Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Date #12 (the finale): Monday was Mark's day off so we slept in and leisurely went to lunch at Cuisine of India in Mt. Prospect, IL. Mmm, Indian food. After waiting an appropriate amount of time we went downstairs to our apartment's indoor pool and jacuzzi. Mmm, relaxing. For dinner I made some barbecue turkey legs and wings (homemade barbecue sauce, woot woot!) with baked potato fans. Mmm, dinner.
I've posted about this delicious barbecue sauce before, here. And I (for the most part) followed the recipe for baked potato fans from Cook's Country, here.
Monday, January 30, 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
|images via www.google.com|
I've been sick A LOT lately so I've had the opportunity to watch a lot of movies. If you're looking to watch something streaming on Netflix this weekend then check out these two inspirational documentaries.
The first is Mad Hot Ballroom. This movie follows several NY public elementary school classes that are taught ballroom dancing in order to compete in a citywide competition.
The second is Pressure Cooker. I admit that I cried watching this one. It tugs at your heart strings a little more than Man Hot Ballroom. This movie follows an inner city Philadelphia culinary arts teacher, Mrs. Stephenson, trying to prepare a classroom of high school seniors for a citywide cooking competition where thousands of dollars are given away in college scholarships.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
I've got to say I really crave good Mexican food a lot here in IL. I think living in the 'burbs has a lot to do with it but in general I'd say that Mexican food is tastier at home in CA. I'm talking about the late night, hole-in-the-wall, shady looking, slightly dangerous feeling, Mexican food places that make you happy to be alive. I'm talking about places like El Toro Bravo in Costa Mesa, CA near Triangle Square. I posted this picture in 2010, here, right after Christmas....good times, good times. Augh, fresh ingredients, authentic preparation, and killer flavor...makes you want to cry.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
|image via www.amazon.com|
Luckily winter has been rather mild this year in IL and boy am I grateful. However, I know that not all years will be like this one and in preparation for frigid nights and long winter months we registered for a heated mattress pad with amazon.com. But I think even if we had stayed in CA I still would have registered for this bad boy for those cold desert nights in the winter. Yes, it's not as cold has IL but thinly insulated homes and mostly non-double paned windows in CA make for a cold cold sleep (I've had to sleep in a sleeping bag before in CA...I know, I'm such a wimp). Some of the features I was looking for was a heated mattress pad that had two controls and one that was not like the electric blankets of old where you basically only feel the heat from the thick, hard wire mechanisms woven back and forth in the thin scratchy blanket. No, sir. I wanted the luxurious feel of heat without the hard wires. We registered for the Soft Heat Warming Mattress Pad and Mark's wonderful cousin got it for us. This is a mattress pad and not an electric blanket so it covers your mattress and the fitted sheet goes over the pad. Dual controls allow each half of the bed to be at different temperatures (which is a must with a guy and a girl) and the 'soft heat' comes for ultra thin wires that make the whole mattress feel evenly heated. I've turned on the heat so far when I've been sick, when my 'special friend' has visited me, and of course when it's been chilly at night. We've been pretty happy with it!
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
I saw the first dress on Pinterest and thought, "Oh, I like the colors and graphic shapes." The pin took me to Adabelle's Fashion Lounge and originally I just wanted to save the image for future inspiration but then I looked at the price: $47. "Whoa. That's not bad at all," I thought. Here are some other dresses/top that I thought were cute and at a somewhat reasonable price. My favorite would have to the third dress....reminds me of a sunny soda shoppe. I think it would be adorable worn while riding a bike with a basket. CUTE!
 Geometrically Yours Dress - $47 (sold out)
 Afternoon in Rio Top - $33
 The Pretty Parallels Dress - $79
 The Simply Bow-utiful Dress - $63
Friday, January 20, 2012
2012 has started off kind of germy. Both Mark and I have had the flu at some point in January. I decided to make oxtail soup as a comfort food remedy for the two of us. Oxtail soup is common in most Asian cultures and it is a favorite among Koreans and Filipinos. Although it's done with some differences the basic recipe is the same. The simplified version is: grab a big pot, add oxtails, bones, water, and boil. However, truth be told that making this soup is a very long process and it will infuse the house (for better or worse) with the aroma of the soup. Since I'm Korean I opted to try the Korean style.
This is actually my first time making oxtail soup. Traditionally the broth of the Korean version is supposed to be a milky white color but at my house it has never been this way. The taste is just fine but the color was always amber. In an effort to try to get the milky white result I looked to good ol' Google to lead the way. I tried following a recipe I found online, here, however as you can see I did not achieve the milky white color. Ok, I admit that I didn't follow it to the letter. Of course there are many different ways to make the same dish and I suspected that the milky look is achieved through the boiling process and so I turned to my friend Sandy's mom, the Korean food guru, for advice. She suggested that next time I boil the bones only on medium heat for an hour and then on low for a full day. Only after the cloudy broth develops should you add the oxtail meat.
The look might be off but the taste was yummy so Mark and I were happy campers. Next time I will try it her way and report results.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Invites, programs, RSVP cards, menus, and thank you cards can be really expensive and really stressful to take care of yourself. Designs can be expensive and turn around times can be too long if you find yourself procrastinating. One Heart Weddings is one resource for wedding print materials. Their site has many different style options and categories for you to choose from. You personalize the text, download the art to your personal printer and print at home. Most likely this will cut down on cost because you'll be able to buy the paper yourself and just hope that you don't run out of toner! Then all you'll have to do is get a group of friends together to cut the edges off the paper.
A one year subscription is $39.95 (on sale now for $33.96) and this will let you download your hearts content for the duration of your subscription. The only limitation is that you cannot download more than 100 images per day. I'm not sure why anyone would but there it is. They also have two other sites for other occasions in your life, Share Holidays and Baby Tidings. Pricing is done differently on these sites. All three sites are run by Ellinée Design House out of Portland, Oregon.
**I'm not a paid by Ellinée Design to say these things. I'm just a fan.
Friday, January 13, 2012
Ok, so I know I posted about snow before but I think this time it can really be considered snow. We've been sliding on the roads, scraping the car windows, and turning our little fingers into ice cubes. Above is the before and after shots of our balcony. Pretty crazy. Below you'll see the trees behind the wing of our apartment. Makes me want to watch Lord of the Rings for some reason.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Date #11: We tried out a new sandwich place called Which Wich in Oakbrook Terrace, IL. It kind of reminds me of getting sandwiches at the Eagle's Nest at Biola. You grab a sandwich bag and check off your customizations for the order and hand it to an employee who will ring you up and send the bag to be filled with your order. Surprisingly they have locations in CA. I'd never heard of the place until moving here. The sandwiches were good but I'm still on the hunt for my go-to sandwich place here in IL.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
|image via panini happy|
So, of course, if you want to do a non-cake (or don't usually like cake, like me) there's always cupcakes, or cake pops, or pies, and having a dessert/candy bar instead. But how about a sandwich cake?? I think this would be really lovely for a kind of off-beat, quirky, day-time reception, don't you? It's a little unexpected, a little cheeky, and looks really delicious.
The sandwich cake is posted on Panini Happy and it'll show you step by step of how to make this tasty beauty.
Monday, January 9, 2012
It's no longer the Christmas season or even December but we're still gonna keep going until we complete the 12!
Date #10: So we were hoping to take the train to downtown Chicago, eat lunch and a hot dog, and visit the Shedd Aquarium today on their free day but we couldn't find parking at the downtown Elmhurst train station! It was crazy. So we just had coffee and went to Whole Foods because Mark wanted to make dinner...he's cooking steak, of course. ;P
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Ok, I'm going to get on my soap box for just a minute and then I'll be done.
What is the deal with people littering? Mark and I were at a Stop sign leaving a parking lot and the young girl driving a Hyundai (you know who you are!!) opened the car door and dropped an empty plastic bottle of Dr. Pepper on the ground. Who does that these days?! What's even more frustrating are smokers who litter cigarette butts out the window as they drive. If you are a responsible adult enough to make the decision to smoke then you should be a responsible adult and dispose of your cigarette properly. Drains might not lead to the ocean here in IL but if you've ever done a beach clean up you'll begin to notice the endless number of cigarettes on beaches and in the ocean.
Sigh, that's it.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Well, we don't have a yard and it's too late to have flower pots on the balcony because of the weather. And even though we've been enjoying 'warmer' winter temperatures it's a far cry from the 80 degrees right now back in CA. So I only have two small house plants inside that I'm trying to keep alive until they can go outside on our balcony. I tried to grow a basil plant from Trader Joe's but it died. Apparently it dies on most people. Hopefully in spring I'll be able to buy a dwarf citrus tree that we can keep inside and outside. It'll be great to have the fruit available for cooking too. It's a little depressing to be dreaming of spring so early in the winter season. :/ I guess that's another reason why I wanted to have plants, to have something green and alive inside while everything is dormant outside in the winter.
I repotted the plants out of the plastic containers they came in. Loosened the roots a bit and repotted using potting soil in a larger pot with a drain hole at the bottom. Taking care to fill any air holes in the pot, I made sure to keep the soil line at the same level of the roots as how they came originally. I gave it one good watering then placed the plant where it's care instructions suggested. Every week or so I rotate the plants to that all sides will get sun and I won't have a leaning plant towards the window. I also try not to over water the plant (which is so tempting sometimes) and follow the watering instructions that the plant came with. Since these plants are around more for decorative leaves than for their flowers I like to pick off the flowering parts in the beginning to let the plant use all it's energy to produce more leaves.
Friday, January 6, 2012
If you consider yourself interested in fashion or self-expression and haven't seen Bill Cunningham New York yet then do yourself a favor and watch it this weekend with a nice glass of wine. If you have Netflix you'll be able to stream it online. For a CA girl it was a really interesting look in the NY fashion scene and for a creative person it was incredibly inspiring to learn about Bill Cunningham's passion and dedication to what he does.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Ok, so it's January and the Christmas decorations are down but I'm already looking toward February because, well, it's hard to decorate the house for "Martin Luther King, Jr. Day." The bank is tight for us so I definitely don't want to buy anything to decorate the house for Valentine's. I looked around the house and I spied 3 decks of cards in our game area. I pulled out only the heart cards and started arranging them on our dining table to create a heart shape (it's hard to work with rectangles!). Here's what I came up with:
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
A wedding is basically a big party with a big budget and hopefully a once-in-a-life occurrence. However, the crazy party planning that happens for a wedding can be reined in for the more frequent get-togethers that happen in our lives. Birthday parties, girls' nights, poker night, themed events, showers, holidays, etc. Sometimes we need a little inspiration and while there's definitely a lot out there on the internet I always really enjoy the good ol' magazine too.
There's a new magazine called Mingle: Creative Ideas for Unique Gatherings. It seems to be seasonally released (as in only 4 releases a year) because the one I looked through at Barnes and Noble said "Autumn 2011." Some events in the magazine are too extravagant for my taste and budget but they're fun to look at and get ideas for small things like decor and party favors. Next time you're at Barnes check it out!
Here are some pages from inside the magazine via their web page:
Sunday, January 1, 2012
I saw this thing on Frank Chimero's blog before. I emailed it to myself but when I tried to search for it now I couldn't find it. His blog changed so many times in 2011 so that's probably why. ANYWHO, Frank Chimero is an artist that I like and I've posted his work here before. I'm getting sidetracked again .... SO, previously on his blog Frank wrote about how he experienced this MadLib-esque list of interview questions that went as follows:
I like ____________________.
I love ____________________.
I want ___________________.
I was ____________________.
I am _____________________.
I will ____________________.
I think ___________________.
I know ___________________.
I thought it would be fun to use the format and tailor it to look back on my year and see how I'd answer those questions. Some of the questions I had multiple answers for and others I had a harder time answering. I wanted this record of 2011 to be honest and not too fakey positive because 1. It wasn't a perfect year and 2. That's definitely not how I roll.
I wish you and yours a very Happy New Year and all the best that 2012 can offer you.
Here's how I answered those questions....