Thursday, June 24, 2010

Vegas, baby

Hubs and I went to Vegas this last weekend and hoo boy did we have fun! Here's a quick photo recap. We stayed at the Wynn

We ate at Mesa Grill, where I made someone take pics of Hubs, me, and Brett. Brett was REALLY happy to take this pic. Not!
We saw the Beatles Love Cirque. It was awesome!
We headed to the Carnaval bar and did a Team Knowles fistbump.
We met up with an old coworker of mine, who lives in Orange County now ("Home of the Cougar" he said!). I took pics that cut off his head. Oops. He also saved my iPhone when Mike upended an entire Maker's and Diet on the table.
To top off the weekend, we ate lunch at Stripburger on Sunday where I had fried pickles while wearing my new aviators. Cool!
The weather was amazing and we had a great time! Plus I got to shop at Anthro, so it was pretty much a perfect little vacation. :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I am such a spaz

Today, Wednesday the 23rd - Internal monologue
12:45 PM - I smell cookie. Wow, a cookie would be really good right now.
12:55 - I still smell cookie. Who has the cookie?
1:05 - Hmmmm... cookies. Why do they smell so good?!
1:10 - Oh wait. That lady at lunch gave me a cookie while I was waiting in line and I put it in my pocket! *rummages around in pocket* Here it is! A little smooshed, but doesn't look too bad! This is so exciting!!!
1:11 - Cookie is gone. Also, I am a spaz for not remembering there was a cookie in my pocket.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Blackhawks Rally

Took some good pics at the Blackhawk rally and thought I'd share!

This guy had a sweet Stanley Cup Costume on!
After the police cars and some sponsor floats, each team member had a trolley with his name on it. The trolley was filled with his family and friends, and these people were pretty darn excited!

Then came multiple double-decker buses, filled with Blackhawks players, management, and even some older players in their jerseys!

Byfuglien holds up a sweet wrasslin' belt.... BTW, this is pronounced "Bufflin"... wouldn't have figured that out on my own.
Not sure who this is?

Toews hoists the cup!!
More cup!
The crowd follows the parade down the street... so cool!
The parade was super cool... I don't know if I'd go to one again (esp on a hot muggy summer day) unless it was the Cubs, but it was great to get to experience at least once! One of those Chicago things, checked off the to-do list :)

Stratton Family Reunion 2010

This weekend we headed down to Brown County State Park in southern Indiana to get our family reunioning on!

I didn't get ANY pictures of little Gracie! I'm a little heartbroken about this, but she was only there on Saturday and was in the waterpark for much of it. And new Nikon baby doesn't go near the water. Gotta protect it near splashy kids!!

On Sunday after breakfast we take a ton of pictures before everyone takes off though, so I got a few good ones...
Emma and Michael cheese

Lots of little kids. Didn't realize there would be this many in the 18 and under picture!
My Grandpa and his siblings Rita and Marvin. They started this whole family reunion tradition!
Marvin Family picture

Rita Family picture

Frank Family picture
The whole group!!!
I did manage to get a few pics other than the group shots, mostly of my cousin's new baby (2.5 months old, so cute!) Abigail
She is so cute and such a good baby.
That is it for this year's Family Reunion festivities! Hopefully next year I get more pics of Gracie!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

S'more cupcakes

I've always been the designated cupcake-maker in both our friend group and at work for birthdays. I used to just ask the person's favorite kind cake and make that and it usually was pretty simple like yellow cake or red velvet etc. Lately I've been sending people links to the cupcake sections of my favorite cooking websites and having them pick cupcakes from those (Smitten Kitchen, Annie's Eats, Martha Cupcakes). This ends up in me making more complicated cupcakes, but it's nice because I get to try recipes I wouldn't otherwise. I never make cupcakes unless it was for a special occasion!

This week, my coworker picked S'more cupcakes for her birthday celebration. I was super excited because I had actually really wanted to try this recipe. And OMG THEY WERE SO GOOD. I didn't realize until the "frosting" was done that it was actually homemade marshmallow, and that really made the cupcakes. Plus "toasting" the marshmallow with my culinary torch was so much fun!

I wouldn't recommend these cupcakes for a beginner cook, simply because the marshmallow was really quite complicated. I had to have Mike help me b.c I had to constantly whisk the mixture over a double broiler, while taking the temp to make sure it didn't go up too fast (don't want the egg whites to scramble) and that it got right to 160 degrees. I also wouldn't recommend unless you have a stand mixer - once you take it off the broiler you have to let the mixer beat it up for a good ten minutes and that would be super tiring and almost impossible to do by hand. I imagine hand whisking would take even longer than the stand mixer.

BUT DUDES, these cupcakes are AMAZINGLY tasty.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Bakin' and Eggs

On Saturday we met up with Michelle and Andy and their wee one Samantha for brunch at one of our favorite new spots, Bakin' and Eggs. We LOVE this place, and it's convenient because it's just up Lincoln from us. Let's just say if you live in Chicago you have to go. And if you don't and you come visit, I will almost certainly take you there!

As an aside, I feel like kids look really grown up when the can smile intentionally for the camera. Sam is such a big girl!!!
Once we arrive, I always hem and haw over the menu for the entire time before the waitress comes to take the order, and then finally give in and order my usual, the Southern Comfort Bowl. Behold, breakfast potatoes, topped with eggs, topped with cheese, topped with biscuits, topped with gravy. Be still my heart.
We also like to get the bacon flight for the table. It has jalapeno, honey, mesquite, maple pepper, and cherry smoked bacons. And it is freakin' delish.
Such a good time with some of our fave people and food! My idea of a great Saturday morning :)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Weekend recapped

Hubs and I were originally supposed to go out of town to a Florida beach this Memorial Day weekend. Those plans fell through b.c the friends we were supposed to go with bailed. However, I am SO GLAD we stayed home this weekend. It was everything I hoped for and more.

The weekend sort of started out on Thursday night. I say "sort of" since I worked from home on Friday. Thursday night I went out with my girlfriends to see SATC2. It was ok, but the theater we went to was amazing. We hit up the Roosevelt ICON theater and had VIP seating. This meant our seats were assigned and we didn't have to wait in line to get good seats. I was stoked. They had really good food at the theater and even better, great drinks. I will be returning to have Scott the bartender's Hendrick's dirty martini again. So good.

Friday I worked from the comforts of my couch and sent Hubs pictures like this of dog also enjoying the couch:
I'm pretty sure this is what she does every day when we're gone at work. Minus the couch, since we lock her in the hallway because she can't be trusted.

Friday night my brother, his fiance Kim, and his friend Kevin came over for grilling and cocktails. They left to go to another party around 9:30 and Mike walked out with them to take Milly to potty. I got way too comfortable on the couch in his absence and as a result stayed home watching America the Story of Us on the history channel instead of going to another buddy's house for more drinking. The couch was so comfy!!!

Saturday morning I woke up and cleaned the house, organized some stuff, balanced the checkbook, and finally woke Mike up around 11:30. "I'm going to Kirkwood for drinks and lunch," I told him. "OK, fine, I'll go. But only for one drink and a cheeseburger," he replied.

Then this happened.... let's just say we totally stayed longer than expected! We basically spent all day in the beer garden at Kirkwood. I can think of many worse things... we had a ton of fun.

Fishbowl means... you'll be here awhile boys.
Me and Kimmy!

Some random guy decided to take a nap. He had a sweet Minnesota accent.
Mike and I left around 7 to go home and potty Milly. We were going to head back to the bar and go back out again, but Mike fell asleep and I couldn't wake him up. So I camped out on the couch, watched more America the Story of Us, and baked cookies for our new next-door neighbors. Mike woke up at 11:30PM, long enough to watch two episodes of Mad Men with me, eat, and then go back to bed.

Sunday morning we woke bright and early and grabbed McDonald's breakfast on the way to the doggy beach. It was a gorgeous hot day and Milly loved it. She's been there before, but we haven't (Kim took her), so it was a good first family outing to the beach!
After we got home it was time for a family nap and then accomplishing some tasks - we hauled stuff down to the garage storage unit, organized it, added some tiles above the stove to fill in around the new appliances, replaced some light bulbs, did laundry, etc. Lots of quick stuff that we'd been procrastinating on forever.

That night we hit up dinner at El Tapatio... finally I have a good Mexican place to substitute for my place back home, Los Bravos. It was amazing and totally reasonable. We ordered a pitcher of frozen strawberry margaritas, and he brought us four almost-full glasses and the full pitcher. "I had some leftover for you guys," the waiter said. "I like how this place works!" exclaimed Mike. After dinner we headed to Iron Man2, which was loud but good. I thought it was as good as the first one, and I love Robert Downey, Jr, so it was all fine by me.

Monday was a BBQ with some of Mike's coworkers, more naps, and more America the Story of Us. The weekend was a perfect balance between chilling, accomplishing, and socializing. Best weekend I've had in a long time! Let's make all of the weekends that long, eh?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Fun from the doggy beach

Milly has always been a bit scared of the water (that may be our fault.... we tossed her right into our friend's lake last year thinking she would just love it once she got in. Oops), so Sunday at the doggy beach we didn't have high hopes for her to get in the water.

Hmmm, Dad. You have fun out there. I don't think so.

Some pets for a couple steps out? OK, I'm thirsty anyways.

I'm good. I'll just hang here, thanks.

But I want the ball. Just a few more steps.

Dad took my ball out there. Oh noes!

OK, fine, count me in. But only if Dad is around!

Getting deeper!!! Half swimming, half walking
Now that I'm out on this sandbar it's soooo not a big deal.
She's not frolicking around in the water yet like some of the dogs out there, but she got in! Baby steps!! We had a good time at the doggy beach, even if each round of fetch was sure to get Milly a snout full of sand. Still a good time!