July 16, 2013

{lifestyle} Hey, it's been awhile...

It's a complete understatement saying that there's a lot to catch up on. I had an excuse for awhile, but now it seems that the days are more free from work, but filled up with any ounce of opportunity. While working 60 hours a week was glorious for my bank account (for the short time it lasted), it wasn't so hot in any other aspect. Not that I had a choice in the matter, but needless to say, I'm working a lot less these days. This at first was harsh. REAL harsh. If my money or income gets jived, so does my mind. This isn't news to any of you. Then I realized, HELL it's summer, and I want to live it. I hate feeling like three months of sunshine and heat get left behind. Not being able to spend days or weekends outside letting the sun hit your skin and letting the laughter among friends float away in the breeze (or linger in the stagnant air depending on the day) is damn near saddening. It's a right to take late night drives, prance around in way too short of shorts, sleep in, see outdoor shows, take endless strolls with your counterpart, and essentially just breathe in the likes of what summer has to offer us. So yeah, I'm a little poor right now, but I'm thankful I've been able to properly experience this summer. I'm also thankful to the ones who made it possible for me to experience such awesomeness. I've kept busy and of course, I am pretty much relying on photos to keep my life and memory in check. So delve in; here's what I've been up to in both the city and the 'burbs!

I guess we can start with the moderately mundane. We bop over to Star Lounge
every once in awhile over on Chicago for our caffeine fix, this is where the Dark Matter
is brewed up into some unique concoction that makes Starbucks look like a joke.
I love taking a picture of what they decide to design in whatever we decide to order
that day. This was just when the weather was starting to get warm.

So I started up my little Etsy shop in mid January after being broke from being out of a job. Enter CrochetBeat, my little shop that got some big recognition from a scarf I decided to sell based off the made up jam 'Big Yellow Joint' from Arrested Development. This felt like a huge honor to me. Buzzfeed is a huge source and the lists they make are hilarious. It felt good to get the recognition for something I had conjured up and to see that other people liked it and responded well to it too. If you love Arrested Development, then you'll love the scarf as well. It's a music based shop, with songs and accessories based on songs, albums, and pop culture. As you'll see later, I've been doing A LOT of crocheting lately. Hey, a girl's gotta get crafty to make a little money!

Dan and I went to a wedding on a beautiful day in April for a very dear friend of his.
This was the pre-wedding shot. I told Dan he looks like Abraham Lincoln here, and  you know what? I like that.

Looking back at these pictures makes me feel like it happened AGES ago. This is me and Erin's last hangout in the apartment. This was the first place she got on her own and to those of us closest to her, it acted like a second home. We had some awesome get-togethers and some simple nights that make me miss it and her so much. She is living in the city now, but will be moving to Texas soon and I'm so sad that I don't get to see her as much, especially because we just got back in best friend mode. This age is tricky, because everyone is leaving, moving on, moving up, or just plain getting the hell out. It's just sad when you can count on one hand the amount of friends you have left living near you.

{Knock Knolls Park, Naperville}

Lunch at The Fifty/50. Yes, this was LUNCH. For two people.
 Oh, look! We went to Star Lounge again!

{Taking a Chicago stroll}
{Knock Knolls Park, Naperville}
At the party we met at last year. It was a neat feeling to get to almost
re-live the time we met. Here's to next year's get-together!

BIG KID JENGA! We had a blast and a half with this. Josh always brings different
games to the party that always involve you to actually get up and play. This was
an awesome addition to the day. Unless it fell on you.

There was some up-in-the-air debate over where we would dine that evening. Our first date had been at Spiaggia (does it get better than that?) and we had initially had reservations booked there, until I told Dan that I couldn't stomach eating a $300+ dinner when I, myself had been struggling with money. We both love Spiaggia to crumbs, but it's not really a once-a-year kind of place when you're in your twenties (and that's why they have the cafe). We had both been wanting to try Table Fifty Two for the longest time and had never been so we decided that's where we would book our dinner. I was stoked. After hearing people talk about it and drooling over pictures for years, I couldn't wait to be sat in that adorable little house eating some flame Southern food. That's exactly what we did.


The night started perfectly. I arrived to Dan's apartment after work where we couldn't wait to exchange anniversary gifts, which was really the next day. I had been eyeing Michael Kors watches and wanted one so badly. Of course Dan got me the gold beauty I wanted, but the best part was that I got him watch movement cufflinks. He hadn't owned a pair and I thought it would be a sophisticated, yet personal gift. Let's be honest, dudes can be way more difficult when it comes to gift buying. It ended up being even better we both got each other time-related gifts. The outfit? Let's not ignore it. Dan got me the beautiful dress for my birthday and I knew right away it would work for our anniversary. I had to pair it with some funk for sure so I chose some teal tights and threw some fishnets over it and we were on our way!

 Here's Dan enjoying his drink and then his gluten-free dessert whipped up just for him that night.
What was supremely awesome about this experience was that I had social networked them thoroughly before we had gone that night. I let them know we were coming for our anniversary dinner and they responded, favorited, and pulled out all the bells and whistles for our dinner that night. First off, the staff was extremely friendly and attentive that evening. We ordered a few drinks (see below) and had a blast joking around with our waiter. Dan and I were trying a gluten-free diet for a hot minute to see if it made an impact. Well, I kind of threw that out the window when we came to Table Fifty Two, I had been wanting to dine there for so long that it didn't seem worth it to maintain, especially since it wasn't absolutely necessary.
I wish I would have tried quite a few more items on their menu, and next time we go, we will. What we did end up getting was delicious. The cool thing about Table Fifty Two is that it isn't one of those "regular dish" kind of places. Okay, well I guess it easily can be, but for me, I would go back and try something new every time. Except, I may still stick with my Pimm's and Stormy for the kick-starter. 

 During the course of our dinner, the waiter was spectacular, the General Manager, Mark came over and made an appearance and made this picture possible. He was nothing but gracious, genuine, and welcoming. The Chef, the fantastic Rey Villalobos, came over the introduced himself as well at some point during our meal as well as wished us a Happy Anniversary. We felt very welcomed and acknowledged, which was more than we ever expected. Meeting the chef at these kinds of restaurants is always a tasty little bonus. They are like celebrities in their own right, and we felt honored that he took the time out on a Saturday night to come and meet us. We are already looking forward to our next trip back. They really took care of us and we were simply over-the-moon about it. Thank you, Table Fifty Two!

In front of the restaurant after our meal, visibly stoked after our experience.

 So on our actual anniversary, we headed out to the Museum of Science and Industry because I had never been and I was dying to see the Science Storms exhibit. Severe weather ignites my soul and always has. After having the opportunity to learn more about it at C.O.D., it really opened my eyes to the specific science behind it and just how difficult it actually is to study and comprehend. I've had even more respect for mother nature ever since. We made a day out of it and it was extremely awesome and I am so thankful we made this happen before the exhibit blew outta there. I love soaking in information like that and learning new things and the whole hands-on experience. Obviously the weather exhibit was my favourite aspect, but the other exhibits had some rad things to offer as well. We ended our day with Gino's East and wrapped it up early.

Me with my science storms mug! Perfect for the avid tea drinker.
 As I've said, I've REALLY been keeping busy with the whole crocheting regime. I have so much more time and when I visit Dan, he often works during the day, which allocates a couple hats or a scarf for the day. I was so worried that my crochet excitement would fade over the summer, because it always seems to, but this time, I think it's something I'll stick with and keep being productive with. I'm always open to new ideas. Each item is either linked to the individual product or my shop. If you're interested or want to see more pictures, click away!


 How awesome. This was a lucky situation because we had woken up and I decided to take a gander at the line-up for the day because my Uncle is a local Blues musician that I thought maybe he would be on there. Low and behold, he was playing in the early afternoon and we would be able to make it just in time. As soon as we navigated the stage, I ran right up to the front and started groovin'. It's always great to see my uncle play and to see him play in such an important blues festival in front of a great crowd was definitely awesome. Dave Weld and The Imperial Flames is the name of the band and they are a band of real talented guys. My uncle is on bass! Check 'em out if ya dig the bluesy stuff!

You can see what's happening in this photo live below and you can also see Dan and I groovin' for the first few seconds of this video. It was so neat that he did this and it livened up the crowd for sure.

 Doodles and the line-up for the night. This was excellent.
We went over to the Elbo Room to see our buddy Mike play. By buddy, I mean one of Dan's best friends and someone I hang out with occasionally. Anywho, super talented, super friendly guy who makes "music on his computer" and he's damn good at it. He just made the soundtrack for TrackMania2, which has basically always been his dream. He had a show to premiere the music for soundtrack for the first time live and it was a blast and a half to dance to. I love freestyle dancing and it was the perfect music for just that. A great environment, not super crowded, just friends of friends and good vibes.

Dan and I at Elbo Room
...and then Marc moved on.
I got a bittersweet message from one of my favourite XRT DJ's telling me that he was leaving my beloved radio station and heading to Peoria to work for 99.9 FM Progressive Rock. Rightfully so, it was a big move and a better move for him. I am so glad I had the opportunity to meet Marc and to hang out with him at some of the last Chicago shindigs over at Three Aces. He was the first XRT DJ to ever acknowledge my presence and I'm so glad I've gotten to know him of the last couple of years and talk to him like I have. He has done so much and has so much knowledge and experience in not only the music field, but in terms of life experience. His views are mellow, to the point, and straight up beautiful. Listen to XRT, but don't forget to listen to his new station! 99.9 WWCT!
This is sort of a gag gift I made for Marc. He's big into cooking, so I crocheted him a potholder in
XRT colors. Ironically, the new station has a similar color scheme. He seemed to really
dig it and even said "I know Florence got something, and now I did too!" and it was just adorable.
I wish I could have made Marc a cookie basket or two!

I thrifted these sick kicks and I can't even believe it. I have found the best sneakers at thrift stores. The best part is that they've been in stellar condition. These are FUBU Crown Holders. SCORE. I also stitched up this hat at the request of a good friend. It's a Borderlands hat and ironically, the day I made it, Borderlands2 came out. I'd call that fantastic timing.

The obvious work ensemble for Fourth of July, I'd say!

Earlier in the week, Dan had asked if my Friday was open for Six Flags. HELL YEAH IT WAS OPEN. I love Six Flags and here I was thinking, "Oh, the day after the 4th? Everyone will be busy, or traveling, or exhausted from the 4th...." NOPE. Everyone thought it would be the best idea to go to Six Flags and stand in line in every possible situation for hours on end. We went with another couple who we know well and it ended up being a fun day none-the-less. It just gets that much less exciting when you have to wait in line for an hour and a half. It's all about going in pre-summer or hoodie weather. Luckily, I was able to snag this sunset shot of Demon/Raging Bull. Let me tell you, Raging Bull, is the best stress relief/mood lifter. It's just a wonderful coaster. Stoked we rode it twice.

OH MY GOD. I LOVE THAT COASTER. It makes me so happy and scares me at the same time, but only as I'm climbing to the top. I love every other second of that ride. Of course, Superman is awesome, but you just genuinely feel like you're going to die on that one.

Photo: Line shot.
Me and Dan
Dirk and Sara on our Six Flags trip!
[This is what I carried in my purse on the daily.]
 Don't worry, I narrowed it down to 6--after I got three new ones. WHOOPS!

and it was like overnight that I became
The Waffle Queen
It was a beautiful experience just walking along downtown Naperville with my friend Kristy and literally being stopped by Eggo's! I had to stop and pose with each one I found. The first picture is the same waffle, just two expressions...I didn't expect we'd find them all over town.
Aye Aye, Captain! We've got another waffle!
Two waffles spotted!

{except for maybe Lana or Florence tickets...}
However, I did get Lana tickets in the mail for I hold one fantastic entry ticket to see one of Lana's American shows. I can't believe it. I will be seeing her August 1st at House of Blues to kick off my Lollapalooza extravaganza. It will be pure bliss.


 I feel there is so much to look forward to and so much to still write about. I have to make more of an effort to come on here and write more specified posts. I really miss doing that. I miss picking a topic instead of hodge-podging my life all over the place via pictures. However, this is a great way for me to keep track of life. Hopefully you liked something you saw or try out any one of these places soon. I am so lucky that I have been able to do as much as I have this summer and I hope I continue to stay busy and keep getting out there. Hopefully your summer has been treating you well...

more to come sooner than later. X