Monday, September 28, 2009

Weekend West Coast Style

I've had the busiest weekend! For graduation the bf's dad got him the opportunity to be a Ball Dude for a day at the San Francisco Giants game (both the bf and his dad are HUGE baseball fans), and this weekend at the Cubs game, my bf got to sit on the field and shag ground balls at the Giants v. Cubs game on Thursday. He was so excited and looked adorable in his balldude uniform.

Because of the big event, the bf's dad flew the bf and I to San Fran for the game (the bf grew up in the Bay area and his parents are still there). We had the best time, as we always do when we go visit his parents and friends! Anywhoo, I didn't get back until this afternoon and had to immediately start cooking to go to the bf's cousins for a Break the Fast dinner (Yom Kippur ended at sundown today). Needless to say I haven't had a lot of time to read blogs, post, or cook. Don't worry, lots of fun dinners planned for this week!

However, while staying in the suburbs of the city by the bay, I discovered the best consignment shop! The bf, his dad and his stepmom and I all went to the Walnut Creek Arts Festival and while looking at the vendors I stumbled upon the best shop in the downtown area. It is called Labels (I think) and it is full of designer duds. I got a pair of peep toe Marc Jacobs pumps for $10 (they need some work so I'll post pics when I'm finished). The shoe section alone is worth going, it's amazing! Most of the entire back of the store is nothing but designer shoes (I'm talking Manolos, Jimmy Choo's etc.). The clothing is the same, lots of Burberry, Chanel, etc.! I wish I had more money to spend on this trip because I could have done some major damage (there's always next time).

Moral of the story -- San Francisco is a consignment shop/thrift store junkie's heaven! There are some amazing ones in the city as well (Kris is fantastic, google it for the address) but the shops in the suburbs are a little bit cheaper so if you've got a rental car, definitely make the trip to Walnut Creek and check out Labels!

I hope everyone has as much fun this weekend as I did!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My weakness

I have a confession, I love shoes. I mean I really love shoes as in I have over 50 pairs just at my apartment, not counting the ones that I have at my mom's house. My biggest shoe weaknesses ever are Chanel ballet flats. I love them, I think they are classic, practical and stylish just to name a few adjectives.

Needless to say, I have three pairs. I have a black pair, a silver pair, and a navy pair. However, true to form, I only paid full price for one pair. The other two were found on ebay and at a shoe store that sells used, irregular, and runway sample shoes.

Below is the only pair that I paid full price for. They were a gift to me from my mom last time we went to New York. Although they were pricey, they were well worth the cost since I wear them with almost everything. They are perfect for day, evening, and especially work. I really love the mix of black leather and black patent leather.

Below are the first pair that I purchased. I actually got them for $30 at the aforementioned shoe store. They have definately been worn but they still look great! The silver is actually more practical and seasonless than I originally thought and again I love them for both work and play!

This is my latest pair, an ebay purchase. I was hoping to find a pair of navy ballet flats to wear with jeans and skirts and was extremely excited to find a used pair on ebay a couple of weeks ago. They have definately seen better days, but I'm hoping that with a good cleaning and some navy shoe polish they will look as good as new. I'll post pics after I've spruced them up!

Finally I've got a pic of all three pairs, mostly to illustrate my point about how timeless the style is.

I hope everyone is having a fabulous week!

Monday, September 21, 2009

My adorable dog

Last week I posted some new pics of my sweet sweet boy, Gus. Today's post is dedicated to my sweet sweet girl Paddy. While Gus adopted us, Paddy was adopted by the bf and is now claimed by me. She's the sweetest dog and totally hilarious. Above is a pic of Paddy hiding underneath one of the couch blankets. I love how you can just see her little black nose. This is one of my favorite things to do to her because she just lays there and lets me.

This is my favorite all time pic of the pets. As you can see they're buds. As you can also tell by the pic, Paddy is a total pound puppy. We're not exactly sure what she is; we think she is part terrier and part teddy bear.
Happy Monday.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fall is in the air

Which means it is time for soup! I love soup because it is (1) easy to make, and (2) reheats well. Last week I can up with the best Chicken and Corn Chowder that is creamy and spicy and light all at once. As and added bonus it is also really healthy (seriously). Below is a pic of the soup, as you can see I topped the soup with green onions and cheese.
Spicy Corn and Chicken Chowder
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon each: cumin, steak seasoning, chili powder, Emeril's Essence, granulated garlic, pepper, salt, and sage
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 can cream style corn
1 can of black beans drained and rinsed
1 can of red beans drained and rinsed
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 stalk of celery minced
1 carrot minced
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup skim milk (or whatever you have on hand)
1 handful fresh cilantro chopped
green onions chopped (for topping)
shredded cheese (for topping)
tortilla chips (for topping)

In a large dutch oven place the chicken breasts and the steak seasoning, salt, pepper, sage, cumin, granulated garlic, essence, chili powder and cumin. Cover with just enough water to cover the chicken breasts. Cook over med. heat until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken from the pot and allow to cool. Using a slotted spoon, remove any of the fat floating at the top of the stock.

While the chicken cools, reduce heat to med. low and add the tomatoes to the chicken stock. Add the beans. Stir well and then add the cream style corn. Allow to come to a simmer. While the soup base cooks for a bit in a separate skillet saute the onions, carrots and celery in butter. Allow to soften then add the flour (this will help make the soup creamy). Then add to the soup. Stir well. Add some additional salt, pepper, and cumin. Shred the chicken and add back to the soup. Add the milk and allow to come to a simmer. The soup will be creamy and kind of thick. Add the cilantro right before serving. Serve in bowls topped with green onion, cheese and tortilla chips. Sour cream would be a good topper as well.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Football thoughts for today

Dear Jonathan Crompton:
We all know you are a terrible excuse for a QB. Today is a very important game.
Please don't play as awfully as you did last week against UCLA;
on that note, don't play as badly as you did all season last year.
I would like to see the upset of the year today, so for once, let's try and play
like a NCAA QB should play.
That's all.
I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My sweet sweet kitty!

My cat Gus never stops entertaining me. He's hilarious and sweet and likes to talk. Every morning when I wake up Mr. Gus is sitting outside my door meowing until I either (1) pick him up and say hello or (2) feed him (he is kind of a chunk).

Above is a pic of Mr. Gus in his favorite spot in the house, the window. He loves to sit in the window and look outside for hours on end. It is adorable.

This is a pic of Gus sitting on the back of the bf's chair. I love how his little paws are just laying over the side!

He likes to hide from Paddy (the dog) in the bathtub. Also hilarious!

That's about all for today. Happy Thursday everyone!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thank you Comedy Central

To quote our President, "Kanye West is a jackass." While Pres. Obama was very blunt about his feelings on the matter, Comedy Central (and I assume Trey Parker and Matt Stone) had a much more subtle way to expressing their opinion about what Kanye did at the VMAs. I have to say I love it. South Park is by far my favorite show on television, I love it so much I wrote my senior thesis on it in college. I think it is smart and relevant and hilarious. Tonight they totally outdid themselves. Nothing says screw you more than showing the Fish Sticks episode for 2 hours straight.

For those of you who don't watch South Park regularly, the Fish Sticks episode is essentially an entire episode dedicated to making fun of Kanye West and calling him an ego manic and a douchebag (excuse the language). It is hilarious and in light of Kanye's outburst at the VMA's nothing calls Kanye out more than airing the episode for two hours straight. South Park you have done it again!

Moving on, now a topic related to the basis of my blog -- kitchen storage. My new kitchen is great, and new, but lacking on cabinet space. I feel that a lot of kitchens are this way, there is a lot of floor space but not a lot of storage space. To solve this problem I placed a chest of drawers in the far wall in my kitchen. It does not take up a lot of space and gives me extra room to store things like wrapping paper, my waffle maker and my silverware. I've posted pics of it below to illustrate my point.
Above is the bottom drawer, I've used it for small appliances that I use fairly regularly. The drawers of the chest are deep enough to store some of my larger plastic ware and my mini food chopper and my waffle iron. My George Foreman usually goes in there too, but it was in use when I took the pics.
This is the top drawer of the chest. I use it to store extra coffee mugs and my silverware. Since my cabinet space is limited due to the fact that I've got a built in microwave and a dishwasher, and I only had two drawers I knew that I had to add storage space because I didn't want to get rid of any of my kitchen stuff. I've found this to be a perfect solution.

Here's a view of the entire chest. As you can see it is also a great place to showcase the bf's bobble head collection.

Another view of the bf's beloved bobble heads.
I really do think this is a great storage option in kitchens that are lacking in cabinet space. First of all, as I previously said a 4 drawer chest doesn't take up that much floor space. Second, the storage is hidden so if your drawers are a mess no one will know. Third, you can pick up an inexpensive chest at your local thrift store for cheap and paint it or stain it to fit your tastes. I actually need to either stain or paint this piece, I just haven't had the time. That will be one of my weekend projects sometime soon.
What are your storage solutions?
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dinner and Football

Christmas came in September for the Chargers, I'm just sayin'.

Made a great grilled chicken salad for dinner, definitely something that I'm going to keep on hand once I start working (provided the IL board of bar examiners decides I'm fit to practice law) because it is so quick and easy to make. Here's the recipe.

Grilled Chicken Chopped Salad:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup each: Balsamic vinaigrette, Italian Dressing
2 tablespoons each: teriyaki sauce, olive oil
1 tablespoon each: steak seasoning, granulated garlic
1 teaspoon each: salt, pepper, Emeril's essence, sage, oregano
mixed baby greens
4 hard boiled eggs chopped
1 handful fresh chopped parsley
various mixed veggies (I used carrots, celery, sugar snap peas and grape tomatoes)
1 onion sliced
bacon (optional)
dressing of your choice

In a large food storage bag combine the balsamic vinaigrette, Italian dressing, steak seasoning, etc. Mix well. Add the chicken and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, boil the eggs. Chop the onion into half moon shapes. Place in a skillet with some butter and olive oil over low heat. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to caramelize. Add a dash of teriyaki sauce. Keep over low heat until ready to add to the salad.

While the chicken marinates and the onions and eggs cook, add the veggies, fresh parsley and mixed greens to a large bowl. Once the eggs are finished place in a bowl in the refrigerator to cool. Heat up a grill pan or table top grill. Cook the chicken. Once finished placed on a cutting board to rest. Add the onions to the salad. Chop the eggs and add them to the salad. Chop the chicken into cubes and add to salad. Add some cheese and bacon if you'd like. Toss well and serve with your favorite dressing.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

It's Football Time in Tennessee (or Chicago)

Since I did not post pics of the kitchen or the master bedroom I decided that I'd go ahead and post those pics as well as my super cute game day outfit. As you can tell I am very excited about both.

This is a picture of the living room and kitchen. As you can probably tell we have in unit laundry which is awesome! The kitchen also has granite and stainless steel appliances which makes me even happier! The kitchen is also bigger than any apartment kitchen I've ever had which was a very pleasant surprise. Below is a picture of the master bedroom. The master bedroom is a bit darker than the other rooms in the house but it actually looks really cool with the black furniture and white linens. It also makes the antique oriental rug that my mom gave us look even better. I think that the room kind of has an English pub feel about it.

Below is my game day outfit for today! It was a super thrifty find on J.Crew's clearance rack for
$19.99. I've had the shirt forever, I have an entire wardrobe of Ralph Lauren oxford button ups that I wear with everything. I think I've had the one below since my freshman year of college, but it still looks good thanks to the fact that it's never seen the dryer and I always starch them before I wear. So I'm very excited about game day today! Last weekend the bf and I were walking Paddy around our neighborhood and saw a bar that had a giant blow up Smokey (Tennessee's mascot). Since the game today is on television the bf and I are going to go watch the game there. Hopefully we (and by we I mean me, the bf went to Indiana University for undergrad) will find some other Tennessee fans in Chicago!
Happy Game Day everyone!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Today is a day that we all should remember. My thoughts and prayers are definitely with those families most affected by the 9/11 bombings.

Those thoughts aside, I have decided to write a post about my new apartment, since the bf and I are now totally moved in. Hooray! I also found my camera cord so I can post pics again, which makes this post even better.

I'm going to start with my favorite part of the apartment, my closet. I took the closet in the guest room because the lighting is better. The bf and have found that it is easier for us (because we have a 2 bedroom) to have separate closets rather than to try and share a closet and put seasonal stuff in the other closet. Anyway, I love my new closet because it is huge for a non-walk in closet and I love the double rows with the built in shelving. It makes getting ready in the morning so much easier because I can see everything, especially work clothes, which at my old house were in a separate closet.
Here is another view of my closet, as I said, I'm super excited about the size, with the exception of my closet at my mom's house, I haven't had this much closet space since I started college!
Here is a pic of the living room. We've got a living/dining room combo which I haven't had since college but I love the way this is laid out because the spaces are definitely defined.

Here is a view of the dining room part of the living/dining room. As you can see we do have a garden unit but it is actually really sunny. It was also a 2006 gut rehab so everything is brand new, which I absolutely love.

Here is a pic of the front of our building. I love it, it is exactly the kind of apartment building that I wanted to live in.

So that's all for now. I need to take some pics of the kitchen and the master bedroom for another post. Hope everyone enjoys the pictures. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Yay for new apartments and internet!

Another apology for being away for so long! The bf and I moved into our new place a couple of weeks ago and finally got Internet today, so I'm officially back with tons of new recipes.

Hope everyone is enjoying their week, I'm excited that it is week 2 of football season. Go Vols!

Happy Thursday!!