‘Uncategorized’ Category

12 December 2010

Weekend recap: Hard core holiday cheer

By: Jessica B.

Happy Sunday everyone! Right now, there is a soft lull of a snowblower whistling outside my window. Why? Because Chicago had awful weekend weather that started with rain (which sucked) and is ending with snow (sort of sucky.)

That’s right, MORE SNOW. Fortunately, it wasn’t as bad as Minneapolis, but still, it’s getting bitter cold here and I am literally afraid.

Despite the bad weather, I was a woman on a mission: get in the holiday spirit come h*ll or high water. The tree is up, new holiday music is downloaded, now came the next stage: buying Christmas gifts. With a water bottle and my friend Liz in tow, we hit Chicago’s seventh circle of hell: Michigan Avenue on the weekend.

I know, I tease about tourists sometimes but seriously, downtown on the weekend is a nightmare. But we embraced it (in the rain) and worked our way from one end to the other, with a list of people to shop for. And after a full day outdoors and a quick Amazon order, I am 90% done with my shopping. I just have one more trip to make this week and I’ll be in good shape.

It’s such a good feeling because now I get to WRAP gifts.

Tonight, I’m also indulging in another one of favorite holiday traditions: Watching Love Actually while writing out my Christmas cards. GAME ON!

Before all of this insane holiday activity, it was the annual work holiday party, where I agonize over what to wear for easily 24 hours. I have no idea why I constantly fail at finding a cute but appropriate outfit. But this year, I found a dress from Forever 21 that I was peer pressured into buying and it turned out pretty perfect:

Now I have another year before I’m faced with this awful decision.

Oh and once my holiday shopping is done, I can focus on this next weekend. WIN!

How was your weekend? Are you done holiday shopping?

31 May 2010

Weekend kitchen adventures: Summer recipes!

By: Jessica B.

Now that summer is right around the corner and I’m spending more time in the kitchen, I’m trying to mix up my dinners to try some summer-appropriate recipes that won’t make my apartment too much of a hotbox.

And because the last two weeks were crazy, I took the long Memorial Day weekend as a time to do the following: cook, relax, clean and get my closet organized. Fun!

Actually it was. And I decided to make two recipes to get me back in the kitchen and keep those cooking skills sharp.

I made pizza again (similar to this one) and it turned out really well.

Silly me took a pre-oven instead of post-oven photo. Oops.

Fact: Homemade pizza is definitely starting to become one of my favorite things to make.

Then I made my kitchen adventure for this week, which sounded incredible: Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Mango Salsa from Cooking Light. Right now, I’m loving all sorts of summer salsas and despite not being a huge mango fan, I’m willing to give it a try!

Plus, I’ve never cooked with pork, so it’s two adventures in one.

Here’s how it turned out and the recipe:


  • 2  (1-pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed
  • 1  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2  cups  diced peeled mango (about 2 large)
  • 1  teaspoon  grated orange rind
  • 3  tablespoons  diagonally sliced green onions
  • 2  teaspoons  grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 3  tablespoons  fresh orange juice
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground coriander
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground cardamom
  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil


Cut each tenderloin crosswise into 8 pieces. Place plastic wrap over pork; pound to an even thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of pork; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan; repeat procedure with remaining pork.

Combine mango and next 6 ingredients (mango through cardamom) in a bowl, stir and serve.

Verdict: Yummy, light and flavorful

I really liked this dish. The pork was tender and juicy and the salsa was light but had a nice citrus flavor. I excluded the cardamom and coriander because I couldn’t find it but added in red onion and parsley flakes and I still thought it tasted great. The OJ really added a lot too! I was a little bummed the pork didn’t brown as much as I hoped, but it was still tasty.

What are some of your favorite summer foods? How was your long weekend?

New movie review: Sex and the City 2. Can the girls keep the magic alive?

20 September 2009

Weekend recap: grown up girl bonding time

By: Jessica B.

Yeah, I totally stole that line from Enchanted, but the meaning around it here is totally different. Although I would like “grown up girl bonding time” with Patrick Dempsy. Meow.

Anyhow, as you all know, last week was kind of a tough one. And this weekend, I did something I definitely needed more than I thought I did: girl time!

It started Friday with a lovely dinner at Marche in the West Loop with some of my favorite co-workers (even though I felt like my throat was raw meat and I was running a fever by the end of the night) where we gossiped, laughed and enjoyed really good food. Perfect way to start the weekend.

Then Saturday night came the main event with several Chicago lady bloggers (and out-of-town guests). We gathered to celebrate pretty wine labels and each other, gossiping, hugging, talking about feelings, bad wedding stories and catching up. Whether it’s having an awful boy-related week, preparing for a big week coming up job and and health wise or just talking about upcoming wedding plans, girl time solves any problem and provides all the support you need to go kick some a**!

That may be dramatic but with the right group, it’s true.

What else helps: wine shots and music. That’s right, you heard me, shots of wine, classy.

And after solving world issues and storing up on hugs, laughs and wine shots, the most epic thing ever happened: an impromptu dance party.

Oh that’s right, we danced and screamed/sang our hearts out to Bon Jovi, Glee, Gwen Stefani, The Little Mermaid (yes you heard me correctly) and the most epic of all songs to make my night: Sister Act.

I nearly died when that came on. Actually, I think there is video of us screaming/singing. Somehow, in my head when I heard us sing, it sounded TOTALLY different.

Anyhow, that party raged from 7 until 1:30 a.m. and I have to say, being around positive people who made me laugh, watched me dance (which looks like I’m having a seizure) and gave lots of hugs, gave me exactly what I needed after a tough week.

Girls night out solves every problem :) And considering last Saturday I was on my worst date ever, this was the best way to change Saturday night karma back to awesome.

Oh and we had cupcakes from a new (to me) cupcake place in Chicago, the Cupcake Counter. I will be checking that out one Friday post-work, the red velvet was tasty. You can see our spread below, yeah we went through 11 bottles of wine.


How was everyone else’s weekend? Emmy fashion recap/awards are coming tomorrow!! So far, I’m loving Neil Patrick Harris, so adorable!!

17 August 2009

My birthday list

By: Jessica B.

My birthday is coming up (fast) and I have no idea what I want. Dad is asking almost daily and I honestly have no idea.

He apparently didn’t like my first answer which was, “a pony.”

No, it’s not very practical for the city but they’re so PRETTY!

Normally on birthdays, I rotate between getting myself a new purse (example: Speedy last year) or jewelry and because this year marks an entrance into a new decade, I think jewelry might be the most appropriate gift.

But because I need options, I’ve listed below some awesome stuff I would love to have for my birthday, some more realistic than others.


Wii. Actually a Wii plus a Wii Fit. I really want to faux bowl or play tennis at home after a long daywms_ts_lg

Bose soundsystem. I love playing music (loudly) at home and this would definitely bring it up to an 11

Marc Jacobs. I LOVE the color. I cannot take my eyes off of it


Trip to the beach. This might have to wait until January/February but I am dreaming about it already


Anything from here. Preferrably of the sparkly earring, necklace or bracelet variety (nothing says 30 like diamonds!)


Or a funky piece of jewelry like this from David Yurman. I love the detail and multiple bangles


Nikon. I’ve been salivating over one for a long time. Might be my year to get it


Love this necklace from JCrew. Actually multiple things from JCrew would be a lovely gift


A recent trip to Dave & Buster’s brought back my love of Skeeball. Practical? No. Fun? YOU BET


Okay, okay, if the Nikon doesn’t work out, I definitely need a new point-and-shoot. Mine is not up to par anymore

tony pony

What? A pony? Well…..OKAY! Who’s a pretty pony? You are!

Like I said, some are more realistic than others but, I think there is a good mix here.

If you could pick ONE THING, anything, literally anything for your birthday, what would it be? Or what have you always wanted but never received?

10 August 2009

More online dating FAILs

By: Jessica B.

I love talking to people who are also online dating because the stories we share are a) hilarious b) totally true and c) shocking, usually at the same time.

I’ve been on Match now for a few months and overall it’s been a pretty good experience. While Dayton is now totally out of the picture (I don’t think that’s a real shock), JohnBoy has entered the picture and I think he’ll be staying around for a while.
But I’m shocked by the balls of some of the Match.com guys because really, some just reinforce why they’re single. Honestly.
Here are two recent examples…
Puxatawney Phil
Phil lives in the Chicago suburbs and works in finance. He also has a little bit of a short temper and lack of finesse in communicating with women.
Why do you ask? Please let me explain.
Awhile ago, Phil and I winked at each other through Match and I was waiting for a first e-mail from him, because, well he initiated that communication so that makes sense.
Anyhow, when I was sending out “no thanks” messages to some guys, Phil accidentally received one, unbeknownst to me, because of an interweb/Match glitch. So Phil e-mails me asking if that message was sent in error because, well he was hoping it was a mistake. I received this message at work and couldn’t respond right away but made the note to clarify that with him later that night.
But I got sidetracked again and forgot to do so, unfortunately, Phil didn’t forget that he had asked me earlier if this was a mistake and sent me another message (not even 24 hours after his first one) that said, and I kid you not:
“I asked you a question.”
OH SNAP. It’s on b*tch.
Having a momentary Rage Girl episode, I respond to Phil right away with the following e-mail:
“Hi Phil, actually that ‘no thanks’ message was sent in error. I did get your earlier email and I’m sorry I could placate and coddle you in a more timely manner so you could feel better about yourself because the Match wasn’t officially closed. I guess I got busy…at my job…where I work during the day. But if you can apologize, check the bitchy attitude at the door and try again, I’ll see if I’m willing to give you another chance. Otherwise that ‘no thanks’ message will be for real.”
I hate being this kind of bitchy to guys but seriously, WTF? WTF?
Having options:
Awhile ago I winked at this guy who was a little younger than I was looking for my guy to be, but was willing to give it a shot. Didn’t hear from him for about a month. Not a huge deal.
Then I come home one night and he’s emailed me the following:
“Hi I’m [insert name], the half-shirtless wonder! Your wicked gorgeous smile is a heart throbber. I would like to present you with four nice options:
  • We can exchange not more than 3 detailed e-mails before meeting up or…
  • We can exchange numbers and have 30 minutes of sparkling ear to ear conversation or…
  • We can go on a nice date or…
  • You tell me to go screw myself and stop writing you or you’re calling the cops
Options may be combined. Discuss.”
Seriously I laughed so hard out loud that I nearly had to sit down. Witty, yes, clever, yes but he lost me somewhere around the shirtless wonder and the use of the word “heart throbber.”
But I do have to say, a girl likes options.
So how would you have responded to these situations/e-mail conversations?