Saturday, April 27, 2013

Greens Emerging

Oscar and I had a nice long walk a week and a half ago. The sun was out and it was over 45 degrees, so it was considered a really nice day. Oscar stayed awake for the whole thing, except for about 10 minutes. It seems like such a simple, insignificant thing, but it really amazed me. He was fascinated by the sounds and emerging color. So far his life outside was mostly greys and tans, but with this walk, there were greens and yellows...big difference. (Note: since then, it's

Here's what we saw:

Gorgeous architecture

A not so  Chicago-like fire escape

Greens emerging

Sticker tagging

Buds before blossom


More greens emerging

More gorgeous architecture

 A tiny little blue bit of fence

And a dream house. Mansion I mean.

 I love you Chicago, and I know Oscar will too. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Top 6 Baby Products (At 4 months)


1. JJ Cole Bundle Me - We wouldn't have gotten through the winter without this. We still use it daily since Chicago Spring is generally not so cozy, and Oscar loves it!
2. Babo Botanicals Wash and Lotion - We switched to this wash and lotion after eczema was suspected in Oscar. It's gentle  and we love the scent!
3.Skip Hop Wipes Case- Keeps wipes handy and moist! 
4.Baby Einstein Car Mirror- Oscar is unique, in that half of the time....he hates the car. We think he gets lonely if he's in the back seat by himself (especially at night), so we got this mirror which lights up, plays music and lets him stare at his handsome self!
5.I Love You Stinky Face- I love this Mama and Son book. So sweet! 
6.Uppa Baby Cruz Stroller- We're crazy about this stroller! It's light, rides well, and fit perfectly in any trunk I've put it in. It has a huge storage basket (huge plus!) and adapts with our Maxi Cosi car seat fairly easily.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Note To My Baby Boy: You're 4 Months Old!


Four months, are you kidding me? Geeze. To make yourself even more grown-up-er, guess what you did for the first time today?


Thanks for planning it out like that, daddy and I really appreciated being there and being able to photo document since we're usually much too slow at getting our phones out. I'm so proud of you my big boy. I could just eat you. 

So these photos are a little different than the past. You're harder to keep still, so many are blurry (especially the rolling over ones). But I like that. It's showing who you are and what you're doing at this stage, so blur it up!

Here they are!

"Oh hey mom, you're taking my picture? Cool, I'm just hanging out, not going to accomplish any milestones or anything..."

Beginning of side wobbles





 Did it!

(He actually did all but the last second really slow. He got onto his side, hung out there for a minute smiling, then rolled over! It was great. Since he did it slow and steady he didn't freak himself out. I think the look on his face in the last one is from Joey and I squealing and shrieking good job!)

So in other news....You're still adorable.

-You are hardcore teething, and it stinks. You've turned into a fine young cannibal, (heh) and gnaw on our hands most of the day. You're just starting to figure out teething toys, but really you prefer our fingers.
-You're starting to figure out crocodile tears, you little punk ;)

-You poor kid. You have about 3,000 names. Not sure how you'll figure out how to respond to Oscar... On that note, your most recent is Sugar/ Shoog. Who knows...
-You're beginning to have a more contentious relationship with hiccups.

-You're getting long. In onsies your still pretty much in 0-3 or 3 months, but sleepers you've jumped to 3-6 or 6 months. String bean.
-You're super squealy lately. You're experimenting with your voice.

-You've got this adorable little swirl of hair on the very top of your head. Don't give me that look, its true and its cute.

-You're grabbing at things more, well trying to at least. Accuracy while reaching is not your strongest suit, but we're getting there. 
-You are an incredibly loud sleeper. As I'm writing this, I hear you blasting out of the monitor.
-You've now tried banana, avocado and guacamole. Still not quite ready for eating solids, but you're definitely curious and interested in little tastes.
-You're still a little Stingey with giggles, but generally I get a few a day :)

I love you more than words could say,


Monday, April 15, 2013

Food and the City: Blue Star Bistro

 Blue Star Bistro 

1209 N Noble St  
Chicago, IL 60642

Holy Elk Sausage, this place is good.

Let me start off by saying, this was not your run on the mill dinner. We ate.... listening to live opera....opera! Now I'll admit, when I called to make a reservation and the waiter told me they might be booked because it was "opera night",  I got nervous. Real nervous.

But, we were pleasantly surprised at the performance! They mixed classics with show-tunes (which made it less intimidating) and won us over  with their impressive control and sheer volume. Plus they had a fun sing-a-long at the end. The fact that we enjoyed 'Opera Night' says a lot about this group. Though we like a few musicals and respect opera, they're generally not our first picks. So hats off to Opera Inter Alia!

Now onto the food, as you'll see we went a little crazy:

The Group Shared: The Cheese Plate, the Sausage Platter, and Bacon Wrapped Dates. These were all incredible. Not only do they give you a decent amount of each, they add an artistic edge to the plates. The layout was thoughtful and beautiful. The sausage plate had  great assortment including brats, elk sausage and chorizo. I have never had elk sausage, but fell madly in love. Personally, I could have passed on the chorizo but others at the table enjoyed it.

Nyssa had: Small Plates: Tomato Basil Soup, Shrimp with garlic and peppers, house made Gluten-Free Flat-bread and a few bites of their Blue Corn Grits with Blackened Shrimp. The soup was bright and fresh, the garlic shrimp was cooked perfectly, their flat-bread was made really well and though I loved the blackened shrimp, I wasn't as crazy about the grits. They were alright, but a little intense for me. There's a sharpness to the end of the taste that I couldn't fully get past. For desert I had my most favorite thing ever: Cappuccino Pots de Creme. Seriously, this dessert is life changing. After eating this, you will never be the same, and will most likely spiral out of control craving it. And I'm still not doing it justice. 

Joey had: A Black Angus Burger on a Challah Bun with Bleu Cheese. He thought it was great, but it wasn't vastly different than other burgers he's had. 

Oscar had: Crazy dreams while he slept through the opera.(I'm assuming). He was awake for a little while though, and had fun dancing to the upbeat songs. I think the performers and patrons were a little nervous seeing a babe walk in, but he rocked dinner and got lots of smiles. 

Papa had (my dad): Skirt Steak with Garlic-Parmesan Bruschetta. He was a happy guy.

GeeGee had (my mama): Small Plates: Blue Corn Grits, Kobe Beef Sliders and Mac 'n Cheese. She savored every bite. The sliders came with Truffle Oil Potato Chips that were out of this world. Severely addictive. The only thing, was that the shrimp in the grits were slightly undercooked, but at that point she could hardly care because she loved the rest of her food so much.

Pro's: It's slightly hidden which allows for good street parking, decent price for the quality of the food, interesting dinner performance, and exceptional service. They also have an open kitchen which I love to see. Nothin to hide.

The night we went, they had a huge party that arrived late, plus this opera event so they were slammed, and our poor waiter was obviously stressed. We barely noticed the wait for our appetizers, when he came up an let us know our bottle of wine was on the house. He also made one mistake, (which I wasn't even that bummed about) and greatly made up for it by a few "extra unneeded dishes" wandering onto our table.

Con's:  Their site doesn't have great information. It didn't show that had anything special happening the night we went, it wasn't until I called that I found out about the Opera. Also, you can't find the desert menu, which is arguably the most important section.

If you cant tell,  I love this place. This is our third time here and it's gotten better and better. Definitely check it out!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Food and the City: Mariscos El Veneno de Nayarit

Mariscos El Veneno de Nayarit

1024 N. Ashland Ave 
Chicago, IL 60622

 If you love seafood and spicy food, go here. Quickly.

Nyssa Had: Camarones al ajillo. Spicy and garlicky, my two favorite things!

Joey Had: Caldo de Pulpo. Octopus Soup. He claimed it to be "hearty and tender". 

Oscar Had: An OK time looking at the turquoise walls and hearing patrons speaking Spanish and Russian. He was sleepy and cranky after a while though, so he checked out and requested motion. 

Pro's: Fresh Seafood (they must have an awesome dealer, we're a little jealous), Spicy spicy food (they make things authentic and don't worry about offending anyone), Generous portions. 

Con's: This place gets really crowded during the evenings on the weekends. If you want to go on a Friday or Saturday, go early. 

Tip: Speaking a little Spanish is helpful when going here. A few of the waitresses don't speak very much English. But no worries, either way you'll get your food!

Food and the City: Honky Tonk BBQ

Honky Tonk BBQ

1800 S. Racine
Chicago, IL 60608 
(Click photo for their site)
Pretty darn great.

Nyssa and Joey had: Simple but great, we ate the hell out of their Baby Back Ribs and a side of Greens. We did get the Candied Bacon, which sounds like heaven ontop of heaven, wasnt as incredible as I thought it would be. It was good...but it lacked something. Maybe we felt a little weird about it since it's served cold. Didn't stop me from eating the whole dish though!

Oscar Had: A great time watching and listening to the live music, also he spoke highly of their flickery candles.
Pro's: Awesome atmosphere (lots of great artwork and a beautiful bar), Great food, Gluten Free Friendly, Live Music.

Con's: Parking sucks in that stretch of Pilsen, Not the biggest portions, but adequate.

Food and The City: La Taberna Tapas

La Taberna Tapas

1301 S Halsted St, 
Chicago, IL 60607 

So this is a "pretty good" place. I definitely wouldn't call it exceptional, but it was alright. We'd go back, but I am a little surprised that this restaurant was "Hungry Hound" approved and "Zagat Rated".

Joey and Nyssa shared: Cheese Plate (really great), Olives (unique and good), Salmon in a Saffron sauce (good), Patatas Bravas (OK, I liked the aioli, but we both thought the potatoes were a little weird tasting, and almost soggy). 

The one thing I was really disappointed in (since its such a traditional and simple tapas dish) was the Gambas al Ajillo. They were extremely bland. Eck.

Oscar Had:  Fun listening to the live guitarist. He was great!

Pro's:  Nice place to have drinks and one or two tapas before a show or something, decent prices, and friendly staff.

Con's: Bland shrimp! ( I was really bummed about this...), Joey nailed the description of the place: nice but kind of corporate and though our waiter was very nice, he disappeared for a while a couple of times.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Food and the City: Estrella Negra

Estrella Negra

2346 W Fullerton Ave  
Chicago, IL 60647

We had heard of this place off of "Check Please" years ago when they first opened, loved it but hadn't been back since last week. We then concluded that we were crazy to have been wasting all this time, not eating their food. 

Nyssa Had: Chicken tacos...I know I know, I also got these from Cemitas Puebla, but they're so darn good! I also had the Pozole, which has become one of my favorite soups in the city. It's delicious and spicy, perfect for warming you up or fighting a cold. (I can also can speak to their Elotes Tamales and Chorizo, Bean and Cheese Nachos...they're both as awesome as they sound!)

Joey had: Chicken Goat Cheese and Mango Salsa Enchiladas. Insane. This guy knows what he's doing. 

Oscar had: Fun looking at all of the Dia de los Muertos art and bright colors. Then he fell asleep. Typical. (He does kinda like little tastes of their guacamole though!)

Pro's: Fresh, artistic, they're BYOB and there's a liquor store across the street, and owner is always there and often serving. 

Mmmmm, can't wait to go again.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Bathroom Design: Apartment vs. Condo

We love our apartment. We married living here, we had our first baby here, and really made it our home. But, it's time to move on. As much as we'll miss this building and neighborhood, we're extremely excited about buying a condo! Even better, the place is a blank slate in need of a new kitchen. A design fiend's dream!

To make up my mind, I'm going to have to make a few idea boards, so I thought I'd share them here. I'm always open to thoughts so please don't be shy!

Below is a collection of our bathroom as it is now in the apartment. While making this, I realized pretty much everything is from Target...I guess I love Target.

While I adore the black, orange and brown combination, there are green tiles in the bathroom at our new place that we can't take out right away, sooo this isn't going to work.

 Idea #1:

Idea #2:

Any thoughts?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Top Baby Products (0-3 months)

My thoughts... 

When I was pregnant with Oscar, I was obsessed with finding the best products, for the best prices, for my best little baby. Goodness the hours I've logged on

If I wasn't browsing that super-baby-site, I was hunting for ideas on Mama blogs to get an idea of worth-while purchases. I admit, I'd look at some lists and think, "Hell no, there's no way I'm spending $45 on a 4 pack of blankets"...but then I did...because they're amazing. So, I'm going to give my honest opinions here starting with products I love. Products that saved my sanity at times. 

Here we go:

1. Halo Sleep Sack                5.Avent Naturals Glass Bottle
2. MaM Pacifiers                  6. Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water
4. Circo Drool Bibs               8. Skip Hop Diaper Bag

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Food and the City: Cemitas Puebla

First edition:

Cemitas Puebla

3619 W. North Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(click the photo for their site) 

Oh man. To say this place is great, is a vast understatement. 

Nyssa Had: I cant actually eat the Cemitas because of the bread (boo), but my two favorites are their Chicken Tacos (super juicy) and their Chorizo Chalupas (super delicious). So freaking good.

Joey Had: The Cemitas Al Pastor and loved it. Oscar Had: A nap.
Pro's: Family owned, Great Prices, Fresh Food, Friendly StaffCon's: If gluten hates you, you should know there's tons of cross contamination here. I can handle it once in a while, but I wish that wasn't an issue. Oh well, that's sometimes what you get at a small place like this. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013