Thursday, February 28, 2013

Finding Wonder & Miss Ayana

I have started going to community events. I have been looking for new experiences and hoping to learn a few things. One of the first events I went to was a lecture given by Bob and Justin from a marketing design company called Rule29. It was about finding wonder and how they use the idea of wonder to tell the story of several charitable groups. It was very interesting and goes perfectly with my resolution of being more present. Their message was to find wonder every day. 

"He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed." -Albert Einstein

The other night I went to my first author reading and book signing. It was for Iowa alum Ayana Mathis who penned the novel "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie." She was recently featured on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday, and her book is on Oprah's reading list. It was wonderful listening to her describe her characters and how she developed them. If this writing thing doesn't work out she could easily go into public speaking. I have not yet read the book but after hearing a beautiful chapter and meeting the author, I am very excited to do so. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Erik the 'Maxxinista'

Erik actually asked to go to TJMaxx today which made me very happy. The last time we were there he got really excited when he found really nice jeans for $15 (orig. $90). They make his tushy look like a million bucks! Plus he discovered all the nice kitchen stuff, which was again very exciting for him. He may or may not have done a happy dance.

Our haul from today's trip included these pretty little oil decanters, so we made our own flavored olive oil! One is Garlic and the other is Red Chili and Garlic. 

1 cup Olive Oil
6 cloves Garlic (crush 3 + 3 whole)

1 cup Olive Oil
3 cloves Garlic crushed
4 Tbs. Red Pepper Flakes

* Heat the oil with garlic and pepper over medium heat for 5 mins - the garlic will stick so stir frequently
* Strain out the pepper flakes and garlic from the Red Chili Oil.
* Refrigerate

CAUTION: Both are extremely delicious!

My cutie pie being as cute as possible
We went to Target as well today, where I promptly lost my phone. Didn't realize this until later when we were home and the oils were cooling. After several attempts to call it and retracing my snowy steps where I took the dog out, I started to panic. Thank goodness our friend Sarah helped me sign up for iCloud a while back when my phone crashed. I was able to log in and track where my phone was. It exactly located it to the front of the store where the customer service counter is. Pretty cool feature!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

STILL Panicking!!!

Bosley knows several tricks, but when he gets overly excited he forgets just one!


This is what my goofball does after every bath!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Its a Greekin' Weekend!

Erik and I just had a lovely little weekend in one of our favorite cities, Chicago! We stayed in a neighborhood called Greektown. Since we have really only stayed on or right next to the Magnificent Mile, we were both excited to see what it had in store for us. 

The Windy City stayed true to its nickname Saturday so we weren't able to explore the neighborhood too much. We decided to go to the Garfield Park Conservatory for the day. It was gorgeous, and free! We did make a donation, but I'm so surprised at how amazing it was considering it was free. 

I was craving seafood, so for dinner we went to a little Greek restaurant, Santorini. 
We started with some orgasmic oysters.

The atmosphere of this place was so cool. You got that upscale feeling while still feeling like you were surrounded by a big family. Plus, dinner came with a show. I guess a big thing to order there was Saganaki or cheese flambe. They were lit table side accompanied by a boisterous "OPA!"

After dinner we hopped a cab to The Motel Bar where we were taking a painting class! A company called Colors and Bottles, which has branches in almost every major city, rents out restaurants and brings in artists to teach classes. We were able to order cocktails and others ordered appetizers. It made for a really fun evening. We were both shocked at how well we did. 

Original Painting

Hands are really hard to paint...

Sunday we wanted to go for breakfast at another Greek restaurant, but the wait was much too long. We ended up in a fresh market, Mariano's, just across from our hotel. This place put our local big chain grocer, HyVee, to shame! It was three floors, the first being a coffee bar. The other floors were all fresh, organic produce complete with an oyster bar, wine bar, and omelet bar each that you could sit down at, buffet, specialty patisserie, florist, and extensive international section. They even fresh squeezed their own OJ and grapefruit juice! This place had amazing prices, too - cheaper than Iowa City by far. Grocery shopping might be added to the list of excuses to go to Chicago more often.

We are definitely going to stay in Greektown again.