Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Posts tagged “partying

I’m Gonna Say Christmas Was A Quiet Success

I’m wrapping things up at work now, and my excitement is increasing. As is my tiredness. I’m tired y’all.

I ended up staying up late Sunday night to finish packing and then adding all my clothes into this new closet app thing I’m trying on my phone. It is time consuming to photograph all your clothes, but guess who doesn’t mind lack of sleep, and really doesn’t mind not leaving her clothes overseas accidentally? That would be me!

I was unable to do maintenance on my locs Saturday like I’d planned, so that fell to last night’s intinerary. Staying up to almost 3am two nights in a row when your alarm goes off at 5:10am is just plain silly.

But I did it. And as a result, I’m all packed for my trip, my hair looks neat and well kept, and Starbucks makes coffee to keep one awake. Well, the Starbucks isn’t a result of my poor time management, but my consumption of large amounts of Starbucks is.

I’m excited for the next week or so, but I’m also really pleased with how the Christmas holiday went.

After work on Friday, Chris and I headed to a friend’s birthday party then to Smalls, just like we’d planned. As a result of tiredness and terrible waitressing at the first bar, the only picture I have is the obligatory picture of Sara and me that I almost always take when we’re hanging.

sara-and-me

When we got to Smalls, it seemed that almost the entirety of the birthday party crew had gone over there. We definitely wouldn’t put the club over capacity. Smalls charges a cover to get in, but for musicians (and their wives, cough, cough), they usually let them in. Smalls works hard to foster that homey environment for the musicians and their people.

I say all of that to say that there was no way in hell Smalls was letting in all those people for free. I’m still not sure how they worked it out, but I was cold and there was room inside for me and Sara (and Chris). Everyone else came in a few minutes after that, so I figure they worked it out and the 12+ people on that bar crawl ish paid the cover to get in.

By the time they got in there, I had my customary I’ve-been-up-since-5am-and-will-be-up-until-damn-near-5am drink: Strong, fresh coffee with Bailey’s and Bulleit Rye Whiskey. My girl Marjie, the amazing manager (and aerial yoga buddy) who was working the bar, always hooks me up. She makes it just right so it needs no sugar, and she good-naturedly fights me on the tip. The only time I couldn’t make her take her money was when we were there on my birthday, but little does she know I just gave it to my friend JS to give to her instead, ha!

The band was amazing, as usual. I listen to my own friends and their bands so much that it’s always nice when I get to the club early and can hear whoever is playing the set in front of theirs. I ended up making nice with a sweet girl who lived up the street from the club. She kept requesting a blues with such gusto. It amused me and irritated Chris, but eventually someone called it for the jam session. I stepped outside with her while she smoked (ew, smoking), and took a pretty cool picture of the entrance to Smalls. I don’t think I’d ever noticed how many times the name of the club is written on/above the door.

smalls

The night ended after 4am, as it always does. We got home and fell into a deep sleep. I woke up the next morning, finally checked my mail, and saw that Sara’s Christmas gift for me had indeed arrived like Etsy told her it had.

This tank is hilarious and will be put to good use as soon as we’re back from Europe in the New Year.

namaste

The night of Christmas Eve, we went to a party for my friend Michael from college. He looks amazing, all slim and toned. He was always handsome, but damn if he’s not aging well. We did the math and realized we met over 13 years ago. We drank more egg nog shooters and stopped talking about that, lol.

mike

We stayed at this party All. Night. Long. We were laughing and drinking and talking and playing games. Chris and I had some friends nearby who checked in our activity for the night. Michael was down for the-more-the-merrier, so we invited them over and it went from a small gathering of family and friends to a ruckus house party situation. I hope he has more parties like that in the future.

I almost forgot to take a picture with Chris, but then I remembered. I’ve greatly improved my selfie game from back when I almost always cut half my face out of the picture. But the other party guests didn’t know that. So when I raised the camera back towards us, flash ready, someone offered to help take the picture.

Apparently, without breaking my smile, I brusquely said no, and because I’d already pressed the button before he spoke, the camera flashed immediately after. Everyone found this amusing if caustic. It took them awhile to explain to me why it came across that way. I guess they didn’t know I’d already pressed the camera button, so there was no rapid fire No-Smile-Click that they perceived.

Chris was cracking up the second the word no came out my mouth, as you can see below. I’m clearly drunk, as evidenced by my big ass smile. And my lipstick is also staining his lips, lol.

no-help-chris-laugh

Christmas was a very very lowkey day for us. So lowkey that at no point did we leave the house and no point did we put on pants. I happily watched The Santa Clause 1, 2, and 3 while cooking dinner and lunch. The only thing I photographed all day was the shrimp wraps I made for lunch, go figure.

shrimp-wraps

I squeezed a lot into just a few days because I was on a time crunch. The only real fail was David taking forever to get home from the airport last night after spending Christmas with his family. Even with staying up to finish my hair, I couldn’t stay up as late as necessary to watch the Sense8 holiday special with him. He says he’ll wait for me and we can watch it when I get back. I hope he doesn’t leave me behind like he did when it came to watching Supergirl.

Seeing as how we have over a week in Europe, I’m hoping it can be as eventful, but also more restful. Wish me a safe flight y’all, my plane takes off in 6 hours!


So Says My Husband: “Christmas Is Saved!”

We decorated our tree! We have a pitifully small number of ornaments on it (first world problems, amiright?), but it’s up and lit. Not lit, like a great party, but alight, lol.

I put a picture up on Instagram where it was pointed out that our tree was on a lean. I would like to clarify that it’s NOT leaning. Chris did a great job at getting the tree set up. It’s very much upright… It just didn’t grow evenly on all sides.

I’ve yet to be responsible, at any point in my life, for picking out a Christmas tree. But I imagine if I did, I would walk around the entirety of the tree, checking it out from multiple angles, making sure it was as even as could be.

But like I said, I haven’t ever had to go buy a tree. So what the hell do I know about what tree options are available? A whole bunch of nothing, that’s what.

All I know is I love our tree. This is our 7th Christmas together, but it’s the first time we’ve decorated a tree together. Both of us have memories of decorating the tree with our fathers (parents, but mostly our dads), and it’s nice to make these new memories together.

Weird how one tree can make me feel like Christmas is saved, huh?

After an hour at Target yesterday, we are back on track. A failed trip to Home Depot will henceforth be known as “That Time Chris Almost Ruined Christmas, But He Didn’t, So It’s Fine, So Get Over It, It’s Fine.” That’s all I’m saying about that.

Last night I cooked half a dinner at our friend Corey’s house, the other half provided by leftovers from Merry Black Christmas. Shout out to Allyson for delicious food she’s always cooking. We drank–wait for it–watermelon double IPA beer. That 10% and lovely bitterness and low low price made the watermelon worth it. It was a like a summer-themed Blue Moon. I wouldn’t recommend it.

But we were soon drunk adjacent and happily enjoying roasted chicken breast with mushroom gravy, green beans, butter-dipped artichoke, cornbread, and macaroni & cheese. We flipped back and forth between Last Holiday and whatever football game was on. Chris and I decorated the tree when we got back home. To me, it felt like the official start of our holiday celebrations.

Tonight, we’ve got a birthday hang that will span a bar I’ve never been to and a jazz club I go to all the time. It’s our friend Deadria’s farewell to her twenties. Corey has his regular jam session he leads at Smalls Jazz Club, and as usual, if we’re out, that’s where we’re ending the night.

Tomorrow, hopefully I’ll get some packing done for our upcoming trip, then we have a Christmas Eve party to go to being thrown by my friend Michael from college who lives nearby in Brooklyn.

Christmas will be a quiet day with just me and Chris (for now, lol). We’re going to see Fences in theaters. It’s not a movie unless Viola Davis is crying out her nose. I’m cooking us a tasty simple meal.

On Boxing Day, I’ll be at work, and when I get home, I’m going to watch the Sense8 Holiday Special on Netflix with my best friend David. It’s one of the shows we try and watch together even though we don’t live in the same state. Go technology. We both love Christmas, and it’s really cool that the first episode of season two is doubling as a Christmas special. I’m also working on the 27th. But I’m leaving work early on Tuesday, heading home to get my packed bag and my husband, then we’re headed to the airport.

It’s hard to believe that just a week ago I was over everything. But now I’m back on track. I’m excited for the next two weeks, like really excited. Not sure-to-be-disappointed-because-reality-can’t-live-up excited. More like who-knows-what-each-day-will-bring-so-bring-it-on excited.

Now for your visual enjoyment, my Tannenbaum and other Christmas accoutrement (when it’s singular, it’s without the s, right?):

I know it looks like it's leaning, but I swear it's not!

I know it looks like it’s leaning, but I swear it’s not! The more I look at this tree, I’m thinking, “is it really that great?” But then I’m like, “of course it is, that tree is adorable, and anyone who disagrees is blind to the truth.” So dramatic, I know, whatever.

Our cat Jazz simply had to inspect the tree. Chris chose that fabric hangy ball thing for them. Fingers crossed they don't use it to pull down the tree.

Our cat Jazz simply had to inspect the tree. Chris chose that fabric hangy ball thing for them. Fingers crossed they don’t use it to pull down the tree.

Our older cat Belle, being creepy as fuck as usual, also inspecting the tree, and judging the rest of us for our mirth.

Our older cat Belle, being creepy as fuck as usual, also inspecting the tree, and judging the rest of us for our mirth. Also, we clearly need to sweep up the needles that got sacrificed on the altar of artificial lights.

So... this was a random Etsy purchase that I love and am choosing not to justify. The inside writing is the only reason I'd pay money for White Santa. I just really love this mug. #sorrynotsorry

So… this was a random Etsy purchase that I love and am choosing not to justify. The inside writing is the only reason I’d pay money for White Santa. I just really love this mug. #sorrynotsorry

You’re welcome. 😉

 


Starting Off 2016, I’m Still Me!

Happy New Year!!!

I’ve got no resolutions, just more of continuing to be myself. As my husband Chris says during every conversation we’ve had for the last 48 hours, 2015 was a year of big changes. He’s all about reflection. And speeches. And other people listening to his reflective speeches.

For Christmas, we were in Chicago with our families.

planeMy mother and his mother combined the Savage and McBride Christmases and we filled up my parents’ new house. I didn’t think we could fill up their big ass house, but we did it. And because Chris is Chris, he had to give a speech prior to grace. It was heartfelt and wonderful and made everyone go awwwwwww.

tree

We were in Chicago forever, almost 2 weeks (is that hyperbole? Literary purists, help me out!). That meant lots of time for other activities. There were several dinner parties, a slumber party, a couple of date nights, Chris had a gig, and there was lots of sleeping late.

bullsnets3 bullsnets2 bullsnets1

I was, however, bamboozled! I was told we’d need to help move my grandmother into my parents’ house on moving day. but I spent hours at her house the first day. Then there were more hours at her house the next day. Then there were more hours at her house the next week.

What is family for if not to help you move, literally, piece by piece? She had 30 years of stuff to sort into keep, garbage, and giveaway piles. That took a lot of hands and a lot of time.

moving

I’m pretty sure my mother purposely undersold the time commitment. She knows that I would’ve had no problem saying no ahead of time, but that there was no way I’d say no when the rest of the family was headed over to do hard work. I just can’t not help people (sorry literary purists whose attention I’ve specifically requested), not when it’s so obvious my help would make things go better for everyone.

There is one caveat, I can’t feel like I’m being taken advantage of. And my parents never make me feel that way. So it was settled, I got easily pimped out for manual labor on the big move to get my grandmother to my parents’ house.

Then there was waiting for the delivery of Christmas presents. I just bought everything online and had it shipped there rather than bring all those gifts with us. See the start and ending pics. Shit got real. That chair got added to my room when I salvaged it from the give away pile at my grandmother’s house.

presents 2 presents

There was also a funeral. The last of my great-grandmother’s siblings died. She was #16 of 16. It’s crazy to think that entire generation is now gone. I went to the funeral with my parents, and as much as the circumstances weren’t great, I was really happy to see so many family members from that branch of the family tree. After we left her burial, my daddy and I visited my Papa’s grave, who’s funeral I went to the last time I was in Chicago.

papa's grave

So after all the holiday parties, a new tattoo (more on that later), and hanging with friends I only see when in Chicago (if that often)…

paint & drink momma tattoo martinis

…it was time for New Year’s Eve!

I spent the holiday in St. Louis with my best friend David. We went to a nice dinner then a party at Ballpark Village. That party was so much fun and that DJ was everything. He was mixing songs based on: tempo, key, genre, lyrics, and theme. That’s right, lyrics and theme! Who does that?

Our tickets got us in all the 327 bars inside the village (more hyperbole! (I think…)), free drinks until midnight, free champagne toast at midnight, and endless dancing. We shut that party down like we have shut down several parties over the years.

me and david

My fancy sparkly shoes made it through the night, but barely got me back to my hotel. What should’ve been a 5 minute walk took almost 15! I wish I could blame it on being drunk, but I was happy champagne drunk, not old-school falling down vodka-and-tequila drunk. Nope, it was just a lot of dancing on concrete floors.

sparkly shoes

I got back to New York last night, and I was of course greeted by the cats who were looking at me like I was the biggest traitor for leaving them for so long. Our friend who lives around the corner watered, fed, and cleaned for the cats. So they were fine, they just have so much personality, so they had to let me know everything they were feeling.

Belle Jan 2016 2 Belle Jan 2016

I ended 2015 exactly the way I wanted to. I’m looking forward to 2016 being a great year. I’ve got hopes for this year, but there are some specific things I’d like to see happen:

  • Chris graduate from grad school
  • More travel around the East Coast and to the West Coast
  • Make some healthy living changes that are sustainable
  • Strengthen the relationships that are truly important to me

Let me reiterate that those are not resolutions, but more of a way to focus my view of the year. It’s gonna be a great year! Did I say that already?


Always The Best Man, Never The Groom

First I must say, this title is misleading. One of my best friends is often a best man, but I seriously doubt he’s itching to be a groom. I just picked this title because I thought it might catch your attention.

I wrote a post about six months ago about one of my best friend’s and his best man speech at our friend’s wedding. This coming fall, there is another wedding.

He was also my best man at my wedding.

The good news is that after this wedding, he’s out of best friends. I got married in 2012, the second one in 2013, now this last one in 2014. He will probably be the best man for his big brother whenever he marries, but then he’s done.

I have admit, I’m kind of jealous. The last wedding I was in besides my own was when I was a flower girl back in 1992.

I had 10 people standing up with me at my wedding. One of the guy’s has since married, and one of the guys has since divorced. All of the women are still unmarried.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any rush for my friends to get married, nor am I in any rush to pay hundreds of dollars for someone else’s big day. But still, it would be fun to get all dolled up and bake a penis-shaped cake for one of my girls, not at the same time of course.

Instead, I live vicariously through my friend. I do get a kick out of planning out his best man speeches with him.

Because his two other best friends chose fall dates for their weddings, we get to make the speech planning and all-year thing.

It reminds me of when we worked together on projects in college and I love it.

We have hours-long debates about the correct balance of emotional vs. funny. We pick out which are the best stories to tell. Then we hem and haw about the order of the speech (is chronological always best?).

His speech at my wedding was lovely. People didn’t really pay attention because everyone got notifications on their smart phones that Whitney Houston had just died. But he covered all the main points I’d want: 1) good luck Easy in dealing with her “strong” personality, 2) A crazy story or two from back in the day that is embarrassing for her, but also kind of sweet, and 3) a good joke that feels like an inside joke but makes everyone laugh.

As I already said in my previous post, he did a great job with his other best friend’s wedding last fall.

This time, his job is a bit more difficult. The basis of his friendship with this friend is because they were on the same line of a fraternity.

Sidenote: this fraternity throws the best part ever, but Easy and I aren’t going to the party this year because Florida. We’re black and we’d prefer to stay alive. Florida is feeling a little murder-y right now for folks of color you know?

Anyway, because their friendship started in the secrecy of pledging a fraternity, there’s a whole bunch of stuff he can’t say during the speech. They pledged almost ten years ago though, so there is plenty to say about their friendship since that time.

This one is going to be a bit more difficult than the last two though. Easy and I spent a a good amount of time with my friend when Easy lived down in St. Louis. And he never talked to his other friend on the phone without also talking to wife too.

But my friend doesn’t really know this couple too well as a couple. He was down in Texas visiting them last weekend, so hopefully he stored up some great stories for this speech.

My friend is a best man veteran though, so he’ll make it work. And because none of my girls are headed towards marriage any time soon, I’ll continue to live vicariously through him.

At the wedding last fall, I was hanging with the bride’s friends the day before the wedding. It was fun, but I didn’t know anyone that well, so there was a limit on how much fun I could have.

This fall, things will be better. The groom has decided he wants a co-ed bachelor party. It won’t be like mine, which was combined with all of my friends and Easy’s friends (his idea, not mine, but still so much fun). It will be more like, all his friends, male and female, are going to his party.

It’s a really cool concept, I think. It felt a bit like being sent to the kid’s table when I have to go hang out with the women even though I’m only friends with the men.

This fall, I’ll be at the big kids table (or strip club), then watching the finale of a great trio of best man speeches. Should be fun, don’t you think?


Giving, Receiving, And Leaving Town

Because we live in a sitcom, the plan the husband and I had for our Super Bowl party didn’t go so well, but it turned out alright in the end.

Our first mistake was not going grocery shopping ahead of time. We waited until Sunday after church.

Saturday night, I went to bed early-ish, which was nice. I got ten whole hours of sleep, which basically made up for the extreme lack of sleep from the week.

The husband was out super late Saturday night. He’s so friendly that he was hanging out with his old friends as well as making some new ones. He came home with this.

dollars

Where do you think he was? Strip club? Chuck E. Cheese? Playing for tips in Times Square? The options are humorous and endless.

So we get to church for morning service. It turns out there are two meetings scheduled after church. One for new members and one for the young adult ministry. Both are meeting the husband and I were to attend.

I didn’t want to go to either meeting. Because seriously, who calls a meeting on Super Bowl Sunday? Seriously?

But to the meetings we went. We didn’t leave church until after 3pm. We didn’t get home from the grocery store until after 4:30pm.

Did I mention the store had run out of chicken wings? I don’t just buy a bag of frozen wings and throw it in the oven. I cook fresh wings and make sauce to go with it. I get fancy, y’all.

So I sent the husband out in search of fresh wings and started on my sauces.

The guests started arriving and there was no food ready to eat. I felt badly, but there wasn’t much I could do. Luckily one of his friend made home-made humus and flatbread chips to go with it. And they were delicious!

I’m sure you all know how the game went down. All I’m going to say about the game is that I enjoyed watching the team I wanted to win whoop ass up and down the field. Oh, and the commercials were great too.

As the food started trickling out of the kitchen, everyone dug in. I was pretty satisfied with the final products: taco salad with sweet pepper sour cream topping; tortilla chips with ground turkey queso dip; loaded fresh-cut french fries with bacon and cheese; and chicken wings with a choice of spicy BBQ, honey mustard, or ranch sauce.

And of course I made my everything punch. When I say this is everything punch, I mean it. It has everything in it.

Don’t tell me you can’t mix certain types of alcohol. Don’t tell me dark & light liquors get into a fight in your stomach. I don’t wanna hear it!

I make this punch at most big parties we throw. I know the night is a success when people who I’ve seen drink several glasses of straight whiskey out at jazz clubs can only drink 2-3 cups of my punch before they’re really tipsy.

After the game ended, people still stayed to hang out a bit. We ended up playing a few hilarious rounds of cell-phone based Taboo. It was nice to not have to clean up all the cards and game pieces after we’re done playing.

Trying to guess the name of Oscar-nominated actors when you’re on your fifth cup of everything punch is no joke y’all. I tried to remember to take a picture of it, but I kinda forgot, so this is the best I have, a punch bowl only filled a third of the way with poor lighting.

everything punch

Looks harmless, doesn’t it? All a part of my master plan, mwah ha ha.

The good use I put my chemistry degree to is making a strong yet tasty drink that won’t leave you hung over. As long as you have a good electrolyte balance going before you start drinking, you can drink a half-gallon of this stuff and be fine.

You’re welcome.

Anyway, the husband gets on a plane later today to head to Chicago, assuming his flight isn’t delayed because of all the Monday travel issues. He’s gone for a whole month. I won’t see him until I meet him in Chicago for a wedding on March 1st. When he’s gone, we’re both so busy that we have to work hard to make time to talk. I’m sure we’ll manage though.

I’m going to miss him, but I do have something to distract me for a bit. I wrote a post recently about how I was looking forward to eventually getting my birthday gifts. I figured it would help jumpstart my efforts to stay healthy.

Guess what I got in the mail?

fitbit

A lovely lady I met in Chicago bought it for me. I met her while out with the husband at a jazz club, which makes sense because she’s a singer.

I was so excited about it, I forgot how sleepy I was and immediately got it setup. It’s as cool as advertised. I didn’t even have to take it off to have one of my marathon baths.

This is my first ever gift received purely because of something I wrote in my blog. It’s a moment for me, and I promise I’ll put it to good use girl!

I’d say I had a pretty amazing weekend. I’ll probably be a bit more low-key in the coming days. I’ll need to make time to workout so I can stay on track with my new healthy plan.

I think I may have someone to go rock climbing with. It’s one of the random cool people I’ve met while out at a jazz club with the husband. We shall see.

And I think this couple I met another time out is going to join me at the soup kitchen next weekend when I go to volunteer.

At this rate, I may actually have friends in NYC, but I won’t get my hopes up too soon.


Husbands and Birthdays

My daddy came into town this past weekend. My parents came to visit for Thanksgiving, along with some family friends from church. There were five of them total; the couple has a 10-year-old son.

Once we realized we could comfortable fit 6 adults and one kid into the apartment, a whole world of opportunity opened up. That’s why we keep doing musician’s dinners, and we’ll probably do a Super Bowl party this weekend.

But this post isn’t about Thanksgiving or the Super Bowl, it’s about my daddy’s trip. When they were here for Thanksgiving, my daddy and the husband of the family friend couple decided they loved New York City so much that they were coming back– with or without their wives.

The timing ended up working out so they could come at the end of January. The husband had a pretty big couple of gigs with Winard Harper at Smalls Jazz Club. Plus it was my daddy’s birthday.

Is it weird that my daddy took a birthday trip out-of-town for his birthday without my mom? Honestly, it’s not. My parents are cool like that. They do their own thing from time to time and I think it’s great. Plus, he came to see his daughter, so it’s not exactly like he was running off.

That didn’t stop me from making many wife-centered jokes for the weekend. The one I really ran into the ground was when I kept checking to make sure it was fine I was there seeing as how they uninvited all the wives for the weekend. But spending time with the husband, my daddy, and our good family friend was a lot of fun.

They came to the Brooklyn brownstone for dinner with some of the members of Winard’s band before the gig on Friday.

There is this scene in the Temptations movie that shows the guys sitting around the dinner table eating dinner after one of their gigs. They’re just bonding and eating home-made good food and becoming even more themselves because of the time spent.

At some point, one of these musicians is going to get a movie made about them, and I need a scene with me serving these guys dinner.

And I need the actress who plays me to look like Lela Rochon.

Lela Rochon with her husband from Wikipedia

But anyway. My daddy and our family friend are just so much fun. Cooking dinner for the guys as we’re all laughing, talking, drinking, and listening to music before the gig was so much fun. Socializing is so much easier in the comfort of my home.

After dinner, we headed out to the gig and the music was amazing. I’ve never heard Winard Harper play before, but I immediately understood why he’s famous. He’s Wikipedia-paging, Lincoln Center-gigging, Google update-requesting famous.

And he’s so nice and gregarious and funny. That man knows how to command a microphone in between songs.

The fact that we’re barely six months in to our lives here in New York and the husband is already doing these things is freaking amazing.

winard smalls 1 winard smalls 2

The first picture is from the last song they played Friday night. If you look on the right side of the picture, you’ll see a line of horns reflecting the soft lighting.

Winard Harper announced they were going to finish it out with a short song, and they would just take one chorus each. If you know anything about jazz, you know that means shorter solos and a (possibly) shorter song.

Then he invited all the horn guys he saw in the back to “come up and get some of this.” If you know anything about jazz, you know that means that even though they were only playing one solo each, he’d just invited an additional 3-6 guys to each take a solo, thus lengthening the song even further.

But man, if you could’ve been there, you would’ve been glad for it. They played the hell out of that song. Because there were so many playing, they kept building and building and by the time they got to the end, the whole crowd was screaming in approval.

Fast forward 20 or so minutes, and we were all sad for them to finally stop playing.

My daddy, who loves live music had an amazing time. I don’t think he could’ve had a better birthday in Chicago this year.

He ended up going to the 9/11 Memorial early Saturday with the family friend. They found it really interesting. I can totally see why as my daddy is a fan of history and America and tourism.

After they finished with that, the four of us went to dinner. I was so tired at this point, I went to their hotel room to take a nap while the three men went back to Smalls for another gig.

I of course cracked some more jokes about how they finally got rid of the last wife.

My daddy and our family friend headed back to Chicago on Sunday evening. They had a really great weekend hanging out in New York.

I feel like a need to get a testimonial posted somewhere that a quick celebratory trip to NYC is great. Especially if you get your hotel room. Please tell my friends and family that so more of them can come visit us.

So far, I’ve had 7 of the 10 people who stood up with me at my wedding come visit me, which is actually pretty amazing. I love my friends. I’m trying to get a perfect 10 before our one year anniversary here in NYC, but it probably won’t happen since one of my girls had a baby a few days ago.

Poor thing was in labor for two days.

Two days.

Think on that for a minute. I’m personally making a note to postpone having children for at least a few more months.

And I’m also making a note so that whenever I do have children, my daughter will know I’m making a birthday trip to come visit her without the husband in 30 years, and she better show me a good time.

Super random, I wasn’t the only one tuckered out this weekend.

sleepy jazz

That’s our cat Jazz giving me the eye for daring to photograph her while she’s trying to sleep


What’s Hot In Chicago? Enye

Enye is hot. If you’ve already ready my blog post about it, you don’t need to read this. I am just writing this for my What’s Hot series. It just happened that it also made a blog post as well.

Enye.  2977 N. Elston, Chicago, IL 60618, (773) 866-9898. Hours not listed online, but they’re pretty much open for lunch and dinner and after dinner.

This restaurant is nice. When it gets call-the-fire-marshal crowded as a dance club, it’s even better. The service is slow, likely because it’s so crowded. Don’t forget your ID or the bouncer won’t let you in. Get ready to sweat if you show up after 10pm.

 

I’d Recommend: Going on Tuesday night. The music is fantastic and the crowd is too. Everyone there just seems happy to be there and ready for a good time.If you prefer lounges over clubs, but occasionally want that club feel to go dancing, this is the place to get your Latin dancing on.

Stay Away From: Aggressive men trying to dance with you. I’m not trying to make any sweeping cultural statements here, but if you don’t want to dance with someone, make it super clear. Some of the men are pretty aggressive on the dance floor.

[Score has a max of 4 pts for each section] Food (3); Music (4); Drinks (4); Atmosphere (3); Price (3); Consumer Review (3); Extra Factor (1)

Enye gets 21 points, which is pretty damn good. They’re almost there. I didn’t give them a four for food because i haven’t tried enough of it to vouch for the whole menu. I didn’t even order a drink myself, but when I went, it was with such a large crowd that I got to try several cocktails and there were all amazing. Atmosphere is great, but not if you don’t like loud or crowded. Assuming you’re going to get your groove on, you shouldn’t mind too much. And price is good, but not perfect. Even though their online presence is lacking, they have over 25 reviews on Yelp and they’re pretty much all positive.

I highly recommend this place. Whether you live in Avondale and you’re looking for a local watering hole or you are looking for something new and different to try on a weekday date night.


Ultimate Blog Party 2013

Ultimate Blog Party 2013

I didn’t even know this was a thing until yesterday afternoon, when I was checking out My So-Called Chaos, a great blog you should check out. I’ve been looking for a way to connect to more bloggers other than yet another social network (sue me, I’m not on Facebook), and this is the ticket.

From April 5th – 12th, Janice and Susan over at 5 Minutes for Mom are hosting their 7th Annual Ultimate Blog Party!

They want everyone to think of this as a blogger conference of sorts, with a focus  on not having to leave your couch, desk, etc. to participate. They are having two live events this week you can join in. So head over to their blog to read all about this party.

The first step to join this party is by doing exactly what I am, writing a post about it and linking up at their website, which is party headquarters. I’m so excited to do some blog hopping and Twitter following. I’m always looking for new and inspiring blogs to read.

The second step is to introduce your blog to new readers so they know what to expect if they keep reading.

What A Chicago-Style Girl is all about…

This blog is all about my life as a twenty-something being a born and raised Chicagoan.

I Doooooo, Cherish Yooooouuuu

I Doooooo, Cherish Yooooouuuu

Say cheese

Say cheese

I talk about the husband a lot. We’ve been married for just shy of 14 months. He’s amazing and probably way too emotionally mature for me. But he’s my best friend and my partner in music, TV, and avoiding getting pregnant. He’s a full-time musician (primarily jazz), and we do some pretty amazing things together. Also, he’s funny as hell. I’m hoping our future children have his chin, my eyes, and either smile.

Donate LifeI talk about work more than I should. Donation is 24/7 and sometimes it feels like I work exactly that much. I’m a bit of a workaholic. I’m that chick who’s out at a famous fancy restaurant in Manhattan, calling work to check in because her gut told her to. I suppose when I get an ulcer, I’ll calm all this down, but for now, I’m all in at work.

Love me and my cat tricks

Love me and my cat tricks

I talk about my friends and family. They are amazing and the husband and I are just as likely to double date with our parents as one of our couple friends. I also talk about our cats. Belle and Jasmine (Jazz for short, the husband named her) are crazy cats who act like people, dogs, and cats all rolled together.

I make surprisingly human facial expressions

I make surprisingly human facial expressions

I share tales of my attempts at being healthy, unpacking my apartment, and traveling the world. So basically that means I rant about Tracy Anderson trying to kill me, I admit to the world I’ve been living with boxes for almost two years, and every couple of months I cross another state of  my list after a trip purely for food purposes.

And, every now and again, I talk about amazing places I’ve been that you need to go to as well. I’d like to think I can tell you what’s hot in Chicago, as long as you’re not looking for a great dance club. For that, you should see this guy.

Stefon

Full disclosure, most of my posts never have this many pictures. And most of my posts have much more cursing. And also–

Bacon!!!

Bacon!!!

Now, please comment and let me know you stopped by, and I’ll return the favor!


No Strep for the Strippers

I know you all have been on the edge of your seats, waiting to hear the tales of my ascent into infamy by way of infecting a stripper with strep. I’m sorry to tell you, my infamy will have to wait.

I didn’t make it onto the party bus with the stripper. And also, I’m pretty sure I didn’t actually have strep.

After the last post was published, another co-worker texted to let me know she wasn’t coming in to work that night. She was at urgent care, getting a diagnosis of the flu. Then I got concerned, wondering if I had strep or flu, convinced I had one or the other.

It is no fun trying to figure out whether you’ll be taken down by bacteria or virus. You’re just hoping and praying for a third option. Come on, harmless fungal infection!

Nevertheless, I went home determined to rally and go out with the husband. I had to wake him up and make him get dressed, but then we were off. We saw a performance by an amazing musician and his band. I honestly don’t even know what genre of music it was. It was the genre of awesome.

After the next band came on and was not our cup of tea, we headed over to catch the show we intended from the beginning. The party-bus-with-strippers friend was playing at one of the most popular jazz clubs in the city. I was looking forward to seeing what he would put together on his own gig, and I wasn’t disappointed. It wasn’t at all a traditional set, but it was very him. Spontaneous and fun, with just a dash of crazy.

I haven’t mentioned yet that at this point, I already knew we were not getting on the party bus. It was full. F-ing full. I wasn’t banned because I was sick. The husband didn’t decide a stripper party bus was no place for a married couple. None of the reasonable things happened. They just got full up and had no room for us. There were four of us by the way. We caught up with two friends at the first awesome show and rolled to the second fun show together.

After the husband’s friend’s gig was over, we headed to the car to go get some food, and the rest of them headed to the party bus. It was a sad moment for the four of us to watch the bus roll out without us.

We quickly realized how hungry we were and went out for breakfast. At this point, I had been awake for almost 24 hours, but I was still in rally mode. I ordered bacon, eggs, pancakes, and a large cup of coffee.  At one point, the guys realized I was tipping over in my seat, and took compassion on me.

I think the husband and I got home about 30 minutes before I had been awake literally for 24 hours. I was so proud of myself. I got through the night and had a lot of fun. Even better, I didn’t get the husband sick. I also didn’t infect any of his friends or his friends’ strippers.

It was quite the successful day. I woke up the next morning feeling like complete crap, but that’s a whole new story. Spoiler alert, I ended up with neither strep nor the flu, just a badass common cold.


Strep Throat and Strippers

To swing fully away from my last few work-centric posts, I’d like to completely switch gears. Let’s talk about strippers. Stripper and strep throat.

Okay, one last thing about work. Strep is going around. Sore throats and fevers popping up here and there. I was lucky enough to escape the flu going around. But the strep got me. I blame changing weather and a 60+ hour work week. Stupid lack of overtime pay.

Moving on back to the strippers. One of the husband’s good friends has a show tonight. Two of them do actually. In fact, it’s likely that most of them do because it’s a Saturday night. But there are two shows we’re going to try to see tonight since the husband has no gig.

I’m looking forward to seeing both guys because I’ve never seen them playing their own gigs. I’ve only ever seen them on someone else’s gig. I’d love to see what type of set list and song choices they put together. The music is just totally different when you’re playing to your own preferences.

One of the friends is getting married this September, so the strippers aren’t related to him. Not that being married means strippers go out of your life. I wouldn’t suggest anyone pretend they don’t like strippers just because they said I do. But that’s a conversation for another time.

The friend who is nowhere near getting married is the one involving the strippers into tonight. After his gig, he has a party bus, and there are reports there will be a stripper or strippers there. The husband thought it would be fun for us to go to the shows and then join the party bus.

Of course I said yes, mostly because it’s one of those experiences to cross off a bucket list, should I ever get around to making one. I mean, think about it. A party bus just sounds fun, even more so under these circumstances.

This was all before the strep. Now I feel like crap. All the lights are too bright, the sounds are too loud. My throat hurts and I’m tired as hell. And truly, if I’m contagious with strep (unconfirmed strep), should I really hang  around strippers tonight?

What if I sneeze on one of them or something? I would never sneeze on a person if I could help it, but I’m trying to figure out why I would be that close to the stripper in the first place. On a party bus, they’d have my married heterosexual self in the back of the bus so I don’t get in the way of anything.

But in this sneezing scenario, I’ve infected the stripper. Let’s say she doesn’t get sick. What if she just becomes some highly contagious strep carrier? She’d start infecting people and there would be a small strep epidemic.

It wouldn’t take long before some sap visiting her strip club walks in with a weak or weakened immune system. Next thing you know, that guy’s dead. Then people will be tracing all the strep back to the stripper, who will point the finger at me.

Then I’ll have to explain how I could’ve possibly infected a stripper with strep, and only the 13 1/2 people who read this blog will know the truth.

And then the local news will want to talk to the source of the outbreak because it didn’t follow normal disease patterns. I’ll end up on Wikipedia after a few more people die. Let’s face it, if you’re going to find a grouping of people with weakened immune systems, a strip club is a great candidate.

I can’t have that. I can’t become famous or infamous.

I guess that means we’ll have to avoid the party bus with the stripper(s). Not that I wasn’t dying to go, mind you. I’m just trying to save lives here.

I guess we’ll have to figure out something  else to do. Maybe we can double date with the husband’s work wife, but without her non-boyfriend.

Did you follow all that? The husband has a friend we both consider his work wife. We’ve been trying to double date for a while, but she’s not really a fan of her current guy, so we’re thinking of double dating without him.

Is it even still a double date if it’s just three people? I need a name for it other than having a third wheel because it wouldn’t be like that at all.

The husband’s work wife is a waitress though, so there is epidemic potential there as well. Eh, I won’t worry about it because her job has signs everywhere telling the employees to constantly wash their hands. I doubt the party bus even has a sink.


Why Do I Always Want To Read Blogs On Monday?

As a general rule, most of the blogs I read don’t update on the weekend. Unless you’re posting everyday or posting ahead of time, there aren’t a ton of new posts to read. And yet, for some reason, I always get a hunkering to read your blogs on Monday. There is never more than 1 new blog post on about half the blogs, but not much more.

A true sign that I’m feeling bloggy is that I’m commenting on all the posts, adding feedback, even requesting future posts on related topics.

There are moments when I don’t feel like catching up on blogs. I know that when I only read the new posts for about half the blogs. That is, the ones I find most interesting. I think that the personal blogs are my favorites. Those people have things going on in their lives I want updates on, and I get quite excited when there’s a new post.

I don’t think there’s really a point to this post. Yes there is. The point is, write more!

When I’m catching up on blogs at work, I want to have more than 20 posts to read.

You know what I did Monday night when I ran out of blog posts (other than work of course)? I went to ESPN.com and went to the live draft lobby. I joined the first Fantasy league I saw. Yup, I spent time getting a fantasy football team.

I guess that means this season I will have two teams. The draft for the team I picked carefully is later. But I needed something to do on the internet other than shop, so I had a draft. This is my fifth year doing fantasy football. I look forward to it because it makes me feel pretty good. I’m usually the only chick in my league, and I”m usually in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place all season.

Since I rushed into this draft, I haven’t finished my pre-season research on the players, so who knows how my team will do this season. I’m just glad I don’t personally know anyone else in the league so I don’t suffer from trash talking.

I’m looking forward to my other team’s draft. I’m also looking forward to a season of Thursdays, Sundays, and Mondays. Last season lineup changes, crossing my fingers for just one more touchdown, and reasoning bad choices. And of course October, when almost every sport I care about is playing all at once. My birthday month is truly the best month of the year.

Speaking of October, I’ve got to get on planning my birthday trip. My girls and I have been doing it big for our birthdays all year. One of my friend’s birthday is three days before mine, so we do our birthdays together every other year the last handful of years. This year, the plan is to go out-of-town. Not too far away, just somewhere in the Midwest. A nice grown-up weekend away. Maybe we’ll catch a live show, hit a museum. Just explore another city and drink lots of wine while we do it.

I like when I have things to look forward to. Won’t it be nice that I’ll have things to blog about other than my daily ramblings on my exercise/diet plan?


A Saturday To Remember

I’ve got a story. A story about a girl who went too far. At first, she just wanted to replace the ice cream her husband ate. So they went for ice cream.

Instead of replacing the ice cream, they went to Oberweis. She didn’t just get some ice cream though. She got a hot fudge brownie sundae in a waffle cone bowl dipped in chocolate and nuts.

Then it was lunch time. She wanted to go to a fried chicken place by her parents’ house. When she saw the menu, she had to have this one combo meal. It had 2 wings, a pizza puff, and fries.

This girl hadn’t officially fallen off the wagon, she just jumped off and ran along side for a few hours.

Yes, that girl is me. From 1-3 pm Saturday, I lost my damn mind. It didn’t hit me until I was so full I literally had trouble breathing. I had to sit still for 15 min just to keep from throwing up.

I guess after a week of eating more meals, but less food each day had my stomach totally unprepared for the food I threw at it. It will be a long time before I do that shit again.

After I recovered from the catastrophe that was my lunch, things improved. The husband and I got some good work done on his website that we continued last night. My dad helped too.
Then the husband left for his gig and I went with my parents to Ikea. I had apprehension about it because of things I’d heard both good and bad. But it was amazing.

After making a plan not to buy anything, we bought these candle holders that were the very first things we laid eyes on. We then proceeded to drool over kitchens, counter tops, living rooms, closets, lighting fixtures and everything else.

Ikea is a magical land where the perfect setup that would work for your space exists. You may have seen a TV stand similar to what you really need/want, but not quite right before. But at Ikea, you find the perfect stand. And the prices are so low.

I’m in love with our shelving system in our apartment, and I didn’t see anything at Ikea that could top it. I did see something comparable that was a little more permanent and quite ideal for when we have a house. But the shelves we have right now are perfectly portable for all the moving around we’ll be doing the next handful of years.

After we left Ikea, my parents dropped me off at home where I quickly got ready to go out with my co-worker. Her friends house party was a real house party. Juke music all night long, a pan of chicken, rounds of shots, and a robust game of flippy cup.

The things that stood out most to me at this party was that these were grown ass folks. Most were married or engaged. They were professionals. All this I knew before I got there, but it was just right there in front of me. The only other room I’d ever been in with so many wedding bands was at church events.

It’s nice to see married people who know how to have fun. They weren’t dry or boring, they were intelligent, funny, and knew how to have a food time. I could definitely hang out with them again. And I’d bring the husband of course.

I finally got my butt home and in bed a little before 4 am. The day didn’t turn out like I expected at all.

But it was great. I finally saw Ikea for myself. I got to meet some great new people. I spent time with the husband and the family.

And maybe I ate too much bad food. I got back on track on Sunday, didn’t gain any weight, and kept on exercising. I could definitely have more Saturdays like that.


A Grown Up House Party, I Think

So, I’ve gone all the way out of my comfort zone and agreed to hang out with a co-worker this weekend. This is the girl I mentioned in two previous posts. She is the one dating a man who doesn’t play games. She had a refreshing story and a follow-up to that story that I simply had to share.

When she’s not enjoying the affections of a man who is coming correct, she spends a lot of time with her friends. A good number of her friends have married; she’s one of the last single girls. I wonder if she’s invited me along to hang with her friends this weekend because I’m married so I won’t throw off the balance of the group.

Every time I hang out with a new friend, I feel like I’m on a date. Most of my dates recently have been double dates. The husband and I are like each other’s wingman as we see if the couple across the table is compatible with us. But I’ll be doing this one on my own without my wingman.

The plan is to go out for drinks and possibly appetizers. Next stop is a house party at one of her friend’s house. Apparently they just moved in, but this is not a housewarming, it’s a house party. Occasionally, I like meeting new people, so I’m looking forward to it.

I figure best case scenario, I’ll find some new couples for the husband and I to date. Worst case scenario, they’ll make me feel completely out-of-place because I’m about five years younger than most of them and haven’t been part of this group of friends for years.

I doubt she would’ve invited to me to this party if the worst case scenario was possible. What’s most likely is that in order to have a real house party, you need random fun new blood there. I”m totally random being a friend from work in a different age box. I’m sometimes fun (can’t say I was much fun at those two weddings I went to last weekend). And I’m definitely new blood.

Even though these people will probably know some people I know, I doubt I’ll see anyone I actually know. I’m just sort of used to meeting random people at a party who have either 1) seen the husband play or know him somehow, 2) knew my brother from hanging out with him before or after he became a minister, or 3) been in my mother’s courtroom. Yup, musician, minister, and judge for family members reduces degrees of separation like you wouldn’t believe.

I can’t figure out why I’m looking forward to this party so much that I had to write an ahead-of-time blog post about it. Perhaps because it’s the first uniquely new activity I’ve done in such a long time. I can’t remember the last time I went to a random ass house party. Likely it was back in 2007, right before I graduated college.  No wait, it was in 2008 for Halloween in med school.

I’m interested to see how grown ass people do a house party. As in, people who are over 30, done with being full-time students and have a full-time job, married with children, but still (reportedly) know how to have a good time.

And then when I’m done, I’ll gladly take my butt back home and climb into bed with the husband. I have to admit that this being an adult this is really working for me so far.

Go optimism.


Party Recap

I’ve resurfaced from being gone a couple days because of the husband’s birthday party. Friday I ran all around the city looking for gifts/food/drinks/decorations. Saturday we partied for 10+ hours. Sunday we recuperated. And now I’m enjoying my last day off work in my 7 day stretch.

People kept asking where my parents’ were. The ones who know them know they wouldn’t miss the husband’s birthday party in their own house. The ones who don’t know them were concerned at whether we’d get in trouble for all the ruckus we were causing.

Where to start? Ah, the beginning. On Friday, I decided the gifts I’d picked out in my head for the husband needed to finally be purchased. So I snuck out of the house while the husband was sleep and went shopping. Fast forward 4 hrs and I had spent $1000. PS3 and accessories, groceries, decorations, and starter drinks for the party.

I went to the best Best Buy in the city (in terms of customer service). I went to the nearest Party City to there out of convenience. Then I found a huge Binny’s Beverage Depot. If you’ve never heard of Binny’s, Google it. It’s a magical land where people like myself go and spend way less than expected on the ingredients to my Everything Punch for my BYOB party. Then I want by my parents’ house for groceries. I didn’t want anything melting or getting too hot in the 90 degree heat.

I wrapped the husband’s presents at my parents house and took a picture and sent it to him. You can see it at the bottom. So many gifts. PS3, extra controller, Blu-Ray remote, charger, cologne, a new wallet (his old one was busted), and his very own bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin.

The party was a resounding success. Everyone loved the food. I was worried we’d have too much food and instead we didn’t have enough. But we didn’t run out of alcohol. People kept arriving and leaving, so the guests stayed entertaining and entertained.

It was so nice to have all that extra room at my parents’ house. We were in the kitchen, the dining room, outside, and the living room. The husband was quite drunk and took a two hour nap, so of course he got photographed for future laughs.

The party started at 4 and the last guest left at 2:30-ish. So we were super tired. It was all we could do to drag ourselves into bed to just fall right asleep.

My brother woke up the next morning, saw the tornado that hit the house and definitely had a WTF moment. I know he was regretting suggesting we have the party there.

But we finally got up around noon-ish and cleaned the house. When we were done, there were no signs of party. But there are memories. And pictures. And the husband glues to his new PS3.

How was your weekend?

That saxophone was so detailed. His mom got thhe perfect cake.

That saxophone was so detailed. His mom got thhe perfect cake.

So many presents, so little wrapping paper options in July.

So many presents, so little wrapping paper options in July.

He's not completely glued, just 87% glued.

He’s not completely glued, just 87% glued.


Party Like We’re In High School

What do I think of as high school partying? Here’s the scenario:

Your parents have just gone out of town. You get together with some friends, party all night, drink, random people you don’t remember inviting show up and you hope the nosy neighbors across the street don’t tell on you when your parents get back.

This is the situation I find myself in. Last month,the husband and I threw a party simple for party’s sake. We had people over and it was so much fun. This month is the husband’s birthday. It’s in four days. We decided last month we’d do another party this month and make it birthday themed.

That naturally meant an even bigger guest list. That meant barbecue. That meant cramming a lot of people into our apt on one of the hottest days of the year.

When I started inviting people to the party, I sent the information to my brother. He immediately suggests we move the party to my parents’ house. When I ask if he thinks they’ll mind he says, “who cares, they’ll be out of town.”

That’s pretty much the first thing I think. Just take those old records off the shelf…

We’re not going to set up a business that will get us thrown in jail, but we are going to party and set up said party only hours after my parents drive away from the house.

I meant to call my mom or dad to tell them about the party move. I swear I meant to, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. And so I’m feeling surreptitious, hoping they don’t hear from someone else about the party.

They won’t mind. We’ll just be using their house air conditioning, several rooms. Oh, and their grill. What’s the worst that could happen? Let’s hope that previous sentence don’t end up to be Famous Last Words, mwah ha ha.


What’s Hot? L26

L26 is hot.

L26   11 West 26th Street Chicago, IL  Open 5pm-11pm or later everyday

This restaurant is located inside the South Loop Hotel in Chicago. You can miss it if you drive past it too quickly. This place is great for amazing soul food, sometimes great live music, and terrible service.

The only time I had amazing service there is when we threw my engagement party there. They were great that day for our private party, and they’ve sucked at service every visit since. They could stand to hire another waiter or three.

The atmosphere is splendid. It’s by far the best I’ve ever seen in a black-owned restaurant. I always spend more there than I think I should. Some items that should be together are a la carte. If you order a steak, there is nothing but a steak on your plate unless you order sides.

I’d Recommend: The macaroni and cheese. It’s divine. There’s more than enough to share, but you’ll likely eat the entire bowl by yourself. Also, try the drinks named after the train lines in Chicago. The drinks are super strong, so make sure you let them know if you want your drink a little less likely to put hair on your chest.

Stay Away From: All of the desserts. They’re not that great. And if slow service makes you reduce the tip, just eat at the bar. The bartender will make you forget you’ve been waiting 30 minutes for someone to take your order.

This restaurant would get the extra factor if not for the terribly slow service.  The food would be perfect if not for the dinner menu. The music would be perfect if there was live music more consistently. The drinks would be perfect if the wine list were just a bit longer. They consistently got four stars out of five out of hundreds of reviews.

Food (3); Music (3); Drinks (3); Atmosphere (4); Price (2); Consumer Review (3); Extra Factor (0)

L26 gets a score of 18 out of 25. And now on to the pictures.

When you first walk in the restaurant, this is what you’ll see. Looks like class and comfort all at once.

There’s a great private room in the back. It’s where I had my engagement party. For $500, it can be yours too. I made this size a little larger so you can see the great wine mural on the back wall.

There are all these little touches that add that extra something special. Here is a shot of a portion of the ceiling. Isn’t it wonderful?

And when the night falls and they set up their live music, the whole atmosphere changes. Green becomes a golden orange. Magenta becomes a plum red. The mood is officially set.


The Little Party That Could

Aren’t you a cute little party! Yes you are. Just a small hang with the people from the wedding party. You can make it happen, right? I think you can.

Sure the wedding party had damn near 25 adults in it and only 2 live out of town. Well, that’s still a little party. I’ll cook dinner since so many of the husband’s friends have never had my cooking, but have heard good things. You’re such a good little party, so I will make a nice summer meal that’s easy for that many people. Lasagna, chicken strips, corn, and rice. You can make that happen right? I think you can.

Wait, what? The husband invited more people? Well, then I guess I should invite more people. There’s our friends we spent so much time with on the cruise. There’s my friend from downstate who will be in town for the weekend. Then there are other friends who simply have to come but they don’t know anyone else, so they should bring a friend, right? Okay, so more food, and what about drinks? You can still make this work. I think you can.

The husband had a great idea. He’s been telling everyone to just bring something to drink with them. I even asked a few people to bring something dessert-y. So we’ll have enough drinks and food and dessert. Oh wait, what wast he head count again? You can still make this work, little party. I think you can.

Okay little party, you’re not so little anymore. But still. My biggest worry is that there’s nowhere for people to sit. But that’s okay, right?

That was my crazy line of thinking as the days after Memorial Day went by. The husband and I ended up inviting a ridiculously large number of people to our house that Friday. So how did this Little Party That Could end up?

It ended up with good food and good friends. Lots of people who had never hung out before or hadn’t seen each other since our wedding all spent time.

The food was delicious. There was a snafu where all the vegetarian food was gone by the time one vegetarian arrived, but with promises of his own special pan of lasagna in the future, all feelings were healed.

There may or may not have been a drinking game that surely separated the thinkers from those less able.

We don’t usually make a habit of staying up super late these days, so we were quite proud of ourselves for not getting to bed until after 3 am.

We are definitely looking forward to doing it again next month.


How To Throw A Party For Your Friend

Three of my bridesmaids have birthdays in May/June. And my best man graduated from medical school in May. So there has been lots of reason to celebrate recently.

First up was one of my friend’s birthdays. We decided to all put in some cash and take her on a mini shopping spree. We went to a couple department stores, Torrid, Bath and Body Works, and had ourselves a great time. My friend has such a cute shape and we all like shopping, so our day was productive.

I do have some pictures from one of my friend’s need to fix things. A mannequin in Sears had her dress on backwards.

I bet some other random person has pictures on their camera from their friend taking dress off and putting it on the mannequin backwards.

After the shopping trip, the husband and I drove to St. Louis early the next morning for the graduation. They have this huge quadrangle that house every single graduate. It was a great graduation and so warm. There was this kid the husband and I were plotting the demise of in attendance.

That kid wouldn’t sit still. He was just a nuisance. After much ire and anger directed his way, we redirected our energy toward his mother who was letting her big ass kid run wild. But after the graduation, we all met up and took pictures.

That’s my friend with me, the husband, and my parents.

The next evening, we threw a graduation party for my friend at this amazing club/bar/restaurant/concert venue, Lola. I love Lola., it’s my favorite hang spot in St. Louis. We had an amazing menu for food and several bottles of Cava (it’s the Spanish version of Champagne) to enjoy. There are no pictures because the party got kind of… un-photograph-able.

But the highlights include: 1) Some random guy buying my friend several drinks in case he ever ends up being his doctor, he’ll have goodwill and take good care of him. 2) These random ass girls coming over to dance with us. One was dancing so hard, her breast kept falling out of her shirt. 3) A really amazing band, Vintage Trouble, was performing. The husband actually joined them for a song because he brings his horn everywhere and they sounded fantastic.

The last thing from May is another friend’s birthday. She’s had a rough time recently, so I wanted to make her birthday special. I had her leave school early on the Friday after her birthday. We went downtown to my favorite spa, Spa Space. We each had a two hour treatment that included: mini facial, mini massage, mini pedicure, and a manicure. Another friend met us there to have a pedicure.

Then we met the rest of our friends at this sushi restaurant. We happened across this restaurant last year on her birthday, so I was excited to take her there for her birthday this year. It was even better because we still have one friend who had never tried sushi.

After sushi, we hit a couple bars on Division St. in Chicago. The same bartender was in one bar from my bachelorette party. We remembered him, but I don’t think he remembered us. Then after hitting a couple spots, we got hungry again. So we went to Hooters. Had some wings and hung a bit more. It’s been a while since celebrated someone’s b-day for 10 hrs straight. Good times.

We’re still figuring out what to do for the last friend’s bday which is later this month.

How do you celebrate special events?


Double Dating

I used to be against double dating. But now that I’m with the husband, we’re part of this couple that really just thrives in the presence of other couples. So we do a bunch of double dating.

There are a number of our friends who are in relationships that we’ve never been on a double date with, but that has more to do with timing and lack of opportunity than anything else.

But the couples we have been able to spend time with are all unique. There’s the couple who’s wedding we met at. They’re so much fun, but they take extra planning. In an effort to avoid… issues… with tipping at the end of the night, we pick a place where we can gauge what the total cost of the meal will be. Then we tell them about 10% over what their share would be is what they should bring to pay for dinner.

Then we invite them over before dinner for drinks at the house and just happen to have appetizers. Then we go to dinner, they don’t eat or drink as much, and their portion of the bill ends up being less than what they expected. We don’t even let them see the bill, and they don’t ask because they’re forking over less than they thought they would. Voilà, bill paid with at least a 15% tip. If they knew we had tricked them to into being reasonable tippers, they might be upset. But it’s worth the trickery because we love spending time with them.

There’s this other couple who we know because they guy and I are great friends. There’s no big connection between us two couples, but it pretty much seems the only way we’ll hang out is with our significant others. Unfortunately, we have terrible timing. Everytime we go out with them, the husband and I are in a fight. Every time. Makes for less-than-stellar hangs.

But we do add alcohol to the mix. With us, that helps because the husband and I are both happy drunks. So brunch with unlimited mimosas is our sweet spot with this couple.

There’s this other couple with whom we have the most in common. The husband and the guy in that couple are both musicians. Everybody but me teaches. We’re all interested in art. And we definitely have the same adventurous spirit when it comes to food. I just think we might be too wild or loud or something for them. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I think maybe our laughter is too loud…?

We had what was an amazing first (double) date with them, and then we haven’t been able to find time to hang out since. I feel like a chick after a first date wondering why we haven’t been able to hook up since. It’s slightly amusing that dating other couples just feels like dating. But it really does feel that way sometimes.

The husband and I have too many friends to be like a sitcom couple that hangs with the same five people all day every day, but if we did, it’d be so hard to pick our couples. I guess we’re on the search for our perfect couple soul mates.

They’d love trying new restaurants. They’d love live music so we could go to the husband’s gigs. They’d love shopping, yoga, and just hanging at the house playing spades, monopoly, or watching me cook. They’d like road trips and travelling in general. They’d be good looking and likely to have pretty kids so I don’t accidentally end up with odd-looking grandchildren (yeah, I just went there). They’d be smart and witty and full of personality. And they’d have a stable relationship with each other that wasn’t always devolving into some major drama.

Will we ever find the perfect couple? And if we did, would it mean we’d have to stop spending time with all the others? Frankly, I’m just happy I still get to date as a married woman.


Getting Out Of The Shower Unscathed

Last Saturday was my bridal shower. One of 438 pre-wedding parties organized for my wedding. The fiancé and I were painfully late to our engagement party, so I wanted to be on time. In an effort to make that happen, we got a hotel room nearby my job since I had to work Friday night.

The plan was for the fiancé to pick me up from work at 7:30 am, drive right back to the hotel up the street, and get right into bed to get a couple hours of sleep before getting up at 10:30 to get ready to head to the shower I was supposed to be at by 11:30. Yeah, that didn’t happen.

We didn’t go right to sleep. The mornings is one of the only times we really get to spend together consistently. He’s a narcolept at night and I’m only awake in the morning when I haven’t been to sleep yet, so it’s the perfect storm for us to chat etc. I ended up with about 1 hr and 40 min of sleep. And then we were dragging ass when we finally got up to shower.

Long story short, I got to the shower right around 12:30 pm. For shame. And just like my engagement party, I walked into a room full of people staring expectantly at me. I’m going to have to start being on time for things or I will develop a complex and not be able to get down the aisle on my wedding day. I don’t mind being the center of attention, but not when the expectations are that palpable. It’s unnerving.

The shower’s theme was cute and creative. The guests (there were around 50) were split into 7 groups representing different times. The invitations, decorations, and gifts were all supposed to coordinate with the theme. I’ve got a ton of pictures, but I won’t bore you with them. The times were: Breakfast Time, Lunch Time, Dinner Time, Cocktail Time, Bath Time, Exercise Time, Bedtime.

The idea was for the women to get creative with the gifts so I would get a variety that would cover all the times. I do love to cook and eat, so the three meal times made sense. I’m getting married so bath time and bedtime are obvious. And no week is complete without a nice cocktail hour. But the gifts were… less than creative.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved almost all my gifts. They just didn’t fit their themes.

Apparently, I should be wearing lingerie as I cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also while in the bath. And at bedtime and during exercise, I should have the least comfortable lingerie of them all. Maybe I’d have been married sooner had I known that!

With the exception of my mother, it seems the closer the family members got in terms of the family tree, the raunchier and more blush-inducing the gifts were. Here are some of my favorites:

1) The lace-waistband pearl G-string. It was a gift from one of my church members, I won’t say which one. As soon as I pulled it out of the bag, I knew what it was and fondly recalled a hilarious episode of Sex and the City. I learned a lot about the guests at the shower based on who knew what it was the way I was holding it and who needed me to completely open it up to figure out what it was.

2) The edible everything. Bra, g-string, c*@k ring, and various anatomy-shaped suckers. It was a gift from my aunt and cousin. I didn’t even know they made edible– you know what, never mind. I wouldn’t even show everything in that bag to the whole room. I just showed the edible bra and g-string, and called it “edible bra & panties”. Somehow, that felt better.

3) A leopard print bag that housed a garter belt, garters, stockings, and a very skimpy, very sexy, very lacy set of lingerie. It was a gift from the fiancé’s sisters. I almost don’t want him to know what they bought cause I figured it might freak him out.

4) My mom’s gift was the best. She got me a gift for each time of the theme, and no lingerie. I’ve got enough to last for years, so I didn’t need anymore. But she got me a gag gift. She wrote a poem that covered each time. When it got to cocktail hour, the poem implied she’d bought me a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes (“a pair of red bottoms”), but it was just a Christmas ornament. It was a great gag gift and got a laugh from everyone there.

This shower had good food, good drinks, laughter, dancing, awesome gifts for me (and for everyone else too between game prizes, time gifts, and door prizes), and merriment galore.

There are still a bajillion more pre-wedding events to go, but at least that’s one more that’s behind us.


Partying On A Friday Night

Last Friday night was pretty awesome. Now that I’m closer to 30 than 20, nights out getting drunk with my friends for the hell of it are pretty few and far in between. We definitely got really drunk last Friday, but it was for a purpose.

I’m engaged to be married and our drink package at our venue includes a signature drink. The fiancé and I thought it would be a great idea to come up with our own signature drink rather than choose from one of their options. We included our wedding party and a lot of our friends who will be guests at the wedding.

Before the signature drink party, we had dinner because it was one of my friend’s/bridesmaid’s birthday. We took her to dinner and the signature drink party was sort of an after party for that.

I went to the liquor store Friday afternoon and basically bought one of everything. We laid it all out on the kitchen table. It was a lot; I wanted to make sure we could make a ton of different drink combinations to find the perfect one.

Lots o' alcohol.

We had a blender, a bag of ice, and a measuring cup. We took turns making sample drinks. To make sure no one got alcohol poisoning, we sampled each drink from a shot glass, so no one had more than half an ounce of any one concoction.

Some of the drinks were really tasty. We ended up with three strong contenders. We’ll make them again with probably just the fiancé and our parents, pick one, and then name it something clever. Some of the drinks however weren’t so good. I was surprised that the fiancé made such terrible drinks. He usually has a very good taste for things.

Everything he suggests I add to food when I’m cooking turns out so well, but that talent didn’t exist with drinks. Good to know for future reference. If I ever see him going toward a bar with intentions to bartend, I will run and tackle him like we’re on some funny commercial or sitcom.

Not bad for a Friday night, I’m sure at least one person woke up wondering if they had a hickey or a bruise, so that will have to do.