Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Spirit

Someone posted this on facebook and I thought I'd share it here as well. I think its such a true sentiment.

"We must not seek the child Jesus in the pretty figures of our Christmas cribs. We must seek him among the undernourished children who have gone to bed tonight without eating, among the poor newsboys who will sleep covered with newspapers in doorways." - Archbishop Oscar Romero

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

oh happy day

Hello lovelies,

Neill and I are safely in West Virgina. We arrived late last night after a long long long drive. Today we are going to make a trip to Crafts2000 to gather supplies for a project I've dreamt up. Once I've got all my ducks in a row I'll share it with you. Other than that, I don't have much to report. Now that almost everyone has gotten their Save The Date's I show our wedding website to y'all. Check it out! We designed and wrote (i.e. coded) it from scratch! neillandalisha.com

Sunday, December 20, 2009

ooo boy

oh life.

did me and gracie do it up right last night. We started out with dinner at Green Tea and then moved on to drinks at Raven's. It was so fun to go out with my girl and just have a good time! We met quite an interesting, extremely drunk man at the bar who was freaking hilarious. and he had his dog with him! a very friendly pit bull named duke. gracie also gave me the best freaking chanukah present! it had the perfect shade of blue, birds, and blue/yellow combo. seriously wonderful. After that, we went back to her lovely new apartment and kept our party of two going until 6 in the morning.

well not that late, but you get what I mean.

And now I'm wasting time on a lazy Sunday morning before I start packing to leave for WV tomorrow.

oh life feels a-o-k.

Ravens

In my book, this place deserves more than the three stars it currently has.

I went her last night after dinner at Green Tea (which I'll say makes me REALLY interesting according to Phil M, the reviewer under me) and my first impression of the bar was that it was unlike most other LP bars. I usually avoid going out to bars in Lincoln Park, but there were no Chads or Trixies to be seen here! My friend and I ordered our drinks, got a table, and enjoyed the low key grungy vibe. At some point some crazy drunk guy wandered in and asked if he could bring his dog into the bar. The bartender said "I don't give a shit" and then it was true love. I heart places that have no rules. (Although, later some lady bartender who seemed to take her job much more seriously had a shit fit about it and made them leave.) From the reviews, it seems like this place might get hella crowded after 2 when other bars in the area close down and I'm glad I wasn't around for that, because the main selling point of Raven's IMO is the lack of collared shirts and stilettos taking up space on a Saturday night.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mint Julep

I've got three words for you - accessories accessories accessories.

I didn't even pay any attention to the clothes because I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have fit me anyways, but the selection of necklaces and earrings and headbands (!!!!) was impressive. Like really impressive. And affordable. I got a beautiful, delicate necklace for about 25 bucks and a bejeweled vintage styled headband for about the same. Obviously, none of these items are "needs", but if you've got a twenty or two burning through your pocket you will have no problem spending it here!

NYC Bagel Deli

I can't believe I haven't reviewed NYC Bagel Deli yet! I've been coming here for years and I've always enjoyed my food. As others have mentioned, its a small but cheerful place. I wouldn't plan on eating there, unless you are ready to shoot daggers at people to hurry them out of their table. But, i would plan on ordering a humongous lox sandwich. I usually eat half for lunch and the other half for breakfast or lunch the next day. As others have mentioned, it isn't the cheapest place on the planet but the benefit definitely outweighs the cost IMO. Plus, having a chance to ring the big bell on the way out is worth a dollar alone :)

Ethiopian Diamond

I've always heard that Ethiopian Diamond was the best place to go for Ethiopian food in Chicago, but I always dismissed it. Well here I am publicly admitting that I was remiss. A professor took our (small) class out to lunch here the other day and I was blown away by the food. We  asked the waiter to put the platters together for us and he did a wonderful job. I wish I could tell you the name of the out of this world lamb dish we had because I think it is the best thing I've tasted in a long time.

This place is the bomb. Comfortable atmosphere. Friendly service. Huge portions. Big taste. Small price.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Asrai Garden

've had a secret love affair with asrai garden for the last few years. Just like Jessica D I would gladly live in this store. Or, even better, I would like the whole store to be transported to my apartment (for free). Because the store is just that wonderful. the design and the aesthetic of the store is exactly how I'd like my home to look, but unfortunately I'm utterly incapable of pulling it off on my own. blast my uncool genes.

anyways, when it came to wedding planning i really really really really wanted to go with asrai. i sort of knew it was the place for me because i love how the store looked and if they could just bring a little teensy bit of that to my wedding i would be blissed. so i was basically already sold, but then i met elizabeth. and i feel even harder. because she is even cooler than you would ever imagine and called someone a slutbag during our first meeting. Swoon! I'm in love!

I can't wait to see my bouquet!

Andersonville Galleria

This place is basically filled with shlock. it isn't that every single piece in this galleria is crap, but all the things that are sorta crappy or really over-priced or things that no one really needs or wants overpowers the items that are beautiful or useful or whatever. Simply put, it is stuff overload.

All that being said, this is the perfect place to go to when you are really in the mood to buy something or you are in a pinch for a gift. There is so much stuff to choose from, you will always be able to find something you "need". On my last trip, I walked in not looking for anything in particular and left with a bracelet, a Chicago t-shirt, and a pregger's lady pampering kit (a gift). Woohoo!

The White Attic

The bright blue dresser in the window of the bucktown location has always caught my eye, so I was excited to run into another location in Andersonville when I was out window shopping.

le sigh

that blue. its just perfect. tragically perfect. looking around White Attic made me want to repaint and redesign my entire apartment to center around that wonderful blue. And then, of course, I would buy all of their wonderful revamped pieces because, as others have pointed out, they are MUCH LESS expensive that crate and barrel.

So here is my official caution: don't go in here if you are prone to furniture envy. Because I was giving evil glares to my unfortunately ordinary dresser for days after visiting White Attic.

one down


One semester down and only 11 left.

Roscoe Blooms

We met with Siddanta of Roscoe Blooms about doing flowers for our wedding after he was recommended by our venue. It was a great meeting and one thing thing that I really appreciated was how much time Siddanta was willing to spend  with us. You can tell that he really cares about his work and is willing to put in the time to get to know your taste.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Maggiano's LIttle Italy

One of my classmates organized a group of us to go to Maggiano's for their family style meals last night. I'll admit I was skeptical. When I think Maggiano's, I think of the awkward bat mitzvah parties I attended when I was in 7th grade. What can I say? It was the spot to be. Anyways, since I like to think that I've made it past my 7th grade years I wasn't really sure about going here for dinner. After i got over myself, I was pleasantly surprised!

We got the classic family size meal (about 30 a person), which means we got to pick two appetizers, two salads, two pastas, two entrees, and two desserts for the table. The food is supposed to be never ending, but we didnt get to test that out because all of us were so stuffed we barely finished what was on the table. I'd have to agree with Nik B that there is nothing extraordinary about the food. It's all good and deliciously rich, but it isn't special. (side note: Not to beat down on classic american italian dishes, but I'm not really sure lasagna or baked ziti can ever really be special unless its coming out of your grandma's oven.)  My favorites of the evening were the chopped salad, fried calamari and the gnocchi.

Even though the food wasn't super special, it was nice to get to try so many different dishes and  to be able to eat family style with a group of people. Plus the service was good and the atmosphere was perfect for a celebratory group.

With some beer and two bottles of wine, at the end of the night the bill came to about 50 bucks per person. Not cheap. Not outrageous. It felt just right.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mexique

While my rave review of brunch at Mexique still stands, I was seriously underwhelmed by their dinner service. Honestly, problems started days before we even had our meal - with our reservations. We called on a Tuesday for Saturday reservations and they said the ONLY time they could seat our party of 5 was at 5:00 o'clock. Um. Okay. My mom really wanted her sister to try the place so she took it. The problem? The restaurant was still half empty when we left.

Anyways, we were all very excited to try the food after our great experience and brunch and after reading all of the wonderful reviews on yelp. And don't get me wrong, the food was okay. But, it was just okay.

In general, I found the appetizers to be much more exciting than the entrees. We tried the trio of sopes, the french onion soup, the ceviche, and the chicken tinga. The ceviche and the onion soup were both good, but the chicken came out a bit cold. The trio of sopes was presented beautifully and was delicious. While the appetizers had lots of flavor, I found the entrees to be bland. I had the asada and my steak was flavorless and cold, the pork roast was overpowered by the sweet potato mash, and the tilapia was also bland. I will say, however, my fiance's chicken dish was very flavorful and I would recommend it.

We also had dessert. We tried the creme brulee (good), the apple tart, (yum), and the guac cream. My aunt really loved the guacamole cream, but it tasted too much like straight avocado for my sugar loving taste buds.

Anyways, if you're still with me - mazel. The moral of the story: eat here for brunch. eat somewhere else for dinner.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Married (Happily) With Issues

Devin sent this article to me over the weekend. How that girl has time to read the NYT, I'll never know.

I think my favorite line from the whole article is right on the very first page -

"I’ve never really believed that you just marry one day at the altar or before a justice of the peace. I believe that you become married — truly married — slowly, over time, through all the road-rage incidents and precolonoscopy enemas, all the small and large moments that you never expected to happen and certainly didn’t plan to endure. But then you do: you endure."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

bad week

oh man I couldn't be happier that the week is over. as my classmates heard me endlessly bitching about, i stuffed about 2,000 envelopes for the new research project my lab is starting. it sucked. big time. partly because i'm a complainer and partly because it really did just suck. by yesterday afternoon, i was feeling so overwhelmed and unmotivated that dreadful, pessimistic voice kept popping into my head to ask me all sorts of annoying questions.

why am i doing this?

what is the point of all this?

is all of this shit really worth it?

And then it started to feel like maybe it wasn't worth it. and maybe there really is no point. and maybe there are no good reasons for me to devote countless hours to this program.

and let me tell you, those are not good thoughts to be having during finals.

anyways, i went home and spent a few hours being in a funk. and then i made some jambalaya (paula dean's recipe). and that felt good. because i haven't cooked in forever and it felt nice to make something for neill and myself. and then i woke up this morning feeling rejuvenated and refreshed and recommitted. and that also feels nice. and now i'm going to study for statistics and psychopathology and that also is going to feel good in that annoying way.

things are much better today. thank god. because i didn't want to spend all day moping around the apartment.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Grey's Anatomy

I would just like to apologize to you for all those times I silently (or not so silently) rolled my eyes at Grey's Anatomy.

Because

I am addicted. Like. really addicted.

I can't stop watching it. I caught it on t.v a few times and was pleasantly surprised. So, I got my hands on all the episodes and I can't stop. I have *so* much work to do, and instead of actually being productive I sat here all night and watched episode after episode. Its just so wonderfully delicious. I would be watching it right now if Neill hadn't taken the rest of the episodes and hid them. At the time I asked him to do this, I was thinking it would help be get work done. But, now I'm seriously regretting this. All I want is to find out what happens between Christina and Burke. (AND DON'T YOU DARE TELL ME).

I think I just watched one of the best episodes of the show (so far), when Christina finally comes clean to the Chief about PB's hand. It was. so. good.

Anyways, I know I'm like 5 years late to the Grey's Anatomy fan club, but better late than never, right?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my lovelies! I'm currently in Indianapolis at Neill's Uncle's house. Almost all of his family on his mothers side is here and it is one big Jamaican love fest. This morning I had a traditional Jamaican breakfast for the first time (ackee and salt fish, callaloo, johnny cake, fried breadfruit, and plantain fritters). Later there is going to be fried Turkey and a Turducken. I couldn't be happier! I hope you are enjoying yourself and eating yummy food too!

xoxo
alisha

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Some kinds of love

I know I was supposed to prepare a fabulous pyrex post, but I lost all motivation when I realized that shipping on these babies would cost a fortune. boo. No wonderful blue pyrex for me.

On a happy note, I'm turning in my big paper today at noon! Yay! I'm so glad to be done with that thing. I've then got class until 3:30 and lab meeting until 5ish and then . . . freedom. Well, technical freedom. I may have to go into loyola on Wednesday just to wrap up some stuff. I'm hoping to be able to take care of it all from home though.

Anyhoo, my classmates and I want to go out to celebrate tonight! I was thinking dollar burgers at Bar Louie, but does anyone else have a better idea? Also, would anyone else be interested in celebrating with us? text for yes!

xoxoxo

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pyrex - Another blue obsession

pyrex baking dishes with lids

vintage pyrex casserole dishes

vintage pyrex mixing bowls

omg and they match the baking dishes above. my brain may have just exploded with cuteness and need.

trolling etsy there are a ton of blue pyrex/snowflake themes themed pieces. I have to run out of the house in 10 minutes or else I would keep looking....but this will officially be my project for the weekend. Put together a wish list of pyrex. im giddy just thinking about it!

the perfect blue!

Because I'm a crazy person and slightly obsessed I get out of this world excited when I see my perfect vintage robins egg blue out and about. Unfortunately, I usually see it out and about on-line -- not, out and about in person. But, I have myself to blame for that. I don't expect Loyola to bring in beautiful pieces such as this on a daily basis (or ever really).

Let's all just take a moment to swoon over how amazingly perfect this is.


[picture from weddingbee, of course.]

I'm in love.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fogo de Chao

Fogo de Chao never disappoints. They have mastered the dynamic combination of classy ambiance, attentive service, and mouthwatering meat. I should say though, it isn't only the meat that is out of this world. I love the mashed potatoes and plantains that get constantly refreshed at your table and the cheeses and what not at the salad bar. The only downside I see to Fogo de Chao is that you can only eat so much. After a while, all the red meat goes to your head so while you want to keep going, you just can't.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

the most beautiful



These flowers will be mine. They are too beautiful to not have them - particularly those sweet, delicate white flowers with the yellow center. oh my. I could stare at these pictures for hours. And maybe I have been. So what?

Monday, November 16, 2009

bridesmaid dresses

I can barely get myself dressed in the morning (and I do mean barely). So, I have no idea how I'm supposed to pick out clothes for other people. Particularly other people who happens to include my always stylish and well dressed maid of honor, Grace. But I guess jokes on them, right? Nah. Grace doesn't know this yet, but most likely she will be put in charge of picking out the dresses. Since I'm having such a small bridal party (just Gracie and Cathy), I'm thinking that it would look better if they wore different dresses. Right? I haven't totally made up my mind, but that is the way I'm leaning. I'm also not sure what color I'd like. I've got it narrowing down to blue, yellow, brown, or a light cream/champagne. I could also go pattern if we found something super cute, but we'll see. I was trolling nordstrom.com yesterday and these are two pretty blue dresses I found. I love the color, except it isn't the right color for our wedding (don't worry, I won't bore you with a paragraph on the difference between my dusty robins egg blue and this rich nile blue). Suffice it to say, robins egg blue dresses that have the perfect vintage vibe to them and don't look easter and pastely at all are incredibly difficult to come by. Have you seen any great blue/gray dresses lately?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

fears

what's been on my mind lately?

rain.

besides the normal school life whatever worries, i'm starting to get really nervous it is going to rain on our wedding day.

The inside of Volo is very cute and cozy, but we fell in love with the outside courtyard and it would just be a shame to not be able to enjoy that space. Plus, that is where we are planning to get married. I seriously have *no* idea what we will do if it is raining. If the weather is bad there is a tent they can put up that covers the courtyard, but even if people are protected from the rain they won't be protected from the cold/humidity/whatever mother nature decides to curse us with.

There is also the problem of numbers. Everyone just won't be able to fit inside. It is that simple. Eeek.

June is usually a beautiful month, but do you remember last June?!?! Not so beautiful. More cold and rainy. So, I need everyone to start praying now for good weather on June 12th. 7 months of prayers should be enough to keep the sun out, right?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Most Played

What are your 10 most played songs on itunes?

Mine are:
1. Baby Phat (43)
2. Cherry Blossom Girl (40)
3. Suck My Dick (31)
4. Soldier (31)
5. Gimme The Light (29)
6. What's Your Fantasy (28)
7. Sex, Love, and Money (28)
8. ICU (28)
9. Thank God Its Friday (28)
10. My Neck, My Back (27)

Tweet

I don't know why everyone is raving about their damn fruit cups as if you go out to brunch to eat a dainty portion of fruit. riiiiight. the main delicious highlights are the larger than life servings, complimentary slivers of coffee cake on the table, strong coffee, and CRUNCHY BUTTERY OMG HASH BROWNS. And you know what?? you get toast AND hash browns AND bacon with your eggs. none of this either or bull shit.

Next time I go, I won't be tempted by the lox and cream cheese scramble and I'll order what I really want - the quiche. a friend at the table got it and boy was that a huge platter of food.

The only downside? Toast has spoiled all brunches for me and I can't help thinking the food just wasn't as good.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

sadness

it makes me sad that i don't blog anymore :(

Yesterday Neill and I had dinner with Froilan at Demera - an Ethiopian restaurant right off the Lawrence Red Line Stop. It was delicious and wonderful to catch up with Fro. Although, it did make me miss NRS a ton. One of the best things about that job was how much I just got to hang out with people. An the fact that I liked most of the people there - pure miracle. Or, another way to say it in stats language, I liked significantly more people at NRS than you would expect by chance a lone (p < .01). teehee.

Tonight, my classmates and I are going to see the Bulls game. I'm super excited because I've never ever ever in my life seen a Bulls Game. I'm guessing the novelty will wear off in oh 5 minutes or so, but whatever. I'm going to try to have fun!

Unfortunately, I have a hard time having fun when all I can think about is how much work I have. I'm inevitably going to spend all of Friday night (I've got to get a rough draft of the MPA abstract done!) and all of Saturday working so that I can hit the town on Saturday night. What are you doing for halloween? I'm trying to rally you to go to boys town and dance dance dance dance. Puh-lease.

Other big news? There is none. Peace.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

fml

i woke up today at 6 am to grade papers.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Vines On Clark

This place is an a-ok spot to to come for dinner on a friday when you are living on a graduate student budget. Their pizzas are actually pretty tasty and they make them square so the seem just a tiny bit hip. I'd particularly recommend the artichoke and goat cheese pizza. One down side is that they have premade topping combos and I'm not sure if you can switch things around or create your own. So this may not be the place to go if you just want slice of za with pepperoni. They also had 5 dollar effen black cherry vodka and 3 dollar coors.

Like I said - this place is just a ok. Big. Cavernous. Low on atmosphere. But 6 dollar pizzas? That's a winning deal. if only I hadn't spent all the money I saved and then some on cabs getting there and back . .

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

quickie

so i just had to share one little way in which i feel like my classmates and i are perhaps not from the same planet.

i put my gmail status as "no bra with that blouse is so necessary" and two people from my class asked me who wasn't wearing a bra that should have been. On the other hand, erica immediately gchats me with "no panties in jeans is so necessary".

::sigh::

thank god for friends like erica :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

stay punk

After the excitement of getting our engagement picture preview from Alix, the rest of the week was pretty blah. I had a lot of long days this week and there is just no way around how much that sucks. I am thankful for three things though:

1. my new phone has some addicting games that make my hour long commute much more bearable. (on the down side, I'm no longer using my train time productively to get reading done. Ooops.)

2. yesterday, while waiting for the north avenue bus, someone was standing too close to the curb and a car, speeding down the shoulder, ran through the huge nasty dirty rain water puddle that had accumulated (because apparently chicago streets just accumulate water instead of draining) and COMPLETELY soaked the front of that dude's clothes. It sucked . . .for him. Anyways, I'm not thankful for that happening to him. But, I am thankful that it didn't happen to me!

3. Neill. I've just got to give a shout out to Neill for being so wonderful this week. He really went above and beyond to make sure there was dinner on the table and I had food to bring for lunch. I heart him because without his help, I would have definitely been surviving on pickle sandwiches and poptarts out of the vending machines. Instead I got to have yummy homemade fried rice, yummy homemade casserole, delicious chicken tortilla soup, and homemade bread pudding! Don't forget to wish him a happy birthday on November 2nd- which is fast approaching!

I also have a nerdy story to share with you. I'm in the process of putting together a project to present at MPA. And it is sooooo fun! Way more fun than classes and homework and all the other crap I have to do. I'm actually self motivated to work on this! And its cool that I have the chance to do that and actually get paid (pennies) for it! Today I'm going to pull out my old notebook from college to relearn moderational analysis and get to work. I'm pumped! Once I have the results I'll share the project with you because I know that you guys will want to be the first to know! Unfortunately, it isn't on anything juicy like SEX - but it is still interesting. Actually, you can check out my lab's website here. It sounds more boring than it actually is - promise.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Engagement Pictures

We've been blogged!

I can't say enough good things about our photographer, Alix Klingenberg. She was amazing to work with and Neill and I couldn't be happier with how the photos turned out.

Check out the teaser pics she posted to her blog here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sweet Silence

I'm sitting on the couch right now in complete silence enjoying my free time. I just finished outlining an article on psychometrics, which technically doesn't have to be done until Monday so I am feeling ahead of the game. Earlier today I took my second test of graduate school - a psychopathology midterm. Last week my professor gave us a list of 10 questions that she would pick our 4 question exam from. Since then, I've spent more time than I'd like to admit pouring over my notes and readings to put together (what I think turned out to be) some awesome responses. Then last night I rewrote all the key points of my responses just to make sure that all of the details were singed on my brain. This morning, I went in and wrote my little heart out for two and half hours and then I was done. Next time, I will use a lap top because by the end of the test my hand was seriously cramping up. I was shooting for an A on this way so I have my fingers crossed.

Even though I still have a ton of work to do, I have less than I had so it suddenly feels very relaxed. Yippee for that! If I wasn't sitting here enjoying my free time, I'd be looking at a data set trying to get some stuff together for a possible poster presentation at MPA. Or I would be reading the other articles on psychometrics that I have to read for Monday. Or I would read the book chapters I was supposed to have read for tomorrow but decided to skip.

sigh

I'm not even going to worry about it. I'd rather watch porn.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Peanut Butter & Co

I was watching a show about sandwiches on the food network today, avoiding work, and a wonderful peanut butter heaven was featured - Peanut Butter & Co. The shtick is that all of the sandwiches offered are based on the lovable classic--PB & J.

Here is their everyday menu:

Lunchbox Special
Our freshly ground peanut butter, spread thick over a layer of strawberry or grape jam. For something different, try it with raspberry or apricot preserves. Either way, it's everybody's favorite.

The Fluffernutter®
Remember this recipe? Freshly ground peanut butter on one side and gobs of Marshmallow Fluff® spread on the other. It's heaven.


Peanut Butter Cup
Our freshly ground peanut butter, kissed by a chocolately layer of Nutella. Who hasn't craved this one before?

The Elvis
A grilled peanut Butter sandwich, stuffed with bananas and honey. Try it with bacon for that extra indulgence. Long live the King!

Peanut Butter BLT
We use fresh cut bacon and toasted bread to give this sandwich great flavor and texture.


Peanut Butter Club
Double your pleasure and enjoy two layers of peanut butter and two layers of jelly between three slices of toasted bread.

Ants on a Log
Memories of kindergarten will come flooding back as you munch on freshly cut celery sticks, stuffed with smooth or crunchy peanut butter, topped with raisins.

Flavored Peanut Butter Sandwiches

The Heat Is On™ Sandwich
Spicy Peanut Butter and chilled grilled chicken, with a little bit of pineapple jam. Like a Thai satay - only better.

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl™ Sandwich
Cinnamon-Raisin Peanut Butter and vanilla cream cheese, stuffed with crisp apple slices. Cr-runch!


White Chocolate Wonderful™ Sandwich
White Chocolate Peanut Butter and orange marmalade. Like a peanutty creamsicle.

Dark Chocolate Dreams™ Sandwich
Chocolate Peanut Butter and cherry jam, stuffed with shredded coconut. It's peanut butter meets black forest cake.

Peanut Butter Sampler
A sampling of our freshly ground peanut butters, served with melba toast and freshly cut carrots, celery, and apple slices. It's crudite our way!


I've bolded the ones that sound the most scrumptious to me. nom nom nom. Picking one was too hard! What are your favorites? Which one would you order?


p.s-is it insane that I am now started planning a fantasy trip to NY based solely on the wonderful places I want to eat?
p.p.s-after watching this show I ate 2 spoonfuls of peanut butter.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

first of the month . . . belated

Sadly, I missed my opportunity to blast Bone Thugs' First of the Month on the actual first day of October. But, that doesn't mean I can't do the same thing on October 3rd! I think the sentiment still stands.


Yeah we havin' a celebration, I love to stay high
And you better believe when it's time to grind
I'm down for mine crime after crime
Fin to creep to the pad cause mom's got grub on the grill
If we got the food, you know it's the 1st of the month
and my ***** we chills foe real

How is October going for you?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

gotta have it

I'm taking some much needed down time tonight. Neill and I went out for mexican food, watched the new house episode, and now I'm catching up on a week's worth of wedding porn. While perusing weddingbee I came across this picture, taken by Laurie Peacock Photography for a wedding that happened right here in Chicago.




Look at those earrings! swoon. They are made out of vintage chandelier crystal by Precious Meshes. And there is a matching necklace!!! oh my.

i want these sooooooooo bad. But unfortunately the life of a graduate student doesn't include the luxury of randomly dropping 60 bucks on a pair of earrings or a necklace. but, these beauties might definitely end up on a holiday wish list :)

what do you think? are the earring worth a splurge? What about the necklace?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

winter blues

Is it really here? The cold and wet and windy and dreary awful time of year?

Yesterday, there was no sun beams to be found. just wind. cold wind that found its way through my sweater and gave me the chills. While waiting for the train, i fantasized about having a pumpkin spice latte to keep me warm.

How can the cold weather be here already???? I am so not ready for this! My seasonal depression is already coming out. boo.

How do you plan to make it through this winter?

Monday, September 28, 2009

believe in me

my my my it seems im quite tardy for the party

What has been going on with me?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Zara (@ Old Orchard Mall)

I was out in Skokie shopping with my beau when we spotted Zara. We hadn't been in once since we spent way too much money at Zara in Brussels so we decided to check it out. I found this super cute vintage inspired white dress that I immediately wanted to own. Looking through the sizes, all I found were smalls and mediums. Net yet giving up, I asked a sales associate if they had any larges in the back. She was kind enough to inform me that the dress only came in small or medium, but that the medium is meant to be like a one size fits all. Riiiiight. Like a sucker I decided to try it on just to see if maybe I could possibly fit into it. No such luck. Ugh.

Damn you Zara for thinking it is okay to not make clothes in a fair range of sizes. I understand that not all business can make XXS to XXXXXL. But come on, large is in the range of normal here. I'm not some beluga whale. bech. down with skinny bitches (and the stores that cater to them)

American Eagle

1000 W North Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622

stepping foot into american eagle makes me feel old old old. And i'm only 23. I'm pretty sure they should have a sign on their door prohibiting anyone older than 18 (maaaaybe 19) from entering their store. but, they don't - so I went in.

honestly, I've never been a big fan. But, I will admit, they sometimes have some cute stuff on sale. Like yesterday, when I bought this cute navy and white flowered dress for 15 bucks. Am i actually going to wear it? irrelevant! It was only 15 bucks!

This AE location is somewhat more obnoxious than other stores I've been into because of the high percentage of giggly suburban girls and dumb suburban boys. yes people - these stereotypes exist and they congregate at american eagle store at old orchard. But, if you can lower your self respect long enough to check out the sale rack, you might find something you like.

The Bagle Restaurant and Deli (At Old Orchard Mall)

The bagel just feels like home. Sure, maybe sometimes it takes way too long to get that soda you ordered, but how can you complain when you can munch on all the pickles you want? Plus, they have my go to jewish deli sandwich - corned beef with chopped liver. nom nom nom. and man do they pile that meet high.

Forget about going shopping and trying to squeeze into those skinny jeans - have a big old comforting meal at the deli instead! And even though you will be super stuffed, buy some cool tasty treats on the way out. Try the chocolate covered pretzel sticks and marshmallows. You can eat them on the way home and thank me later :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sher-A-Punjab Indian Restaurant

My fiance swears by this place so I've been here a few times. Last night we were craving some deliciousness, so we made the drive up north to Devon Ave. As we were walking to Sher-A-Punjab I saw all these other fantastic buffet places and I felt they were calling to me. But no....Sher-A-Punjab it is.

And boy was it.

I filled my plate, sat, down, and took spoonful after spoonful of deliciousness. Sopping up all the curry with the naan. I didn't try any of the tandoori chicken, but my fiance ate it all! I might have filled my plate more than once, but we don't have to go into that here :)

Oh, and I had the little dessert balls to top everything off. Honestly, I've got no idea what these are. They taste like donutholes that have been soaking in a honey mixture. Texturally, they are mushy and wet. Taste wise? Sweet tooth heaven.

Sher-A-Punjab is definitely worth trying. If you don't like it, no biggie. You'll only be out 10 bucks. But if you do like it, nom nom nom nom. You have so much to gain! (in pounds that is)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bacci's Pizza

Bacci's pizza is the cream of the crop when it comes to stress eating. If you have had a bad day, drive yourself to bacci and order yourself a big old piece of whatever your vice is. Personally, I prefer the peperoni. Then, take advantage of your FREE soda. Go all out and get a REAL soda. Then, drive yourself home, change into pants with an elastic waist*, sit down in front of the tv, and then smash that piece of pizza. don't stop chewing until its all gone. If you follow these directions exactly, I promise you that all of your stress will be gone by the time you finish that slice.

*if you wore your eating pants out of the house, more power to you. you probably won't mind stuffing your face in public either.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

J Crew - Wedding Dress Shopping

this review is for my experience shopping for a wedding dress at J.Crew

As Risa P noted, this is the only location in Chicago that carries anything bridal. Also, they only carry size 8 samples. If you make an appointment at least a week in advance they will order in the dresses that you would like to try on in your size. This is definitely a nice thing, but it also means that you better know exactly what you want to try on. If you don't tell them to get it in your size, then you'll be sol. I should have told them more dresses than just the few I mentioned. Even if you don't think a certain dress will work, it is nice to try on different styles of dresses. Plus, if you are going to make the trip downtown it might as well be worth your time.

If you are coming here for bridal you also just have to be prepared that you will be treated basically like any other customer. They assigned me a "wedding specialist" to work with, but she was also assisting a few other dressing rooms. Sorta awkward when you need someone to zip up a dress or something.

Oh yes, and about those other dressing rooms. There is a chance that they will will be filled with annoying teens that have too much money for their own good. And you will share the mirror with them. And that is also just a bit weird.

My last disappointment was with some of the dresses. The silk dresses they have are basically the most unflattering thing I've ever put on my body. They will show every lump or bump or jiggle you have. They aren't necessarily bad for curves...but they are bad for somewhat untoned or uneven curves. I did really like one of the taffeta dresses though, only to find out that the dress was sold out. That was sort of a bummer. But, they will put you on a "wish list" so that if one in your size is returned you could purchase it. Down side of that? Once it becomes available they will charge your card immediately and send you the dress without asking. So, you have to be super committed to it.

I guess I'm glad I came here. If I didn't, I'd probably always wonder. But, it wouldn't necessarily be something I'd recommend to everyone.

Sukkat Shalom Congregation

Rabbi Ari Moffic, of Sukkat Shalom, is officiating at my wedding. Since my fiance and I aren't members of a temple, she let us know that we could get tickets to Sukkat Shalom's high holy day services by contacting the executive director. Since they don't sell their tickets, like most temples, they do ask for a donation in exchange for the tickets. But, giving what you can seems much more reasonable than being asked to pay a set price. (I don't even want to get started at why temples sell tickets for services on the holiest holidays . . .seems so . . . not right).

Anyhoo, we went to their Rosh Hashanah service this past Saturday and over all we had a positive experience. For some reason, I was expecting it to be more of a diverse congregation and so I was really disappointed to see that my fiance was the only nonwhite person in the room. In terms of looking for a congregation to join, that is a major issue for us. But, I guess they are diverse in that they are very accepting of interfaith families. I guess it just depends what sort of diversity is most important to you.

But, over all, the service was very nice. The rabbi gave an interesting sermon on biblical and modern parent child relationships. He used the example of Paul in Chorus Line. While he didn't come right out and argue for gay rights, there was definitely a message that parents should accept their children no matter their sexual orientation. I definitely appreciated that. There was lots of music and the shofar blower was awesome.

Bucktown Wicker Park Chabad Jewish Center

Chabad in Wicker Park has the *best* synagogue advertisements and pamphlets EVER. They are so slick and funny...they seriously do an excellent job of targeting people like me. Young, jewish and no where to go for the high holidays.

Last year, attracted by the signs I saw advertising their services, I decided to check it out for  the kol nidrei service. Let's just say I was beyond surprised at how orthodox the service was! They separated men and women, there was dovening, almost everything said was in hebrew. I had no idea it was going to be like that! I was expecting young, hip, and relaxed so I felt a bit uncomfortable.

All that being said, they are very welcoming and no one seemed to care that I came wearing jeans. That is always a plus in my book. I would even probably do services here again as it is convenient and simple. But, in my opinion, this isn't really the ideal place for an interfaith couple. Someone who didn't already have some understanding of what was going on and then had to sit separated from their jewish partner might be very bored/uncomfortable.

Monday, September 21, 2009

fashion. turn to the left.

of all the things going on right now, like my first test of graduate school that just happens to be in statistics going down tomorrow or getting ready to juggle jayson and lindsey coming to stay with us and preparing for midterms, you know what is stressing me out the most right now?

what i'm going to wear.

on my wedding day.

many months away.

specifically, 263 days away.

ever since a certain favorite someone found her beautifully wonderful dress, I've felt a bit more motivated to find mine. I suddenly feel like time is running out! It was one of those things that I really wanted to try and force myself to do over the summer, but I just could not get my act together.

It's just so overwhelming!

And, I don't even really love shopping. And, let's face it, I don't want to spend the money. I've always been a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. the pull on whatever is on the floor and run out the door sort of dresser. i don't really do the whole outfit thing. and while i can certainly drop a pretty penny on wonderful cotton t-shirts that shouldn't cost 30 bucks or a pair of jeans that i really like that probably aren't worth the 60 bucks I'm willing to pay for them, looking well dressed just isn't something that is on the forefront of my mind on a daily basis. But, obviously, on my wedding day it is a bit of a different story.

I'd like to look nice.
duh.

but why is it so difficult? for any other occasion I would never ever ever ever ever buy a dress that cost more than 100 bucks. In fact, the last time I bought a formal dress was my sophomore year in college. I think that was the last time I bought my only pair of heals too. That is now 4 years ago. Given this, it is just sooooo bizarre to go to a store and try on these dresses and then think of plopping down hundreds if not thousands of dollars on a dress that I will wear once. It is just sooooooo not like me.

anyways, in my dress anxiety delirium I forced my self to go to j.crew and try on some of their dresses this past sunday. I want to write about some of the horrors of that experience on yelp so keep an eye out for that. but, I did find one lovely dress that was just so wonderfully effortlessly comfortable. (yes, being comfortable always has been and always will be top priority for me)



but then after I tried it on and I told my little helper elf I liked it, she let me know it was sold out. oh. gee. thanks. But whatever, it's 1500 dollars so it happens to be about 1300 dollars more than what I would like to spend. but im still pissed.

If you are still with me right now, you are super fabulous and I thank you. I know everything will be fine. Neill promises to marry me even if I show up in comfy pants so that is somewhat of a relief. It is just frustrating. I wanted a relaxed casual wedding so that I could wear a cheap white sundress from the gap. but for some reason i'm just not feeling brave enough to go that route right now.

le sigh.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

oh so true

i hope i'm not the only one who still reads postsecret :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

VMAs x2

I watched Jay-Z and Alicia Key's VMA performance and youtube tonight. That was freaking awesome! I heart Jay Z and Alicia Key's voice was spot on. But why was lil mama up there all randomly at the end like she had done something?

Also, after that, I watched beyonce's performance and was reminded how annoying that sound got. It is like Sexy Back. Great song...just sooooo overplayed. I also feel as though, even though my love for beyonce is not secret like erica's, she needs to decide if she is going to be a singer or a dancer. because obviously she can't really do both at the same time. and perhaps she should wear a leotard with a little but more coverage in the vajayjay?

Jenny Yoo - Bridal

I had a really positive experience at Jenny Yoo last week trying on dresses. Jenny Yoo has affordable wedding dresses that are minimalistic (in a good way) and comfortable. I was attracted to a lot of the chiffon dresses and they were just as light and airy as they looked online! You have to make an appointment to try and dresses so you get the whole show room to yourself. Diana is very laid back and just sort of let me do my thing, while offering helpful comments and questions when appropriate. I really really liked a strapless dress I tried on, but I feel like I need to try on a few more dresses before making a final decision. Its so hard to decide when you can't try on the right size/color combo!

As others mentioned, they also have beautiful bridesmaid dresses. But, while the dressings are inexpensive in comparison to other stores the bridesmaid dresses were a bit more money then I would ask my ladies to spend.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

VMAs

I know I'm late on this, but what the fuck is wrong with kanye? Sure, when Taylor Swift was up there accepting the award I was thinking to myself "Who the fuck is Taylor Swift??" and "What song is this??", but damn....Kanye crossed the line.

Also, the host was only like 15% funny.

What did you think?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

morning time

sipping coffee and trying to coax my eyes to open.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

rainbows in the dark

last night, some of my classmates and myself checked out piece for some pizza and beer. I happily sipped on flat iron stout before switching to tall boys of strongbow. By the time we sat down and got our pizza, i was full from all the liquid! Of course, I didn't let that stop me from munching on a few pieces of spinach + black olive pizza. nom nom nom. I'm so relieved we all get along. It is quite a relief! Plus, Neill seemed to really hit it off with Daniel (the one boy in our class) and Mike (Edn'a bf). They were yapping away all night and I practically had to tear Neill away from them to go home. I heart my friendly hubby :)

Yesterday, I also stopped by Jenny Yoo to try on some dresses. Out of all of the dresses I tried on, this one was my favorite. But, I'm not sure if the design would be unflattering on me. Maybe it emphasizes the midsection too much? It was hard to tell because I was trying on dresses that were a size too small. I also liked this one. The thing I really liked about all of the dresses I tried on was how light they were! There was no crinoline and the lining was very comfortable. Also, they weren't heavy so it was easy to walk around. They just felt much more wearable than the other dresses I tried on at David's Bridal. Anyhoo, they are having some event at Lumen which sounds totally not my scene, but just for attending you get a 10% discount on anything you might buy. I'm not so sure if it is worth it yet, but I'm thinking about it. We shall see we shall see. I've got a few more places to visit before I make a decision :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Chipotle (Rogers Park)

6600 N Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60661

So who in their right gets excited about going to chipotle at 7 o'clock on a Thursday to have a beer? Graduate students. Sad but true. After a particularly long day of classes, some of my fellow students and I desperately needed to unwind. Enter chipotle. Not only was I craving one of their burrito bols (who isn't?), but we all decided we needed a drink. Now, normal people would have gone to a bar. Or like a bar grill. But, we went to chipotle. And drank in their "beer garden" . . . which is really just a patio on Sheridan Ave. It was pretty awesome, I'm not going to lie.

if wednesday is hump day

than what is it called when thursday sucks?

I think god for these simple things:
+chipotle serves beer
+banana flavored ben and jerry's
+neill stocking the fridge with beer I like
+cuddling
+the police women of broward county

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hump Day

Wednesday = Hump Day.

This is the day when you can find me muttering to myself, "if I can just make it through today everything will be okay". And this is very true. My weeks tend to be heavily front loaded. Tuesday may be the toughest. Statistics for two and a half hours followed up very quickly be a lab meeting. My mind is already mush after stats so it is a real fight to stay alert at lab meeting, which yesterday didn't end until 5:30. And then I had to finish grading papers before I could go home. Poo. This aint no 9 to 5.

Thursdays are a bit rough too - an assessment workshop where we learn how to use different intelligence and personality tests and then right after Intro to the Profession of Clinical Psychology. Both of those classes are a bit laid back, so it is not so much mind numbing as hunger inducing. If you don't bring your lunch, you are screwed. Unless you are one of those skinny bitches that can go for hours without eating.

This Thursday, I'm adding one more thing to that string of events and heading over to the Wellness Center right after class to try and observe an intake session. I'm pretty pumped about it because there is only so much you can understand from reading about clinical interviewing.

Fridays are probably the best, because I have no class. Yep. I'm lucky. Every other week I have a brown bag I have to go to between 12 and 1, but other than that no standing meetings. Just lots of time to catch up on the reading :)

Mondays aren't awful, except for the fact that they are Mondays. I have the lecture portion of assessment for two and a half hours. And that's it. Why do they suck? I always have hours and hours of reading to do for that class.

It's interesting, class doesn't really take up too much time. Its the work they give you outside of it that is the tough part. Last night I think I read about 100 pages in a text book, 3 journal articles, and then researched the controversy of psychologists and torture for a class presentation I have to give on Thursday. Monday, I spent waaaay too many hours grading. That was mind numbing. For lab next Tuesday I have to prepare synopsis of the literature on two methodological issues. I don't even know how to go about doing that. shhhh. All I know is that is will for sure take about 20+hours.

Anyhoo, I didn't intend to turn this into a rant. The overall message is supposed to be positive. If you can make it through hump day, then everything will be okay.

Monday, September 7, 2009

corn and kale

Farmer John's Corn and Kale Salad
Serves 4 to 6

2 quarts water
4 ears sweet corn
1 large bunch kale, stems removed (about 1 pound)
2 teaspoons salt
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 small sweet onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1.5 teaspoons cajun spice seasoning*

1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot; add the ears of corn. Turn off the heat and let the corn cook in the hot water for 5 minutes. Set the ears aside and reserve the cooking water. When the corn is cool, slice the kernels from the cobs.

2. Return the corn water to a boil and add the kale and 2 teaspoons salt; cook until kale is just tender and still bright green, about 5 minutes. Transfer the kale to a colander to drain and cool. When the kale is cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess liquid with your hands and then finely chop.

3. Toss the kale with the remaining ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Season with salt to taste.

*If you don't have a cajun seasoning mix, you can make your own by combining 1/4 teaspoon salt and a big pinch of each of the following: cayenne pepper, freshly ground black pepper, dry mustard, crushed fennel seeds, and dried thyme.

I just spent an hour making this salad. You should too - it is delicious.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

never pay full price

I don't know if I'm late to the party, but I stumbled upon this great website - retailmenot.com. The basic idea? Never pay full price! i can get down with that! I found it when looking for promo codes to use for restaurant.com. I also heard somewhere that J Crew offers a little publicized student discount of 10 or 15%. That could very well be internet gossip, but retailmenot.com and restaurant.com are the real deal. (pun intended)

What are your favorite websites to find great deals?

So graduate school . . .

There are 6 people in my class total, including myself. Let me introduce the players.

1. There is me. We all know me.
2. There is Edna, who I actually knew prior to this because she volunteered at NRS.
3. There is Daniel. He is from California and has that west coast nice guy vibe
4. There is Devin. She is from the D.C. area and went to Emory.
5. There is Amanda. She went to undergrad at Loyola.
6. There is Lea. She is from boston and moved to Chicago a year ago because her husband is at Northwestern's medical school.

6 people. We have every single class with each other. And no one else. (well in one class, there is some random social psych kid).

As you might imagine, there is a lot of pressure to get along. And to have these other people like you.

And I'm pretty sure everyone already thinks I'm weird. ::sigh::

Not weird in the smelly girl who has a tick and talks about power rangers. Not that weird. Just a little weird.

And if they are reading this, which I don't know why they would be, they will think I'm even weirder.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

weekly problems

Wednesday night....9 pm....what is a girl to watch? Top Chef or Real World? Ugh. It is so hard to choose!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

yipeeee

Happy 4 year anniversary to US! What a wonderful wonderful wonderful life! By this time next year we will be husband and wife and I will be Mrs. Miller!

Neill, you truly are a wonderful man and I feel so lucky to have you in my life. Thanks for everything.

love,
alisha

Monday, August 31, 2009

again?

i'm at school...again? funny how that happens.

I made it all the way to the bus stop this morning before realizing that I had left not only my chicago card but also my upass at home. pay cash or run back home to pick them up? running (and praying that I wouldn't be late) it is. now would be a good time to mention how annoying it is to carry a book bag. once i finally got on the bus i was in such a fowl mood, i put my bag on the seat next to me and glared down incoming passengers. i dare you to try and sit here. i double dog dare you. then i started to feel bad when an old lady came on, so i moved it. she did not sit next to me. sniff. whatever.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

La Cocina de Frida

So I pretty much love mexican food. And I pretty much believe that it is hard to go wrong with mexican food. I'll take la pasadita late on a saturday night or el tapatio for dinner. Its all deliciously wonderful. and this probably biases my review...so I thought I should be upfront about that.

My mom wanted to take my out to celebrate my first week of graduate school and we decided to check out La Cocina de Frida. She has been here a bunch but I'd never been. It has been on my radar for a while, but I just never had a reason to travel so far up north for food. Now that I'm going to Loyola, it is much more convenient :) Anyways...thats just the back story that you probably don't care a whole lot about. Let me get down to the nitty gritty.

+We ordered the nachos w/ chorizo on an indulgent whim. While we immediately regretted the order, I actually enjoyed them the most. I don't know if it was just because I was ravished, but the sinfully delicious combo of sour cream, guac, chorizo, chips, etc was just excellent. Very balanced. I wanted to dive right in.

+The margaritas. We were told that they don't use a mix, so we each ordered one. I'm not a huge margarita drinker and so the drink seemed particularly strong to me when they first arrived, but I persevered :) By the time the glass was have empty, I was very content with my drink.

+The main dishes. Plantain enchiladas with mole sauce? omg. yes please. Delicious. My mom ordered a chicken dish in a peanut sauce which was ... just not what my mom thought it was going to be. My mom mentioned this to the server (in response to being asked if she wanted to take home her leftovers), and they took it off the bill! We were both really surprised and thought that was extremely generous of them.

+Only flan for desert. I was going to order it, but I had already maxed out so I had to pass.

+Service. i could see where people thought it was a bit slow....but for some reason it wasn't bothering me that night.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

texts from last night

(+27): I feel fat after drinking my meal replacement shake.
(+27): I added chocolate sauce, a bsg of m&ms and a crushed up brownie to make it taste better.




ooooooh this is so my life.

The Map Room

This place is far less pretentious than I thought it might be. In fact, I am embarrassed to admit that I've avoided this place for years for fear of being burned by some serious beer snobbery. Well, jokes on me because I've been missing out.

The Map Room has a lovely neighborhood pub vibe and it happens to have lots of yummy beers. I'm not a huge beer drinker so I had my companions pick some out for me, and I was really surprised with how much I enjoyed them. This is true drinkability :)

I am definitely going to be coming back here!

Friday, August 28, 2009

as promised

I am currently sitting in my office trying to convince myself to continue reading my statistics text book. snooze. I've already ready about 40 pages AND sat in on the lower level statistics class that I TA so my brain is on stats overload. Fine. Before I move on to my next task, I wanted to share with you the awesome things my awesome statistics teacher said at my awesome first class. Note: This may be the only time I have refer to statistics class as awesome. But, it was truly an inspiring and motivational class. Who knew that was possible where math was concerned?

"Statistics are a gift from God!"

"Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is interesting, but what they conceal is vital."

"You're going to look mahvalous dahling. And it is better to look good than feel good." (In reference to how we will look when we understand statistics)

"Move towards the stuff you don't know and attack it . . . or caress it."

"SPSS. It's sassy!"

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

super woman

classes attended? check
homework started? check
hardcore sweaty workout? check
wedding planning details attended to? check
e-mails returned? check

I can do this. At least for today.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

should have thought of that before we kissed

Gosh I don't know what happened to me. I've been so mia! I'm sure my five readers have missed my lively updates, right??? haha. Well if you are really jonesin for some alisha info you can check out my new TWITTER. yes. thats right. twitter. I did it. I'm still figuring out how to work it and such, but so far I like how quick it is!

I would say I promise a long update soon, but I don't know if I can really follow through on that. I have so much work! It is cray cray. I have my first advanced stats class today and I'm sure my piles and piles of "to do" are only going to increase. Actually, so far, I only have "to do" for 1 class (as the first day was yesterday) and it already feels full time....not a good sign.

my only non school related piece of update is that Heather Hoffmann from Knox came and stayed with me and Neill last Tuesday. She was leaving for the IASR conference on Wednesday and needed a place to crash Tuesday night that was semi-close to O'hare. Enter us! Being off the blue line, we are prime o'hare crashing space. We went out for yummy noodles at Zen Noodles on North Avenue (delicious) and then checked out The Map Room. Sweet! I had two awesome beers there that definitely need to be had again. On Tuesdays they have an international food buffet for people and I really feel as though we need to get on that wagon. Free yummy food and great delicious beer within walking distance??? Um how have I not known about this? (well . . .actually I have known about it, but I just was ignoring it.)

Schedule for today?
-squeeze in some laps before class. if i decide that i can fit it in. pool opens at 11:30 and class is at 1.
-class 1 to 3:30
-lab meeting at 3:45 to 5:15
-laps if I didn't do them before
-HOME

note to self: must pack lots of food so that i do not eat gross vending machine crap.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

fml

brain. is. fried.

not. used. to. this.

what. the. fuck.

mmmm peanut butter

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

family

so. Neill's younger brother Jayson and his gf are having a baby. Which means they will be a mommy and daddy. But since this blog is about me, what it really means is I'm going to be aunt!

I'm already excited to:
+meet this litte girl (or boy) as I feel related to them...even though i won't be a blood relative and neill and i aren't technically married yet, im an aunt gosh darn it.

+baby sit with a wee little baby and practice baby magic for when neill and i have our own

+Some years down the line, I get to take him/her shopping and to the movies and what not and never really have to yell at them or discipline them or whatever. Wooohoo! FUN aunt alisha!

More on this later. I'm off to be second day of orientation!

Monday, August 17, 2009

guns

what is with all of these creepy white people with guns trying to intimidate my homeboy (and our President), Obama?!? People are straight crazy showing up to the town hall meetings about health care strapped as if they are going to hold up a bank. shit.

i hate white people

Sunday, August 16, 2009

in another life

In another life, I would like to be a chef.

Neill and I checked out Julie & Julia on Friday and it was so amazing to see delicious food blown up on a huge screen. And to think about butter. And flavors. And how fucking amazing it is to cook and meld flavors and then to chew chew chew chew your food. (because chewing is seriously the best part, isn't it?) So mark my words people, if and when I have a midlife crisis (and I think we all know I will), I will become a chef. Or maybe start some new kind of therapy that involves lots of steak cooked in butter.

On another note - apparently only people 40 and older go to the movies on a Friday night. Sometimes being unhip is fun :)

p.s. here is the link to the blog Julie & Julia is based on. I hit the back button many many many times so that I could link to the very first post. you're welcome!

Home Goods (Bucktown)

Better than Marshall's. Better than Target. Better than Khols. It is  . . .  dadadadaum . . . HOMEGOODS. Are you in need of things that no one really needs, like a statue of a rooster? Or are you looking for the perfect body products to give to someone as a faux high end gift? Or discounted sheet sets? Or a coffee table for 90 bucks? Or mismatched plates? Or random assortments of nonparishables? Or perhaps you need some holiday themes schlock? Or maybe you just truly need a trivet or a tea pot or a mail organizer or . . . .all the little random things that come together to form a home .... a home filled with lots of stuff. This is the store for all of that and more!

Toast Two

nom nom nom nom

I must have been very very very good lately, because this morning I found myself in breakfast heaven.

I've wanted to try Toast for a while now (okay...probably a few years) and this weekend was the perfect opportunity. Scared of the tremendous wait, our party of three decided to try and beet the brunch rush. 10 am must be the sweet spot, because there were empty tables when we arrived and we were seated right away. By 10:30, people were lining up outside. Suckers.

I checked out the Yelp reviews before going (naturally) and  I was tempted to take Jessica B's advice and order the two eggs so I could try a little bit of everything. But, I could not fool myself . . . .I was there to dive head first into a big luscious gooey buttery fabulous stack of pancakes. And that was exactly what I did. I ran a train on those pine nut and mascarpone pancakes with lavender sprinkled on top. IN YOUR FACE.   These pancakes were so good that at dinner time I was kicking myself for not taking my left overs home. Seriously.

I will be back.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Caro Mio

Once again, Yelp has pointed me in the right direction. I wanted to find a restaurant near my friend's house that we could easily walk to  . . . not always an easy task around those parts. So, of course, I went to Yelp and found Caro Mio. I'm pretty sure everyone that night was glad we decided to give Caro Mio a try despite its unassuming location :)

I'm not sure if I can add anything to the reviews that hasn't already been said . . .
+Big delicious portions (the food definitely isn't cheap, but you get a lot for the price!)
+BYOB and no corkage fee
+really cute, small, independent restaurant

We went on a Wednesday night and it was pretty busy. Apparently it was only *us* who had never heard of it!

I'm definitely going to suggest hitting this place up again. And when we do, I'm ordering the creamy pesto sauce . . . with some pasta. YUMMO.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

mia

Sorry I've been MIA lately. I've been a baaaad blogger. I can't help it! I'm too anxious about the start of school to really say anything worthwhile. The what-ifs are endless . . . and painful. I'm thinking that once I actually start the anxiety will go down. I don't usually get anxious over school - it is more of the unknown.


jfkdl;isaemim

Oh - a big shout out to Liz and Aaron! I'm so excited for them :) Aaron is such a romantic little bugger and planned a surprise proposal. nom nom nom nom. they are just so freaking cute!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Luxe Events

I'm super excited to be the first person to review Luxe Events!

I heard of Luxe Events from snippetandink aka the wedding planning blog bible. I figured that if they were being featured on my favorite wedding blog, they would probably be pretty awesome. I'm happy to say, I was right!

I had my first meeting with Katherine and Morgan (the two brains behind the operation) a few days ago at Alliance Bakery. Bonus points for picking a meeting spot that was not Starbucks! Both of them are super friendly and warm so it was easy to be myself around them. We were meeting to talk about their DOC service, so they asked tons of questions about my plans and had lots of thoughtful suggestions.

Awesome tidbits:
+Both of them will be helping out on the big day. That way, one can be at the venue and one can be helping out where people are getting ready. Awesome!

+Guaranteed quick phone and e-mail replies. Its in the contract!  

+And perhaps the best one, THEY HELP GET YOUR RSVPS! As in, they will actually call people who have not responded! Talk about above and beyond :)

Katherine and Morgan really stand out as a capable, organized, and easy to work with team!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

take me home to my family

Off to West Virgina for Jared's White Coat Ceremony and to visit with Neill's side of the family!

Adobo Grill (Wicker Park)

Over Priced.
Over Rated.
And too much attitude.

It is my personal pet peeve when restaurants treat large parties like a pain in the arse. I understand that dealing with lots of hungry and celebratory people might be a strain on some servers, but seriously - the bigger the party the bigger the bill the bigger the tip, so at least you could smile and pretend not to be annoyed that it took us a bit longer than normal to order. Especially considering the restaurant was EMPTY.

I've always heard such nice things about Adobo Grill so this was a serious disappointment.

Monday, August 3, 2009

birds of a feather flock together


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Oh and don't even get my started on how wonderfully whimsical birdcage centerpieces are . . .

Charlie's Ale House

this place is a-ok. I tried one of the flat breads, which was basically like a personal pizza with very crispy crust. My mom had a hamburger that was pretty decent. Everything about Charlie's -- from the decor to the service to the food -- is unoffensive and mildly pleasant.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

secret garden








Swoon. Maybe if I concentrate really really hard I will be transported to my own secret garden? Pretty please?

{all photos by Katie Stoops via the bride's cafe
}

Friday, July 31, 2009

tonight

What is everyone doing tonight?

Neill's band, Ready The Destroyer, is playing the Double Door. They go on at exactly 9:45. Rumor has it that there will be burlesque dancers before and after their set.

Come say hi!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

iCream

I'll admit it. i was intrigued by the smoke and mirrors.

Well, really just the smoke. No mirrors to speak of.

Plus one point for having a "cream soda" flavor. Yum. Minus one point, however, because I was encouraged to pair it with pomegranate. Perhaps it was my mistake for following their advice? But, I was so overwhelmed by all of their options that I just followed their directions blindly.

The end result was light and fruity. The ice-cream was not very creamy or rich, so it was easy to eat the whole cup. And I felt their "small" size was very generous.

Downside? 5 dollars for a small!!! That is some expensive so-so ice-cream.

I am somewhat interested in finding out about the hot pudding though. I do love me some puddin'.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

blue doors


always lead somewhere magnificent.

Secondprint Productions

My fiance and I met with Albert of Secondprint Productions to talk about photography for our wedding. When we were doing our research, he was one photographer that stood out to both of us. His pictures are simply striking. He does a great job catching the moment and the colors in his pictures really pop. To top it all off, he is extremely friendly and laid back! This is a huge plus when you think about how much time you actually spend with your photographer on the wedding day. Any couple looking for stylish colorful photos should check out Albert's work!

Kelli Ward Photography

My fiance and I met with Kelli to talk about photography options for our upcoming wedding. When I was researching wedding photographers, Kelli's website really caught my eye. So, even though she is definitely at the tippy tippy top of our budget (aka way above), I just had to meet with her to see if it was something I just could not live with out.

One thing that really stands out about Kelli is how professional she is. She came prepared with thoughtful questions, handouts, and lots of examples of her work. She was also very upfront about her policy of holding dates and what not. While sometimes its a bit awkward to talk about, I appreciate people being upfront about it. She has been a full time wedding photographer for years now, so she really has things down to a science. And I don't even want to start thinking about how beautiful her albums are. Swoon. Big thick pages. Beautiful layout. These things are DELUXE.

In the end, we didn't feel like our personalities and the sort of wedding we want to have would be a good match with Kelli. But, I still encourage others to check out her work. She knows what she is doing!

The Allerton Hotel

We had a walk through today at The Allerton Hotel with someone from their sales department to learn more about booking a block of rooms for our out of town wedding guests.

+Stylish lobby with a mod looking lounge (which they said they could keep open for us if we wanted to have an after-party)
+nice fitness center. Lots of brand new equipment. Lots of windows.
+Stylish rooms
+The Venetian room is breathtaking and would be such a beautiful location for a Sunday brunch
+Quoted us a very competitive rate for our block

-wireless internet is not complimentary in the rooms
-parking is about 45 dollars a day (to leave the car overnight)
-rooms are on the small-ish side.
-to reserve more than 15 rooms, we would become liable for paying 85% of the cost of any unused rooms. If you only do 15 and then try to ask more on later, you risk the hotel being full or the rate going up. its sort of a Catch 22.

Really beautiful hotel with a nice boutique feel!

Monday, July 27, 2009

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Now that I've shared with you where Neill and I will be exchanging vows and then partying away the night, I'm so relieved to finally be able to share our amazingly wonderful photographer with you. Meet Alix Klingenberg. Cue swooning.

Believe me, this was a hard thing to keep from you. But I really really really wanted to tell you about Volo first and so I had to keep my lips sealed. You know how hard that is for me. But now I can squeal to my hearts delight! Through this post I'm going to dazzle you with her delightful and beautiful photographs so you can see for yourself how great of a find she is!


Now, from the top!

I knew from the beginning that our wedding photography was one of the most important things to me. I was willing to compromise on my dress, but I was NOT willing to go with a photographer that I didn't feel 100% confident in. So with this in mind, Neill and I gave each other a homework assignment. Mission? Go our separate ways and do as much online research on photographers as we could stand and then present our findings to each other at a designated time. This worked for us for two big reasons. It gave us time to each develop our own opinion and it was very helpful to have a scheduled meeting time to talk wedding. Our final compiled list had 15 people on it!


After looking at so many pictures we decided that we wanted a photographer with a photojournalistic style. Someone who could capture what was going on and not just rely on posed moments was definitely important to us. But, we also knew that very few people look good in true candid shots. So, we wanted a photographer who could help people look their best while also letting their natural smiles and personalities shine through.


As much as we wanted pictures of the ceremony and our guests having fun at the ceremony, it was equally important to us to have a photographer who took beautiful couple shots. Again, we wanted to look like a naturally beautiful version of ourselves.


Another quality that was important to us was the post-processing style. After doing so much research, it became evident that the perfect shot was only half of stunning wedding photographer. The other half? Post processing. With each photographer having a somewhat different style, we wanted to make sure to pay attention to what styles we liked. Some photographers over-saturated all of their colors to really makes things look edgy and pop, other photographers made all of their photographs looks old and vintage, and others went for a more natural look. I tended to like a mix between the natural looking and more whimsical or vintage pictures and so that is something we kept an eye out for.


Of course, we could not ignore price. Some of the photographers on our list would have cost us almost 6,000 dollars for everything we wanted! Umm . . . no thank you! And while these photographers had slick websites, we didn't feel heir pictures were noticeably different than the less expensive options. So we set out looking for a photographer who offered a package of 10 hours of photography, a second shooter, all images on a DVD for us to use as we please, an engagement session, a big flush mounted photo-album. We also asked about what the rates would be to make a photo-album for our parents as well.



Even considering how important all of these factors are, perhaps the deciding personality was personality. Both Neill and I really liked Alix upon first meeting her. She came prepared to the meeting and was professional, but also at the same time completely down to earth and friendly. We just *clicked* and I felt like I could be myself around her. I definitely picked up some hippy crunchy vibes from her and you know how much I lover the hippies. She is fabulous and I might have a friend crush on her.

So there you have it friends! I can't wait for our engagement shoot!