Thursday, August 29, 2013

Shopping and Eating

One of the nice things about being at home is that there are lots of places to shop. There are two fantastic malls less than a 15 minute drive (without traffic) from my parents' house. The are plenty of little shops in each suburban down town. They are also about half an hour from the largest mall in Illinois and the new Fashion Outlets of Chicago.

I loved the murals at the new fashion outlet mall.

I went home with a mission, I wanted to replace my broken watches and I wanted to check out the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in person. I am also always on the look out for shoes that don't hurt my feet.

I managed to get a new watch that was just like my old watch, a new pair of shoes, and a dress. My mom bought me a ponte blazer from the Talbots sale and a blouse from Coldwater Creek. I guess I'm a grown up now because I think most of my new clothes come from "mom" stores.

Country Classics in a little strip mall.
A hidden gem.

My favorite place to stop in when I am home is Country Classics in Glenview. They carry almost all the brands that preppy bloggers write about except for the "Southern" ones. I tried on some new fall Lilly Pulitzer there (the Charlene dress will be mine if I find a job after my temporary position ends). And, I got an Elizabeth McKay dress in a Hydrangea print that marked down 70%. My mom was not a big fan of the dress. (I haven't worn it yet, as soon as I got home a loose button on the back fell off! So I have to fix it before I can wear it. It was 70% off.) They also have an assortment of headbands for girls and women. They have monograms! It's really my kind of place. If you're in the area and you dress like I do, you MUST stop in.

The line to get into Tory Burch.

One one of my last days at home my mom and I went to check out the new Fashion Outlets--I told my mom there was a Tory Burch outlet store there and she was good to go. It had just opened that week or the weekend before so it was pretty crowded. There were lines to get into some of the stores so we didn't go into Coach or Tory Burch even though my mom was interested. We are not queueing people, we don't have time for that especially if we're just interested in browsing.

Even though it was an outlet mall, somethings were still very expensive like the Barney's New York Warehouse. I guess when something starts off costing thousands of dollars it can only be marked down so much. I enjoyed Neiman's Last Call. I got a wonderful pair of flats for work there.

My second favorite part of the mall was the high tech parking garage! There was a light above each parking space and it turned red when someone was in the space and green when the space was available and there was a real time count of all the open spaces on each floor and in each aisle! The 21st Century has arrived!

My favorite part of going home is eating really good food. In Maine, there are no gyros to speak of. Sometimes you get lamb patties in pita bread. But no real gyros like the ones above. The Chinese food is also kind of weird--I can't really describe how it's different but it is. I ate deep dish pizza, ribs, and gyros while I was home. I brought back several pounds of Vienna Beef Hot Dogs as well. I wish I could have brought back some apple cider doughnuts from the apple orchard we used to go to when I was a little girl. Food is one of the things I miss most from home.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

One Year Later - Our First Anniversary

For our first anniversary, I had wanted to have photographs taken. I was to busy to arrange that and Mr. H is not a fan of having his photograph taken so I did not want to ask him to do that. Fortunately for him, I wasn't feeling well when we got back from my parents'. I have very sensitive skin and something had irritated it so I had a rash all over (allergies, asthma, and eczema runs in my family) and I felt uncomfortable wearing a tee-shirt even. I did not feel like having my photograph taken either.

We went up to our Alma Mater and walked around before lunch.

If only the weather had been this lovely a year ago.
It was grey and rainy when we got married.

Then we headed to the Grand Central Cafe for lunch. We only discovered them after we graduated but I am glad that we did as they make the most delicious brick oven pizza ever! We shared a pepperoni pizza (delicious) and I had a hard cider that was made in Maine.

Our plan was to watch a movie next but we finished lunch well before the movie was supposed to start. So we went to Bull Moose, a music, book, and video game store. They had just remodeled the store in town and it was huge. We bought also bought a four sided die to help us choose which type of candy to get at the theater.

Selfies in the Dark Cinema
Waiting for the Movie to Start

Rail Road Square Cinema was showing: Lovelace, The Way, Way Back, and Fruitvale Station. Fortunately Fruitvale Station was not showing at a convenient time for us as I heard that this movie about Oscar Grant made people bawl and I didn't want to watch a sad movie on my anniversary. I thought Lovelace would be a good file to watch but apparently this movie about porn starts got bad ratings and my husband thought we wouldn't enjoy it. I trust my husband's judgment about what movie to watch so we saw The Way, Way Back and I am so glad that we did. It was a fun movie. We ended up choosing a Seattle Chocolates Dark Chocolate Truffle Bar with 53% Cacao for a movie snack and it was delicious.

Best Cake Ever!

After the move we headed to pick up our Anniversary cake from Got Cake? Paula baked the most delicious cake for our wedding (the best cake I have ever had and perhaps my favorite part of my wedding) and now she was baking us new cake so that we wouldn't have to eat gross frozen cake on our Anniversary!

When we got home, my mother-in-law came by just as we got back. She had purple (our wedding color) ballons for us! She also made up a happy anniversary song and left it as a voicemail message on our answering machine! She is so wonderful.


After picking up our cake, we went home. Since we ate out for lunch, we stayed in for dinner and had Sharp Cheddar and Bacon Kraft Homestyle Macaroni and Cheese Dinner. Dinner was absolutely delicious and after dinner we had champagne and cake!

The glases and champage are from our
friends' wedding a few months ago.

Red Velvet

And, we had presents for each other. My husband gave me an appropriate first anniversary gift--books made out of paper. I gave him Red Sox Boxers from Vineyard Vines.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Lilly Pulitzer Endless Summer Sale Recap

I partook of the Lilly Pulitzer Endless Summer Sale. It was incredibly stressful and I wish I could bill Lilly for the time I spent trying to make a purchase. I probably would have recouped my expenses.

Foley Dress in Turquoise

Photo from Lilly Pulitzer

I had a plan. I brought work to do from home so that I could work at home in the morning for a bit and then go in after making some sale purchases. My plan didn't quite work out. At 8ish I tried to look at the sale offerings--I had a list! I was hunting for a Charlene Dress in Navy, a Logan Dress in Lazy Hazy, Resort Bermuda Shorts in Lagoon Green Moving Slowly, a MarieKate in Hotty Pink, a Foley in Turquoise, a Tabitha in Sunrise Orange, something in Glenda Green Pretty Gingham, a Delia in Cha-Cha, Get Nauti Callahans or a Get Nauti Recut something or other, a Rylan, a Sea Island Tunic Dress, an Athens Dress in Holla for a Dollar, a Dioone Dress in Sunkissed, Somersets, and a High Beams Recut something or other. I knew I couldn't get everything on my list but I needed some direction.

I could not view I went to some via stores and most of them were loading slowly if at all too! Eventually I ended up with an Athens and Delia in my cart but then I hesitated since neither of those dresses would get much use in my life and someone else bought them. Lilly's website was still down so I loaded it up on my phone and drove to work.

Eventually I was able to check out with the Foley in cart. I fixated on that one instead of anything else for some reason and I was so worried I would lose it. They are still in stock on but the other things I may have wanted are sold out everywhere. My phone would not load my shopping cart again after I checked out with the Foley.

MarieKate in Hotty Pink

Photo from Lilly Pulitzer

I was distracted at work all day. Went to a ballgame. Then I came home and seriously looked for other things I had wanted. I got them at Under the Palm Tree. Then Under the Palm Tree emailed me to let me know that the shorts I wanted were out of stock. But my polo shirts were on the way.

Island Sleeveless Polos in
Pretty Pink and Glenda Green
And Buttercup Shorts in Glenda
Green Pretty Gingham

Photo from Lilly Pulitzer

So the next night I went looking for my glenda green pretty gingham shorts and I found them and a size large MarieKate in Hotty Pink at The Pink Palm. And, they were in stock!

Tabitha Dress in Sunrise Orange

Photo from Splash of Pink

On the last day I went in for a final bite of the apple and I have nearly completed my Lilly Pulitzer lace rainbow. I ordered a Sunrise Orange Tabitha from the Pink Palm.

I cannot wait for all my goodies to show up. I already have the Turquoise Foley and I can't wait to wear it.

All in all I ended up spending less than I spent last year. Though I ended up spending far more than I had planned on spending. Of the things I bought during the ESS last year, there were eight items still NWT that I sold while still NWT. I think I will get use out of these lovely dresses.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Into the City and Back Again

On Sunday, my parents dropped us off at our friends' apartment. They had managed to unpack everything and their apartment looked so well put together.

They took us out to dinner at Quartino, a nice Italian resturaunt with pizza and small plates about three blocks west of Michigan Avenue (the Magnificent Mile part). It was delicious and packed so if you'd like to go there I would recommend making reservations. We had delicious pizza, delicious pasta, olives (unlike the tapas place, they were not out of olives), cheese, lots and lots of wine, plus some pasta.

I wore my Lilly Pulitzer Tabitha Dress on the L.
We both survived our encounter with public transportation.

We got back to their place and challenged one another to various Sporcle quizzes then went to bed.

The next morning we woke up and hung out. We at lunch at the Five Guys (with a 100 flavor coke machine) near their apartment and spent a lot of time in at the Unabridged Bookstore. I ended up getting a book for myself and two books to give to my Dad for his birthday. I am glad that they are friends have found a new apartment near a good bookstore. AT's old apartment in Allston, MA was near a good bookstore that we used to stop by when we went to visit her.

On the L.

We headed back up to the North Shore for the evening. We had planned on going to a concert at Ravinia but one of the performers was ill and the concert was cancelled.

We spent the afternoon in my parents' sunroom. AT loved watching all the bunnies that help maintain the landscaping and I watched the birds using the pool cover as a birdbath (there are no children at home to use the pool so my mom decided not to open it up this year).

Instead I invited my high school friends over and we had Carson's. I love Carson's coleslaw and think it is the absolute best in the world. Carson's is famous for their ribs and those are phenomenal too.

It was fun for me to watch my friends from two totally different areas of my life (high school and college) interact. I thought they got along remarkably well and we had a good time.

After dinner we roasted s'mores in the fire pit in the backyard.

(I thought I took more photos but apparently I was mistaken.)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Home at Last!

The next morning my sister, E2, picked us up at our friends' apartment. She is in her third year of medical school and is doing her surgery rotation near their apartment. That afternoon she had to attend a lecture and my parents' house was on the way. It was also her birthday. I'd like to think that my presence made the best birthday present ever.

She took us up along LSD and Sheridan Road in her convertible and it was a lovely day. (I tried to get a picture but it is hard to take a picture from a moving car.) We finally got to my parents' house and my mom met us there on her lunch break. E2 opened some presents from my mom (my presents for her were still in the mail as I had sent them on ahead) and then when went to Jimmy John's for lunch (I was  unpleasantly surprised to learn that the sprouts had been replaced by cucumber slices).

The company and conversation at Tapas Gitana were delightful.

For dinner we went to Tapas Gitana and I spotted someone else wearing Lilly (this almost never happens in Maine)! Dinner was delicious! Their potato salad (Patatas Con Alioli) is the best and I had sangria for what I think was the first time. I also had the pleasure of trying fried artichoke hearts. But, they were all out of olives? How? Who knows.


On Saturday, we celebrated my sister's birthday by driving up to Illinois Beach State Park (just south of the retired Zion Nuclear Power Station. We drove up in my mom's new RV. (I feel very ambivalent about the RV and I think it is my mom's midlife crisis. When I have a midlife crisis I am getting an Astin Martin, not an RV.)

The Power Plant in the Distance Adds to the Ambiance

I got car sick in the RV so I was so happy when we got to the beach. My sister was sick because they work med students too hard so she ended up spending the whole time at the beach sleeping in the RV. My husband and I sat on the beach reading.

I walked around the beach and tired to take pictures of the skyline in the distance. I tried to go swimming but every time I got deeper than my belly button my diaphragm seized and I couldn't breath. Also, the beach was very rock and there was a maxi pad floating in the water. (I know Lake Michigan is gross but come on I'd never seen anything that gross at Gillson.)

#nofilter, All the Photos from my Phone Turned Out Lovely.

I planted an idea in my sister's head on the way back: Dinner at Walker Brothers Pancake House. We ended up going to the one in downtown Wilmette, along Green Bay Road, it is the oldest one and I think it is the nicest one since they don't make things like they used to anymore.

Carved Oak and Stained Glass
at Walker Bros.

Afterward, we went back to my parents' house and ate cake and opened her remaining presents.

She asked for confetti. She got checkerboard.
The monogramed crab water bottle
I got her is in the background.
The cake was from Deerfields Bakery as my mom and I could not plan far enough ahead or wake up early enough bake one. So we went to the bakery to buy her a cake. Deerfields Bakery has wonderful baked goods and my mom usually gets their super wonderful chocolate chip coffee cake for me when I come home to visit. This time I just got a real chocolate long john (I ordered a chocolate long john at a Dunkin Donuts in Maine and I got something that no joke looked like a turd, see the below photo for proof) and a chocolate chip sweet roll which was like a single serving coffee cake.

I asked for a chocolate long john in Augusta, Maine.
This is what they gave me. Would you eat this?
I did because I was hungry. It tasted much better
than it looked, which isn't really saying much.
But chocolate is never yucky even if its in a gross shape.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is delicious. I like it a lot.

  • unbaked pie crust
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen green peas (I just dumped the whole bag in since it was mostly empty)
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 quart water with 4 bullion cubes (or equivalent amount of better bullion) or 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (I ended up using whole wheat flour since I ran out of all-purpose flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 30 to 40 turns of the pepper mill's worth of black pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup milk
  1. Make (or buy) pie crust.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery. Add water/broth to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain (reserving cooking liquid) and set aside.
  4. In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions and garlic in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in 2 cups of the reserved chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Put pie crust in container the chicken will cook in.
  6. Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
I used the Chicken Pot Pie IX recipe from but adapted it according to the comments and my own eccentricities.

What I did . . .

I started off by making a pie crust according to the directions in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. But, I ran into a problem. I had plenty of whole wheat flour and bread flour but not the cup and two tablespoons of all-purpose flour the pie crust recipe called for. I ended up using as much all-purpose flour as I had and made up the difference with the whole wheat flour. When it came time to roll out the crust, I floured the surface using the whole wheat flour. It was not perfect. The crust kept sticking to the counter top and generally gave me a hard time. It ended up all right.

The pie crust in the dish that the pot pie is going to go in. The first time I made this, I pre-baked the pie crust and it shrunk so this time I wasn't worried about the fact that the pie crust wasn't making it all the way up the sides. Food should taste good not look pretty (or at least that's what I say because I am too lazy to make the food I make look pretty). Plus, I was really fed up with the crust so I just gave up on making it fit perfectly.

While letting the mixed up crust chill in the fridge, I cut up all the veggies and chicken and I put them in a sauce pan. (Along with 4 cubes of bullion and 4 cups of water since I did not want to use up my precious snow day chicken stock in this situation.)

I am incapable of getting this picture to rotate.

When that was done I let it sit (despite what the directions say about draining it right away.) Then got out half a stick of butter and a quarter cup of olive oil. I was lazy and thought it would be more convenient if I used the half stick of butter I had and used olive oil to make up the difference. Cutting two tablespoons off of a stick of butter is such hard work. I cooked the onions in the oil/butter mixture until the butter was melted and then I added the flour. I used whole wheat flour. It looks very brown. I let that cook for a bit. Then added the milk and I drained 2 cups of liquid off of the saucepan to add. It looked kind of yucky at this point.

Then I finished draining the liquid off the chicken (I saved it because it is stock-like) and I poured the chicken/veggie mixture into the pie crust encrusted dish. Then I poured the liquid filling over it and mixed it up a bit. Then I put the pie crust top on top and put it in the oven.

That pie crust was the most difficult thing I have ever worked with.
But I got my revenge, I ate it! And, it was good.

Then I put it in the oven. Set a timer for 45 min. and started cleaning up. Then the timer went off and I took it out and it looked lovely!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Road Trip/Homeward Bound

Our good college friends got married in June! They went on their honeymoon, came back, and then moved to Chicago. JS has been working on his Ph.D. there and AT will start working on hers there this fall. Naturally, we helped since they are the best friends that anyone could hope to ever have and it gave me an excuse to visit my family.

My husband and I took the train down to Boston and we were greeted by JS's parents! They are some of the most wonderful people in the world. We got to AT's apartment and waiting around while they said their goodbyes to their family and finished loading up their moving truck then we hit the road.

We drove to Rochester, NY that night. It was a long drive, especially nice there were two cars and three drivers (JS has not yet gotten his driver's licence but he is good company on the road). After all of us got to Rochester we went to Applebee's--I had a milkshake and promptly went to sleep when we got back to the hotel.

Gary, ID

The next day my husband drove the moving truck through Cleveland! Cleveland is a lovely city but it has three sharp curves along I-90 which I imagine are not fun to take when driving a moving truck.

After lunch I went with AT while she drove the truck. We drove through Indiana and I was so relieved when we got to Gary (almost home). I think it's steel mills are beautiful in an industrial, we made Chicago's skyscrapers possible kind of way.

Gary, ID

And then we were home! I helped AT navigate the Dan Ryan and Lake Shore Drive (LSD). We were fortunate that the traffic was light, it was just after rush hour, and that no police officers stopped us for driving a truck on LSD.

Almost Home at Last!

Their neighborhood is lovely. It is near/in Boystown. The parkin situation was tenuous (we double parked in front of the driveway to the parking garage) so we unloaded the truck to the sidewalk in about fifteen minutes and then started brining everything in. There was a curious passerby who we were a little suspicious of but I think he just wanted to chat and not steal all of AT's worldly possessions.

My husband was so proud of himself for driving in the
City and then parallel parking AT's car on a busy street.

We dropped off the rental truck that night. Had Giordano's (only the best deep dish pizza) and passed out. AT does not like tomatoes at all. So we shared a deep dish peperoni and olive pizza with no tomato sauce and it was delicious I highly recommend giving a no sauce pizza a try.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Pink Tangerine in Kennebunkport, ME

Kennebunkport, Maine

There are two places I know of where I can buy Lilly in Maine. One is a bridal shop called Spoil Me (where I found my bridesmaid's dresses and my veil). The other is the Pink Tangerine in Kennebunk!

Instead of braving the parking in town,
I parked in the town parking lot about a
ten minute walk from the shops. 

I love going to Pink Tangerine. Kennebunkport is a ways from Portland and like most of Maine it's crazy with tourists in the summer so I don't get there often.

The walk was nice.

Before going to Pink Tangerine I stopped at the Deep Blue. They have sea glass and I wanted to get some for my sister since her birthday was soon. None of the sea glass looked interesting but the did have some very cool sea urchin tests (skeletons). I hope she will be able to do something crafty with them.

I really wanted to get this Island Co. dress that was on display.

I stopped in at Green Tangerine, Pink Tangerine's sister store, they carry Vineyard Vines and other brands you read about on "preppy" blogs. What I liked most of all were the Island Co. dresses but they were linen (I have an aversion to very wrinkled clothes) and they were rather short (I am on the tall side).

Pink Tangerine!
I went to Pink next and struck out. The Janice Dress in Sunkissed was too low cut for this prude. (Lilly didn't make many simply shifts this season.) The Foley dress was too expensive (I knew that would be the case) and it fit oddly (I think it ran larger than the Mariekate or the Tabitha). The Darcy dress in Ice Cream Social on sale was very low cut in the back. They were sold out of my size in the Delia in Cha-Cha.


But the girls who work there are the nicest and were incredibly helpful. I ended up getting the Maritime Skort in Get Nauti (it is so short as you can see in this blurry photo I took to send out for opinions on the length and the OOTD shot from later). I love the Get Nauti print. I hope I can get something more modest and easier to wear later, maybe a re-cut in the Endless Summer Sale. I also got the goody goody necklace and the storage bin in chin chin that I came for.


I walked back to my car and only stopped at one other store on my way back (I had donated platelets that morning so I was a little bit tired and I knew I had some more errands to run before I could go home.) I snapped some lovely photos though.

On the Bridge between Kennebunk and Kennebunkport.

P.S. I am trying to schedule posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Last week I had some trouble with the Internet so I wasn't able to schedule my posts.