Friday, January 31, 2014

happy weekend!

januaries are never fun. everyone is sad the holidays are over. the cold is no longer joyful and nippy but harsh and never-ending. the snow seems to get dingy and brown when it used to be crisp and white. there is nothing festive in the stores and there are no fun holidays to celebrate. thankfully, january always seems to fly by, and this year was no exception. thankfully, tomorrow is february and i'm welcoming it with open arms. 

february will be a month of firsts for me. i'm having my first ever restaurant week meal with logan of windy city living at siena tavern tomorrow. after that, i'm going to my boyfriend's work dinner party (this will be my first time as a +1 at a work function and i am ridiculously excited!). this will also be my first valentine's day a boyfriend as well. i can't wait to deck our apartment out in red white and pink (Paper Source, here i come!) and make cookies, cupcakes, and hopefully some honeycomb

i hope you have a wonderful weekend and that your start to february is just fabulous. 


Monday, January 27, 2014

chicago food blogger.

last night as i was watching the grammys, i got an email that i had been added to the network of chicago food bloggers! i am so excited to share more restaurant reviews and recipes, as well as to beef up my blog (pun intended). i spent the weekend out of town (eating at some of my favorite college restaurants, among other things) so i don't have any new takes on recipes to share, but i thought i would share some recent food pinspiration. 

here's hoping our meals this week look something like the following: 

can you tell i'm on a comfort food kick?
what's going to be on your dinner plate this week?

feel free to follow me on pinterest and i'll happily do the same!


Thursday, January 23, 2014

snapshots from last weekend.

i know it's thursday and all, but i wanted to share some snapshots from my weekend in indiana. heading to south bend is always so relaxing... maybe it's because matt drives and i sleep the whole way? there is something about the sleepy forest surrounding his parent's house, the way his mom always greets me with hugs and kisses just like i'm one of her own children, the corn, chicken, and mushroom chowder she had ready for us after our drive, the quiet antique stores and downtown area. mostly, i think it is the way i'm welcomed into their home every time we visit, like i've been a member of their family for years. i always leave south bend feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and peaceful... and with a new haul of finds (that i'll be sharing in a post soon!). for now, here's a peak at how my weekend went... 

Frankie, Matt's parent's American Bull Terrier puppy

VIP @ Notre Dame hockey

met a new friend while antiquing 
(it is no secret i have an affinity for bulldogs, English or French)
a dresser i almost bought, but we didn't have room. 
i love the navy + white porcelain pulls. 
i have to DIY this!

bud vase perfection. 
i've wanted a bud vase collection like this for awhile, but it was too pricey. i hope i can find a cheaper version soon to put some spring flowers in!

matt wanted this. i did not.

the beautiful sunset on our drive home.

this weekend, i have another low-key trip planned to my college town to see yellowcard perform their acoustic tour with my friend kim from watch kim write things. i'm really excited to relive my high school music days, and then my college bar days immediately following the show. 

i hope the end of your week is productive,
& that this weekend is everything you wish it to be.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

spunky dunkers donuts.

chocolate iced butter cream

i am an unabashed fan of breakfast food. while i generally prefer salty to sweet, i never turn down a good donut. when my boyfriend and i were headed to indiana this past weekend to celebrate his dad's birthday, i made sure we stopped at our local handmade donut place so we could bring a birthday breakfast with us. we hit up the drive-thru (a handmade donut place with a drive-thru? have i died and gone to heaven?) and grabbed a dozen donuts, as well as a buttercrunch and chocolate iced buttercream for the road. the donuts are amazing. they range from light and fluffy, stuffed with cream with chocolate icing on top (my favorite), to the heavy cake variety (my boyfriend's favorite). with other flavors including red velvet, peanut, toasted coconut, and chocolate cream puff, as well as constantly rotating seasonal and special flavors (their flavor of the month menu is located here), you can't go wrong. we nibbled on them all weekend. come sunday morning, they were all gone. if you're in chicago or the suburbs, you must make a trip: they have two locations, palatine and arlington heights. my boyfriend will be out of town this weekend so i might make a solo trip... and finish a whole dozen before he gets back. 

Spunky Dunkers has two locations:
3441 N Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights, 60004
20 S. Northwest Highway, Palatine, 60074

what is your favorite breakfast food?
do you have a favorite local spot that you frequent? 
tell me about it! 

p.s. i had a wonderful weekend and cannot wait to tell you about what i bought! post to follow. 


Friday, January 17, 2014

this week.

first signs of sunny spring; sunflowers at trader joe's

i always feel like i go through a slump after christmas. gone are the pine boughs, baked goods, festive appetizers, champagne cocktails, christmas music in every store i visit, the "happy holidays!" from friendly strangers, the lit up christmas trees in business and houses alike... i feel like there's an empty space where all that all-around joy was (not to mention, i miss all the ubiquitous rich food and cocktails... sigh). this is why i'm actively trying to find more things to celebrate and look forward to. between little impulse purchases (i bought potted daffodils and tulips at trader joe's last night), indulgent home-cooked meals, and planning meet-ups and trips (starting with my first restaurant week meal EVER with logan of windy city living at siena tavern and an extended trip to colorado in june for my friend beth's wedding), i feel like my days are already looking brighter. this weekend, matt and i are heading to his parent's house to celebrate his dad's birthday, hang out with their new puppy, and hopefully sneak in some antique shopping for our living room (we need a new coffee table desperately). here are some things that have been making my life brighter and happier recently. i hope you have a bright and happy weekend full of signs of spring!

frankie, my future best friend

mid-week pick me up

homemade breaded chicken with mushrooms and green beans, topped with parmesan cheese [i cannot take credit for this; my boyfriend is an amazing cook!]

milky coffee + bright blue wall

envelope pouch from boston + new tortoise shell reading glasses

paper source calendar from matt's mom, which is currently brightening up my desk 

what are you up to this weekend? 


Tuesday, January 14, 2014


as my blog name suggests, i've resided in several apartments. there was my first place: a long, light-filled 1 bedroom in naperville with a wood-burning fireplace, white mantle that i LOVED styling, and wood plank balcony where my cat would hang out. i would ride my old schwinn collegiate to downtown naperville and would read on the river walk. i'd eat sandwiches from the spicy pickle, cajun food from heaven on seven, tapas from meson sabikatango grill, & macarena tapas, mexican food & margaritas from potter's place, have happy hour at mullen's, and nights out at features and rizzo's

then there was my charming 4th-floor lincoln park apartment (subletted from my lovely friend lauren of the windy cardigan), with its vintage plaster walls and windows, hard wood floors, gorgeous all-white kitchen, teeny tiny bedroom that i adored, cast-iron tub, brick exterior, and fountain-filled courtyard. i spent many hot nights sipping cool white wine on the wooden fire escape/porch, looking out over the high-rises of lincoln park. i explored the neighborhood and fell even more in love with it. i ate korean tacos from del seoul and authentic tacos from angela's burrito style. i shopped for craft beers at the now-closed lincoln park market. i drank cider at the galway arms. i played trivia at state. i brunched at orange and sarks in the park. i gossiped over margaritas, chips, and guacamole with my best friend julie at zapatista (sadly no longer at the corner of fullerton and clark). i stopped at molly's cupcakes for dessert more times than i would like to admit. i would have sushi dates with rose at ringo. i shopped (and played ping pong at) the urban outfitters location on clark. it is also safe to say i tried frozen yogurt from every froyo establishment within a 5 mile radius of my apartment (generally eaten on the picnic tables in front of the wiener circle). as far as location and charm, this place was my favorite place i've ever lived.

after that was my summer in evanston. i lived with my friend annamalia and her dog, huxley, in an old yellow house. we would drink wine together on vintage lawn furniture in the huge backyard and have her friends (and dog friends over) for bonfires. we would take huxley to whole foods and the evanston farmer's market on saturday mornings. annamalia would make her grandmother's blueberry pie. i read and took naps in the hammock she strung up between two huge oak trees. i think i only went inside to sleep and shower. that yard was magical. 

after that summer, i moved in with two of my sorority sisters. we lived in a southeast corner unit on the 6th floor of a high rise. we had killer sunset views (and pretty good sunrise views as well). i had the smallest bedroom but it was beautiful; white walls, classic molding, and a huge window that let in amazing light. i didn't love our proximity to a major train switchyard, but my awesome roommates made up for it. we would have family dinners on sunday nights (either homemade or at jimmy's restaurant). we would go for beers, bbq, and live music at blues bar. we would spend hours watching millionaire matchmaker and dogs 101. christina, mike, matt, and i would go bike riding and then we would brunch at le peep cafe in full spandex. i would eat chicken pad thai at least once a week form thai square. matt would visit me and we would grill on the balcony (until we got a letter from the HOA that we were not supposed to have charcoal grills... whoops). i loved living there. 

now my boyfriend, matt, and i live together in a townhouse in the north suburbs. we are renting a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom in a quiet area. we're still easing into a routine here. we've done a lot of cooking and eating in, which my wallet and i love, but, as you can clearly see above, i tend to endear myself to an area by exploring its local gems. while we have a few on our shortlist of go to places for carry-out (including pita inndengeo's, and of course portillo's), i still don't feel completely settled. maybe it has to due with the fact that i'm still not completely unpacked and organized. maybe it's the dusty pink walls in our living room that make all of my instagram shots have a yellowish tint (which i hate). maybe it's the post-christmas slump; taking our tree and christmas card chain down make our living room feel bare and unorganized. my uninspired state has, of course, brought me to pinterest. i'm hoping to finally get our bedroom, dining room, and living room in order, little by little, this week. this weekend, matt and i are visiting his parents (and their new puppy!) in south bend, indiana. every time i visit, his mom and i find our way to the local antique stores. i've always bought vintage juice glasses, fire-king, pyrex, and linen on our visits in the past. however, while organizing our kitchen this weekend, i've come to the sad realization that i have more than i need. this weekend, i'm hoping to seriously browse for a new coffee table, a bar cart, art for our (yet-to-be-started) gallery wall, and a rug for in front of our fire place. 

i'll report back with my findings on monday. for now, here are images serving as inspiration for my hunt this weekend:

via pinterest

via pinterest
via pinterest
via pinterest

Please link me to your pinterest boards! I'd love to follow you and get some fresh inspiration!



my favorite meal to eat out is breakfast, hands down. when i lived in lincoln park and when my boyfriend lived in wrigleyville, i spent my saturday and sunday mornings at Ann Sather, OrangeSarks in the ParkKanela, France's DeliWaffles, and Angelina's, or i'd grab 2 clayboys to bring home from Chicago Bagel Authority. since we've (regrettably) relocated to the north suburbs, there are seemingly less unique options for brunch. walking down broadway or fullerton or clark, even with the bitter lake wind blowing in my face, i always quickly found a brunch place to duck into. perhaps i'm just not being adventurous enough, but with the frigid cold chicago has been dished out recently, combined with the fact that i can no longer just walk 1-2 blocks and stumble into Orange, even my desire to explore our new neighborhood for brunch options has been squelched. i have scoped out at least one local place i'd like to try in the near future, but recently, taking into account all of the above, i've taken to our own kitchen to whip up something tasty and spicy for breakfast.

i adore Kit of The Kittchen and when i saw her recipe for Eggs in Mexican Purgatory, i knew i had to try my hand at it. i'll occasionally need to indulge my sweet tooth at brunch (read: the apple pancake at Walker Brothers), but i generally enjoy unconventional, salty dishes (such as the breakfast corn dogs at frances' deli). i digress.

this recipe was perfect. i was initially a little intimidated because i've never poached eggs before, but it was so easy. i used mild chunky salsa and poached four eggs in it. below is my take. the recipe was easy for an egg-poaching novice like me. trust me. if i can do it, you can too. bonus: it made for excellent leftovers on toast! 

note: this is simply how i prepared the recipe. it might not take you as long as it took me. i also neglected to add the olive oil initially (blame it on watching scandal while i cooked). i stirred it into the salsa. when i scooped the eggs out, some of the salsa stuck to the bottom of the skillet. it did make it easier to separate the eggs from each other without breaking the yolks since the salsa congealed a little bit, but i would recommend following Kit's steps of adding the oil before putting the salsa in.

total time: 15-20 minutes 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium sized 16 oz. jar of salsa (i used a mild chunky tomato but the next time i do this, i'd like to use a mango salsa)
4 eggs 

i didn't add toppings, but i think it would be delicious with sliced avocado, sour cream, grated spicy cheese, maybe chunks of turkey? 

step 1:
heat the oil in a small or medium sized skillet. i would rotate the pan to ensure the whole bottom and sides get an even coating. add salsa and heat till it its bubbling. stir every minute or two so the salsa doesn't burn or stick to the sides. 

step 2: 
break an egg into a small bowl to ensure no parts of the shell make it into the salsa. i did use a spoon to make an egg-sized indentation in the salsa. carefully add the egg to the salsa, ensuring the yolk does not break.

step 3: 
cook the eggs in the boiling salsa. do not stir the salsa during this time. i reduced the heat to medium and it took the eggs 10-12 minutes to reach the consistency i wanted: runny yolks with a firm egg white. i served the eggs over leftover heated up spanish rice and tomatoes. it was so good and breaking the yolks to mix with the salsa? yum. my mouth is watering as i type this. 

next time i make this, i'll probably opt for a runnier yolk, and thus a shorter poaching time on the eggs. either way, the dish was still easy, inexpensive, and a success. 

now that i'm an egg-poaching master, i'll be making Kit's Poached Egg Salad... maybe over baby kale?

adapted from the kittchen

what are some of your favorite breakfast recipes? any awesome brunch places in and around chicago i need to check out?


Thursday, January 9, 2014


every new year inevitably brings up the subject resolutions. a popular opinion among a lot of blogs i follow is to not set specific resolutions, as this can set you up for failure. failing to lose the 10 pounds by february 1 or eating 3 healthy, home-cooked meals a day can make you feel like these goals are unattainable at the end of the day. personally, i find it hard to put a deadline on things, because life happens. there will be days where you fully intend to make a spinach salad for lunch to bring to work, but there wasn't time, and you find yourself in the Portillo's drive-thru come 12 o'clock. you vow to do better tomorrow, but then a long day at work throws any motivation to come home and make quinoa & stir fry veggies out the window. cue curling up on the couch with a dinner of microwave popcorn and wine (I call this the "Scandal" diet, as this seems to be the only thing Olivia Pope ever eats on the show).

and that's okay.

i think there are a few things that are important to remember when setting goals for yourself, be it at new year's or any other time of the year: intention, action, and being realistic. among my goals are to adopt habits to make myself healthier and lose weight. i'm putting these into action by making changes in how i eat, how much i eat, how i move, and how much i move. i'm not saying 10 pounds in the first month or 20 pounds by summer. every time i've done that in the past, i've gotten exceedingly nervous as the deadline approached, and then just pushed it back, or given up on it all together. yes, i would like to fit in a smaller size dress for a friends' wedding in april so i look better in the pictures, but i'm looking to adopt healthier habits so i change my life. i am aware change takes time, and gradual changes are far more likely to sick. i know myself, my habits, and my schedule. i know i'm not going to get up at 5am everyday to run a few miles. i hate running. some people like it, but it is not my thing. i enjoy cycling, so i'll be getting a bike trainer this weekend for my Giant Avail road bike, and i'll be riding inside after work and on the weekends (there is over a foot of snow on the ground here right now so outdoor cycling is not an option). i'm also looking to pick yoga back up. i used to go a few times a week but since moving far away from my favorite (and affordable!) studio, i have to find a new one. 

i'm making efforts in my eating habits as well. i know i can't give up salty foods, so i've switched out doritos and kettle chips for smaller portions of flavored golfish crackers (also on the lookout for healthy popcorn toppings!). instead of ordering greasy pad thai and depending on it for leftovers, i'm making healthy salads with ingredients i know i'll enjoy. to me kale + dressing = boring, and i'd rather go hungry than eat something that doesn't taste good, no matter how good it is for me. that's why i combined kale with sauteed chicken breast, chow mein noodles, and lite asian toasted sesame dressing for my lunch today. healthy and delicious? i'm down.

in addition to my upcoming cycling regime, i've been adding nightly Just Dance-offs (with myself) on my wii to burn off my energy. my boyfriend usually leaves the room when these start... they need to get on adding "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" by Whitney Houston to their next edition!

also, you can follow my pinterest board dedicated to healthy foods that actually look delicious! follow me for more recipes & other inspiration :)

p.s. here is the link to the salad that served as my inspiration for my lunch salad (i used fresh baby kale instead of wilted):

wilted kale asian chicken salad

what are you doing achieve your goals?

a new start.

hello there! after many hours reading other blogs i admire and intending to start this blog so many times, it finally happened! this has been a long time coming. we’ve just celebrated a new year, and i’ve just started a new job. i love when things begin, so i figured this was a natural next step.

i want this blog to be an outlet for myself. i’ll share what is happening in my life. i will share photos and words about what i eat, bake, make, cook, see, find, enjoy, love, and stumble upon to.

this is a lifestyle blog since it will reflect my life; what it is and what i wish it to be.

so thank you so much for stopping by, and i hope you come back to visit!