Thursday, December 30

power ballad of 2010!

My power ballad of 2010 has to be Strip Me by Natasha Bedingfield. This year I think I finally became an adult. Sean and I lived on our own in a big city and actually survived. We had a few struggles in the beginning that made us a very humbled couple but in the end we made it work. We were able to enjoy the city for the first year without going under. Sean and I are happier than we ever thought we would be and we are very much looking forward to our future together in Chicago! Happy New Year 2011!


And if you strip me,
Strip it all away
If you strip me,
What would you find
If you strip me,
Strip it all away 
Ill be alright...
- Natasha Bedingfield "Strip Me"

rub-all-over-your-body cornbread stuffing

This stuffing is probably the best stuffing I have ever had in my entire life! (Sorry mom and grandma!) I was in charge of making the stuffing this year and I decided to use this recipe from one of my In-Style magazines. I even rolled out my very own biscuits using a french rolling pin. If you don't have a french rolling pin get one immediately! It is so much better than one with handles. Also, make sure you use sweet cornbread mix and add corn to the cornbread if you like, the cornbread mix I used was from Trader Joe's and it already had corn in it. I also added raisins and it came out perfectly! I made it as a side dish but I'm sure it would be great stuffing for a turkey too! This was a big hit at our Friendsgiving dinner!

Ingredients:
• 5 cups day-old cornbread, crumbled
• 4 cups day-old Bisquick biscuits, crumbled
• 1 1/2 cups celery, finely chopped
• 1 large onion, finely chopped
• 1/8 tsp. black pepper
• 2 tsp. salt
• 6 cups chicken broth
• 1 tbsp. dried sage
• 1 tsp. parsley flakes
• 1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning
• 1/2 cup melted butter
• 1 lb. mild pork sausage, cooked and drained

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Stuff turkey with mixture and follow your own recipe for cooking time or treat as a side dish by placing mixture in a 9" x 13" ovenproof pan or casserole dish in oven, uncovered.
3. Cook 1 hour, adding extra broth if it starts to become too dry.

Serves 8 (with leftovers)

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Wednesday, November 10

happy belated birthday to me

Soooo...my 27th birthday was back in September and Sean took me to a Jenny and Johnny concert at Lincoln Hall. Jenny and Johnny consists of the duo Jenny Lewis and Jonathan Rice. Jenny Lewis is from Rilo Kiley fame and I have a major girl crush on her! She inspired me to cut my bangs this year...

I recommend getting her album Acid Tongue and then buying Jenny and Johnny's I'm Having Fun Now. Every single moment of the concert was amazing, and it's one of the few I will always remember! A little Jenny Lewis trivia - she was an actress when she was younger and starred in Troop Beverly Hills! Love that movie!

Here are some pics from the concert!





Tuesday, November 9

john jewell holiday

My dad came into town a few weekends ago and we had a chance to take him around Chicago AND go to a Notre Dame game in South Bend, IN! The first night he arrived we took him to one of our favorite spots in Lincoln Square - The Chicago Brauhaus! Lucky for us this German restaurant was celebrating the end of Oktoberfest and had their house band playing all night long, including the famous Gody! You can see him behind my dad in the picture below! Those beers were really, really heavy too!


The next morning we drove out to Mount Carmel Catholic Cemetery to find the famous grave of Al Capone. We drove around for about 45 minutes before finding the gangster's final resting place. The cemetery was beautiful and full of Italian mausoleums, but also kinda creepy being so close to Halloween...

Bright and early on Saturday morning we took a bus over to South Bend to the famous Notre Dame campus and you can tell from the pictures below that it was a perfect fall day for a football game! Believe it or not this was our first football game together as a couple! Sean and I thought that was really funny!

Below we have a picture of my two favorite guys! And one of "Touchdown Jesus," which I thought was hilarious (and awesome). The dome picture is in one of the Notre Dame halls, my dad got down on the ground to take the picture, supposedly it is a Notre Dame tradition! It was a very fun weekend with Mr. Jewell in town!


Friday, November 5

library research - oh my!

If you didn't already know I work at the American Library Association's Office for Research & Statistics in Chicago. Sounds nerdy right? Well it is! And I love it! My main job is working to promote and research library technology and funding for technology resources in U.S. public libraries. The study is on its 5th year now and is called The Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study - read about the study on its very own BLOG that I help manage!

Each year we focus on 2 states to get more in depth research and information, and last year I was in charge of talking to Arizona and writing the state report. Take a look at our amazing study from this past year here!

Now I know you have probably fallen asleep by now reading about this and I completely understand but WAKE UP! I have exciting news! This year we are coming to OKLAHOMA! My HOME STATE! THE SOONER STATE! We just got the go ahead today and I cannot be more excited about traveling through Oklahoma and talking to my home state's libraries. So I'll be seeing you in Oklahoma soon!

Here is one of the many maps I created for this year's study.
Go Oklahoma! 95.9% in FREE wireless availability!

Thursday, October 28

spider attack!!!

While walking down to Trader Joe's to buy orange juice and cinnamon rolls this morning I came across this scary scene! Ahhhhhh! A HUGE spider climbing up a building downtown! Everyone knows how much I HATE spiders (and sharks)! So I wasn't surprised when I got a little scared and thought "that can't be real, right!?" Of course not! Once you look a little closer at this monstrous spider you will realize that it is just girl spider, she is wearing pink and her eyes are disco balls! So in fact the big spider really isn't that scary, and I actually kind of like her.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Tuesday, October 19

jimmy buffett and parrot heads!

Many people in Sean's family are HUGE Jimmy Buffet fans and it was their goal to get Sean and I to a Jimmy Buffett concert. Well Jimmy just so happen to show up in Chicago this summer and Sean's dad jumped at the chance to take us. I've heard rumors about these Buffent events - parrot heads running around in crazy costumes, LOTS of drinking, games, cookouts, and crazy tailgating. Not only was all of this true but also a whole lot crazier than Sean or I could have imagined! I think these photos will speak for themselves:
Tailgating out of our highlander! Sean has a shark on his head!

Nikki, Leon, Sean and me about to go into the concert.



Party bus!

Me and Nikki in our beautiful grass skirts...
Leon and Sean in our beautiful grass skirts...
  

Jimmy Buffet saluting the Billy Goat Tavern, "Cheezborger, cheezborger, cheezborger!"
 
There is a shark in the crowd!

"Goodbye Chicago!" - Jimmy Buffett


Friday, October 15

lucky to have this out-law


I am probably the luckiest girl in the world to have found Sean, and his younger sister Stacy has become not only one of my best friends but I also see her as my little sis too. When I first met Stacy we all met at the Mont for dinner and drinks. I was so nervous! She looked so cute in her pearls and signature leopard cardigan, and I just wanted to hang out with her all of the time after that! Sean and I love going on double date outings with Stacy and Charlie and I CANNOT wait until they make the best decision and move to Chicago! Check out their super sweet engagement pics on her blog The Beginning!

Since Sean and I are not yet betrothed and I can't really refer to Stacy has my sister-in-law so for now she is my sister-out-law and I love her to pieces! These are my top 5 favorite things about Stacy:

1. Her laugh - Stacy loves to laugh and have fun. She really does bring a silly part of Sean and I out whenever she is around us.
2. Her fashion sense - Stacy always knows where to find the best clothes and she always finds them ON SALE! This is a very powerful gift to have...
3. She is afraid of bugs just like me - some of my favorite times with Stacy are when we are trying to layout and we always end up battling all kinds of bugs! Our defense is just running away and we ususally just end up watching TV inside instead.
4. She's the best aunt to Cami - Stacy bought Cams her first dog snuggie, tutu, and pajammas. I can't imagine what she will buy our kids...
5. She is a great friend - Stacy has always been there for me no matter what the situation is and I love her for that. When Stacy asked me to be her maid of honor I was so surprised and I believe I started crying at the Mont. I love you little Rogers!

discovering the king on halloween

Having read every single book in my library I was in need of more books to read while riding the train to work. I came across an old box of Sean's in our storage closet and to my luck it was full of Stephen King books. I thought "perfect for October!" My mom always read Stephen King when I was growing up and so I always ended up watching the movies with her once she finished a book. FYI - never let your 7-year-old watch Stephen King's IT, I was deeply disturbed by that move and my 7-year-old self did not sleep for weeks and had nightmares about that creepy clown! I even tried to read the book in high school and the clown came back in my dreams so I had to quit!

Well so far I have read Salem's Lot (another crazy scary movie), The Dead Zone (suprisingly political based, and not very scary), Thinner (gross and creepy), and I just finished CUJO yesterday!

OMG...Cujo is really, really scary!!! I am a grown woman and I found myself looking at our bedroom closet at night for monsters AND at times Cami (our dog) has made me feel a little uncomfortable...

Doesn't she look kinda suspicious? What is she thinking?
I think today I am going to go buy IT at Borders and challenge myself to read it...I'll let you know what happens...
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Friday, October 8

purse adventure!

My absolute favorite Web site for clothes shopping these days is ModCloth.com. They have retro fresh styles that I love and at great prices. I also like how ModCloth customers can leave reviews on any item, that way, before I buy something, I can get a good feel on how it is going to fit. Finally, they have created their very own blog which I couldn't be more excited about! Go on a purse adventure to see what kind of purse you need at the moment! I am a "Got this in the bag" career girl!
Got This in the Bag

Thursday, July 22

whip It! tunes

I recently watched a movie that I just thought was inspiring, punchy, girly and just plain awesome! (Even Sean liked it after I made him watch it with me) And of course the soundtrack is very impressive and I had to buy it immediately. Whip It! is about a young girl (Ellen Page) who is thrown into the world of beauty pageants, but obviously is not a beauty queen. Alas she discovers ROLLER DERBY! And then the tough love begins....

This movie rocks for many reasons. The team is called the Hurl Scouts and they wear Girl Scout uniforms. Now I was a Daisy, Brownie and a Junior Girl Scout (yes, I went far in Girl Scouts and I'm proud of it!) when I was a little girl. Loved the costumes/uniforms in this film.

The girls - Ellen Page, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Wiig, Alia Shawkatt, Juliette Lewis...Oh and Andrew Wilson (Luke and Ben's bro) is not a girl, but is hilarious as the coach. At last there is the music...mainly underground artists featuring Little Joy, Jens Lekman (heart him), Tilly and the Wall, The Ettes, and many more. The soundtrack is a mix of perfectly rebellious songs for this sweet, rabble-rouser of a movie.

Wednesday, May 5

daytrotter vs. broken bells

Sean and I like to think of ourselves as that hippy-dippy couple who love to go to as many concerts as we can (of course on a tight budget). Well after this summer it will be evident that this just might be true. Last week Sean took me to Milwaukee, WS for the Daytrotter Concert Series featuring Ra Ra Riot, Nathaniel Rateliff & Delta Spirit (also it was our first time in Wisconsin!). It was a night full of thumping Americana rock bands in a pretty vintage venue that is a bit smaller than Caine’s Ballroom in Tulsa, but the space had the same vibrating music milieu. I recommend visiting the Daytrotter Web site where you can download FREE live sessions of many assorted and rockin’ bands. Plus the artwork is pretty groovy:

From Milwaukee back to Chicago we will be visiting the Broken Bells on Memorial Day at the Vic Theatre. This is the ONLY album I can listen to from beginning to end on my train ride to and from work. Without ever changing a beat, the music is full of faraway landscapes that are perfect for gazing out onto the city while the train jumps from track to track. If you have not listened to, bought or even read about this band yet, all I can say is you must, YOU absolutely MUST go get it. Broken Bells belongs to James Mercer of The Shins fame and Brian Burton a.k.a. Danger Mouse, also from Gnarls Barkley - one of my personal favorites. Every single song is addicting (a very rare thing)...these songs are songs to love and maybe even marry one day.

More music to come this summer, so stay tuned....

Monday, April 19

waiting for baby

I'll never forget the image of my sister as Sean and I entered the maternity room where her and Jeff were waiting for Mason to arrive. Elizabeth was hooked up to about 5 different machines with cables going every which way and eating a red popsicle. Her lips were bright red as she smiled at us and giggled a bit. Obviously the drugs had kicked in... "Do you guys want a popsicle!?" she said. I couldn't help but laugh at my beautiful older sister, who was about to be a mama. And she did look beautiful - perfect makeup, hair fixed with her newly cut bangs pushed to the side, and wearing diamond studs. She was prepare to have this baby in style.

I remeber the funniest thing she said to me while we were sitting in the room with her and Jeff. She looked over and smiled, "You can so do this...this isn't bad at all!" Again, obviously the drugs talking. After six hours of waiting at the hospital Mason finally arrived into the world! He was the cutest thing ever and as he grew over the months it has become evident that he is the most handsome, stylish, coolest baby on the block.


Things that Mason likes to do:
  • Dance.....a lot
  • Says "mmmm" after every bite of food
  • Eat my glasses
  • He can apparently wrestle you to the ground being only 10 months (I have yet to witness this)
  • Says dada when you ask him to say mama
  • Sings or mostly hums to Jason Maraz "I'm Yours" (the Sesame Street version)
  • Likes to stare at Sean for an uncomfortably long time
  • Wears MAN-ly accessories - sunglasses & hats
  • And now he is a crawlin' fool! Soon he will be walking & my poor sister better have her running shoes on!

    Tuesday, April 6

    hopleaf magic

    On St. Patty's Day, Sean and I were running all over town, going from pub to pub, until I dragged him to a local favorite that I heard about at work, the Hopleaf. Right off of North Clark Street in Andersonville, lives this local favorite that is only a bus ride away from our apartment. Since we are both beer and wine enthusiasts, we were anxious to sample the variety of beers that the Hopleaf has to offer. This attractive, brick covered establishment carries over 250 bottled and draft beers from all over the world - North America, Belgium and the rest of Europe.

    Sean and I could not resist from trying something from the appealing and electric menu. One of the house specialties is Mussels served with Frites & Aioli. We graciously gobbled these yummy mussels up, ordering them Belgian - Style: steamed in Wittekerke white ale with sliced shallots, celery, thyme, & bayleaf. We then enjoyed a Duck Reuben that was just perfect for my duck cravings that I have been having since we left Oklahoma. The Duck Reuben was served on marble rye bread, with cranberry cream cheese, home-made sauerkraut, and emmenthaler.

    Delicious...we paired our meal with various Belgian beers suggested to us by our most accommodating server. I can't wait to take our friends to this very cozy and modern hangout.

           

    train bliss

    One of my favorite things to do in Chicago is to ride the train. I call it the train - not the subway or the 'L' - which it should be called, but the train. I am for certain this is very wrong to say around Chicagoans, since in fact there is a rail road train (the Metra) that runs out to the suburbs. But that is what I like to call it - the train.

    Now being an Oklahoma girl, I grew up driving on those long stretch of gleaming hot highways - I-35, I-40, I-44, and I do NOT miss them one bit. Let's be honest - I've never exactly been a great driver. I can be aggressive and loud when need be, but usually I drive slow and stay a car-length distance away from the person in front of me. I'm even worse when I am in the passenger seat...

    But riding the 'L' is just bliss...this meaning that I feel like I have my own personal driver every morning to take me to and from work. I say "hello!" to the train conductors in the morning and sit in my usually seat by the window. I have read almost 15 books since moving here, and have listened to entire albums on my iPod, all while relaxing and staring out into the beautiful cityscape of Chicago. One of my favorite past times is people watching - I swear I have seen an exact twin of everyone from back home on the train - even you Erin!

    My only scary experience on the 'L'...so far:
    Recently I was trapped in one of these train entrance gates. I scanned my card to get on, pushed through the jaw-like gate and BOOM! - I was stuck like a caged animal! Not only was I unable to escape from the teeth of this giant monster, but the train I was trying to catch was still in the station, with people on it, who were staring at me...or more like laughing at me, while the train creeped slowly out of the station. What was a girl to do!? In the end a nice women freed me with her card, and we both had a good laugh together. 

    Tuesday, March 23

    a good read for every funny gal...

    In the March issue of Vogue, the magazine featured my favorite funny gal, Tina Fey, as the issue's cover model and feature story. Miss Fey is witty, smart, classy and a great writer...plus I have also been told that I look like her, especially when I wear my glasses! (But this could also mean that I might look like Sarah Palin as well....yikes! No lipstick on this bulldog!)

    In the article Fey discusses her inner geek and the fashions that have brought her where she is today - a glasses geek turned writer turned TV star turned movie star.

    A little FASHION HISTORY from Tina Fey:

    "I spend most of my time in my daily life trying to be like a fashion noncombatant. My hands are up! I'm not even trying! That said, to talk about the impact of fashion is really interesting. I think so much is tied into feminism. I am a post-baby boomer who has been handed a sort of Spice Girls' version of feminism. We're suppose to be wearing half-shirts and jumping around. And, you know, maybe that's not panning out. I think women dress for other women to let them know what their deal is. Because if women were only dressing for men, there would be nothing but Victoria's Secret. There would be no Dior."


    Tuesday, February 23

    oh my owls

    Sean and I are gradually changing things in our apartment and are investing in home d├ęcor that we both own. No more of “that is yours” and “this is mine.” We are finally at the stage where we are creating a home together.

    Now I know how it goes: first comes love, then comes marriage...but for us, well...we are first comes love, then comes make a home together!

    I was surprise when I took Sean to the Southport Anthropologie and he spotted these owls. Let’s just say he fell in love with the orange one, and as for myself...I couldn’t resist the short, little white one. What do you think?

    music to love...

    If you do anything this month, you need to obtain the (500) Days of Summer Soundtrack to ring in the changing seasons. You will hear an array of artist: Regina Spektor, Hall & Oates, The Temper Trap, Fiest, The Smiths, and many more...even the delicious stars of the film, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel offer their voices to the mix.

    They made a statue of us
    And it put it on a mountain top
    Now tourists come and stare at us
    Blow bubbles with their gum
    Take photographs for fun...


    -Regina Spektor, Us, (500) Days of Summer