Friends, family, acquaintances, and random other readers of Carlie’s blog –

Do you ever type “” into your browser to see if Carlie has updated her blog… and then you sadly realize that it’s still the same old post from 3 weeks ago?  Then, a couple of days later you think to yourself “she surely must’ve updated that blog by now…” and then you return to “carliecrash” only to be disappointed once again?  Yeah… me neither… 

Last Sunday while out with Carlie and Emily in Lincoln Square, I brought this very subject to Carlie’s attention.  She explained that she has been very busy with work lately and that she has big plans for the blog soon.  In the meantime, Emily suggested Carlie take on a guest blogger… and that’s how you ended up with yours truly!   No, I can’t compete with Carlie (or as I prefer to call her, CarB) and her genius, written comedic timing.  But I, at least, hope to satisfy some of you when you came to this page today, hoping that “Parade of Insanity” was no longer the latest post. 

Carlie and I first met back in college at Illinois Wesleyan.  We joined the same sorority, became roommates in Big Front (you know it, you love it), and now both reside in the great city of Chicago.  We also both have sisters named Shannon.  Sidenote: Our other friend, Kelly, also has a sister named Shannon.  I think we were all destined to be friends.  Okay, let’s get back on track here.  Last year, Carlie and I decided to do some neighborhood exploration in our great city.  There are so many neighborhoods you hear of and, yet, don’t know where they are or what you can do there.  Our first adventure last year was to Lincoln Square.  You can read about that outing here.

With the seasons changing and what we thought would be a crisp chill in the air, we decided to plan another outing and try to recreate some of the magic of that October day a year ago.  We added in a little SF (that’s Smallfry – our friend Emily – in case you didn’t know) and took the El up to Lincoln Square last Sunday.  Mother Nature had other plans for our day when we saw the forecast was a high of 70 and sunny.  Should’ve worn flip flops!

The outing began at Huettenbar with a window seat.  After a few Oktoberfest beers and several occasions of “prost”-ing (that means “cheers” for all you non-German speakers) and a hint of a sunburn (who knew you’d need sunscreen at the end of October!!??) we decided to stumble up the street to the next location. 

This brought us to the cutest little bakery/cafe called Cafe Selmarie.  I would highly recommend dining here if you are in the neighborhood.  I had the chicken pot pie while Carlie and SF both got buffalo mozzarella ravioli dish.  My sister has a huge problem with someone ordering the same thing as her at a restaurant.  (Shan, if you’re reading this – yeah…they both got the buffalo mozzarella ravioli.  I wonder what Carlie’s sister, Shan, would think of this?  I also wonder what Kelly’s sister, Shan, would think of this?  Maybe it’s a “Shan” thing?!?)  Topped off with some hard cider to drink and we left happy.  I would also highly recommend asking for Adam as your waiter.  I don’t think he was as amused by us as we were by us.  Ah, good times. 

The Chicago Brauhaus was next.  This place doesn’t disappoint.  If you’re looking for some authentic Germans and some crazy music, this is your place!  You can even drink das boot here!   They also have those pretzel rods in mason jars on the bar.  (Question: Does anybody really eat these?  I always question the cleanliness of anything that spends several hours at a bar counter – including slimy men.  I mean, I saw the bartender refilling them, so it does appear that someone MUST eat them.  But who?  Or am I the only OCD person paranoid of this type of thing…hmmm…must self-reflect on that later.)  We went for a “medium” sized Spaten which when we were served our beverages, could only be described as “large.” Only one more drink here.  We had to pull ourselves together…it was a school night, after all. 

As we contemplated heading back to the El to head home, we made the decision to head across the street to indulge in some gelato from Paciugo, It was just too impossible to resist!  Should you find yourself someday with this same battle, always choose gelato.  In fact, whenever given the choice between something and gelato.  Always choose gelato.   More specifically, always choose the banana and chocolate gelato combo.  You can thank me later. 

As we rode the El home reflecting upon our day and licking every last drop of our gelato containers, we couldn’t help but think about how sometimes when you set out to recreate a fabulous day from a year ago, you are simply setting yourself up for disappointment.  Not this time, people!  We are making this a yearly outing!  Stay tuned for Carlie’s post in October 2013 of our 3rd annual Lincoln Square outing!  And let’s hope that’s not the next post we see from her! 🙂

Thanks, CarB for letting me take over your blog for a day.  Maybe you can consider changing your website to “”?  No…that kinda sounds weird.   Okay, you can keep your blog title.  🙂

Parade of insanity

Or the Chicago Marathon, as it’s more commonly referred to, tore through our neighborhood yesterday morning.

We awoke to the sounds of cheering, drum-pounding and the not-so-soothing stylings of Kanye and Jay-Z (that shit cray!). 

So we decided to head out into the madness and walk along the route for bit, enjoying the smugness and relief that comes from being people who do not sign up to participate in logic-defying activities, such as running 26.2 miles. Because why? Why would you do that?

But good for these people. I salute them. They’re for sure way more entitled to justify over-priced Lululemon outfits than I am. So they have that going for them.

Gatsby, on the other hand, could not fathom the thought process that must have occurred when these people signed up for this.

And the ghost of 1970s Fat Elvis was there to encourage the stragglers and shoo them away from the light.

Congrats to everyone who finished! You’re done! It’s over! That’s definitely something to celebrate.

The Rookery

Most of my posts in the near future will be focused on the amazing scenery and architecture I saw on our trip to Italy, but today I thought I’d share an awesome building right here in the great city of Chicago!

A couple of weeks ago, I moseyed on over to check out The Rookery during my lunch break. It was designed by Burnham & Root (they’re pretty famous for those of you who are unfamiliar with architecture) and built in the late 1800’s on LaSalle Street downtown in the Loop. I don’t think they called it the “Loop” back then… but don’t quote me on that.

In 1905, Frank Lloyd Wright (you DO know him, right??) was commissioned to redesign the lobby, and I must say he did a fabulous job. The photos below don’t do it justice. There’s gold and white marble everywhere, and on a sunny day, the whole place literally shines underneath the huge glass ceiling. Nice effect, Frank!

If you live in Chicago or plan on visiting, The Rookery is an architectural landmark not to be missed. No joke – I promise I would tell you if it sucked. I keep it real on this blog.

Now hopefully that tides you over until my next Italy installment – coming soon!

Foggy Friday

Last Friday, it felt like I was walking home from work through a cloud. Which makes sense, because that was pretty much the case.

The whole city was nestled in a thick layer of fog, and I thought it was pretty cool. Things feel different when it’s that foggy outside – softer and quieter, with sort of a spooky, scary vibe. Not unlike a werewolf bar mitzvah.

Don’t get me wrong, my Friday nights are often foggy. But it’s a different kind of fogginess… you know how much I love my wine!

Girl and the Goat

I love pig face!

And no, “pig face” is not an affectionate nickname I have for Will.

Last night, we went to Girl & the Goat for dinner. In addition to pig face, I also consumed some cute little duck tongues (crispy!), beef tongue (not quite as cute) and other strangely delicious items. For me, the key was not knowing what I was eating until it was fully digested. Consider my horizons broadened!

For those of you who don’t live in Chicago or watch foodie shows, Girl & the Goat is the West Loop restaurant owned by Stephanie Izard, the winner of Bravo’s Top Chef: Season 4. The girl can do amazing things with questionable parts of animals – I ate a duck’s tongue that actually looked like a duck’s tongue, and that says a lot!

As you can see, I didn’t get any good photos, but I got a few crappy ones. You’ll be happy to know that I remembered to bring my good camera when we went to Wisconsin over the weekend, so I actually have some pictures for that post that might be worth looking at.

February Photo a Day: Time

STOP! Tribune Tower Time.

Sorry, that was super lame.

But I’ll tell you something about time – right before the beginning of a long weekend, it starts moving at a snail’s pace. A snail with a lead shell. On tranquilizers. Stuck in quicksand.

Kill me.

**Correction: That’s the Wrigley Building, not the Tribune Tower. And I call myself a Chicagoan…

February Photo a Day: Sun


If it wasn’t for those scraggly leafless tree branches, I could probably tell you that this photo was taken in the middle of summer and you’d never know the difference.

Unless you got all inquisitive and asked what time of day it was taken and figured out that the Sun is too low in the sky for a summer day. In which case I would become extremely offended and start yelling, “What the hell is wrong with you!? Don’t you TRUST me??”

You really know how to push my buttons, don’t you?

P.S. If you’re wondering why there was no February Photo a Day post yesterday, it was because the topic was “button.” I took a picture of the buttons on my sweater, but it was just so boring. SO boring! I started to post it and promptly fell asleep. So I decided to not waste your time with that one.