June Roundup

Pride parade recap

June came in as quickly as it left. Does anyone else feel that way? It went by so, so, so fast! I am fully in the second trimester and feeling better than the first, so I have gotten so much more done! We did some home renovations, celebrated Father’s Day and our 5 year anniversary. I also got a chance to take a trip to Saugatuck, Michigan for the first time. June was definitely busy, but an overall an exciting month.  Continue reading

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May Photo Breakdown

Headshots at north avenue beach

Every month I will take a photo from my feed with your help to “break it down”. I find that captions don’t always tell the whole story. This would be another way to get a more behind the scenes on what is actually going on in real life rather than on social media.

This photo was taken last August at North Avenue Beach and The Shore Club restaurant. I reached to Levine Moore Photo to take professional photos for my blog. This was the first and only professional photos I have ever taken. I usually have Manny, my dad or Alex from Sassy Confetti to take them. I know I should get updated headshots soon or at least take professional photos more often. But time, childcare and money always seem to get in the way.

I chose having wine somewhat involved in my blog pictures because really, I drink a lot of it and seemed natural for it to be apart of the photos. And if I’m being extremely honest, I was pretty nervous ahead of time and I definitely had a glass of wine while I was getting ready. I eventually warmed up after sometime or so, but “traditional” photo shoots don’t come natural for me. I’d much rather take photos in my everyday life, whether it’s with Noah or at an event, so much easier for me.

I remember posting it when we were driving on our way to my parents house while I was sitting in the back seat with Noah. He was napping and I needed to take advantage, this happens a LOT. I get lots of work done in the car on the weekends when he’s sleeping or entertained for a bit.

The photos did come out great and I’m glad I did it, but not sure when my next round will be.

Headshots at north avenue beach

Headshots at north avenue beach

And as always, you can sign up for weekly blog alerts here. Thank you for following along!

Until next time,

Christine

April Roundup

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Ok, so I know it’s May 8th already and I am a little behind, but forgive me ok? I will try better next month. Promise. So here it is…

Bad

I am going to start with the bad this past month because April was crazy. I officially declared it my families unhealthiest month we have ever had. So much so, I didn’t even disclose a lot of of it on social media because I literally didn’t think people would believe me. Like I was making it up or something.

Week 1: I threw out my back after taking Noah out of the bathtub and literally couldn’t walk for a week. I have a bad back and this just made it ten times worse. I couldn’t lift him, took some time off work, and was basically bedridden.

Week 2: Noah had a double eye infection and a nasty cold. He was home from daycare all week, so I was on full mommy duty and no work. It was a long, boring week indoors.

Week 3: I somehow managed to get strep throat, which actually landed me in the ER. I was in so much pain and it became so difficult to breath. After a few rounds of steroids, fluids, and antibiotics, I was feeling better in about a week. Again no work and bedridden. Yes, it sucked.

Then, bam. April was pretty much over. Yes, very, very unhealthy month for us. I didn’t accomplish much, no blogging, events, or work. But we are all better now and looking forward to a healthier May.

The Good

Now thats out of the way, there was some good stuff that happened in April.

I was invited into Glow Out Salon to try out one of their services. I chose a blow out and it was fantastic. The space is also super, super grammable and fun to hang out with your friends. They offer spray tans, braids, blowouts and nails. It’s really a one stop shop. Definitely worth checking out if your in the area.

Glow out salon for a blow out

I had been having a serious burger craving and needed a big, juicy burger. Over the summer, I had tried Big Bob and Fritzys at Roscoe Village Burger Fest and I was hooked. I had never been to the Lincoln Park restaurant and very happy I did.

Their Angus Chuck burgers are grilled perfectly and they use Merkts Cheddar, it’s delicious. They also have shakes and sweet potato waffle fries with honey mustard, so so good. They also deliver on Grub Hub, I promise you’ll love it.

Big Bob and Fritzy's burger Lincoln Park

Since April was crazy, I was definitely feeling overwhelmed. I took a little break during my lunch and took a meditation class at Chill Chicago with a friend. It was so nice to just unplug and relax (although, meditating is so much harder than people realize). I need more practice, but Chill is such a zen place, I instantly felt a little lighter after leaving.

Meditation class at Chill

One of my favorite things I did ALL month was the Spring Bouquet making class at Flowers for Dreams. I am the least non-Pintrest person and really can’t put together a bouquet for the life of me, so I was really excited to try this class. They go through it step by step, and you also make a fun cocktail and they serve food along the way. It’s $40 dollars, but part of the profits are donated to nonprofits they work with. It’s such a great time and it’s for a wonderful cause. I plan on bringing my friends back in June for the flower crown class.

Flowers for Dreams

Flowers for Dreams bouqet

I am looking forward to May and so far, it’s been off to a great start (and healthy one at that!)

Until next time,

Christine

 

March Roundup

We are having a baby girl

Instagram is nice and pretty, but I decided I needed another outlet to summarize everything that is going on. A short caption doesn’t really capture everything IRL (for those not familiar, in real life). So every month, I am going to summarize everything I love, some not so great stuff and anything else that happened during the month. I hope you guys like it!

The Good

The most exciting thing I shared was earlier this month, in case you missed it, is I will now be a contributor at Chicago Scene Magazine. They are relaunching starting with their website and going to print shortly after. To be honest, it kind of just landed on my lamp. It’s a new adventure, but I can’t wait to share some articles with you guys. You can read more here.

I did an interview with the online publication, Voyage Magazine. This was pretty cool to be included in their Trailblazer section (because honestly, I feel like I barely keep my house afloat) and how I got my start. I explained a lot of why I started CGL and what keeps me motivated. The interview is here.

There was another #goodandsassy event at Go Glow There were lots on influencers trying out a customized spray tan for the very first time. (I go rather often and I discovered this place). We had wine from Jolie Folie (My absolute favorite rosé. You can find it at Foxtrot or Goddess and the Grocer), adorable custom cookies from Sugar Fan Club and lots of meat and cheese from Boar’s Head. It was a great event and it’s probably one of the best tans I have ever had. There is another location in Minnesota and they are new-ish to Chicago. It was perfect way to start spring and get ready for warmer months. The facility is clean, easy, and the tan lasts at least a week.

tan from go glow

One day post tan

Manny and I went out for St. Patrick’s Day for the first time in 8 years. Yes, we did the math. It had been that long since we went out. We had a baby free weekend (it was actually really nice to have some freedom for a little) and went to the penthouse at the Swissotel Chicago. We watched the Chicago River being dyed and went out with friends all day. After the hotel, we went to a cool place called Tapster in Wicker Parker and ended with dinner at Dove’s Luncheonette. It was one of my favorite days of the year.

After the hotel, we grabbed drinks along the river

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Watching the river being dyed

Green eggs and ham with corned beef and hash

Noah and I went to the Chicago Children’s Museum for the first time and had such a great time (although, N did have a major breakdown and I ended up Facetiming Manny in tears, but that’s another story..). He absolutely loved it. I also couldn’t believe how big museum was! There is really something for everyone, even for little ones. I often find sometimes places like that are always geared toward older kids, but this isn’t. There is a new exhibit, Growing up Seoul. It’s a sneak peek into life growing up in Korea. Super cool.

We then walked around Navy Pier and he ran after the ducks. It was a great day. Pro tip: I used Spot Hero for $15 and walked two blocks to Navy Pier. Super easy (but a very long day for mom).

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Noah and I infront of EnerGeeWhizz

I have been working out a lot recently and really getting back into shape. I was feeling so good, but my back was starting to get a little sore. Sunday night, I went to grab Noah from the tub and got stuck. Literally. Manny had to come and help pick me up with Noah in my arms. My back was shot. I have been pretty much bed-ridden and have been relying on Manny and my mom a lot. I am a person that likes to do 700 things at once and this time, I really can’t do much but lie in bed. It’s been a real bummer.

How this all got started….

When I was 19 years old, I was in a pretty bad car accident on my way to the University of Iowa to visit a friend. It was the middle of February, wasn’t snowing, but we hit black ice and the rest is history. I broke one of the lowest lumbars in my back, skull fracture, punctured a lung, broken ribs, collarbone, and much more. I was airlifted to the trauma center in Peoria and went through emergency back surgery. I now have 2 metal rods and 4 screws. I healed everywhere else just fine (with lots of physical therapy), but my back can be pretty temperamental with the weather, pregnancy, etc. This past Sunday, it hadn’t been that bad in years. To say this least, that’s been a huge downer this month. I am taking it one day at a time.

This month has been so busy. Lot’s of events and I did some really fun things I did with Noah. Honestly, those are probably my favorite.

Let me know if you guys like the monthly wrap ups!

Until next time…

Christine

Big Announcement!

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I am excited to share with you guys that I will be a contributor to the Chicago Scene Magazine! It’s something I never really thought I would be doing, but I truly believe everything happens for a reason. I remember in college, I would always pick up a CS magazine in the lobby of my building and look to see who was featured that month. Fast forward ten years later, I get to make the magic happen.

They have taken a break from printing, but are now re-branding with the website launching next month and the magazine soon after. They have continued to have their events like New Years Eve at the Drake or the largest boat party on Lake Michigan, but now they will be diving deeper into Chicago neighborhoods and covering the best of the best.

I can’t wait to share some really great content with you!

I’d also like to say how thankful I am for all of you even reading this right now. In a day in age where time is limited, I appreciate the support and the few minutes you have to share with me. So THANK YOU!

And as always, you can sign up for weekly blog alerts here. Thank you for following along!

Until next time,

Christine

A Stroll down Southport Corridor (adults only)

The Southport Corridor may be known for strollers, moms and boutiques, but recently, there has been a surge in places for adults to play. So ditch those strollers, grab a glass of wine, and take a peek into some adult friendly places popping up on the Southport Corridor.

Coda Di Volpe-  Boasting Southern Italian fare like pizza, steak and seafood, they are most known for their Neapolitan pizza that comes with a side scissors to cut your own slices. Chef Thompson brings his own flair with a seasonal menu, house-cured meats, along with a contemporary vibe that all creates a great spot on Southport.

Coda has a great wine list (award winning in fact) and a creative cocktail menu.  As for starters, my absolute favorite appetizer is the goat cheese with beets appetizer (I am not sure this is on the menu anymore, sigh…) and the pork & prosciutto Meatballs.

How’s your Friday night looking? #chicago #tailofthefox

A post shared by Coda Di Volpe (@cdvolpe_chi) on

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Goat Cheese and Beets Appetizer

Next, pizza! The Funghi and Diavolo pizza are both delicious, but really, they all look fantastic.  Thompson crafts traditional VPN-certified Neapolitan pizzas served with authentic pizza shears that adds an element of fun to the dining experience.

Next up, pasta. All the pastas are made in-house and available gluten free upon request. A stand out dish is the Trombette Trapanese made with Coda’s fennel sausage, tomato, almond, garlic, and basil. It’s also just beautiful to look at.

They are also now serve brunch on the weekend. It’s perfect for date night or a night out with the ladies.

Ella Elli- The newest addition to the 4 star restaurant group, is the wine bar, Ella Elli. This sexy, romantic spot is so swanky, I felt like I had been transported downtown to a fancy hotel in River North. The over sized lanterns, fireplace and couches, make for THE perfect date night spot.

We love Fridays! Stop in for a drink at the bar before we fill up! 📸: @nadia.ryan

A post shared by Ella Elli (@ellaellichicago) on

 The wine list is extensive, but Pinot Noir Rose by Willamette Valley really paired nicely with our cheese board.  We also tried the creamy mushroom toast with creme faiche and thyme, this would make me come back. Everything is presented beautifully and our server paired everything really well with our wine.

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Ella Elli

They have pizza great for sharing, pasta and burgers. The burger is supposed to be outstanding, as well as their brunch menu  When I visited, we shared the charcuterie  and toasts, which really can be a meal in itself. Next time, the burger is on my list.

@Eater_Chicago named our pizzas as some of the hottest in Chicago!! Have you tried them yet?

A post shared by Ella Elli (@ellaellichicago) on

If you need a date night, Ella Elli should absolutely be on your list.

Tied House– Just opening in February 2018, this is brand new on Southport. The reviews are rolling in and everything about Tied House has been outstanding.

Schubas Tavern has been around for three decades, and now there is a new addition  with the opening of Tied House, the owners’ new restaurant next door. The modern architecture and the courtyard that separates the restaurant from Schubas with a giant outdoor fireplace just dazzles from the inside and out.

Schubas will continue to have the same menu, Tied House’s chef, Debbie Gold (who happens to be  James Beard Award-winning chef) to create her own menu, including short rib, crudo, porridge with beets and house made ice cream.

Tied House will be perfect for pre and post concerts and is a great addition to the area looking for more “adult” friendly dining.

With so many options now on Southport, there is really something for everyone.

Until next time.

Christine

 

Bring Your Own Date and Booze: My Favorite BYO Spots in the City

Gold Fancy National Wine Day Social Media Graphic

BYO (bring your own booze, beer or wine) is one of those great restaurant qualities that  many look for when dining out. It’s cheaper (usually), much more casual and a great place to dine with groups. Chicago has an abundance of BYO options ranging from casual to upscale dining, so I have rounded up a list of my favorite spots throughout the city.

Sushi Mon – Located in Lincoln Park, this BYO sushi restaurant has a wide variety of sushi rolls, sushi bowls, pressed sushi and an impressive list of veggie rolls. My personal favorites are the Godzilla, V6 and Sparking rolls (see all three below). They recently expanded from one tiny room to now a much bigger space. The service is friendly, prices are great and no corkage fee. Go check it out and tell them I sent you 🙂

Sushi mon is a BYOB in lincoln park

Various Rolls at Sushi Mon

Sushi Mon: 2441 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614

90 Miles Cuban Cafe– My family has been coming to 90 Miles for years now for their traditional Cuban cuisine. We have celebrated graduations, anniversaries and birthdays here. It is huge, has an outdoor seating and the decor all make for a fun dining atmosphere. The empanadas and ropa vieja are not to be missed, some of the best I have ever had (sorry mother-in-law!)

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Photo by Lindsey Howald Patton

The service is top-notch, especially since there are many large groups at time. They take reservations and it is definitely recommended. In addition to being BYOB, they have a sangria and mojito mix, so bring wine or rum they will make you a cocktail. There are a few locations in the city. To find out more information, click here.

1. 3333 W Touhy Ave, Lincolnwood, IL 60712

2. 3101 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

3. 2540 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Home Bistro Chicago– The first time I dined at the cozy and quaint Home Bistro, was on a date (with my now husband years ago) when we first started dating. Located in Lakeview, with a constant changing New American menu, along with no corkage fee, this is the ideal date night spot.  They have an option for a prix fix on Wednesdays and Sunday brunch. For parties of 7 of more, they have a family style prix fixed menu at $45/person. They take reservations and are highly recommended.

Photo from Home Bistro

Home Bistro Chicago: 3404 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657

Caro Miro- For our very first Valentine’s Day (7 years ago…), we came to the Italian BYO Caro Miro and have gone several times since. Located in Ravenswood, this cozy, neighborhood spot has homemade pastas with huge portions, big enough to share. The pesto filled gnocchi is the best and chicken parmesan is also another favorite. There is not a corkage fee, but if you plan on sharing entrees, there is a $4 sharing fee. They recently expanded their dining room and take parties to up to 80 people now. Reservations are taken for parties of 4 or more. Bring your appetite and a bottle or two for some delicious Italian food.

Gnocchi Gratinati @ Caro Mio Italian Restaurant

Photo from Food Spotting.com

Caro Miro: 1833 W Wilson Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

Semiramis- This Lebanese restaurant is intimate, welcoming and the food is fantastic. I love the mixed grilled platter, falafel, and hummus are delicious. There is plenty of street parking, but it is located right off the Kedzie Brown Line stop. There is a corkage fee and don’t take reservations, but so worth the wait. Promise.

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Photo from @TammyGreen

Semiramis: 639 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

There are plenty of BYO restaurants to choose from in Chicago and a little something for everyone. Now get those appetites and bottles poppin’. 🙂

Until next time…

Christine