Photos: Ali’s Birthday








This post is so belated that if this were 20 years ago, Ali would already be declaring herself twentysevenANDAHALF!

Editing and uploading these photos made me so happy – lobsters, champagne, birthdays, smug cats and family… what could be better?

Wait, there might be one thing! This gif of a look I have been on the receiving end of many a time. “Seriously, Laura?” Love you, Al!



Happy Birthday Ali!


To the blue to my red,

the coffee to my cream,

the sauv to my blanc…

To the painter extraordinaire,

the on-the-spot-recipe genius,

the alley furniture hero,

the poufmaster (and all around great hair-posesser),

the sweeper of my broken glasses many other messes…

To my younger-older sister,

my best friend –

I love you!

Cheers to the great year I know you have ahead of  you.

Hippo birdie!


Happy Friday

Holiday Party

This weekend is our family’s annual holiday party.  After taking a brief hiatus last year, the festivities are back in swing and we couldn’t be more excited!  While Mom has a full suite of holiday foodie favorites in the line up, this year Laura and I plan to force our homemade contributions into the fray as well (I think there’s an unspoken, general prayer that Laura doesn’t revisit pumpkin cheesecake underway, but I digress).  Though outfits are yet to be determined, we can promise chicken liver pate, grapes crusted with goat cheese and pistachios and spicy hummus – look for recipes soon.

Have a great weekend


Chain O’Lakes State Park

The view from the back patio

This past weekend, we got our urban sherpa on. (This is Ali’s ingenious term for the plight of the automobile-free when attempting to leave the city or trek around the city without multiple trips home. Basically packing laptops, gym clothes, makeup, two changes of clothing, etc. in various bags: purses, totes and shopping bags and dragging said bags everywhere you go.) On Friday, we headed up to the burbs to celebrate our stepdad’s birthday. As always, it was a great time, but I think its safe to say the highlight of everyone’s weekend was the family canoeing trip.

Before we could get going, we had to make an emergency trip to DSW as our shoes were deemed “impractical.” We helpfully both brought home our respective pairs of leopard print shoes, so there was a family-assisted, fast and furious hunt for appropriate boating footwear. Mission accomplished in under 12 minutes; we are champs and the fam has great taste. And yes, we are aware that we are ridiculously lucky we are to have the kind of family that feeds us and houses us for the weekend and then buys us new shoes.

Chain O’Lakes State Park is about an hour and a half northwest of Chicago, and we really couldn’t have picked a better day for a drive. We admired our shoes and were there in no time flat. After a hike through the woods, some time acting like children on the swings, and a lunch of Ali’s amazing chicken salad and Asian apple pears, it was time to face the canoes.

Ali and I both love the water, but were less than thrilled at the perceived high probability of our canoe tipping and and flipping, fully clothed, into the muddy water. Luckily, my sister has an eagle eye and politely demanded a canoe roughly the width of a pontoon, so flipping turned out to be a non-issue.

She also turned out to be a pro navigator and the stronger paddler of the two of us, though I maintain my half-assed paddling was to take pictures. “ITS FOR THE BLOG!”

Our parents paddled along next to us and the four of us spent the next two hours canoeing up and down the banks of the river in total awe of how beautiful the scenery was, totally alone on the water with the exception of a crane and some elusive jumping fish. It was absolutely perfect in all respects: company, weather, and a new adventure, and a day I know I’ll always remember.

Ending the day with a dipped cone from Dairy Queen!

Weekend without words


Collage - grilled lamb roast   mini pepper   red wine   eye glasses

This weekend doesn’t need many words to describe it – it was all about food, wine and family – and a bit about bribing the cat to love me.  It hasn’t worked for 12 years, I don’t know why I just can’t let it go! 

We spent the weekend relaxing in a glorious manner: with our awesome family and more than a few drinks.  Though Laura was stranded in anairportwhichshallnotbenamedbecauseofthehorriblecustomerservice on Friday and didn’t make it until Saturday, the evening of her arrival we feasted on a delicious grilled lamb roast with rosemary, garlic and lemon and the spinach salad I continue to rave about!  There’s just something about sitting outside on a warm summer evening with family and good conversation we just can’t get enough of.  We hope you had an amazing weekend as well, and look forward to hearing about it!


Life Lately

Chicago Oak Street Beach Picture

Oak street beach – early morning – Friday off of work.  Enough said.

Stacked Mint and Gold Bracelets

Stacked gold and mint bracelets, so perfect for summer and that wear-everywhere lbd.

Chicago Skyline at Sunset Picture

An incredibly muggy Chicago on an amazing Sunday funday eve.

Lake Geneva Lakefront Photo

An escape to Lake Geneva with family for the Fourth of July – what could be better?

Skeleton Key Coat Hook Picture

Skeleton key coat hanger – currently storing my scarves for a chillier month.

Man in the Sea Photo

My favorite Nat Geo photo – a man, a legend, said to live in the sea, drink only seawater and eat only fish.

Summer Umbrella Photo

The perfect way to spend a hot afternoon – my sister, an umbrella and some incredible sunshine.


Happy Friday!

Beautiful photo >via

Wellllllll, another day, another dollar. Another 5 days, that is, (so $5?)  and now it’s Friday and we’re so looking forward to a relaxing weekend. We’re heading out of the city to spend the weekend with our family and we’re counting down the seconds until we can be lounging on the patio with the fam, listening to music and catching up over an oversized glass of wine.

The summer is flying and its way too easy to forget to take it all in, so we intend to make the most of this relaxing weekend – that means reading, baking some goodies for the baby bro, and lots of time in the sun.

Cheers 🙂

  • Despite TOC’s fairly skeptical review, we love this idea and will be stopping by soon to support a great cause. Panera opens a pay-what-you-can cafe in Lincoln Park
  • The coolest mani ever – Astrowifey’s CTA nails!
  • FaceMath: the only Tumblr that has even come remotely close to our love for soyeahduh
  • We’re prettyyyy pumped that Taste of Chicago is both smaller and shorter this year. While it’s still not our cup of tea, you can try Asian Carp for free if you’re headed over to Grant Park! (Major WTF on that one)
  • We could listen to Lisa Eldridge talk about pretty much anything all day long with that fabulous accent, but this video tutorial for a simple bronzed look is perfectly summery and especially worth the watch – we’ll be recreating as soon as possible!

Life Lately

There’s a very obvious theme to these photos: 1. food/drinks 2. run outside. I have just recently gotten to that elusive place where I don’t totally HATE running, but its unlikely that I’ll ever love it. That being said, looking back at all of this FOOD, maybe I’ll run a litttleeee bit farther tonight…

Oh, except its going to be 95+ the next three days. Madness!


The best bloody mary’s have a tiny beer with them – at Milwaukee Ale House for a weekend trip for J’s birthday!

Pirate bar crawl by boat – when I took a picture he said, “Don’t twitter me timbers!” Then he handed out jello shots. Amazing.

The burger that almost did me in at Cafe Benelux – so ridiculously good!

Smoked salmon benedict at Kil@wat (dumb name, awesome food)

Back in Chicago, sailboats on Lake Michigan

Belmont Harbor, my favorite place in the world

Key lime tarts for our favorite guy in the world, about to be baked

Wine on the patio for my early birthday dinner/Father’s Day celebration with the fam

Personal sauteed mushroom appetizer – this is the only photo I got of my glorious dinner (the lobster on the grill was gone way too fast!)

Lazy Sunday reading on the beach at Fullerton


Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!

We are big on traditions in our family, and tonight we’re partaking in one of our absolute FAVORITE traditions for Laura’s birthday next week – birthdays at home. A few years back we realized that birthday dinners at our parents’ place suit us much better than a dinner out; we can all hang out in comfy clothes and just catch up over drinks and great food together. This particular celebration promises to be even better than usual (we didn’t think that was possible) because we’re also celebrating Father’s Day a few days early!

We got our love of champagne from our mama, it’s the perfect weather for dining al fresco, and we don’t want to assume anything, but OFTEN times said celebrations involve seafood of some sort… so tonight promises to be pretty much the best kick-off to a weekend ever with the people we love the most! We hope yours gets off to an equally awesome start.

Some fun reads for your Friday afternoon:

Texts from My Sister: On Sunday Funday

This picture is not relevant to this post, other than me typing “sisters” into Pinterest and this coming up – I could not love it more.

L: Ridiculously proud of myself for not Sunday-Fundaying it. Celebrating my success with wine!

A: So annoyed with myself for not Sunday-Fundaying it. Mourning my failure with wine.