summer begins!

I loved summers as a child just as every little kid does. I loved the last day of school, cleaning out our desks and looking forward to the long months ahead with not even one care in the world. Pure bliss. 
My earliest memory of summer vacation comes from our old home on Calvin Ave. I had to have been younger than 4th grade. I remember getting home on the first day of summer, going to the fridge for a snack and thinking “I’m free!” I realize that sounds like a pretty vague memory but I vividly remember standing in front of our fridge thinking that thought. I remember picking dandelions in our neighbor’s yard, the one who was either too lazy to care for her lawn or was against using fertilizer. It was an elementary school girl’s dream. I remember drawing with chalk and running through sprinklers. I remember going to art camp in Willow Creek Park. Of course when I was older, I remember cruising in the 4Runner. And then there was boating, boating and more boating. During the college years, summertime in Boulder was one of my favorite times. 
This year, summer is quite different. Because there is no summer! These summer months will be like all other months except hotter. Being an adult is not all it’s cracked up to be.. Well, I suppose it’s not so bad. I was off work this weekend and could enjoy the beautiful holiday weekend. 
Saturday morning I woke up and went to the Green City farmer’s market in Lincoln Park with my momma. I love farmer’s markets despite the steep prices. There is something about local, fresh produce that makes me swoon. We made a few laps to browse the inventory before making our purchases. I got ground elk meat and asparagus. Elk meat tastes like beef but it is as lean as chicken. A win-win. My mom got some choice items, as well.
green city market
beaaautiful flowers that I didn’t buy
Saturday evening, Lu and I cooked that elk meat and feasted on elk burgers with guacamole and sangria. A delicious summer dinner if you ask me. I make a mean guacamole, and I’m going to share the recipe with you guys. Look for that in the upcoming post. =) The sangria was amazing, too. We tried skinny girl sangria for the first time. I highly recommend! I was worried, however, that it would be too sweet so I mixed the skinny girl sangria with half a bottle of flip flop pinot noir ($5.99/bottle and good!). The sangria was topped off with apples, oranges, grapes, pineapple, nectarines, and strawberries. So. Good.
i recommend both
the master at work
Sunday, I got to visit with my friend, Deana. She came over to hang out and give me the scoop on… her pregnancy! She recently shared the news that she is expecting and is due in November. I am so excited for them! Deana was glowing.

Sunday afternoon Lu and I went back to our roots and played tennis in the 90-some degree weather. I hadn’t played in about a year so needless to say it wasn’t pretty. But we had fun. I always love playing tennis with Lu because it takes me back to the days we met. On the walk home from tennis, we stopped at a playground in Grant Park because Lu wanted to try to do the monkey bars (those Crossfit folk). Remember doing monkey bars as a child? It was so easy and really fun, right? Well, it’s actually ridiculously hard now. As in, I couldn’t even do it. After failing at the monkey bars, we hopped on the swings. Now that’s something I could never forget.

We rounded out our weekend with a date night of sushi, fro-yo and a movie. I can’t complain about my adult summer because so far it has been wonderful! I have several fun activities to look forward to this summer including my very first trip to MEXICO! and KATIE’S WEDDING! I hope you all enjoyed the holiday weekend, too!

xo. ltw

Thoughts on NATO

It’s that time of year again… NATO Summit weekend. There’s a sentence I thought I’d never say. This weekend Chicago hosts the 2012 NATO Summit. This is the first time the NATO Summit has been held in the US outside of DC, and it’s definitely causing Chicagoans stress. The G8 Summit was originally planned to be in Chicago this weekend, too. Thankfully that was moved. But this NATO thing is causing a fairly sizable disruption – protesters, major road closures, extra security in residential buildings, limited grocery store delivery (seriously), etc.
First of all, what the heck is the NATO Summit? And does anyone even know what NATO really does? I’m not so sure. But what I do remember from high school social studies is that NATO is suppose to be a good thing. An alliance. Right? That’s what I thought. Apparently, there are thousands of hoodlums who think differently. Side note: I can vividly see my American Studies teacher writing on his chalkboard, teaching me things that I no longer remember. But I cannot for the life of me recall his name, and he was even my tennis coach for two years. Derrick something. Wow. Was high school that long ago? I’m having a senior moment. I keep repeating “Derrick” in my head and all that comes to mind is Derrick Hough. Ha!!
Anyway, protesters have been coming in by the busload to protest the NATO Summit and various other things. Fortunately, I haven’t witnessed any of the major protests in person but I have been following the happenings on the local news. I can’t help but think these people are not truly protesting with a cause. It looks more like a festival of sorts – a fun excuse for these people to congregate, dress in costumes and think they’re starting a revolution. Every single protester that I have seen interviewed on the news just says “we’re here to protest the NATO Summit.” Really? Because I had no idea that’s why you came here. Why don’t you actually explain what you are protesting and convey your point? Obviously you are in town for the NATO Summit so tell me something I don’t know. I think a lot of the protesters are part of the occupy movement, another thing I don’t really understand. I’m not the only one who doesn’t get their message — I’ve asked my friends, my coworkers if anybody knows what they’re protesting. I haven’t gotten a solid answer yet.
It just bothers me that these people are coming into our city and “protesting” something that they can’t even seem to verbalize. I’m sure that they actually have a point – let’s hope they do. And maybe it makes sense. Probably maybe it doesn’t. But protesting in this way seems highly unproductive. Basically, they are dressed in weird clothes/costumes and they’re marching in the street. Does anybody think that the NATO diplomats are actually going to take these people seriously? Today, I saw a dozen of them skipping down the street dressed like Robin Hood. There were men on TV dressed as clowns. One guy on TV had the world “kill cops” written on his body. I rest my case.
Speaking of cops, I cannot believe how prepared the city is to deal with violence. There were literally hundreds – maybe thousands – of cops walking around downtown in droves today. They were standing on every single block. They were parked in cars. They had sniffing dogs. I felt quite safe!
There are still three days left of these shenanigans. I’ll let you all know if I find out the protesters’ message. In the mean time, my real concern with this weekend is getting to work! I work night shift Saturday and Sunday so I’m hoping I can maneuver my way to work without too much delay. My parents and my husband all left town for the weekend so I’m left alone here to fend for myself among the kooks! Wish me luck! =)
Have a great weekend you guys! xxoo as always, ltw

happy mother’s day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers out there…. and most especially to mine. I know everybody thinks that their mom is the best mom but I know that I most certainly was blessed with the best. My momma is so selfless and would do anything for her children. She is wise; she guides us. She is comforting and loving in every way. She is a genuinely happy person and that happiness rubs off on those around her. I feel very fortunate that the sweet lord placed me under her care and watch. Over the years, I love that she is not only my mom but also my friend. She has helped to shape me into the person that I am today! On this day, we celebrate her! 
You know who else is a pretty fabulous mom? My grandma, Nannie. I wish she had been here in Chicago with us. And I hope she’s reading my blog! Poppy, my grandpa, is hip with computers and the internet at his young age of 91! He totally impresses me in many ways and is hopefully sharing my blog with Nannie. I love those two! They are such wonderful grandparents. But we’ll address that on another post.
three generations.
To celebrate today, I hosted a brunch for our family. Memories were abounding. We laughed. Hard. Vince and Matt shared a pretty hilarious story, which I won’t repeat here but it gave the that deep-stomach-aching-ab-workout-type laugh that hopefully burned off some of the copious calories I consumed. We reminisced about the good ole days. But kept in mind that these days are pretty great, too.
The menu: scrambled eggs, bacon/sausage for the carnivores, fresh fruit, this poppy seed bread and orange muffins that weren’t very yummy. Since it was a celebration, mimosas were involved, too. Below are some pictures from this morning. I cannot believe we didn’t take one with mom and the kids! We were too consumed with consuming and chatting.  We’ll have to remember next time.
Wishing a very happy, happy mother’s day to every mom out there! You guys have the hardest but probably the best job ever. Cheers to you! =)
xxoo, ltw

¡Cinco de Mayo!

Today is one of those Monday Mondays. You know the type, rainy and unseasonably cold. One of those days you feel as if you need to eat comfort food and drink soy chai lattes to survive. And lounging on the couch in a nice pair of comfy pants? That doesn’t sound too bad either. Fortunately for me, this Monday happens to be my day off so I can do what ever I want.  My day involved seeing my mom this morning and my friend with her sweet baby this afternoon. Not so bad! There may have been one of those aforementioned soy chai lattes involved, too.

Now to the meat of this post…. ¡Viva Mexico!

…and that’s exactly what we did.
We love Mexican food in this family (believe it or not) and will take any excuse to consume it. Cinco de Mayo provides the most perfect excuse to overdose on queso, guacamole, tamales and of course margaritas. So on Friday, which was actually the less famous Quatro de Mayo, we rounded up the crew and went out to a not-so-authentic-but-very-satisfying Mexican restaurant to get our eat on. And eat we did. Lu was there, as were both of my bro’s and Matt’s girlfriend Kelly. It was so much fun.

margs a plenty

I had one mega margarita. Yes, I said mega. The picture above does not do the word “mega” justice. Those things were the size of my face. Needless to say, one was more than enough for this 26-year old body.

bros/in law. horrible picture quality.

 It just so happened that we got prime seating smack dab in front of the Bulls game on TV. Those silly boys were overly excited about that. I’m sorry to report the Bulls lost.



I love Cinco de Mayo. It will forever remind me of The Rio in Boulder. I loved that place. My friends and I would go there almost weekly. I admit that’s kind of sad and definitely a cause of some of those friendly freshmen pounds I gained. =)

throwback photo – the rio rooftop!

throwback photo #2 – roomies at the rio

Oh, Boulder. Those days seem like so long ago. Anyway, I hope you all had a fun Cinco de Mayo and a great weekend!

xxoo, ltw