Saturday Night Dinner

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Food, food photography, photography

We had a date set with our friends N & A for Saturday night. It happened to fall on St. Patrick’s Day, which we didn’t plan. And I only mention this because our meal was very much not Irish, lol. (My husband was the only one wearing green. He said it was intentional but I don’t know if he was joking or not.) Also, since we’re throwing out random pieces of information, can I also say that I always appreciate a good meal? Especially when the host/hostess puts effort into the meal and it turns out fabulously. I’m not a picky eater and I’m also a home cook, so I want to throw around 10000 fist bumps when the host pulls together a meal. It takes a lot of work to have people over for dinner (at least for me), so I’m happy to give credit where it’s due.

A few snapshots from Saturday night –

The appetizer. I really liked these dumplings and said so. A. replied with, “You can get these at Costco.” LOL, now I know!
The spread. In the middle is cod cooked with soy and ginger. The plates surrounding it included bok choy and sauteed greens.
Mongolian beef
Mongolian beef – this was the star of the night.

Everything was awesome. I ended up bringing crack pie (which may have been too sweet for all of us) and brownies:

I am still crashing from the sugar. πŸ™‚

As far as the meal goes, I’ll be happy to let N & A cook for me anytime. So good!

Lunch with The Hubs: Tony’s Italian Deli & Subs

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Chicago, Food

So a few posts ago, I mentioned meeting my husband for lunch and said that we enjoyed it so much we did it again. This time we did it at Tony’s Deli and Subs in Edison Park. So Tony’s is a cool place and set up like a small grocery store with the deli in the back. The Hubs and I felt pretty comfortable here.




And yes, we totally ordered the fish salad.

(That’s the fish salad in the middle.) We also ordered veggie sandwich (me), muffaletta (The Hubs), potato salad and mushroom salad.
We both loved our sandwiches. And actually, the muffaletta was so large that The Hubs stopped himself before he finished the entire thing (I’m pretty sure he would have been in some weird food coma had he committed) and had lunch for the next day. All in all, I have to say that we both liked the simplicity (and deliciousness!) of this place. We met here again the following week although at that time, I left my camera in my bag and enjoyed the Italian Wedding Soup (so good. But again, no pictures) – and the company, of course. β™₯

If you need a better review than what I’m providing here (I do lack that sometimes, I admit), check out Yelp. πŸ™‚

Afterwards, I had a taste for coffee and let Yelp lead me to a place around the corner called The Cafe at LeFlour.


This was such a cute place, and I am pretty confident I’ll be back here soon. (The Toffee Crunch Latte was a great dessert/afternoon-pick-me-up.)

I am, however, a little bummed that – on this day – my name wasn’t Zeke nor Zora:


Daily Design – Week 11

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Design

Been a week filled with kids, continuing to learn my new job and finishing up freelance jobs…so needless to say, this didn’t get posted on Friday. But I’m catching up now (Saturday) and here is my Daily Design Project for the week, which is a “book” with photos of the first thing I photographed that day along with random thoughts from that day:

As you can see on Wednesday’s page spread, I mentioned Giada but included pictures of the kids. In fact, I took zero pictures of Giada on that day. I guess she was still on my mind though. πŸ™‚

Daily Design – Week 10

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Design, Life

Still doing my daily designs, but since life is getting busier, I simplified the process so that I wouldn’t get overwhelmed and abandon this project. I figure this is a good thing for me to stick with as it 1) gets me going in the morning and 2) helps me to improve my design skills little by little. There’s a photography couple that go by Peden and Munk – basically, if you read Bon AppΓ©tit magazine, you’ve seen their work. (GOOD STUFF.) I listened to them on a podcast one time talking about how doing personal work is so important to them because it helps make them better photographers and sometimes the personal work gets added to their portfolio (and lands them a gig as a result). The whole “do your thing regularly so that you get better at it” is something I think about all the time, probably daily. (I may have to listen to that podcast again. I think it was this one.) So that’s my thought on designing daily. πŸ™‚ This week, I decided to pick a project theme that would allow me to do something little each day. I decided to try my hand at creating Chicago graphic icons, so here’s my short list:


These were more time consuming that one would think! I may continue to add to this down the line because there are other important Chicago landmarks that I didn’t get to create (Navy Pier ferris wheel, The Lake, the lions at The Art Institute, Crown Towers at Millennium Park, the red flamingo sculpture….). We shall see.

I also made sure to do the family dinner menu for the upcoming week:

dinner menu

You have no idea how much this helps with grocery shopping and also getting kids fed in a timely manner. If there wasn’t a menu, I’m pretty sure The Hubs and I would stare at each other, repeatedly asking, “What should we eat? What should we eat? What should we eat?” I may put the menu on auto pilot for awhile (Wednesday is pizza night, Thursday is stir fry night, Friday is for rice noodles, etc) until we get more comfortable with our new routine….or until everyone gets bored and needs something new to eat. (Although based on how much everyone ate last night, I think Stir Fry Thursday is here to stay. Always good because it’s good, quick & easy! WIN.)

Alright, time to get ready for the day.

fit bit

P.S. I got a Fitbit. I’m one of those people now. Also: I have no idea how I’m going to get 8000 steps in a day.

Lunch with The Hubs: Mazalae Mongolian Restaurant

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Food

I am starting a new job this week (I’m probably sitting at my new desk as this post goes live). And just to get them used to this change, the kids both started a new daycare last week.

During a playdate (not in daycare).
During a recent playdate (not in daycare).

The Kid has been in daycare and currently does preschool, so I knew he’d be fine in his new place. I was worried for The Girl, who although is pretty savage and tough is – believe it or not – NEEDY. VERY needy. It’s our fault for setting her up that way as she was always with either my husband or me. As a result, if another adult tries to hold her she’ll pretty much start crying. It was getting to be pretty ridiculous. But after a couple of days of daycare, she seemed to be a different kid. Don’t get me wrong, her #1 goal still appears to be World Domination, but in the process, she seems to be letting other adults hold her and she seems to also be playing nice with other kids. (It might ruin her street cred, but I was told she was holding hands with another girl the other day. Whoa, she’s not as anti-social as I thought!) Anyway, daycare seems to be good for her (whew), and also good for our family. My husband and I have had one date night (I think) since The Kid was born 3 years ago. (I know, I know. This is bad.) This isn’t because we don’t like each other (we do, we do!!!), but because we never took the time to find a Date Night Sitter. Hopefully, we’ll change that in the near future. However, with both kids in daycare last week, I thought I’d drive up towards my husband’s job and do lunch with him while they were being looked after.

Great decision.

As I pulled up to his company’s parking lot, I asked him if he’d rather try a hot pot place instead of the burger place we were originally thinking. “Yes! Soup sounds better!” he replied. Thank goodness for Yelp, which directed us to nearby Mazalae Mongolian Restaurant. When we sat down, we were given a menu typed in a Cyrillic script. My (Russian) husband’s eyes got wide. We both quickly turned the menu around to see the English version of it.

Quick shot of the menu before the waitress grabbed it, lol.
Quick shot of the menu before the waitress grabbed it, lol.

“A lot of this stuff are things I grew up with,” he whispered. (I don’t think he was referring the Mongolian beef, by the way. Ha ha.) We each went with our original plan and ordered a soup.

He got the Mongolian Noodle Soup.

I got the Dumpling and Vegetable Soup (“You’ll love it,” the waitress said). Both were really good although The Hubs said I got the better soup. He might be right, but I would have eaten his happily. I think we both want to come back and eat more soup. We also want to try the other things on the menu…but then again, I really liked the soup, so maybe I’ll stick with that. πŸ™‚

Being able to take pictures freely was nice.

Being in The Husband’s company without the kids was also pretty cool. So much so that we had another lunch date the following day. πŸ™‚

Random pictures from the week

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Family Life, Life, photography

Thought I’d take a minute to share a few pictures from the last week or so. I wish I had a nice story to tie them all together, but alas, this is randomness at its finest.

Toddler checking toy phoneChecking her messages.

Toddler with abacus
Now she’s checking her math. LOL.

Kid taking picture
“Say ‘cheese’!” (I should have turned the camera on for him.)

saint bernard dog beggingGiada doing what she does best.

Vietnamese dinnerDinner with my aunts, uncles and a cousin this past Saturday. The Kid was sick, so he stayed home with The Hubs. The Girl and I went together and had a nice time. It was fun catching up with my cousin and see what was going on in her 14-year-old mind. (Yes, I have a 14-year-old cousin and yes, people have mistaken her as my daughter before, ha ha.)

We take our reading seriously around here.

He told me to turn off the flash. πŸ˜›

A good poke bowl is hard to find out in the suburbs, but I live near a Japanese grocery store so it’s easy to pull together the ingredients to make a good bowl myself. My plating presentation probably needs help though. πŸ™‚

morning-livingroom-022718Typical morning in the living-room-turned-playroom.

kids-livingroom-022718I’m pretty sure I was trying to get them to pose. How did I do? πŸ˜‰

putting-on-hat-022718“Hat on, Mama. Let’s go!”

Kindness at the grocery store

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Life
At the grocery store a few months ago.
At the grocery store a few months ago (aka not related to the following story).

On Saturday, The Girl and I went to the grocery store. When we were done, we went to one of the registers. I pulled into the lane and stood in front of the cart to begin unloading the things in the basket of the cart onto the conveyor belt. As I was about to return to the back of the cart (where The Girl was sitting) to reach the other groceries on the bottom rack of the cart, a man approached the cart and unloaded everything for me. I was so flabbergasted and said, “That was so nice – you must have kids!” He laughed and said that he had two. We chatted a bit while I kept expressing my gratitude. As I was paying, he let someone behind him go ahead of him in line because they had less in their cart.

The world is full of nice, considerate people.

I don’t have any reason for sharing this little story except that 1)I tend to be random; 2)I like positive things and figured that this little space I have on the internet isn’t a bad place to put my positive, random stories; and 3)this would have been too long of a caption to post on Instagram! I’m going to guess there will be more random-and-too-long-for-Instagram posts in the future. πŸ™‚ As always, thanks for reading.

Daily Design – Week 8

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Design

Hi hi,

I think I’m able to post my daily designs every day this week. So I woke up on Monday morning and put some finishing touches on a project I was doing in After Effects (an Adobe program that does video motion graphics and visual effects) when it decided to crash on me twice. And when it was up and running, it was incredibly buggy. Very sad. So this was my rant:


On Tuesday morning, I woke up feeling like a bottle of nerves. So this is something of a little pep talk to myself:
breath and just relax

2/21/18 – Just a little nod to Hump Day.

The Crown
2/22/18 – I’m very much into The Crown on Netflix these days. If you’re a royal follower (guilty), this is definitely the show for you. I’m going to miss Claire Foy (Queen Elizabeth) and Vanessa Kirby (Princess Margaret) when Season 3 rolls around.

2/23/18 – I’m excited to watch the Olympics’ Closing Ceremony on Sunday. This Olympics has inspired to make my two kids the next Shib Sibs…except that The Girl will be the ones to do the lifts because she’s really, really savage. LOL. (I’m not sure if The Kid is a willing participant in all of this.)

She's a tough one, that one....
She’s a tough one, that one….

Have a great weekend!