Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Thank GOD for Channing Tatum

Finally, Channing Tatum has a new movie out.

“Fighting” is the story of a homeless Manhattan boy (Tatum) who becomes an underground street fighter under the management of a scam artist (Terrence Howard). I don’t care if he’s a dancer (Step Up), soldier (Stop Loss) or street fighter (Fighting), I’M THERE.

Now let me get one thing straight. I’m not that celeb-crazed when it comes to guys. I could go on and on about Britney, Jessica, Lindsey, etc., but celeb guys don’t really do much for me – where’s the drama?! I could care less about Brad, George, Matt, etc.

But my good friend Jill and I will be catching the Channing movie sometime in the next few weeks – she’s equally obsessed and went to see both Step Up and Stop Loss with me.

My obsession with Channing got me thinking though, who are the hottest men in Hollywood? Here are my top three:

1. Channing Tatum (obv) - I can watch Step Up over and over and over and over and over again. And, I'm biased -- his fiance's name is Jenna.

2. Mark Wahlberg - Normally not my type, but I'm totally into him. I don't know if it's the bad boy persona or that fact that he produces Entourage and it's based on his life, but I love him.

3. Clive Owen - Some say he looks like Scoot so maybe that's why, but for some reason I find him incredibly attractive.

Wow, I had no idea this post would be so fun -- looking up these gorgeous men on Google was a blast. I'll get back to everyone with my review on the movie, but in the meantime, let me know who your top three are.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

From Dad...

I feel the need to mention a few things before posting the loving email I received from my father this morning. First of all, I've been convinced for all 24 and 3/4 years of my life that my dad wishes I were a boy (hence my need to burp, swear, live in sweats and be overwhelming aggressive on the soccer field). Sidenote: Did I ever tell you that when it was snowing and I was seven my dad wouldn't let me wear long sleeves under my soccer jersey like the other girls? TRUE STORY. Second, my dad - like other men in my life - feels that the sport he played is THE ONLY sport out there and that everyone should like it as much as he does. I like hockey for one reason: my dad played in college (and still plays) and I love him, so therefore I will lay with him on the couch and watch center ice and/or go to games with him (I do admit that there isn't a better live sporting event, especially when you're right up against the glass). And last but not least, I'm not in YUPPYVILLE, I just happen to live in Wrigley and it's hard not to support the Cubbies. This, however, does not mean that i'm unaware of the other sporting teams I support: the Indians MURDERED the Yankees last weekend (thank you, Sizemore) and the CAVS are gonna win the NBA title this year. Oh, and as you'll read below, THE HAWKS ARE IN THE CUP PLAYOFFS!

Subject: S&S poor excuse for blog about Chicago

My darling daughter,

FYI the Blackhawks (they play in Chicago, right?) are in the Stanley Cup play-offs against Calgary. No other sporting event in the world even comes close to the intensity or excitement of the Cup play-offs. No other sporting venue in Chicago is as exciting as a "Hawks game.

A "Cubbies" game in yuppieville pales in comparison to a Cup game. Saw a guy take a stick to the mouth and lose NINE TEETH the other night and he came back to play the rest of the game. If God came down to Earth to take care of business (see Revelations in the Bible) he would do it after the Cup play-offs were over. If the Hawks are in the finals the Chicago you know today would be indistinguishable from the mayhem (or mishap) of the game finals in Chi-town.

I have labored for almost 25 years to raise you correctly...you and your sister are the pride and joy of my life...for God's sake take in a Cup play-off game and you can really write about something of note in your blog. It's the least you can do for your gray-haired old man. I'll even split the ticket price with you and Scoot (a price within reason) as an extra B-day gift (along with the computer and the bridesmaid dress you conned your mother into).

Wow, glad I got that off my chest.

Bag the Cubbies crap by the way.

Go "Canes.

I love you,


Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunshine, Rain and Miss USA - Weekend Recap

So sad the weekend’s over. For the past few weeks, I’ve had zero plans and it’s been wonderful. I absolutely love going into my weekend knowing that I don’t have much to do. Yes, there are always things I want to get done, but no set plans, which is nice.

Friday was BEAUTIFUL in Chicago. Sunshine all day AND a Cubbies home game, which always makes the city a bit more drunk…errr I mean fun. After work on Friday, I met a good friend on Southport for some drinks and dinner El Fresco. One of the best things about Chicago is the number of outdoor patios and beer gardens. Since it’s only nice four months of the year, EVERYONE lives outside, meaning every restaurant caters to our (Chicagoans) need to not spend one second inside.

We sat down at Southport Lanes & Billiards expecting to enjoy some good bar food and a few cocktails. Little did we know we’d be enjoying the best kind of people watching around – all the stragglers walking back from Wrigley after the game HAMMERED DRUNK. It was magnificent.

We saw:

  • A boyfriend/girlfriend argument that ended in the boy literally stomping on his girlfriends phone smashing it into little pieces on the sidewalk while she cried and yelled.

  • Two guys who could barely WALK trying to figure out which way was “East.” For any Chicagoan, this is absurd. The lake is East and its very hard to forget. Everyone knows that.

  • Old fat men in cubbies muscle shirts circa 1990, women getting way to excited about the warm weather and wearing short cut-offs and belly shirts and a few diehard fans dressed head to toe in full uniform, including cleats, the tight pants, pull up socks, the works.

Saturday was even nicer – much warmer and officially the weekend. I woke up to a long run by the lake. I know I say this every post, but there's nothing better than running by the lakefront. It’s breathtaking and continually reminds me why I live in this amazing city.

Then I had some shopping to do – all in one week I have mom’s bday, sis’ bday and mother’s day. Shoot me now. And, surprise, surprise, they want clothes. So, I walked around Lincoln Park and found some cute things for mom and sis.

My teeny tiny mom wanted a skirt to go over her “bikini.” Yes, my mom’s still running every day and has a 27” waist – has always been like that. What can I say, good genes.

Thank you Gap Body:

Sis, wanted to be equally difficult and requested a pair of pants. I was all “let me just get you a gift card and you can get your own pants.” But no, she wanted me to pick them out. I found these coral cuffed skinny jeans and was instantly in love (for myself and also as a potential bday gift for her):

Gave sis a call but she didn’t want them so I picked up a pair for myself and went on my way.

Saturday night me, my burn from the surprisingly warm weather and my coral pants got ready in a whole new kinda way. You know that excitement you feel when it’s finally warm out and you actually WANT to leave the house, have a couple cocktails, get a little crazy. I love that feeling.

Scoot and I went to Adesso (my favorite BYOB) with our good friends Carrie and Jackson for some wonderful Italian food and two bottles of wine. Thank GOD the coral jeans are stretch – I definitely had a four-course meal.

Sunday is for sleeping in, a large brunch and a mix of laziness and productivity. And, I did just that. We woke up to rain and, although I’d usually be upset, I couldn’t complain after two days of glorious sunshine.

Annoying thing was Scoot and I tried to go to brunch at Southport Grocery AND Wishbone and both were PACKED. So, we ended up grabbing Einstein’s to go and picking up “The Reader" at Blockbuster. Now, I’m not much of a movie critic, but this movie was crazy weird. There was so much sex that Scoot and I felt awkward watching it. Anyway, in the end it was an OK movie, but I wouldn't necessarily go on recommending it.

For the rest of the day I did laundry, relaxed, ate myself into oblivion and watched countless hours of television. Enter Miss USA competition. We only watched about 20 minutes, BUT OMG. Where do these girls come from? Scoot and I sat and critiqued each one of them while Red yelled at us. I had a very good defense for being so finicky about their stomachs, broad shoulders, wide hips, etc. – THEY’RE PARADING AROUND IN BIKINIS ON NATIONAL TELEVISION BEING JUDGED BY CHOICE, I THINK I CAN ADD IN MY TWO CENTS IN THE COMFORT OF MY OWN HOME. Best part of the competition, the girls’ interests. Here are a few of our favorites: archery, playing the fiddle and my favorite, online shopping.

Happy Sunday all – have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My Love for Real Housewives...

Just keeps getting stronger. I can't help it. I thought Bravo mastered it when RHOC came out. BUT, then NYC and Atlanta (my least favorite of all) and finally New Jersey.

Four different cities, many very different - yet all crazy - women, but one me, glued to the TV every Tuesday night. I can't help it. I know it's trashy TV, but it's like a car wreck for me, I can't look away.

I've always ranked them:
1. Orange County (you'll never find another Vicki)
2. New York (gotta love the Jill/Bethenny duo)
3. Atlanta (don't tivo this one, but if it's on, I'll watch)

When I saw the previews for New Jersey, I was all COME ON, CAN WE GET A LITTLE MIDWEST LOVE?! I totally thought New Jersey would be a more trashy version of New York (it's the armpit of America, right?!). But, no, Bravo you did me proud yet again with these lovely ladies:

IT'S LIKE THE REAL LIFE SOPRANOS, following the women instead of the men. What could be better? I love Sopranos. Who doesn't? Scoot and I are 100% addicted -- watch the reruns non-stop. Don't believe me? We were Tony and Carmella for Halloween. Well, sort of...

Ok, I know we don't look anything like them. Scoot refused to put a pillow in his shirt and I refused to wear a blonde wig (I wore one last year as Kendra from Girls Next Door and it was way too itchy). So, by the end of the night, we were Chrissy and Ade, or Tony and his Goomah. Either way, I had the leopard shirt and gold jewelry and he rocked the leather jacket, slicked back hair and cigar all night.

Anyway, back to New Jersey. Did anyone catch the little taste that Bravo gave us the Tuesday before last? These women are unreal! The accents, the houses, the cars, the "blood is thicker than water" in my family deal. I can't believe all of them are related - it's the perfect real life sopranos - construction company, loaded, huge Italian family. 

And, even better, the upcoming scenes for the season look amazing -- not just cat fights, full on fist fights and throwing tables. I love it. Tuesday night just got even better then Gaslight $5 salads and $5 glasses of wine.

Friday, April 10, 2009

No Plans = Bliss

For the first time in awhile, we have ZERO plans this weekend. No basketball, no engagement or birthday parties, no friends or family in town. While many may think it sounds lame, i'm over the moon about it.

What to do, what to do? Isn't that the best? There are so many things I say I never have time for and now, 2 full days to do whatever it is I need to do.

First on the list, try a new restaurant tonight. Scoot and I have a deal: I cook during the week and then on the weekend nights he treats. Last Friday we went to Terragusto and it was amazing. It's a BYOB family style Italian restaurant that only uses the freshest local and sustainably grown ingredients. We had the mixed salad, baked polenta with sage, gorgonzola & pinenuts, ravioli di magro, gnocchi di semola con gamberi e cavoletti and the organic free-range half chicken as our entree. It was amazing and so cheap without the alcohol charge (we brought an $8 bottle of cab).

Tonight, I'm thinking of trying Think in the Wicker Park area. The cold water cured smoked salmon look delcious and Scoot will love the homemade lump crab cakes (although being from Maryland, he's always leery about crab that's not straight from the inner harbor).

Second, some much needed exercise. During the week it's hard to find time for a full workout -- I usually go to a quick class or jog a few miles, but never have time for Bikram or a long run. I'm going to bite the bullet tomorrow and pay $15 to rid my body of all the toxins -- Bikram Yoga Chicago, i'm coming back.

Then on Sunday, before endulging in a huge Easter dinner (cooked by Zach and myself -- i'll share recipes later) i'm doing the boat run. It's a familiar term used by my friends. All of us who live North of Fullerton do the boat run, which means running to North Avenue Beach and back. It's about 6 or 7 miles.

Third, spring shopping. The weather's finally getting to the point, where it's not bad walking around Michigan avenue or Halsted and Armitage. Although the money's not there, I feel like I need a few more things to kick-off spring: 1. A trip to Lori's for some new Sandals (thoughts on the below?) and 2. New workout clothes (treating myself to a few things at Lululemon).

Aside from these three musts for the weekend, i'll be out enjoying the weather (if it's nice), cuddling up on the couch with Knit Two (hoping it starts to get better because right now it's not comparing to The Friday Night Knitting Club) and spending time with the usual crowd.

I hope your Easter weekend is as wonderful as mine's looking to be.

p.s. My most memorable Easter moment is in college when my parents had sent me an Easter basket (hey, what happened to that?) and coming home one night to find that my best friend had eaten my entire chocolate bunny from Malley's (you'd understand if you were from cleveland) excluding the ear. Oh, how I want to put my college pants back on and jester in E104.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Jean Dilemma

There's nothing better than finding the perfect pair of jeans. A few years ago, I discovered Paige jeans. And, if you have a booty (yet a small waist) they're perfect. Every pair of Paige jeans I ever try on, I'm instantly in love with.

It's pretty difficult to pull of the "skinny jean" look if you're a girl with a butt and hips. But, Paige jeans make it work. I've lived in my skinny Paige jeans all year.

But, I've had a few instances with this brand of jeans that I love so much, that have made me question my loyalty.

1. I've had the below paige jeans for at least two years. Last Easter (I don't know if it was all the chocolate and deviled eggs, or the delicious feast Scoot's stepbrother Zach and I cooked up) but, I went to sit on the couch and riiiiiiiiip there was suddenly a tear in my inner thigh. I don't care how much I eat on any particular holiday, $200 jeans just shouldn't rip.

2. Still loyal to the brand that fits so well and looks just right, I bought these this fall. Two months new, I'm crawling into the back seat of my Dad's SVU en route to the Blackhawks game and riiiiiiip a big hole in the knee. Now, I know the hole thing is in, but I didn't want these particular jeans to have a hole and for what I paid, that rip just shouldn't have happened.

3. The pair I discussed in #1 rip again this past weekend. Now, I know I probably shouldn't have been hula hooping at Stanley's on a Saturday night, but COME ON. I got them repaired once and I don't want to deal with the humility of taking them back to the tailor for her to give me that look "maybe you should stop squeezing your fat ass into this size you grew out of two years ago."

So, here's the dilemma: do I order another pair (below) of Paige jeans I so desperately want? Or, will history repeat itself. Is there another brand out there that fits big booty (small waisted) girls so perfectly? Please help -- in desperate need of perfect fitting "summer" jeans.

I should also note that I have two pairs that haven't ripped at all...so, I guess I'm 50%. I should also note that i've tried on the next size up and TRUST ME, I'm getting the right size!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Red's Ways to Save

My roommate is a coupon cutter. She is a 23 year-old active, beer drinking, dancing, up for anything young girl who at times gets herself caught in an older woman's (I believe it's her Mother's) body. She even has a coupon booklet and cuts them every weekend. And even though I have no desire to become a coupon cutter, I admit, I do get jealous when I see how much she's saved at our weekly trips to the grocery. So, I lent her my blog, so she could fill all of you in on how she saves. Enjoy!


Whether its getting your haircut at the Aveda School for $15 or bringing your lunch to work everyday- we're all trying to save a couple bucks here and there. Times are tough which brings me to my guest post topic: COUPONS!

I've recently found a neat site on facebook called Groupon. Similar to Restaurant.com - this website sends you a daily e-mail advertising deals for local bars and restaurants. It just so happens that they sent me one for a bar in my work building - spend $10 and we'll give you a $20 coupon. I was like, "This is great!" I immediately told all my friends at work and we used it Friday night for happy hour drinks and appetizers. Check it out- I definitely recommend it.

Another way to save some cash is at the grocery store which is by far my absolute favorite way to save money. I save an average $30 every Sunday. How you ask? Cutting coupons! Yup- it's so simple and makes grocery shopping that much more exciting. We unfortunately don't get the Sunday paper, but good ole trusty Mom sends me a package once a month with mail and you guessed it, coupons! However, I recently found coupons in the weekend editions of the Red Eye and the best part is the Red Eye is free!

Bed, Bath, & Beyond - you can't tell me you don't have a couple of the blue BB&B coupons laying around your house right now. They are always in your mailbox and seem to pop up everywhere. I bet you didn't know they never expire- yup, that's right- you can use these guys whenever you want. And get this- if you have a Linens & Things still (they recently went out of business) they will honor your BB&B coupons there too!

Happy Savings!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

If I had more time, I would...

The other day I got to thinking about all the things I would do if I had more time. I started feeling sorry for myself and then realized that I can actually do these things, I just need to make the time.

Let me be clear, this isn’t my “wish list,” i.e. sky dive, travel the world, write a book, etc. Just a list for now. A list to keep track of these things so I can begin to cross them off my list. The weather’s getting nicer, my spirits are lifting and I’m going to give it a shot.
  1. Learn how to play tennis and golf. These are two sports that I will be able to play well into my 60’s, so why not learn how now. I think I’ll start with tennis first; I get way too ADD during golf.
  2. Learn how to knit (The Friday Night Knitting Club really got me excited). All I need to do is buy a how-to book and BAM, I’m making my own scarves and sweaters (indirectly helping me save on Christmas gifts for the grandparents…always thinking).
  3. Take a dance class – ballroom, ballet, salsa, I’d like to take them all. But, I think I’ll start with Zumba – a cardio class that includes Latin dance choreography and see where I go from there.
  4. Get back on a soccer team. I can actually CHECK this one off the list – I got back on my team yesterday and will play this spring season. DONE.
  5. Coach again. I coached a little girls team my senior year in college, but haven’t since. Scoot is inspiring me by coaching AAU bball and I def need to “give back to the sport that gave me so much,” as my Dad would say.
  6. Go to more Bikram classes. Bikram is 90 minutes long. It is really hard to find 90 minutes in my day. But, this is no excuse, especially on the weekends. It makes me feel amazing and I need to go more.
  7. Blog. If I had more time in the day, I’d dedicate more time to blogging. I write so much at work that I admit, S&S usually takes the back seat. I’m going to try and fix that, starting now.
  8. Train and compete in a triathlon. This comes pretty close to my “wish list,” but it’s something I’ve been thinking more about and something I think I can do. A handful of my friends have done or are signed up to do a marathon. A marathon’s just not for me – I like running, but not 26.2 miles and I just don’t have the desire. I reward those who do it, but it’s not in the cards for me. Running, biking and swimming just sounds more appetizing. I’m not setting this goal yet, but am looking into it.
  9. Meet and catch up with friends I don't see often. I have so many great friends in Chicago: people I used to work with, live with, friends from high school, etc. and I never really see them. We all say “we’re just too busy.” It’s time to stop using that excuse and get together with these friends because I do WANT to see them and always have a wonderful time when I do.
  10. Spend more time alone; doing things I want to do but never have the time to: organize my photo albums, read every fashion/health/beauty magazine, sit in the steam room at LPAC for longer than 5 minutes, go on a solo shopping spree, update my iPod, sit in a coffee shop for hours reading, think and just be.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

FOOD: Healthy AND Easy Turkey Taco Salad

Sunday night ended up being a feast: goat cheese and sundried tomato stuffed chicken, whole wheat pasta, red pepper broccoli, garlic bread and a delicious sun dried tomato white sauce to top it all off. It was a hearty, delicious meal. But, it left me feeling a little heavy and sluggish Monday morning.

So, on Monday night after the gym, when I had a ton of leaft over pasta and sauce (but didn't want to eat it because I wanted something light and healthy), I decided to make a turkey taco salad. I should say Scoot and I decided to make a turkey taco salad, because he did half the work.

-Romaine Lettuce
-Cherry Tomatoes
-Black Beans
-Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese
-99% Fat Free Ground Turkey
-Taco Seasoning (30% less sodium)
-Non Fat Sour Cream

It's pretty self explanatory. Fill two bowls with lettuce, add tomatoes, onions, beans and corn. Cook ground turkey and add water and taco seasoning. Add meat to the salad and top with salsa, reduced fat cheese, non-fat sour cream and a few sliced avocados. If you want to add a dressing, leave a little bit of the taco seasoning and mix with non-fat ranch for a mexi-ranch taste.

This salad has barely any fat and is delicious! After Scoot was done, he filled his bowl with corn chips, threw on the leftover meat and cheese and voila - nachos for dessert!