Monday, January 26, 2009

Expecting!

Well another one of Chris' friends is expecting! The Nosik's are pg!
Very exciting!!!
We don't see this wonderful couple too often, they go up north to their other house and spend a lot of time there on the weekends and everybody's just busy. But hopefully when it gets warmer out we will all get together! Chris has been friends with Mike and Kelly since ISU days!

Congrats again! I can't wait to hear all the details and if you're finding out if a boy or girl :-)

Amy & Andy's Engagement Party!

Andy & Amy with us at their engagement party
Big day is July 17, 2009!
Saturday was Amy & Andy's engagement party at Zella! It was an all you can drink package deal which I have not been to one of those sportin' my wristband in quite some time! But was fun to get out to a bar again which we have not done in awhile because of this weather. I HATE going out in the cold and being cold period. So I try to avoid it at all costs!

At least we are older and wiser in our age now and don't wear "going out" shirts and no jackets in the dead of winter like we used to back in the day, dumb, dumb, dumb. God forbid if you went out for a night of fun and didn't have your arms and shoulders exposed?!?! And don't bring a jacket because 1. you don't want to have to carry it around everywhere in the bar and 2. you don't want to put it down because odds are someone will steal it or take it thinking it's theirs.

Kimi, Jill & I at Zella
In addition to getting older and wiser Chris and I are in total agreement that a night out drinking is just not what it used to be but I'm so happy about it! We were not even out that late and didn't drink hardly at all but Sunday we were both hurting, I don't get it? At least we're on the same page.

I do have to point out that once again we hit up Arturo's on the way home for a low-fat chicken burrito at our Arturo's. One major pro to offset the Sunday afternoon hungover blues....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Restaurant Connoisseur

Last weekend was a big "eat out" weekend for us. I love eating out but hate it at the same time because 1. you always eat way too much and leave miserable (or I always do) and 2. it's expensive. But as in an earlier post we had gone to this lil mexican (but nice mexican) place on Foster called Dorado. This place is sooooo friggin' good! So we went again the following wkend on Saturday! The best is the duck nachos, pic below. These nachos are sooooo good!!!!! And then I had the chicken enchilada's - again, sooooo good!!! The mole sauce is what makes it as well as the moist chicken. Everybody knows how I feel about moist chicken, can't beat it. Dry gross chicken is like nails on a chalkboard for me.
On Friday AND Sunday we ate at what is slowly becoming our weekly favorite sushi place, Butterfly. This place is ridic and so hard to get a reservation at, and there's even TWO locations and you still can't get a resv unless you call like days or a week in advance. Apparently it's everybody else's fav place as well. Therefore often we do carry out from here. Below is a pic of one of our two in-house sushi nights. Chris' parents gave us a whole sushi set for Christmas so we love breaking out the whole spread to be very sushi "official."
I hate to even say it, but this current weekend we just ordered (again) from Butterfly on Friday night. Pretty soon we will need to go to sushi overeaters anonymous or we should at least get a frequent diner discount!
But I do have to point out it's safe to say I do need to take a sushi break before I get sick of it forever. ps: did anybody read about Jeremy Piven's once a day sushi meal habit for the past 20 yrs and that's why he has mercury poisoning or mercury overdose or whatever?? That's whack!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Another 32nd Birthday + Game Night!

Saturday was Ryan's birthday and his wife, Jill coordinated a group dinner + game night! My favorite combo! Ryan turned 32 this past weekend, 32 is quite the popular age this week :-)

We ate at my new favorite restaurant called Dorado. This place is to DIE for, and I barely even ate because of course like usual I ruined my dinner by having a late lunch. No surprise there so I only had a salad and some appetizers that were passed and a bite of Cortney's enchilada and I was sold that that is what I'm ordering next time I go there. Side note: Chris and I liked this place so much we're tossing around the idea of going next weekend!

The guac and duck nachos are dee-lish to order for appetizers! And to top all of this greatness off it's BYOB to boot! With eight couples at dinner we had quite a long table, ate great food, sang happy birthday and were on our way to the Petersen's for some games. They actually lived about a block away so we just walked there.
A few rounds of Scene It and we were bored with that game (and I think Jill has played it one too many times because she oddly knew quite a few of the answers) so on to good ol' standby Catchphrase.

Chris in a tense round of Catchphrase. The highlight of the night was him acting out as a seal when the word was dolphin. Flapping his arms and making the sound effects folks...quite a scene.
With such a large group this is really the only game to play, we played guys against girls....I think the guys won but don't quote me on that one. I love that game.

Another highlight of the night Cricket making his "faces" and
entertaining us with his other antics throughout the night :-)
We are going to try and have a tradition of doing game night once a month if we can it's such a nice alternative to doing the bar thing which is so old now especially in this weather.

Happy Birthday Ryan!

Great Sunday Combo: Sushi + Golf

Having a bit of reverse order, I'll be reporting on Sunday's activity before Saturdays. Oopsy.

Sunday Chris and I were bored and slightly recovering from our late night on Saturday celebrating Ryan's birthday. But we managed to muster up enough energy and trek out of the house instead of laying around being lazy blobs on Sunday afternoon. First we went ALLLLLL the way out to Bloomingdale, from the city, yep you heard right. For some reason it felt really far, I think because it's so depressing out and we were tired and absolutely starving. But there is the BEST lil sushi restaurant in a strip mall in Bloomingdale, yes in a strip mall yet again you heard right. When I first ate there with my dad I too had my snob hat on thinking omg i'm going to eat sushi in a strip mall this can't be good. But I'm here to tell you this place has the best sushi known to man! They have this one roll called the "olympic" and it is to die for!!!! My dad and I go here ALL the time and always order an olympic. They came out with this roll for the 2008 Olympics and actually placed the rolls in the shape of the Olympic rings and wrote "2008" on the plate with some sushi sauce.

When we arrived Chris had the same reaction I did about the "strip mall" curb appeal but once we left he was hooked. He wasn't dying over it as much as I do but really who does die over anything as much as I do.

Then we were off to another burb, Bensenville to White Pines golf club to make use of their indoor driving range dome. I have been to a driving range dome a few times in my day but this was Chris' first experience. He loves to golf and we both really enjoyed hitting a few balls and then it was time to leave and head back to Chicago.

Chris is thoroughly impressed with my golf form and that I can actually hit the ball! :-) This driver is a bit long for me as you can see but I could still whack it pretty good!



Here's a lil video of the golfer in action! Enjoy!
video

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Two Engagements!

Well not one, but TWO of Chris' friends got engaged in the time between Christmas and New Years! Very exciting!
One couple, Kimi & Mikey have been dating for what could be considered forever!!! They both met and have dated since college at ISU. I have heard they have been dating for EIGHT years but I have also heard they have been dating for TEN years?! Not sure which is true but either way both are a long time! That girl deserved her diamond :-)

What a wonderful surprise that when they came over to our place on New Years Eve she was sporting her newest addition to her left hand!!!! We all about died and I don't think I have ever been so excited for someone to get engaged as her as I know it was a long time in coming and she has been wishing for the day more than anyone! Finally came!

Here she is on NYE sporting her new bling holding a plate of White Castle
what a great combo....LOL


Congrats! Can't wait for your big day!




The other couple who took the plunge was Chubbz and Elizabeth! (aka Sean, they call him Club Chubbz because in his "hay day" he really liked the clubs and although he's not chubby, boy can that guy eat!). I have not received all of the details but I believe they got engaged on Christmas Eve.

Although they have not been dating as long as Kimi and Mikey I think they have been together for about over a year and are expecting a baby boy in 2009! Congrats!

This is terrible but I don't have any pics of Chubbz and Elizabeth!! The only one I could find was this one of him below and she is in the background bending down with the dark hair. I need to get some pics of you guys together!

Sigma Kappa 4-EVER JUUUST kidding!!!!!!!

So Saturday, was the annual Sig Kap Christmas party! We started this back in December 2001 in Liz and Bree's apartment in Chicago and have done it every year since! We have lost a few attendees but gained a few attendees along the way. Some cannot attend due to distance keeping us apart but try to from year to year (those who live far now are Jessica, Meah, Barr, Nadia and Nina). I wish I had a pic from the very first year to post, I know there's one floating around out there somewhere.....

But all of us know eachother and met initially from Sigma Kappa days whether it was in 1997 or through 1999! And lucky enough today we are able to see eachother on a pretty regular basis!

In the years past Liz has hosted, Tamie has hosted and this year it was held at Heather's parents house in Park Ridge which was a great location in between the city and the burbs.

Everybody brings a lil bit of something whether an appetizer, dessert or a drink to pass as well as their gift. We usually always put a dollar amount cap on the gift. Years past we have done DVD's as gifts, "something every girl needs" gift, gift cards gift, etc, etc. This year it was $25 limit and had to be from Target (with a gift receipt :-). I knew what Heather's gift was and was determined to get it....you see with this party we draw names for who gets to pick and open a gift first and then as you go along you have the option to "steal" someone else's gift before you open yours. For example I'll never forget when Ann stole my Mario Tricocci gift card, I am still a bit upset about it, j/k.

Heather's gift was the final season of Sex & the City and two super cute holiday mugs that were beige/gold/creme - my favorite xmas color combo! I was second to open a gift, Heather warned me what hers looked like so I of course was happy when I opened my gift BUT I leave the room for TWO SECONDS to refill my drink to come back and see it's Nina's turn to open a present and she has chosen to STEAL my gift!?!?! I was a lil tipsy from the Riesling and maybe got a bit carried away as if she had stolen my first born child but I grabbed her arm and slightly freaked on her a second (all in good fun as I was about 90% kidding) and Tamie stepped in and "saved" Nina from me. While this was all going on Ann was snapping away on the couch across from us at such a great photo op, thank god this incident was documented :-) But I have all the other seasons of Sex & the City so this was going to top off my collection perfectly, I couldn't let that gift pass me by! Sorry Nina :-)
There were 11 of us in attendance this year and Meah who lives near St Louis even came up! Which was great because we have not seen her in forever....that is her above laughing hysterically at the "incident." Even during our time shoveling food and drink in our faces while chatting away earlier at the kitchen table we went around the table and ann wrote down each of our new years resolutions.....a few were have a baby, fit in my clothes again, get healthier just to name a few. Hope somebody has that paper so we can pull it out next year to compare!

32!

So the first part of every year Chris gets to celebrate his BIRTHDAY on January 3rd! This year he turned 32! I am SOOOOOO freaked about my 30th in April, I cannot imagine being 32 - gawd somebody just kill me :-) Sorry Chris, not trying to rub it in, just being honest, haha.
Now for some unknown reason I was thinking all along that Chris' birthday was during the week when in fact it was on a Saturday. And the dumb-dumb I am without thinking our annual Sig Kap Christmas party/grab bag exchange we have every year was scheduled on the same day as his bday!? I had a chance to speak up and say I wasn't available that day when the emails exchanged about the xmas party date and they wanted to do Jan 3rd, I said "yep, I'm free that night!" without even thinking because like I said above I was under the impression his bday was during the week.

So I sent an email to his friends that birthday boy was available and ready to hang out (hoping they would since I would have to skip out on him to go to the xmas party, can't miss the girls party! I know, terrible....) We went to an early dinner and had some drinks at Devon Seafood Grill that was SOOOO good!!! We highly recommend this restaurant. It's new so it's nice, clean and modern!
Then I dropped him off at home the guys were drinking and playing poker there and I was off to Park Ridge to my party. I felt VERY guilty about leaving him on his bday but he assured me it was ok, even though the week before he was on the train and thought how terrible it was that I was leaving him high and dry but he got over that so he says. Very bad of me since last year on my birthday we were in Cabo and this year we'll be in Napa/Sonoma!!!!! I'll make it up to him next year :-)

But he did get a lot of great presents from me if I don't say so myself and a wonderful dinner and a full night (til 3.30am) of hanging with his friends and a low fat Arturo's burrito as a night cap.

The guys were out SUPER late but from what I heard it was like ol' times which I don't think they have done in awhile. It was def a throwback night to 2001-2004 when they all used to live together in the crackhouse and the beach house. Rest assured he informed me that they've all still "got it." Movin' a bit slower the next day than years previous but they can still do it, poor livers.
Here's a pic below of Chris' birthday circa 2004, six of the guys in the picture below were out with him this past Saturday - Friends to the End!
Funny part is below all of them have NO cares in the world.....fast forward to 2009: 3 are married, 4 are engaged, 2 live with their girlfriends and 2 have babies on the way! My my how things have changed :-)

Buddy Barr & Nadia in Town!

Sometime in late November Barr (aka Lindsey Barr, we have just called her "Barr" for years) sent us an email that she would be in town for the holidays and able to hang out for one night, December 26th and wanted to get together. On top of that Nadia would be in town as well! We didn't want to go to a loud bar or even a dinner but to hang out at somebody's house and drink and chit-chat. Tiffany's home was the place to go!
Barr currently lives in Austin, Texas she is a former "Damen Girl" and lived with us previously here in Chicago until her company, Aldo shoes transferred her to the great state of Texas. Nadia ALSO a former Damen Girl (geez that apt was BIZ-zy!) who lived with us in Chicago moved to Los Angeles to pursue her acting dream! Both are college/sorority friends from SIU.

We all met at Tiffanys....well those that could attend, the rest of the girls were invited but with kids, holidays, bad weather that night it was hard for everybody to get there.

Great chats, couple rounds of catchphrase, going through old college photo albums and scrapbooks, re-telling some old stories that we have re-told 100 times over before you know it - it was 2:30am!?! We got there at 7:30/8pm! Time flies!

As you can see from the pic below we stayed on the homefront as I am in my standby Lulu's and zero makeup!
Barr, Tiffany, Me, Heather, Nadia & Ann

A Christmas Surprise!

So my wonderful over the top boyfriend had told me to clear my schedule for Saturday, December 20th because he had put together a surprise evening for me! Leading up to this day I guessed constantly what we would be doing because those who know me know I love guessing what something is. I guessed everything under the sun secretly hoping we were going to the Celine Dion concert because I knew she was in town around that time but didn't know exactly when, lucky for him that was not the surprise because he would for sure have jumped out the window.

On the 20th I went to my kickboxing class, came home and was told to pack my bag because we were staying downtown at the Intercontinental Hotel on Michigan Avenue, having lunch at Bandero (which is the best place ever!) then going to a nice dinner and to the play "A Christmas Carol" at the Goodman Theater! Funny enough a few weeks prior we had been behind a CTA bus in traffic and there was a Christmas Carol ad for the play on the back of the bus and I turned to him and said "OH! Are we going to that play?" at the time he told me no and to please for the love of god stop guessing.
The whole day was wonderful!!!! The dinner was awesome and oddly enough I ran into an EBC friend and her boyfriend at dinner and they were going to the same play and sat across the aisle from us! The play was SOOOOOO good! Afterward we had a few drinks and then were back to the hotel. VERY nice hotel and decked out in all Christmas in the lobby! A pic below of us in front of the Christmas tree in the lobby before we left to go to dinner.

Monthly Girls Dinner

So I was in college a tad longer than the average but looking back I'm soooooo glad I was because I became friends with the "younger" girls and really had a great time! What's the rush to get out? In the sorority there was always the "older girls" and the "younger girls."
Well I have stayed in touch with a good handful of the "younger" ones since I got to know them when I was just about leaving college. Today we go out to dinner about once a month since they all live in Chicago. It's usually Jennie, Dallas, Nicole, Sara, Emily and myself. But recently Ann (who stayed at SIU a semester extra and is an "older girl" so she knows all these youngin' as well) has joined the group and Meredith and McMillin as well as Carisa have joined us for food and drinks!
In December we met up at Cafe BabaReeba for a Christmas dinner! Dallas is the only one married in the group with kids and she brought her youngest, Addie front and center in the picture. She is super cute and really meshed in with the group for girls dinner. On the drive home Addie told her mom that she has nice friends who all wear very pretty makeup! So cute!
Here is a pic of our dinner a couple months back at Rise on Southport + Jen Barry was in town for that one!

Annual ISU Christmas Party at 50/50


So I feel that I have been to my fair share of "SIU" parties or gatherings over the years post-college. But since I met Chris I have been to some "ISU" (the other Harvard of the Midwest, LOL) parties as well. I think pretty much everyone they hang out with provided a few exceptions are from ISU, so I feel like an outsider sometimes but that's okay, ha! :-)

I love the SIU people I see on occasion here and there and the "gossip" and what everybody's up to! With Chris' "group" they have a Christmas party every year, I think this year was the fourth year and this is their occasion to check up on what everybody's up to since some come out of the woodwork at this hoopla. His lifelong roommate, Sam and his friend, Cricket started the Christmas party tradition and it's really a great party! This was my second one attended and again tons of people and a success!

This year it was at 50/Fifty on Division, and wouldn't you know it the owner is from ISU and friends with those guys. Before the party a bunch of us had dinner down the street at Boundary and then headed up to 50/Fifty. There were even a handful of the Rockford crew that came in for the party which was nice to see them!

Chris and I have NO pictures from the party together so all I had to add was a picture of Rebecca and I and a pic of Michelle Iasparro (Rockford friends' wife) and Chris.

And just like last year we hit up Arturo's on our way home for our infamous "low fat" burrito. If you're wondering what makes it low fat we hold the sour cream and cheese, makes us feel better about eating a whole burrito at 3am, hahahaha!

Grandma Osa and Aunt Diane California Visit!

The next day after shopping and visiting with Chris' mom it was Sunday and I was en route to California with my Dad to visit my Grandma and Aunt Diane. This was sort of a random trip but just a visit since it is the holidays and my Grandma's birthday is on December 23rd. She turned 87! Crazy huh? But she's still really "with it" and pretty "hip!" She is of Danish decent, actually came on a boat from Denmark when she was very young so maybe it's the Scandinavian genes that keep her so youthful. Hope I have some of those genes! Oddly enough my other grandma is turning 87 in January so I should be good making it well enough through my 80's :-)

Joey and my Mom came about two days later, Justin wasn't able to make it since he is in Vail, CO working but was a nice trip to enjoy the warm weather, eat a lot and visit!

My Grandma until recently has been crazy on making jewelry, but she's taking a "break" from it right now. You would NEVER believe how many beads this woman has, and oddly my aunt has a TON as well and she doesn't bead but she just thinks they're pretty, LOL. So I was able to ransack her jewelry collection a bit, I usually do this when I visit, but it's so fun like going in a store and shopping for free! Thanks for all my jewelry Grandma!

Not Santa....But Mama Smulsk is "Coming to Town!"

Long time, no see! I'm back and ready to blog again. I don't know what happened to me, I guess I fell off the blog wagon. I really like to just write a bunch of posts at one time instead of one everyday or so. I really need to get back on it regularly otherwise I forgot what happened!

Anyway December was a busy month and after I put up the Christmas tree (below) the month was in full swing starting out the first weekend of December when Chris' mom came to Chicago from Rockford for the day and night. She usually comes in to town in December sometime to go to dinner and shop a bit.

She got in Saturday morning and we headed downtown to have lunch at Cheesecake Factory on Michigan Avenue which could have been our biggest mistake! The rest of the free world had the same idea and the various lines they had going on in that place was RIDIC! You have never seen anything like it, that place is SO big the chaos was in full force. But after about an hour and 15 minutes or so we were seated, I really can't believe we waited that long! But well worth it as I die over the tex mex appetizer and cobb salad there (this is a Nina "meal specialty" and long standing tradition that Nina, Ann and I split somewhat often). After our late lunch we were off to Bloomingdales. Chris' mom bought him a few things, she really likes to go crazy shopping for him but he never wants anything so she really likes showing him everything in the store asking him if he wants it - it's quite entertaining actually :-) They hit the jackpot when she was able to buy him his favorite Kiehl's face lotion. This guy is a lotion fanatic! Side story: he has more lotion products that he puts on his body and face than anybody I have ever seen!? I guess it's better than nothing at all so he stays "youthful," or that's what he tells me. But between his body wash, loofah-ing, face lotions, body lotions, eye creams and his beloved Kiehls'....OH! And don't even get me started on when Nivea discontinued his favorite face lotion, I thought he may jump out the window. I'm getting off the subject, I may do a future post on his lotion obsession, I know Chris is super excited for it, haha!

After lunch and shopping it was actually time to eat AGAIN!? I was really nervous about it because I was still full from Cheesecake Fact. We had reservations at Terragusto in Roscoe Village which I do love this restaurant but I could barely eat because when I sat down I thought I was going to explode I was still so full!

All in all it was a lovely day and evening to hang out with Chris' mom and she was on her way back to Rockford the next day and I was on my way to California to visit my Grandma and Aunt Diane!