Monday, June 28, 2010


I wasn't in Chicago last summer so I had never seen the kind of storms that we have been having around here.  I can't decide if they are really worse than summer thunderstorms in Texas or if they just seem worse because we have to run around placing pots and towels in strategic locations.  Thank goodness for the promise of the rainbow; this place is no ark! 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


If you have never seen a bunch of MBA students and litigation consultants dance on the rooftop until 3:30 in the morning, you don't know what you've been missing.  We spent Saturday night sending off Scott and Marisa to their new life in San Fran and, as unhappy as we are to see these two go, we are so excited to watch what fabulous things are in store for them and to vacation in their fun, fun city.   
Cheers to San Francisco!  

Monday, June 21, 2010


Good-bye Burks!  I can't decide which of your three trips to Chicago was the best: the one where you surprised me on my 30th birthday, the one where you surprised David on his 30th birthday, or the one where you brought us sweet Stella!  Thank you for another fantastically funny five days.  We love you!


Friday started with us being way too hot at The Purple Pig and then being way too wet at Navy Pier with one awkward family photo in between.


Thursday was just a normal day with friends.  We brunched, we watched Tasha run on a treadmill in a dress, the boys went to the Cubs game, we over-ordered Molly's cupcakes, and we had an unsuccessful (if not eventful) evening yoga session.


Wednesday found us at one of my favorite Chicago places, the Green City Farmers Market.  We sampled some organic treats, watched a cooking demonstration, and took turns holding baby.  Baby was much more interesting than the chef but I do want to try the restaurant - June - as it was named Best in the Midwest.  Next time I'm in Peoria, I guess....
It was a gorgeous day so we walked over to the beach and ate lunch on the water.  Tash and I spent the afternoon at yoga and then met up those babysitting boys at Crust for an early dinner.  
In other news, I may have successfully convinced another friend to start liking these guys:
Stephen B bought 6 at Rotofugi and the first one he opened was Tash!  


As soon as our Burks arrived in town with Miss Stella, we introduced them to some of the best encased meat in Chicago - Hot Doug's!  DC and I have been trying to get in here for two years and finally picked a day with only a 30-minute wait. To commemorate our successful entry, we ordered an incredible amount of hot dogs!  While they were very good, I can't say that Hot Doug's Chicago dog beat my favorite Midway Airport Chicago dog.
That night, Tasha and I left the boys with some food to grill and a baby to watch and headed out for some sushi and Sex in the City II.  

Friday, June 18, 2010


We graduated!  Well, my friends who decided not to run away to Italy for three months graduated and we celebrated!  DC and I made it back just in time to attend the ceremony and have been busy with final happy hours, "it's not goodbye" dinners, mani/pedi parties, and cake!  Lots of cake!
Eileen and Kristy.  
Ankur and Marisa.  I met all four of the people above on a "get to know you" trip to Chile.  I know people say you aren't supposed to pay for your friends but that was the best 2500 bucks I've ever spent!  All four of these guys are getting married in the next 90 days and headed for greatness.  
Fernando, fellow wine club co-chair.
George!  and Mwende.  Management lab teammate who became much more.  We love this family!
The group at Green Zebra, a surprisingly good vegetarian goodbye dinner!
The ladies at Paint.

Monday, June 14, 2010


We spent our last day in Lucca and Pisa as DC and I had to fly out of Pisa that evening.  It was quite a bit farther than we thought so we didn't get to follow my itinerary exactly as planned.  I tried to be flexible.  First stop, was to enjoy the wall in Lucca.  It is the only still-standing ancient wall in Italy and Napoleon gave it to his wife who decided to turn it into a city park.  It was beautiful -- big trees, great view, nice breeze.  We biked around the 2.5-mile circle twice and then wandered the cute town.  
By the time we got to Pisa, it was hot, hot, hot and crowded with millions of tourists.  We took our requisite leaning tower pics and then split up -- us to the airport and mom and dad back to the casa for a few more days of fun.
We flew from Pisa to London, spent the night, and then hopped a plane to Dublin and finally to Chicago!  It was a fully 24 hours of travel but so, so worth it when we actually set foot back in our little house.  Ciao Italia!


After all our sightseeing, we needed a day of rest!  Today found us at the pool, napping, reading, and relaxing.   
We did our best to consume as many snacks as possible and then spent the evening in Montepulciano at an Osteria recommended by our friend Greg.  This guy packs out his tiny place and then serves up the most delicious Bistecca Florentine (giant hunk of relaxed, grass-fed cow).  We had a blast and I was extremely thankful to have given up my vegetarian ways before coming!


So far in my life, I have yet to go wrong with a place called Mama's - San Fran, Dallas, anyplace in East Texas.  This time was no different.  Mama and family welcomed us into their kitchen for a morning full of traditional Tuscan cooking.
Mama made the pasta and allowed us to roll out the pici noodles.  Pici, from this Texan's point of view, is basically really thick spaghetti.  I'm certain Mama would balk at this description.
Mama made the dough for our focaccia bread and allowed us to roll it out.  Are you seeing a trend here?  It IS Mama's kitchen.  
All our work tired poor Marco out.  
Apparently, tiramisu is not a big deal to Mama.  She let us do all of it.  Here is dad spreading out the dainty ladyfingers with his not-so-dainty fingers!
We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch at a big table with the entire family.  I really, really wish I had gotten a picture of Papa.  He came in from the fields and didn't stop eating the entire meal.  Not a lick of English and so cute.  He was about 5 feet tall and maybe hitting 110 pounds post-meal.  After lunch, we stopped off at Montepulciano for some tower climbing, wine tasting, and church looking.  We've got this Italy thing down pat!
Inspired by Mama, DC and Dad decided to check out the pizza oven at our casa.  Thankfully, the neighbors already had it heated up and we enjoyed some grilled pork, pasta, and fresh veggies!