Food Party!

{all images via Facebook}

These images are from the season finale of Food Party on IFC.  Have any of you ever seen this show or heard of it?  Do you have IFC?  Is so, I suggest you give it a whirl. 

Here's a little introduction to the show so you have a clearer picture...

Food Party is a mind-bending, non-reality cooking show with Thu Tran as your hostess, a cast of unruly puppets as culinary aides, and a cavalcade of fictitious celebrities as surprise dinner guests. Shot on location in a technicolor cardboard kitchen as well as other foreign and exotic cardboard locations, each episode will or will not instruct you on how to prepare wild gourmet multi-course meals with ingredients you probably have on hand in your kitchen already, such as pretzel rods, eggs, narwhal lungs, bizarre plot twists, secret ingredients, and pizza. After all, you never know who might show up for dinner.

Thu Tran is awesome.  I know because I have met her many times as she is a good friend of friends. Food Party is awesome.  I know because I watch it.  You should too!  It comes on Tuesdays at 10PM Eastern/9 PM Central.  They're 15 minutes long each and they're hilarious! 

You're the only Ten I See

Since it's summer, Badger and I are going to make our annual trek down to Kentucky Lake in Tennessee.  I'm pretty excited about it, as I am every time.  It's fabulous.  Seriously.  Boats and tons of Miller Lite is enough to make me a happy Mo.  And there is plenty of that.  Add in a super funny family, classic rock and a bar called Fat Daddy's and voila = the perfect summer weekend. 

And because road trips remind me of the Silver Jews, and because this Silver Jews song reminds me of the lake, enjoy!  Especially the video because it is random and funny.

What are your plans for the holiday weekend?  Hope they're full of fun in the sun!

Summer summer time

This here's the view from our roof which we went up on for the first time a few weeks ago (it's not allowed in case you must know, please don't tattle). Not a bad view, right? Anyway, I love summer time in Chicago.  Just thought I'd let you know. 

* I love summer everywhere basically.  I'd probably love summer more if I lived in California or something.  Just sayin'.


Is it normal to constantly feel this way at this point?  There are 38 days to go, and I've been feeling this way for awhile now.  Seriously, is this normal?!?  I don't like it... 

Tonight/Not Tonight

Tell me this isn't cute!  I think it's hilariously adorable.  However, I don't think the boy would find it as funny so I won't be adding it to our bed.  But I'll laugh about it.  A lot. has some really great stuff, check it out!

Sweet, sweet pictures

Lauren painted Gus for me.  It's so UNBELIEVABLY AWESOME that words really can't describe it.  It's one of my favorite pictures of him, posing for the camera.  He likes to flirt when it's picture time.  And she totally surprised me with this one.  Thanks, Laur Laur - it's incredible!

Dinner at Ciao.  It was delish. And hilarious apparently...
And this picture here is by far the best picture ever.  Just look at her bitter beer face!

This was a funny train ride home too.  What a night!  That guy sitting nex to me was so annoyed by our least I thought so.  I would have been.

Sadly no pictures from the drag show, but that might spoil some of the fun.  I'm so sad that this day already came and went and is over with.  And now the boys are in full swing to get the bachelor party going, and I'll admit.  I'm a little nervous for him!

Mobile Garden


You're waiting for the train to arrive and you see this beautiful garden acting as a caboose?  Yes, please!  I can only imagine how much better my daily commute would be if I saw this every morning and evening. 

Sponsored and created by Noisivelvet, a Chicago-area non-profit that supports art and artists, the group has been given the green light from the CTA to add gardens to trains for at least 4 weeks.  They have the letter up on their Facebook page to prove it!  Go ahead, take a look on their website, join their Facebook group and get ready to see some awesomeness on the CTA!

Feeling warm and fuzzy

What a weekend!  Wow.

I LOVE my friends.  Every last one of them.  Seriously, these friends of mine are incredible and I feel so lucky to have them all in my life!  I had the BEST bachelorette party I could ask for.  My best friend flew up from Kansas City and my future sister-in-law flew up from Louisville.  How awesome is that?!  They hosted a fun shower for me with delicious food and gave me sweet presents.  I felt so special (but not special as in the way that Bart looks in photos).  We went to out to eat and then hopped on the train and headed down to the drag show (which we were 30 minutes late for, after having walked several blocks out of the way ha ha).  We managed to get into the late show thankfully, so we had some beers and a shot at this bar called The Boss.  Bahahahhaha!  And then we ventured to the Baton Show Lounge and had the BEST. TIME. EVER.

This song by Florence and the Machine pretty much sums up the show and how incredible it was.  Imagine this song with the most beautiful drag queen you've ever seen (a figure to die for) dancing better than BeyoncĂ©.  Just imagine.  It will make you happy too! 

Thanks again, sweet lovely friends of mine! 

Happy Weekend!

This weekend shall be glorious.  Not only are some dear sweet friends strolling into town but it's also the weekend where things get scandalous (or something along those lines).  It's my bachelorette party time! 

My awesome friends have arranged reservations for us to attend the Baton Show Lounge's drag show.  I'm so excited!

Let the festivities begin!

What are you all up to this weekend?  Are you going to a drag show too!?  It's also pride weekend in Chicago, where things always get awesomely chaotic.  A good weekend lies ahead, a good weekend indeed.

Latest Bort Report

My hubby's taking the Step 2 medical board exam as we speak - fingers crossed (or if you're Polish, trzymaj kciuki", which means "cross your thumbs"!)

Pic here

Ciao from Sing Sing, Lah

Been meaning to contribute for a while.. well here it goes:

For those of you who don't know me, I'm Inna. I was born in Odessa, Ukraine and live in Chi. I travel a lot, a whole lot, lately 80% of the time.

Currently I am in the island, country and city of Singapore. Yup - it's all three. Pretty amazing, eh? It's an interesting city - a melting pot of a bunch of SE Asian folks, cultures, cuisines, styles and architecture.

It's also a major financial center, drawing tons of US, European and Australian companies and expats. It's one of the cleanest cities, if not the cleanest city in SE Asia and has interesting rules that most of you probably know. For those of you who don't - you cannot purchase or sell chewing gum in Singapore. You can read more about it here

Capital punishment is a legal form of punishment in Singapore, and in the mid to late 90's the city-state had the highest per-capita execution rate in the world. So you can imagine, the city is quite sterile. Possession of drugs above certain quantities yields to a mandatory death sentence.. Ouch!

Anyway, enough about stuff you can read on the wiki. I've been here quite a few times, and find this city fascinating. Singaporeans, and I fully agree with them on this point, are extremely proud of the food. The food here is amazing! In my opinion, the street food is here is especially stellar! Most of it can be found in what's called hawker centers which are basically giant outdoor food courts consisting of rows and rows of tiny stalls that sell street food. You can find almost any Asian dish - the stall options range from broad to quite specific. Some stalls sell Chinese, Indian, and broader cuisine options, while other specialize in specific dishes like fish soup, porridge, fruits, etc.. you name it - you can probably find it at a hawker center.

After 7pm, some of the streets close down for Satay (BBQ on sticks- chicken, beef, prawns, etc etc.. ) The reason this is done after 7PM is simply because it's too hot to fire up the grills before dawn.

Well, I don't want to make your mouth water too much... Plus I need to get moving on wrapping up my work for the day so I can head to Kota Kinabalu for the weekend.


P.S. for thos of your curios about the Lah in the title, it's what's called "Singlish"

So Liqurious about these cocktails

Our dear friend Inna passed along this website, Liqurious, and I'm intrigued.  I have spent quite a bit of time on there drooling over the delicious looking cocktails that are perfect for hot summer days and nights.  I can't wait to suggest these to our friends, especially the Bart-tender a/k/a Bort-tender cause he makes such great drinks, not to mention has the perfect name for the job!

Anyway, here are some of the drinks that caught my eye. 

makes 2 cooling cocktails
2 Inch piece of cucumber diced plus some for garnish
4 Sprigs dill finely chopped plus 2 for garnish
2 Wedges lime plus more to garnish
4 oz (4 shots) Gin Tanqueray No. 10

In a cocktail shaker muddle cucumber, dill and lime
Add gin & ice
Shake well and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice
Top off with tonic and give a quick stir
Spritz with lime and top with a sprig of dill & or a slice of cucumber

OK, so if that doesn't tickle your fancy...

Cajun Lemonade

makes one drink

1 1/2 ounces white rum or vodka (I used vodka)
1 ounce Pimm's No. 1
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup
2 dashes Tabasco or other hot sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot)
splash of 7Up (set aside for topping up the drink)
lemon wheels (for garnish)

Combine all ingredients (except for 7Up and lemon wheels) in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Top up with 7Up, stir, and garnish with lemon wheels.

And certainly the most promising of the bunch:

Perfect Summer Sangria

We start with a dry white - some times you can find whites that have a slight sparkling quality these are perfect! The wine doesn't have to be a stellar bottle because it's just getting mixed.
Lots of fruit cut in bite size pieces. This has a mixture of chopped peach, nectarine, strawberry, raspberry & orange
Chopped herbs - it varries based on what is in my window box here we have mint and lemon balm
For a little sweetness some juice. This has a bit Red Jacket Orchards strawberry apply juice. Juice adds sweetness that compliments the wine but better than the 7-Up or Sprite.
Sometimes I top with a little seltzer, since this already had some bubbles from the wine we left this alone. I also will freeze the berries and add them at the last minute to help the mix stay cool.
One of the best parts is if you use good fruit it's a nice treat at the end of the glass.
Mix together with a tray of ice and serve!!

Do you have any great cocktail recipes or tricks?  Pass them along to Liqurious and let others enjoy!

Parrot Print

Monson's cosmic parrot dress (what a name!)

Love it or hate it?

You know me, I'd wear it!

Farmers Market and Free Music!

Hello all! My friend Dawn passed along an email to me this morning about Lincoln Square's Thursday evening farmers market. Being a fan of fresh yummy goodness and free outdoor music, I had to pass the info along to you guys. My sources tell me this shindig goes down around the Western/Lincoln/Leland intersection. The market itself is open from 4-8:00 and music starts around 6:30. Anyone want to join me this evening? If you can't make it out tonight, here's a list of all the markets in the area so you can get some homegrown goodies anytime you want!

* image thanks to Organic In Chicago

Whoa, seriously?!

What's the deal?!  Was I really just sitting in my living room with Raegan listening to a tornado siren?  Really?!??! Looking at the local news on the TV being nothing but red and pink radar clouds with a giant TORNADO WARNING: COOK COUNTY, IL across the screen?!  When I moved here, I thought I left this stuff behind me.  That is, consistent tornado threats and severe storms.  I'm not naive, I know that other places besides tornado alley get storms - severe at times.  And I've gone through several crazy Chicago storms in my 5 years here.  But damn has this been one stormy spring/summer, right?! Much like what Kansans call every single spring? 

Not gonna lie though, I kind of like it.  In a sick messed up way I'm sure.  You know, you live through a deadly tornado and then you grow up to kind of like the threat in a twisted way...get it? Twisted?  Yeah.
Photos via Chicago Tribune


That's where I grew up. That's also where some kind of tennis-fueled madness takes over once a year. And it's that time of year again.

Despite growing up there, I only actually went once, perfering to beat the crowds and get the best of the action replays at home. That said, I rarely missed a game and used to schedule summer exam revision around the big matches.

My famly are all crazy tennis fans (my 99 yr old grandma still is!) and I have fond memories of watching the men's finals together on lazy afternoons after sunday lunch.

Wimbledon fortnight always makes me homesick for all the things I know and love about home, like...

... queues (!)...

...rain (!)...

... strawberries and cream, official food of the Championships (nom) ...

... and the Wombles of Wimbledon Common!

Our engagement photos, part II

A long while ago, Raegan posted a few pictures from our engagement shoot for your enjoyment.  But as the wedding date draws nearer (44 days and counting) I can't help but look at them over and over with excitement of everything that is happening in the next month and a half.  Not only are these pictures awesome and make me filled with joy, but looking at that frozen Lake Michigan and knowing it's hot outside now brings me even more joy :)

And get ready, ladies and gents.  Our fantastically fabulous wedding invitations have been mailed and (hopefully) received and we will be posting them soon!

Grilled Pizza Tutorial!

So as he guzzled down some delicious rosé while staring at the spice rack for twiced-baked potato inspiration, I managed to get a pretty spot-on-Badger-style tutorial of the grilled pizza extravaganza:

First, make the pizza dough of your choice in a bread maker - we went with the Joy of Cooking recipe.  You can make the dough by hand but it involves lots of kneading and waiting (sounds like a drama queen) and rising and pounding and what have you and quite frankly we didn't want to go that extreme.

After you remove the dough from the breadmaker, pound it down to reduce the volume.

Place in a bowl with a wet towel over it for 2 two hours and let it rise. 

Separate the ball of dough and form french bread-style pizza crusts (5x12"); make sure they're well floured.  Dowse in olive oil.

Now it's grill time...

Cover the grill for ~5 minutes to cool down before you put the crusts on.  After the grill is hot, oil the grates down, then throw the crusts on the grill.

Cook on one side until brown.  Flip and place your toppings on.  Cover the grill.

Cook with the cover on until the crust on the bottom is done.  Cooking time depends on the grill, but it shouldn't take any longer than 7 - 10 minutes (or until crust is brown) combined for both sides. 

Tip - If you make the crust too big, it will be hard to handle and most likely impossible to flip over.  So the key is to make the dough thick and small so it's manageable.  Use plenty of oil as well.  "And don't forget to salt your ingredients accordingly!" (I put this in quotes because seriously, you should have heard the way he said it.  What a nerd :))

For flavors we went with::
carmelized onions + gorgonzola;
roasted red peppers + goat cheese;
soyrizo + boiled corn + cilantro + tomato + cheddar cheese;
homemade spaghetti sauce + mozzarella + pepperoni;
pickled jalepenos + goat cheese

The first 3 were the birthday girl's choice.  I'm clearly a cheese-loving vegetarian in case you wondered.  And boy oh BOY was it a delicious birthday meal.  And I must give props to everyone at the party because it really was kind of a group effort...

Even Charlie thought it was great!

Starved Rock!

We had an awesome time at Starved Rock.  If you live in the area, I highly encourage you to make the 2-hour trek down there.  It was so nice to be outside, surrounded by nature.  Isn't it amazing that a place like this exists in the middle of Illinois?  We hiked for hours, had a lovely picnic with roasted red pepper, brie, date chutney and green apple sandwiches and really enjoyed spending time together.  It smelled wonderful and we both left feeling completely content with everything.  Aaaaaaah. 

* But now we're back in the city and I'm listening to an obnoxious jackhammer that never stops and I'm desperate to go back to the sereneness of Starved Rock. 


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