Root, root, root for... Clint

Friday night my two sisters, cousin and I headed to Miller Park to cheer on the Milwaukee Brewers... and one Houston Astro. You see, years and years ago, the shortstop for the Astros, Clint Barmes, played for the Kenosha Kroakers, a collegiate summer baseball league. During his summers in Kenosha, Clint stayed with my aunt, uncle and cousins and remains pretty close to the family. We went to the game on Friday to cheer on Clint. Unfortunately, he hit into the last out of the game. My cousin Janine made a joke of it though, "Look Clint, they're all cheering for you!"

Even though Clint did not win {I wasn't cheering for the Astros anyway}, it was a great night. We spent hours before the game tailgating, playing games and cracking each other up in the parking lot. And the laughing most definitely continued throughout the game. I love those ladies!

They got the good seats for the Saturday and Sunday games...


my two baseball loves

Today, I had the pleasure of watching my two favorite baseball teams play each other... from only 13 rows behind homeplate. My friend won two tickets from a raffle at work and he {a Brewers fan} decided to take me {a Cubs fan}. It was the closest I've even been able to watch a game. Up close, able to see the sweat dripping down the brow of the pitcher on the mound... that's how baseball should be watched. It was tough deciding which team to root for though. The Cubs are my favorite team, with the Brewers a close second, but they are no longer contenders so I figured that I may as well root for the Brewers. And they won. Either way, it would have been a fantastic afternoon.

Did you see how close those seats are? I need to get those again.


things that make me happy

i had a pretty rough day {/couple days} so i decided to concentrate on happy thoughts instead.

cooking my friend's and my special feta pizzas
{and thinking about how we made so many together}
watching friendly firemen hose down children in 95 degree heat
iced coffee on incredibly hot days
free food and beer at baseball games
air conditioning
running into family members at coffee shops
having time to read good books
trivia games with friends
good {pink} wine

Summer, defined.


Playing in the water

It's a sunny, 90 plus degrees outside, what sounds like heaven? Splashing in the water, of course.

While I was baking in the heat, my little friends enjoyed the warm weather and cool water. It was hilarious watching them run through sprinklers, belly flop into pools and toss water on each other and laugh. This was one of those times when I become nostalgic for childhood. I remember those scorching summer days in which my big sister and I would unravel the hose, hook up the sprinkler and play in the water all afternoon. It was bliss.


Grilling deliciousness

My friends and I were feeling a bit adventurous the other day. Along side our portobello mushrooms and onion-mixed hamburgers on the grill, we tossed a few slices of watermelon and goat cheese stuffed figs. They were all so delicious, it makes me want to try grilling more fruits and different foods. My brother-in-law suggested grilling a pizza, and while that sounds delicious and tricky, I'm even more excited to try a different treat I found on a blog.

Roasted peaches with goat cheese, hazelnuts and honey. Mmm.

{image and idea via}

Trucks, trucks, trucks.

One of my favorite places to hang out in Chicago is the Chicago Cultural Center. Every time I step in, there's a new exhibit that blows me away. {Also, I'm a huge supporter of Project Onward as I mentioned once before in a post.} This last visit, it was an exhibit called 'Driven: New Trucks' by John Himmelfarb of abstract trucks that caught my eye. As the exhibit explanation stated, Himmelfarb is known for his "unique vocabulary of abstract forms which, depending on scale and composition, may range from pure abstraction to evocations of gesture, form, landscape, architecture, and even the character of an idiosyncratic written language."

At first, I wondered why someone would be so invested in trucks that they'd feel the need to capture them within artwork, but then I read the artist's thoughts. These works "are not about trucks but about us, our histories, skills and coping mechanisms, ambitions, and character." While I understand how they capture elements of the American life, I still have some trouble seeing how they present themselves as narratives of the human experience. Maybe I'm still looking at them in a too literal manner?

Either way, they are incredible. The few snaps I took do not do them justice, especially the sculptures.


little notes

dear auntie and uncle,
i don't mind cat sitting at all. well, except for that little part about being allergic to cats. ahhh ahhh ahhhchoo.

dear espys,
clearly aaron rodgers was the best make athlete. what were you all thinking giving it to someone else? did we watch the same games??

dear patrick,
thanks for passing on the old family recipe for kugeli. i only wish it didn't require the fine grating of 5lbs of potatoes. this is going to take time.

dear marisha,
thank you so much for the cubs tickets at wrigley, it was an amazing game and incredibly fun day. but it also made me realize how much i miss you. more plans soon?

dear chicago metra,
next time you want cops to take riders away in handcuffs, could you somehow do it faster, please? 30 minutes is a bit long.

{image via}


Hot day at Wrigley

Can you think of a better place to spend a summer day than Wrigley? Because I can't. This afternoon, my friend and I headed to Wrigley Field to cheer on my lovable losers. As an owner of two Culvers restaurants, Mish got us free tickets for Culvers' Day at Wrigley. {OK, what could possibly be better than free baseball tickets?!} Before the game, Culvers threw a little party for all of the owners and served some delicious ballpark food and some not-so-delicious beer {read: Bud Light}.

The day turned out to be wicked hot but it was still so much FUN. The only thing that could possibly have made it better would have been a win. The Cubbies fell to the Marlins 11-3. Sad, but honestly, it didn't even look like they were putting much effort into the game. As a Cubs fan, I'm going to blame that on the heat, but I don't think that's really what it was.

Also, enjoy a delicious lunch at a Chicago-area Culvers today! {wink, wink}


Date a Girl Who Reads

I recently stumbled upon a new, cute blog and read a fantastic note she found somewhere. I love it, especially because I am constantly being teased by friends about my insatiable hunger for books.

Date a Girl Who Reads by Rosemarie Urquico

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by God, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.


A lazy summer day in Chicago

I love lazy days when you have the time to actually enjoy yourself without having to take breaks to check emails, catch up on work or run errands. They're rare so you have to enjoy them when you can. I spent my lazy day wandering through farmers' markets and exhibits at the Lincoln Park Zoo. It was a delightful afternoon. I can't wait until I have time to do it again... in about a month or so...



Do you have a place you love so much just the idea of going there makes you smile? It doesn't have to be a vacation destination or some spiritually-moving place, it can be anywhere. For me, it's a little hole-in-the-wall Costa Rican restaurant in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago. Irazu. The food is delicious and the atmosphere energetic, yet comforting. I want to bring everyone I know there to enjoy it just as I do!

The other day, I had a couple hours free between meeting friends so I ran out to Bucktown for a quick lunch by myself. {I get weird looks from people both at restaurants and after when I tell others that I went out for lunch alone, but I actually enjoy it. Sometimes I just need a minute to myself and why spend it sitting at home, might as well go out and enjoy it.}

{image via yelp.com}

art fair

This weekend I was lucky enough to stumble upon beautiful artwork while shopping in downtown Chicago. The Chicago Tribune sponsored the incredible art fair near their building on Michigan Avenue. I wandered around for what seemed like an hour and I still didn't make it through all of the exhibits. There were beautiful murals, photographs, sculptures, jewelry and pieces of pottery in all colors, shapes, sizes and beautiful designs. I especially fell in love with one artists bubble/ink blot paintings. She created amazing designs that seemed incredibly random but I'm sure were meticulously planned, much like Jackson Pollock's work. They kind of reminded me of a Rorschach test. I wish I had a picture of those to share.



I have a confession to make. I am from Wisconsin but up until last Friday night, I had never been to Summerfest before. I know, it's absolutely ridiculous. Everyone goes to Summerfest, but somehow I guess I got left behind on that one. So when my friends mentioned heading up Friday night for the Jason Aldean concert, I jumped all over that chance.

While I appreciate the good music and party atmosphere, it was a bit too intense {and drunken} for me. Not that I have anxiety about being in a large group of people, but I would rather have something a bit more low-key. With that said, I would most likely go back if a band I want to see is playing. Also, the food was delicious {especially the corn on the cob}, the music was great and the atmosphere very lively. I would definitely recommend attending Summerfest at least once if you haven't before. Make up your own mind about it.

And the Jason Aldean concert? AMAZING! I'm not a big county music fan, I rarely listen to it, but the concert was simply fun. It was high energy, entertaining and good music. By far, one of the best shows I've ever seen. I had to go pick up a few of his CDs after the show. He definitely made a fan out of me.
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