tissue paper. On the website I found, it's called "Green Tea" but it's like a moss color. I then ordered a package of said paper, not realizing that "package" meant "one hojillion pages." Meh, whatever. I did all this to make tissue paper pom-poms to hang around the party, all whimsical-like. Mom said "I'm not repainting my ceilings, April!!!" So I made sure to get the 3M safe-to-remove sticky hooks. I'm on it, Mom!
  • Hit up Target for said sticky hooks and chocolates, and then went to Joann fabrics for string for the pom-poms and tiny little bags to put chocolates in for favors.
  • Stuffed all aforementioned tiny bags with chocolates. May have filched a few for myself?
  • Hit up the grocery for supplies to make the cupcakes & broccoli salad. Katie also wanted to have mimosas at the party, so I bought a ton of champagne, OJ, pineapple juice, and pomegranete juice (different juices for a twist on the traditional mimosa!)
  • Baked 2 dozen yellow cake cupcakes and 2 dozen chocolate cupcakes. The yellow cake guys were from a box (Duncan Hines just does it so much better than I can), but the chocolate cupcakes were from this Pioneer Woman recipe. The recipe makes a sheetcake, so I was a bit anxious about how they were going to turn out, but HOO BOY they are good. Not to toot my own horn, but TOOT TOOT. Ok, maybe I'm tooting Pioneer Woman's horn. That chick knows what she is talking about. I think these are going to be a standard in my arsenal now.
  • After the cupcakes were baked, I made Martha's Basic Buttercream to frost the cupcakes with (and so the fondant would stick to the top).
  • My friend Stacy came over to help with the cupcake extravaganza, so I put her to work rolling out premade fondant I'd purchased at Michael's. I have to say, I was glad it was her doing the rolling and not me. She did a great job! She cut out round disks and I put them on top of the buttercream, rounding the edges and wiping off any excess frosting. Once we get to Evansville, I'm going to pipe a green DCK monogram on each of them for my sis and her dude's first names and his last name (soon to be hers!). I'll have to take a pic once they're all piped - they look pretty impressive with just the fondant, can't wait to see what they look like all done!!
  • I also cut and cleaned 6 lbs of broccoli, made a buttermilk dressing, and mixed it all up with a red onion. This broccoli salad recipe was courtesy of Smitten Kitchen.
  • Tonight I went and picked up a couple cases of wine for my Dad, got some more beagle food, worked on some laundry, ran the dishwasher and unloaded it, and cut out the pom-poms and commenced on packing the RAV. Holy cow, I've been busy. All that and I had pulled pork waiting for the husband in the crock pot when he got home. Am I good or am I good?

Showers are fun but they are hard work, dude! Can't wait to get back to when the only thing I'm responsible for is feeding myself and that beagle, and making sure Dog gets her potty breaks!!!

The city

I'm starting to get pretty frustrated with how much WORK everything in the city is.
  • I can't just open the door and let the dog go out in the yard. I have to take her down three flights of stairs, out an alley (where we sometimes see rats) and out to the street down the block to find the nearest patch of grass.
  • Prices are ridiculous on everything. I feel like we make good money, but are constantly handing it over to The Man for everything from taxes, to the jumbo mortgage to whatever have you at any point in time. I watched HouseHunters the other day in Indy, and this 23 year old couple starting out got a 4 bedroom house for like 172K. I kind of wanted to bang my head against the freaking wall.
  • Groceries are a pain. I have to go buy them and then lug them up three flights of stairs. So much fun.
  • If we ever have kids, we may not be able to find a daycare and even if we do I'll probably have to sell a kidney to pay for it.

I'm feeling like a mouse on a wheel these days. Where is my cheese?

Is this why people move to the suburbs?


I totally put Milly in a cute dog contest.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Weekend Recap

Holy CRAP I ate alot this weekend. Yowza.

Friday night we went to Flemings with Jay and Kimmy. Flemings starts out the meal with some bread and some champagne-infused brie and red pepper and basil butter. SO GOOD. I could have eaten just that and been satisfied. They also had this summer prixe fix menu, which you had to ask for. It was awesome! You got an appetizer, entree, side, and dessert all for $35.95. Such a great deal. Kimmy and I couldn't decide whether to get the filet or scallops, so I pitched the idea of getting and splitting them both. It worked out splendidly and we both had half of the scallops and half of the filet (which was cooked to a perfecto medium). Dessert was amazing. I had the banana creme brulee, below, which exceeded expectations. It was the regular creme brulee custard, topped with bananas, and then the sugary crunchy topping was over the top of the bananas. Yum. The creme brulee came with some crazy infused whipped cream, which was good. But I didn't really need it to make the dessert!

Mike got the chocolate lava cake, which disappeared in a flash. It was giving Morton's a run for their money for Best Lava Cake. Very tasty. It came with ice cream too, which was great.
After we finished dinner and headed home, Milly decided to go nutso on the pig ear Kim got her earlier in the week. She loved it all of the sudden, even though it had been laying on the floor dripping with beagle disdain for four days straight. Beagles are crazy, yo. I knew she would like it sooner or later, it was a pig ear for cryin' out loud!
Saturday I headed to the Cubs game with the gals. I disappointed even myself, opting for a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a footlong chili-cheese-dog (what is WRONG with me?) and some cotton candy. Did you know that a whole bag of cotton candy will run you about 160 calories. You're welcome. Eating the whole thing (almost) by yourself may or may not also make you sick to your stomache. I'm just sayin'.

Someone was messing with a Canon point and shoot (mine is a Canon as well) in the row in front of me and had some cool color accent setting thingy. So I decided to see if mine would do the same. Turned out pretty cool!

Girl picture! Note to self: Strange arm thing that celebrities do actually does help arm look less fat!
It was a win for the Cubs, and my friend Choater did a dance while I messed with my camera some more. Can't you just hear "Go Cubs go, go Cubs go, hey Chicago whaddya say? Cubs are gonna win today!"
Emily gets some cheese in too.
After the game, I headed home while the girls headed to Murphy's. I got this pic of the Wrigley Field sign and headed to my fave tshirt store, Strange Cargo. Unfortunately, the Cubs shirt that I liked the most was this white slub cotton with a huge blue W on the front. Call my superstitious, but I don't want to wear a Win shirt to the stadium!! That's just asking to be proven wrong!
Once home, I settled on the couch with a pillow and my favorite 27-year-old strawberry shortcake blankie. I woke up three hours later wondering where I was. Now that is the hallmark of a good nap.

I became conscious only long enough to go to dinner with the boy, then it was back on the couch again. Sunday was more of the same, with a break to bathe the puppy, break the vacuum cleaner (darn dog toy got sucked up!!) and lunch with friends.

All in all, a GREAT weekend.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bullety Friday

  • Thank the gods above for the filter between my brain and mouth. Or perhaps my brain and facebook. I always want to put these snarky status comments and then realize I am friends with my whole family, some coworkers, and family friends that would almost certainly take offense. On the downside, no one ever gets to see my brilliant one-liners.
  • On that same tack, I was talking to Michelle at BlogHer and told her that it's hard to tell if I'm a nice person or not b.c I know what goes on in my head and that if I said half of it, people wouldn't think I was that nice of a person. She said she thought I was nice, so I must be doing a decent filtering job :)
  • I'm planning my sister's shower next weekend. There is kind of a lot of stuff, yo! Favors, gift, and games down. Now I just need to get to work making cupcakes, broccoli slaw, and picking up stuff for mimosa. How many mimosa should I budget per person? I'm thinking 5-10 right? hahaha... hopefully it's more like 2.
  • I keep worrying I'll forget to have my bridesmaid dress altered for the wedding. I need to just chill out and realize I am on top of it and won't forget.
  • Tonight we're heading to Flemings with my brother and his girlfriend, Kim. Should be a good time. I am uber-stoked. If you live in Chicago and haven't tried Flemings, I would highly recommend. Love the Flemings potatoes.
  • Tomorrow it's off to the Cubs game. Hopefully this weather keeps up.
  • Dog has been kind of spirited this week. Yesterday she was trying to get at my retainer on the bathroom vanity (note to dog, you are NOT tall enough. FREAKING GIVE IT UP ALREADY) and put dirty puppy pawprints all over my white bathroom cabinet. Gah. On the upside, now the cabinet is Very Clean.
  • On Monday I drove to work, and accidentally forgot and got on the train to go home. I heard the train doors ding to close, and realized in that moment my car was downtown. I freaking sprinted out those doors so fast, I'm sure everyone was like, "What the hell was that?" Thank goodness I remembered before the doors closed, that would have sucked to get to where I usually park the car and be like... "Oh yeah."
  • Love hearing the planes whoosh overhead for the Chicago Air and Water show! Fun!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

April and Baby S

April and Baby S, originally uploaded by emmylou7.

It it wrong to put a pic of me and a baby that's not related to me as a facebook profile pic?

My hair doesn't look awful and my front tooth is behaving (I had a root canal done on one of my two front teeth a year ago and it gets kind of weird-looking sometimes!)

Also, that baby is cute.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Anniversary fun

Last year for our anniversary, Mike and I went to Saugatuck, Michigan. While Saugatuck was super cute and fun, we spent most of the weekend either napping, or drinking champagne in our room while watching the summer olympics. We were like, this is just stupid... we could have done this at home. But the thing was, we wouldn't have done that at home - we would have been doing any one of a million errands or social engagements. So we decided this year to just get a room at a hotel downtown and go out to a nice dinner.

Enter Trump Tower. I think it goes without saying that the Trump was A-Mazing and the rooms were awesome. This is a pic of our room... doesn't really do it justice because I'm standing in the small sitting area with couch, table, etc.

The bathroom was as big as our master bedroom. The tub was MASSIVE.
See that little black square right there? That is a TV embedded in the mirror. I am in love. Later that night we hung out in the tub and drank champagne and watched Grade A programming such as "Tommy Boy" and "Megan Wants a Millionaire." That's how we roll.
In the sitting area, there was a little water bar. I jokingly said to Mike "Yeah, like I WANT a $25 dollar bottle of water." Then I looked at the water menu.... oh yeah Bling2O was totally $25. The rest were $10, but STILL.
We got down to business and had someone bring us some ice to chill our champagne. We had Iron Horse champagne at our wedding, and when we visited the winery in Napa we told them that we'd had one of their Jereboams (3 liters) at the wedding. They were so nice, and gave us a free bottle of their wedding cuvee.... we ended up drinking that on our first anniversary, which was nice because we didn't keep the top tier of cake for our anniversary fun. Everyone we talked to said "it tasted like year-old cake. disgusting." So we figured we would just buy a NEW cake for our anniversary. As it turned out, the champagne ended up making a nice new tradition, and I picked up a bottle at Sam's to enjoy at the Trump.
After getting ready, we headed to the 16th floor terrace to enjoy some views, cocktails, and an appetizer. Unfortunately, it was about 95 degrees with some major humidity. We were sitting, waiting to order, when I realized that if I was sweating in my thin cocktail dress, Mike was going to be in trouble. I looked at him and was like, "Want to go to the bar downstairs and stay inside?" He was all for it, so we bailed. But we got a few pics of the amazing view first.

Downstairs we both ordered strawberry mojitos. "I don't care if it's pink, it's GOOD," said Mike. I'm glad he's comfortable enough with himself to order a pink drink.
After drinks at the Trump's bar Rebar, we headed to Graham Elliot for dinner. This is where the pics end! But the meal was amazing. For appetizers Mike had the crispy buffalo chicken, and I had white tuna sashimi. Entrees were the miso-grilled lobster for me and the heritage pork loin for Mike. All the food was really good, but the miso sauce on the lobster had a really weird grainy quality that I didn't care for. I loved the white tuna sashimi, it was amazing, it had this really tasty avocado creme and mango sauce. I think the best part, for me, was the cocktails: I had the blueberry hill (hendrick's gin, creme de violette, blueberry compote and basil shrub) and the gin blossoms (they don't have the ingredients posted online, but I remember it being some sort of flavored gin as well and prosecco maybe?). They were both super yummy and amazing!

Such a great night, I had so much fun just hanging out with Mike and being on our own. I think that means we must like each other!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Big Day, Big Day!

Two years ago today, Hubs and I tied the knot.It's been the most amazing two years. We've been through some tough times, and continue to persevere with him being gone during the week for work. But we're making it through! We've really focused on each other and making each other a priority; and for that I'm very proud of us. Each weekend seems to get better and better. I love you, Hubs, more than words can describe. You may not be perfect, but you are perfect for me. And I look forward to living the rest of our lives together.

Not to be outdone, Milly has a big event today too! One year ago today Milly was whelped (aka born)! Happy Birthday, Baby Dog!!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Gap party

I keep meaning to post about this, but last week on Friday I went to a party thrown by Jessica for the Gap. She happens to be a Gap brand enthusiast (OMG so jealous) and they gave her a bunch of jeans to throw a party - we all tried on jeans and strutted our stuff and got to take some home! I mean, SCORE, free jeans.

Jess had over about 20 people, and everyone brought some food and alcohol. I had a GREAT time mealing on all kinds of yummy apps and sweets (whoever brought those mini cupcakes, God bless ya) and chatting up her friends. They were all really funny and friendly and I had a great time!!

As for the jeans at the party, there were the Sexy Boot, Always Skinny, and Real Straight styles of jeans. I am pretty much Against skinny jeans, with the one exception being that I wear skinny jeans in the winter with my Fugg (Fake Ugg) boots. So of course I headed straight for the Sexy Boot and laid claim to the pair in my size.

I have to say, I didn't have many expectations for the jeans b.c I am a Seven for All Mankind loyal jeans fan, but I went ahead and took the jeans to the tailor the next day just to go ahead and get them shortened so I could wear them. A lot of my jeans are tight these days (ugh, exercise, I hate you) so I figured at the worst I would have one more pair of jeans that fit. I wore them to work on Thursday and I really really liked them. I was already a Gap fan, but I think they might have won me over even more. The jeans fit super well, and were perfect in the waistband and the legs and rump. The make the butt look GREAT. Plus they are super soft and very comfy! They have a bit of spandex in them so they didn't get saggy anywhere. I wore them that weekend as well and I felt like I liked them more and more as the day went on - and they looked just as good after two wearings as when I first put them on.

We'll see how they wash... hopefully they hold their softness and elasticity. I plan to wash them like I do all my premium denim - inside out with the buttons and zippers done up, on delicate. So hopefully that will help!

Sadly I took no pictures... totally out of the ordinary for me. Oh well.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

More nephew fun!

Saturday, Mike's Mom and Paul came into the city to visit us and brought the two oldest nephews, Dade and Aydan. Mike timed his grilling to make sure lunch was done right when we got there and we all enjoyed a nice family meal at the table together (love that tiny table we have that has a leaf that folds out to seat 6 easily!)

After lunch we were up in the air about whether to take the boys to the Lincoln Park Zoo or the Museum of Science and Industry. After lunch, it was about 2-2:30 and the museum closed around 5:30. So did the zoo, but it was FAR closer and easier to access. So we figured we'd hit that up.
The boys pose by the sign on the way in
Once we got there I lobbied to go through the Lion House (my fave... it's awesome when the lions and tigers start roaring back and forth at each other. The whole place reverberates.. it's crazy awesome.) This is the outside of the house, the animals have access to both indoor and outdoor areas.
On the way into the house we looked back through this window to the outside area and saw the Lions were doin' it. Or rather, the boy lion wanted to do it, and the girl like was all "Get away from me, what is your problem!?" hahahaha..
Inside the Lion House... so pretty!
Then we headed through the rest of the zoo. This penguin took a liking to Aydan. I love this pic.
We saw the rhino, and a guide had a rhino horn we could check out. The rhino weighed 3,000 pounds and looked like curmudgeonly fellow.
At the giraffe area it was hard to remember we were smack dab in the middle of the city. The apartment building in the distance serves as a bit of a reminder.
They put the giraffes, gazelles, ostriches, and some other bird in all together. They seemed to chill. Here the boys step up on the railings to see.
In the monkey house there is an exhibit with the different monkeys and the sizes of their hands. I think Mike was a chimp.
After a few hours, everyone was tired from walking all over and a bit cold from the wind. So we got ice cream, checked out the flamingos, and bounced. Didn't make it to the petting zoo that day, maybe some other time!!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Nephew fun

DSC_0713, originally uploaded by agstratt.

The nephews LOVED our stairs for some reason. And Milly loved to chase them around. This picture is a great summary of our time with Mike's fam - Dade and Aydan would take one of Milly's toys and toss it back and forth. She would run back and forth trying to catch it - like a long long game of Keep Away!

I laughed to Mike "Hey, if we get one of those (pointing to the nephews) we won't ever have to take the dog to the dog park again!"

He said, "Unfortunately I've heard it takes 4-6 years to grow ones like that!" hahaha....